Avoiding injuries seem like a daunting task when it comes to exercising. Most people would think it is inevitable, but contrary to that belief, learning how to avoid running injuries will only take you a few minutes of self-education and a little bit more self-discipline!
It is a given fact that physical activities and exercises like running work wonders for the human body. Regular running offers many benefits for your body, skin, and overall health. These benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, improving your cardiovascular fitness, burning fat and calories, and building stronger bones. Aside from these, many individuals choose running as their primary means of exercise because it is also the easiest to do.
Living in a world where most work is done at a desk and on computers, physical activities have become very limited, causing more people to become overweight and prone to illnesses. These factors are high contributors to the number of people who decide to include running or jogging in their daily routines. While running definitely does wonderful things to your body inside and out, without enough knowledge and when not properly done, it can cause mild to severe injuries that may pose a more serious threat to your health and well-being.
Avoiding running injuries can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and allow you to perform more activities and exercises along with running to maximize the benefits that your body will get. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices of runners of all levels to help avoid running injuries.
Most running injuries are caused by the lack of proper training and preparation. With schedules becoming more packed and individuals generally becoming busier, one would think that warming up before a run would only consume more time that could be dedicated to the routine.
While it is still possible to run and jog without warming up, this simply is not ideal. Warming up prepares our body to function correctly during the exercise. Running requires a lot of energy, strength, and force, and injuries happen when we do not prepare for it. A common rookie mistake when running or jogging is going full force into the exercise immediately. Running without warming up poses threats to your bones and muscles, because they are not made to move with intense force naturally.
Deciding to include exercise in your lifestyle is a commitment that you need to take seriously to avoid threatening other aspects of your health. Serious injuries acquired from running the range from sprains, simple muscle strains, to severely torn muscles and tissues – injuries that will hinder you from even performing simple daily tasks. Whether you are planning to run for a few minutes to a couple of hours, it is only right that you allow yourself more time for exercise, dedicating a few minutes to warming your body up.
Your warm-up routine does not have to be as complicated as those done by Olympic athletes. You can take about 5-10 minutes to prepare yourself before you start running or jogging, and still avoid getting yourself injured.
You can check out this video from The Run Experience for a complete 7 minute warm-up before you run, and avoid possible injuries while running!
Exercises are routines, and routines are consistent. Along with warming up and not fully preparing yourself for the run, consistency also plays a key factor in avoiding running injuries. Inconsistency in your exercise routines will not only expose you to higher chances of getting injured, but it also makes your results appear erratic.
Now that we have established the reason to warm up before exercising, consistency in the routine also works the same way. If you are inconsistent with your running, your body will not get used to the amount of strength and physical activity that it requires. This will lead your body to develop injuries more than get you the benefits that running offers.
Most people think that injuries appear instantly and they come out of nowhere. This is another idea that is taken wrong by most individuals, as these injuries to your muscles and bones do not happen just as you start running again after stopping for a while. Most running injuries, such as pulled hamstrings, develop over a period of time – usually the period you do not follow your routine.
Similar to how machines are maintained, if we fail to perform maintenance on them, the machine’s components wear down and eventually fall apart. When well maintained, machines work efficiently, and it works the same way as our bodies. When you include running, jogging, or any other exercise in your daily schedule and do not miss it, your body will be conditioned to perform the exercise and be less vulnerable to injuries.
Pay attention to your body.
The most common running injuries come from the overuse of your muscles. While there are sets of warm-up exercises that would work for most, there are still some exceptions, and you could be one of them.
While discomfort is normal after exercising, you should still look out for your body. A little bit of soreness after running is okay, but if you are in pain for an extended period of time, it might be something more serious that can lead to a severe injury.
A good habit to form when exercising is checking your body and how it responds after the routine. Even if a certain routine says it offers multiple benefits for your health and well-being, it is also possible that your body will not be able to cope with the force that is needed to perform the exercises well.
Paying attention to how your body responds does not only apply to the physical discomfort after running and exercising. It also applies to how it affects your emotions and your moods. Some exercises will help you feel better about yourself, while some will leave you feeling more exhausted than ever. Exercising should make you feel better for you to want to do it more. If a certain routine makes you feel more drained than you are supposed to feel, it is best to stop and find another one to pursue, or else it will only feel like a chore.
Even with the goal to become more consistent and including running in your lifestyle, paying attention to your body would also mean taking time to rest when your body needs it. Even well-oiled machines eventually get worn out when not shut off. Listening to your body and learning when to take a break from the routine will not only help you avoid running injuries, but it will also prepare your body for the next workout.
It may be impossible to completely shield yourself from getting injuries from running and exercising, but proactively taking necessary precautions and preparing yourself physically and mentally can surely help you avoid most of them. Running smart will not only help you achieve your goals faster, it will also help you gain better results!