Running is one of the simplest and most beneficial exercises that a person can do. It has many benefits to the body, including disease prevention, weight loss, and overall health improvement. Many avid runners report that running can provide benefits to a person’s mental health as well, reducing stress, increase self-confidence, and minimize the effects of depression. The only downside? It is possible to become injured while running if the proper precautions are not taken.
Before you begin running, you need to set some goals. Work up to these goals gradually, allowing yourself to gain strength and build your endurance at a reasonable pace. If you push yourself too hard at the beginning, injuries are more likely to occur. Many running plans suggest that you alternate between running and walking. As you get in better shape, you can run for longer periods of time before needing to walk for a minute.
Preparation and Prevention
It is important to prepare your body before running. Stretching your hamstrings can prevent strains, stretching your calves can prevent calf cramps; stretching your midsection can prevent side cramps. While some pain and soreness may be expected when you first start running, be mindful of where any pain is focused and don’t ignore chronic pain, especially in the ankles and knees. A specialist from Noyes Knee Institute says chronic knee pain may be indicative of cap damage to your knee. If you’re experiencing chronic pain when you run, stop running until you’re able to consult with a doctor about it.
After running, your body will need time to recover. Drinking water to replenish your fluids is a must. If you are looking to add bulk, you might want to consider taking some type of protein within 30 minutes of running. If you are sore, treat the affected area with ice and compression.
The most important piece of equipment for running is proper shoes. The ones that are right for you will depend on the size and shape of your feet as well as your body type, stride, etc. There are different types of heart monitors available that can help you remain at a safe pace. There are also belts that can be worn to carry small water bottles; this is ideal for staying hydrated while running a long distance.
Unable to complete your goal? Make sure you have a proper plan in place. Get cramps while running? Make sure you stretch properly first. Sore the next day? Make sure you help your body fully recover. Have sore knees, hips, or feet? Make sure you have the proper footwear. All of these things can help runners prevent injury.