II MEF Marines have workout options

28 Aug 2006 | Pfc. Christopher D. Lyttle

They are seen and heard every weekday morning; Marines chanting cadence calls in rhythm as formations double-time along moderate hills and long stretches of road. Running can seem like the most common exercise activity among Marines.

In order to prevent a potential burnout, Marines should apply several types of workout plans as well as different approaches to running.

“Generally, an avid runner should only run three to four days a week,” said Tina M. Brooks, lead personal trainer of the Health and Fitness Division, Marine Corps Community Services. “You want to avoid injuries that occur by overtraining or having bad footwear.”

Brooks explained proper shoe fit is important for running, as well as understanding how long a shoe will last.

“A good pair of running shoes should last you about 500 miles,” she said. “You can get your feet assessed at the exchange on base and they’ll find the best fit. The wrong shoe size is an invitation to injuries such as shin splints or lower back problems,” she added.

Petty Officer 1st Class Brett W. Staib, the independent duty corpsman at II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, frequently treats sports injuries from overworked muscle groups.

“Patello-femoral syndrome, or knee pain, can occur from too much running. The iliotibial band, or ITB strain, is also common when you run the same routine,” he said.

Staib encourages runners to stretch properly before and after exercising, working to improve running form and occasionally changing routes.

“Change your running style into longer, slower runs. If you routinely run the same path every day with a hill that puts more stress on your right knee, it will certainly give you problems in the future,” said Staib.

For those not so enthused about the regular outdoor jog, other group programs are scheduled weekly at several MCCS facilities.

“Group exercises like Pilates strengthen and elongate muscles. Spin classes simulate mountain biking, and water aerobics provide lower impact than road running,” Brooks mentioned.

Brooks also recommends filling out a health questionnaire and being assigned a personal trainer, which is free to all active duty members. Marines can be evaluated on their overall health to find out what fitness program is right for them.

To register for fitness assessments and personal training, call 910-451-0471 or visit the personal training office at the French Creek or Tarawa Terrace Fitness Centers.