We’ve had some nice fall weather over the past few weeks here in New Jersey and that means joggers are out in force. It’s very similar to what happens when spring springs and the first batch of 70 degree sunny days show up after a long, ugly winter; joggers take to the roadways and sidewalks en masse.
The problem is that most people are what I call, “Ugly Joggers.” Now don’t jump to conclusions – especially you, Marianne – as I’m not talking about a person’s looks, but rather their running “form,” and by using “form,” I’m being very kind.
Over the past week or so I’ve seen at least 40 joggers, but only 2 or 3 could be considered to be running with proper form. The form breaks run the gamut; short stride length, no hip extension, improper (or no) arm swing, leg drag, valgus and varus, limp. Think of a flaw and you’ll see it when Ugly Joggers are in season. Do yourself a favor and stop jogging.
Get exercise, but leave the jogging and running to the real runners – no offense. If you want to go out and pound your skeletal system into powder at least seek out an expert that can teach you how to run. I find it funny when people ask me what they can do to improve their cardiovascular fitness and I tell them to swim, and they tell me, “Oh I don’t want to swim, what else can I do?” I get the same kind of response from folks who want to know how to improve their distance running, like they can’t be bothered to do the right thing. As if it’s an insult to be told that they need to learn how to do something as simple as running.
Actually, running properly is difficult for most people, even athletes. I spend a lot of time teaching high school and college athletes how to run properly and correcting their form. Show me 100 high school athletes and I’ll show you 95 kids who don’t know how to run. And for adults the percentages would be even worse.
So if you aren’t jogging the right way, don’t do it at all. Go for a brisk walk, do calisthenics, or take a swim, but lay off the jogging. When you consider that each step of running places a force on your joints up to 3 times body weight, your body will thank you for exploring low-intensity/low-impact options.