Are you in the midst of running season or maybe thinking about starting to run and you want to stay injury free? Below are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself healthy and in good shape when you cross the finish line.
Warm it up. Don’t go from zero to sixty when you head out. Try a dynamic stretch and/or a paced walk before you start the clock on your run. That way you can slowly increase your heart rate and prep your tissues, decreasing strain on your cardiovascular system and body.
DON’T just run. You will likely develop tight muscles and stiff joints. You should be cross training or performing specific exercises that help balance out the asymmetries in your body. This will help you perform better while decreasing the risk of injury.
Adequate hydration. The ocean breeze isn’t enough moisture. Drinking plenty of water will aid your recovery and promote healing in your body between runs.
Let’s get it straight. Why not see a manual therapist such as an osteopath, massage therapist, or physiotherapist? They can help align your spine, hips, knees, and ankles to remove tension from the joints and keep you moving optimally. Addressing posture will also help you carry yourself better, removing strain through the body and giving you freer range of motion to push your limits.
Feeling lonely? Find that support system of a “fitness friend” who will help keep you accountable, on task, and you’ll enjoy yourself that much more.
Try these dynamic stretches!
Stretch your hip flexors and your trunk rotators. Take a walking lunge, while keeping your fingers laced together, lunge forward with the right leg and then rotate side to side with your arms while maintaining a square pelvis. Return to neutral. Repeat the other leg. Perform 10 per leg.
Stretch out the hamstring and upper back. Start by standing. Take a tiny step forward, keeping the forward leg straight bend your rear leg. Sit your bum back, maintaining a flat back, sweep towards your forwarded foot, reaching to the sky as you straighten both legs. Bring your hands back to your side and switch legs by stepping forward and repeat. Perform 10 per leg.
Stretch your calves, shoulders, and upper back. This is the downward dog position. Keep your head between your arms, and stick your bum up high. Push through your hands and feet to get grounded. Then simply march on the spot, bringing your right heel to the ground and up again repeating on the left. As the heel goes to the floor feel the stretch. Perform 10 per leg.
Alex Mader is an Osteopathic Manual Therapist practicing at Honey & Ginger’s Dartmouth Wellness Clinic.
Alex Mader B.Kin, D.O.M.P. | Osteopathic Manual Therapist | 902.431.0801 Ext. 203