While other fitness trends seem to come and go, running almost always has its place among the most popular forms of exercise. The Huffington Post reported just last year that running is the top choice of exercise among surveyed Americans — and with niche races like Zombie 5Ks and Undie Runs (really) popping up, it’s safe to say that running continues to be a chief focus in our workout culture.
While the cardiovascular benefits of running are undeniable, like most forms of exercises, it presents its own risks for injury. Here are three helpful tips to stay on the roads and out of the hospital.
1. Maintain a proper stride
According to Runner’s World, “efficient endurance running requires just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride.” This pattern of movement will best facilitate your body’s forward momentum, simultaneously minimizing energy waste and risk of injury. Be sure to keep the length of your stride in mind: Your lower leg should never be extending forward past your knee.
In addition to posture, consider how your foot lands on each step. Feet should be hitting the ground lightly — Runner’s World emphasizes that “good running is springy and quiet.” With each step, your should land between the heel and midfoot, then rolling forward towards the toes. A flexed ankle will allow for the strongest possible push off, effectively springing you toward your next step and again helping to conserve energy.
Our next step will help you maintain a healthy foot strike based on your individual gait.