Running is a great way to improve your fitness and overall health. It’s probably the best cardio exercise to help you burn calories, and it’s fun and cheap to do. However, many people have habits that are preventing them from getting the most out of their runs. Bad habits can also lead to injuries over time. Below is a list of some of the habits that runners need to break and how to know if you might be falling into some similar traps.
It is important for you to stretch before and after a run. Stretching is one of the best things you can do in order to prevent injury. It is estimated that anywhere from 37 to 56 percent of runners will suffer an injury each year, and most is due to not stretching properly. Make sure you allow yourself a bit of cool off time and use it to stretch legs and breath through each position.
Not Taking Rest Days
Many people run seven days a week and don’t give their bodies a chance to rest. However, it is important to have at least two rest days a week. When you rest, you give your body a chance to recover from the hard training and repair torn and used muscle. You don’t have to take both days together in a row, but be sure you do have some down time for yoga, meditation or simply sleeping more during the week.
Ignoring Aches and Pains
It is normal to be sore after an intense run, however, if you have a pain that will not go away, you should see your doctor. A minor injury can quickly turn into a major one if not treated.
A visit to the doctor may reveal an injury you weren’t even be aware of. The sooner it can be successfully treated, the sooner you will be able to get back to running. Doctors often recommend runners who have suffered an injury get physical therapy treatments as well. Often therapists will have other options, like the Hand & Orthopedic Physical Therapy Specialists in Salt Lake who diagnose chronic running injuries and conditions in their own runner’s program.
Too Much, Too Soon
Overuse injuries are some of the most common types of running injuries. In many cases, overuse injuries occur because a runner is trying to do too much, too soon. Coaches typically recommend that runner only increase their mileage by 10 percent each week, and going over a recommended amount or distance can mean a muscle or tendon gets too much pressure.
Not Performing Hip-Strengthening Exercises
All runners should perform hip-strengthening exercises on a regular basis. One study showed that runners who have stronger hip muscles are less likely to suffer from an injury. When certain muscles are weak, the stronger muscles have to work harder which is why runners who have weak hip muscles are more likely to suffer an injury.
While running can benefit one’s health and fitness, many runners have harmful habits. The bad habits above are just a few you should be aware of. Don’t’ let yourself fall prey to these and get help when you know you need it.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information about correcting running injuries contact Hand & Orthopedic Physical Therapy Specialists or Brooke via Twitter.