Those of you that know me are aware that I am not a huge proponent of running. The primary reason I feel this way is that it is hard on your body. Running actually has an incidence of injury rate as high as 79%. Walking fast, hiking and cycling can be just as effective as a cardiovascular exercise and are much gentler on your body.
I do, however, acknowledge that running has many positive effects on health, mood and fitness. It is one of the most efficient uses of your time for cardiovascular work, and has great endorphin benefits as well as being effective for toning some parts of the body.
If you run there are a few things you need to do to balance out your body. You can address these issues during your Dailey Method class in the following ways.
Work on your flexibility: For ideal muscular health there should be a balance between strength and flexibility in each muscle group. Both of the primary muscles of the thigh (hamstring and quadriceps) play an important role in running. To create flexibility in your hamstrings you need to make sure that you stretch the muscles both with your spine extended and flexed. The quadriceps need to stretched with both a bent and a straight leg. These variations in position will help to increase flexibility in all of the fibers of the muscle. Another part of the leg, which is incredibly important for knee stability, is the iliotibial band. Your IT band can be stretched by lengthening your hip away from your ankle and maintaining a neutral spine during the barre stretch portion of class.
Strengthen your hips to protect your knee: A major risk factor for knee pain is a weak gluteus medius. This muscle, located on the outer surface of the pelvis is important for hip stabilization in running. Without stable hips, runners can encounter knee, hip, and low back pain. The Dailey Method strengthens and stabilizes this muscle during both the seat work and spinal extension sections of class. Not only do you actively contract the muscle with different variations on your working leg, but you additionally get even more strengthening benefit by concentrating on working your stabilizing leg..
Strengthen your upper body: Running is great at strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, but other muscle groups, especially core stabilizers, need to be strengthened to create muscular balance and decrease risk of injury. It’s important to do strengthening exercises in spinal extension, trunk rotation and flexion in order try to target all of your core stabilization muscles. Although the last 20 minutes of a Dailey Method class is where you’re going to get the primary benefit for core strength even from our first exercise, marching, there is a focus on being aware of your posture and constantly trying to improve it. Attention to posture and alignment throughout class (and all day long!) will make you a more efficient and graceful runner.
The Dailey Method alone can give you all the strength and toning benefits you need for a strong, healthy and amazing physique. I have seen Studio owners and many clients that have run their entire lives, and thought they always would, give it up once they realize how much better they look and feel by solely practicing The Dailey Method.
If you must… then run… but take care of yourself and your body by maintaining balance in your workouts.
At The Dailey Method, we have a strong group of owners that support each other. Special thanks to Kerry Corcoran, co-owner of The Dailey Method-Berkeley, and Registered Nurse, for her collaboration on this blog.