8 Ways to Stay Healthy on the Run this Season
Running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy BMI. All you need to run is activewear and a pair of running shoes, which makes this sport extremely easy to start.
As easy as it is to start running, though, the repetitive motion and constant impact on your joints can cause nagging, persistent injuries. Here are a few tips to help prevent injury and stay running!
1. Make slow, consistent increases.
Running-related injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis often occur when runners increase the amount of time or miles they’re running too quickly. You might feel ready to jump in with a 30-minute or 3-mile run every day of the week, but your legs might not be ready for this sharp increase if you haven’t been running at all.
Runners often follow the “10 percent rule:” increase your weekly volume of running by 10 percent each week. If you start with 3 miles a week, do 3.3 miles the next week. It might feel slow, but you can achieve higher volume goals without injuries if you stay patient.
2. Don’t skip your warm up.
Start your workout with a fast walk or other dynamic warm up to increase your heart rate and help loosen up your muscles. Dynamic warm up exercises include high knees, butt kicks, side lunges, and leg swings.
Try not to do too much static stretching, or stretching with longer holds, as it can inhibit some muscle activity.
3. Mix up your runs.
You don’t have to run the same speed or amount every day to get faster or increase your endurance. On some runs, try running at a slower pace where you could still hold a conversation with a friend. On others, make an effort to increase your cadence (the number of steps you take per minute) by shortening your stride. Try shorter bouts of high effort or faster running on other runs.
4. Try cross training.
Most running injuries come from the repetitive, cyclical motion. Instead of running every day, choose another form of exercise that you enjoy, like walking, yoga, swimming, cycling, or strength training, and replace some of your runs with this activity. Low-impact cross training is an especially great option for runners with tendonitis or bone-stress injuries.
5. Get advice from the experts.
If you have a question about running or are starting to feel any kind of pain while running, reach out to the licensed physical therapists at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. Follow @cnsaphysicaltherapy on Instagram for more tips and tricks to stay healthy on the run!
6. Wear proper layers.
Maintaining a comfortable body temperature is crucial for overall muscle function, including those in the back and spine. Cold weather can lead to muscle stiffness, which may affect your posture and spine. By layering appropriately, you help regulate your body temperature, preventing excessive muscle tightness that can impact the spine.
7. Protect your extremities.
The extremities, such as your hands and feet, play a role in overall body warmth. When these areas are adequately protected from the cold, your body is better able to maintain blood flow and warmth, which can positively influence the muscles supporting your spine. Cold extremities can contribute to muscle tension and affect your overall biomechanics.
8. Cool down.
Proper cool down routines are just essential for spine health as a warm-up. Cold weather can make your muscles and joints more susceptible to injury, and warming up becomes even more critical. A thorough cool-down helps prevent muscle tightness and supports overall recovery.
Do you need to connect with an expert to address a running related concern?
Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates offers individualized physical therapy care in 6 convenient locations across the Charlotte Metro region and surrounding areas to include Charlotte, Huntersville, Concord, Ballantyne, Matthews, and Rock Hill, SC.
Patients do not need a referral to schedule a new patient appointment, and all locations are able to offer immediate availability. To schedule an appointment, please call (704) 376-1605 option 3 and select the most convenient location near you or visit them online to request an appointment!
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New and current patients can call our offices to make an appointment or request an appointment online.