Of all the New Year’s resolutions to exercise, running is the most popular. After all, the world is your gym. Plus, who doesn’t have a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and some running shoes in their closet?
However, many new runners aren’t prepared for the demands they’re about to put on their bodies. Before you begin your new exercise adventure, here are some tips from orthoinfo.aaos.org to help you avoid injury and ensure a successful running program:
- Invest in the right pair of running shoes – stability and cushioning to the foot is key. Make sure that you have a thumbnail’s width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Utilize a progressive running program, including a five-minute warm-up, as well as stretching exercises before and after the run.
- Reduce the risk of hypothermia in cold weather by dressing in layers – the inner layer should be material that takes perspiration away from the skin (polypropylene, thermal); the middle layer (not necessary for legs) should be for insulation and absorbing moisture (cotton); the outer layer should protect against wind and moisture (nylon).
- Avoid getting chilled during cold weather runs by running into the wind when you start and running with the wind on your finish.
- Avoid running at night. If you run at dusk or dawn, always wear reflective material.
- Try to run on a clear, smooth, even, and reasonably soft surface. Avoid hills, which increase stress on the ankle and foot.
- Drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and every 20 to 30 minutes along your route. You can lose between six and 12 ounces of fluid for every 20 minutes of running.
To help make the most of your running program, see the complete list of tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons here.