Which running style is the most efficient and injury-free for you?
In recent years, running technique has been hotly debated. Does technique make a difference? Can our bodies learn how to run in a more efficient and safer way? And, if we can learn to run better, which technique is best?
About 60 percent of runners suffer an injury every year. Our bodies are biomechanically designed to run, so why are injuries so common? The problem isn't running itself, but how we move.
Since 1999, Chi Running's mission has been to help runners feel better. By making slight adjustments to posture, footstrike, and redistributing the workload to other muscles besides our legs, it's possible to reduce impact, prevent injuries, and run with less effort. A recent study proves what hundreds of thousands of Chi Runners have experienced firsthand—that you can improve your running technique in two significant ways.
More: Can Running Technique Be Taught?
A new year-long study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that Chi Running produced less impact and higher efficiency when compared with three other common styles of running: those running with a heel strike in minimalist and traditional running shoes, and those running with a forefoot strike wearing minimalist shoes. Chi Runners—regardless of shoe type—experienced a smoother landing, less stress to their knees and quads, and less braking force (from over-striding). Impact is a primary cause of running injuries, so reducing impact greatly lowers your risk of injury. Not only does the study show that changing the way you run makes a difference, but it also shows it can be learned.
More: The Pros and Cons of Minimalist Running
Dr. William Mullins at the Center for Rheumatic Diseases and Osteoporosis in Bethesda, Maryland, says, "Chi Running is a unique running style that causes less stress for lower-extremity joints and supporting structures than any other running technique. Chi Running reduces the risk of running injuries, and increases the chance that we can continue running into our 80s."
Read an analysis of the study's findings.