Is running a high risk exercise?

Regular exercise is essential for many reasons, but unless approached in the right way, can be counterproductive and in some cases, harmful.

High-risk sports can put our bodies at risk of injury, which defeats the whole purpose of the exercise. You may not be playing rugby, boxing or mountain biking at high speed, so this may not sound relevant to you.

However, one of the most popular forms of regular exercise is considered a high-risk sport – running. The problem isn't running as such; it's running the wrong way.

run funnyMany of us now have very sedentary lifestyles. We sit for most of the working day, and many then spend even more time sitting while travelling to and from work.

As a result, many of us have lost the specific strength, motor control and flexibility we need to be able to run safely. So when going out for that after-work or weekend run, the muscles, tendons and joints are very susceptible to injury. The reason for this is because without sufficient strength, control and flexibility, the body becomes less tolerant to the stresses it has to cope with while running. A reduction in exercise tolerance may lead to joint injury muscle injury, as well as tendinopathy (aka tendonitis).

To prevent injury, it's crucial not to push unprepared bodies past their limits, in ways which puts too much stress on them. Pushing unprepared bodies also adds danger to other forms of exercise including yoga, Pilates and CrossFit.

How to avoid injury?

Before starting to run, I would strongly recommend a 'screening assessment' with our chartered physiotherapists who are specifically training to assess for physical risk factors. These risk factors may put you at risk of developing a running-related injury.

Once identified, risk factors are reduced with a programme of specific therapeutic exercise, education, manual therapy and dry needling. Specific physical criteria must be met before starting to run, and the first few weeks of running should be under the guidance of your physiotherapist. The result is running which is more comfortable, safer and more enjoyable.

If you about to take up running, or another form of exercise for the first time and would like to reduce the risk of developing a painful injury, please call us on 01-2834303 to book an appointment with one of the team.

In good health,


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