There are more than 65 million runners and joggers in the U.S., 80 percent of which will experience some degree of discomfort from their chosen mode of exercise. The most common complaint among runners is lower back pain, closely followed by knee pain. The overwhelming benefits of running, however, keeps people engaged in the activity. It is possible to reduce running-related injuries by adopting a preventive regimen of sufficient warm up, ample hydration and proper footwear.
Don’t Run Cold
A recent study on warming up before exercise and cooling down afterward showed improved performance in nearly 80 percent of the subjects. The practice can also help prevent injuries by increasing oxygen levels in muscles before exercising, making them more pliable and less susceptible to pulls and tears. Muscles and tendons can become constricted from sitting down all day or after sleeping all night. A warm up serves to gradually stretch them.
It is possible to lose up to 12 ounces of water every 20 minutes from exercise. Dehydration lowers mental and physical performance. This can lead to injury due to lower reaction time and impaired judgment. Stay sharp and on top of your game by properly hydrating before exercise and sufficiently replenishing lost fluids afterward.
Be Sweet to Your Feet
Proper footwear that provides sufficient cushion and stability is a key element in injury prevention. Specific conditions such as high arches, flat feet and inconsistent foot size play important roles in how individual feet respond to running. You should have each foot measured and the physiology assessed by a podiatrist to determine if you overpronate or supinate. Overpronation is when your foot over-flattens and rolls inward as you run. Supination occurs when the high arch of the foot causes it to roll outward when you run. Both instances can lead to injuries, yet both can be corrected with proper footwear tailored to correct the specific condition.
Enjoy the physical and mental benefits of jogging with the right preparation. Thoroughly warming up, staying hydrated and choosing the right footwear allows you to hit the trail with the vitality and vigor to stay the course.