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Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Info of Running Gait

Let’s start off by describing running gait: this is the way in which we run, coupled with the movement pattern of our feet from the moment we make contact with the floor to the moment we leave it. Your running gait is determined by numerous factors such as:

– Age
– Weight
– Cultural background
– Muscle flexibility
– Joint mobility
– Injury history
– and last but not least: Foot strike.

Your running gait is unique – it varies per individual – and can be influenced by prescribed insoles (orthotics) and poorly-fitted running shoes. It can also explain why some injuries occur – and keep reoccurring. It can change, either improve or worsen. Such adjustments take place over a long period of time as the 7 points mentioned above change.

Determining your own running gait is difficult if you’re not sure what you’re looking for but you can do a few simple tests while looking at yourself in the mirror. This will at least point you in the right direction.

Let’s test your running gait. Stand in front of a mirror. Place your feet about 20cm apart. Now close your eyes, stand tall and get yourself into a position where you feel that your body weight is evenly distributed between left and right, toes and heels. Open your eyes, stand still and note the following.

Shoulder Height:
This is not too much of a problem unless you can see a significant difference of more than 3cm between the height of your left and right shoulders. If this is the case, consult either an osteopath or a chiropractor for expert advice. A difference in left and right shoulder height can explain pain in your lower back or hip after a heavy phase of training.

Toe Orientation:
This will show you how flexible the muscles surrounding your hips are. The accepted norm here is for your toes to point outwards at an angle of between 7 and 12 degrees. If your toes point inwards, your groin is the problem. Toes out and your glutes/ITB/piriformis are likely the reason for any niggles or injuries. Too much toe-out angle means that you pronate (ankles roll inwards) by default.

Ankle Position:
This is the position of your ankles relative to the centre of your foot (e.g. inwards, central or outwards). Outwards means your foot is likely to have a high arch and be very rigid. Inwards shows a greater chance of you pronating, sometimes severely.

Knee Orientation:
This relates to the direction your knee caps point (e.g. inwards, straight or outwards) relative to your toe orientation. However, you may not necessarily find that your knees point outwards if your toes do. More often than not you will find that your knees face in the direction of movement while the toes point outwards. This is another sign of pronation.

Arch Functionality:
Test this by keeping your weight evenly distributed while trying to lift just your toes off the floor as high as possible.

How high can you lift your toes?
How much difference is there in your arch height?
How much movement is there in your ankles?

The accepted angle of your toes to the ground when you pick them up is 60 degrees. A larger angle than 60 degrees means your foot is hyper mobile, leading to a greater chance of twisted/ sprained ankles. A smaller angle than 60 degrees show that you seriously need to work on your flexibility.

If your arch height increases and the ankles move to a more central position then this is a good sign. It shows that the muscles in your foot are functioning correctly despite their natural orientation. If the arches don’t move this is not a good sign.

Knee Dip Test:
Without thinking about it, flex your ankles, bend your legs at the knees and see in which direction your knees go (e.g. inwards, straight or outwards). Your knees should travel along a line towards your second toes. If not, then look at your flexibility, muscle strength and balance.

Treatment Knee Injuries

Experts and professional physical therapists diagnose the root cause of various diseases and disorder and offer the right treatment with proper remedies. These are beneficial for patients and help them in recovering from their ailments. They provide solutions for various orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, pediatric, geriatric and pulmonary disorders or diseases. Their effective and non-surgical procedures facilitates in improving mobility, function and body strength. Speed and agility training are offered to sports person and athletes after comprehending their basic anatomy and physiology. This kind of trainings is useful in performing different types of sports. Such training procedures improve endurance, stamina, speed, balance, reflexes and strength. These are essential for enhancing isolated movement skills for changing body positions. Variety of sports training ensures healthy and active life style of athletes

Besides, treatment for auto accident injuries is available in such physical rehabilitation centers. It is essential to obtain proper and timely cure for such injuries. Initially the injuries might heal immediately and subside, but can recur again with deceiving health problems such as- chronic muscle tension, recurring headaches, neck pain and stiffness, etc. Specialists offer reliable treatment facilities that help to restore physical fitness. Running knee injuries can be easily treated with various physical therapies. Common symptoms of runner’s knee include pain near the knee cap. Such pain is felt while sitting with knees bent for a long time. Treatment of such problems is effective only when running or walking downhill is decreased. This helps in lessening stress to the area and in rapid healing for long lasting relief. Various non-surgical physical therapies are effective in treatment of pains and ailments.

