3 Essential Steps to Safe and Effective Running

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A lot of people choose running as their primary form of exercise. This is because running costs very little, it is convenient, and we all know how to do it. At least, we think we do. Contrary to popular belief, running is more complicated than just putting one foot in front of the other. If a runner is not knowledgeable and well prepared, they will feel uncomfortable or injured. Running requires proper technique to make it safe, effective, and enjoyable. Are you confident that you are doing this exercise correctly? Read on for the safe and practical guide to running.

1. Running position

The position that your body is in when you are running plays a pivotal role in the safety and effectiveness of this form of exercise.

Let’s start at the top. Your head should be straight. Many people tend to look down at their feet when they are running. This is an instinct. You think it is safer to look down to dodge obstacles while moving at speed quickly. Looking down while running will strain your neck and shoulders.

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Your jaw, neck, and shoulders should not be tight and tense. Tightness in these areas will cause pain and make it harder to breathe, reducing the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles. Try to keep these parts of your body loose and relaxed.

Keep your hips in a fixed position. Avoid pushing them back or forward, leading to hip and lower back problems.

Like your neck and shoulders, your hands should be stable but relaxed. Clenching your hands will tighten the muscles in your shoulders and back.

While striding, allow your knee to bend slightly when it comes into contact with the ground. This will help to soften the impact, preventing a knee injury. Don’t allow your knees to go too high—they should be aiming straight ahead rather than upwards.

Allow your feet to hit the ground softly. If they land with a thump on the ground, you run too hard. This can cause damage to many different parts of your body.

Breathing

If you practice controlled breathing, you will feel less exhausted and breathless. Think deep and rhythmic, not short and shallow. This kind of breathing will allow more oxygen to get to your muscles, which in turn leads to more endurance. Match your breathing with your steps to make it easier. Inhale for three or four strides, then exhale for the same number. Concentrating on your breathing while running also helps many runners focus on their targets rather than the moment-to-moment during the run itself.

Drinking water

If you run for 30 minutes or less, you won’t need to drink water. However, drink plenty of water post-run to replenish the lost fluids. The rule for longer runs is to drink every 20 minutes.

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