Running is one of the most universal and inclusive forms of exercise. Anyone can do it, as you don’t need to be super fit or have an array of expensive equipment to get started. All it requires is a comfortable pair of shoes and the desire to get outside and run. It’s perfect for people of all ages, demographics, abilities, and income brackets.
But the older you are, the more careful you have to be about protecting yourself from injury. With age comes a higher risk of afflictions like sprains, strains, inflammations, fractures and more. Pounding the pavement over and over again can take its toll on your body so it’s important to take proper precautions when out for a run.
Here are a few preventative measures you can take to enjoy your exercise regime while keeping yourself safe from harm.
Listen to your body
The human body is a remarkable thing, and every single one is completely different. A training plan that works for one person might be too much for someone else. Be careful about overdoing it and listen to your body. If you start experiencing any unusual aches and pains, it is wise to back off and cut down your mileage. By powering through an injury, you are more likely to make the damage worse. Give your body a chance to recover and you will stay in good shape for longer. Teach yourself how to treat the most common running injuries like tendonitis, inflammation, or muscle strains. Find strategies that work for you such as ice baths, stretching, and hamstring taping using kinesiology tape.
One of the best ways to avoid injury is to incorporate strength exercises into your training plan. Targeting key areas like your legs, core, and glutes will protect your body against impact while simultaneously improving your form and stamina. There are plenty of free videos online containing a range of strength workouts you can use. Fit these into your training plan once or twice a week on non-running days and you will soon start to notice the difference.
Hit the trails
When you run on pavement, the constant repetitive impact of your feet against tarmac can really take a toll on your joints. As you get older, this impact is more likely to lead to serious damage if you’re not careful. The best strategy is to mix up your running routes and spend more time on trails. Trail running takes place on off-road footpaths, where the ground beneath your feet is usually soft dirt or grass. This provides substantial cushioning against impact, while the uneven terrain means there is less repetition, and you are working different muscles with every step. Find a map of your area and head into the woods or up in the hills for your next run.
By following these tips, you will be better equipped to stay safe and healthy as you get older. Just remember to pay attention to your body and avoid overdoing it. Happy running!