How to know smart running tips?

REGULAR READERS OF THIS BLOG KNOW THAT THE AUTHOR OF THIS column isn’t a huge running enthusiast. Sure, this column always espouses the view that running is a great form of cardio-vascular exercise and that the ideal exercise regimen is a good combination of cardio and strength( or weight training) sessions but Treadmill really( and somewhat ironically, considering its name) doesn’t do too many installments dedicated to running. Yet, with the growing popularity of running – witness the droves of people who turn up to participate (and/or ogle at celebrities) at the Mumbai Marathon or the Delhi Half-Marathon- there could be a case for more attention to running as a subject for this column.

The best thing about running is that you don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym. Just some good running shoes, sensible clothes in keeping with the kind of weather outside and you’re good to go. The problem, however, is that not everyone runs sensibly. In running, as in every other kind of exercise, proper technique is essential – otherwise you run the risk of injuring yourself.

Here are some tips on good form while running.

1. Head: Hold erect with your eyes focused at a point on the ground or the track that is around 100 feet away.

2. Shoulders: Should be square (not hunched forward) and stay level (not swinging forwards and backswords).

3. Arms: Should swing free with elbows bent at 90 degrees with the forearms. While moving the arms, try to keep forearms parallel to the ground. Hands should be in relaxed fists with thumbs on forefingers.

4. Hips: Should not swing from side to side and remain level.

5. Legs: Knee should lift only moderately and the feet should land directly under the hips.

6. Feet: Should always land on balls of the feet for a spring action and not on the heels.
While these are form factors that you should keep in mind while running, there are other points that help. A slight forward lean while running shifts the centre of mass of the runner at the front of the foot thus avoiding it form landing on the eel as well as reducing the braking effect that landing on the hell may have.

Unlike walking, when at all points of the movement at least one foot is in contact with the ground, while running we really jump from one leg to another. And, at the mid-arc, both feet are off the ground. Running involves the bodyweight hitting the ground and taking off from it intermittently. This involves a great deal of shock during the impact of the foot on the ground as well as when it is off the ground. Without proper technique such shock can result in injuries.

So, although running is a cheap and easy way of exercising, without proper technique it can wreak havoc on the body- joints and the spinal column. Keep that in mind when you take off.

Happy running!

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