Posted on July 25, 2017 by Robin Willis
Why it is Important? The average runner strikes the ground 1000 times per mile, 50-70 times a minute per foot with 2-4 times
their body weight. The impact is received by one leg at a time, reverberating upward through the entire body. Running is a
repetitive sport wherein the same muscles repeatedly coordinate is a series of contractions and extensions to propel the body
forward on the sagittal plane. When muscles contract repeatedly, musculoskeletel tissues (muscles, ligaments, tendons and
fascia) shorten and remain in a shortened state. Overtime this impacts the structure of the tissue, creating imbalances that can
reduce range of motion in the joints and pull bone structure out of alignment. The following methods will help maintain and
improve balance within the muskuloskeletel system, diminishing risk of injury. They may also serve to reduce post-workout
inflammation, carry away pesky exercise byproducts like lactic acid and speed tissue repair, getting you back out on the road
feeling fabulous sooner!
Yoga: The physical branch of this ancient health system involves postures (asanas) that stretch and strengthen the muscles
allowing the body to regain balance and symmetry. Moving the body beyond the sagittal plane, yoga seeks to develop stability
and mobility, strength and flexibility. Kinesthetic balance, body awareness and lung capacity through breathing exercises
are also improved. The meditative aspect of yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is involved in healing
and recovery, generating relaxation, and inducing a feeling of overall well-being.
Stretching: A healthy muscle must contract as well as lengthen. Stretches should be performed after a workout and must be
held 20 seconds or longer to effectively impact the tissue. Dynamic stretches are a great tactic for warming up muscles before a
run, but avoid prolonged static stretching of cold muscles as this can cause injury.
Massage: During massage moving pressure is applied to the muscles and fascia, breaking up fascial adhesions, releasing
muscular tension, reducing inflammation and inciting deep relaxation. Self-massage with foam-rollers, tennis balls and other
props are a great way to get the benefits of massage at home!
Compression: Compression socks and sleeves stimulate circulation, speeding tissue repair and reducing lactic acid
buildup. These accessories are often worn during runs, but research shows they are most effective post workout!
Cold therapy: Ice baths are a tradition in the distance running world! The frigid water constricts blood vessels and reduces
metabolic activity, decreasing swelling and tissue breakdown. Ice packs or a cold shower work well, but full immersion reaches
deep lying tissues and targets larger muscle groups in a single frosty plunge.
Acupuncture: Tiny needles are inserted into the tissue stimulating anti-inflammatory action and promoting blood flow to
the affected areas enhancing the healing process.
Cupping: In this technique from ancient Chinese medicine glass cups are suctioned to the skin using heat or air pressure.
The suction draws blood to the effected area activating the healing response. Do you recall the purple pocks sported by Michael
Phelp’s in the 2016 Olympic games?
Nutrition: • Wild salmon/ chia/ flax/ walnuts: Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body
• Turmeric: Contains curcumin which possesses proven powerful ant-inflammatory properties.
• Ginger: Contains gingerol, an active anti-inflammatory compound that reduces muscle soreness up to 25 percent!
• Berries, greens and colourful veggies: Rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and E which repair oxidative damage
caused by intense exercise among other factors.
Robin Evan Willis, RHN, MA, LET’S GLOW HEALTH