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Pilates for runners

Running brings about fantastic physical and mental health benefits for many. However, the repetitive nature of running can lead to muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. It is estimated that a staggering 80% of runners may experience an overuse injury sometime during their running career.[1]

In a pilates for running programme we use controlled exercises that are aimed at developing strength in deep stabilising muscles to promote optimum running posture and retrain any faulty movement pattern before it gets to the point of injury.

Movements are selected to:

· Improve flexibility; hamstrings and hip flexors are lengthened, the mid back area is mobilised.

· Improve balance by strengthening the feet and ankle musculature along with core strength.

· Improve running posture through reducing tension held in the shoulders and improve the endurance of the deep stabilising core muscles to help sustain a good running posture even when fatigued.

Prevention is better than cure. Regular pilates practice undoubtedly increases your body awareness, which in hand with a tailored programme can be fundamental in reducing the incidence of injury while also improving your running performance.

In a pilates for runner’s programme we aim to reduce the incidence of injury. A 2017 study[2] by APPI physiotherapists concluded that a six week course of clinical pilates significantly improves functional movement in recreational runners which may lead to a reduction in the risk of running related injuries.

Prevention over cure is ideal however if you become injured or suffer from any intermittent re-occuring injuries, after seeing your physiotherapist or sports therapist, a pilates programme in line with their recommendations can be highly effective in helping strengthen and safeguard your body against future injury.

[1] Wilson JD, Kernozek TW, Arndt RL, Reznichek DA, Straker JS. Gluteal muscle activation during running in females with and without patellofemoral pain syndrome. Clin Biomech 2011; 26: 735-740.

[2] The effect of APPI Clinical Pilates on functional movement in recreational runners. Laws A, Williams S, Wilson C. International Journal of ports Medicine (2017).

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