As a runner I know there are a couple more bad habits we tend to have and ignore their existence besides not stretching and not resting. These other habits include not getting enough sleep and not wearing sunscreen.
As it starts to get warmer here in Houston, TX, more and more runners come out of hibernation, we forget to lather up the sunscreen and just go out for a nice run. But runners beware! There has been a correlation linking runners with a higher risk of skin problems, including carcinoma, due to their prolonged exposure outdoors and the effect it has on the immune system. Also, sweat plays a factor as it makes the skin more vulnerable to UV rays. Before going out for a run, protect your skin by applying some sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 to your skin. You should get a waterproof or sweat-resistant lotion too. This will help continue the protection as you perspire and stop the lotion from coming off. The higher the SPF the longer you can stay outdoors to run. Also along with a minimum SPF 15 sunscreen that is waterproof, you also want to double check that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays to ensure your skin’s total protection.
The other bad habit runners tend to have is not getting enough sleep. Many runners are active individuals who have busy lives, but we all need to make sure we get enough sleep. Sleep helps to restore our body and restore tissue that we broke down as we run. Without enough sleep, our bodies tend to feel groggier the next day. Sufficient sleep will allow us to be rejuvenated for our next run.
There is no magic number of hours of sleep, per se. Runners who are more active and accrue high mileage usually benefit from longer hours of sleep than those who are weekend warriors. The amount of sleep that you need is dependent on your lifestyle and how your body functions. In order to get the right number of hours you will need to experiment with what your body needs.
As runners, we need to take care of our bodies because of our physical exertion and respect our bodies’ need for adequate sleep. We also need to make sure we protect our bodies from the hot summer sun by applying sunscreen that will resist our sweat and which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. By dropping these bad habits and doing what is right for our bodies, we will be less susceptible to injury and disease.