Running has always been a popular form of exercise. It is easy, everyone knows how to do it, it’s free, and really does not require any special equipment (except shoes) or even a gym membership.
It is no wonder that so many people consider themselves runners at varying levels and that participation is growing, up 9 percent in 2012. However, running may look easy but it can be hard on the body if done incorrectly.
There are different techniques, shoes and equipment that make running easier on one’s body and more comfortable, too. And when something is easier and feels better, then one will do more of it!
So here are five ways to make anyone a better runner:
1. Avoid running with heels first.
While walking requires use of a heel landing, running does not. Those who run using their heels in a heel-toe motion have more back and knee pain. Try to stay on the ball of the foot and strive for a moment of weightlessness with each stride.
2. Invest in good shoes.
Getting good shoes is a must for anyone who considers themselves to be a runner. But “good” does not necessarily mean the most expensive.
A high-quality running or sports store can measure one’s foot and even do a stride analysis to make sure each person gets the best shoe for them and their individual needs. The best idea is to buy what is best for one’s feet and not the newest, latest or greatest shoe that is selling at the moment.
3. Take shorter strides.
Experts say that taking shorter, more effective strides will mean less wear and tear on joints and muscles. The shorter strides mean more efficient workouts and reduce the movement in the ankle, knee and hip joints. Less movement in these joints means they will stay healthier (and pain free) for a much longer time.
4. Slow down.
It seems to go against the grain to tell a runner to slow down, but learning how to run slower will help one to run farther. The pace can then be slowly accelerated. Buying (and using) a heart rate monitor will help runners to know their optimal heart rate.