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How running won’t ruin your knees or lead to injury

COVID-19 led to the resurgence of outdoor activities, especially running and cycling. With gyms and fitness centers still not considered fully safe, people are finding their fitness outlet in running. Isn’t it also the simplest? All you need is a pair of shoes and you can quickly break into a sweat.

Coach Nivedita Samanta who leads the Adidas Running Community shares, “Running is one of the most fulfilling fitness forms. It is important to start small and not worry too much about the numbers initially. I recommend people to try a combination of walking and running when they are just beginning.”

Beginners sometimes end up getting too much into technicalities. Nivedita warns, “When people try to do too much, too soon, that’s where they go wrong. One must never ignore the importance of rest. Moreover, inadequate warm up and cool down can also hinder your running progress. You cannot just hit the ground running – 7-10 minutes of dynamic warm up before running and some yoga stretches post running to cool down are mandatory.” Dynamic warm up includes neck shoulder rotation, jumping jacks, spot jogging, while some of the best yoga poses are downward facing dog, upward dog and forward stretch.

It is important to note that the human body was made for running. Different people run differently and that’s alright. While we fuss over foot landing, a lot of elite marathon runners land on heels, shares Nivedita.

Listening to your body is one of the most crucial things for runners. Beginners should start with 30 minutes, twice or thrice a week and try for a walk-jog sequence. Additionally, every third week, they should take a recovery week.

Running is a full body workout where your joints get impacted so you have to prepare your body. Practising strength training on alternate days where you do exercises like squats, lunges, planks, push ups, to strengthen your tendons, ligaments and muscles will continue the recovery process.

Despite getting ample sunshine, most Indians are low on Vitamin D and B12 genetically. So for those who are above 40 years, it is important to monitor these levels via blood tests. A holistic approach is needed otherwise you will end up burning out and injuring yourself. Nutritionist Luke Coutinho recently shared how Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies can be extremely harmful for people. “They can have the best diets and workout plans, yet be unhealthy due to the vitamin deficiencies.”

“I have runners of all abilities in my group and you just have to find your stride,” she concludes. She is using her running sessions to support underprivileged kids through Adidas’ Hi-Energy Challenge initiative.

Runner Anubha Verma shares, “I was into fitness classes before lockdown and lockdown introduced me to the joys of running. Soon enough I found a group, which keeps me motivated and now I can cover more miles easily.”

To ensure safety, there are a number of smart choices runners can make: wear proper footwear and running gear, find a group, take a day off religiously, do strength training to improve your running, be patient with yourself, follow a healthy and wholesome diet, and last but not the least, wash your hands when you get home.

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