With the finally arrived spring weather, many of us are looking to get back to some road or trail running. For those new to running and even for the veterans, injuries can stop us in our tracks. Running is a great way to get exercise and stay healthy. However, it can also be a high-impact activity that can lead to injuries. Here are some tips on how to prevent running injuries: Warm up before you run. A good warm-up will help to prepare your body for running by increasing blood flow and loosening up your muscles. A simple warm-up can include dynamic stretches, such as arm circles, leg swings, and marching in place. Jogging at a slow pace for 5 minutes before hitting your training stride is a good idea. Cool down after you run. A cool-down will help to gradually bring your body back to a resting state. It can also help to reduce muscle soreness. A simple cool-down can include static stretches, such as holding your hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps for 30 seconds each. A brisk walk for 5 minutes at the end of a run is a good way to ease your heart rate down. Wear the right shoes. Shoes that are not properly fitted or supportive can increase your risk of injury. It is important to get fitted for running shoes at a specialty running store. Form beats fashion with running shoes every time. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain, stop running and rest. Pushing through pain can make the injury worse. Often just reducing mileage, pace or frequency for a few weeks is enough to allow the body to adapt to the training load. If pain persists with this strategy, a break from running may be needed. Cross-train. Cross-training with other activities, such as swimming, biking, or yoga, can help to strengthen your muscles and improve your running form. It is also a good way to keep up fitness levels if you need to reduce mileage due to pain or injury. Increase your mileage gradually. Don't try to increase your mileage too quickly, as this can increase your risk of injury. Start with a short distance and gradually increase your mileage each week. The same goes for increasing pace. Stay hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated before, during, and after your run. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and especially on hot days. Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for recovery. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover from your runs. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. See me if you have pain. If you are experiencing pain that does not go away, see me right away. We can help to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment options. Ankle, knee, hip and back pain can occur due to mechanical imbalances in the feet too. Even if you don't have pain, I can give you advice on footwear and training methods as well. By following these tips, you can help to prevent running injuries and enjoy your running for years to come
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