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Who Wants to Get Active? 2010

1 Post tagged with the injury_prevention tag

Got injury resistance?

Posted by Jessi Stensland Apr 1, 2010

Hello team!!  Love being here with you all!!  What a cool journey and camraderie you’ve got going. Super inspiring.


I’m here to offer up something that I hope may add something to your understanding of how to drastically reduce, if not completely eliminate chronic injury in your sport and your life.  I know it did for me.  I've been free of chronic pain and injury since 2004.  It’s nothing new.  It’s something that’s so simple, yet so overlooked.  The end result of which is…how about this:


“...the ability to avoid acts that injure"

and, my favorite, smile more.  : )


It’s called being “injury resistant.”  I’ve heard all too often that people are quick to blame everything but themselves for their injuries.  When the reality is YOU can and should, be in control of your body.


Think about it this way:


Imagine you have to carry around a long, sharp knife all day long. But you zone out, don’t think about it and go along with your day.  You brush your teeth, pick up your child, drive the car, shake some hands, do your job, etc.  There has to be a one in a google’s chance that you won’t “injure yourself” (and someone else for that matter.)  But lets say that instead, that you don’t want to get injured (just a guess…) and you decide you will do all you can to avoid getting injured all day long.  You decide to control the knife, or, more precisely, you use your brain to control the muscles in your arm that are controlling the knife.  You make decisions all day long about how to move so that you wouldn’t get injured.  That way, you drastically reduce, if not completely eliminate the possibility of “injuring yourself.”


Now, you have all set a performance goal…the race at the end of this journey.  The not-so-new newsflash:  You can’t even get to the start line, let alone the finish line, if you’re injured.  You could, of course, compete with pain or injury, however it may be a very unpleasant experience.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t run to add something unpleasant to my life!


The good news for all of us is that the same choices and training elements that will keep us injury-free are also the same things that will keep us running most efficient and fast (and smiley!) and even better…as we simply LIVE the rest of our life.  You’ve heard them all before:  flexibility, mobility, strength, elasticity (might be a new one – think plyometrics,) stability, and cardio capacity.  (Nutrition and sleep are additional factors, among others, but I’ll stick to the body and its biomechanics here…)


Now often this is when people zone out from what I’m saying for two reasons:


1.  They have no more time in their day to spend on “this stuff” and/or

2.  They don’t truly grasp how paramount each is to their running experience every running stride.


I can prove to you right now that there is something you can do increase your control over your body and its injury resistance while spending no more time in your day…


Question: How’s your posture right now?


Could you be sitting or standing up taller?  Could your left and right side symmetry be better, i.e. are your hips, knees and ankles in alignment on each leg (i.e. no legs crossed if your sitting down!) feet flat on the floor, toes facing forwards and not at an angle?


Injuries rely upon weaknesses, imbalances and compensation patterns to rear their ugly heads.  Don’t let em have it.


Let me tell you, your knees likes to stay in line with your hip and ankle, but they have no say in the matter.  The knee itself is just a joint and can only react to what the muscles controlling it do, or fail to do.  You can have control over that when you’re running, just as you did in your posture right now.   That thing called Runner’s Knee?  There’s no such thing.  It’s called “glute weakness.”  Proper, strong posture (i.e. the ability to stabilize and protect the spine) is the “backbone” of being able to control the movement of our arms and our legs and get the most out of them.


Posture never used to be as big of a problem, why?  Because 1) We never sat around so much and 2) We used to run for a reason (life or death or to kill to eat) and not just to get from point A to point B, plodding along if we want.  When I start the running movement session of my MovementU workshops I first have everyone run 15 yards like their life depended on it.  That they have to get to that spot as quick as possible or someone’s going to die.  I tell you what, their posture changes, their knees drive upward and they are NOT heel striking.  Try it! [Note: Unless you’re dealing with a current injury, don’t worry about getting injured.]  That’s how we were born to run.  Nothing’s changed mechanically, and we can tone down the intensity for distance and time, but now we have to use our brains to re-create habits that allow us do the same thing, with those same, purposeful mechanics.


A commitment to challenging your functional movement, strength and stability training is important to your running.  They aren’t “extras” to be done in addition to running miles.  They are the foundation and should be incorporated into the time you have to spend on your running training.   Resources like and TRX Suspension training at for example are couple great examples of being efficient and fun with your running fitness.


This is all food for thought, but your action step is this:


At the very least, sit or stand taller and more symmetrical more often throughout the day.  If it feels hard, it will become easier the more you do it, and this is where functional strength training also comes in.  When you challenge yourself and increase your strength and stability, you’ll find simply sitting or standing properly, with no added weight, becomes much easier, and it will also increase your ability to withstand those additional forces as you hit the ground running, allowing you to maintain proper posture longer during your runs.


When running, do the same thing, starting now.   Make it a priority to think tall and strong, as often as you can, and then aim to increase the time you’re able to spend doing it.  It will make a bigger difference than you think!



I look forward to seeing your journey unfold...


Be great and move well!!


Jessi Stensland


Professional Triathlete /

Movement Specialist / Creator of MovementU /

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