Top 5 Expert Tips to Prevent Running Injuries and How to Recover
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Running is a great form of cardio that works the overall body and improves our physical and mental health - high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, running can help alleviate or reduce the risk of such ailments. Running seems like an easy activity to get into right? Just lace up, and go! But did you know that there are many running related injuries due to neglect and lack of information? Allow us to get you up to speed! Here are 5 ways to prevent running injuries as well as how to recover from them.
1. Wear Proper Running Shoes
There has been a hot debate between running barefoot and running with shoes for a while now. The largest difference between the two is that people who run in shoes tend to land heel first compared to those without. Barefoot runners typically land on the balls of their feet greatly reducing impact as they strike the ground. However, people who need arch support or have other foot issues would need to wear proper shoes to protect their feet and legs from running injuries. Also, it isn’t a bad idea to shield your feet from sharp objects on the ground and from our harsh weather elements.
2. Warm Up and Stretch
Many of us are either too lazy or can’t be bothered to warm up and stretch before running. But did you know that just by spending a little bit of time and effort to warm up and stretch would significantly reduce the chances of lower leg injuries like ankle sprains, muscle cramps, and muscle tears? It is important to ‘oil’ your muscles by stretching and loosening before you hit the pavement so they are well prepped for the activity giving you less pain and better performance.
3. Don’t Run Too Much Too Soon. Build Strength and Endurance Gradually
It is always exciting to go back to running after a long hiatus or take it up as a new sports routine. We would be rearing to go and run 5km, 10km or even 20km to start! But hold your horses! Increasing mileage too quickly will lead you to developing overuse injuries such as stress fractures. Always start slow and easy, and build up your mileage gradually. A good rule of thumb to follow is to start off with a comfortable distance and build 10% each week.
4. Don’t Run Every Day
Counterintuitive, we know. We’ve always been told that practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better you are at a certain skill. However, our body is a living entity and it also requires time to rest and rebuild itself from the strain that excessive running can do to our feet, ankles, legs and knees. Take one or two days off and even mix in some cross-training to build endurance and promote healing. For example, swimming is a great form of cross-training as it is low impact and allows the joints to recover from a hard run. It also builds lung capacity, meaning you can run longer and harder! Win-win!
5. Use Ankle Support to Prevent Ankle Sprains
We’ve talked about the importance of warming up and stretching before running to reduce risks of ankle sprains in point number 3. However, if you’ve been injured before and require further support, ankle supports would be a good option. It helps you run worry-free and enhances your running performance by supporting your ankle and keeping it in place.
Also, if you happen to be injured already, check out these items to quickly recover from your injury!