4 Tips for Preventing Running Injuries

4 Tips for Preventing Running Injuries

Are you interested in taking up running as a new form of exercise and a means for stress relief? Good for you. Before you dive right in, however, here are a few great tips to ensure that you have a smooth, injury-free start to your fitness journey. 

Buy the right shoes 

Running can take a significant toll on your joints, especially if you are running on the road or any other hard surface. Without adequate support, cushioning, and shock absorption from your shoes, you are likely to wind up with a common running injury known as ‘shin splints’. 

This injury is caused by the overuse of the muscles and tendons along the shin bone, which can come from intensifying your workouts too quickly, neglecting to stretch beforehand, or from wearing the incorrect footwear. Running with shin splints is painful and can have a drastic impact on your performance. Therefore, do your best to avoid them at all costs.  

Stretch 

As already mentioned, forgetting to stretch before a run can result in shin splints. However, that is not the only possible injury to befall you if you neglect to loosen your muscles before working up a sweat. You could wind up with hamstring problems, Achilles tendonitis, runner’s knee, pulled muscles, and more. Stretching helps extend your range of motion and to warm up the body so that the risk of any damage taking place is greatly reduced. Focus on stretching for at least 15 minutes before hitting the road, paying specific attention to your calves and hamstrings. 

It is also recommended that you stretch after your workout to prevent the muscles and tendons from tightening. 

Take it slow 

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Just like with any other type of physical training, it is vital that you listen to your body when starting a running routine. It takes time to build up fitness, and simply throwing yourself into a grueling schedule is a recipe for severe injury right off the bat. For most, it is a good idea to start off with a brisk walk a few times a week and gradually increase the speed and length as their endurance and fitness levels improve. If you need a bit of help in terms of structuring your running routine when you first start out, it can be extremely beneficial to consult with a personal trainer. 

Strengthen your feet 

You would be amazed at how lazy and weak the muscles in our feet become when we spend a lengthy portion of our lives remaining relatively inactive. When the feet are weakened, they cannot provide the rest of our bodies with sufficient support, hence the reason why so many beginner runners wind up with injuries shortly after starting out. 

Luckily, you can avoid this by taking time to focus on strengthening your feet. It is most essential to strengthen the arch, which is crucial to proper foot support. A simple exercise that can assist with this is using your toes to drag a towel or item of clothing on the floor closer to you. However, a podiatrist or physical therapist can give you a lot more foot exercises to do regularly if you struggle with a weak arch. You might also want to look into arch supports/foot orthotics for your shoes. 

Now that you know how to prevent injury, you can enjoy every run to the maximum! 

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