In a new column, a fitness instructor answers your questions. This week: Should I stop jogging?
I TOOK UP running over a year ago and really love it. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun to suffer from lower back pain during some of my runs. Should I stop? No, you shouldn’t have to. But you do need to establish the cause of the problem.
First, do you wear suitable running shoes? As a runner you put incredible stress on the lower back because every time your foot strikes the pavement you send shockwaves up to your spine. You need a premium trainer to absorb the impact. A specialist store will look at your running technique and recom- mend the appropriate shoe for you.
Secondly, always warm up and stretch before and after a run to avoid muscle tightness, and think about your posture. As you run, aim to keep your pelvis as level as possible (a pelvis which is tilted too far forward puts strain on the lower back), keep your head lifted, shoulders back and down, and engage your core muscles by drawing in your tummy.
The core is a set of muscles located deep in your abdomen which wrap around your torso like a belt. A strong core acts like the body’s natural girdle, protecting the lower back. So you should also incorporate exercises into your training regime that will enhance your core stability. Why not join a Pilates or body balance class where the focus is primarily around building abdominal strength?
Or start working with a large Swiss ball (but always ask an expert’s advice before you start using any new type of equipment).
But if the pain persists, it can be an indicator that you are over-training or have a more serious back condition, and you should seek medical advice. Jacqui Kohen is a qualified personal trainer listed on the Register of Exercise Professionals