That being said, “runner’s knee” is a real thing. Many people that run a lot often complain about knee pain, as well as discomfort in the hips and ankles. But the sport of running itself is not the culprit. It’s running with bad form and muscular imbalances that may be at the root of the issue.
Let’s take a look at four things you can do to improve your running form and support joint health, so you can keep running for years to come.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
If you’re an active person, then most likely you’re already maintaining (or working towards) a healthy weight range.
Your weight does matter when it comes to joint health. Especially the stress you put on them when you run. If your weight is within the healthy range, then your joints will be able to better handle the load.
Besides exercising, you can also do other things to promote a healthy weight.
Eat a diet rich in mostly non-processed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Also, be sure to get adequate quality rest each night.
2. Take a collagen supplement
Collagen is protein found all over your body. It provides structure to bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, and connective tissue, among other parts of the human body.
As we age, our bodies become less efficient in producing collagen. As a result, you might start losing elasticity in your skin, and your joints may not be as robust as before.
But you can take steps to increase collagen production.
You can eat foods that promote collagen production. Collagen promoting foods include anything rich in vitamin C, eggs, and bone broth, to name a few.
You can also take a collagen supplement. Evidence has shown that supplementing with collagen can help restore optimal levels to support joint and skin health.
When choosing a collagen protein powder, it is best to go with one that has the least amount of additives, like Naked Collagen. They source their collagen from non-GMO pasture-raised cows in Europe.
And the best part is that Naked Collagen is truly odorless and tasteless, so you can easily mix it in with any of your favorite drinks or recipes.
3. Do strength training
As a runner, you can benefit from practicing other types of exercises and sports.
One of those types of exercises is strength training.
Lifting weights at the gym is not just for bodybuilders and Instagram models. Athletes of all types can benefit from more muscular strength and endurance.
As a runner, your routine will be different. Think more soccer player strength training, than Arnold type weightlifting.
The benefits of strength training are endless. Everything from fighting the risk of chronic disease, to improved mood, better sleep and more energy throughout the day.
But as a runner, you might be specifically interested in strength training’s effect on joint health and posture.
Resistance training at the gym, or at home, can improve overall coordination and balance. It can also improve your posture, especially if you sit for long hours each day.
Better balance and posture is not only good for your running form, but they will also decrease your risk of injury or back pain. And running with proper form will make sure that the load is shared evenly among your joints,and that you’re not inadvertently putting too much stress on them.
Besides better form and posture, strength training also increases bone density and overall strength, all things that also help protect your knees, hips and ankles.
4. Practice yoga
For a perfectly well-balanced training routine, try to find some time for yoga each week.
Even if you do 15-20 minutes of yoga at home a few times a week, it can provide immense benefits to your running practice in the long term.
Just like strength training, the benefits of yoga are tremendous. It will also improve your balance, coordination, and posture.
Yoga sessions typically work each side of your body once at a time. That makes sure that you work each side adequately and you don’t develop any imbalances. We already discussed how that can improve your running form and put less stress on your joints.
Another benefit of yoga is stretching. You will spend time in various poses that release tension from your calves, ankles, hamstrings, quads, and hips.
Becoming more flexible will promote better mobility, which will help make sure that you have better range of motion and movement when you’re running. Again, this helps minimize the stress on your joints.
Running has many benefits. It improves cardiovascular health, helps maintain a healthy weight, and improves bone strength, among others.
It can also improve your mood and how you feel overall.
And although running itself is not harmful to your joints (in fact,evidence points to the opposite), running with improper form and imbalances in your muscles can cause issues in your hips, ankles, and knees.
The good news is that, with the tips mentioned above, you can promote better joint health and keep partaking in the sport that you love. And for an extra boost, consider taking a collagen supplement to further support and protect your joins long term.