When it comes to runners, there are four types: runners who are invincible, runners who are in pain or injured, former runners who quit and non-runners/running haters.
Unless you’re in the invincible/gifted category, running is challenging and taxes the body. As a high-impact activity, running subjects your body to three to four times your weight with each heel strike. That amounts to tons of pressure (literally!) if you’re logging more than one or two miles.
This intense, repetitive stress on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints can result in fatigue, pain and even injuries over time. In fact, research shows the incidence of lower-extremity injuries from running ranges from 19 percent to 79 percent, most commonly due to overuse.
However, running is excellent exercise that boosts cardiovascular health and stamina. Rather than give up on running altogether, know that there are ways to reduce its impact, thereby decreasing the discomfort and enhancing the pleasure. With the proper ways to mitigate stress to the body, even non-runners may give it a try.
Read on to discover how to run without pain.
Run Without Pain
You can manage running impact with the following options:
- Surfaces – If you run on asphalt or concrete, hit an outdoor or indoor track, the beach or a trail for greater cushioning underfoot.
- Pools – While it’s not the same as running outside due to the water’s drag and buoyancy effects, deep water running is definitely tough without the gravity-induced pounding. Bonus – you won’t get too hot and sweaty!
- Treadmills – Obviously, impact still exists when running on a treadmill, but quality machines have shock-absorbing decks that provide greater support than running on the sidewalk or street.
- Specialized equipment – One of the coolest machines is the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, which unweights a portion of your body weight so you can literally run lighter, with less impact. The problem is, this unique tool is typically only found in physical therapy centers, rehab clinics or elite athletic training facilities. If you can find one, use it!
Not nearly as expensive or hard to come by is the ElliptiGo, which is a combination elliptical trainer and bike that you stand on and ride outdoors. While it is low-impact, it’s really more elliptical motion than true running strides.
Although these all are great ways to decrease the impact of running, each has drawbacks. Fortunately, there’s a better choice.
The one-of-a-kind Zero Runner from Octane Fitness is arguably the best way to run without pain. Equipped with independent hip and knee joints, it lets you replicate your natural running motion, complete with a heel kick and strides up to 58 inches, minus the jarring impact.
Without repetitive impact, runners can perfect their form, engage their posterior chain (hamstrings and glutes) and log more miles – all while feeling more comfortable and reducing risk of overuse injuries. Plus, increasing the resistance of the machine can improve strength and endurance.
For competitive runners, a 2015 study showed that the Zero Runner is metabolically equivalent to a treadmill during submaximal exercise. Plus, because the Zero Runner is a user-propelled machine, it is more comparable to running outdoors than a treadmill which has a moving belt.
And for running purists who shun machines altogether, the Zero Runner is ideal for recovery days, cross training or even injury rehabilitation. For runners who are in pain, or former runners who miss the endorphins, the Zero Runner is truly a game-changer.
Even non-runners who are seeking variety from their typical routines may actually get hooked on all the benefits of running, thanks to the unmatched Zero Runner.