Runners need to stay S.M.A.R.T. to
cut their risk for overuse injuries, experts say.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Stretch,
Move, Add it up, Reduce strain, and Talk to a physiotherapist,
according to new guidelines from the Canadian Physiotherapy
Running can be of great benefit
to health. A 30- to 40-minute run, three or four times a week,
helps maintain flexibility, increase mobility, and build strength
and endurance. It can also reduce stress, lower risks for heart
disease, and help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, according
to the association.
However, like any strenuous activity,
running does carry some risk of injury. Many running-related
injuries are caused by overuse -- the same body parts are used
over and until repetition causes a problem, resulting in injury.
The following S.M.A.R.T. tips
can help prevent overuse injuries, the association says:
- Stretch. Perform specific
stretching exercises before and after each run, concentrating
on the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, groin, buttocks, outside
of the knee, and back.
- Move. Proper body posture
and body mechanics will help reduce the strain on the body.
- Add it up. Runners should
take a gradual approach to increasing their running distance
and speed. Pushing too hard from one week to the next could
result in an injury. Mileage should only be increased about
10 percent per week, the experts say.
- Reduce strain. Avoid
running on hard surfaces. Dirt paths are better than asphalt
and asphalt is better than concrete. Beware of grass, which
can hide holes, rocks and other hazards. Rotate activities
-- running, cycling, swimming -- in order to reduce strain.
Don't overdo it. Proper rest is essential. Drink plenty of
fluids while running.
- Talk to a physiotherapist
for fitness and injury prevention advice.
Here's where you can find the
Canadian Physiotherapy Association's running
Reference Source 101