RUNNERS , TAKE NOTE: IF YOU DON’T STRENGTHEN THOSE DEEP CORE MUSCLES , YOU’RE ON TR ACK FOR CHRONIC LOW-BACK PAIN
According to a new study from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Using motion- detection technology and force-measuring floor plates, researchers were able to see how the body compensated for a weak center while in motion: Superficial muscles were forced to work harder and fatigue faster, increasing the load on the spine—never a good thing. To rev up your running, the study authors recommend focusing on core stability, not traditional gym exercises like sit-ups and crunches. Which brings us to…
Six Signs That Indicate You Have a Weak Core & Signs of weak core Photo Gallery
THE 3 BEST EXERCISES FOR RUNNERS
Whether you run marathons on the regular or consider yourself an occasional jogger, here’s what you should be doing to go the distance, says Alycea Ungaro, founder and owner of Real Pilates NYC.
Recommended for alignment, stamina and what PTs call “co-contraction” of the quads and hamstrings, wall sits are critical for runners in both sprinting and long-distance.
Sit deeply in your “chair” as you press your heels into the floor. Hold for 30–60 seconds. Do 1–2 reps. The longer you hold, the harder you should press your heels down.
The many bones of the feet require a high degree of articulation in order to absorb shock. Once the feet stiffen and lose mobility, the impact can travel up the chain and injure the knees, hips and back.
Traditionally done on a two- by-four piece of wood, it can also be done on the floor: Face a wall for balance with your feet parallel. Roll up onto your tip toes (heels high), and then bend your knees deeply. Roll your heels back down, and then stand tall. Do 5 reps, and then reverse the pattern. Try monitoring your alignment by standing in front of a mirror—watch that your toes are in line with your ankles and your knees and hips.
Runners often resist stretching despite the tightness that can result from long-distance running. Taking time to properly stretch in all movement planes will keep the hips, knees and back in check.
Although typically performed at the studio on the Cadillac, a chair or a counter will suffice at home. With your leg raised on a stable surface in front of you, stretch forward and back. Bend over your leg, and then backward-bend slightly for 3 reps; repeat the stretches to your side. If available to you, slide your leg into a split and drag it back. Repeat the sequence on your other leg, moving slowly and breathing deeply throughout.