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Health Tips by Specialized Physical Therapy

"Quality counts if you want to stay fast. Don't do all your workouts in the comfort zone." —Ken Sparks, Ph.D., Top Masters Marathoner 



"The reality is that physical activity constantly competes with everything else we do..." —Michelle L. Segar, Ph.D., Associate Director of Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls at the University of Michigan

"Exercising on a regular basis may thus act as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways." —Study Researcher Lorenza Colzato, a Cognitive Psychology at Leiden University in the Netherlands

Increasing your cadence is one of the easiest ways to improve running form. Perform a quick inventory of how often your foot hits the ground (your cadence) by counting the number of strides on one foot for one minute. If you count fewer strides than 88, you’re not striding quickly enough.



"When you run, your brain is constantly communicating with your muscles to figure out how you can run more efficiently (i.e. with less muscle activation). This involuntarily process explains why all runners become more economical with experience. But you may be able to speed up the process. Research shows that the neuromuscular system is most likely to discover more efficient ways to move when you push your limits (i.e. fatigue). To do this without risk of over-training, end some of your easy runs with a “fast finish.” Wait until the last five or 10 minutes of a longer run and then speed up to an effort level of six or seven on a scale of one to 10." —Matt Fitzgerald, coach and training expert for Pear Sports and author of The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: A Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond 'the Wall.’



"Many coaches try to improve stride by asking runners to consciously modify their form (take shorter steps, land on the front of the foot instead of the heel). But studies dating all the way back to the 1960s have consistently shown that such consciously enforced changes actually make runners less efficient. The reason is that it forces you to think about your movements, which increases brain activity. Why that’s bad: Research also shows that the most skilled athletes in all sports have the least activity in their brains when performing sport-specific movements. In other words, they’re basically able to perform on autopilot. Emptying your mind and not focusing on your body as you run will help you evolve the stride that is most economical for your body."  —Matt Fitzgerald