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Woman runningGyms are closed, and all you have left is the pavement outside your door or the wet muddy grass in the parks for the lucky crowd.

Is running good for me?

This is a common question patients ask chiropractors or other professionals. For some of you, each run means pain, three days of muscle pain afterwards, walking like an old man until you feel good again.

How could running have a positive outcome on your health ?

Professionals have a tendency to discourage running.

How can I discourage the most primitive activity ever in the human’s world?

Some anthropologists believe that man’s ability to run for hours, surpassing the endurance of its prey, was its main hunting skill.

Finding motivation for running should be a more natural intuitive feeling. We are born to run. The human body is equipped with an amazing cooling mechanism throughout every pore of the skin. No other animal has this advantage.

A very good read on the subject is Christopher McDouglas’s quest to find the world’s best runners, a Mexican tribe hidden deep in the scorching canyons of North America, Born to Run.

However to most of us, running is difficult. Why? Because our bodies are full of scars.

Stress affects all of us, marking our bodies. Stress can be of all forms, physical, emotional or chemical and it remodels the physical body.

For example, if a person dislocates their shoulder, a whole range of changes will take place in the muscles or joints surrounding the shoulder, all the way down to the pelvis, eventually all the way to the knees, and these changes will become part of you, long after the shoulder joint has recovered. This is the more common experience of physical stress. However, emotional stress can affect the body the same way. Having to work everyday in an environment that doesn’t value you, that doesn’t see your potential, that makes you feel bad : overtime, your shoulder, neck, hip, knee or lower back can ache, from the emotional stress affecting you everyday.

So, if you start running tomorrow, after years of events affecting your physical balance, you have a handicap. Your gluts may have a hard time activating, your left hip may be limiting how far your leg goes back, your right calf may be taking on all the work, compensating for the hamstring that you pulled a couple years back and hasn’t fully recovered.

So running with these conditions will be difficult, probably painful until you find your perfect stride.

Running requires feeling through your ankles what position of the foot is the most comfortable for you. Running takes a lot of physical introspection or proprioception, that inherent feeling of your joints in space.

If you don’t like running, don’t blame the running, just rethink the way you run. It’s not the activity the problem, it’s the way you perform it. It’s like doing a squat and letting your knees fall in. Yes it will be painful, but if you correct the position and take baby steps, eventually, gradually, you will be able to squat.

I encourage patients, who have the proper physical conditions, to run. Because running is more than a sport. It’s therapy. In Born to Run, the author speaks of several studies showing that running makes people happier.

Running means freedom : it’s the act of letting go. Running is a way of letting go of everything that is useless to you. Let your hips open up, let your clenched jaw relax, release those hands made into fists. Feel like a kid again, with that sensation that your legs are going to run off under your waist. Feel how you need so much air that your diaphragme is going to burst against your ribs, fighting for your breath.

Annabelle Gerrard D.C.

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