CONSIDER THIS AN EXTRA CHRISTMAS OR 5TH NIGHT OF HANUKKAH HOLIDAY GIFT: “The 15 Minute Adaptive Core Routine For Runners (No Gym Required)”. In this article for Competitor.com Lisah Hamilton challenges readers to consider the importance of core strength to injury free, efficient running. Without personally doing the math she indicates that based on the number of steps taken in the course of running an entire year the following question should be asked:
“Each time you strike the ground, you strike it with 2 to 2.5 times your bodyweight. The question is, can your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back effectively support a force such as this? The answer largely depends on the strength of your core (including glutes, abdominals, hips, and lower back).” Hamilton describes how weak or non-firing gluteal muscles can lead to excessive pronation and ultimately, injury.
It brought to mind a simple lesson taught to me of WHY CORE STRENGTH MATTERS by a physical therapist several years ago. She was helping me to avoid knee pain related to recurring bursitis and explained that while large muscles move us forward; SMALL MUSCLES KEEP US FROM MOVING FROM SIDE TO SIDE WHILE DOING SO.
The more side-to-side, wobbly, often asymmetrical movement we generate while running, the greater are the stresses placed on joints like hips, knees, and ankles. She went on to say that we more easily and readily exercise those big muscles, like the quadriceps and gluteus maximus, but often neglect working on the smaller muscles that contribute to our stability and balance, like the gluteus medius and minimus.
Not being an expert in physical therapy, I’ve been unable to find a reference that scientifically re-states this therapist’s viewpoint in quite the same understandable language. However, the GIFT of perspective she gave during that one session has helped me place greater value on working toward improving stability and balance to avoid injury and become a better runner. Thanks for that!
Getting back to the article, the author suggests performing “30 seconds of each exercise and building up to two consecutive minutes of each exercise”. The video demonstration is very helpful. The list below summarizes her recommendations. Except for burpees, each move (or a variation) has been recommended to me by a fitness expert or physical therapist. Some have been part of my weekly routine since 2009.. There are suggestions for INCREASING the challenge of each move, and a link to help figure out how to DECREASE the challenge in the piece.
Stability Ball (prone plank) Circles
Stability Ball Hamstrings Curls
Sit and Twists
Side Plank with Leg Lift
You may find many other exercises online that are similar, but this is a wonderful, simple, one-stop approach to safe core work with a demonstratio video, a true GIFT.
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BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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