The Pain Free Athlete: Does it Hurt to Run and Play?

Jessica Kisiel

The Pain Free Athlete
Does it Hurt to Run and Play?

Sports and exercise shouldn’t hurt. For many of us, though, moving our bodies creates symptoms of pain.

Consequently, the circle of activities available to us shrinks and we move less. And the less we move, the harder it is to move, and the more it hurts when we try.
A downward spiral for our musculoskeletal health and function.

It is common to blame the activity for the pain. Running is the most common culprit. I recall my doctor telling me to never run again after my first knee surgery, “It’s too hard on the body and bad for your knees.”

Could it be that the human body is so fragile that running will inevitably result in injury? If you’ve read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall you may recall that the human body is ideally adapted to run and early bush men actually hunted by running down their dinner.

Has our sedentary lifestyle and the conveniences made possible by the Industrial Revolution changed our bodies so rapidly that we should not run?

No, our physical structure does not evolve through so few generations and we are still optimally designed for running. From a postural perspective, running best simulates ideal joint alignment and has the additional benefit of impact, which promotes joint stability and bone growth.

If it isn’t the activity, what’s causing the pain? Your body! If you go to run with a body like I had with one hip high, knees pointing inward, feet pointing outward and a rounded upper back and shoulders you can bet that your movement is compromised and in time you will hurt and in my case end up in surgery.

It is not the sport but the body you bring to the activity that makes you hurt. To help you improve your body position and keep playing, I’m offering free posture alignment exercises for many sports on my website. Visit and sign-up for my newsletter to receive your complimentary sports specific routine.

Jessica Kisiel M.S., is a Sports Alignment Coach helping athletes of all levels and ages eliminate pain and recover from injury enabling them to return to participation in their favorite activities. She conducts individual posture alignment therapy, sports coaching, group exercise classes and sports technique lessons and clinics. Contact her at 505.412.3132, or

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