From the 2011 Archives: Pilates for Runners
From the desk of Kristen M. Reynolds, PT, DPT, PMA®-CPT... Happy March! The groundhog predicted last month that spring is on its way (the snow storms really proved it, right?), which means that Marathon Monday will be here before we know it. With OMBE’s proximity to the famous finish line, we greatly anticipate this exciting day every year in Boston. This year, the staff is offering 20% off ALL private sessions with proof of race entry!
I thought this would be a great time to revisit some of my previous posts on the importance of cross training with Pilates. I'll start with an oldie but a goodie from 2011...
I know many runners who love their chosen activity because it is great cardiovascular exercise that “tones” and is as simple as lacing up sneakers (although some are barefoot these days!) and heading out the door. As a “non-runner,” I am envious of these factors. However, as an orthopedic and sports physical therapist and Pilates teacher, I routinely see the effects of the imbalances in those addicted to running. Although those hitting the pavement develop significant strength and endurance, running alone is not a well-rounded exercise program and needs regular cross training to prevent imbalances in the body in order to stay healthy and painfree.
Work in all planes of movement
How does injury occur? During each stride, runners fire the hip flexor group to lift the leg, the quadriceps to extend the knee, then the tibialis anterior muscle in the shin to lift the foot and allow the heel to strike the ground. Once the foot is planted, that leg is extends back using the gluteals and hamstrings. The repetition of moving in this flexion/extension pattern (called the sagittal plane) creates a bias in the flexibility and strength of particular muscle groups; the muscles that work in the horizontal and frontal planes lose strength and stability and lead to impaired posture and mechanics. For example, tight hip flexors and hamstrings can pull the pelvis out of neutral spine into anterior and posterior tilts, respectively, which leads to low back pain and lumbosacral pathology. Weakened lateral hip stabilizers cause the pelvis to drop on one side and contribute to iliotibial band (ITB) tightness and hip bursitis.
My solution? Pilates!
Like running, mat exercises can be completed anywhere at anytime without equipment and works the whole body in each plane of motion for uniform muscle development and core strength. A qualified Pilates trainer can assess overall flexibility, strength and balance in individuals and develop a customized program while providing clear and concise cues that enhance hip-knee-ankle-foot alignment and motor control. Guided sessions are integral in the beginning to ensure that the execution of the repertoire is precise and safe for one’s body; teachers are able to make modifications to the classical exercises to accommodate alllevels. Another benefit for the running population is that Pilates teaches breath control, activation of the muscles of respiration, and coordinates breathing into each movement.
If you have any more questions about Pilates or physical therapy, please feel free to BOOK ONLINE or call OMBE at 617.447.2222 to schedule a complimentary 30-minute session.
Kristen Reynolds, DPT, PMA®-CPT Doctor of Physical Therapy PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher
Always interested in dance, sports and fitness, Kristen Reynolds is a former YMCA and Junior Olympic gymnast, coach, and ACE personal trainer. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from James Madison University in 2006 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2009.
While practicing in orthopedics and sports medicine, a mentor introduced her to the Pilates Method and she has since pursued comprehensive training and professional certification from the Pilates Method Alliance to compliment her clinical interests. Dr. Reynolds is one of the few instructors in Massachusetts to have earned the distinction of PMA Certified Pilates Teacher. Additionally, she is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Sports Physical Therapy Section, APTA of Massachusetts Shoulder and Manual Physical Therapy Special Interest Groups, and Authentic Pilates Union.
Integrating the Pilates principles and repertoire with her manual therapy skills has produced successful rehabilitation outcomes for a wide variety of patients, including adolescents, elite athletes and dancers, and individuals with chronic orthopedic conditions. Dr. Reynolds utilizes this alternative therapeutic approach to improve muscle performance and joint mobility, correct posture and alignment, enhance body awareness, and create an evenly conditioned body that is more resilient to extremity and spinal injury.