Your weak hip muscles are costing you running efficiency
Judging by the number of other runners who ask me what I am doing, it's apparent that warming up, warming down and stretching our hip flexors is a bit of a lost art. That's unfortunate, and not just for runners.
I do a simple couple of hip flexor warm-ups and warm-downs, which I recommend for all runners. It's attention to these kinds of movements that has enabled me to run every day ~5km for nearly 300 days injury-free.
Hip mobility is essential for everyone and runners in particular. (When running we use our hip flexors, especially the iliopsoas, to lift the leg with each stride.) With running, hip flexors can suffer from muscle weakness and muscle tightness, causing tenderness and pain.
I replaced three warm-up movements with this one
I'm a stickler for warming up - I never miss. But I begrudge the time it takes. This one dynamic stretch saves me time and is more effective - that makes me feel better right from the start.
Whether I'm running, or in pre-COVID times when I used to go to the gym, I always warm-up. It takes me about 10 minutes before running, and 15 minutes before gym work. I believe that warming-up and warming-down helps keep me injury free.
Over 20+ years, I rarely see people warm-up outside of a class. That's because it's a bit boring.
Ideally, we want to eliminate those warm-up movements of little benefit and reduce the time needed. This dynamic stretch does that. It cut about two minutes from my warm-up time.
Plus, fitness equals longer life no matter how overweight you are
[Copy of my weekly newsletter] If you're a pet lover then you'll be interested to know that your cat wants a bit more space - lockdown is cramping its style. On the other hand, your dog is loving the attention
Here are my 4 Most Valuable pieces of content from around the web, to help you live longer better:
⭑ When medicine fails your pain - try the mind-body connection
⭑ Walking is the best way to kick off your fitness
⭑ You're getting on your cat's nerves
⭑ A single-leg strength exercise that should be on your daily schedule
Do These To Walk Stronger And Live Longer
As we age, falling is one of the major causes of reduced lifespan, because of the terrible consequences of broken bones and broken spirits.
You may have had the distressing experience of witnessing a healthy older relative who fell, became inactive, and quickly deteriorated. That is why exercising - for all of strength, endurance and balance - is a key to living longer better.
The question is this: if you wish to focus specifically on more competent walking, which exercises and muscle groups should you give most attention?
I have an answer, based upon several related research studies.
The mother you save may be your own
Governments can't cover every loophole when they are enacting novel rules in rapid time. They're doing a great job getting things done, and they rely on cooperation instead of exploitation by we public.
However, some people love loopholes more than they love their mother, even though exercising without a mask might kill their mother - or someone else's mother.
Managing fatigue, rest, recovery and technique to avoid injuries
On my local running trails, people know me as the old guy that runs daily. Some shake their head in disbelief as this 72-year old makes a good pace along the track, and some shake their head in disbelief that I should be so foolish. (MostlyI get cheery smiles and nods.)
What I notice is how many other runners fall by the wayside, with injuries. Running every day is fine if you can do it without injuring yourself. Here's how I manage fatigue, rest, recovery, awareness, breathing and natural time to avoid injuries.
Rollers and compression garments are low on the list
We've all experienced it - that pain that starts to swell from within about 12 hours after a tough, or unusual, exercise session. From there, it can get worse, making it painful to walk up steps after about 2 days. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that it will disappear. The bad news? There's little that can we can do to make it disappear a lot faster.
We'll take a look at the best four things that scientists regard as proven to reduce the pain. It's a short list (based on recent research).
Proven to be better than yoga for a sore lower back
My hamstrings have been tightening since we've had lockdown and gyms closed. I've been running more, a lot more. Running pits the quads and hamstrings in battle, and the quads win, which tightens the hamstrings by stretching them.
Typically, for runners, tight hamstrings reflect in a sore lower back. The combination of two recent research studies will help.
How to avoid becoming frail before your time
Regular running is typically the most popular mode of exercise as people transition away from the gym, their youth, into looking after a family, or during a pandemic. Running is spectacularly better than doing nothing, but even frequent running doesn't maintain muscle strength as we age.
We need to do something extra.
Are masks next on the FDA alert list of COVID products?
We in Melbourne, AU, are currently in lockdown with a compulsory facemask order when outside. I don't mind wearing a mask - for the greater good - but the chemical smell concerns me.
Facemasks have been costing up to $249 a box, and even then we find ourselves inhaling fumes from plastic and polyester and even potentially harmful bleaches & dyes. A freshly unwrapped mask has that "fresh plastic" smell of the inside of a new car.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter