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How to Avoid Running Injuries

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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.

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