Running the right way
April 26, 2014 Jessica Silver Uncategorized
Thanks in part to my chosen profession, I am a keen and interested observer of posture, body language and movement. I am constantly fascinated by the many ways there are to express oneself through movement; there seems to be as much variety of ways to move as there are people.
As Vancouver’s 10K Sun Run in April approaches, I work with several clients who train vigorously throughout the year for this event. After the run, I work with several of the same clients who are recovering from the event. Some describe a certain amount of muscle soreness such as post marathon stiffness in calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. Others have more acute symptoms such as shortened Achilles tendons and aching knees.
Though I am not a runner, I became curious about how to run most effectively. That is, to run safely and comfortably rather than as fast as possible. From what I have observed, studied and experimented with in my own body, I have drawn the following conclusions regarding effective running:
-Like anything, proper alignment and body mechanics are the biggest advantages – particularly in high impact activities such as running. The more evenly weight is distributed and balanced, the less stress is transmitted to joints.
-The same words that my ballet teacher told me when I was 9 years old applies to runners: “if you look down, your body will follow you down”. Running with eyes on the horizon helps balance the head on the spine and helps to keep the neck free from excess tension.
-Keeping the spine upright and in line will help the body go forward and lightens the load of impact. I tell clients to “feel up” with their spines, not back. Leaning back while attempting to run forward wastes energy (the same goes for walking).
-Bouncing the wrists up and down puts strain on the shoulders and neck and does not keep the arms free of tension. Clenching fists tightly is also a means of excess strain.
-Knees have to bend and lead before the hips. Taking large strides by tucking the hips under (like a pelvic tilt) takes the upper body back, and is an inefficient use of energy.
Several clients have asked me about whether to run with a heel strike, full foot or forward foot strike. Evidence seems to support all three depending on factors such as intention and alignment. Based on personal experimentation, I prefer to run with a heel strike but I am running for optimal use of my body, not speed or competition.
Running, like walking, dancing, swimming or any form of movement is an opportunity to be present in the body; to notice the breath, be mindful of keeping strain out of the shoulders and neck, lengthening the spine through intention, looking around and visually taking in the environment whether it is a blue sky, the bottom of a pool, a crowded room or a long road ahead.
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“Every time I have had a session with Jessica Silver I felt like new person, taller, stronger, younger by 20 years…like a snake coming out from old skin! As a Cirque du Soleil performer with a lot physical demands on my body, Rolfing gives me huge benefits! I strongly recommend anyone to have it..”
Max F.performing artist
Jessica has skilled hands and a keen eye. She works deeply and effectively bringing new life to the tissues of the body.
What I liked best about Jessica was her touch. She engaged with a true eye and a true heart, much like an archer drawing back her bow and releasing to the target. I felt her work was clear, focused, and skillful. I would recommend her work to anyone interested in this important healing art.
Gerry C., Polarity PractitionerCraniosacral Therapist
An avid tennis player, I am able to stretch more effectively since working with Jessica, which helps me feel more comfortable in my body no matter what activity I’m doing. Her warm manner and knowing hands helped unlock years of stress and I credit her work for helping me be freer and easier in my body.
Emily S.Project manager
For years I had chronic back pain that I thought was a result of working at a computer. After the 10 series with Jessica, I learned that pain is not something I have to live with. Her work not only resolved my back pain but lengthened my toes, helping me to feel more comfortable walking and moving in general.
Emily S.Project manager
I have tried many types of body work (physio, massage, shiatsu, chiropractic), and I have found Structural Integration to be the most effective. After 10 sessions, the effect had such a profound impact that after four years, I continue to come once a month, every month, as part of my commitment to maintaining the health of my spine. I find Jessica to be deeply committed to her work. The way she works reveals an immense care and concern that has made it easy to develop complete trust and to let g… Read more
Farah N.Yoga Instructor