Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Running Advice Can Be Risky, Cause Injury

Finally, an article on Running by researchers who have no financial ties to running programmes or shoe manufacturers. At the end of the day, it’s all just common sense. Listen to what your body is telling you, not the shoe manufacturers, who want you to buy their products. 

New York: Exercise researchers believe advice about running has become unnecessarily complicated as ‘experts’ battle over shoes and running form and training programmes.

Researchers who have no financial ties to running programmes or shoe manufacturers say that most of those complications are unnecessary and some advice is even risk because it can make running harder and increase the chance of injury.

Take, for example, the notion that there is a perfect running form, like striking the ground with the midfoot or or forefoot. There is no convincing evidence for this convoluted advice, disinterested researchers say.

In fact, studies have found that individuals automatically run in a way that is most efficient for their own bodies. Those who change the way they run naturally are less efficient and more prone to injury.

“There is good evidence that your body is exquisitely lazy and will find he easiest way for you to run,” said Carl Foster, professor of exercise and sports medicine at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Dr Steef Bredeweg of the University Medical Center Groningen,in the Netherlands, and his colleague Dr Ida Buist are principal investigators in a series of rigorous studies of runners, asking how best train novices and how to prevent injuries.

When it comes to running form, Dr Bredeweg sais: “We don’t know what is the right thing to do.”

For example, he noted, forefoot strikers place less stress on their knees but more on their calves and Achilles tendons.

“We tell people we don’t know a thing about the best technique,” h said, telling runners to use the fore they naturally adopt.

Running form is just one example of the confusion buffeting beginners. Running, said John Raglin, professor of kinesiology at Indiana University, “is so prone to these sort of trends.”

People will latch on to anything, he added, and an anecdote or two about what is supposed to be an ideal running form often passes for evidence.

Exercise researchers also say there is no perfect programme to get people started on running.

A lot depends on what a person’s goals are and how fit he or she is before starting to run. Experts caution, though, that it is important to start slowly, increase distance and effort gradually and not become a slave to a rigorous programme.

Dr Raglin said: “People are indoctrinated with what they can achieve in a short time with a little bit of work. But the reality is very different.”

So, if a training programme does not seem to be working, he said, “don’t stick with it because you think it’s what you have to do.”

- New York Times

No comments: