How Do Runners Stay Injury Free?
Most running injuries are overuse-related, meaning they occur when runners push themselves too hard. Thankfully, there are several habits you can practice to help keep yourself injury-free. These include stretching before and after runs, drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet.
Stretch Before and After Your Runs
Stretching is an integral part of keeping your body injury-free. It improves mobility, allows joints to move through their full range of motion, and may help prevent muscle soreness after running. Stretches can be divided into two categories: static and dynamic. Static stretching typically involves moving a joint as far as it comfortably accommodates, then holding for 30 seconds or more. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are controlled movements designed to activate and warm up your muscles. Examples of such exercises include walking lunges, heel-to-sky pulses, and leg swings. According to SELF, a pre-run stretching routine can improve performance and help avoid injuries. It doesn’t have to be long term either: Even just 3-5 minutes of stretching each morning can make a huge difference! If you need professional guidance, consider visiting a physical therapy center like Ascent Total Performance.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water helps keep your body hydrated, flushes toxins out, transports nutrients into cells and regulates body temperature. Dehydration can have serious repercussions, such as diminished performance and an increased risk of injury. It’s difficult to know if you are properly hydrated or not, so pay attention when your body signals that more fluids are necessary. Your body expends approximately 60% water through breathing, sweating, urination and other bodily functions. The amount of water necessary each day depends on several factors such as your health status, climate conditions and exercise intensity. Health experts suggest drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, commonly referred to as the “8×8” rule. However, this may not be enough for everyone; so to find what amount is necessary for optimal hydration throughout your day, experiment with what amount works best for you.
Eat a Well-balanced Diet
One of the best ways to prevent injuries is by eating a balanced diet. Eating items from all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy – provides your body with essential nutrients for good health. A nutritious diet should also include plenty of water. Hydration is key when running and can help protect you from common injuries. A nutritious diet should include a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These nutritious foods are packed with fibre, B vitamins and low in fat for sustained energy levels.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an integral component of running recovery. It aids the body in repair of microdamage caused by exercise, such as muscle protein breakdown. Sleep plays an integral role in optimizing performance and injury prevention when doing strenuous activity. Experts recommend adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s needs vary so a good night’s rest doesn’t just depend on how many hours are slept but also its quality. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may experience fatigue and grogginess throughout the day. Additionally, you could have trouble focusing and remembering important information.
Strength training helps runners remain injury-free by strengthening the muscles they use while running, as well as fortifying joints that support your body while you move, which may reduce the chance of injuries due to overuse. Strengthening muscles can be achieved through lifting weights or performing exercises that require a significant amount of effort (like farmer’s carries). A beginner should train two or three times per week for at least 12 repetitions before increasing the weight. Cross-training is an excellent way to build endurance and muscle mass, as well as enhance running speed by improving power generation and shock absorption. If you’re a runner, consider physical therapy for runners to prevent injuries and improve your performance. Additionally, sports rehabilitation services can be beneficial for athletes recovering from injuries.
If you’re experiencing foot and ankle pain or back pain and sciatica, Ascent Total Performance offers specialized treatments to help you recover. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our home page or contact us today.