This time of year as the weather gets nicer a lot of people run outside. Being trained in biomechanics, I can assure you that seeing so many runners just makes it painfully obvious why running is damaging to a lot of people. The bouncing, rotation of the knee to foot and rounded back are all easy ways for the body to place the impact of each stride onto your joints and away from your muscles. But, as painful as it is to witness the joint stress I understand that it is a choice and there are reasons why a runner might choose to not disrupt the gait pattern.
We know that athletes often do much damage for their sport and to achieve success they do not focus on how they are moving. In fact, there are times when the unique movement patterns they have allow them to achieve in a way that they would not be able to without sacrificing their body.
So, if you can run farther or faster or jump higher because you are not using as much muscle then that could be a choice that you make. A choice where you accept the wearing out of your joints - and the surgeries, replacements and ongoing pain - as the cost of your performing in your sport.
Even those who are not competitive athletes may choose to run in a way that is more natural because it is more enjoyable or fun. And I understand that 'natural' is a word that nowadays has a positive implication, but here it means running in the most efficient way and that is the way that places the stress away from the muscle. But it doesn't take as much focus to maintain while you are running and it seems like you can do so much more without getting exhausted.
That last line should really be your clue. Your body will find the easiest way to move. Measurements like distance and speed do not provide you feedback on how your body is moving and the easier you can achieve those goals the more likely it is that you are using less muscle.
Using muscle is the goal for things like fat loss, muscle tone and health. Not focusing on how you move is about performance.
Unfortunately, the majority of us were never taught this differentiation. We live in a society where people - younger and younger - are tearing up their bodies for sport. Have you seen the number of kids that are getting orthopedic surgeries?! But as with so many health related issues, addressing the cause is far too costly and time intensive. So we focus on trying to clean up after the damage, dealing with injuries and symptoms.
Being proactive is hard, especially when it comes to our health. It takes effort and focus that seem like a luxury when nothing is yet failing.I designed the Initial Fitness Review as an education tool. It is an assessment that provides you with information on how you move your body so that you can make informed choices.
It is your body and it is your choice to place greater stress and impact onto your joints or on your muscle, my goal is simply to ensure you know that it is a choice. Because how you move your body has a great impact on your quality of life now and in the future.
As always, let me know how I can help.