Jogging is a great way to stay fit, but improper form or overtraining can put serious strain on your joints. We asked Jeff London, founder and head trainer of Quick Body Solutions, to share some tips for proper running.
1. Accept the Risks. First, says London, accept that no physical activity, particularly if you exercise or work out often, is without risk “of some sort of injury or discomfort. When you push your body for long periods of time, you will occasionally tweak something. It comes with the territory.”
2. Easy Does It. “One of the most common mistakes is doing too much, too fast,” says London. “Beginners need to start off slowly and give their body time to adjust to running, while experienced runners must ease into new training programs.” London suggests that new runners start with short jogs only once or twice a week.
3. Listen to Your Body. “If you are experiencing pain above a five out of 10, I would recommend resting. You may be causing more harm than good,” says London.
4. Go for Quality, Not Quantity. Running too much “can stress your body, causing extreme muscle soreness or stress fractures,” says London. “Running too much can also negatively affect your hormones, causing cortisol, a stress hormone, to rise.”
5. Practice Proper Form. Runners should maintain a short, quick stride and keep their knees in line as their feet hit the ground. “Focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you and engage your core,” says London.
6. Warm Up & Cool Down. “Runners should warm up by first engaging in a brisk walk or light jog for five to 10 minutes,” advises London. This should be followed “by a short, dynamic stretch routine and then runners should slowly ease into their run.” Afterward, London says, you should “walk or jog slowly for five to 10 minutes, then stretch the entire body.”