The Healthy Way, a blog by Dr. Angela Barnes

The Five Most Common Running Mistakes

Posted: Sunday, September 16th, 2012

If you are someone that loves running, I bet you didn't know that there are at least 5 common running mistakes that most people make without knowing. It's pretty easy to make mistakes while running unless you are watching yourself in a mirror making sure everything looks right. If you have noticed that maybe your back has been hurting and you aren't quite sure why, it's because of your posture.

Like I mentioned, unless you're constantly running alongside a full length mirror to check your posture, it's almost impossible to recognise your posture is off. So what are these mistakes exactly?

One mistake is the inward knee collapse. This basically means that while you're running, your knees are collapsing inward which can be caused by weak muscles. While running, your knees are supposed to stay aligned with your hips. If your muscles are weak, they won't be able to support you and your body weight. To correct this, performing exercises to build up your gluteus muscles will end up helping you support your body weight preventing any injury. Another common mistake is the asymmetrical running pattern. This is when you land harder on one side of your body.

If you come down hard enough on a foot, your body can signal pain. By simply paying attention to the sound your feet make when you hit the ground, you will be able to tell which side you're coming down harder on, and try and start to even out your landings.

A third mistake is how you run. If you have been running on the fore-front of your foot when you are actually a rear-foot runner and the same goes for rear-foot runners running on their fore-foot. This could severely affect your running posture! Now picture yourself running. When you run, do you put most of the pressure on your heels, or the front of your feet? This is a test for you to see what running style you have. You don't have to switch up your running style, just make sure that whichever running style you have, you aren't feeling any pain when you strike down. If you are, simply just try and rearrange some of the impact on your feet.

The fourth mistake is over-swinging and over-striding. Are you someone that swings their arms when you run or simply has an extra long running stride? These two can actually lead to back pain. When you over-stride, you are taking steps that are too long for your body size. The extra rotation that you have can actually harm your spine because it has to work overtime to compensate for you long strides. It's natural to move your arms a little when you're running, but swinging them too much actually affects the alignment of your spine. To correct this, simply become aware of your strides and how your arms are swinging. Just by altering your stride a little bit and by keeping your arms a little bit closer to your body while running can reduce your back pain tremendously.

The final mistake made by runners is being aware of your own foot type. Every person's foot is different. Some have higher arches, wider feet, flatter feet etc. In the running world, those with higher arches actually run better. You may not notice that your feet are flatter than you thought. It's all about finding a shoe that supports your specific foot type. If you can find a shoe that supports your feet and ankles, you will realise your back, hips and knees are no longer in pain while running. If you are someone that is dedicated to running, it's best to spend the extra money to find a pair of shoes that are specifically designed for running that fit you like a glove. In the long run, you will feel the benefits. By becoming more aware of your running style, you will be able to fix any mistakes you may have to save you from a visit to your physical therapist. If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, you can fix it and get rid of that pain you may be feeling forever.

Keeping Your Kids Active (and Healthy!) this Summer

Posted: Sunday, August 6th, 2012

There's an emphasis on kids being fit these days, and throughout the summer vacation months there are no school-based programs to keep children healthy. If you're seeking ideas for physical fitness activities for your youngsters this summer time, I have some tips for you!

First, be sure your little ones warm up and stretch their muscles before participating in these fitness activities. Second, help your kids decide on things to do that are entertaining and also active - certainly not extremely competitive or even dangerous. Want more ideas? Here are a few specifics that I've used over the years:

Bike Riding

When you were a little one, you probably got on your bike and rode around the neighbourhood in the summer time. Although times have changed, bike riding is still a great way for kids to be active in the summer. Make sure they always use a helmet, and that they are certainly not driving in the road or street if they are under 10 years old. When you have indeed found a secure place for them to pedal around, help them stay encouraged by inviting other youngsters and family members to participate. Make biking a habitual activity!

