My love for running began when I joined my high school’s track team at Baltimore’s Polytechnic Institute. I had great coaches, extremely talented teammates, and it didn’t hurt that the track meets were like weekly parties. However, coincidentally , I injured myself while running track, which pushed me towards pursuing a career in physical therapy. Although I fell off the running trail in college, through my studies I began to learn more about its health benefits.
Running, which is a form of cardiovascular exercise, is one the best activities we can do for our bodies. Cardio is linked to reduced risk of metabolic conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease . Running can also help improve mood and, contrary to popular opinion, running actually strengthens your joints. Unfortunately, as I learned all of these amazing benefits to pounding the pavement, I began running less and less. I would start and stop because I was not adequately engaged with the exercise. I struggled with “runners itch” and suffered from nagging injuries.
However, after practicing as a licensed physical therapist for a few years, I have now treated hundreds of clients with running related injuries. More common issues include anterior knee pain, Achilles irritation, lateral hip pain, and low back tightness. The hard truth is that injuries are likely inevitable. Thankfully there are strategies we can implement to reduce risk, including:
Wearing proper running shoes
Engaging in resistance training
Adopting a proper running program
I have been running a lot more lately. Of course some of my increased running is due to COVID-19 limiting my ability to hit the gym. However, I’ve received plenty of motivation from the More Watter Co. team, on top of the virtual challenges from the RunnersRun collective. Being consistent is a challenge for us all, here are some helpful tips for finding your groove:
Run with fellow runners to keep you motivated and accountable
Schedule runs at times of the day that make you most comfortable
Research different trails or routes to keep you engaged and having fun
Running is fun for me again. As I continue on my fitness marathon, I encourage you all to stay active, safe, and of course, Drink more Watter.