Runner's knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition that causes pain under your kneecaps. Resting your knees by avoiding activities such as squatting or kneeling can help you ease the pain. You can also apply ice or drink ginger tea for pain relief. Physical therapy, the use of knee braces, and using supportive shoe inserts (orthosis) may also help.
If you are a runner, you will need to choose post-run foods depending on the intensity of the exercise and other goals like weight control. If you’re concerned that recovery food is limited to barely palatable “recovery drinks” and energy bars available off the shelf, think again! Fresh crunchy salads, creamy yogurts, tangy berries, and even wholesome salmon, tuna, turkey, or chicken meals can make recovering from a run a treat for your tastebuds.
Eating right can help you make the most of a run. The right kind of carbs like banana or crackers which are easily digested and low-fat protein like yogurt or fish can be a great snack or meal. Water and isotonic drinks keep the electrolytes in balance and are, sometimes, all you need before you run. Steer clear of too much spice, fat, and fiber as these could ruin your run!
Long-distance runners need to load up on carbs like wholegrain bread, cereal, and sweet potatoes several days ahead of the run and even on the morning of the run. Lean protein like chicken and beef should be part of your regular diet as well as post-run recovery meal. Eat berries and leafy greens to get antioxidants to fight the post-run stress. Remember to eat at the right time to ensure your fuel isn't slowing you down!
Downward-facing dog is a full body stretch that’ll make your calves and hamstrings stronger. It’s a common position in many yoga sequences. The head-to-knee pose will also strengthen your hamstrings, preventing injuries and tightness. It’s related to the bound angle pose, which is another great pose for your thighs; it'll help you move swiftly with ease. To make your back stronger, do the pigeon and bridge poses. These positions improve posture while running.
For those of us who cannot run or choose not to run, jogging is a great way to burn calories. Slow jogging has even been seen to increase women's life expectancy by 5.6 years and men's by 6.2 years on average. But getting the pace right is key for optimal results. Avoid the temptation to break into a near run at 6 mph. Instead, aim to hit health highs by sticking to a comfortable 4–5 mph pace. Light jogging may actually be better for health than moderate or strenuous jogging.
The road to complete recovery after a marathon is difficult but not impossible. Do not stop running soon after the marathon, take an ice bath and get into some compression wear before you prepare for a long and sound sleep soon after the marathon. Replenish your body with antioxidant-rich food and enroll in an aerobics class till you recover completely.
Don't run full throttle the very first day. Give your heart and your muscles time to cope and settle into a routine. Then step up the speed and the mileage to get benefits. Any sign of nagging pains and aches, halt and head to your physio. Slip on the right pair of shoes that will enhance your performance and keep sipping enough water before, during, and after the run to keep your blood pressure from dipping below normal.
A morning cup of green tea on an empty stomach may damage your liver. Drinking it with a meal inhibits the absorption of iron in your body. Drink it 2 hours before or after a meal and 2 hours before bedtime. Else, its caffeine and L-theanine amino acid can keep you alert. The tea, being a diuretic, can also disturb your sleep. For weight loss, drink it before you exercise, but restrict yourself to 2–3 cups a day. Avoid this cooling drink in winter.
No matter what causes anxiety in you, running relieves its symptoms like shallow breathing, palpitations, and numbness in hands and feet, by boosting the oxygen intake and blood flow. It increases the GABA neurotransmitters that soothe excited nerves and resist stress in the long run and endorphins to improve mood and battle the effect of cortisol. It promotes restful sleep. It's therapeutic in phobic anxieties.
Moderate running doesn't trouble the heart in people with high BP. In fact, it lowers BP, and regular running keeps it from rising even on exertion and boosts your oxygen intake, thus improving your performance. It solves your stress and weight issues and helps your heart. Running for 30 mins daily, even in installments, helps in cases of resistant hypertension where meds can't. Run, jog, or walk, but don't sprint.
Running makes your body release hormones like serotonin or dopamine to alleviate depression. It boosts the birth of neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain to aid learning and memory, well into your old age, and counter diseases like dementia, where the neurons stop working and die. As it enhances your attention and focus, running is a viable treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Eat a banana before and after a run. It's full of carbs, antioxidants, vitamin B6, and potassium. Before and as you run, munch on a whole grain, nutty energy bar or just pop in a handful of potassium- and iron-rich raisins. Mix 2 tbsps cereals with 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 tsp honey before a run. Or eat a whole baked beetroot. Drink enough water, about 5–12 ounces every 15 mins during the run. But don't overhydrate yourself.
Running puts pressure on the bottom of the foot, or the plantar area, depending on the running surface. As excessive pressure can cause injuries, begin with a low-impact surface like grass, which offers a lower maximum plantar pressure than those offered by asphalt or concrete. You could also try synthetic track. But if you're running at a moderate pace, choose any surface and don't stick to one for life.
Long-distance running doesn't stress the knee joints greatly or hike the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) as it involves longer strides and a short ground contact. In fact, running over 1.2 miles a day lowers the risk by 15 percent, by reducing weight and fortifying the muscles, joints, and cartilages. But accompanied by factors like poor running form, injuries, OA genes, or osteoporosis, it may raise your risk.
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