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  • Injury-Proof Your Running
    By taking the right precautions while running, you can reduce your risk of injury and stay on the roads for years to come. Here are a few to keep in mind each time you lace up. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Injury-Proof Your Running

Are you a runner? Take these steps to avoid injury and stay on your feet.

Because of its nature, running is a workout that comes with a greater risk of injury. A high-impact exercise, running places extra pressure and stress on your joints, ligaments, and tendons each time your feet pound the pavement. However, running and other high-impact workouts are some of the most effective forms of exercise to burn calories, strengthen bones, build muscle, and improve heart and lung health. So including running in your routine is a great way to maximize your health.

You’ll just want to be careful. By taking the right precautions while running, you can reduce your risk of injury and stay on the roads for years to come. Here are a few to keep in mind each time you lace up.

Wear the Right Shoe

As your feet pound the pavement, the right shoe can help absorb some of the shock. A properly fitted shoe can also improve your running form. The type of shoe you need may depend on what type of running you’re doing—whether you’re cross-training for another sport, racing, or going for long or short distances. While you may think a running shoe is a running shoe, there’s not one type of shoe that’s best for all. To give your feet the advantage, have a professional shoe retailer measure your foot and foot placement to help you decide which shoe is right for you.

Increase Strength

A strong, fit body is your best defense against runner’s injuries. Many running injuries can be traced back to muscle imbalances or weaknesses. When your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are strong, they’re better able to lessen the impact, improve and maintain form, and keep a consistent gait when you start to feel fatigue. No matter what type of running you prefer, adding strength training exercises to your workout routine guards against common injuries.

Use Proper Form

Is there a proper way to run or is it based on individual style? Probably a bit of both. Either way, to avoid injury you’ll need to maintain good posture and run with proper stride. Without proper posture, excess stress is placed on your knees and back. Proper stride includes how your arms swing, how your feet strike the ground, the number of times your feet hit the ground each minute, and your stride width. Get coaching on proper running form to prevent injury.

Listen to Your Body

If you ever feel pain while running, you need to stop immediately. Running through pain will only make a small injury become large injuries. In most cases, serious injuries start out small. You may feel a slight ache, soreness, or discomfort. It’s in these early stages that you need to rest for several days and determine out what’s causing your pain. If possible, cross-train in the meantime and ease back into running when the pain is completely gone.

Choose a Level Surface

Running on the same side of the road for every workout can have a negative effect on your back, hips, and feet. Since the road is slightly angled, one foot will hit the ground at a lower level than the other, placing more stress on one side of your body. To avoid this problem, run on a level surface such as a track, a paved walking path, or treadmill. Running on trails or other uneven terrain can also put you at risk for injury.

Cross Train

To give your body a break from pounding the pavement, plan to do another exercise besides running at least one day a week. If you’re prone to frequent running-related injuries, cross-train more often. Try cycling, swimming, rowing, or elliptical training to stay in shape, build muscle, and burn calories.