Focus On: Aqua Running
Aqua running comes in many forms and can be a great asset to runners of all levels either as part of a training program, to up weekly mileage or to keep active and maintain fitness levels while recovering from injury.
When gearing up for endurance running events such as half marathons, marathons, triathlons, and ultra-marathons, it’s important to stay healthy and injury-free during your training. Whether you’re an elite runner, recreational runner, a weekend warrior, or even a couch potato, anyone can fall victim to an injury. Injuries are painful and limiting, and can take days, weeks or even months to heal, and even then it may come back again.
Aqua Running provides a means to help prevent injury and also to help maintain and improve fitness levels while injuries heal.
You can view videos of aqua running in action on our dedicated aqua running page at: http://www.aqua-physio.co.uk/aqua-running
Running injuries are typically either due to overuse, such as stress/impact responses, or acute injuries such as sprains or fractures. From research, it is believed that within any 12 month period up to 70% of all runners will get injured, over 80% of these injuries occurring from the hips down, and an overwhelming majority of these stemming from overuse.
Aqua-jogging/running uses the same muscles and energy systems that you would on land but with much less or no impact. In our pool we are able to control the percentage of your bodyweight you offload, as well as how much impact and resistance you will experience during your workout. The following methods are some of the main ways we achieve this using our state-of-the-art equipment.
Deep water running
This is by far the most popular method of aquatic running in our pool. A technique that closely replicates running motion on land but without your feet touching the floor which vastly reduces the load applied to the body. By simulating a good running action with the help of buoyancy suits and aqua-jogging shoes this allows you to improve run fitness levels and strengthen running specific muscles without placing high levels of stress on your soft tissues, bones and joints.
Plyometric pad running into current
This involves running on a down sloping underwater plyometric pad whilst leaning into a constant stream of water which holds you in position. When your body is submerged to the top of your shoulders your body weight is reduced by approximately 90% through buoyancy offloading, which vastly reduces the ground reaction forces associated with running on land.
Shallow water running
Running in waist deep water reduces body weight by approximately 50-60% and allows for some faster drill work and gives a method to start reintroducing some more loading to the body as recovery progresses.
We have an underwater treadmill which is propelled by the user running into a constant flow of water. Body weight is reduced by 50-60% and therefore ground reaction forces are reduced and spread more evenly, ideal for the injured athlete.
While Aqua-running is often used as a low or non-impact form of maintaining fitness perhaps during injury, it can stand on its own for achieving excellent fitness and cardiovascular results. Running in water is a total body exercise that works your legs, core and upper body, and also gives your cardiovascular system a thorough workout too. Jogging on land for 30 minutes will burn around 200 calories whereas the same length of time aqua-jogging will burn around 350 calories. This makes aqua-jogging a fantastic exercise to include as part of a an all round wellbeing program.
Some interesting resources on running injuries and aqua running: