5 WAYS TO AVOID INJURY
1 AVOID THESE PILLS
Last year the US Food and Drug Administration issued stronger warnings about a class of antibiotics – fluoroquinolones – linked to a risk of tendon tears. ‘Fluoroquinolones affect proteins that regulate tissue repair – and can be directly toxic to tissue,’ says Dr Susan Joy, director of Community Sports Health Network at the Cleveland Clinic, US. Ask your doctor about safe alternatives, including penicillin.
2 BUY A SECOND PAIR
A Scandinavian study reports that runners can lower their injury risk by rotating between two or more pairs of shoes. ‘Changing footwear alters your running pattern and varies the forces on your legs,’ says study author Laurent Malisoux. Wear a more supportive, cushioned shoe for distance runs and a lighter, flexible shoe for speedwork. Bonus points for picking up a third: ‘The more shoes in your rotation, the better,’ he says.
3 GET IRON
‘Iron is essential for shuttling oxygen to muscles,’ says Connie Diekman of Washington University in St Louis, US. Having low levels can hurt your muscles’ ability to repair themselves. Women need 14.8mg per day; men need 8.7mg. Iron-rich foods include lean red meat, fish, dark poultry and beans). If you experience ongoing fatigue or a sudden decrease in performance, ask your doctor to check your stored iron levels.
4 DRINK UP
Taking a few swigs of water before a summer run is a no-brainer, since dehydration can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses. But fluids are essential for all physical reactions – including muscle functioning and joint cushioning, says nutritionist Marni Sumbal. Women should take in 2.6 litres of fluid per day and men should get 3.5 litres, which can come from water, sports drinks and water-rich fruits and veggies.
5 FLIP-FLOPS FLOP
If you’re prone to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis, don’t spend your summer in flipflops, says sports podiatrist Stephen Pribut. They offer no arch support and having to clench your toes to hold your foot in place can cause Achilles tendinitis. But most worrisome: ‘The repeated rise of your heel off the back of the flip-flop can alter your gait when you walk – and possibly when you run,’ says Pribut. Try sandals with a moulded arch.