Last lockdown, 28% of UK adults upped their usual amount of exercise. This was to be expected, as many found it a great way to clear their minds and ease anxieties. It kept us busy, kept us moving, and boosted our energy through such a difficult period.
However, unfortunately, there was a downside to this; 7.2 million Brits injured themselves, with men twice as likely as women to suffer an injury. According to Bupa, the most common lockdown injuries were:
Pulled muscles (36%)
Knee injuries (31%)
Back injuries (26%)
Ankle injuries (26%)
Neck injuries (25%)
StretchLAB have put together their top tips on how to avoid running injuries for this lockdown and beyond…
THE WRONG FOOTWEAR
Your toes need space to provide the support and balance needed to run efficiently. If you’re wearing shoes that squeeze your toes at the top, this gives them little chance to do their job! Aim to find shoes with a toe box that lets your toes do what they’re there for; weight bearing (taking the toll off your calves and fascia), balance (stabilising joints) and thrusting you forward (improves gait and performance).
Lots of runners just go straight into their run, pound the pavements and then come to a dead stop. It’s really important that you devote time to warming up with dynamic stretches, and finishing off with a good stretch too.
Long term commitment to stretching will help improve your flexibility, allowing your body to move to its full range of motion and protect itself while you run. This elasticity is important for reducing impact across your body and allowing your muscles to gain strength to their full capacity.
Round off a run with a hip flexor stretch, a pigeon pose on a matt, and a wall stretch for the soleus. If you have a massage ball or foam roller, focus on releasing the tensor fascia latae, the muscle at the top of your hip, and roll the bottom of your feet to release your fascia. You should perform each stretch 3 times and hold for around 30 seconds.
DEHYDRATION + FUEL SHORTAGE
Being as little as 5% dehydrated can impair performance and increase the risk of injury, so make sure you’re drinking enough. You can do this by looking at the colour of your urine and ensuring it is a light straw colour.
Being dehydrated also makes the ligaments and tendons “more brittle” and susceptible to being damaged. Hydration improves the viscosity of the hyaluronic acid – the substance that lubricates all joints and the fascia primarily.
Recovery time isn’t just for pro athletes. We all need to give our bodies time to recover after a rigorous training routine. If you’re running long distances for example, make sure you reserve a day in the week for a recovery session by going for a shorter, slower run. You can also give your lower body a rest by focusing on core training, doing a yoga class or focusing on stretching as alternatives.
MUSCLE WEAKNESS OR IMBALANCE
One of the most important muscle groups for runners is the intrinsic muscles of the feet. There is a direct correlation neurologically wise with the intrinsic muscles of the feet and the glutes/transverse abdominus and obliques of the stomach. Strengthening the feet will stimulate the glutes etc to fire whilst loading when running,
Our Stretchologists are trained to spot imbalances by Sports Chiro Brett Gibbens, and as a team, they can prescribe you with the right treatment for your individual body.
By Jessica Redman, Stretchologist at StretchLAB and Dr Brett Gibbens, BG Sports Chiropractor & Physical Therapist at StretchLAB.
StretchLAB’s team of Stretchologists have undergone intense expert – designed training in order to deliver the best stretch in London, in various different lengths to suit your schedule. Compliment your stretch with a range of other recovery tools at the StretchLAB studio, or join one of their classes for to learn some skills for yourself.
For more information on StretchLAB visit their website here.