A new study by Harvard Medical School has revealed some interesting findings by focusing on long-time runners who have never been hurt
In particular, the researchers looked at impact loading which is the force runners create when they strike the ground.
For the study, 249 female runners who strike the ground with their heels, completed questionnaires about their injury history and ran along a track with force monitors to analyse their impact loads.
Over the next two years, each woman completed an online running diary that detailed any injuries sustained.
More than 100 runners reported suffering a serious injury, forty of the women suffered minor injuries that didn’t require medical attention while the rest of the group were uninjured.
Interestingly, 21 of the uninjured runners had never had a previous injury so researchers compared their impact loading with that of the seriously injured runners and found that the uninjured runners landed much more lightly than those who suffered serious injuries.
“One of the runners we studied, a woman who has run multiple marathons and never been hurt, had some of the lowest rates of loading that we’ve ever seen,” said Professor Irene Davis.
“She pounded far less than many runners who land near the front of their feet,” she said. “When you watched her run, it was like seeing an insect running across water. It was beautiful.”
So what does that mean for the rest of us? Davis says all runners, especially those prone to injury, should be mindful of a softer landing and to increase the number of strides we take per minute to reduce the pounding from each step.
Want more? Here’s how to get rid of a stitch while running and how your morning run could boost your brain power.