If you've got a spring in your step because of the nice weather, you may want to enjoy the fresh air by starting a new running hobby. But being a runner isn't just about lacing up fancy new kicks and hitting the pavement. By incorporating a few exercises into your workout routine, you can help prevent some injuries that are common in the running world. Here are a few of them to start doing now.
- Strengthen those quads. Running is a great way to work out your hamstrings, so working on your quads is key to keeping your leg muscles balanced and for preventing injuries like runner's knee. To strengthen your quads, try adding squats to your routine.
- Stretch your IT band. If you've talked to regular runners, chances are you've heard them complain about IT band injuries or knee pain. Be proactive about these injuries by making sure you stretch out your IT band regularly, even if you aren't feeling any pain. Use a foam roller on the outside of your quads or do this standing exercise after a run to ensure you keep your IT band loose.
- Move laterally. Counteract all that forward-moving motion you're doing with exercises that get you moving side to side. Exercises like side lunges and side planks help strengthen stabilizing muscles, which are important for ensuring you're running correctly and efficiently. Doing skater's lunges are also beneficial.
Read on for three more important exercises for runners after the break.
- Do the twist. Exercises that twist your trunk and spine can help realign your vertebrae, open your lungs, and increase your torso flexibility, all important for maintaining good form and posture, as well as preventing injuries, while you run.
- Work on your balance. Improperly carrying weight on one side can lead to overuse injuries. Keep yourself balanced when your walk, stand, or run by incorporating these quick balancing exercises (as simple as standing on one foot for a minute!) into your day.
- Don't forget your feet. There are so many ways to injure those fatigued feet, so make sure that you take care of them before they happen. One of the most common running injuries is plantar fasciitis, where the thick band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot becomes torn and inflamed. To prevents this, take a minute to do some toe scrunches when you wake up, while you're brushing your teeth, or at your desk.