Return to Running
Posted 1/4/2017 by UHBlog
As humans, we are born to run. The trick is being able to stay in the race, says sports medicine specialist Robert Truax, DO.
“When someone is no longer a runner due to injury or lack of interest, they shouldn’t give up running,” he says. “There are many ways they can return to an active running routine. I encourage people to run. It’s the most natural form of exercise and can improve circulatory and cardiovascular fitness, enhance muscle tone and lift your mood.”
If you're a former runner who wants to get back on track, Dr. Truax answers some commonly asked questions:
Q. Before I resume running, what should I do to prevent injury?
A. Just like a car needs a tune-up to run smoothly, so do athletes, who can benefit from preventative treatments to keep them running their best.
“The act of running puts considerable stress on joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments,” says Dr. Truax. “When I do an osteopathic exam, I focus on the locomotion of the body and check for muscular imbalances and structural restrictions that can impede movement and decrease efficiency. Any imbalances I discover can be aligned through osteopathic manipulation, which helps bones, muscles, joints and ligaments work together.”
Q. What is the best way to ease into running?
A. Dr. Truax recommends that you start walking briskly to get moving again.
"Once you've rebuilt your basic strength and you feel comfortable with your progress, you can begin running short distances, allowing your muscle memory to kick in,” he says. “If you’ve been running for awhile, you'll snap back into fitness rather quickly. The first couple of weeks will be tough, but if you stick with it, you’ll be pleased with your progress and the runner’s high that follows.”
Q. What is the best way for a runner to warm-up?
A. “Most runners benefit from a pre-run stretch of their core muscles, but the real warm-up kicks in the moment you start running," he says. “You can’t go from sitting down to twice your heart rate in 10 seconds. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for your muscles to fire and your heart rate and body temperature to rise. The next 30 minutes of intense running will challenge your body and make positive changes in your overall well-being. The last 10 minutes of your run will be your cool-down period.”
Q. Why is it important for runners to stay fit?
A. According to Dr. Truax, fitness doesn't prevent injury, but it reduces the risk of injury and helps you recover faster if you do get injured.
Q. What are the long-term benefits of being a runner?
A. “Aging speeds up the atrophy process, so every day that a person doesn’t exercise, they lose a little bit of fitness,” he says. “Exercises like running slow down the aging process and help you to maintain an overall sense of well-being. Everyone's goal should be that at age 75, you have the stamina to spend eight hours a day for three days with your grandchildren at Disney World. To me, that is one of the ultimate end results of a lifelong habit of fitness.”
Robert Truax, DO is a sports medicine specialist who specializes in musculoskeletal balance at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Dr. Truax or any other healthcare provider online.