How to Protect Your Joints While Running
Whether you’re a novice getting started in the world of running, or a runner with years of experience under your belt, it’s critical that you are informed on how to protect your joints while running.
In the following article, I will outline five tips to help you prevent needless joint pain and wear and tear, so you can continue to run for years to come!
Soft Surfaces are Your Friend
When running, it’s a much better idea to seek areas with soft surfaces, such as running tracks, grassy spaces, or even treadmills, as these reduce the impact striking your feet on the ground has on your knee and hip joints especially.
Choosing to run on hard surfaces like concrete pavements creates strain on our joints we seek to avoid.
Listen to Your Body
Especially when starting out running, it is important to listen to the signals your body gives you.
If you start to experience pain, stop running and give yourself time to recover instead of powering through your pain, which may cause greater damage to your joints over time. While it may be tempting to power ahead, it’s detrimental to your long-term health.
If you are experiencing the dreaded post-run pains, try to figure out what the root cause of your pain was, and make sure not to repeat those actions you took in future runs.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
With higher intensity runs comes a higher likelihood of injuries, and subsequently joint pain, so this type of running should be avoided, especially for beginners.
In fact, you should do most running at what I like to call a ‘conversational pace’, meaning you can hold a conversation whilst running.
Of course, you may have a desire to progress to more high-intensity runs, which is absolutely OK!
But it is important to keep in mind that this change should be incremental; by slowly building up your stamina and endurance, you will avoid needlessly damaging your joints.
If you’d like to go a step further, then it’s well worth investing in a high-quality joint support supplement such as Performance Lab Flex that can help massively in terms of joint lubrication, shock absorption, and much more, as I covered in my full review.
If the Shoe Fits… Buy It!
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of footwear when running. Finding the right running shoes for you is crucial to protecting your joints.
A good running shoe is one that will give you the proper amounts of support and help to correct any issues you may have, like overpronation.
If you’re feeling confused by the plethora of options, visit your local running store, where you’ll be given all the information and guidance you need to choose the right shoe for you.
Warm-up and Cool Down
While it may seem like a tempting idea to start your run at full force, to prevent injuries, having an adequate warmup beforehand is essential.
Take the time to stretch your muscles and have a brisk walk before you begin jogging. Cooling down is just as important; don’t just stop your run abruptly, slow down your pace incrementally until you are back to walking.