How to Prevent the Most Common Running Injuries
Running is one of the most common types of exercising for busy people. They can install a treadmill in their home, or wake up early and do a quick run around the block before heading off to work. In many cases, casual runners are at risk for various types of injuries, from the runner’s knee to plantar fasciitis.
These injuries are usually caused by not warming up sufficiently, maintaining an incorrect posture and not following a routine for cooling down after a run. These small things can have a significant impact on the way your body holds up during a run.
So, what are the most efficient tactics to prevent these types of injuries? These quick tips will help you stay in shape, exercise correctly and prevent painful injury to your legs during your runs:
1. Add Strength Exercises
Running involves a lot of effort for your muscles – all your muscles. Your legs do not do all the work, but also your arms and your back. Keeping a good posture during running is critical and this requires trained muscles which can withstand intense effort.
You can build more strength through simple and easy exercises which you can do at home, such as:
Wall presses: standing with your left side next to a wall, bend your left knee at 90 degrees and then press the knee against the wall, without touching it with your shoulder. Hold the position, turn around and repeat with your right leg.
Single-leg balance: with one foot in the air, balance all your weight on the forefoot of the other leg (the heel should be in the air, as if you try to stand on your toes). Hold the pose for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Stability ball bridge: lying down, lift both legs and prop your ankles and calves on a stability ball. Lift up the arms until your body is parallel to the floor. Repeat the exercise until you can do it with ease and comfort.
2. Respect the 10 Percent Rule
You may feel tempted to increase the distance of your run from one day to another in order to increase your fitness and performance. However, the healthy rule for increasing running distance is 10 percent. Small increments will help your body adapt to more effort and longer-distance runs. In this way, you can achieve top performance without risking injuries and overtaxed muscles.
3. Change Your Running Shoes
Running shoes are not just there so that you do not run bare-footed. They are specifically designed to offer your ankle optimal support and help you maintain a correct stepping position during your run. As they become worn out with use, the running shoes stop being so efficient, causing you to strain your ankle tendons, or even sidestep and suffer a sprain.
This is why you should keep track of the total distance you run wearing a pair of shoes and change them before you reach 600 miles (965 km). Keeping several pair of shoes and using them in rotation is not such a great idea, because you will lose track of the actual distance you ran in each pair. Plus, once your feet become accustomed to a specific pair of shoes, changing them too frequently can negatively impact your stepping gait and posture.
4. Develop a Cool Down Routine
In school, your PE teacher used to remind you not to stop running suddenly, but slow down progressively. This is very wise advice which you should remember as you are about to finish your daily run. Your muscles are in full swing and stopping all effort suddenly will cause them a lot of harm, just like suddenly turning off a huge engine from maximum power.
So, instead of stopping, ease from running into a power walk, and then progressively ease down to regular walking. In this way, you will help your body unwind from the intense effort.
Remember: be kind to your body, listen to its signs and know your limitations, and you will be able to enjoy your daily run without risk of injury.