Running Safety Tricks at Night

Reflective vests

Although the roads will not be as busy during the days as they will be at night there still will be traffic. Therefore, invest in a reflective vest. If they can see you that will reduce your risk of getting hit. These vests come in fluorescent yellow or orange and they are very light in weight meaning you will hardly notice the difference. They are also very affordable as they are usually priced at between $10 and $20.

Personal light system

There are many lightening systems on the market that are suitable to use for running at night. You can use hand held mini lights. There are other products that you can place on your head. These come in few styles. One looks like a head sweat band with the light attached to the band. You place this around your head just like a normal head band. Other products have a small light that is attached to a cap that you wear. It is considered that these are better than handheld lights. The obvious reason is that they free up your hands because the beam of light is coming from your forehead and directing the light straight onto the road in front of you.

Well lighted area

Choose an area that is well lit at night. This will enable you to see better to avoid those nasty potholes but, well lit areas tend to safer at night.

Improve Fitness in Beach

The secret behind fitness on the beach is that everything and anything can be used to improve your health – if you just use your imagination. The sand is the easiest place to start to increase your fitness. Running or walking on the dry sands is much harder than walking on pavement, increasing your fitness levels and adding to your cardiovascular health. When you’re pushing sand out of your way, you’re using more muscles and the workout is harder – it’s really the best exercise equipment. You can also use the sand as a weight machine by trying to kick it with your feet – excellent for your legs. Or you can try lifting the sand to help with a sand castle with the kids – great for your arms and chest.

The water is the most obvious help for fitness on the beach. If you know how to swim, you can get a nice workout in while you’re relaxing for the day. With a stronger riptide or current, it will be all the more helpful for your entire body. Try to swim laps if you can, using your arms and legs at the same time for the maximum benefit. Cupping your hands as you swim will increase the resistance for your arms and add to the benefits you receive. You can also try surfing for another challenge to your muscles or head out on a kickboard or with flippers to really work your leg muscles.

But you probably haven’t considered how your towel can help with fitness on the beach. Try this exercise: take a towel the long way and hold one side in each hand. Slide your hands towards the middle so that your hands are about shoulder width apart and straight out from your body. Lift the towel above your head as you grip it tightly and then slightly lean to one side and then the other. You’re working out your arms as well as defining your sides. You can also use the towel to workout your legs by lying on your back, placing the towel around both heels and creating resistance as you push your heels away from your body and then back to your body.

Running on a Treadmill

The first advantage is that a treadmill offers you some privacy. At times being hot, sweaty, and struggling in public is a bit too much for some people. Being able to build up strength and stamina while at home is much more comfortable.

With a treadmill you can time your exercise or your distance exactly like you want it. When running trails, there are times that you can’t quite get the timing right. This can be a problem if you are trying to fit running into your morning routine and don’t want to be late for work.

If you unfortunately get injured, you can immediately stop while you are on a treadmill. When out running, this is a huge problem as you have to walk back to your car many times in pain.

A treadmill gets rid of the weather excuse. You can’t take the day off cause it’s a little cold or too rainy. You can get your exercise in no matter what. Even if you run outdoors most days, having the treadmill gives you a backup when conditions are bad.

You can train harder on a treadmill because of two very important points. First of all, you can run uphill for your entire workout. This is hard to find in a real world situation. Secondly, you can set the machine to move slightly faster than your normal pace. This pushes you to go faster as you have to keep up with the machine.

Another advantage if taking care of kids at home is that you can stay close to your kids watching them while you get your workout. This can’t be done while outside running.

Treadmills offer some huge advantages over running outside. Find out what these are and why you might want to invest in one if you are a runner.

Running And Foot Pain

Runners quite often experience sore feet. This soreness may develop as a result of long distance running. If you already suffer from ankle tendonitis or heel spurs, you can aggravate your foot pain by continuing to run on a regular basis. There are a number of things that an individual can do to help prevent pain when running as follows.

