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5 Ways to Prevent Running & Sports Injuries

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Congratulations on taking the first step towards living a healthier active lifestyle.

When you are a beginning runner or just starting to exercise the most important thing to remember is why you’re starting to exercise in the first place.

There are hundreds of reasons to start exercising but why are you? Do you want to:

  1. Be healthier
  2. Feel better
  3. Lose weight
  4. Relieve stress
  5. Have more energy
  6. Prevent heart disease
  7. Meet new people
  8. 100 more reasons

 

Well, you only get those benefits if, after you start exercising,  you stick with the program and continue to perform the exercise regularly, and you can’t exercise regularly if you have a foot or ankle injury.

Don't overdo it - especially at the beginning.

The first rule of not getting injured is not to overdo it, especially at the beginning. If you have to start out by exercising only 5 minutes or even only 1 minute at a time that’s still better than not exercising at all.

Again, remember that you’re creating an exercise program, a habit of good health. You might think that exercising for only a few minutes is not even worth it, but that’s not true. It’s not each individual workout that’s important, but it’s stringing together days of a new habit that you can stick to. 

Increase workouts in small increments. < 10%

Once you’re off the ground and starting to run regularly then you can increase the time and difficulty to get a better workout, but only increase in small increments and don't increase every single workout. But be careful because this is when many common injuries occur!

You don't need a monster workout - but to be ready to go for the next workout.

The rule of thumb is not to increase any one workout by more than 10%, and don’t increase your cumulative workout for the week by more than 10%. And, just to state it one more way, remember that the most important thing is not to have a monster workout, but to be ready to go for the next workout.

Listen to your body, a little soreness is okay, but you should not be in pain.

Finally, as you start your program to get your body in shape, please listen to what your body is telling. A little soreness is okay, but you should not be in pain. A little tiredness is normal at first, but you shouldn’t be fatigued. If you experience pain in a specific area or overall fatigue you are probably overdoing it. Try taking a day off or at least cutting a workout in half. If things aren’t improving after a little rest then see a sports medicine specialist.

Be flexible with your exercise routine.

Always remember that your plan to exercise for 30 minutes (or however long) is just that – a plan. It’s a number on a piece of paper or in your head. Your body may not be on the same plan on any given day, so don’t be afraid to make adjustments. The long term plan is much more important than the short term.

If you feel you have foot or ankle pain after working out, or a new pain after running schedule an appointment with Richard H. Graves, DPM, Sports Medicine Podiatrist - Call (562) 433-0478.
Richard H. Graves, DPM
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Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist
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