Monday, February 23, 2009

Humans Were Born To Run

Guest blogger: Tim Grizzell

I’ll get right into it. I subscribe to the theory that humans were born to run. Relatively recent biomechanical research by University of Utah biologist Dennis Bramble and Harvard University paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman suggests that humans are built to outrun nearly every other animal species on the planet over long distances.

I personally love the following quote from Professor Lieberman. “From our abundant sweat glands to our Achilles tendons, from our big knee joints to our muscular glutei maximi, human bodies are beautifully tuned running machines. We're loaded top to bottom with all these features, many of which don't have any role in walking."

I disagree with doctors that say running is bad for the knees. They either do not like running or just want to take the easy way out on the prognosis. When I was just out of BUD/S, I had a hard landing on my 5th and final jump at Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Georgia. I completely tore my anterior cruciate ligament and had two tears in my meniscus. Three years ago, I had some extreme pain in this reconstructed knee as I was preparing for a marathon. I went to see my doctor and he told me “running is bad for your knees and it is time to pick a less intense form of exercise!” I have not been back to see him, the pain eventually went away and I have logged many miles since.

No question – running is an impact exercise and our knees are affected as a result. In terms of ongoing care for the knees, my advice is the following:

1) run on soft terrain when possible,
2) inject some cross training when your knees are a little overworked (I personally like to cycle and/or swim),
3) try not to add any unnecessary pounds to your frame; and
4) rest your body if necessary.

I will conclude by saying that runners come in all shapes and sizes carrying varying loads, which is proven every time I run a marathon or some other distance. We are all born to run! It is just a matter of taking a realistic approach to conditioning your joints and body for a consistent running program if you want to run on a regular basis. (Note: Clearly, there are exceptions and I realize that not everyone can run for various reasons.)

Fired Up!


Joe G. said...

Amen, Brotha.

Unknown said...

These are unbelievable for if you're on demi pointe often or wear 4 inch heels often.