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Biggest myths regarding running

How do you define a runner? Is it someone who runs 5 miles a day or is a weekend jogger? While I am not a very active runner I do spend time in the gym building up my endurance and speed on the treadmill. What works for me may not work for everyone. I like building up my speed every minute or so until I start a jog for a few minutes then back to a fast paced walk. My ‘final’ go on the treadmill I speed up my jogging speed but for a shorter amount of time. For me it very much helps me build endurance for all types of activities. Within a few short weeks I have already noticed a significant decline in my heart rate during these workouts which means my heart is not only healthier but able to pump more blood in the same amount of time as before. And I can already feel other benefits as well.

Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. firmly believes that healthy activities and exercise are the key as we grow older. It takes me longer to heal from an injury and longer to recover when I am tired. For me the keys are a healthy lifestyle and exercise. Staying active whether walking or through exercise has shown in study after study that exercise will help those live a healthier life, help recover from injuries and delay or significantly reduce the effects of aging. I just have to look at growing up till today and the effects on the population. Growing up many of those in their 50’s and 60’s showed their age, today I see people in their 50’s and 60’s look like previous generations in their 30’s and 40’s.

With that here are some common myths about runners:

Stretch Before you begin your run

Studies have shown that stretching a cold muscle may cause more harm than good. Static stretches don’t have many advantages so it would be better to do Dynamic Flexibility exercises which basically mimic the movements of what activity you are about to do. There are benefits to this exercise especially if done to warm up the muscles. These routines can increase your heart rate, respiration and perspiration that will get you ready to run. The other benefits are that it can also improve your range of motion and promote more blood flow which can help tissue health especially around joints and tendons.

Biggest myths regarding running

Do certain body type make you a better runner?

There are a wide range of body types but one of the most significant findings is that of O2 (oxygen) uptake or fitness in relation to body type shows that oxygen uptake during running does not increase proportionately to your body mass. Based on these studies it does not matter what body type you have but the importance of exercise is. Your Oxygen uptake will improve as your fitness improves whether your overweight or a regular runner.

Do you have to run every day to improve?

This depends on what your goals are from the onset. Do you want to run marathons or do you want to improve your health or do you just enjoy running? It won’t be necessary to run each day if your goal is to improve your health. However if you have loftier goals than you should have a plan that takes into consideration types of training, intensity and ensure proper footwear. It must be said that one of the most important things one does to train as a runner is to have proper footwear. Poor footwear from a perspective of a therapist can cause many conditions such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints as well as tendonitis of the foot ankle or Achilles tendon.

Biggest myths regarding running

Is running bad for the knees?

For the longest time there was a belief that running was bad for the knees eventually leading to knee joint degeneration and hip degeneration. Most injuries that occur due to running are high impact sports where knee injuries are common, with woman several times more likely to develop knee pain than men. There is good evidence to suggest that with a majority of knee injuries these occur due to training injuries or load management. There is also strong evidence that exercise especially in the case of osteoarthritis is beneficial in limiting disease progression and pain management. Knee pain is most often a result of muscle imbalance and weakness not running itself.

Biggest myths regarding running

Do runners need to strength train?

This depends ultimately on what your goals are. If you are a casual runner then strength training is not necessary. However strength training can boost performance and help prevent injuries. Strength training will help improve the power output of your muscles which may also help address muscle imbalances that may lead to an injury.

Will taking a few days off hurt your progress or fitness level?

Studies have shown that there is little decrease in the first week or longer due to inactivity if you’re a trained athlete. If you are injured ill or some important event occurs take the time to take care of those and then return to your training/activity.

Should you drink a lot of water while training?

Drinking too much water can cause more harm than good as it may disturb your electrolyte balance. Unfortunately there is no exact science on how much water one must drink. If you notice signs of confusion headache vomiting or nausea this may be due to drinking too much water. To prevent dehydration make sure to drink a glass of water with each meal and between meals as well as before during and after exercise. If you feel thirsty then have a glass of water.

If you decide to take up running as an activity or for an exercise regime make sure that you practice in stages and monitor your health. For some that are just beginning slow progressive progress is better than going all out from the start. Drink the appropriate amount of fluids and make sure that your running shoes are comfortable and lightweight as well as offer support. A good quality shoe is well worth the cost when one thinks of the possible injuries that can occur.

If you have any questions contact Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. at 905-273-5433 or via our website at www.dynamicphysiotherapy.ca

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