By Angelina Stevens
I have always had a little bit of a wild streak in me. The idea of pushing the limits a little goes back to age 3 when I insisted that my pink twirly skirt could only yield its proper magical powers if it was worn everyday climbing trees, swinging from our rope swing out back and of course wrestling with my big brother Josh. A year later I reluctantly retired the tattered brown rag for proper clothes for preschool and was not happy about it. As an adult, I am learning the balance between pushing my own limits and what is really important in life, which includes true love, living in joy, and being my authentic wild self. Last year I decided to take a year off from one of my true joys, running, after a pesky hamstring tear and have since reinvented my running and myself by going off road.
Born to Be Healthy
Our bodies innately want to be well. My job in holistic health is to help others identify the interferences to their health and to create ways to assist the body in healing without drugs, surgery, or other intrusive methods. The most common running injuries we treat in our clinics include hamstring tears, piriformis syndrome, Iliotibial Band syndrome, plantar fascitis, and hip and knee pain. So why is pavement running so detrimental to our bodies? The hard pounding on our bodies while running has created a demand for orthotics, cushion shoes, and heel and arch supports. As necessary as they are for running on hard surfaces, our bodies have lost the ability to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the feet and lower legs that prevent injuries of the hips, back, and knees.
Born to Run
When you take it off road, your body must negotiate roots, rocks, and sharp changes in directions which helps strengthen muscles that you never access during pavement runs. You also get the added benefit of soft padding provided by mother nature with no cars, pollution or traffic lights. It is also very easy to turn off the stress meter and monkey chatter while bounding over creeks and making sure the roots I am hopping over aren't wild snakes. Proper trail shoes or the popular minimalist shoes that simulate barefoot running prevent ankle rolling and increase foot awareness and flexibility over rocks and roots.
Born to Be Wild
So this month, I challenge you to take your running, walking or biking to the trail. You might find yourself lost in the child like awe of the wild, or just taking a breather from the rat race. Either way, every time you do something different, it creates new and unique pathways in your brain that forever changes who you are. And with that, everyday I can simulate my magical twirly skirt powers that make waking up in the morning so much fun.
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