If you’ve ever logged serious time as a runner—whether for general cardiovascular health or for marathon training—you’ve probably ended up enduring a period of time during which you were wracked by lower-back pain. It may have even been serious enough to cut short your running sessions, or at least persuade you to take some time off.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to combat running-related back pain and get back on the road, according to a new studyPDF download from Ohio State University: build up your core muscles.
In the study, researchers created computer models for eight healthy young adults that simulated running scenarios. The researchers then put the runners through sessions in which the deep core muscles—multifidus, quadratus lumborum, psoas, and deep fascicles of the erector spinae—were weakened all at the same time or individually.