In the running for a healthy back

img With a few hints of warm spring weather recently, many Ocean Staters have laced up their running shoes and literally hit the road. While taking advantage of the good weather to improve your conditioning is a great way to get ready for summer, it can have some significant impact on your joints and back if you don’t take precautions.

“When you’re starting any exercise regimen, moderation is key. When it comes to running, there are other variables you will want to consider,” said Dr. Kristin Kolesar Fabris, president of the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island and a chiropractor at Be Well Chiropractic in Providence, Rhode Island.

That starts with running on smooth, paved roads. This reduces the risk of falls. Avoid slanted, rocky and unpaved surfaces. In addition to increasing the risk of a fall, these surfaces can impact your spinal alignment.

Also, be sure you have the right footwear and replace running shoes you’ve had for a while—typically every 300 to 500 miles. If your shoes show wear and tear prior to 300 miles, replace them. Running in worn out shoes can increase your risk of injury and lead to foot problems and ankle sprains.

“You also want to be mindful of your posture while running. Slouching or looking down can lead to neck and back issues and cause fatigue. Keep your spine straight with your shoulders back to minimize the risk of injury,” said Dr. Fabris.

The biggest key lies not in the running but the recovery. Post-running, your muscles need to heal and regroup. Give yourself enough time between runs for rest. You will also want to pay more attention to what you eat after you run. Eat more protein and reduce your carbohydrates on rest days. Also, add more polyunsaturated fats because they fight inflammation, decrease free radical damage and aid muscle recovery.

“Most of all, avoid doing too much too soon and create a running schedule that works for your body—and listen to your body should persistent pain arise,” said Dr. Fabris.

To sustain overall wellness and a running program, you may want to consider chiropractic adjustments. If you are not currently seeing a chiropractor and want to explore how chiropractic can help, you can utilize the “Find A Doctor” feature on the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island’s website,

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