Fitness

Running Without Injury

Young couple run together on a sunset

Ever since I became a Corrective Exercise Specialist a few years ago, I always watch how people walk, run, sit, lift weights……  Whatever they are doing, I am scrutinizing posture and form.  This morning was no different.  I’m not a running coach, but watching the dozen or so runners by the river this morning was interesting.

Out of the dozen or so runners, only one person looked like he had some type of formal training.  His form was as perfect as it gets and he looked as though he was just gliding over the pavement.  Others were almost fun to watch flailing arms, odd foot strikes, and high impact on the pavement.  One man out there should not have been running at all.  He was wearing knee supports, landing hard, and was very obviously running in pain.  He was compensating for the pain by running with very awkward posture.  He will not only make his current injury worse, by compensating he is setting himself up for creating a new injury.

If you enjoy running, make sure you do your research on proper form right down to proper foot strike.  Better yet, higher a running coach for a session or two to make sure you are running for optimum performance, and injury prevention.  If you have an injury, take time off from running so that you allow your body to heal and do not set yourself up for another injury.  Walking is also an excellent form of exercise, especially during the rehab phase of an injury (depending upon the injury of course).

running-seniors

As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.

Well Hello Triceps!

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This month, I am in the Max Muscle/Max Strength phase of my program.  I am doing a 5-day split, so yesterday was shoulders and triceps.  Holy Moly!!!  They are say GOOD MORNING to me.  :-)  It’s the perfect amount of soreness though.  I feel them, know I worked them, but I can still function.  Love it!

Weight Lifting Girl

Are You Including Balance Training in Your Workout Program?

Circuit with Balance

Balance exercises improve physical health by enhancing joint stabilization and postural control during active movement. In addition, balance exercises improve our body’s ability to respond effectively to unstable environments. This important element of training can improve one’s overall physical health, help prevent falls, and help prevent injury.

What is Self-Myofacial Release (SMR)

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Why is SMR So Important?

SMR is important for helping you remain flexible and injury free.  Utilizing a foam roll for self-myofascial release techniques can improve body composition, flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. Use your own body weight to roll on the round foam roll, massaging away knots/adhesions that occur from exercise and activities of daily living (ADL).

SMR massage is an interactive soft tissue release technique. Once you find a tender spot, you’ll want to remain on the spot for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute (or as long as you can take it).  Some spots may be very tender. Those are the spots that need the most work.  Be sure to keep your belly button pulled in back towards your spine and breathe naturally.

The main purpose for use includes:

  •  Joint stiffness
  •  Muscle tightness
  •  Identified tenderness (indicating poor circulation)

You can also use this technique for a warm-up before exercise and a cool-down after exercise, first thing in the morning as well as prior to going to bed.

Other tools you may use include tennis balls, softballs, golf balls, frozen water bottle, thumb pressure, Theracane or pressure knobs.

Do not perform under the following conditions:

  •  Feelings of nausea
  •  Dizziness
  •  Pain (more than tenderness)
  •  Acute rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Painful varicose veins
  • If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia

When choosing a foam roll, make sure the foam roll is hard and dense. If the foam is too soft, less than adequate tissue massage is applied. On the other hand, if the foam is too hard, bruising and more advanced soft-tissue trauma may occur.  In the video below (Exercise of The Week), I discuss a couple of different types of foam rolls and demonstrate some of the positions for SMR.

Worst Nutrition Advice

By now, you all know how I feel about diets.  They just flat out don’t work.  The only way to lose and maintain a healthy weight is to make the necessary lifestyle changes.  The worst advice we have heard over and over again is to eliminate a macronutrient (aka food group).

Let’s see….  There is the high-protein diet that either eliminates carbohydrates altogether or limits the amount of carbohydrates we consume each day.  These choices may allow us to lose weight, but most of it will be water loss and it’s rare that someone will continue this way of eating for any length of time.  More often than not, those people regain the weight and then some.

Our bodies use carbohydrates for fuel.  Did you know that your brain runs strictly on carbohydrates for fuel and is unable to convert protein for fuel.  This is why you will experience “brain fog” when limiting or eliminating carbohydrates from your diet.  That being said, I do believe that you need to pay close attention to the type of carbohydrates you consume (low-glycemic vs high-glycemic).  You also need to keep in mind that if you consume more carbohydrates than your body needs for fuel, it will be converted to and stored as fat.

Other diets have restricted fat intake and promoted eating more carbohydrates.  The low-fat fad led to higher average weight-gain than ever before, and our bodies require dietary fat for proper function.  As with carbohydrates, these fats should come in a healthy form.  Not all fats are created equal.  Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the ones you want to focus on.  These come in the form of nuts, avocado, fish, olives, and olive oil to name a few.

Have you heard of the cookie diet?  How about the diet where all you eat is fruit?  You can definitely lose weight on these types of diets, but how long can you sustain them? Think about what your body is lacking in nutrients when you are only consuming one type of food.

I think the old food pyramid was definitely in the top 3 all time worst advice we have ever been given when it comes to nutrition.  The food pyramid was very confusing, and the majority of people did not know what a portion size is/was. There are more modern food pyramids that make a little more sense, but still do not really help one determine portion size.

 We now have “My Plate” that does a much better job of depicting what our plate should look like at meal time.  If you check out the website (choosemyplate.gov), there is a wealth of information that will help you understand the balance of nutrition.  As for portion size, I recommend the following to make it simple and portable:

  • Grains = the size of your fist

  • Protein = the size of the palm of your hand

  • Vegetables = the size of both of your fists

  • Good Fats = the size of your thumb from base to tip (limit saturated fats as much as possible

 

Can you think of other diet fads that sounded “too good to be true?”