Have you got the right moves??

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Thursday, 10 December 2015 822 Views 0 Comments
Have you got the right moves??

By Kiran Mehta

The perfect running form prevents injury, aids bone health, and makes you go longer and faster. Learn to run the right way, with these expert tips from Spine Surgeon, Dr. Abhay Nene.

From the tilt of your head to the strike of your heel, we’ve got it covered. Read on and learn all about proper running form and technique:

1) Head: Run tall, hold your head up high, and look straight ahead. But don’t stick your chin out or tuck it in. Align the back of your head to your upper back, almost as though you were standing against a wall.

Beginners and experts need to be aware of the body, especially as fatigue sets in. That’s when most runners tend to slouch. Remember, how you hold you head determines your efficiency as a runner. An incorrect tilt could impact the muscles of the neck and puts you at risk of early cervical degenerative spondylosis.

2) Shoulders: Keep them square; don’t hold them tight. Keep them loose and levelled; don’t shimmy the shoulders from side to side. As you clock up the miles, watch for raised or drooping shoulders.

Shrug off this little piece of advice and you could develop a crick in the trapezius i.e. the main muscle that holds the torso upright and supports the neck. This in turn leads to pain and impacts your running speed and distance.

3) Arms: The arms should be held loosely by your side, to give you leeway to swing them in a natural way. Many runners, especially beginners, make too much of an effort here, and develop an artificial or contrived arm swing. This does nothing for your speed or efficiency; it only contributes to incorrect running technique.

Don’t hold your arms too tight or too loose. Just go with the flow.

4) Torso: Hold your shoulders and neck correctly, and the torso will fall into place. Remember the two magic words, ‘Run tall’. Brace your stomach, but don’t suck it in as that could adversely impact the lower back.

Running affects your breath, which in turn works the abdominal muscles, and this could help you flatten that beer belly. But sucking it in won’t help, not by as much as an inch!

5) Hips: Master the upper body and the hips will follow suit. Don’t lead with the hips i.e. don’t push your pelvis forward as this could adversely affect bone health. Make sure you don’t tilt the pelvis backwards either. Align the torso and the hips. And don’t swing the hips from side to side. Pretend as though a tray filled with Jell-O was circling your hips. Run without dropping the imaginary sweet treat.

6) Stride: Just let go. That’s right. If you’ve read and followed the above guide, your pins will know what to do, instinctively. Run naturally.

There’s no ‘perfect’ length when it comes to stride. There are people who are blessed with a long stride who can get a lot of distance covered in fewer steps. Others can aim to improve their stride-length as they progress in running or by engaging in interval training, cross training and other appropriate stretches.

7) Ankles and feet: There are the ‘Heel strikers, and the ‘Forefoot runners’. A study performed by Joe Hamill at the running biomechanics lab within the University of Masachusetts found that there was no difference in the running economy between these two types of runners. It appears the body just naturally finds a style that works best. So, just go with what works for you. However, ensure that your feet point forward rather than outward, to reduce the chance of ankle strain or ankle-bone injury.

(Dr. Abhay Nene is a Spine Surgeon associated with  Wockhardt Bombay (South), P.D. Hinduja National Hospital, Lilavati Hospital, and Wadia Children’s Hospital. He also runs his own private clinic and can be reached at 98195-03617)

 

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