Have you increased your exercise during lockdown?
Over the lockdown period it has been said we will all come out the other side either ‘Hunks, Chunks or Drunks’
As I have been walking around our area of Berkshire I have noticed that the number of runners has increased. Whether you have been on furlough or have more flexibility around your working hours the option of exercising during the day certainly has become welcome. The benefits of exercise to our health both physical and mental is well established. Even if you are used to exercising the challenges of taking up increasing levels of activity can lead to injury which ultimately can put our aspirations on hold or maybe stop them dead in their tracks. Here are a few good tips if you are thinking about those changes.
- Start out slow. If you are looking to start running the easiest thing to do is to try a few brisk walks for 30 minutes or so each day and gradually increasing into a jog. If this is the first time you have taken up running, I would certainly advise you to do a little work on your core stability which is very important when you are starting activity. Something like yoga, Pilates, or tai chi, can be a good start. The Couch to 5k plan is also a good starting point.
- Get checked out. If you are an established runner you may be looking to increase your distance towards an event. Most experienced runners will have their training plans mapped out. Injury is not something we plan for but it is something that does occur regularly. It is best to get these things checked out early rather than waiting for them to become a significant problem that could put your progress or place in your chosen event in jeopardy.
- Pick the right shoes for the right job. If you are looking to start running decide which surfaces you’re going to run on. The vast majority of training shoes are designed for road running, however, should you live in the countryside and be wanting to go across uneven surfaces something like a trail shoe may be more advantageous in giving you increased grip and support. You can also use trail shoes on road so if there is any doubt always go for the more supportive type.
- Ignore all the hype surrounding footwear. Shoes are important, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes we can get over focused upon brands, styles, and how much support the foot is likely to need. Don’t be taken in by all of the gimmicks that are surrounding trainer structures, motion control, anti-pronation style shoes. If it is right for someone else it may not necessarily be right for you and making the wrong choice can be detrimental to progressing or even continuing your running. The bottom line is go to someone who knows what they’re doing. A good quality neutral shoe does not have to cost the earth and if you are going to pick on one thing make it comfort, or the footwear that feels the best for you.
- Get help quickly. Should you start to get a niggle or an injury as you run, or most often as you start to increase your distance or change the surface you are running on then it would be a good idea to get this checked out. We suggest that you speak to the professionals relating to the area of body where you are having a problem. If it is in your lower limb particularly your foot, ankle or shin then it would be advantageous to come and see the professional that specialises in feet and ankles, a Also, if you find that you are just not progressing as you would like to perhaps it would be a good idea to get some professional advice and some high-quality analysis. It is the podiatrists’ job to keep you on your feet. So why wait till it hurts?
- Never underestimate the power of a good pair of socks. Socks that we choose to run in are almost as important as the shoes. Poor quality socks can cause rubs and blisters and prevent you getting out and about. I would certainly recommend that you buy 3 to 4 pairs of decent running socks, although this will be potentially quite expensive, as they can be nearly £10 a pair. They will be the best £10 you’ve ever spent if you progress further in your running.
When you are thinking about increasing your exercise talk to our experienced team who can advise you where you may potentially have weaknesses or asymmetries in your walking/running that could lead to potential injury. We will link up with our local sports shops, physiotherapists, and other health professionals to put together a package for you to get you to be where you want to be. Whether that be running your first sub- 20 minute 5K or just be able to get around the supermarket without pain we can help you.