When you invest time and energy in a new activity, you want to continue doing it for as long as possible. Unfortunately, many people cannot sustain their initial enthusiasm for running or other activities because of the toll it takes on their bodies. Injury is the most common reason people stop exercising or switch to another activity. This is especially true for runners prone to specific running injuries caused by repetitive motion and impact on hard surfaces. Almost half of all runners will experience some running injury during any given year. Below are three tips for preventing running injuries:
1. Stretch Before and After Running
Stretching is extremely important both before and after running. Before stretching, warm up with a light aerobic activity like jogging or walking. This will increase blood flow to the muscles and joints, preparing the body for more intense exercise. Stretching before running will help you avoid tightness and injury by increasing flexibility and improving posture. You can focus on areas that tend to be tight for most people, such as the calves, hamstrings, hips, and lower back. Stretching after running will help you reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. 10-15 minutes of gentle stretching after a run will do the trick.
2. Choose The Right Shoes
Most runners will experience an injury at some point in their running careers. While the best way to prevent these injuries is to strengthen your muscles and improve your form, proper shoes are also important. Any shoe you wear should fit your foot type and running style appropriately. Visit a shoe store to find the best-fitting pair for you. Many people also like to wear inserts or special footwear for running that helps with pronation. A good pair of running shoes will provide extra cushioning and support for hard impacts, helping you avoid injury. Wear worn-out or old shoes, as they lose their support and soften over time. Instead, replace your running shoes every 250-500 miles or when they start to feel worn out.
3. Run Smart
Running is a great exercise, but you should never forget that it can be a high-impact activity. This means that your foot hits the ground at a high rate of speed and force with every step you take. If you’re not careful, this impact can cause injury. Therefore, when running, it’s essential to land mid- or forefoot, not on the heel. It would help if you also avoided overstriding, which is when you land too far ahead of your body. You should also make sure to breathe while you run. These things will help you avoid injury and ensure you get the most out of your running sessions.
Running can be an excellent activity for your body and mind, but taking care of your body is essential. Running can be very hard on your joints and muscles, so you should stretch regularly and use plenty of ice if you notice any pain or soreness while running. Investing in quality running shoes that fit your feet properly and provide arch support is also essential. If you follow these tips, you should be able to avoid most running injuries and continue to run for years to come.