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As many of us are spending our days at home, finding new ways to exercise is increasingly important, especially with gyms and fitness centers being closed. Running is a great option for staying physically fit and healthy. It requires no equipment, and can be easily done while following physical distancing guidelines. Running is also a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, and enhance your mental well-being during this difficult time.
With gyms closing due to #COVID-19, many people are starting to run as a way to stay fit. Whether you are an experienced or new runner, here are 7 tips from physical therapists to prevent injuries while running via #LiveWellHealthy blog: https://bit.ly/3cQKhgc.
If you’re interested in running, but haven’t been a runner in the past, don’t let that stop you. We’ve outlined some easy recommendations to get you started, while avoiding potential injury.
7 tips to prevent getting injured while running.
As with any new fitness routine, make sure that you have no underlying medical conditions that would make starting a new running routine unsafe. If you have any questions, consult your medical professional.
1. Wear proper footwear.
A safe and effective run starts with the appropriate footwear. Find yourself a pair of running shoes that fit well. Your shoes should provide you with enough stability and cushion to complete your training session comfortably.
2. Warm-up before you run.
You want to actively stretch muscles you will use while running, while also getting your heart and lungs pumping. A dynamic warm-up is a great way to accomplish this. Try butt kickers, high knees, skips, side lunges, and hip swings.
Watch the videos below for demonstrations of possible warm-ups.
3. Start with run-walk intervals.
If you are just starting out with running, a run-walk program is a great way to begin your training. As you become more conditioned, you can increase your running workout intensity by either increasing your run interval, decreasing your walk interval, or increasing total session time as tolerated. Try starting with a one-minute run followed by a two-minute walk. Repeat the intervals five times for a great 15-minute workout.
4. Stretch post run.
Stretching after a run is just as important, if not more important as before your run. Post-run stretching can help improve and maintain muscle flexibility as well as reduce muscle soreness post-workout. Below are a few key stretches to include in your routine:
- Hamstring stretch
- Calf stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Piriformis stretch
- Hip flexors stretch
- Three-way child’s pose
Perform all of these stretches for a minimum of 30 seconds each.
5. Progress gradually.
When increasing distance or duration, follow the 10% rule. The total distance or time of your workout should increase by no more than 10% per week to avoid potential overuse injury. Also, be gradual as you work in other changing variables to your program, such as increased speed and different terrain, like running hills or trails instead of flat ground.
6. Rest and recover.
Whenever beginning any new fitness routine, your body will require recovery time. Allow your muscles to recover from the new stress. Begin by running every third day to see how your body responds to these new physical demands. Progress to running every other day until you feel comfortable running on consecutive days —this may take several weeks. Try taking an easy 15 minute walk on your recovery days to help with muscle soreness.
7. Know the difference between soreness and pain.
Muscle soreness and fatigue are normal responses to any new activity, pain is not. Muscle soreness can last for 24-48 hours after exercise, and you should modify your training program accordingly. If you are having pain, hold off on additional running until you can consult with a medical provider.
If you are experiencing pain related to running, you can call 888-44-SPORT (888-447-7678) to schedule an appointment with one of our many MedStar Health sports medicine physicians or physical therapists.