Those of you who walk or run with me on regular basis know that I am not only passionate about running but also about taking care of my body. My plan is keep running until I finally win an age group award by default, because I have outlived everyone else in my age group! Running can lengthen the years in your life, but some people find that running can cause pain. Some of the painful injuries that regularly plague runners include achilles tendonitis, back pain, calf and hamstring strains, IT Band syndrome, shin splints and plantar fasciitis, just to name a few. So how can you avoid suffering from these and other injuries? A good strength training program can help not only decrease the risk of injury, but also the severity and recovery time if an injury does occur.
Running and walking not only requires strong legs but also a strong core and a strong upper body. Your posture affects your running and walking form. Bad posture can lead to increased energy expenditure while you are running or walking, which will cause fatigue to set in sooner. A strong core and upper body will keep you upright while you navigate the obstacles you encounter on the road or the trail.
Strength training can help improve control, coordination, and stability, which can improve the quality of your running and walking. Strength training can help increase your push off every time your foot leaves the ground and can improve your posture. It can also improve your body mechanics. The more efficiently your body moves, the stronger your running and walking will become. Efficient body mechanics can allow your body to run or walk longer, faster, and with more stability and less pain. And here’s fact many people who don’t regularly strength train may not know: muscles mass helps you burn calories faster. It’s true!
So, what kind of strength training should you do? You can start with basic core exercise such as planks. However, starting strength training without the benefit of a trainer requires you to be personally diligent about your form. Try to workout in front of a mirror, if you can, to make sure you are getting the most out of your exercises. If you google “Yoga for Strength Training” you will find several poses in addition to the plank that will help you strengthen your whole body.
Personally, I am a big fan of Crossfit. However, during the shelter-in-place, crossfit may not be an option for you. And it requires you to find a crossfit gym that accommodates your personal needs, which not all do. However, I recently came across a community that offers live virtual workouts with a well-rounded offering of strength training exercises that can be done at home with little or no equipment. These workouts are suitable for people at almost all levels of physical fitness. Why join a live workout instead of one of the many pre-recorded options that are available these days? The accountability that a community offers not only helps you show up for yourself more regularly, it’s great for that fostering that feeling of “being with others”, just like our daily virtual walks do. Check out the She Shines group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/602969703098662/ for more information. And for those of you who don’t do Facebook, you can contact Raquel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to tell her I sent you and she will offer you a free trial period so you can determine if her workouts are good fit for you. Many of you are trying new options these days as the quarantine has forced us all to be creative. Please let me know what solutions you have found to stay fit.