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Propulsion continues until the leg is extended behind the body and toe off occurs. Most recent research, particularly regarding the footstrike debate, has focused solely on the absorption phases for injury identification and prevention purposes. The propulsion phase of running involves the movement beginning at midstance until toe off. As the hip extensors change from reciporatory inhibitors to primary muscle movers, the lower extremity is brought back toward the ground, although aided greatly by the stretch reflex and gravity.
This phase can be only a continuation of momentum from the stretch reflex reaction to hip flexion, gravity and light hip extension with a heel strike, which does little to provide force absorption through the ankle joint. Hip extension pulls the ground underneath the body, thereby pulling the runner forward. During midstance, the knee should be in some degree of knee flexion due to elastic loading from the absorption and footstrike phases to preserve forward momentum.
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All three joints perform the final propulsive movements during toe-off. At the same time, the knee flexors and stretch reflex pull the knee back into flexion, adding to a pulling motion on the ground and beginning the initial swing phase. The hip extensors extend to maximum, adding the forces pulling and pushing off of the ground. The movement and momentum generated by the hip extensors also contributes to knee flexion and the beginning of the initial swing phase.
Initial swing is the response of both stretch reflexes and concentric movements to the propulsion movements of the body. Hip flexion and knee flexion occur beginning the return of the limb to the starting position and setting up for another footstrike. Initial swing ends at midswing, when the limb is again directly underneath the trunk, pelvis and hip with the knee joint flexed and hip flexion continuing. Terminal swing then begins as hip flexion continues to the point of activation of the stretch reflex of the hip extensors.
The knee begins to extend slightly as it swings to the anterior portion of the body. The foot then makes contact with the ground with footstrike, completing the running cycle of one side of the lower extremity. Each limb of the lower extremity works opposite to the other. As the footstrike of the one hand occurs, initial swing continues. The opposing limbs meet with one in midstance and midswing, beginning the propulsion and terminal swing phases. Upper extremity function serves mainly in providing balance in conjunction with the opposing side of the lower extremity.
It mainly serves as a balance point from which the limbs are anchored. Thus trunk motion should remain mostly stable with little motion except for slight rotation as excessive movement would contribute to transverse motion and wasted energy. It has been shown that heel striking is generally associated with higher rates of injury and impact due to inefficient shock absorption and inefficient biomechanical compensations for these forces.
Since bones cannot disperse forces easily, the forces are transmitted to other parts of the body, including ligaments, joints and bones in the rest of the lower extremity all the way up to the lower back. Excessive amounts of compensation over time have been linked to higher risk of injuries in those joints as well as the muscles involved in those motions. However, even among elite athletes there are variations in self selected footstrike types. This brings up the question as to how heel striking elite distance runners are able to keep up such high paces with a supposedly inefficient and injurious foot strike technique.
Biomechanical factors associated with elite runners include increased hip function, use and stride length over recreational runners. The hip extensors and hip extension have been linked to more powerful knee extension during toe-off, which contributes to propulsion. Leaning forward places a runner's center of mass on the front part of the foot, which avoids landing on the heel and facilitates the use of the spring mechanism of the foot.
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It also makes it easier for the runner to avoid landing the foot in front of the center of mass and the resultant braking effect. This helps prevent injury as long as the body is neither rigid nor tense. The most common running mistakes are tilting the chin up and scrunching shoulders. Exercise physiologists have found that the stride rates are extremely consistent across professional runners, between and steps per minute.
The main difference between long- and short-distance runners is the length of stride rather than the rate of stride. During running, the speed at which the runner moves may be calculated by multiplying the cadence steps per second by the stride length. Running is often measured in terms of pace  in minutes per mile or kilometer. Different types of stride are necessary for different types of running. When sprinting, runners stay on their toes bringing their legs up, using shorter and faster strides.
Long distance runners tend to have more relaxed strides that vary. While there exists the potential for injury while running just as there is in any sport , there are many benefits. Some of these benefits include potential weight loss , improved cardiovascular and respiratory health reducing the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases , improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced total blood cholesterol , strengthening of bones and potentially increased bone density , possible strengthening of the immune system and an improved self-esteem and emotional state.
Although an optimal amount of vigorous aerobic exercise such as running might bring benefits related to lower cardiovascular disease and life extension, an excessive dose e. Running can assist people in losing weight, staying in shape and improving body composition. Research suggests that the person of average weight will burn approximately calories per mile run. For new runners, it takes time to get into shape.
The key is consistency and a slow increase in speed and distance. If a runner is gasping for breath or feels exhausted while running, it may be beneficial to slow down or try a shorter distance for a few weeks. If a runner feels that the pace or distance is no longer challenging, then the runner may want to speed up or run farther. Running can also have psychological benefits, as many participants in the sport report feeling an elated, euphoric state, often referred to as a " runner's high ".
In animal models, running has been shown to increase the number of newly created neurons within the brain. A recent study published in Cell Metabolism has also linked running with improved memory and learning skills. Running is an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and tension. It helps people who struggle with seasonal affective disorder by running outside when it's sunny and warm.
Running can improve mental alertness and also improves sleep, which is needed for good mental health. Both research and clinical experience have shown that exercise can be a treatment for serious depression and anxiety even some physicians prescribe exercise to most of their patients. Running can have a longer lasting effect than anti-depressants. Many injuries are associated with running because of its high-impact nature. Change in running volume may lead to development of patellofemoral pain syndrome , iliotibial band syndrome , patellar tendinopathy , plica syndrome , and medial tibial stress syndrome.
Change in running pace may cause Achilles Tendinitis , gastrocnemius injuries, and plantar fasciitis. Runners generally attempt to minimize these injuries by warming up before exercise,  focusing on proper running form, performing strength training exercises, eating a well balanced diet, allowing time for recovery, and "icing" applying ice to sore muscles or taking an ice bath. Some runners may experience injuries when running on concrete surfaces.
The problem with running on concrete is that the body adjusts to this flat surface running, and some of the muscles will become weaker, along with the added impact of running on a harder surface. Therefore, it is advised [ by whom? This is more unstable ground and allows the legs to strengthen different muscles.
Runners should be wary of twisting their ankles on such terrain. Running downhill also increases knee stress and should, therefore, be avoided. Reducing the frequency and duration can also prevent injury.
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Barefoot running has been promoted as a means of reducing running related injuries,  but this remains controversial and a majority of professionals advocate the wearing of appropriate shoes as the best method for avoiding injury. Another common, running-related injury is chafing , caused by repetitive rubbing of one piece of skin against another, or against an article of clothing. One common location for chafe to occur is the runner's upper thighs. The skin feels coarse and develops a rash-like look. A variety of deodorants and special anti-chafing creams are available to treat such problems.
Chafe is also likely to occur on the nipple. There are a variety of home remedies that runners use to deal with chafing while running such as band-aids and using grease to reduce friction.
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