Our bodies need to be well oiled machines in order to run the most efficiently and effectively as possible. Not only am I refereeing to running by placing one foot in front of the other but also running in terms of sustaining life. I however, know even less about the medical realm of our bodies than I do about running for exercise so I am just going to stick with what I know little of the most…pounding the pavement.
It is critical that as athletes, of any level, be it beginners or elite we all must cross train our bodies. It is important to cross train your upper body muscles that are otherwise left stranded during your bouts of running, but even more importantly is the cross-training of your core muscles. Just for clarity sake your core muscles are those that attach to the pelvis, abdominals, and back. Your core keeps you on your feet and moving forward during your run. These muscles are responsible for distributing body weight; maintaining balance and posture, absorbing force and transfer of your own force to the ground. They help you accelerate and change direction, and they move your upper body as a counterbalance to the movement of your lower body. And we all thought our core simply held our tummies full of our fuel to get us through our running. It is always the smallest things that create the most magic right? Core training is the magic in running.
Working your core muscles helps to prevent overuse injuries to the hips, knees, and ankles by providing stability for your body. Marty Jerome points out that "stronger muscles surrounding the pelvis means that it can share more of the load. Injuries to the knees, in particular, are often the result of a weak core". Makes me think as I am heading to the doctor tomorrow for a knee injury maybe I should just do more crunches rather than paying that co-pay to see the doctor.
Speaking of crunches, grab a stability ball in order to provide and unstable surface and start punching out some core work. For those of you that do not have access to a stability ball a few no equipment needed core exercisers are:
just to name a few. In addition Yoga is a good source for core training.
I had to add this picture because those abs are amazing!!
Have a great time finding the magic in running.