Most anyone can use running as a means to get fit, lose weight, and stay healthy. But with this high participation rate and due to the ease with which anyone can engage in it, running-related injuries are common. According to a study by Sports Medicine Australia, almost 70 percent of runners will injure themselves at least once a year. So what can runners do to keep themselves from joining this statistic? Take some simple precautions and make sure to provide your body with aftercare.
Here are 5 tips to help keep running ailments at bay:
Wear the right shoe.
It all starts here. Pains in the knee and shin—blisters, too—can be avoided by wearing the right shoe. But it is not one-size-fits-all. There are three main feet types: feet with high arches, flat feet, and normal feet (the arch is not high, but neither is the foot flat). There are shoes specifically tailored to these feet types. Visit a shoe store and explain what you are looking for. Once you are in the right section, try on several pairs. The fit should feel as if the shoe is part of your body. Making sure your feet are correctly shod will go far in keeping pains and injuries away.
A common cause of injury to a runner’s body is from overtraining. Running distances that you are either unused to, or taxing your body too heavily without enough time for your body to recover. A rule that many experts tout is to increase your running distance only by 10 percent per week. For example, 10 miles the first week, 11 miles the second week, and so on. But of course, this is not a surefire method for avoiding injury, and you may need a more moderate increase per week. Remember, your body needs time to adjust to the physical demands you place on it.
Strengthen your whole body.
One easy way that you can injure yourself is through a muscle imbalance. What does that mean? It means that your body will use whatever muscles it perceives as the strongest, even when that muscle might not be the correct muscle for the job. Running activates the hip muscles, not just the thighs and calves. The stronger your body is as a whole, the less prone you will be to injuries due to muscle imbalances. Include exercises into your fitness routine that strengthen your hip muscles and your core.
Get a massage.
As you run, your muscles contract and tighten. If you don’t focus on loosening up after a run, you could be lining yourself up for injury. Why? Muscles that are too tight block your body’s ability to use counterpart muscles well. Your body then turns to another muscle group to share the load, which puts stress on muscle groups not made for that movement. Massage is an effective way to prevent muscle tightness in runners and keep all your muscles working as they should.
Use the R.I.C.E. method.
Need advice for if you are currently faced with a sprain or an ankle injury? According to WebMD, you should try R.I.C.E.
- Rest. Don’t keep running.
- Ice. Place ice on the afflicted area.
- Compression. Wrapping the injured area can help the swelling to decrease.
- Elevation. Elevate the afflicted area at an angle above your heart to help decease swelling.
Running has a host of benefits and is one of the most widely used fitness activities across the globe. Marathons, obstacle races, mud runs, and more showcase our ever-growing love for this sport. And running is something you can continue to do even in your 90s. But only if you take proper care of your body.
Running is not without risk of injury. Smart runners will implement strategies that combat risks common to runners. And taking these simple steps listed here will keep you running for years to come.