As the summer heat transitions into brisk fall breezes, you might start to see more people jogging or running to take advantage of the cooler weather. Running is a great way to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and enjoy some time outside. Plus, the activity is beneficial to your health. Even just 5-10 minutes of running each day offers amazing health benefits including:
- Reduced heart attack risk
- Reduced stroke risk
- Lower risk of certain cancers
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Better sleep
- A brighter mood
While running is an excellent form of cardio for staying in shape, it’s not without its downsides. Podiatrist Francine Rhinehart, DPM, is no stranger to the many injuries that commonly affect runners’ feet and legs including Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, and other overuse injuries.
At her general and aesthetic podiatry practice in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Rhinehart doesn’t just treat injuries: She helps you prevent them from happening in the first place. Follow our brief guide to lower your injury risk as you increase your running mileage this autumn.
Be choosy with your footwear
Proper, supportive footwear is a must-have for anyone who runs or jogs for exercise. When your feet and legs have the proper support, you’re less likely to overload specific muscles and obtain injuries.
Dr. Rhinehart is happy to help you review your footwear selection and can recommend running shoes that meet your needs. Here are a few helpful tips to consider while choosing your running shoes:
- Change out your shoes often
- Make sure your shoes fit properly: Not too large, tight, or loose
- Choose shoes that feel comfortable on your foot
- Consider where you feel the most sore while reviewing different levels of heel-toe drop
Since foot anatomy, stride, and other factors vary, there aren’t many solid recommendations for running shoes that apply to everyone across the board. Consider your own comfort while choosing shoes and be sure your sneakers offer support.
Modify your training load
Although running regularly offers some health benefits, moderation is critical. Too much too soon can put you at risk of runner’s injuries. Listen to your body and gradually increase your pace and distance over time. Rest days are also important, so try to take a day or two off from running or jogging each week to give your body time to recover and reset. You could also mix up your routine by engaging in other activities like swimming or cycling.
Additionally, you should always warm up before you run and stretch when you’re finished. Warming up helps to loosen your muscles and tendons so they’re more flexible: Tight muscles are more likely to tear. Stretching after a run helps you lengthen shortened muscles, reduces their tension, and helps you relax and unwind.
Use proper form
Yes, there is a “correct” way to run. You should maintain a slight foreward lean with an otherwise upright posture, keeping your head up at all times. You can improve your running form by practicing specific balance and strengthening exercises such as high knee walks and ankle stretches against a wall or door.
Get personalized advice to optimize your workouts
Are you looking to increase your running mileage this fall? Call Francine Rhinehart DPM or schedule an appointment online to learn more about running injuries and their prevention today.