Question: "I'd like to start running, but I worry about getting injured. What should I watch for?"
Though running isn't inherently harmful, it's smart to take precautions before you start something new. Alan Hreljac, Ph.D., of California State University in Sacramento, offers these tips:
- Increase time or distance — not both — no more than 10 percent from one week to the next.
- Stay on soft surfaces to lessen impact. Run on dirt paths, not streets.
- Stop before you get tired. When muscles fatigue, they don't absorb as much impact.
- Rest one to two days between runs. Injuries can occur when bone or tissue is continually taxed without time to rejuvenate.
- Strengthen. Stronger leg muscles absorb more impact. Try a lower-body move like squats.