For many people, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has reoriented how they approach exercise. Gym closures, social distancing, and shelter-in-place guidelines have led many to take up running as a new part of their fitness routine.
Heather A. Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, a board-certified clinical exercise physiologist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center, tells Healthline that, anecdotally, she’s observed many friends and acquaintances embrace running as an “outlet for getting out of the house, getting some activity with multiple benefits outside of just improving aerobic capacity.” Milton is also member of the Sports Performance Center’s Running Lab, which analyzes runners of all fitness levels to improve performance and prevent injury.
In general, Milton explains the pandemic brought running more to the forefront for people who might have shied away from it in the first place. Adopting a new type of physical activity can lead to injuries if you don’t go about it carefully. Running in old shoes, neglecting warmups, and starting off with high mileage can result in injury that will ultimately slow down your progress.
Keeping habits is key with running, which is why Milton recommends starting your running in moderation. She suggests that people who are cross-training—working on different kinds of physical activities in their workout regimen—run at least two days per week. Don’t try to “get all of your miles in one day—that can be detrimental to your health and increase injury risk,” she says.
By spacing out your runs, you’ll “start to find a routine,” which is especially important for people who had more leniency in their schedule over the past year and are now looking to impose a greater sense of structure.
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