Injury Prevention When Running: How to protect yourself as a bariatric patient or any runner

As we know there are some benefits to running, as there is with any type of exercise or movement in general. Benefits include reductions in risk of chronic diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, but overall can help strengthen your body.

adult architecture athlete boardwalk
Boardwalk running

But there can be some risks to running especially as bariatric patients. You may or may not have been obese a lot of your life, but the stress that being obese causes on your body can lead to issues especially in the joint areas. So if you are bariatric, overweight, have lost weight or even just in general, a good physical check up should be done.

Why Does Running Hurt The Joints So Much? 

When running your feet hit the ground with two to three times your body weight, which is how more joint pressure is put. You should be cautious if:

  1. You have joint pain, arthritis (particularly in the knees), or other conditions that might be worsened by pounding (disc problems in the lower back, sciatica). Always check with your doctor if you have any of these.
  2. You are overweight. There is no guideline for when to start running if you are overweight, and so you should use common sense and listen to your body. If running feels hard on your joints, particularly in the knees, then you should consider first losing more weight through other means of exercise and diet.

It is also shown that runners who run more than 40 miles per week are at a higher risk factor for injury, again main are is in the knees.

person seating on bench while holding knees
knee injury

How To Reduce Injury While Running

To reduce ground-impact forces, avoid concrete and run on soft, flat ground like a cinder track, boardwalk, grass (watch out for holes), or a dirt path. Treadmills are softer than the road.

Also remember to have proper running form. Here are some suggestions for proper form:

  • Relax your upper body and and allow your arms to swing naturally
  • keep your torso and shoulders relaxed
  • keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • keep your hands relaxed, almost flopping at the wrists
  • keep your jaw and face relaxed
  • breathe naturally in and out through your nose and mouth

Make sure that you also have proper equipment, like running shoes and running clothes. Shoes should fit your feet properly and clothes should be breathable.

Stretching both pre-running and post-running will also help as it does with any type of exercise program.

balance body exercise female
Pre and Post Running Stretching

Also a few supplements that may help with overall body condition. Note: please have physicians approval before starting any type of supplementation. Proper tests to make sure that you are not getting too much of a supplement is needed.

  1. EAAs (Essential Amino Acids) – these help prevent muscle breakdown due to calorie deficit that can happen when running, especially if running a lot. When not consuming proper protein intake or supplementing with EAAs, the body goes into a catabolic state where muscle tissue can break down. Consuming EAAs along with proper nutrition can help prevent this.
  2. Glutamine – This is naturally found in our blood plasma and muscle and serves as fuel for immune cells. When it is depleted (gets too low), we tend to risk illness. If you seem to get sick easier especially like after running a lot, then this is something to look into. Best time to supplement glutamine is right after any type of exercise including running. This also well help prevent the catabolic state mention above.
  3. Calcium – We all know that calcium is good for strong bones, but it is also good for joint health. It is shown that intaking a minimum of 1300 mg per day is goo to prevent stress fractures.
  4. Fish oil – This helps ward off inflammation in the joints and all over the body, and is good for overall joint health.
  5. Magnesium – This helps not only with energy but also muscle contraction. It promotes strong bones and muscles, and is a huge supporter of cardiovascular health and nervous system function.

Remember before starting any type of supplementation and/or new exercise program, please have your physicians approval first so they can make sure you are healthy enough to start as well as monitor your progress.

If you are interested in learning more about health and fitness, please visit BariatricA Premium LLC to learn how. We offer a 7 day free trial with most plans. Exercise and nutrition advice from individuals with experience. You can also see some of our other content on Bariatrica on Facebook.

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