For most of us, running is about improving our bodies. Sometimes however, our best efforts can end up going backwards. Instead of our bodies getting faster and stronger, we suffer injuries that slow us down or stop us entirely.
No one wants to deal with an injury. Although it can take up to 10 days before we lose any level of fitness, it can still be agonizing to watch days slip by while we are unable to work out or run. If you’re already injured, there’s nothing for it but to make the best possible choices for your body as it is and rest. If you’re not however, it makes sense to avoid injuries as part of your routine. If you can avoid injuries in the first place, you’ll be better and faster than if you don’t.
If you’re coming back from an injury and want to do it right this time, or are in good condition and want to keep it that way, here are our best tips for avoiding injury.
Warm Up and Cool Down
There’s a good reason for why every single coach, trainer, exercise book, and even most YouTube videos, want you to warm up first. Warming up your body before running is one of the simplest ways to avoid an injury.
Warming up gives your body a clue as to what you are about to do, and gives it time to prepare. The joints create more synovial fluid, or the grease that helps make the joints move more easily. The muscles are able to stretch more, and are less likely to tear. Blood flows more swiftly around the body, and is ready to deliver oxygen to your muscles.
Cooling down also helps your body, by letting it reduce speed naturally and slowly. If you don’t already make a 5 minute warm up and cool down part of your routine, you definitely should make time for this important step.
Stretching after a workout does more than just improve the odds you’ll be able to touch your toes some day. Runners are notoriously stiff because the workouts they do are geared toward tightening muscles, not loosening them.
While it may not seem like this matters in terms of injuries, tense hip flexir muscles are a common reason for hip pain, and other muscles that end up too tight can cause pain throughout your body. Stretching is a simple way to fix that.
While there isn’t a magic pill you can take to prevent injuries, there actually are supplements that can reduce inflammation, improve your heart health, and make you safer in an indirect way. Olive leaf extract is one of the most well known supplements for this, but Cordyceps and Chaga Extract can also be helpful for keeping you in top shape.
If you’re worried about your health, these simple tips can help you on your way to an injury free routine.