Simply put, static stretching involves applying a stretch, and holding it for a period of time. Usually 30-45 seconds. Dynamic stretching on the other hand, is stretching while moving. It is good to have an understanding of what affect each of them have and also know when to apply them.
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The popularity of running has grown over the years and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon. According to the Annual Running Report conducted by Running USA, the number of marathon finishers has grown tremendously over past two decades. In 2010 there were over a half a million reported marathon finishers. One of the reasons running has become so popular is because of its accessibility. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you’re out the door. No coaching needed, right? Or is there more to it? Can poor running form and mechanics put someone at a greater risk for injury? There are two main causes of overuse injuries related to running; over-training and faulty biomechanics.
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In order to help control position and movement, there is an intricate system of muscles and ligaments associated with the foot and ankle. As we stand, walk, or run, it places a tremendous amount of pressure on the foot. This creates a tension on the tissues of the foot and ankle as they attempt to support the arch and stabilize the joints.
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Compared to most, the physical health of endurance athletes is superior. However they are at risk for injury Let’s face it, as intense as training can be, it can take a toll on the body. Predominantly the soft tissues will take a beating. So what actually happens to soft tissues during training and what can be done to reduce the risk of a related injury?
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When we want to increase running speed two things must happen. First we must increase our stride rate. This is simply increasing the number of strides we take over a given amount of time. The second is we need to increase our stride angle. Stride angle is a measure at our hips made up of our front and back legs. Both of these elements do not come naturally to most people. If one or both can’t be done a common compensation is overstriding.
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Minimalist running has become a popular discussion as it relates to treating and preventing injuries. Although some opinions can seem extreme, as the conversations continue, so does our understanding of how our feet, and the rest of our body, adapt as we depend less on artificial support from the shoes we wear.
Nike was the first shoe company to add gas-filled membranes to the heels of their running shoes. It seemed revolutionary at the time. The thought was, if runners can strike with their heel out in front of their body this will allow for a longer stride thus giving them a competitive edge. Leading up to that a runner’s shoes were light weight and simple. Books like Born To Run and shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers, prompted more discussion and of course further research. Have we come full circle over thirty years later? Continue reading “Another Take On Minimalist Running” »