Running is an excellent form of exercise, and exercise can be very beneficial for improving both your physical and mental health. It can also help manage your degenerative disc disease (DDD) symptoms. With that said, running and other high-impact activities, such as tennis and soccer, can be very jarring to your spine, particularly when performed on a hard surface. Therefore, you’ll need to be cautious if you choose to participate in these activities.
If you have DDD, your spinal discs have already lost some of their shock-absorbing capacity — and will likely continue to do so over time. While you may not have to completely avoid running, you will probably have to modify your workout routine a bit to compensate for the degeneration that is occurring in your spine. Before you begin, be sure to consult with a physician. After evaluating your diagnosis, your physician can determine whether running is suitable for you and, if so, provide some guidelines on how to protect your spine.
Running Safely with Degenerative Disc Disease
Here are five general tips on how to prevent spinal injuries when running with degenerative disc disease:
- Run in moderation. Instead of committing to a daily run, change up your routine. For instance, you might alternate running with a lower-impact activity, such as cycling or yoga, and give yourself one or two days off (from all forms of exercise) each week.
- Allow yourself enough time to rest and recover after every run. Also, be sure to get a sufficient amount of sleep (most people require seven to nine hours a night).
- Incorporate some strength training into your workout program. For instance, you can perform targeted exercises designed to improve your endurance and build the core muscles that support your spine.
- Fuel your body appropriately for running. Consume a nutritious, low-fat diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water to help ensure that you are well hydrated. This is especially important if you are running and sweating.
On the other hand, if your physician advises you not to run, don’t feel discouraged. Instead, ask about appropriate alternatives. For instance, walking, swimming, and other low-impact cardiovascular exercises may be safer workout options for you. Much like running, these activities can provide numerous benefits, including enhanced blood circulation, improved mood, and general physical fitness. If you feel limited in motion as a result of degenerative disc disease, physical therapy may be an option.
If conservative efforts are ineffective, surgery may become an option. However, traditional surgery is no longer the only option, and minimally invasive options make the idea of surgery much less daunting. Are you interested to learn more about degenerative disc disease surgery? Contact BEST today.