Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-time jogger, knee injuries are an ever-present threat. From IT band issues to atellofemoral pain syndrome, few things can derail your running like a knee injury. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to stay strong and healthy while you increase your speed and distance.
Stop knee injuries in their tracks by taking preventive measures that will lessen your chance of developing issues down the road.
1. Build up slowly.
If you’re a first time runner or preparing for a big event, it may be tempting to run as far as you can, as fast as you can, and just go from there. Though you may be excited, you need to reign it in a bit and make sure you take regular rest days. A lot depends on your specific training plan and level of experience, but a general rule of thumb is to avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from one week to the next. Be careful to avoid overtraining. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast, is a recipe for knee injuries. Use your Baby G digital watch to help keep track of how long you’re training each day.
2. Strengthen your muscles.
The way that your knee moves is heavily influenced by the surrounding muscles. Your quads and hamstrings are both important areas to target. Considering hitting the gym two to three times a week to work on strength training.
3. Maintain your flexibility.
You’re more likely to run into problems with injuries if your limbs are stiff and inflexible. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the hip and thigh muscles are the most important muscle groups when it comes to preventing knee injuries. The organization recommended stretching each muscle group in these areas two to three times before beginning your exercise and again once you’re done.
When it comes to running-related stretching, a foam roller may very well be your best friend. Invest in one if you’re serious about your running.
4. Don’t ignore pain.
Pain is your body’s way of saying that something is wrong. Don’t ignore that. If your knee starts bothering you during or after your runs, consider taking a day or two off. Still hurting? When pain is persistent or sharp, it might be time to consult a physician.
5. Vary your cardio.
While running is a great form of cardio, it is not the only type of exercise that will get your heart pumping. According to Everyday Health, alternating your running with a low-impact activity – like swimming or rowing – is a good way to avoid knee injuries. But again, remember to avoid overtraining. Sometimes a rest day is the best thing you can do for your body.
6. Monitor your weight.
Finally, staying at a healthy weight is an important part of avoiding injuries in general while running, but it especially protects your knees. Few things stress your these joints like carrying around extra weight. If you have a high BMI, you should consult a physician before beginning a serious running plan to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries.
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