Running can be a great form of exercise; it can keep you in shape and helps keep your lungs and heart healthy. However, I want to explain why running daily could lead to injury.
Did you know that running daily can have a negative impact on you flexibility?
This is just one of the reasons why running can be bad for you. I know running is a great way to keep fit, I even run myself! The difference however, is I would run every now and then. Running, as a part of your daily routine, is what can do the damage.
Right so flexibility… when it comes to running, it can not only stop you becoming more flexible, BUT it can also restrict your natural flexibility that you’re already losing if you’re over 40!
This is something that I learned the hard way… I decided to take up running and was running everyday. I thought I was looking after my body.
It wasn’t until I went to play cricket when I had to sprint from one set of wickets to the other. The first time I ran in that game, I felt a really sharp pain in my hamstrings; I could hardly walk off the field!
You may not be thinking of sprinting anytime soon, but these injuries can even happen whilst you run across the road to catch a bus!
You see, the more you run, the more your muscles become shorter. This is because when you run your muscles contract, shortening and lengthening in size.
When your muscles however are tired or are dehydrated, they are unable to lengthen. Which means, you’re more likely to have an injury.
The best advice I could give if you still wanted to run, would be to incorporate Yoga into your daily routine. Yoga helps greatly for runners and here’s why:
BOTH exercises complement each other. Think about it…
If you perform yoga and stretch your muscles, you will be warming your muscles up and be able to run further. If you run further than normal, then you’re going to need to finish with some yoga moves to stretch out your muscles again and get rid of that lactic acid!
Another tip of mine would be to have a day when you ONLY focus on yoga. This will give you time in perfecting the moves and will give your muscles a rest from running. Doing yoga often, will also help you look more lean as your muscles will be lengthened. It’s a win win!
How many of you think about how hard you hit the pavement when running? Even if you go to the gym and run on a treadmill, you can’t get rid of how hard you hit the floor.
This is probably one of the worst parts about running. Think of it like this:
A repetitive motion is not good for joints because it wears your bones away, making them weak. This is the same for your muscles too. If you are contracting your muscles for repeatedly, then they are eventually going to become sore and painful.
Pounding the pavements hard is also bad for your knee joints because when you hit the pavement hard, you are putting your joints under great stress.
Running however, puts both of these problems together. Over time, this can lead to shin splints, tight achilles muscles and potentially a bad back! Now is it easier to see why running every single day, could lead to aches and pains in the long run?
If you do enjoy running still but want to protect your joints, then change it up slightly. Try running on grass or sand. Running on different surfaces can impact the stress you put on your joints when you land.
Running on grass will be better for your joints, but if you’re wanting it to be a tougher workout, try running in soft sand. It’s just as good as running on grass for your joints but it is a lot harder than running on a flat surface!
Give it a try and you’ll know exactly what I mean!
Posture Check! When was the last time you paid attention to your posture whilst you ran? It’s easy to fall into a bad habit which is why we need to fix it fast!
Having poor posture whilst running is a primary cause of lower back pain. So if you already have back pain and have been advised to exercise, please stop running and choose another exercise because right now… you’re doing more harm than good!
It’s important to have a good posture whilst running because your muscles need to be relaxed. If they aren’t they will get tensed and may lead to back pain. If you’re unsure, pause the tv when you watch runners and you’ll see that their muscles are relaxed.
So remember next time you run to run relaxed. Keep your shoulders relaxed, DON’T start to raise them up towards your ears!
If this happens, roll your shoulders back a little for a minute or so and stop at the motion where you are pushing them down. That’s the correct position to be in.
Your arms should be at 90 degrees, or a right angle. Also make sure that your hands look like they are holding a can or a tin. It might sound silly but trust me, it works!
Right, so just a quick summary – remember to vary your runs because, the more often you run, the more likely you are of causing an injury.
Also try and implement yoga into your daily routine, even if it’s just for a week! See if you can notice a difference with how you perform in your runs.
Remember running is great for your heart and lungs BUT consider other exercises for your joints and muscles such as yoga and even pilates! But if you must continue to run, run relaxed!
For more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and keeping mobile free from painkillers take a read of my book The Healthy Habit which is available for you here: http://www.thehealthyhabitbook.com
You might know Paul as an expert Columnist who writes weekly health articles for TWO of the North East's biggest daily Newspapers, The Northern Echo And The Hartlepool Mail, he is a regular Speaker at Industry Seminars around the globe and a Radio Personality, often heard on the BBC. Paul has been an expert guest on dozens of Radio shows and regularly interviewed in newspapers, magazines and trade journals all over the world, including the Guardian.
Paul’s background included working extensively in the Premier League with a Top Professional Football Team, and since quitting his job in Professional Football in 2007, his Physio Practice has become the fastest growing in the UK and biggest in the North East. So successful, that companies like BUPA, ASDA, The Vela Group And Coast & Country, repeatedly retain his Physio company's services to keep healthy their own staff and workforce. Paul Gough Physio Rooms is now a large multi-physio, multi clinic speciality practice in Darlington, Durham, Guisborough and Hartlepool.
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