Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in America. The benefits include low cost, easy access, improved cardiovascular function, reduced obesity, and enhanced mental health. There are, however potential risks. There are approximately 35-45 percent of runners who suffer a running related injury every year. These include mostly foot and leg. Surprisingly, most injuries have an insidious onset and not related to a specific trauma.
Studies have identified some risk factors for increased injury: poor physical condition, high or low on the flexibility scale, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco usage.
Other risks include higher mileage as well as misalignment problems such as the foot pronation (inward rolling of the foot), or issues of the knee including torsional or twisting. Among female recreational runners, increasing age also appears to be a factor for a new injury (age greater than 50). If you have had an injury it is important to have complete rehab as residual injury is another factor.
Traditionally, poor flexibility has been associated with an increased risk of injury. Although no studies have proven this to be true, it is widely accepted that stretching is part of normal health of our muscles and skeletal bones as we age.
Part 2 Coming...