As a workout, running has much to offer. Runners don’t need classes, physical facilities or equipment, other than a pair of shoes, so it’s inexpensive. It’s an easy and accessible sport that can be done nearly anywhere, so it is not difficult to fit a run into a busy schedule. But there is one disadvantage to running as a workout: People who do a lot of it tend to get hurt.
In fact, at least 50 percent of regular runners get hurt each year—some estimates put the percentage even higher—sometimes from trauma, such as a fall, but more often from overuse.
“People who run, love it. But you need the right preparation to be a safe runner and avoid injuries,” says Elizabeth Gardner, MD, a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. She recommends getting fitted for sneakers at a store that specializes in running shoes, and balancing running with other workouts like swimming or yoga that don’t involve pounding the pavement. “Cross-training and stretching go a long way toward avoiding running injuries."
Yale Medicine Orthopedics & Rehabilitation offers expert diagnosis and treatment for all types of running injuries.