PIM has been trying to provide great care to the athletes of Chicago (and beyond) for the past eight years. In doing so, we know just how special the endurance athletes in this city are!! Chicago houses one of the best marathons and biggest triathlons (when Lake Michigan cooperates) in the country!! We have people willing to train year- round (or sometimes in the same session) in the rain, shine, snow, sleet, humidity, and whatever else the Windy City loves to throw at you on a given day. But you don’t stop! The city of Big Shoulders is home to many fierce athletes who deserve the best support we can offer, which is why we have decided to develop the PIM Endurance Program. 

Whether performing for short or long distances, competitively or leisurely, our movement system is working hard! Think of the movement system as the interaction of our different body systems to create movement. All of these systems (and more) influence one another to impact performance of a given task. To paint a better picture, if we take a snapshot of each of these systems on a given run, they may be doing the following (but know they are doing much more than just than below):

The endocrine system includes our hormones – messengers, controllers, and coordinators of the body. Hormones work hard to regulate performance of our body systems – they influence our blood pressure, mood, metabolism, growth, and so much more!! Give credit to this system when you get the  feel-good “high” after working out.

Our cardiovascular system pumps blood to transport nutrients, oxygen, and hormones throughout the body, while removing wastes. You feel this system working when your heart is pounding after a hard workout.

The pulmonary system is in charge of the process of consuming oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. You may recognize this system working every time you breathe in or out. 

The nervous system is a complex system dedicated to coordinating action and sensory information by transmitting signals to and from the brain and different parts of the body. This is why you don’t always have to think through every step on a run, your nervous system is telling the body how to execute the task. 

The musculoskeletal system provides support, stability, and movement to the body through our bones, muscles, joints, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and other tissues. This one is pretty self-explanatory – but this is how your bones and organs get moved from the starting line to the finish line of a race. 

The integumentary system is what keeps all these other systems packaged together in the form that is you! This includes our skin, hair, nails, and exocrine glands. We know this system is working every time we have to wipe sweat off of our foreheads.

On top of these systems, our body (and consequently movement) is influenced by additional factors, such as our environment, nutrition, social interaction/support, and mental/emotional/intellectual/spiritual health. 

Overwhelmed yet?! To think all of this goes into how you run or swim is a lot! This should give you admiration for how incredible the body is, but also how much care and support may be required to take advantage of the gift of movement. We know at the end of the day, you want to live and move well enough to perform the daily activities and exercises you enjoy without having to figure out all this other stuff on your own. And that is where we like to think we can help. 

Stay tuned for our next post introducing the endurance program and how we hope we may be able to assist your athletic pursuits!


Author: Alex Uding, PT, DPT, PN1