gait analysis

  • We All Know That Runners Live Longer. Or Do They?

    BOULDER, CO -- A recent article in Health Day offers some food for thought. While statistics have long suggested that strenuous exercise, including running, increases one’s lifespan, researchers are now suggesting that overdoing it might actually have the opposite effect.

    One study looked at the mortality rate of a group of roughly 53,000 healthy adults, approximately 27 percent of whom identified themselves as runners. Those who ran up to 20 miles per week at a moderate pace (no more than 5-7 miles per hour) five or fewer times per week had a mortality rate about 20 percent lower than those who didn’t run at all.

    But extreme, high-intensity running puts stresses on the body that might actually do it damage. The cardiovascular system has limits, and when those are exceeded on a regular basis, it can lead to long-term heart damage. A study released through the Mayo Clinic noted that some heart markers can become elevated during extreme training and may lead to heart damage and some types of arrhythmia. It pointed out a study that found myocardial scarring in 12 percent of marathon runners. And there are suggestions that excessive exercise may cause arterial calcification and hardening of some coronary arteries.

    So what’s a running junkie to do?

    The experts suggest moderate exercise can be combined with shorter bursts of high-intensity interval training. Consistency and avoiding extremes is the safest route to the best health benefits. And pushing your endurance to the limit isn’t the only way to live. Things as mellow as yoga or as intense as strength training offer a good mix of exercise that leads to a longer and healthier life.

    Ultimately it seems to come down to knowing your body and its limits and showing it the proper respect. And part of that respect includes fitting yourself with the proper equipment to do the job right.

    That’s where the experts at the Boulder Running Company come in. We’ve been fitting runners and walkers with shoes tailored to their individual goals and physiology for more than 10 years. Come into one of our four Front Range locations, or get started on your own by visiting the Learning Center section of our web site. Either way, we’ll help fit you with the shoe that’s right for you.

     

     


    By:Jeff   |   September 18, 2012   |   Categories: News , Categories: Running Advice , Categories: running tips and advice , Categories: marathon advice , Categories: gait analysis , Categories: fitness

  • Best Stretches for Runners

    The best way to stretch your running career is to stretch your body -- hamstrings, quadriceps and hip rotation among the most critical

    BOULDER, CO -- Running is the sport that is available to every healthy person: It requires no equipment except a body in working order and a good pair of running shoes. It can be done with friends or alone, in almost any weather and requires no special venue; a park, a trail, a sidewalk, a road all work for the runner. And, it’s completely portable. You can do it at home, in town or another country -- all you need to pack are your running shoes and clothes.

    Whether training or running a Marathon or a daily jog around the park, propoer stretching helps improve the runner’s performance, enabling you to run stronger and feel better if completed after every run. The operative word here is after. While most sports require loosening and warming up, running is the ultimate warm up. Muscles should only be stretched when they are warm, ideally post run.

    The benefits to the heart and lungs, its usefulness in strengthening the legs and its general availability have made it popular, but like everything else, it carries its own risks. By its very nature, it can be hard on your body. Stretching can protect against damage by strengthening some muscles and lengthening others, increasing the runner’s strength, flexibility and endurance.

    Fitnessmagazine.com recommends the following stretches to target the muscles and joints that running stresses most. They should be performed after running and cool down but while the muscles are still warm.

    Hamstrings

    Tight hamstrings, common to runners, can lead to lower back pain and pulled muscles. A runner’s stride and speed may also be affected by tight hamstrings. This exercise is designed to make the hamstring more flexible.

    Lie on the floor or ground with the back flat and straight and extending the legs. Keeping the left leg on the floor, bend the right knee and draw to the chest. Straighten the right leg, put your hands on the back of your calf and pull the leg slowly toward the head while keeping hips on the floor. Take a deep breath and hold for up to 30 seconds. Allow leg to return to floor. Repeat on opposite side.

    Quadriceps

    Stretching the quadricep muscles forces the hamstring to contract which, in turn, strengthens the quads. Stronger quads take some of the stress off the knee and increase the runner’s speed.

    Stand very straight, holding on to a chair back or other support if necessary. Feet should be in alignment with the hips. Reach behind you with your left hand and take hold of the front of your ankle and pull gently. Keep hips in line and the front of your left thigh straight and in line with the right leg. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

    Hip rotation

    The piriformis muscle governs hip rotation, and frequently tightens up in runners. If it becomes too tight, it can affect the sciatic nerve causing pain from the glutes all the way down the leg. There are two stretches which help to guard against these problems.

    A. Lie on the floor with your lower back flat, your hips level and legs extended. Bend the left knee, keeping the foot flat on the floor. Bend the right knee and place the right ankle against the front of the left knee. With the right hand, grab the back of the left thigh and pull, moving both legs toward the chest. At the same time, put the right elbow on the inside of the right knee and push it to the slide. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing deeply. Repeat with the other side.

    B. Lie on the floor with the back flat and legs extended. Keep hips level. Bend your right knee toward the chest, pulling it with the left hand. Keep the right arm stretched out to the side flat on the floor. Keep shoulders square and flat and use the left hand to pull the right knee across the body to the floor on the left side. Breathing deeply, hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other side.

    Do each of these stretches once or twice at the end of every run to strengthen and stretch the body, and you’ll stretch your running career as well.

    Boulder Running Company is the complete source for everything running, from shoes and apparel, to accessories like heart monitors and testing like gait analysis. Plus, we are the centerpiece of the running community in Colorado. With four locations along the Front Range of Colorado – Boulder, Littleton, Greenwood Village and Colorado Springs – and here on the web, Boulder Running Company is but a great run for almost everyone.

     


    By:Jeff   |   May 30, 2012   |   Categories: Running Advice , Categories: running tips and advice , Categories: gait analysis

  • Boulder Running Company offers free gait analysis to help runners identify potential problems that could lead to injury and to find the right running shoes and inserts for pain-free enjoyment

    Every runner and walker that steps into our stores is different.  Some people run with their toes pointed out, pointed in, some forefoot strike and others heel strike.  Everyone is built a bit differently and each employs their own set of biomechanical movements in their gait.

    To determine which type of footwear will work best for your specific gait, we conduct sophisticated gait analysis using a treadmill and a video camera.  Our highly trained staff uses this information to show you how different types of shoes work for your specific feet, with the end goal in getting you in the most appropriate footwear to minimize the chance of injury, thus keeping your running or walking a pleasure.  There is no charge for the analysis.

    While there are many factors involved, for most people the most important issue is to determine whether your foot overpronates or supinates.  Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward and the arch of the foot flattens in excessively.   Supination occurs when the foot does not pronate enough and rolls outward, shifting weight to the outside of the foot and raising the arch.  Overpronation and supination are both a part of the natural movement of the foot in a walking or running stride to propel the body.

    Excessive pronation and/or supination can lead to a variety of problems and injuries, and not only in the feet themselves, but in the muscles of the feet and legs and in the hips as well.  Over time a person experiencing these issues can suffer from shin splints, anterior compartment syndrome, patello-femoral pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, bunions (Hallux valgus), Achilles tendonitis, as well as problems with stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the lower limbs.

    Fortunately, with proper gait analysis almost all of these issues can be addressed and eliminated through the introduction of the right kind of running shoes or orthotic inserts in the running shoes.

    For more information on how we can help keep your running and walking injury free, fun, and a pleasure, stop in today.


    By:admin   |   March 29, 2012   |   Categories: gait analysis