In honor of Bridge to Brisbane, here are some tips on how to improve your ability to walk and run. Whether you are a serious or casual walker or runner, here are some tips that you can use now in preparation for your next 5km Park run or major running event.
Tip 1 – Take better care of your feet
Our feet are more than just tools from getting from point A to point B. If there are issues with your feet, compensatory patterns can arise affecting your gait e.g you might move with a limp which in turn causes damage to your knees and hips. To take better care of your feet, try doing the following one night at home: first soak your feet in a bucket of warm water for 10 minutes (add bath salts for extra relaxation), then give yourself a foot massage using your fist/knuckle or thumbs (find a sore spot, apply gradual pressure and hold until the pain eases). It is always a good idea to have well fitting shoes that have decent grip before going out for your daily walk or run (consult a foot doctor/specialist such as a podiatrist).
Tip 2 – Improve your movement through cycling and swimming
Other sports such as cycling and swimming can improve your walking and running indirectly. Both of these sports improve your leg strength in a functional or practical way. These two sports can also teach you how to contract the right muscles in an efficient manner, while also being low impact for your joints (perfect for those with joint issues or going through rehab).
Tip 3 – Strengthening and stretching the right muscles
The most important muscle groups involved in walking and running are your muscles above and below your knees (calves, hamstrings, quadriceps etc), your muscles above and below your hips (hip flexors, glutes, core etc) and your back muscles involved in your gait (lats, lower back etc). These muscles should be your focus for strengthening, stretching and recovery. Consult your personal trainer at New Start Personal Training for further help in creating a tailored program for your needs.
Once you start incorporating each of these into your normal routine, you will be surprised at the difference it can make! Most people that do this find that their times start going down for both long and short distance runs. Along with that though, they also report a lower injury rate, a faster recovery rate, and less “pain” while actually running.
If you are experiencing some issues with your running, be it unexpected pains, or just not being able to get faster times, why not give one of the above, or all, a try!