Running seems like a sports activity that anyone can do, anywhere, without any equipment. Due to this immensely widespread opinion, it’s not uncommon that people suffer certain injuries to their leg, knee, ankle or foot. The truth is that some people do bounce back and maintain a normal and active life, while others unfortunately never do. This kind of injury can seriously affect your life. You’re probably wondering now how can you prevent a future leg injury when running? Well, keep on reading to find out about some of the tips and tricks when it comes to running safely and properly. There are plenty of things you do to protect yourself.
1. Warm-up and cool-down are a must
When speaking about how to prevent common running injuries, the first two things we must note are warm-up and cool-down. They are simply a must and shouldn’t be skipped when running. Warm-up serves to warm up the muscles – hence the name. It is an important pre-running activity by which you lightly stretch the muscles and prepare them for running. You can do some stretching activities or perhaps a light jog for just a few moments, to let your body prepare for more demanding physical activity. When you finish warming-up, you are ready for the main activity. The second important thing is cooling down. The same as a warm-up, cooling down is there to help your muscles relax and stop gradually. These two are quintessential when it comes to avoiding running-induced injuries.
2. Increase the mileage gradually
When they decide to take up jogging, people usually dive into running a few miles or kilometres immediately, without any prior experience in running. However, this isn’t the right approach. You should start slowly and build up your mileage gradually in time. So, for example, you can start by jogging for a certain distance and then walking it off, then again running, repeated by walking. You can practice this way of running until you get your body used to it. And only then, when your body already has some experience, you can increase the mileage gradually. This is a good way to prevent the common leg injuries as by doing it you build your muscle strength and mobility.
3. Avoid running on uneven surfaces
Depending on where you run, you should be careful when stepping onto some uneven terrain or gravel-covered ground. When it comes to trail running, the most common problems are holes, tree stumps and roots. They can cause some serious problems. If you are experiencing certain problems with your lower legs, you should consider the surface you run on carefully. Have in mind that a dirt road is softer than asphalt, which is softer than concrete. Try to choose a surface where you are surrounded by nature, it’ll boost your mood. That’s why many Australians choose to run by the ocean, in the park or by the wetlands. However, if you do get injured despite all your precautions, make sure to book an appointment with professionals dealing with sports injuries, such as the ones in South Coast Sports Podiatry.
4. Choose appropriate running shoes
We could say that the appropriate running shoes are a crucial piece of equipment when running. You should choose running shoes that suit your feet. What does this mean? For example, if you’re one of the people whose feet pronate or who have low arches, you should choose shoes that provide support in both the front of the shoe and under the arch. Moreover, the heel and heel counter ought to be quite stable. On the other hand, if you have a stiffer foot or high arches, you should choose shoes with more cushion and a softer platform. Essentially, when running you should always opt for some kind of running shoes. Make sure to replace athletic shoes when the tread wears out or the heels wear down. That means that people who run regularly should replace shoes every six months, and more frequently if they are an avid runner.
5. Be cautious when running uphill
While running uphill is a great workout, it is also an activity that can cause certain injuries. That’s why you should build up your muscles gradually for this type of activity. Also, be careful when running downhill, as it can cause even more injuries than running uphill.
6. Remember to listen to your body
The key to staying fit and injury-free lies in listening to your body. Always be on the lookout about the signals it sends you. Keep in mind that everybody is different and different things work for different people.
Running is a great cardiovascular activity that has plenty of health benefits. The best way to reap all the benefits it offers is to approach it carefully and with some cautious considerations.