Nothing excites me more than when I client says to me – “I think I want to start running”, or “I want to improve my time for 5km”, or better still “I want to achieve a half marathon by the end of the year”
No matter what your goal is, whether you are a beginner or seasoned runner, physiotherapy and clinical Pilates is a critical part of your journey to achieving your goal.
Running has been proven time and time again to have many health benefits, despite getting negative press for long term damage to knees. In fact, recent studies have shown that runners have lower rates of osteoarthritis of the knee than sedentary people. The research concludes that running at middle and older ages is associated with reduced disability in later life.
Knees aren’t the only lucky part of the body to respond to running, evidence indicates long-term running as exercise in both men and women is linked to better lumbar vertebral disc health.
In addition to these benefits, running improves cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and most importantly is a huge stress reliever.
However, as with any activity in high volumes, running can be associated with a number of injuries. We are all too aware of conditions such as achilles tendinopathy, ITB friction syndrome, patella-femoral joint pain and plantar fasciitis to name a few. Therefore, it is imperative to seek help from a trusted and knowledgeable health professional as you embark on your new challenge!
Clinical Pilates, under the guidance of a physiotherapist, is an excellent choice of complimentary training for both recreational and serious runners as it is low impact and can challenge biomechanics under fatigue. Further to this, gait analysis is utilised to help identify areas that can be retrained and enhanced to improve performance and reduce injury.
The benefits of clinical Pilates include:
Improving and maintaining mobility, mostly around the hips, but equally as important around the torso and shoulders. Tightness through these muscle groups can affect stride length and running technique.
Develop and maintenance of core strength. This refers to groups of muscles beyond just the abdominals. It includes muscles integral to stabilising muscles around the hip, back, shoulders and neck. By ensuring these areas are strong, it will reduce the amount of stress placed through lower back and lower limbs thus presenting injury
Assist performance. Under the observing eye of a physio during the clinical Pilates session, weaknesses are picked up that may be inhibiting your running gait and performance. These are addressed and this will flow through to your training program with positive results.
Breathing regulation. Clinical Pilates is an extremely useful modality to help synchronise breathing with movement. A lot of attention is paid to efficient breathing patterns, using diaphragmatic breathing techniques. Whilst running, this is an important skill to help you use oxygen efficiently, prevent fatigue and helps maintain focus.
Aids recovery. When timed right in your program, clinical Pilates is one of the best ways to assist recovery and allow the body to reset and recharge. Exercises are prescribed
to ensure muscles remain lengthened and supple. During these sessions little niggles that are creeping in are identified and ironed out before they present as a problem on the running track.
Check out our Instagram for my 5 favourite exercises, that I personally like to do that keeps my running form in check and injuries at bay.