Running is a wonderful way to burn calories, increase your endurance, and just generally get into much better shape. However, this exercise isn’t without its downsides.
One of the big negatives of running is the strong impact it can have on your sensitive joints. Your foot is constantly hitting the surface, usually a hard one like asphalt, and each time it hits, your joints take a beating. Over time, putting all of this strain on your joints can lead to serious health problems like arthritis, knee injuries, and just overall pain. Eventually, these types of problems could cause you to have to give up running altogether.
How to Minimize the Impact on Running on Your Joints
If you only run every once in a while, you don’t really have to worry too much about joint problems or other injuries. These tend to only occur with continual running. If you run at least a few times a week, however, then one of the smartest things you can do is to invest in a good pair of running shoes. While most people think a “good” pair means a well-known brand name, there’s actually quite a bit more to it than that. You need to find running shoes that are made specifically for the type of feet that you have. Different people have different arches to their feet, so a shoe that works great for one person might not be suited to another.
Arches and Shoes
Most people’s arch type can be classified as normal, flat, or high. Generally, those who have a normal arch will simply need a shoe designed to provide stability and balance. Those with higher arches often require cushioning to help support the foot and keep injuries from happening, and those with flatter feet usually need a motion control shoe. However, the best way to determine which type of shoe is right for you is to visit a reputable sports equipment store and talk to a consultant there. Alternately, if you run on a team or know any athletic coaches, you can ask for their advice on which shoe is the best option for you.
Consider Where You Run
The material that you run on should also be considered when buying your running shoe. If, for example, you plan to run on asphalt or other hard surfaces, then you need a cushioned, flexible shoe that can support your foot upon impact and help to keep your stride going strong. Those who run in the great outdoors require shoes with tough outsoles that provide better traction and grip and that that keep the foot extra protected, since you never know what you might step on.
Replacing Running Shoes
It can be tempting to hold onto the same old pair of running shoes for years and years. However, when your shoes start to show wear and tear, to lose their cushioning, or to stop offering you the support that made you purchase them in the first place, it’s time to replace them. Wearing even the best running shoes for too long is a quick way to harm your feet and cause injuries. How often you will need to replace your shoes will depend on how frequently you run and on the shoes that you buy.
Rosie Leighton is a fitness blogger currently residing in Seattle, WA; she understands the value of a good workout, whether it's a long run around the neighborhood, or a Crossfit WOD at her local gym.