Four tips for lowering your risk of injury when running

Running is enjoyed by millions around the world. It is not only a great form of exercise, running is also a fun hobby for many.

Unfortunately, all fun hobbies and sports come with risks. Running can lead to shin splints, ITBS (Runner's Knee) and other related injuries if you aren’t careful. To help you, here are a few tips that can help reduce or lower the impact of running-related injuries:

CROSS TRAIN FOR STRENGTH

If you aren’t cross training, you may find yourself with a few injuries. My physiotherapist told me that a lot of runners last two years with no strength training and then their body breaks down. Be sure to spend time training your muscles and improving your agility. Both of these aspects can help reduce injury when you’re running for sport or pleasure.

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There are several exercises that can help, but a few include weight lifting, agility training on a treadmill, and use of a resistance band. For a series of great resistance band exercises, check out UK-based Physio James Dunne's Youtube Channel.

WARM UP BEFORE YOU RUN

I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to this... but when your body is in a relaxed state, putting it into full workout mode without warming up first can put added strain on your muscles and bones. Instead of jumping right into a long run, take some time to warm up. Do a few stretches to get your muscles prepared for a workout. You can also jog on the spot, do a few push ups, or a few squats. This will get your muscles warm, lowering your risk of injury when running.

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KNOW YOUR LIMITS

When training to compete in a marathon or other race, there is a real temptation to push your body beyond its limits. This is never a good idea. Pushing your body beyond its limits can cause serious muscle tears or stress-related bone injuries, that can result in significant time off from your favourite past time.  Just recently my sister was training for a marathon and went beyond her limits, so much so she ended up with a tibia fracture.... ouch.

To reduce the risk of injury, take note of how much you have been training, and be sure to gradually increase your training load over time. You should also being doing some strength and cross training to help your body last longer when running. This is the best way to prevent injury while also working towards your goal.

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R.I.C.E IT UP

If you’re a runner, you’ve probably already heard of R.I.C.E. This acronym provides runners with a guide to treating muscle aches or joint pains that can turn into more serious problems if they aren’t properly treated.

If you are feeling pain in your muscles and joints, use R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. These measures will help you to relieve pain in the affected areas, reduce swelling, and protect any damaged tissues. When using this, however, don’t skip out on resting, compression, and elevation. This can only further damage your muscles.

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CONCLUSION

As you can see, there are several ways you can reduce or even prevent injury when running. Don’t be afraid of using these techniques when you need them. They are scientifically proven to help you reduce your injuries when running.

Don’t wait until you’re injured to put these tips into practice. Take time warming up and time training in the gym. Don’t push your body past its limits, and treat injuries as soon as possible.

Happy running!