Running is a great exercise. Lower body toning, a reduction in body fat and cardiovascular conditioning are just some of the benefits associated with this popular and inexpensive exercise, but there are a couple of drawbacks. Whilst a cold, crisp and sunny morning will likely encourage you to lace up, harsh winds, ice, snow and torrential rain can deter you from performing at your best, and may even prove dangerous in some instances (black ice = sprained ankles… and this happens more frequently than you’d think). Even the most disciplined of runners are not invincible to the elements. Secondly, running is a very high-impact activity which can place joints under a lot of stress. This puts you at risk of injury, which can be further impacted by winter weather. 

We’re not here to criticise running. For many, it’s an integral part of the day; not only is it a great physical exercise, but for some, it’s a meditation of sorts. Runners can help to reduce stress and clear the mind – acting as metal purge, if you will. Running – as with all forms of exercise – increases levels of beta-endorphins, which are ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters in the brain that help to improve mood. So, below, we’ve come up with some practical suggestions to help negate the issues that can arise through winter running.

1) Incorporate another form of exercise into you routine that will compliment your running. Weight training is a highly effective way to burn fat and tone your body. What’s more, there’s a minimal risk of injury; weight training can actually help to strengthen the joints and ligaments. Alternate running and weight training for a balanced routine that will help to keep joints healthy.

2) Try switching to the treadmill for a couple of sessions. Whilst some runners dislike being indoors, feeling that this removes the essence of enjoyment of running, the treadmill can provide a practical solution for when running outdoors is impractical. It allows you to maintain your fitness levels, and programmes such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) can be completed successfully, with the aid of a treadmill.

3) Take a joint support supplement; USN Active Joint Plex, Animal Flex and Reflex Nutrition Glucosamine Chondroitin are formulated to support the health of joints and connective tissue.

To shop the entire range, go to: Categories and Joint Support.

-Zoë Martin BSc Human Nutrition (Hons)