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Help For Runners Worried About a Bad Back

Help For Runners Worried About a Bad Back

Running involves repetitive stress and impact that can affect you from your feet all the way to your neck.  People who have an underlying back or joint problem sometimes find running makes their pain worse.  This is why runners are frequently coming in and out of our doors (and they are some of our favorites to treat).

If we had to predict the two most common injuries runners will be coming to us with this fall, it would be "runners knee" (which you can find on last weeks blog), or complaints of a "stiff lower back".  Both of these complaints, keep them from running at a speed, distance, or effort level of those in their age bracket.

You don't have to be experiencing severe pain to be effected either.  Here are tips for anyone running with a stiff or bad back, or anyone who wants to avoid one.

5 Essentials to Starting a Pain Free Walking Program

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Aches, pains, and stiffness can keep you in the house on even the most beautiful summer evenings.  The problem is, that sedentary lifestyle is just making your aches and pains worse.

So, how can you ease into activity and exercise without causing more pain?

A walking program is the answer AND I can show you the 5 things you need to know to get started without worsening your pain.

 1. Flexibility

Stretching and mobility exercises are of primary importance to reduce injury.  Many of us have inadequate flexibility in our muscles and joints.  This tightness impacts many painful conditions that effect our lower body (hips, knees, ankles, feet).

By taking time to stretch each day, we can improve our movement and allow the body to be more efficient in both walking and every day activities. In addition, morning or nightly yoga routine (as short as 3-5 minutes) can dramatically improve your muscle flexibility and joint stiffness over time.

 2. Strength

Strengthening the muscles in the lower body allows us to decrease the risk of developing overuse injuries when starting a walking program.  We need to strengthen all the muscles groups that contribute to the walking movement including the ankle, calf muscles, thighs, and even abdominal muscles.

While you're at it, don't forget your feet which are the foundation of your entire body.  If your feet are weak, other areas will have to compensate. . . eventually leading to a breakdown somewhere in your lower body joints or even back.

 3. Balance

How is it that our relatively small feet are tasked with supporting the rest of our body?  By improving our ability to balance on our feet, we not only reduce the chance of injury such as an ankle sprain or even fall.  Improved balance and agility also allows the body to function in a more efficient manner.

Something also to remember is that as we get older, our balance naturally deteriorates thus making a fall more likely to occur. This can have devastating consequences to ones activity level and independence.

 4. Warm up

Before you start each walking session, it is important to warm up first.  It allows a slow increase in muscle temperature, joint lubrication, and blood flow.  This will make you more comfortable as you exercise stiff or sore joints and reduce the risk of injury.

A warm up can be as simple as doing a few minutes of standing ankle circles, knee extensions, and hip swings.  As you start walking, go slow and increase your speed to a more brisk walk after a few minutes.  In the same way, slow down during the last few minutes of your walk to allow your heart rate to gradually return to normal.

 5. Footwear

The shoes you wear for walking are very important! They must provide both good support and adequate flexibility to allow your feet to function the way they are designed to. It may be obvious, but avoid walking in sandals, flip flops, or shoes with a heel as they will alter your normal gait pattern.

Additionally, if you experience aches or pains while walking you may benefit from an insert in your walking shoe.  A prescription orthotic is most appropriate in this case, as those from the drug store can not provide customized support and will wear out quickly. Remember that the miles add up and you may also need to replace your shoes more often than you realize.

Each year there are over 250,000 reports of walking induced pain or exacerbation of an old injury by starting a walking program.  Our goals is for walking to be enjoyable and pain free for you. Additionally, we want it to be an activity you can continue for many years to promote good health and independence.

If aches and pains are effecting your ability to walk or otherwise exercise, contact us for some more in depth discussion.  A FREE Discovery Session can get to the root of the problem so you can get moving PAIN FREE.  Inquire about availability of these free sessions by filling out this short form HERE or give us a call at 901-316-5456.

Top 5 Nutritional Strategies to Reduce Joint Pain

Top 5 Nutritional Strategies to Reduce Joint Pain

Alongside our treatment plans, I urge you to look into nutritional strategies that are going to naturally, decrease inflammation in your joints. And when I started to dig into the research, I was surprised to see strong scientific studies and validated literature about this.

I always knew nutrition was important to how our bodies worked.  I never realized how powerful food can be.  Especially in regards to prevention of, as well as healing pain.

9 Ways to Be Nice to Your Knees

9 Ways to Be Nice to Your Knees

Click, clunk, pop, crack. . . these are the words our knees use to speak to us as we get older.  If your body is speaking this language you are normal.

Over time, as your knees absorb the shock of each step, the cushion (protective cartilage) begins to wear down.  As you move, your knee joint rubs together with less of this cushioning clicking noises occur.  The more active you are and the more impact your knees experience, the earlier in life you will likely start to hear these sounds.

If you are not experiencing pain, it is nothing to be concerned about. However, it is a sign that pain and stiffness may be on the way as breakdown continues over time.

7 Keys to Setting Attainable Health Goals

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We live in a culture of resignation. We resign ourselves to physical limitations, past failures, and poor health. More often than not, our beliefs about what we are capable of accomplishing keep us from fulfilling our dreams. Beliefs about what success is possible for us, keep us from reaching our goals.

