Running is a brilliant form of exercise for many people – it’s brilliant for your cardiovascular health as it’s a type of cardio, it can can also help to build strong bones (which is important going into older adulthood) as it’s a weight-bearing exercise, and many experience help with their mental health as it’s a form of exercise that gets you outside, working hard and focusing on goals. All of these are brilliant positives, but it doesn’t mean that running is always easy.
In the winter, it can be much easier to skip the runs as the weather gets worse, you have fewer daylight hours to play with and the ground can get harder to run on due to rain or ice. And while it’s important to give yourself some grace and not to force yourself into doing something that you really don’t want to do, this article has 4 tips that you can follow to avoid injury this winter.
1. Keep as warm as possible
When your body gets cold, your muscles get cold, and when your muscles get cold you’re at increased risk of muscle strains and tears. These types of injuries can put you out of action for weeks or even months, depending on the severity, so it’s important to wrap up warm with the right layers that will keep sweat away from your body and not impede your movements.
Keep an eye out for:
- Winter running shoes
- Socks that wick the moisture away from your feet
- A running hat
2. Tape up any injuries or niggles
Runners often experience mild injuries and pains, and it’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not getting worse. Once you have the all-clear from your Dr or physio, make sure to tape up injuries with kinesio taping, as this can provide support, reduce pain and swelling and aid movement.
3. Think about wearing a face mask
This is not to reduce the risk of catching respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 this winter – it’s actually to help to keep the air near your face warmer, reducing your likelihood of getting a cold or chest infection. It is also helpful for those who experience exercise-induced asthma. Additionally, by keeping the air near your face warmer you may reduce the amount of muscle tension that can cause spasms and create irregular breathing. You can pick up specialized running face masks from running shops or online.
4. Stay hydrated
Even though you may feel cold as you run, you will still be sweating and therefore losing water. It’s important, therefore, to remember to stay hydrated by taking on lots of water when you run. If you don’t, you put yourself at risk of getting dehydration-induced muscle tension, which in turns means you’re at risk of sprains.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some ideas on how you can continue to run safely and avoid any unnecessary injuries this winter. Wrap up warm, tape up and hydrate – good luck!