4 Essential Tips on Avoiding Injuries While Running
Guest post!!! Vanessa Davis is a former personal trainer, mother of two and blog writer at www.diet.st. When she isn’t writing she usually spends her free time playing with her children and her dogs. Here are her tips:
I’m a passionate runner and physical, aerobic activity has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. If I don’t go on a long jog at least three times a week I feel nervous and like I have all this pent up energy that I simply have to spend somewhere. I’m really careful about performing any kind of physical activity nowadays, but that wasn’t always the case in the past.
A few years ago I tore the ACL (short for anterior cruciate ligament) in my right knee, and the doctor said that if I wish to continue pursuing my healthy, active lifestyle at the intensity I desire to, I would have to have surgery. You see, the thing is that ligament don’t exactly grow back when they’re torn – you have to have surgery to replace them with another piece of tissue from your body.
After the surgery, I couldn’t walk for weeks and it was months of extensive checkups and physical therapy before I could even think of running again. Needless to say that this is an experience I wish I never had to go through, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Joint injuries are pretty complicated because joints are generally really complex, and a lot of things can potentially go wrong. They’re also really common among athletes, and are often the consequence of not being careful enough while you’re exercising. Whenever you perform any kind of physical activity, your joints are going to be under a certain amount of pressure, and if you push yourself too hard and don’t know what you’re doing you can quickly and easily injure yourself.
To prevent this from happening, I want to share a few things that I’ve learned from my own experience, and hopefully it’ll help you in not having to go through what I had to, so you can just focus on getting stronger and healthier in a safe way.
1. Warm Up, Warm Up, Warm Up
This is probably the most popular piece of advice you can get on the Internet when it comes to physical activity, and I still can’t stress it enough because that is still what people most often forget to do. Spend at least ten minutes of your daily routine adequately warming up your muscles, your joints and getting your heart rate up. If you don’t start breaking a sweat, you aren’t warmed up enough to run. When you’re warmed up, your muscles are much looser and respond much better to exercise, so the chances of you injuring yourself go down significantly.
2. Address Pain Immediately
I’ve made this mistake in the past and have lived to regret it several times, so I highly suggest that you don’t do it. Whenever something starts to hurt out of the ordinary, stop whatever you’re doing, sit down or lie down until the pain goes away. If it does, avoid the type of activity that caused the pain in the future. If it doesn’t, go to the doctor straight away. You do not want to be taking any chances when it comes to your health, because it can significantly impact your physical performance as well as your entire lifestyle in the future. Just don’t risk it, and for the love of Heaven don’t keep running if you have joint pain.
3. Get a Massage
This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you. No matter how much you warm up or stretch before and after your workout, your muscles are still going to become very stiff over time. Have a friend, a spouse or a partner give you a short massage after each workout, and opt out for a professional massage once or twice a month to really get rid of that stiffness.
This will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also do wonders for your performance and help you get stronger much faster. Your muscles need rest, and a good massage is the best way to give it to them. Another cool side-effect of massages is that the quality of your sleep will increase significantly. You’ll be surprised how relaxed your body can actually be after getting massaged by someone who knows what they’re doing, and how much this affects how well-rested you tend to be the morning after.
4. Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
Finally, as a runner it is extremely important to have strong muscles that can support your knees and ankles for as long as you have to run. The quadriceps is known as the secondary stabilizer of the knee, and the stronger it is, the less “work” your ligaments have to do, and the less likely you are to injure yourself.
Thank you for the post Vanessa! Linking up with Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!