Whether you’re a competitive runner, extreme athlete or weekend jogger trying to shed a few pounds, there’s no doubt that running is a popular way to keep in great cardiovascular shape. But your body can take a beating - and this is especially true if it develops asymmetries, imbalances and compensations.
Body asymmetries develop because of issues surrounding body mechanics, causing certain muscles & tissues to become overused (a common trait in runners), while others become underused. When this is coupled with the increased load that running brings to the body it can result in a variety of ailments including lower back pain, joint inflammation and foot, hip, pelvis and knee problems. It can also lead to a wide variety of tears, strains and pulls. If unaddressed, some of these conditions can become chronic and increasingly hard to manage.
For a runner, posture is one of the key ingredients to success and posture and body usage is very dependent on a stable and balanced physicality. Improving these can eventually lead to a huge positive difference in your gait and technique which all adds up to more efficient movement and less chance of injury.
Other remedial therapies can be effective in alleviating symptoms in the short term but once the activity is recommenced, problems inevitably return. Many begin to find that, over time, the trouble-free period becomes shorter and shorter.
Specialist Studio Pilates works in a different way, using sprung apparatus to offer elastic resistance or assistance, mirroring the body’s own tissues. Regular, specifically tailored exercises using this equipment work to rebalance, re-align and stabilise the body so that it returns to functioning in that state. The more we practice these exercises, the more balanced and easy our physicality becomes. The success of a tailored Pilates programme lies in its approach to building equilibrium from the body’s deepest support structure which, in turn, enables the rest of the body’s mechanics to function effectively and fluidly with minimum effort resulting in fewer injuries and more a reliable technique.
Built over time, regular Pilates work ensures the body is better equipped for repetitive action, such as those we use when running, taking part in fitness activities or playing sport.
Pilates exercises can:
• Build up the back musculature evenly
• Elongate and align the spine for better stability
• Expand the diaphragm
• Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance
• Increase the range of motion in hips and shoulders
• Enhance concentration through focused breathing
• Assist in a more helpful posture
• Help bodies recover from injuries more quickly
• A better balance between strength, mobility and stability helps a runner:
• Run more efficiently with a stronger and more balanced musculature
• Experience less tightening of the neck, head and shoulder
• Increase range of movement in the hips, pelvis and spine
• Allow better recruitment of ‘power’ muscles
• Increase oxygenation and stamina with a diaphragm that is able to fully expand
• Better understand your own biomechanics
• Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body
• Shave seconds off your times because you move more efficiently
• Run without pain!