Can you stand on one leg? Go ahead, try it. I’ll wait. Are you leaning to the side, waving your arms around, and wondering when your balance became so bad? If so, you are not alone. You may be thinking to yourself, I am running, why does it matter if my balance is bad?
Running is a form of gait in which at any given time you only have one foot on the ground or have both of your feet suspended in the air. If you not able to balance on one foot while standing still, you are likely putting yourself at risk for injury as you are barrelling down Delaware Ave at six miles per hour.
If you noticed that you had a difficult time standing on one leg, chances are that you lack hip control and stability. Basically, your butt is weak (that’s right, I said it). As we stand on one foot, our lateral (side) of hip muscles activate, keeping us upright. Running does not strengthen these lateral hip muscles. Add in our normal daily routine of sitting at a desk, and our hips tend to lack the proper strength needed while running.
Improving your glut strength will not only reduce the chance of an injury but will also improve your running efficiency. Think about it. The less energy your body expends trying to keep upright, the more energy you have to run faster. Check out the video below for running specific balance exercises.