Let’s get something clear right up front. Doing any form of exercise incorrectly can cause injury. Doing exercises you aren’t in good enough condition to do can cause injury. And running is one activity that people are prone to injure themselves doing.
Why do people run?
Everybody is doing it. At least every fit person in the neighborhood or at work. On a whim you can open your door and be on your way. It doesn’t take any coaching to be up and going. Running is instinctive. You have been doing it since you were a kid.
Why do people get hurt running?
People get hurt because they choose to run as their only form of exercise. Or because their technique is bad. Or because running puts high amounts of stress on your joints.
Taking a run as your only form of exercise can put your body in a vulnerable position. Even though it’s instinctive, it isn’t always natural, especially if you’re just starting to get back in shape. Injury generally happens when an incorrect movement pattern is performed repetitively, which is common among beginning runners.
Running with correct form is difficult and requires a certain level of strength and fitness. The stress put on your joints from each stride can be overwhelming and can eventually cause breakdown. The more you weigh, the more pressure there is on your joints when you run.
If you choose to run, how can you prepare?
To start, give yourself some time to prepare physically for the demands of running. One good way is to pick another cardio exercise to build up your cardiovascular fitness without the stress it puts on your joints. If you are overweight or obese, losing some of the extra weight will help as well.
It is very important to work on increasing your muscle quality, flexibility and strength, which will improve the health of your joints. There are several ways you can do this. To improve the quality of the muscle, use a foam roller twice a day until you work out all of the problem areas in the muscle. It will be just as important to continue rolling out before and after your running workouts to keep the muscle healthy.
Active stretching will help increase flexibility and reinforce proper movement patterns. The active stretching will also make you stronger through all ranges of motion. Some form of a strength training routine will help you get stronger so your body can handle the stress of running, and it improves your aesthetic appeal.
Let your voice be heard. Do you think running is worth the chance of injury? Do you have tips for injury prevention?