Running and Injury Prevention

Injury can threaten any runner’s regular practice and recovering from strains and sprains can put a frustrating halt to your fitness programme.

Avoiding injury in the first place is the best advice and the following tips will help you to stay well while you run.

1. Always warm up and cool down

Your muscles work better when they are warmed up by stretching so it is obvious that if you want to avoid injury you need to practice some gentle warm up stretches before you begin running. Gently stretch out your arms and legs and practice some rotating and flexing moves of the waist and hips to give your body a quick warm up.

Just as important are the cool down stretches performed after a run. These will help to eliminate any build up of lactic acid in your muscles caused by an intensive form of exercise like running. If lactic acid builds up it can lead to muscle fatigue or tightness.

It doesn’t take long to perform a few simple stretches before and after you run and this is time well invested as it can help to prevent strains and other injuries.

2.  Eat well to stay well

If you are trying to lose weight quickly it can be all too easy to skimp on meals and therefore nutrition. If you are running to lose weight a healthy diet is even more important. Running is an intense form of exercise and if you are burning off too many calories you will become easily fatigued if your diet is not adequate.

Fill up on healthy foods and give your body the essential energy it needs, running should not be a punishing part of a weight loss programme. You are running to improve your overall health not sabotage it.

3. Know your limits

It is vital that you listen to your body and don’t become too fanatical about your running programme. If you are tired or feel sore continuing to run will do more harm than good. Sometimes your body tells you it needs to rest and you should not ignore the signs – you need to give yourself time to recover from exercise.

4. Mix it up

It may be a good idea to diversify your workouts and incorporate running with other forms of exercise. If we do anything over and over we are more likely to experience injury. Running works the same muscles every time you do it so mixing up your workouts can really help to give all the muscles in your body an adequate workout. Try swimming, cycling or rowing and elliptical machines to work different muscle groups and prevent an injury caused by repetitive movement.