It’s that time of year again when everyone is setting new goals for a new year. The problem is, few people actually get their by the end of the year. Let’s make 2019 different! We are going to talk about keys to achieving some of the most important goals we can set for ourselves.  Goals that result in better health, happiness and improved quality of life . . . not just for 2019, but for many years to come.

So, what are you going to need to do differently?

You probably know what it is.  The problem we all seem to have is actually doing it.

Here are 7 keys to bridging the gap between your goals and actually accomplishing them.

1. Look Back Before Looking Ahead

Before we jump into next year, let's reflect on 2018.  Take an honest look at your goals from last year and see in what areas you fell short. Also, take time to celebrate your wins and successes.  This will give you confidence when taking on new challenges this year.

2. Decide What You Want

This may sound obvious, but is not always as simple as it seems. To reach the outcomes we want in the coming year, we must decide what we want. We must be very clear with ourselves as to what success will look like.  Making the outcomes specific and measurable will improve your chances of success.

3. Make Your Goals Attainable

I want you to think really big and believe you can achieve great things this year.  However, you must be realistic.  Decide if your goal and the time line you have is attainable. Can you see yourself reaching this goal in 2017?

4. Ask Yourself Why You Want This

What will you gain if you achieve this goal? Perhaps it is energy, self confidence, less pain, or a longer life. Eating healthy just for the sake of your blood pressure won't motivate you when temptation strikes. You must think about why. You have to know what eating healthy and lowering your blood pressure will allow you to do.   Maybe it's to play golf, or go on an adventurous vacation with your spouse.

5. Consider Doing Nothing

After you make it clear why you are making this goal, take it one step further.  Think a few minutes about what would happen if you choose to do nothing. May you have to take early retirement? Will you miss out on a family vacation? Will it negatively effect your relationship with your spouse?

6. Set Short Term Milestones

Improving your health can be a long road. Set shorter term, perhaps two to four week, milestones and build on them as you go. This allows you to focus on your progress, instead of on how far you still have to go.

7. Anticipate Barriers To Success

As you work toward your 2017 goals you will have barriers that get in your way.  Think through what they may be and how you will deal with them ahead of time. Roadblocks are a part of life.  They do not equal failure.

In review, consider why you want to achieve your goals, picture yourself reaching them, establish short term wins, and anticipate the roadblocks.

Start considering what changes you want to make in your life. One business philosopher said " You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself".

All this self discovery can be overwhelming! If you find you need some guidance on this journey to better health in the New Year, contact our Wellness Coach for a Free Consultation to help clarify a vision for what you want and make a plan to get there. Just click the link below to get started!

We wish you the best in this New Year!

Should I do Yoga or Pilates?

Should I do Yoga or Pilates?

We often recommend that our clients participate in low impact, stretching, and core strengthening activities.  It's an important transition from recovery after surgery or injury to more strenuous exercise.  In addition, these activities benefit those with chorionic pain, autoimmune, or inflammatory conditions. Both yoga and Pilates fit these criteria, so clients often ask:

"What's the difference between yoga and Pilates? And, which should I do?"

3 Bits of Exercise Advice Your Post Baby Body Will Thank You For

3 Bits of Exercise Advice Your Post Baby Body Will Thank You For

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I set out to train for this birth like it was a marathon.  I respected my body by cutting out high intensity training and kept my heart rate in a safe zone, but I was determined to prepare my body like it were a competition.  And the prize at the end. . . my sweet bundle of joy! My goal was to be flexible, strong, and agile enough to make it through this season of my life with as few battle wounds as possible.

I was surprised though that despite my work to stay strong through pregnancy, I shared the same experience as all new moms.  My muscles felt weak in my midsection, I acquired bad posture, my body ached, and I experienced general fatigue.By combining my experience with my expertise in how the body moves and heals I found three areas that can’t be skipped on the road to post partum recovery. Here are the three strategies I recommend new moms incorporate into their exercise routines to regain strength, an optimal level of activity, and remain pain free.

Can Crunches Flatten Your Post Baby Belly?

Can Crunches Flatten Your Post Baby Belly?

So often women tell me, "I have been doing sit-ups for months and I can't get rid of this pooch".

I have a confession to make . . . I did not do one single sit-up to lose my "baby belly"!

Sit-ups are NOT the answer to a flat stomach post baby. In fact, the factors contributing to a flat stomach are numerous and include hormones, birth complications, body fat, diet, strength, and even sleep. Here we are going to talk most specifically about core strength.

5 Myths Most People Believe About the Pelvic Floor Muscles

5 Myths Most People Believe About the Pelvic Floor Muscles

I have heard many conversations lately (both in person and online) about bladder leakage. Everyone seems to be peeing a little bit when they lift, run, or laugh.

It's joked about with new moms, athletes, and menopausal women like it is inevitable.  The issue is no joke!  It's a problem with the pelvic floor muscles and although it is very common, it is NOT normal.

Your pelvic floor muscles are an internal hammock that supports the pelvic organs. As we age, these muscle can weaken and no longer function in an optimal manner. The risk for problems increases with childbirth, menopause, abdominal surgery, obesity, smoking, and chronic constipation.