Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Runners' Knee Pain and Seeking Exercise Variety

News supporting exercise variety:  Hip Exercises Found Effective at Reducing, Eliminating Common Knee Pain in Runners, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (June 7, 2010) — A twice weekly hip strengthening regimen performed for six weeks proved surprisingly effective at reducing -- and in some cases eliminating -- knee pain referred to as patellofemoral pain (PFP) in female runners.
Beyond the direct evidence of hip-strengthening for treatment of PFP in runners in this study, to me there are wider implications for training.  The body needs to be used and exercised with a wide variety of challenges for optimum fitness and injury avoidance.  This variety should include a number of ways.

First, no single exercise is so good that it's all you need.  Second, movement should occur in multiple directions, not just the predominant front-to-back(sagittal plane) motion.   Third, for a particular exercise use a variety of implements(dumbbells, medicine balls, etc.) or for running, a variety in environment, such as trail running. Finally, do exercises involving the entire body, not just one part.  Your body will adapt to the tasks you give it, either with increased strength and mobility, or loosing muscle mass and flexibility where it isn't used.  Don't let this happen.

These concepts are part of Functional Fitness, one of my numerous posts about it is Functional Fitness and Vitamin D in NYT.  For a simple home hip exercise see my post Just Standing- Back Health and Weight Loss

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