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Running 101 for kids and teens

Is your child interested in running as a sport? Check out some helpful strategies on proper running form, hydration, and other tips to ensure your child is safe and gets the most out of this healthy activity.

Running provides an inexpensive and effective way to get your child or adolescent excited about physical fitness for a lifetime. Beyond the physical health benefits, running can also lead to improvements in classroom behavior, self-control, self-esteem, alertness, enthusiasm, creativity, and maturity.

For children of all ages, running is one of the most versatile and natural physical activities. In younger children, running should be encouraged through fun activities such as tag, capture the flag, the fox and the hound, and red light green light. By keeping running fun, your child may learn to enjoy exercise at an early age, helping him or her maintain those habits as he/she gets older.

For older children interested in the sport of running, there are some additional ways to help your child become a strong, healthy runner. Learn more about proper running form, training, hydration, diet, shoes, and safety, which may help your child’s performance and may also decrease his or her risk of injury.

Minimalist running shoes: Do they really prevent injuries?

Barefoot-style running and minimalist running shoes are growing in popularity, but some new research now shows there are risks.

Barefoot-style, or minimalist, running shoes are still growing in popularity in the military, and the debate continues over whether this style of running prevents injuries or just causes different injuries. There is new research on minimalist running shoes (MRS) and their impact on lower leg and foot injury. After a 10-week study, runners who transitioned to Vibram FiveFinger minimalist running shoes showed signs of injury to their foot bones, while the runners who used traditional running shoes showed none. The types of injuries the MRS runners demonstrated were early signs of inflammation, which may or may not be associated with pain or joint dysfunction. If they are, it might be difficult for the runner to know he/she is actually injured until it is too late and the injury has progressed. More research is needed to determine if other factors (weight, running form/style, mileage, running surface) contribute to injuries associated with barefoot-style running. At least one recent study suggests running style may be a factor. For more in-depth information, read HPRC’s InfoReveal.

A pain in the…shin?

Shin splits can sideline you from your regular exercise routine, but proper treatment and rest can get you back in action sooner rather than later.

If you exercise regularly—or plan to start an exercise program—chances are you’ll experience shin splits at least once. That sharp, achy, sore, and/or throbbing feeling that runs down the front of your shin, also known as “tibial stress syndrome,” is a common condition among athletes, especially runners. The pain of shin splits can come from any number of underlying causes, such as overuse injuries, “flat feet,” or a more serious injury—stress fractures—usually from excessive and/or repetitive force on your legs. Usually shin splits will heal on their own with rest and basic self-care treatments, but it’s important to recognize the symptoms early on and to give yourself time to fully heal before easing back into your usual workout. See a doctor if the pain does not seem to improve with rest, if your shin is hot and inflamed, or if the swelling gets worse. To prevent shin splits, make sure that you wear the appropriate shoes for your type of foot, warm up before working out, vary the types of surfaces you run on, and address symptoms of pain early.

Pounding the pavement or soft trails—which running surface is better?

HPRC Fitness Arena: Physical Fitness
Some experts think that soft-surface running is harder on the body than running on pavement.



Conventional wisdom suggests that running on softer surfaces is better for the body than harder surfaces. However, in a recent New York Times article, the subject of running injuries on hard versus soft surfaces was examined. Exercise physiologist Hirofumi Tanaka of the University of Texas at Austin took a deeper look at soft-surface running and said he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface benefits runners. Tanaka developed an interest in the topic after experiencing a running injury. When he was recovering from a knee injury, an orthopedist told him to get off the roads and hit the trails. He took that advice and twisted his ankle and aggravated the injury while running on the softer, irregular surface.

In the aftermath of his accident, Dr. Tanaka said he could not find scientific evidence supporting that a softer surface is better for runners than a hard one, nor could other experts he queried. In fact, he suggested that it makes just as much sense to reason that runners are more likely to get injured on soft surfaces, which often are irregular, than on smooth, hard ones.

 

Airman provides some tried and true workout methods

HPRC Fitness Arena:
NBCwashington.com (Washington, D.C.) has an article on how one U.S. Air Force airman stays healthy and in shape for Air Force-related missions.

 

Photo: Shutterstock.commanexercisingbarbells_shutterstock.jpg

NBCwashington.com (Washington, D.C.) has an article on how one U.S. Air Force airman stays healthy and in shape for Air Force-related missions.

According to the article, Airman 1st Class Angelo Beatois is an advocate of high-intensity workouts, including sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups, combined with sprints and running.  He designed his own personal workout from the variations of exercises he learned when stationed from base to base.

Click on link below to access the article.

Tried and True Workout Methods

New York Times: Money often buys higher-quality, but not always when it comes to running shoes

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Money often buys higher-quality goods, but not when it comes to running shoes, experts say.

runningshoes_shutterstock.jpgPhoto: Shutterstock.com

The New York Times Health section has an article that looks at the cost of running shoes, and found that low- and mid-cost shoes within the same brand cushioned runners’ feet just as well as high-cost ones — sometimes even better.

In short, money often buys higher-quality goods, but not when it comes to running shoes, experts say.

Click on link below to access the article.

For Running Shoes, It’s Fit First and Price Last

Running a marathon can affect your heart

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Businessweek.com is reporting on a new study that suggests that running a marathon can damage your heart, with more than half of the segments in the heart's main pumping chamber typically functioning a little under par during the race.

imageofjoggercardiogram_shutterstock.jpgImage: Shutterstock.com

Businessweek.com is reporting on a new study that suggests that running a marathon can damage your heart, with more than half of the segments in the heart's main pumping chamber typically functioning a little under par during the race. The good news is that other parts of the heart pick up the slack and the changes reverse within three months or fewer after the run, the researchers found.

The end result is that the study shows that the more fit and trained a runner is, the less effect the strain of a marathon was found to have on the heart.

Click on link below to access the article.

Marathons Affect Heart, but Runners Bounce Back

Runners: Hot taper can improve endurance performance

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Runnersworld.com has an article that cites a new study from the Journal of Applied Physiology which reports that 10 days of extreme heat acclimation can improve performance by six to eight percent.

 

runningman_shutterstock.jpgPhoto: Shutterstock.com

Runnersworld.com has an article that cites a new study from the Journal of Applied Physiology which reports that 10 days of extreme heat acclimation can improve performance by six to eight percent.

Click on link below to access article.

New Study–A Hot Taper Can Improve Endurance Performance

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Studies look at the effect of running has on your knees

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The October 13, 2010 Health section of the New York Times has an article discussing recent research on knees, arthritis and vigorous exercise.

Man with radiating knee pain

The October 13, 2010 Health section of the New York Times has an article discussing recent research on knees, arthritis, and vigorous exercise.

There's no question that physical activity over time takes its toll; however, your body is capable of adapting to it. The question is whether this adaptation is healthy.

Read the full article here.

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Who wants to wear "toe shoes"?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Vibram’s line of FiveFingers shoes, or VFFs (also known as toe shoes), has become the most controversial item in military running.

Vibram’s line of FiveFingers shoes, or VFFs (also known as toe shoes), has become the most controversial item in military running.  Army officials have banned them from the PT test over worries they might give some soldiers an unfair advantage. The Navy has also nixed them while Air Force and Marine Corps leaders have given the OK for them to be used. A recent article in Army Times.com take a closer look at the toe shoe controversy and provides current policy stands for the service branches.

Read the full article here.

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