If we were to ask a sports doctor or a physiologist why people love to move, walk or run, they would probably explain that humans love to run because our bodies are designed for this very function. We are designed to walk and run.
We have running bodies. Yes, you heard correctly; our bodies are designed to move. Our ancestors have been walking and running for thousands of years. We walked if we had to go somewhere; if we needed to get there quickly, we ran. The entire structure of our body is designed to move.
If home sapiens had just been designed to walk, our bodies would have developed very differently, but we ran, and as such, our bodies developed into machines designed to do just that.
Running has developed our bodies so:
- Our hearts can reach a stroke volume of 200 milliliters of blood per beat.
- Our muscles have developed 60,000 miles of capillaries around them to deliver oxygen.
- Our lungs have developed a thin wall over an enormous area to create the perfect medium for oxygen and carbon dioxide gas exchange.
- Our eccrine glands have developed into efficient sweat producers that help with rapid evaporation so we can stay cool, especially when moving.
When we run, there is an amazing integration of cardiovascular, muscular, metabolic and neurological systems that all operate together to help us move and use oxygen. We are masters of energy production when our bodies are functioning correctly.
But more than 50% of recreational runners are injured every year!
In 2017 scientists from the UK performed a detailed biomechanical and metabolic evaluation of nearly 100 recreational runners and proved that making specific changes in running alignment can make you a more efficient runner and help you run faster (Folland, 2017). What is more important to me is that the study also showed that good running mechanics help prevent injury and the risk of injury.
A few things that many runners and walkers are not aware of or don’t execute accurately.
- Where and how are feet should land
- How all our limbs should be relaxed
- How to lift the legs using the large psoas muscles, not the small leg muscles
- How do the arms make up 50% of our running effort?
- How to be energy efficient and focus on injury prevention.
- How to get and stay aligned
- Postural alignment is alignment with the pull of gravity.
- Directional alignment is alignment with the direction you’re headed.
- How walking and running are holistic practices and should be enjoyed and treasured.
Learn a system of running that focuses on injury prevention and energy efficiency. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be injured and on the sideline of my favorite activity.
Folland JP, Allen SJ, Black MI, Handsaker JC, Forrester SE. Running Technique is an Important Component of Running Economy and Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jul;49(7):1412-1423. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001245. PMID: 28263283; PMCID: PMC5473370.
Michaud, T ( 2021) Injury-Free Running, Second Edition: Your Illustrated Guide to Biomechanics, Gait Analysis, and Injury Prevention