GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– Physical activity such as running is proven to increase life expectancy and reduce the risk for chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7NEWS spoke with a physical therapist and a runner about a running analysis program that is designed to help everyone go the extra mile.

From 3 miles to 13 to 26 mile runs– it’s part of Heather Freeman’s lifestyle, but it has been a journey to running marathons.

“I started running in grade school. In college, I started running for more of a stress relief– 3 miles maximum mostly,” Freeman said.

Then, Freeman decided to take her casual hobby to the next level.

“This past year I decided I wanted to try to take on a half marathon,” Freeman said.

As Freeman was training for her first half marathon, she needed a little extra help reaching her goals. Freeman decided to visit a physical therapist for a running analysis. This helped to identify an ankle injury that hadn’t fully healed.

“As we run we may have injuries that happen. Our bodies are great at compensating and then they’ll start to show up in the run at some point. You may not perceive that until someone points it out in slow motion.”

Alex Volfson, Physical Therapist, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Physical therapist, Alex Volfson, said first you’ll go over your medical history and running goals. This is followed by a physical exam to test the strength in your feet, hips, and legs. Then, you’ll run on a treadmill for 10 to 20 minutes.

The entire running analysis process takes about an hour. It’s all recorded on video for you to review with the physical therapist.

“I usually sit down with the patient. We go frame by frame through the running analysis. Then, we will put it all together in summary for them saying “these are the things that we are seeing and maybe it’s contributing to your injury”. Then, we will go through some drills to work on those things,” Volfson said.

Not only did Freeman successfully run her first half marathon, but this past February, a full marathon too.

The best part is she’s been able to prevent new injuries.

“My time has gone down by almost like a whole minute per mile,” Freeman said.

Volfson said some patients are ready to run after one visit, while others return for multiple sessions.

If you’re interested in trying Bon Secours’ running analysis program in Greenville, SC, call (864)-400-3630 to make an appointment.

Also, learn about the orthopedic and sports medicine services offered at Bon Secours.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.