Can doing exercises reduce the likelihood of running injuries? Here are six that may help.
How do we prevent running injuries? Some have said that people who run get injured, yet some people never have running injuries, while others, are constantly nursing one injury or another. Body style can play a large part on determining who is prone to injury. One clue is how fast you run.
During a first office visit, when a patient tells us that they run an 11 minute mile, we know there is a problem with their gait; after all, people usually do not visit unless they have problems. Typically, most people think their shoulder, knee, neck, back and foot pain are not related, however, when you connect the dots, you find out that a gait issue will cause problems in the core, shorten your stride and cause upper back compensations which will slow you down and make you hurt.
As good troopers who run, we run through it because pain is just part of the process; or is it? Sure, when you begin to run, aches and pains come with increases in distance and speed, but that is different than being injured. To understand this better, read the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain (available through Amazon.com) which explains how the kinetic chains work and why these symptoms occur and what you can do about them.
Other authors believe exercises can help reduce injury. Here are a few that can help. The rest of us should seek out a good chiropractor 🙂
6 Injury-Reducing Exercises For Runners
By Jon-Erik Kawamoto, CSCS
One of the key factors to better racing performance is consistent training. That means having a body that can withstand pounding. Injury prevention measures can include a multitude of strategies, one common method being core stability training.
Core stability exercises don’t always have to involve you lying on your back or acting like a statue for minutes on end. There is a time and place for exercises that involve those positions, but progressions must be made to further challenge your ability to maintain a stable torso.
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In their 2012 paper, “The Anatomy and Biomechanics of Running,” Nicola and Jewison examined the idea that runners with better core stability are more able to maintain a stable torso and possess better trunk control while running. Therefore, less energy is wasted, thus leading to a more efficient running stride and a reduction in injury risk. “The core muscles help absorb and distribute impact forces and allow body movements in a controlled and efficient manner,” they wrote. In addition to keeping the spine and abdomen stable about the axis of the vertebrae, the 29 core muscles also all work in unison to allow breathing and the natural twisting motion to occur during the running stride.
Furthermore, running with an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, commonly associated with weak abdominal and gluteal muscles and tight hip flexors, has been shown to be a common biomechanical abnormality associated with several types of running injuries. A strategy to limit injury risk for any runner should include:
1. Attaining optimal hip flexor flexibility
2. Improving core strength and stability
3. Improving gluteal strength and stability
Below you’ll find six stretches and exercises that focus on the aforementioned plan of attack. Implement the exercises on the following pages into your training plan and improve your likelihood of making it through the season injury-free.