February 01, 2015. Sunday Times Of India
Dr Mike Binet
A child bursts into running with a spark of happiness and the spontaneity of youth. An adult steps free from the city’s concrete jungle onto the soft earth of a running path. The same child’s eye peeks out with the urge to run! Running well is the natural expression of a body in fluent, efficient motion.
Running holds the power to improve wellbeing with direct benefits to your heart, lungs, muscles and mind. Why then is this treasure trove seemingly reserved for toddlers and health buffs? The challenge of beginning a running program can feel like a feat of mental discipline and a looming battle with pain. It need not be so. Running well grows from efficient contact with the ground.
There exists a fundamental misconception of running as an arduous push forward. In fact, efficient running involves free motion in a perpetual forward fall. Each step lands to support the body in its own momentum. So how did our understanding of running go off track?
The infamous “heel-strike” concept suggests that a runner’s foot must contact the ground, heel-first. Prior conventional wisdom expounded this as a means for developing a plyometric stretch on which to build a powerful subsequent push-off. In truth, hitting the ground with the heel means that the foot must land in front of the body. As a runner, a portion of the force then acts in opposition to your own momentum, in effect, slowing you down. In order to compensate for this reduction in forward motion, you must work harder to push forward.
Efficient running reflects current trends toward flat-foot or forefoot landing patterns. Contacting the ground in this manner means that your foot lands directly underneath your body, preserving forward momentum. Without the burden of fighting the ground, you keep more fuel in the tank.
Your body as a whole will praise the change. Removing the traumatic heelstrike lowers the stress-impact of running on your frame, minimizing force attenuation to joints as well as reducing your incidence of pain and risk of injury.
Let’s suppose you clear the initial hurdle and make the choice to begin a running program. Congratulations! Why not tune your body to run as efficiently as possible? Invest in your body the same way you would in a road bike or sports car.
A highly trained and experienced Functional Manual Therapist offers you power. We optimize function in the Mechanical, Neuromuscular and Motor Control systems of your body. Previous injuries and the rigor of daily life bring the body out of efficient function with structural asymmetries and inhibited muscular performance.
With emphasis on the Mechanical, we promote efficient joint function, muscle mobility and body alignment. This reduces the risks of sprain/strain-type injuries as well as serving to stave off a great deal of the aches and pains commonly associated with running.
Through Neuromuscular training, we advance the initiation, strength and endurance of force production in your body. The key is building a stable base for movement with preparatory core contraction. This foundation provides the basis for power, precision and efficiency in whole-body movement.
Motor Control training gathers the component parts to form an efficient whole, specific to your movement goals. In essence, we rehearse and hone the elements of running to produce your symphony of movement. Then you run!
Dr Mike Binet (PT, DPT, CFMT) is a Certified Functional Manual Therapist at VARDAN, a wellness initiative by The Times Group in association with the Institute of Physical Art, USA
Functional Manual Therapy™ (FMT) is a comprehensive approach to physiotherapy, which identifies and facilitates your existing potential through an in-depth examination and treatment of your mechanical capacity, neuromuscular function and motor control. Discover your potential to have less pain and function better with FMT!
To schedule your appointment at the Vardan Centre (New Delhi):
SMS VFMT to 58888
Call 011-43580720-22 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday)
For more information, log on to www.vardan.in