Ready, Set, Run! Tips To Channel Your Inner Olympian

If you’ve always wanted to call yourself a runner, the time is now. It’s easy to start a running routine. It’s relatively inexpensive, you don’t need high-tech equipment, you can do it almost anywhere, and you don’t have to learn special techniques—after all, you already know how to run.

To get you started, we answer some top questions about how to begin a running program and how to best protect your joints from injury during exercise.

What health benefits does a regular running routine provide?
Besides helping you lose or maintain weight, stave off stress, improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure, running ultimately can help you live a longer and healthier life. In fact, Stanford University researchers found that runners had a lower risk of dying an early death compared with other healthy adults their same age.

But before you hit the ground running, consult with your doctor to be sure it’s the best exercise for you, says Daniel Solomon, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “If you have known arthritis in ankles or hips or a heart condition, running may not be the best exercise regimen choice.”

How can you prevent injury?
Despite what your grandmother may have told you, researchers have found that running and other weight-bearing exercises are beneficial for your bones regardless of your age. What is key, Solomon says, is that runners choose shoes that provide cushion and switch them out every six months to ensure feet and joints are well supported. In addition, be sure to stretch before and after workouts, Solomon says. Increased flexibility helps prevent injury because your joints are able to move through a full range of motion while you run.

How can you start running if you never have before?
First, you will need to plan your running schedule. Mark exercise appointments on a calendar or in your smartphone to be sure you don’t miss a workout.

“The key to beginning running—and being able to stick with it—is to start slowly,” Solomon says. Whether you are on a treadmill or outdoors, try interval training to build endurance. Begin with a five-minute walk and add one-minute increments of jogging, switching back to a brisk walk. Try this workout several times your first week for at least 15 minutes and slowly replace time walking with time jogging, and also slowly increase distance.

Consider joining a running club in your city. “Running clubs give you a sense of camaraderie and can make running more enjoyable,” Solomon says. 
“In addition, you will be running with others who have
 your similar fitness level, so you can share tips on how to get through obstacles and encourage one 
another’s accomplishments.”

Running Clinic at Gwinnett SportsRehab

Each runner has an individual gait, stride length, body type and level of flexibility. So whether it’s recovering from an injury or simply trying to set a new personal record, runners need individual solutions. Gwinnett SportsRehab’s Running Clinic provide each patient with a personal assessment and evaluation. Click here to learn more. 


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