Do You Love To Run? Today's Topic Is For You!
Here come those April showers, friends!
We’ve made it! Spring is finally here, and even if it doesn’t *totally* feel like it just yet (those nights still sure are chilly!), the crocuses are starting to pop up, the daffodils are beginning to emerge, and the earth is re-awakening as she stretches from her long winter’s nap.
Now that the ice and snow have thawed, many of our therapists AND our patients have been excitedly getting back outside onto the innumerable and abundant trails and paths throughout Lake Country for some good, old fashioned exercise in the form of hiking and running. Doesn’t it feel so great to be getting back out there again, stretching your legs and your spirit as the wind blows and the warm spring sun caresses your skin?
With so many of our patients coming in with gait issues, hamstring pulls, and other common running-related challenges, we thought April would be a great time to highlight all the ways physical therapy can help runners do what they love to do without risking injury, delays, and setbacks. Nobody wants to be told you can’t go on that long run you had planned for your weekend because of an injury, so worry not, we are here to help! From preparation and prevention all the way through to pain and perseverance, we’ve got you covered.
In today’s topic, we want to discuss an absolutely vital, but often under-hyped topic in running, and that is of the breath.
Your Breathing Affects Your Gait
Have you ever found yourself injuring yourself more frequently on one side of your body than the other? If you have, you’re not alone – and there’s some interesting research about why that might be!
While the complex constellation of causes for each individual person can never be fully studied, understood, or even replicated, some exciting recent studies have shown that when you consistently exhale while landing on one foot (say, for example, you find yourself *always* exhaling as your right heel hits the ground), you are setting yourself up for increased risk of stress and injury on that side.
So what's the solution?
Never fear! Our helpful PTs are here!
While nothing will beat coming in to see one of our experts here in the clinic to receive customized care and attention, there is a simple “shortcut” step you can take now to start to re-train your brain that Dr. Kayla explains in her video, and I, your friendly neighborhood PT translator, will explain in detail below. Check out the video or scroll down to learn more!
Ok! Did you catch all that? There’s a LOT of info in there!
As a quick refresh (or for the TL;DW version):
– Running is great, but exhaling on the same side every exhale can lead to injury and creates a pattern of imbalance within your body. No fun!
– Breathing is REALLY VITAL in all exercise, but *especially* in running – and breathing the wrong way while running could be causing harm!
– To re-train your brain to breathe in a more harmonious rhythm, start by practicing while laying on your back on a yoga mat. First, take long, deep breaths and notice the engagement of your diaphragm and notice how it feels to engage your core (yes, your diaphragm is part of your
– Then, start the taking “steps” in the air, coordinated with your breath in a count of 3 steps in, 2 steps out
– Once you’ve got the hang of the breath in combination with the movement, practice it in slow motion walking upright
– After walking, transition to incorporating this breathing pattern into a slow jog as your brain gets used to it
– When you’re finally ready and feel coordinated, test it out on a run! Take note of the new gait pattern, and the way your rhythm has shifted into greater alignment.
Of course, as we’ve previously stated, this is a nice exercise to help you with proper breathing and you’ll notice a marked shift when you implement it… and, it’s not a magic pill. You’ll likely still benefit from more comprehensive care with a specialist, particularly if you frequently find yourself injured on one side more than the other. This is one step on the path, and there are more to take – but no worries! Our PTs are happy to walk beside you on those steps, and take out all the guess work for you. We’ve opened our schedule to allow for 5 *free* running discovery visits as a chance for you to chat one on one with a PT about your unique situation and get actionable steps to move you forward whatever your goals are (injury prevention, taking a few minutes off of your PR, couch to 5K or an ultra marathon!)
Schedule Your Free Running Consultation With A PT Today
All of our PTs absolutely love the great outdoors, and many of them are runners themselves! They know well the unique challenges runners face, and are here to help keep you feeling your best, running your best, hitting those PRs you didn’t even dare dream about.
Call us at 262.264.8701 to chat with us about how we can help and get on the path to better movement, or click the button below to inquire for more information.