How Endurance Athletes Can Avoid Losing Steam When Injured
This post is adapted from the article on US News and World Report: “How a Boom in ‘Endurance Sports’ Is Changing Medicine”
As the popularity of endurance sports continues to rise, the need to provide rehabilitation and prevention programs designed specifically for them will too. The term “endurance sport,” as its name implies, refers to sports that require prolonged athletic output over an extended distance or time, such as marathons, triathlons, track and field distance events, or cycling events.
Clinicians who treat athletes are beginning to find that the needs of these endurance athletes are much different than those of other sports. No athlete WANTS to miss games or practices due to an injury, major or minor. However, research is indicating that there is a much greater detriment to endurance athletes who miss training. According to the article, missing just 12 days of training for an endurance athlete causes enzymes in the blood that are indicative of endurance performance to drop a staggering 50%. Therefore, the concept of “just resting” to heal minor aches and pains does not always benefit endurance athletes.
That’s not to say they should just push through the pain! In fact, it is important to get aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later to help prevent larger issues or major injuries. Thankfully, there are new philosophies in cross-training and rehabilitation that can provide a happy medium, helping the body to rest and recover but that do not undo months or years of training. Part of this training includes water therapy using aquatic technology that can provide the right amount of cardiovascular and strength training without increasing the risk of greater injury. Whether recovering from a muscle pull, stress fracture or joint surgery, aquatic therapy with an underwater treadmill can provide an ideal environment to remove the effects of gravity while continuing to train. Using an underwater treadmill gives athletes the ability to mimic their land running at 20-80% of their actual body weight. Additionally, underwater cameras can help to assess a runner’s gait and identify ways in which they can improve to even prevent injury.
For more tips on underwater treadmill running and how it can be used for endurance athletes, download the book “Underwater Treadmill Running” by Alberto Salazar and Dr. Dennis Dolny>>