Sunday, March 7, 2010

Z-Health Thought of the Day: Is Running Healthy or High-Risk?

On my way to work in Paso Robles the other day, I saw a man running with very awkward and inefficient form and started thinking about the “Ground Forces Math” note I sent out earlier. Then the big picture became much more clear in my own mind regarding all kinds of movement—not just running.

Let’s go back to ground forces math for a moment. A 200 pound man “running” with poor form will multiply his body weight about nine times for each heel strike. That would be 1800 pounds each stride. Using Newton’s Laws of Motion, we know that the force will follow a “line” into the ground and coming back up. If your ankles do not work correctly, it will change the “line of force” at your knees or hips (other joints as well) causing “force leaks.” Now think about 1800 pounds sheering at your knees and hips every single foot strike—NOT good!

So, the question I constantly get is this… "Is running bad for your knees?” Based on what I know and have been reading, it’s not running in general that is bad—it’s “HOW” people run! If your knees and joints are lined up properly, the biomechanics will work correctly to take you where you want to go. If not, you will probably still get there but with the “emergency brakes” on your movement—and possibly even a catastrophic failure or at least pain. Evidence? Look at all the joint replacement surgeries today versus 30 years ago. What has changed? Sure—more technology has made these surgeries an option today, but years ago we didn’t really need them for the most part. So what has changed? We sit and don’t move much. The body senses lack of movement in joints as a THREAT and will lock up joint surfaces to keep the problem joints out of the equation…trust me…this is a BIG problem we need to solve at the root cause failure level.

Once again, we need to start moving and moving well—then walking, running, sprinting, and basically all movement will be optimized. Where do we start? From the ground up is a good place to begin. Every single person I have worked on so far with Z-Health has had neurological inefficiency in their feet and ankles—including myself and my wife! Think about that and about how important it is to address these issues for injury prevention and quality of life…then let’s get busy correcting them!

In Movement,
Coach RJ

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