  • wear the correct and good fitting running shoes
  • be aware of your running technique
  • avoid lifting your feet too high when running
  • wear a bandage for support around your foot and/or ankle when running
  • maintain your ideal weight
  • This one people tend to forget, don’t overdo it

Achy feet caused by running can be easily treated if you immediately take proper measures. One of the first things that you must do when experiencing foot pain when running is give your muscles the time they need to heal. Cut back your miles and implement walking in between your running program.

Remember, if muscles are not given time to repair, you may be causing more damage to your foot and legs. If pain persists, consult a doctor. He/she may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or give advice as to what you can do without medication. Ice helps decrease inflammation and promotes healing, so you can wrap ice in a cloth and apply it to the bottom of your foot after running.

Can Lose Weight With Running

Start walking, gradually add running, and build by no more than 10% per week.

Exercise will benefit all areas of your body and improvements will appear as you progress. By keeping a log of your exercise routine, you will be able to see a progression of your improved physical fitness over time. Exercise that has the most benefit for decreasing cancer risk is probably that done at medium to vigorous levels. The benefits of physical exercise are tremendous, but the American population has become sedentary. Physical exercise need not be an backbreaking or difficult chore — it can be fun, stimulating and provide great moments for families to not only exercise together but to talk and share other important aspects of their lives.

Running can minimize the odds of everything from the common cold to cancer. Your toughness will increase. Runners World magazine is a great resource and the online version can be accessed. The Chicago marathon website is one of the best that I have seen provide information, running schedules , information on running shoes and running tips for the beginner runner , route maps with inclines, water stops, energy drink stops, spectator and cheering squad stands and locations, expected weather and other information.

However, there are some dangers especially if you have been on extreme diets recently. Runners who attempt to reduce their body fat percentages to life-threatening levels run the risk of injury, illness, infertility, and at the very least, decreased performance. You may experience performance problems if you’ve been dieting religiously to lose weight.

When you exercise, do it at least five days a week. If you are able to make it seven days a week, it’s even better. No matter whether you run five days or seven, remember to make it enjoyable. And if you are stressed, aerobic workouts, walking, cycling, swimming, or running can help loosen those tight muscles and produce endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that can help reduce stress. Exercise in moderation may also help you control your blood pressure.

Beginner runners especially can get injuries if they set the bar too high. There are numerous books and magazines that give specific education programmes for all levels of running such as Runners World and Running Fitness. Novice runners need speed play to remind them how to run properly; all runners need speed training for running enjoyment and for muscle stimulation-especially during the high mileage training which builds base. Low level aerobic exercise is the safest way to build aerobic endurance for running.

When you’ve been running for a while, you’ll realize that running becomes your own work of art. You’ll learn how to manage your pace, your stride length, even the way you land and push off the ground. As a beginner runner, run the designated mileage at an easy, conversational pace. Use your breathing as your guide to manage your running pace.

To make your running more pleasurable and less routine, Run/Walk in different places or at different times of the day. The Sacramento area offers some amazing places to run/walk. Run more so long as it’s pain-free. Always stop when you’re experiencing pain. Run to the pulse of your favourite music on your next run and focus on short strides. If while running you are really tired it just means you are trying to take large strides AND keep up a faster cadence.

Take it slow at the beginning, because your goal is to build a habit and make running your regular routine. You won’t experience weight loss immediately, except through water loss. However, given a period of weeks to months, you’ll start to experience both weight loss AND improved health levels.

If you want to add intensity to your run, hills will obviously drive your heart rate up. But that does not mean you should do away with hill work outright. As you improve in your health and fitness levels, adding runs up hills are an awesome way to improve your strength and challenge your anaerobic system. The first thing you need to do, however, is find a hill with a fairly steep grade.

Additionally, training through extreme weather conditions in the winter or summer can be emotionally exhausting as well as physically challenging. If there’s one in your area, running in the pool provides a change of settings from familiar running paths or treadmills and training at an indoor pool allows for consistency when weather conditions make outdoor running uncomfortable.

