Does a low BMI actually mean more running injuries?

Plenty of conventional wisdom abounds when it comes to avoiding developing more running injuries. One of the most common strategies is to keep body weight down. It’s true that runners tend to move faster and more efficiently when they are carrying less weight. Unfortunately, new findings suggest women develop more running injuries at lower weights, and struggle to recover in a timely fashion.

BMI is known to be a general tool that is an indicator of health as determined by body weight in relation to height. It is not universally applicable but serves well as a general guide. The average woman sits at BMI 26, which is technically considered overweight. Many female runners measure between BMI 20-24. These weights are considered healthy. More running injuries tend to occur when BMI is measured at 19 or below, which is considered close to underweight. It’s thought that the lower weights indicate lower lean muscle mass along with less body fat overall. Muscles play a significant role in supporting runner’s bones and insulating them from the repeated shock of foot strikes on hard surfaces. This occurs alongside providing the propulsion and stability that running requires. When lean mass is reduced, the rate of injury is much higher as the forces of impact are not dispersed as well. Both the frequency and severity of injuries were increased for runners with a BMI of 19 or below. Very thin athletes also take far longer to heal in comparison to slightly heavier female runners.

Sports scientists suggest that to avoid more running injuries, women should take care to maintain lean muscle mass. Cross training, resistance training and bodyweight exercises may help to develop more muscle overall. A diet that is higher in protein may also aid the body in building new fibres. Muscle is much denser than bodyfat and tends to sit closely next to bones. Gaining muscle will help to maintain a lean physique, and power athletes through runs while supporting their overall health. Higher amounts of muscle in lieu of bodyfat should also help to provide more balance and propulsion during races, alogn with protection against stress injuries.

About Enertor Advanced Technology Insoles –  Enertor insoles are designed to prevent a number of common running injuries and provide more comfort. Designed by leading podiatrists to reduce your risk of injury, the unique design features support your foot throughout training.  Enertor insoles are enhanced by D3O impact protection technology, which means they can provide more shock absorption than any other insole.  Our expertise, combined with the patented D3O shock absorption technology, enables Enertor to deliver the most advanced injury prevention insoles on the market today.

Enertor insoles are available to buy from our online shop.

Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.


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