Running is by meaning the fastest means for an animal to move on foot. It is defined in sporting terms as a gait in which at some point all feet are off the earth at the same time. It is a form of aerobic exercise.

Competitive running

      Perhaps the most basic of athletic contests, running races are just contests to determine which of the competitors is able to run a certain space fastest. Today, competitive running events make up the core of the sport of athletics.Running competitions have almost certainly existed for most of humanity's history, and were a key part of the ancient Greek Olympics, as well as the modern Olympic games.

      Events are typically grouped into several classes, each requiring substantially different athletic strengths and involving different tactics, training methods, and types of competitors.Running affects not only the body, but the mind as well. Runners who finish a great run are often said to have a "runner's high" - a strong feeling of achievement and pride. Some sources point to the origin of a runner's high being enlarged endorphin production as a result of exercise.

Running injuries

       There are many injuries linked with running (due to it being a high impact activity). Common injuries are "runner's knee" (pain in the knee), shin splints, pulled muscles (especially the hamstring), "jogger's nipple" (soreness of the nipple due to friction), twisted ankles, and Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The most common running associated injuries are due to over-use.

       Repetitive pressure on the same tissues without enough time for recovery or due to improper form or muscle imbalances, leads to many of the above. Generally these can be minimized by warming up beforehand, wearing proper running shoes, improving running form, performing growth exercises, and getting enough rest. There is a very strong consensus among the running and scientific community that all of those can be very effectual in minimizing or recovering from running injuries.

       Another injury prevention method that is very commonly recommended in the running community, but is actually contentious is stretching. While stretching is often recommended as a near obligation to avoid running injuries, the relevant medical literature does not represent as much of an agreement that it is effective. Some studies find that it is and some find that it really isn't helpful at all.

       A 2002 systematic review of 27 peer reviewed studies found that there was not enough evidence to support the claim that stretching was effective in injury prevention or soreness reduction. Most members of the running group of people find that the inconsistent study methods and the failure to establish proper controls and find proper stretching methods is the cause behind the conflicting studies, and stretching is in fact helpful, or at least not harmful.


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