Latest "Running" Posts
Articulating the Ankle:
Improving Mobility To Point & Flex Your Feet
Are you searching for the right exercises for healthy feet? Are your calf muscles tight? Do you ever have heel pain? Do you hop around with toe cramps? or arch cramps? Are you plagued with Plantar Fasciitis problems? Are you still searching for foot care solutions that work well for your tired, achy feet?
Healthy Feet and ankles are not just for ballerinas!
Whether you walk, run, dance or just sit behind a desk all day, how much we use, or misuse, our feet can contribute to challenging foot problems and more. Of course if you’re dealing with an acute injury consultation with your doctor or podiatrist should be your first stop. But if you’re trying to find the strategies and solutions that can help get you back to health and keep you poor feet out of trouble, it may be time to pay a little more attention to your ankles, arches and toes on a very regular basis.
Continue Reading ‘Exercises for Healthy Feet: Stretch Your Calves & Strengthen Your Arches
Medial / Lateral Ankle Strength &
Multi-Directional Foot Mobility
This is Part 3 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance & Body Control
Stretching the calf and soleus muscles are important for your lower leg and ankle flexibility, but just doing a plain old calf stretch probably isn’t going to dramatically improve balance because it is not the flexion and extension of the ankle that needs improvement as much as the lateral side-to-side strength and support.
What can you do to improve balance?
One of the best ways to improve your balance is to challenge the body with exercises that have you standing on one leg. But if your feet and ankles don’t have the right amount of strength, flexibility and mobility to keep you upright, chances are simple exercises balancing on one leg may seem darn near impossible unless you’re holding onto something! (And holding onto something for support has you using your Arms to balance more than your feet, ankles and legs.)
There are thousands of opportunities throughout the day where we have a moment to practice standing on one leg and balance. Can you guess where your top two opportunities to practice balancing on one leg are?
- Climbing Stairs
Continue Reading ‘Gain Ankle Strength and Heel Mobility for Better Balance
How Are You Working: Legs turned Toe-Out, Parallel, or Pigeon?
This article is Part 2 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance & Body Control
Little, seemingly insignificant posture habits can set you up for problems, pain and injury. And what is interesting is the fact that your heels and ankles might not be the weak link that is setting you up for a potential problem. What do I mean by this?
Part of paying attention to leg alignment is knowing what is happening at the feet. A toe-in, parallel or toe-out stance or gait pattern can dramatically change how the feet and ankles work and affect the stress placed on your knees and lower back. As a result of your everyday foot fitness habits, the muscles that are strong or weak in your feet and lower legs can be your own unique posture challenge.
But half of what you need to pay attention to might be the direction of the feet and the other half is what’s happening at the hip.
Continue Reading ‘How your Toes and Leg Alignment Affects the Feet for Healthy Heels
Use Spine Twisting To Improve Your Walking & Running Technique
There are lots of things you can pay attention to when you walk and run that can improve your pace, stride, form and function. A great arm swing is one of the key factors in not only freeing the arms and shoulders, but also strengthening your core support and reducing stress and tension in through your whole spine.
If your back hurts after a long walk or run or you notice more tension in your neck and shoulders before, during or after getting your miles in, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on the important “spiral effect” of the spine while you’re swinging your arms.
It’s interesting to observe bodies in motion. And sometimes, seeing what to look for, can make it easier to feel in your own body exactly what your movement habits are.
Continue Reading ‘The Spiral Effect of the Spine to Swing your Arms for a Healthy Stride
Part One – A Simple Ankle Exercise and Foot Fitness Test
for Alignment, Balance Body Control
This article is Part 1 in a 3-part series on Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance and Body Control.
A really important task that our feet provide for us is balance. Our toes individually grab and release the ground for stability, the ankle allows us to shift our weight without toppling over, and the foot (between the ankle and the toes) can be strong and rigid or pliable to adapt to different terrain.
The foot is almost shaped like a triangle, wider for more support across the forefoot and the toes and supported in the back at the heel. Instead of thinking about the heel as a single point, (like one leg on a three-legged stool) the ankle and heel allow for mobility of the foot which means you can be centered on the heel, stand more towards the outer heel or bear more weight towards the inner heel. This medial / lateral heel mobility is critical for balance and keeps us from straining or spraining an ankle when walking or running on uneven ground.
The key concept here is medial / lateral heel mobility.
Continue Reading ‘Healthy Feet: Heel Mobility for Better Balance
According to an article published recently in the Wall Street Journal, the opinion of cardiologists is almost unanimous that instead of getting great health benefits from their hours and hours of training time, endurance athletes may in fact be causing excessive ‘wear-and-tear’ on the heart.
Running faster (more than 8 miles per hour) or longer, might increase your risk of an earlier death.
Dr. Kenneth Cooper suggests, that “if you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for some reason other than health.”
I have to wonder if as the relationship to health, a healthy heart, and mortality rates for runners is researched further, if the link will be made to any and all cardiovascular exercises, or training programs that push the body and heart to the extreme… Ultra training, cycling, triathlons, and other endurance sports may or may not have the impact, but they certainly do have the high heart-rate for extended periods of time.
Oh middle age – we want to keep our bodies looking and feeling like they did when we were in our twenties! Some of us have learned the hard way that the old bod just isn’t up to snuff to push it like we did when we were younger. But other folks seem to be getting stronger and fitter as they age. Either way, it’s use it or lose it. We’ve got to do something to keep ourselves strong, fit, and flexible.
