Ever since I became a Corrective Exercise Specialist a few years ago, I always watch how people walk, run, sit, lift weights…… Whatever they are doing, I am scrutinizing posture and form. This morning was no different. I’m not a running coach, but watching the dozen or so runners by the river this morning was interesting.
Out of the dozen or so runners, only one person looked like he had some type of formal training. His form was as perfect as it gets and he looked as though he was just gliding over the pavement. Others were almost fun to watch flailing arms, odd foot strikes, and high impact on the pavement. One man out there should not have been running at all. He was wearing knee supports, landing hard, and was very obviously running in pain. He was compensating for the pain by running with very awkward posture. He will not only make his current injury worse, by compensating he is setting himself up for creating a new injury.
If you enjoy running, make sure you do your research on proper form right down to proper foot strike. Better yet, hire a running coach for a session or two to make sure you are running for optimum performance, and injury prevention. If you have an injury, take time off from running so that you allow your body to heal and do not set yourself up for another injury. Walking is also an excellent form of exercise, especially during the rehab phase of an injury (depending upon the injury of course).
As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.
Balance exercises improve physical health by enhancing joint stabilization and postural control during active movement. In addition, balance exercises improve our body’s ability to respond effectively to unstable environments. This important element of training can improve one’s overall physical health, help prevent falls, and help prevent injury.
Why is SMR So Important?
SMR is important for helping you remain flexible and injury free. Utilizing a foam roll for self-myofascial release techniques can improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. Use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away knots/adhesions that occur from exercise and activities of daily living (ADL).
SMR massage is an interactive soft tissue release technique. Once you find a tender spot, you’ll want to remain on the spot for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute (or as long as you can take it). Some spots may be very tender. Those are the spots that need the most work. Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in back towards your spine and breathe naturally.
The main purpose for use includes:
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle tightness
- Identified tenderness (indicating poor circulation)
You can also use this technique for a warm-up before exercise and a cool-down after exercise, first thing in the morning as well as prior to going to bed.
Other tools you may use include tennis balls, softballs, golf balls, frozen water bottle, thumb pressure, Theracane or pressure knobs.
Do not perform under the following conditions:
- Feelings of nausea
- Pain (more than tenderness)
- Acute rheumatoid arthritis
- Painful varicose veins
- If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia
When choosing a foam roll, make sure the foam roll is hard and dense. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur. In the video below (Exercise of The Week), I discuss a couple of different types of foam rolls and demonstrate some of the positions for SMR.