It's that time of year again. It's cooling down, and while other parts of the country are preparing for a cold winter inside, here in the Valley we can finally start enjoying time outside again. With our newfound freedom and rekindled love of the outdoors, it's time to lace up your shoes and get out of the house. Check out these four tips to help you increase your activity level and avoid injuries to your feet:
1. Have the right footwear
There are three main shoe classes: neutral, cushioning, and motion control. Most running stores have qualified sales people to help you determine which kind is best for your unique foot type. You can also visit individual shoe company websites for guidance. Additionally, it's important to replace your shoes about every six months or 500 miles—whichever comes first. When shoes get worn down, they are less effective at reducing shock, and put more strain on your feet and ankles, which increases the potential for injury.
2. Take it Slow
It is important to start slow. Particularly if you haven't been doing much physical activity over the summer—don't over exert yourself. Shy away from trying to do too much too soon. Gradually work your way up to running longer distances in an effort to build your strength and prevent injury.
3. Don't try to push through
Alternating your exercise and activities is important to rest your muscles and prevent fatigue. Injuries are more likely to occur when you don't give your muscles ample time to rest. If pain starts to develop in your foot and lower leg, take a break from your routine. Waiting for a minor injury to heal will help you avoid a more significant injury.
Stretching is important when it comes to injury prevention. Unfortunately, this step is often skipped. Take the time to warm up before any athletic endeavor. Stretch for five minutes, do your workout, then stretch for 10 minutes post-exercise. This will help to prevent problems. Injuries typically occur when muscle groups are tight. Maintaining flexibility will make for a safer workout.Get out of the house and start taking advantage of our perfect weather this time of year, but remember—stay safe and don't forget to stretch! For more tips, visit Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona. Make an appointment online with Dr. David Laurino or Dr. Antonius Su.