Running is the best cardio workout for many people who want to release stress, get their heart rate up and enjoy being outdoors. Learn how to prevent knee injuries from running.
Although there are many benefits to running, first-time runners should be on guard for signs of stress on their bodies.
The runner’s knee (also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome) is one of the most common knee injuries associated with runners. The main sign is a pain in the front of the knee. Often due to weaknesses in the core and hips.
Stretch the muscles around the knees
Before running, be sure to do a light warm-up followed by some stretching. Important muscle groups to watch when you are worried about your knees include the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. For example, stretch the hamstrings while contracting the quadriceps. Simultaneously tensioning the contralateral muscle groups can improve their ability to stretch those muscles.
Strengthen the leg muscles and core
Strengthening is significant, including the hamstrings and quadriceps and the core and gluteal muscles. The power of plyometrics with squats and explosive movements also helps prevent injuries. Easy exercise twice a week for only 10 to 15 minutes is beneficial. Exercises to try include squats, lunges, or farmer walks (if you have weights at home).
Use cryotherapy for knee pain
If your knee hurts after running, try chilling with ice. If acceptable, sitting in cold water for at least 5-10 minutes is a technique used by many professional athletes. Check with your doctor before trying this, and get ready for a cold experience!
Give your knees a break
Cycling is one option. If you are particularly vulnerable to injury, we recommend incorporating another aerobic exercise into your daily routine several times a week to help ease repetitive strain loads. Circuit training is something you can do from home.
It is vital to stay hydrated for optimal muscle function and health, no matter exercise. Make sure you have a glass of water before you hit the sidewalk and immediately after you get home. If you take a long run, be sure to hydrate the day before and avoid alcohol.