Running is an easy way to stay in shape. It doesn’t require any special equipment; you can do it anywhere; and research shows that just five to 10 minutes of running at a moderate pace can potentially decrease your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, obesity and more. If you’re considering a new hobby and want to improve your health, but don’t want to invest a lot of time or money into a sport that demands a gym membership, fellow competitor(s) and/or a specific season in order to enjoy it, then running could be for you. Here’s all you need to do to set yourself up for a perfect run:
Attend to Your Nails
And we don’t mean your fingernails; there’s no need to get gussied up for a morning run per se. However, you do need to make sure that your toenails are short (paint is optional), trimming them so that they remain about an inch away from the tip of your shoe. This ensures that they don’t rub against your footwear, turn black and fall off. Just kidding. Sort of. Nail trauma can be a real problem for runners at all levels, causing blood to collect under the nail and form bruises and/or blisters that increase pressure and generate pain. Taking a few minutes to attend to your nails can protect you from serious discomfort later on.
Get a Good Pair of Shoes
Technically, you don’t need shoes to run, but a good pair can safeguard your feet, as well as your spine, and even boost your performance. Pick a good pair. Go to a store with associates who can measure your feet, evaluate your gait and running stride and suggest the best lightweight option for your specific body. A well-cushioned, well-fitting shoe will protect your feet and help absorb the shock of repetitive impact that can damage bones and muscles.
Don’t Forget Socks
Socks — not shoes — are the number one cause of blisters on the foot. Any friction between your foot and your sock while running can lead to the upper layer of skin separating from the inner ones and filling with fluid and causing pain. If your socks don’t fit properly or become wet, there’s a greater chance that they will rub against and irritate the skin on your feet. Cotton socks, in particular, are bad for runners because they absorb moisture and hold it against the foot, making it more susceptive to friction and blister formation. Choose snug-fitting, synthetic socks that wick moisture away from the skin.
Create a Post-Run Routine
Of course, it’s likely that your body will feel the effects of your new hobby in some way, whether it’s blisters or muscle aches or something more. Know how to take care of yourself when the shoes come off. Guard against all foot problems by always washing and drying your feet after you run and applying any necessary creams or medications to avoid infections, cracks and dehydration. If you notice you have a specific foot problem, such as bone spurs, corns or bunions, seek advice from a professional before trying any home remedies (such as a bunion brace, toe spacers or silicone sleeve), as these devices rarely correct issues and can often cause more harm. Maintaining a post-run routine will not only help protect your feet, it can provide you with an effective way to calm your muscles, as well as your mind, setting you up for another good run tomorrow!