Why improving your posture might prevent injuries

A lot of the time when Bruce Craven sees injured runners, they’re hurting because they’re not getting their legs straight under them when they run.

Craven is a sport physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and co-owner of Craven SPORT Services on Second Avenue.

He says good running form involves having the head arms and trunk — referred to as the HAT — sitting straight on the pelvis, which is pointing straight ahead. In mid-stance, the swinging and standing legs should be directly underneath the body when they pass.

This can be tricky because many people are not accustomed to holding such straight posture, Craven says.

When people sit at desks all day, they tend to slouch forward at their trunks and arch their lower backs. When running, this means people lean forward too much, which can lead to a host of ailments such as sore quads, knees, shins and calves.

“There’s lots of problems,” Craven says.

He says the best way to avoid injuries from bad posture is to spend time focussing on technique. He recommends runners spend five to 10 minutes in warm up doing running drills such as marching, running high knees and butt kicks while focusing on making sure they’re standing straight and getting their legs straight under them.

When running, he encourages athletes to listen to their feet.

“If you believe in survival of the fittest, if they hear you coming, you’re lunch. So you shouldn’t be loud when you run,” Craven says. “It should be quiet and swift.”

People confined to desk jobs can take measures to improve their posture at work, Craven says. For example, opting for a standing desk or taking frequent walking breaks can help prevent slouching, which will set athletes up to maintain better technique while running and ultimately avoid injury.

— Andrea Hill (Editor, Brainsport Times)