Motorized Treadmill Running

To running purists, a motorized treadmill workout might make one feel like a caged hamster spinning around a wheel, but most people quickly latch on to the advantages and pleasures that treadmill workouts offer. It’s great to run on a level surface without having to worry about twisting an ankle in a pothole or tripping over rocks. Treadmills have various speeds and settings that can be adjusted to each runner’s ability. Runners who worry that they will miss the feel of running on natural ground can even set the angle of the treadmill to replicate the experience of hill running.

One great feature of motorized treadmills is that the speed and timers can be set precisely to the workout that you want to do on a particular day. You can do speed workouts or you can go for that long slow run that is an important part of distance training. The precise speed and time readouts can give runners instant feedback on their workout and allows runners to measure their progress empirically over weeks and months. Some treadmills even come with a heartbeat monitor.

The running magazine Runners World also recognizes the popularity of treadmills and offers various styles of workouts for runners of all abilities. Another fantastic aspect of motorized treadmills is that they offer runners the chance to multi-task during their workout. Runners can chat to fellow runners on a neighboring treadmill machine, watch a show on TV, or listen to music. The well-known comedian Jay Leno swears by treadmills and includes a treadmill workout in his daily routine.

Can Burning Calories with Running

Running has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of burning a lot of calories in the least amount of time. Compared to activities such as walking, housecleaning, bicycling or other physical pursuits, running has come up time and time again in research as one of the fastest ways to burn calories.

Now there are a few things that burn calories more quickly than running. A recent Google search found the following bigger calorie burners: Skin Diving – Fast, Competitive Speed Skating and Digging Ditches. Now I don’t know about you, but most of those activities are not something I’d be able or willing to do on a regular basis. Besides the requirements for specialized equipment and training, what about access to facilities? If you’re traveling, can you fit in some quick competitive speed skating or maybe dig some ditches?

Now you may have heard the theory that – from a calorie burning point of view – a mile walked equals a mile run equals a mile crawled. That theory is based on good old Newtonian physics that states that it takes a certain amount of energy to move a certain weight a given distance. According to that theory it shouldn’t matter how you get there.

However, in a study conducted at Syracuse University in Syracuse New York, researchers concluded that runners burn more calories than walkers who cover the same distance. It seems that the mechanics of running – including the increased oxygen consumption – is responsible for making runners burn more calories than their walking counterparts. Add to the that the fact that your increased metabolism after running keeps you burning more calories for hours afterward and you have a winning combination for burning calories.

So if you want to manage the balance of calories in versus calories out, take up running for weight loss. You’ll start winning the waist management battle and enjoy the many other health benefits that come with running for fitness.

Improve Lung Capacity For Running

1. Breathe Deeply. What you’re doing here is expanding your lung capacity and your chest’s ability to take in air. Practice these steps:

Exhale completely. I mean push it ALL out. Get it all out so you can accept more fresh clean air into your lungs.

Inhale deeply into your abdomen. Breathe the way babies do. You never see a baby pumping up its chest. Their bellies rise and fall with every little breath. Do the same. Expand your belly as you inhale forcing your belly-button away from your spine.

Then hold that breath there for a count of 3 to 5.

Then you can exhale completely again.

2. Breathe against resistance. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles that help you to breathe.

Inhale deeply. Take in lots of air.

Purse your lips. That is – hold them together with only a small opening.

Exhale forcefully. You should be making lots of noise as the air exits your mouth.

3. Inhale more than you think you can. The idea here is to expand your airways and lung capacity. By breathing in more volume than you normally do, you will gradually increase your lungs’ capacity for air.

Inhale deeply through your nose. This should be a deep breath in until you cannot bring any more air into your lungs.

Purse your lips and sip in air repeatedly until you cannot take in any more.

Hold your breath for a few seconds.

Relax and let the air exit through your mouth.

Repeat

4. Exhale more than you think you can. As with inhaling more than you think you can, this exercise will increase lung capacity and your ability to expel stale air from your lungs.

Breathe deeply into your lungs and chest.

Hold your breath for a few seconds.

Exhale forcefully through your mouth until you cannot expel any more air.

Place your hands on your abdomen and use them to help press more air from your lungs. Leaning forward slightly as you force air from your lungs may help you expel even more air.

Repeat