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Jogging Safety: Prevent Injury

written by: Jennifer G • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 8/30/2010

Joggers are at risk for injuries due to some common mistakes. Find out how to keep your routine safe. The way you position your body is crucial for success while running.

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    Starting a Routine

    Jogging is good for the body. It helps keep the muscles and bones strong, and it's good for a person's over all health. However, serious injuries can occur if you aren't careful.

    Anyone who is just starting to jog should get into it gradually. Taking on too much too soon can over work the muscles, which can lead to injuries such as runner's knee, or shin splints. A good way to start is to walk first, and then gradually work up to a run.

    Notice if you experience any aches or pains. If your body starts to progressively hurt while you are jogging, then you should stop. Instead, walk some more and give yourself more time to get into it.

    Give your body a break. Make sure that you have at least one day out of the week where you are not jogging. This will give your body time to recover and it will reduce the likelihood of injury. This gives the muscles time to repair themselves and rebuild.

    Don't over work yourself. This is a major cause of injury for joggers. Slowly increase your running distance. Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent.

    Change up your routine periodically. Give yourself rest weeks, in which you cut your distance in half. Do this once a month.

    Include other forms of physical activity in your routine. This can help build other muscles, while you give the muscles you use for jogging a break. The variety will also make your routine more interesting.

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    The Correct Way to Jog

    Jogging with the right stride can significantly reduce the risk of injury. With each step, try to land on the balls of your feet. Slightly swing your arms. This will help you make short strides that will keep your feet near the ground.

    Keep arms bent at a 90 degree angle and hands near your waist. Your body should be straight and your head should be up, with your eyes focused on the ground about 20 feet ahead of you. Slumping over can cause pain in your shoulders, neck, and lower back.

    Be careful when jogging down hill. The safest way to do this is to slightly lean forward and take quick, small strides. The shoulders should be slightly in front of the body. Sometimes joggers go down hill taking large steps. This can cause too much pressure on the legs.

    Stay hydrated. This is important for your over all health and endurance. Drink 8 ounces of water about an hour before you begin your jog. Then drink 8 ounces every 20 minutes you spend jogging. You'll also need to drink more fluids after your jog is over. Your fluid intake should include a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.