Yoga for Athletes

Sports like running and cycling increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, but training may also lead to tightness and muscle imbalances. Sequences in this 4-week series are designed to improve balance, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve overall flexibility to help to decrease the chance of injury and improve athletic performance.  

Yoga for Athletes

Sports like running and cycling increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, but training may also lead to tightness and muscle imbalances. Sequences in this 4-week series are designed to improve balance, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve overall flexibility to help to decrease the chance of injury and improve athletic performance.  

On the Run with TPSF: How to Avoid Running Injuries

This issue of On the Run is written by Lindsay Haas, PT, DPT, OCS.  Lindsay is a physical therapist at TherapydiaSF and enjoys working with runners, dancers, and all athletes for rehabilitation from injury and improved sport performance.

The good news is that you signed up for a race.  It may be your first or your twenty-fifth, but you are ready.  Of course you want to stay healthy.  Especially when you are gearing up and looking forward to completing your upcoming race!  The bad news is that rates of injuries in runners is high, and its even higher when training for an event.

The #1 risk factor for injury in running was a history of injury, usually within the past 12 months (1).  Most injuries in running are caused from overuse, which is defined as repetitive microtrauma to the musculoskeletal system.  Increased training loads (such as running more when training for an event) can exacerbate an old injury.  Also, you may have changed your running pattern to compensate for your previous injury and as a result overloaded another part of your body and created a new injury.

The second highest risk factor was the weekly distance.  Runners who complete more than 40 miles per week were found to be more likely to sustain an injury (2). When you run more, you can overload the musculoskeletal system to the point where it can’t recover, thus creating an injury.

So how do you stay healthy throughout your training?

1.  Change it up.  Since most running injuries are caused by overuse and repetitive strain, its important to introduce variety to your training.  You should already be active in strength training (shown to decrease the risk of injury and improve performance!) but you should also be changing up your runs.  Try running on trails, or try altering your pace.  Even if you’re not participating in a training program that incorporates tempo runs and speedwork, there should be some variety in your runs.

2.  Watch your form. It is important to have good running form.  Your cadence is the number of steps taken per minute, and should be more than 170 steps per minute on both feet.  If its too slow, you may be putting too much stress on your body.  Increasing your cadence will help with over-striding.  Focus on taking short quick steps and keeping your feet under your hips.

3.  Treat injuries before they start.  Don’t wait until something hurts.  Using ice and self-myofascial release (such as the foam roller) are good tools for when you are sore, but there are ways to be proactive as well.  Listen to your body, if you need to adjust your workout or take a day off its okay.  When you are running keep track of your heart rate and level of fatigue to know if you need to slow the pace or even stop for the day.  If you are feeling sharp or stabbing pain, you need to stop. