RunEASI wearable enables runners to train and rehabilitate more efficiently

The wearable is worn around the waist.

Being able to exercise without pain or injury: it’s every athlete’s dream as well as the goal of RunEASI, a new spin-off of KU Leuven. RunEASI’s wearable measures the impact experienced by runners and provides scientific feedback that can help them avoid and recover from injuries. The spin-off is supported by the Gemma Frisius Fund and the Freshmen investment fund.

Runners typically use a heart rate monitor, but this device does not offer insight into how the body responds to the impact caused by the feet landing on the ground. And yet, this impact is precisely what determines the risk of injuries. RunEASI – which originated from a collaboration between movement and computer scientists at KU Leuven – has therefore developed a wearable application that does assess these important parameters.

This is achieved using a sensor that is attached to the lower back with a belt and is connected to an app. The sensors measures the impact on the body while running and detects any movement compensations that may occur. The app provides feedback to improve the running pattern. RunEASI is the first application that can perform such an analysis and intervention in a scientifically validated and efficient way. The application will be available on the market as of mid-February 2021.

Stability, symmetry, impact

“We are trying to establish the link between the way in which someone runs, the associated impact loads, and the risk of injuries,” says Professor Benedicte Vanwanseele from the Human Movement Biomechanics unit at KU Leuven. “Three parameters are key to this: stability, symmetry, and impact.”

“Research has shown that trunk instability increases with a runner’s fatigue level. When this is combined with high impact loads, this creates a compensatory pattern that increases the risk of overuse injuries. Symmetry shows whether the impact is equally divided between left and right: after an injury, for instance, a runner may favour one leg without realising it. Last, but not least, the impact parameter shows how the body responds to the shocks that occur when the foot strikes the ground.”

“Our tool intervenes when the data show that the runner has a harmful running pattern,” says computer science professor Jesse Davis. “AI allows us to analyse when the body is exposed to the most severe impacts. This can depend on the surface, the pace, the duration of the training, the runner’s fatigue, and other factors. On the basis of this analysis, coaches and physiotherapists can proactively adjust the runners’ training.”

More insight and better support

“With RunEASI we want to help runners, whether it be professional or recreational ones, to achieve their goals with less risk of injury,” explain co-founders Kurt Schütte (CEO) and Tim Op De Beéck (CTO). “The way our sensor is attached is unique and was developed in cooperation with the orthopaedic experts at Steunzoolpunt. It enables us to measure our new movement metrics very efficiently and accurately. Physiotherapists can use this scientific analysis to better assess when someone is ready to resume training after an injury.”

“We strongly believe in digital tools that improve a person’s quality of life, and this ambition is also reflected in RunEASI,” says Steven Spittaels of the Freshmen investment fund. “It’s an application that, thanks to its scientific feedback, can be of great added value to runners and professional healthcare providers. Athletes obviously want to know how to stay injury free and we want to support RunEASI to help them achieve this.”

“We are extremely grateful for the belief and financial support of the Gemma Frisius Fund and Freshmen Fund,” responds CEO Kurt Schütte. “With their support, we can fulfil our mission and ambition to make the world run better.”

###

More information

The RunEASI wearable can be pre-ordered and will be available as of mid-February 2021. Check the website for further information: runeasi.ai

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Study reveals physical demands of two-hour marathon

Some of the elites runners were tested at Exeter Arena

Press release:

Elite runners need a specific combination of physiological abilities to have any chance of running a sub-two-hour marathon, new research shows.

The study is based on detailed testing of athletes who took part in Nike’s Breaking2 project – an ambitious bid to break the two-hour barrier.

Professor Andrew Jones, of the University of Exeter, said the findings reveal that elite marathon runners must have a “perfect balance” of VO2 max (rate of oxygen uptake), efficiency of movement and a high “lactate turn point” (above which the body experiences more fatigue).

The VO2 measured among elite runners shows they can take in oxygen twice as fast at marathon pace as a “normal” person of the same age could while sprinting flat-out.

“Some of the results – particularly the VO2 max – were not actually as high as we expected,” Professor Jones said.

“Instead, what we see in the physiology of these runners is a perfect balance of characteristics for marathon performance.

“The requirements of a two-hour marathon have been extensively debated, but the actual physiological demands have never been reported before.”

The runners in the study included Eliud Kipchoge, who took part in Breaking2 – falling just short of the two-hour target – but later achieving the goal in 1:59:40.2 in the Ineos 1:59 challenge.

Based on outdoor running tests on 16 athletes in the selection stage of Breaking2, the study found that a 59kg runner would need to take in about four litres of oxygen per minute (or 67ml per kg of weight per minute) to maintain two-hour marathon pace (21.1 km/h).

“To run for two hours at this speed, athletes must maintain what we call ‘steady-state’ VO2,” Professor Jones said.

“This means they meet their entire energy needs aerobically (from oxygen) – rather than relying on anaerobic respiration, which depletes carbohydrate stores in the muscles and leads to more rapid fatigue.”

In addition to VO2 max, the second key characteristic is running “economy”, meaning the body must use oxygen efficiently – both internally and through an effective running action.

The third trait, lactate turn point, is the percentage of VO2 max a runner can sustain before anaerobic respiration begins.

“If and when this happens, carbohydrates in the muscles are used at a high rate, depleting glycogen stores,” Professor Jones explained.

“At this point – which many marathon runners may know as ‘the wall’ – the body has to switch to burning fat, which is less efficient and ultimately means the runner slows down.

“The runners we studied – 15 of the 16 from East Africa – seem to know intuitively how to run just below their ‘critical speed’, close to the ‘lactate turn point’ but never exceeding it.

“This is especially challenging because – even for elite runners – the turn point drops slightly over the course of a marathon.

“Having said that, we suspect that the very best runners in this group, especially Eliud Kipchoge, show remarkable fatigue resistance.”

The testing, conducted in Exeter and at Nike’s performance centre in Oregon, USA, provided a surprising experience for a group of amateur runners in the UK.

“We tested 11 of the 16 runners at Exeter Arena a few years ago,” Professor Jones said.

“Some local runners were there at the time, and it was a real eye-opener for them when a group of the world’s best athletes turned up.

“The elite runners were great – they even joined in with the local runners and helped to pace their training.”

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Global Leader In Recovery Footwear, OOFOS, Accepts The American Podiatric Medical Association Seal Of Acceptance Across All Products

The Seal of Acceptance Further Establishes the Brand as a Leader and Innovator in the Footwear Industry

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BRAINTREE, Mass., Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — OOFOS, the global leader in recovery footwear, announces today its full line of products has earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, further solidifying them as a pioneer and leader within the recovery footwear category.

The APMA Seal of Acceptance Program recognizes products that have been found to be beneficial to foot health and of significant value when used consistently in a daily foot care program. OOFOS’ full collection is among these products, as all OOFOS styles were found by the committee to promote good foot health, further establishing the therapeutic and health benefits of the brand’s shoes. In receiving the Seal of Acceptance from the APMA, customers and physicians alike are assured that upon purchasing a pair of shoes from OOFOS, they are receiving a product that is of exceptional quality and is manufactured with the consumer’s comfort and well-being in mind.

“This is a huge moment for our brand. It reinforces prior research findings and the benefits of our unique foam technology, which is designed specifically for relief and recovery,” says Steve Gallo, President of OOFOS. “Our mission at OOFOS has always been ‘to make yOO feel better’ and this seal of acceptance by the APMA provides expert validation that our shoes make a difference in the health and wellbeing of our customers day in and day out.”

Made with proprietary OOfoam® technology, OOFOS shoes absorb 37% more impact than traditional foam footwear materials for the perfect blend of cushion and stability, based on a 2018 University of Virginia laboratory study.

The use of the proprietary technology in conjunction with their patented footbed allows the shoes to cradle and support the foot’s arches for more even distribution of pressure across the sole of the foot. The combination has also shown to reduce energy exertion in the ankles by up to 47% when compared to traditional footwear. The APMA committee has further championed this technology through review of the research the brand has done on these footwear components, how the products interact with the human body and the benefits consumers receive compared to traditional footwear.

This seal is just the latest example of how OOFOS is helping yOO recover and feel better with every step. In addition to the APMA Seal of Acceptance, thousands of consumer reviews online rave about the footwear’s positive impact on their lives, including relief of pain due to ailments, bringing comfort to long working hours and maintaining body health for professional athletes. 

“These are the most comfortable slides I’ve ever worn in my life,” says OOFOS brand partner and Pro-Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders. This is coming from a dude who is 52, has had three toe surgeries, and is in need of a 4th, these shoes changed the game for me!”

About OOFOS
OOFOS is the global leader in recovery footwear, founded by a team of industry veterans looking to help runners and fitness enthusiasts recover better from their workouts. Made with revolutionary OOfoam™ technology, OOFOS are designed to absorb 37% more impact than traditional footwear. They reduce stress on joints to keep anyone, of any activity level, feeling their best. From professional athletes to casual walkers, OOFOS footwear will make your hard-working feet and body feel better – all you have to do is feel the OO. 

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