Use Science to Keep Injury Free

A Danish study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy in May put some theories to test regarding common causes of injuries with novice runners. The biggest risk group are the runners who try to run too far (over 3 kilometers) and who are too heavy.

Those who encounter problems early on are more likely to get frustrated and never get started again. So it's important to help potential runners starting out know what to do. The DANO-RUN project tested a group of 749 runners who started running for the first time, anywhere from 400 meters to 18 miles for the first week. Those who had a BMI greater than 30 and ran more than 2 miles the first week were the most likely to get injured.

The best way for beginners with weight issues to approach it would be to start with a brisk walking program and gradually incorporate running, just like I recommended in my entry 5 Steps to go From Walking to Running on May 10, and 5 Ways to Prevent Injuries. If extra work needs to be done to lose weight initially, one can also incorporate other lower impact activities like swimming, biking, rowing and rollerblading. It's also important to include strength and weight lifting exercises to build muscle mass, which will help a lot to increase you metabolism.

Do you have a success story of how you started running, lost weight and avoided injury? Please share!

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: This Week in Runners, Y, YMCA, Running, injury prevention, weight loss

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