Practicing for Marathon Race Day

If you are training for a fall marathon, by now your long runs are approaching 20 miles. It is time to start practicing for your marathon. You should use your remaining long runs (or at least the last two) as ‘rehearsals’ for the race:

Meals and Pre-run Fueling – dinner the night before your long run and morning pre-run food should be exactly what you plan to eat before your marathon race to make sure it will not upset your stomach and/or cause unplanned bathroom visits. You also want to make sure your meal the night before fuels your muscles sufficiently for the long run effort. It is best to keep a good balance of nutrients the night before – try to stick with these approximate numbers: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat.   Your morning pre-run food should be consumed at least 2 hours before the run and should consist of a simple carbohydrate, low fiber, low protein snack – such as a bagel with a small amount of peanut butter. You’ll need to experiment a bit with the pre-run snack to see what works best for you and your digestive system.

Full Body Exercises – Large Number of Muscles Used

Jumping jack is a bodyweight exercise. It can also be an effective way to turn into aerobic exercises if performed for a longer duration. It is one of the boot camp workouts and targets the entire body. It is a fun loving exercise and can be performed anywhere at home/ gym/ outdoor. Jumping jack is an exercise to use for warm up exercise if done at a low-level intensity. It is also great calories burner if done at high intensity and works the majority of muscles of your body at one time.

This is also a good aquatic exercise i.e. it can be performed by jumping in water where the water is at chest level.

In short, you can use the jumping jack in warm-up training, aerobic training, strength training, plyometric training and dynamic flexibility exercise.

Energization Exercises – A Safe Way to Increase Energy

If someone told you there was a form of exercise that could enhance physical beauty, embellish grace of expression, increase power of mental receptivity, prevent hardening of arteries, enable lasting youth by stimulating circulation and ejecting waste from body, drive away headaches, improve voice, steady the nerves, put on or take off fat as desired, send curative energy to diseased parts, detach scattered attention from the senses, lead to greater concentration, strengthen the mind, and inspire success, you would want to know about it, right?

That is exactly what the famous yoga guru Paramhansa Yogananda promised with the set of 39 isometric exercises he developed called Energization Exercises. I have witnessed remarkable changes in myself and hundreds of others within just one week of starting these exercises. There is a lot of research showing the benefits of isometric exercises. Now that can be applied to this full body workout!

Surviving Fall Marathon Training in August and September

Many of you are probably training for a Fall Half Marathon or Marathon. By October or November, the weather in many parts of the country will become much more favorable for running a successful long distance event. Unfortunately, your training plan calls for you to do long runs during the heat and humidity of August and September. Here are some tips on how to successfully make it through your late summer long runs:

Watch the weather – first and foremost, watch the weather forecast. If you see in advance that your long run will fall on a day with less favorable conditions, you can adjust your plan accordingly. Keep in mind that your running performance drops below optimal levels when temperatures are above 55°F and will fall off 10% or more when temperatures exceed 80.

Training the Impingement Client

The shoulder is a complex joint involved with everyday activities such as reaching and sport specific movements. Evidenced based research and my clinic experience as a physical therapist, supports that shoulder impingement is a common movement dysfunction seen in men. This article will review the following about shoulder impingement:

• Pathophysiology
• Common signs and symptoms and contributing factors
• Physical therapy management
• Program design
• Exercises that are contraindicated with rationale

What Causes Lower Back Pain

Back pain is a significant problem in our country today.  Over half of all working people and at least 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time. Back pain is a common health issue today that affects at least 8 out of 10 people. It is the second most frequent reason for doctor’s visits and up to 80 percent of people will experience some type of back problem in their lifetime. Eighty-six billion dollars  are spent each year treating back pain.

There are many reasons for back pain. Some of these include  overuse of the back muscles, work-related issues, sports injuries, inactivity, poor posture, prolonged sitting, obesity, poor physical conditioning, inactivity, psychological and emotional stress, and silent diseases like osteoporosis.

Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis is mostly characterized by the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac located at the bony part of the hip bone or lateral part of the shaft of the thigh bone. The term “bursae” refers to fluid-filled sacs that are located at areas where muscles, ligaments, and tendons slide across the bones. These fluid-filled sacs act as a gliding surface, thereby preventing friction between the bones and soft tissues. More than 150 bursae are located in the human body. When any of these bursae gets inflamed, one is diagnosed with bursitis. Hip bursitis is characterized by symptoms such as pain in the outer thigh and hip area as well as a painful condition that increases friction in your joints. Stretches and strengthening decrease tightness in muscles that may be contributing to this condition. These exercises target muscles that move your leg at the hip joint. Pain might worsen due to running, walking, climbing stairs, or squatting. Incorrect posture at work or home can also cause bursitis. Bursitis is not serious in nature. It can be easily cured with proper care of the injured or inflamed area. Home remedies are enough to cure the ailment, but if it is recurring frequently, you should surely consult your doctor. Individuals affected by this condition should avoid repetitive activities that can put strain on the hip joint.  The first line of defense is rest from irritating activities. The use of painkillers or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might be suggested in some cases. A foam roller is also important to use before and after your activity as you find tight areas that need to be kneaded out from tightness caused from your aggravated activity.

Throwback Thursday: The Staggered Pushup (February 2013)

A staggered push-up is an anaerobic exercise that is a body weight movement performed in the prone position by bending your elbows at 90 degrees while your arms are used to help lower and raise your torso. The gravity and resistance that your body provides during this exercise creates functional and overall strength. Functional strength can best be defined as to effectively producing stabilization and movement to the body with daily activities.

The staggered push-up can be considered a “moveable plank” since the core is utilized for strength just as much as the upper body is during performance. Correct staggered push-ups should be performed with the upper body, torso, and lower body moving as one unit. Staggered push-ups are a tremendous exercise because of the multi-joint and multiple muscle groups they recruit during movement. Moreover and most importantly, staggered push-ups are a true test of strength, stability, endurance, and power.

Running Injuries 101

Running has increased in popularity. It has also increased with the average age of five years in both males and females since 1980 to 2011. The number of people finishing a marathon has gone from 1 percent of the population to 5 percent in just a few years. In 2008, more than 14 million runners completed at least 100 days running. But with the interests and increases in running, there are always possibilities for injuries. On average there are 4 injuries per 1,000 hours of running. This means that if you are running 5 to 10 hours per week, you could potentially get 2 injuries per year. This article is dedicated to eliminating or reducing them in your running journey. Most injuries occur when you are a new runner, increase your mileage more than 10 percent in a given week, or are coming back from an injury. Adding distance, using uneven work, speed, running up hills, and interval training are other reasons runners get hurt. The lower body of the hips, knees, legs, and feet are more commonly injured. In the next paragraph, common injuries will be addressed.

Preventative treatment and Rehabilitation for Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is a band of connecting fiber that originates at the heel and goes to the bottom of the toes. It facilitates warm-ups of balance, stability, running, walking, and cardiovascular warm-ups. Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar is overstretched; it results in pain that comes from micro-tears and inflammation to the fascia. Some of the causes of plantar fasciitis include improper shoes, wear or tight ankles or calves, increasing vigorous activity more than 10% in a week, and vigorous activity such as running, jumping, or pounding on the bottom of the foot. Tight hamstrings, calves, and shins and stress placed on the plantar fasciitis cause plantar fasciitis. Some great exercises to prevent or rehabilitate the plantar fasciitis include:

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