Running is a great way to get a satisfying workout without having to go to the gym or buy expensive equipment. It’s also one of the most effective ways to relieve stress. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise just how physically demanding running can be on the body, especially on your joints. Runners experience regular aches and pains in their joints because of the physical toll that running can take on the body. Here are a few ways you can avoid and relieve those pesky joint problems you may have as a runner.
1. Wear the appropriate shoes
One of the first things to rethink about your running regimen is your shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes can put a lot of stress on your legs, specifically on your knees. Shoes without the proper cushioning will not absorb much impact, causing your joints to feel every impact. Wearing shoes that were designed with vigorous exercise in mind and have the appropriate amount of cushioning will lessen the stress on your joints, and decrease any pain you experienced during or after a workout. If you plan on regular workouts, it is worth visiting a higher-end athletics store that will measure your gait, look at your feet, and recommend proper running shoes to match any conditions you may have such as flat feet or pigeon toes.
Your diet is another aspect of your running regimen that may be playing a significant role in joint pain being experienced during or after exercise. Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to lessen pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and other joint problems. Some of the foods that may be helpful include things like berries, nuts, dark leafy greens, fish oils, and foods containing turmeric such as curry. Another great way to ensure that your body is getting the appropriate nutrition is by supplementing your diet. Health supplements such as LQ’s Joint Care – which contains glucosamine, vitamin C, and marine collagen – have a variety of nutrients to support joint health.
3. Watch your weight and posture
Maintaining a healthy body weight can make all the difference for your joints, as one of the leading causes of aches and pains in joints is supporting excess body weight. Carrying extra weight puts more pressure on your knees and joints, causing more stress to be put on them while you run. Another major factor in joint health is your posture, which can also cause joint discomfort. Correct posture keeps your joints in their correct alignment and ensures that muscles are being used appropriately. Good posture also decreases the stress being put on joints.
4. Run only on the right surfaces
The surface that you spend time running on can have a major influence on the state of your joints. Avoiding hard surfaces like roads and instead taking your running to dirt trails can make all the difference for your knees and joints, as the impact of a hard road under your feet can very quickly lead to aches and pains. It’s recommended that runners avoid flat cement surfaces wherever possible.
5. Training and running only when healthy & stretching
Training appropriately is important in maintaining healthy joints – working your way up to longer workouts will take stress off your joints, as will stretching before a run. Taking these precautions proactively will help your joints operate as they are meant to, and help to avoid or alleviate joint aches and pains. Proper training can take some time, but gradually moving up to longer, more intense runs will save your knees from common injuries and strain. Runners should also avoid exercising when injured or otherwise unhealthy, as running when injured can cause serious damage to your knees and joints. If your knees or joints are damaged, it’s important to take care of the problem proactively before further running-related damage can set in. A couple of sessions with a running coach may be worth the investment to design a program that won’t just help you get the most out of your runs, but put less strain on your joints.
Running is a great way to get exercise and at the same time ward off the stress of everyday life, but it can also take a toll on your joints. Taking the right proactive precautions are important – wearing appropriate running shoes, eating a balanced diet and supplementing your vitamin intake, watching your weight and posture, running on softer surfaces, and training will help you avoid joint pain and discomfort, and ensure that your running regimen goes uninterrupted.