In a new col­umn, a fit­ness in­struc­tor an­swers your ques­tions. This week: Should I stop jog­ging?

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/health -

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


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