LifeBridge Health Will Keep You Running the Right Way

We've been running for hundreds of thousands of years: We've fled prehistoric predators and we've led our canine companions through winding trails; we've crossed the finish line for a good cause and we've joined morning run meet-ups (for more than the doughnut breakfast afterward). You'd think we'd be old hat (or old athletic shoe) at it. However, many of us lack proper running form.

Billy Wunderlich knows the telltale signs of improper running form better than anyone. As a personal trainer at LifeBridge Health & Fitness and a speed coach at the gym's Parisi Speed School, he gets everyone from amateur athletes to polished professionals running right. He says that it's all in the heels: “Landing on their heels is the most common mistake runners can make.”

"Heel" has also become a catchall term for moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplashes or professional wrestling's most venerated baddies, and it's easy to see why: If we step incorrectly on our heels, the painful effects rocket up the body and can contribute to injuries. However, our heels aren't mean, they're just misunderstood. They weren't meant to trod on the hard surfaces most runners pound upon day after day.running shoe

“The human body wasn’t meant to run on man-made surfaces,” explains Wunderlich. “If I were to take you out on the pavement without your shoes and I told you to run from point A to point B, I guarantee you wouldn’t land on your heel for long. It hurts.”

Proper form, he says, is a “controlled falling. You want to lean forward as you run. A neutral spine is very important. Instead of landing on the heels of your feet, you want to land on the forefoot. Keep your feet nice and light.”

Mary Campbell, a physical therapist at Sinai Hospital, adds that poor running form is also rooted in weaknesses within the body. “A common problem is that people are not strengthening their hips properly,” she explains. “If someone has weak hips, this can cause them to collapse in as they run. This can often lead to knee pain.”

Though many of us wish we could jump from the couch to a 5k with the simplicity of a finger-snap, that simply isn't possible. In fact, you may want to complement your running routine with muscle-building and toning workouts. Novice runners who push themselves too far, too fast are subject to muscle fatigue. “The farther you go, the more tired your muscles are going to become,” Campbell says. “You need to increase your mileage gradually to help keep proper form. I’d advise for a runner to focus on exercises that strengthen the core. If you have a strong core, you won’t fatigue as much.”

Helping people with their running form is a passion of Campbell’s. She conducts a quarterly running screen clinic at the hospital that is free and open to the community. Here’s how it works:

Each participant runs on a treadmill for a few minutes while Campbell videotapes him or her from different angles. Afterward, she shares the video with the participant and discusses his or her running technique. Based on Campbell's observations, she offers advice on proper running form and what kind of footwear would work best for that particular person.

Wunderlich does the same for his clients at the Parisi Speed School (minus the video camera).

“I observe how they walk and their body movement,” he says. “From this, we get a rundown of what is going on with them and how we can help them develop proper running form.”

He trains his clients by having them run at an incline on a treadmill; this controlled uphill motion pushes the body forward, reducing the inclination for the runner to land on his or her heels.

Though we may groan at the idea of tackling a formidable hill, Wunderlich insists that it's a great way to develop a proper running form. If you're a city dweller without easy access to the sloping countryside, you should use a treadmill with a steep incline.

There are a few easy ways to ensure that you're running to your best potential. The first may seem head-slappingly simple, but it's incredibly important: Make sure you have good shoes that fit your feet.

If you want to heighten your running form, just remember what your mother always told you: work on your posture. You don't have to worry about balancing a book on your head. Keep your chest up, your shoulders relaxed and your head in a neutral position. Above all else, push forward through your hips. “The more you push from your hips, the faster you’ll go,” Wunderlich says.

Wunderlich reminds us that all terrains aren't created equal, and we need to adjust our runs accordingly. "You have to adjust gait and angle your knee flexes depending on what kind of surface you are running on,” he notes. “For instance, on a trail, you'll be jumping over logs, so your pace will be slower and you’ll want to be more cautious. Other times you might be sprinting. In this case, you’ll want to lower yourself as close to the ground as you can and let your feet catch up with you.”

Whether you're running through a vibrant cityscape or up a verdant hill, sweating on a treadmill or evading a saber-toothed tiger (hey, if Doc Brown could turn an old DeLorean into a time machine, who knows what your wacky neighbor can do with the Buick LaSabre in his garage), running properly will make sure that you're running for a long time.

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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  • Seeing is believing, and this team from the Krieger Eye Institute definitely "walks the walk" when it comes to supporting our communities. They recently laced up their sneakers to participate in the annual walk to support the @amdiabetesassn. #LifeBridgeHealth #stopdiabetes #diabetes #health #maryland #baltimore

    lifebridgehealth: "Seeing is believing, and this team from the Krieger Eye Institute definitely "walks the walk" when it comes to supporting our communities. They recently laced up their sneakers to participate in the annual walk to support the @amdiabetesassn. #LifeBridgeHealth #stopdiabetes #diabetes #health #maryland #baltimore"
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  • Today’s the big day! The 12th annual #SaveALimb Fund Fest is underway! Many thanks to our participants and volunteers for their show of support for a very worthy cause—patients in need at the Rubin Institute of Advanced #Orthopedics at #SinaiHospital. We’ll be sharing pictures from today’s event, so stay tuned! #Baltimore #Maryland #giveback

