A new study again shows that a healthy body requires both, cardiovascular exercise and strength training: Runners doing hip strengthening exercises significantly improved running mechanics and reduced knee pain.
The study, conducted at the University of Indiana, had a group of four female runners for six weeks strengthen their hips with resistance bands and single-leg squats, while a second group of four during this time simply carried on with their usual cardio regime. During the following second six-week-period, both groups did strength exercises.
Measurements of how the women’s hips, knees and shin bones moved in relation to each other were taken before and after, and when the second six-week-period was over, the data showed that the movement of the hips and knees in relation to each other had improved for both groups.
One of the study’s authors, Indiana University’s expert for motion analysis, Prof. Tracy Dierks, said in an interview with the university’s internal news site:
The results indicate that the strengthening intervention was successful in reducing pain, which corresponded to improved mechanics. The leg was going through more motion, suggesting that the [pain] guarding mechanism was reduced, and coordination or control of many of these peak or maximum angles in the leg were improved in that they were getting closer to occurring at the same time.
In other words: The women’s running style had improved, which effectively took stress off the knees.
The Whole Picture
Up until around 20 years ago, working out your muscles was mostly seen as something conceited bodybuilders would do and the general recommendation was to solely indulge yourself in cardio to stay healthy.
It never fails to amaze that it took us this long to see that both aspects of what the human body was physically meant to do, move and exercise force, go hand-in-hand with each other.
Picture courtesy of “davidd“.