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Running with your FSA
For runners, races are the perfect opportunity to test all the training they've endured. Maybe you've been working since early spring towards a 5K, 10K, or are aiming for marathons for next year. Maybe you enjoy jogging a few times a week, or running every once in a while in combination with other exercise. Fitness involves creating a routine, getting adequate nutrition, and giving yourself enough time to recover in between workouts to avoid injuries or strains.
According to WebMD, the most common running injuries include runner's knee, shin splints, ankle sprains and tendinitis. Running injuries tend to frequently occur when beginners are learning the ropes of warm-ups, stretching, and pacing. It's easy to be overly excited and outrun yourself hoping to speed up your time or distance, but proper pacing makes all the difference in keeping your exercise routing going. It's important to beware of your own limits and gradually build your fitness. Your body needs rest periods to recover and your nutrition should act as a means to refuel and repair muscles. Protein helps in the after-exercise recovery while carbs can energize pre-workout.
How a Flexible Spending Account fit into your workout:
- Get support for your body with FSA eligible elastics/athletic treatment products. This includes everything from elastic bandages to knee or ankle braces to wrist support.
- Injury tip: If you fear you've sprained an ankle, feel muscle strain, or hurt your knee, there are a few steps you can take. Most importantly, rest the affected body part to not add pressure. Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain. Put on a brace or elastic bandage for additional support. Elevate whichever body part is affected to reduce swelling.
- Exercise apparel tip: Appropriate running shoes help with shock absorption and protect your feet.
- Keep muscles moving or minimize the effects of injuries by using FSA eligible hot and cold packs.
When do you use hot or cold packs?
- Use a heat pack for about 20 minutes to treat stiff joints or reduce muscle tension.
- Be sure to wrap the heat pack in a towel to protect your skin (do not apply it directly to your skin).
- Apply a cold pack for about 20 minutes to reduce swelling or when you experience acute pain.
- Similarly as with the heat pack, wrap a cold pack in a towel to avoid direct skin contact.
Below are a few examples of FSA eligible products for hot and cold therapy and foot care.