    lifebridgehealth: "Today’s the big day! The 12th annual #SaveALimb Fund Fest is underway! Many thanks to our participants and volunteers for their show of support for a very worthy cause—patients in need at the Rubin Institute of Advanced #Orthopedics at #SinaiHospital. We’ll be sharing pictures from today’s event, so stay tuned! #Baltimore #Maryland #giveback"
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  • #Repost @carroll_hospital #lifebridgehealth ・・・ The CDC says, "Your best shot is the flu shot." #fluvaccine #fluseason #getyourflushot #healthcare

    lifebridgehealth: "#Repost @carroll_hospital #lifebridgehealth ・・・
The CDC says, "Your best shot is the flu shot." #fluvaccine #fluseason #getyourflushot #healthcare"
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  • @wbaltv11 Baltimore recently interviewed this Eagle Scout who is volunteering his time to help children at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at #SinaiHospital. You can find out why on WBAL-TV's 5pm news on Wednesday, October 11. #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #hospital #childrenshospital #eaglescout

    lifebridgehealth: "@wbaltv11 Baltimore recently interviewed this Eagle Scout who is volunteering his time to help children at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at #SinaiHospital. You can find out why on WBAL-TV's 5pm news on Wednesday, October 11. #Baltimore #Maryland #healthcare #hospital #childrenshospital #eaglescout"
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  • #NorthwestHospital leaders recently welcomed Governor General Sir Rodney Williams of #Antigua and #Barbuda (second from left,) and his delegation to the hospital. Dr. Ronald Ginsberg presented the governor and his wife with a $2,500 gift from the Northwest Medical Staff to support the #hurricane relief effort. Northwest has a longstanding relationship with the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. #hurricanerelief

    lifebridgehealth: "#NorthwestHospital leaders recently welcomed Governor General Sir Rodney Williams of #Antigua and #Barbuda (second from left,) and his delegation to the hospital. Dr. Ronald Ginsberg presented the governor and his wife with a $2,500 gift from the Northwest Medical Staff to support the #hurricane relief effort. Northwest has a longstanding relationship with the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. #hurricanerelief"
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  • Did you know that #SinaiHospital is a Level 2 #trauma center? Following the tragedy in #LasVegas, members of the trauma team spoke with WBAL-TV about how hospitals plan and prepare for emergency events. Watch for the story on WBAL-TV's 5 & 6 pm news. #ER #Emergency #Plan #EmergencyPlan #Prepare #Hospital #Healthcare #LifeBridgeHealth

    lifebridgehealth: "Did you know that #SinaiHospital is a Level 2 #trauma center? Following the tragedy in #LasVegas, members of the trauma team spoke with WBAL-TV about how hospitals plan and prepare for emergency events. Watch for the story on WBAL-TV's 5 & 6 pm news. #ER #Emergency #Plan #EmergencyPlan #Prepare #Hospital #Healthcare #LifeBridgeHealth"
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  • A photographer from the #DailyRecord #newspaper captured the great connection that Dr. Aziza Shad has with her patients. The newspaper will honor Dr. Shad on October 18 as an "Innovator of the Year" for her work bringing together so many amazing programs for the children and families at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. #SinaiHospital #LifeBridgeHealth #Hospital #Healthcare #Children #Health #Maryland #Doctor #Patients

    lifebridgehealth: "A photographer from the #DailyRecord #newspaper captured the great connection that Dr. Aziza Shad has with her patients. The newspaper will honor Dr. Shad on October 18 as an "Innovator of the Year" for her work bringing together so many amazing programs for the children and families at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. #SinaiHospital #LifeBridgeHealth #Hospital #Healthcare #Children #Health #Maryland #Doctor #Patients"
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  • Congratulations to #SinaiHospital President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jonathan Ringo who was named to the Becker's Hospital Review's "112 Physician Leaders to Know 2017". #LifeBridgeHealth #Maryland #Healthcare #Hospital #beckershospitalreview

    lifebridgehealth: "Congratulations to #SinaiHospital President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jonathan Ringo who was named to the Becker's Hospital Review's "112 Physician Leaders to Know 2017". #LifeBridgeHealth #Maryland #Healthcare #Hospital #beckershospitalreview"
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  • Congratulations to Dr. Oscar Taube (center) who was recently recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with its National AAP Special Achievement Award. Dr. Taube (seen here with members of AAP's Maryland chapter) received this recognition "for distinguished service and dedication to the missions and goals of the academy." The academy also recognized Dr. Taube as "a tireless champion for adolescents." #LifeBridgeHealth #Doctor #Maryland #Honor #Award #Pediatric #Hospital #Healthcare #Health

    lifebridgehealth: "Congratulations to Dr. Oscar Taube (center) who was recently recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with its National AAP Special Achievement Award. Dr. Taube (seen here with members of AAP's Maryland chapter) received this recognition "for distinguished service and dedication to the missions and goals of the academy." The academy also recognized Dr. Taube as "a tireless champion for adolescents."
#LifeBridgeHealth #Doctor #Maryland #Honor #Award #Pediatric #Hospital #Healthcare #Health"
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・・・
@victonation Miss Frostburg brought smiles and inspiration to our heroes at @lifebridgehealth Sinai Children's Hospital #LBR #livewelllaughhard

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