I know for me, I quit running when I was in my 20’s because I was so slow that I couldn’t be competitive to race and it pissed me off. Eighty-year old women were running faster than I could for a 10K! I knew I was never going to win a race. Plus, usually I’d run for a week or two and end up with an injury. Foot pain, knee pain, a pulled Hamstring, or low back problems… something always seemed to sideline me when I started getting in a running groove. Perhaps that twenty year training break I took from running will turn out to be a blessing to my health and longevity!
So what have I done instead? For the past twenty years I’ve been fine-tuning my posture, body alignment, and functional movement habits. Always did some sort of cardio training, just not running. It’s nice to be older AND confident that instead of creating injuries and dealing with chronic foot and back pain (that I expected to be worse at this age) that I actually FEEL better now than I did when I was younger. I now know what type of cross-training exercises and activities need to be in my weekly workouts to avoid overtraining and overuse injuries, and how to tweak my technique to ensure that the right muscles are always working. All of this dedicated time and focus has helped me NOW get back to running and not get hurt!
Personally, I like being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and running is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. I’ve come to accept that I run like a snail, and will probably never be Speedy González!
This past year I’ve started really paying attention to my heart rate – Running has always quickly put my heart-rate in the 160-180 beats per minute range. I’ve only run two half-marathons but for both I sustained this crazy heart-rate for the entire distance! Two races were enough for me to know that this kind of training wasn’t in my best interest. So I’ve slowed down to a ridiculously slow pace that keeps my heart-rate in a safer zone, and am learning to enjoy the benefits of just moving. I’ve had to accept what I can do, my personal “healthy” pace, and let go of the desire to keep up with the pack.
I know that as a post-menopausal women in my 40’s, that my bones need a little extra impact to try and maintain my bone density – the easiest way to get a little more pounding on my frame it is with a two to four mile, 2-3 day a week jogging workout. With the insights from this recent Wall Street Journal article I’ve got no worries. I’m WELL under the 8 MPH safety speed limit! And not in training mode for another ½-marathon, so know I’m under the 15 mile a week mark too.
When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine living long enough to make it past high-school. Now that I’m older, I have no desire to speed my progress towards the finish line of life! I’m happy that this new research supports my well-balanced, moderately-paced, Intentional Movement Training SytemsTM workout plan. By staying active without over-taxing my heart I am hopefully looking at enjoying a long, active, and healthy life.
Click here to read the full article from the Wall Street Journal. “One Running Shoe in the Grave – New Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits” by Kevin Helliker.
To learn more about the powerful health benefits of Aliesa George’s Intentional Movement Training SystemsTM to keep you healthy, fit, and injury-free subscribe to the Centerworks Wellness Success Newsletter.
- What are YOUR thoughts on a healthy heart and endurance workouts?
- Are you a runner, triathlete, or just love long, high-intensity cardio workouts?
- Are you doing more or less intense training as you get older?
Drop me a comment and share your opinion. I’d love to hear from you!
A Workshop for Focused Foot Fitness Training
Discover the Secrets to Healthy & Happy, Pain-Free Feet
(No Pilates experience required.)
Good health starts from the ground up! Whether you walk or run, taking good care of your feet is an important part of any wellness program.
There are lots of quick & easy foot care exercises you can incorporate into your workouts to help improve your posture, body alignment and muscle support for healthy, happy, injury-free ankles, arches, and toes.
Continue Reading ‘Fantastic Feet for Runners & Walkers
Running barefoot versus wearing shoes is a HOT topic in the running community. It seems that everyone has an opinion about what is best for the body.
Running faster, running more efficiently, running with fewer injuries, all need to be taken into consideration when determining for YOUR body what is going to be safest to keep you on your feet, and pain & injury-free, to enjoy the time you spend pounding the pavement, or off road on the trails while you’re out for a run.
Here’s an informative article that was recently published in Podiatry Today by Dr. Kevin A. Kirby, “Barefoot Versus Shod Running: Which is Best?”
Do You Love To Run?
Are you looking for resources to help keep the muscles of your feet strong, fit, and flexible?
Checkout the new Runfit Kit from Centerworks.com!
The Runfit Kit is filled with easy-to-use foot fitness tools and exercise resources to help you train the muscles of your ankles, arches, and toes for fit feet and fewer injuries.
Whether you like to run barefoot or with shoes, the resources in the Runfit Kit can help you keep your feet fit!
In a quick 5-10 minutes before or after a run, you can easily incorporate some Runfit foot-care training into your workout for healthy, happy feet. Keep Your Feet Fit! Get your Runfit Kit NOW!
The cover of BioMechanics – The Magazine of Body Movement and Medicine caught my eye. The February 2007 issue / Volume XIV Number 2 had a barefoot runner on the front and the tag-line, “New barefoot designs challenge footwear conventions.” Since the subject of happy feet and improved posture is near to my heart, I was curious to learn more…
Research into the differences between running with shoes and running barefoot has been going on since the mid 80′s. Findings seem to indicate that peak joint loads may be reduced at the knee & hip when barefoot. But shoes do decrease shock transmission for the spine. The increase support we gain from our shoes means that some of the intrinsic muscles of the feet and lower legs no longer need to do the work they would normally be responsible for. So what you gain in a more supportive shoe, you might actually be losing in your body’s ability to maintain the fine-tuning motor control for balance and stability at the feet. (Stronger shoe = weaker feet.)
Continue Reading ‘Get Your Fantastic Feet in Action!