Shorter Strides Keep the Knees Alive!

Feb 08, 2011

Written by Mark Saulet, Personal Trainer @ O2 Fitness North Chatham

As winter continues its cold reign on the area even more people take their running workouts indoors. Of course you see the random die-hard out at 6:30 am in 20 degree weather with only a t-shirt, shorts, and gloves, but this becomes even more rare as we plunge deeper into winter.
You can still be serious about staying fit without risking frostbite and this is the reason many of you simply hit the treadmill or elliptical when the mercury, much like the birds, goes south.

It is a well known fact that running can take its toll on the body, especially the knees. But, did you know that while you are rocking out on the treadmill in our nice climate controlled oasis you may also be doing a favor to your knees? Turns out that when we run outside we tend to take longer strides. When this happens our knees land further out from underneath our bodies thus inheriting more force from our body weight. With a 5% shorter stride our knees land underneath us more often and can better support our weight.

Doing this can be tricky because we will think about it too much and alter our natural pace, but on a treadmill we are much more likely to do this subconsciously since the running surface is smaller than a sidewalk, road, or trail we encounter while running outside. So while you may feel inferior to the frigid, 6am runner you can now look at yourself as training for the outdoors come spring with a new shorter and healthier stride.

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