Yard Games

Tell your children (whether teenagers or younger) to go outside when the weather is excellent, and invite their buddies over, too. Make a point of the day's activities being aligned around movement, such as running through a sprinkler, having a game of horseshoes, or enjoying a round of badminton. Like bike riding, attempt making this a regular event so that your youngsters will get normal physical exercise.


Whenever it is safe to do so, encourage your kids to walk to the places they frequent, such as a buddy's home or the store. An adult may accompany them if need be - it benefits adults to stay involved in summer vacation fitness, as well!


I'm pretty certain you did this as children, too. Possibly a couple of days a month can be "pool days." Meet their friends at the pool, and make the day about being active in the water. Make sure your little ones don sun block, and also that there is grownup oversight - the pool can be a dangerous place for kids acting up and trying to impress one another. In fact, the grownups may want to get inside the swimming pool, also, and can instruct the children in how to play the games we played, such as water polo.

Jumping Rope

Countless children used to devote a very long time on the playground jumping rope. It can be done when school's out, as well! Why certainly not have a favourable community competition with other little ones, and see who can jump the farthest, or the most jumps in a row? Kids are able to discover the joy that comes from playing games like Double Dutch, and also all those fantastic rhymes we used to sing and say whilst jumping.

Martial Arts

Think of signing up your kids in a martial arts program. They will certainly receive the physical activity necessary in the course of the class, but they will also get into the habit of practicing at home, and thus being fit outside of the class.

By being a little creative and planning some thing in advance, your kids will be fit, healthy and balanced this summer!

Horseback Ride Your Way to Good Health

Posted: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

If you are an animal lover, you will agree that riding a horse is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. It's an old practice that survives to this day, when we have all kinds of additional modes of travel. In fact, horses still plays a substantial part in the lives of many individuals.

This summer, it may be time to try keeping fit by getting into a horseback riding routine. Did you realise there are lots of advantages to horseback rides? Let's highlight some of the main ones, as well as go over some points for newbies.

The Pros

The pros of horseback riding are purported to extend further than the physical advantages. Psychological, emotional, as well as physical benefits all combine to make this quite a fantastic activity!

Here are some of the benefits of horseback driving.

Emotional and Psychological Advantages

* Therapeutic value - Remarkably, horses have actually been utilised in mental therapy as well as emotional care, especially for little ones and teenagers. There is just something about horses that assists little ones to open up where they may have been closed before. For some troubled children, providing for a horse and experiencing devotion to it is the first "safe" relationship they have been able to experience.

* Relaxing a group - One of the purposes behind riot police still using horses instead of tanks is that the horse's presence seems to be to have a soothing effect on the group.

* So enjoyable it can't be exercise - For lots of individuals, horseback riding is so satisfying that it merely does not feel like exercise. Unlike exercising at the gym, countless individuals perform don't feel like they need to "drag" themselves to their workout session if that training is on a horse!

Physical Benefits

There are definite bodily benefits to horseback riding. Here are some to think of.

* Builds the strength of your core muscles - When you ride a horse, you do not "hold fast" with your hands. You hold yourself steady and guide the horse mostly with the bottom half of your body. This requires a supple toughness in your waist, hips, as well as your upper legs. The more you ride, the greater the strength of these muscles must be (if you're riding correctly, that is!).

* Burns calories - There's no disagreement that riding a horse burns a decent quantity of calories, whether you are trail driving or driving in a ring. Weight dependent, an hour of horseback riding burns at the very least the same amount of calories as half an hour of running or cycling, studies show.

* Easy on your joints - Horseback riding is not high-impact training, so your connective tissue, joints, and muscles all get a really good workout without the jarring effect of, for example, jogging or some aerobic exercises.

Tips for Beginners

Below are some points to help your summer vacation health and fitness program on horseback.

* Don't forget to stretch before and also after riding to decrease soreness.

* Keep in mind that the reins are certainly not a lifeline; hold on by your legs, not your hands.

* Maintain your weight down in your heels. Only the balls of your feet should be on the stirrup, and your heels should be down, your toes up.

* Ensure you are calm and positive - horses can detect emotional shifts, and will certainly notice if you are stressed and making nervous movements.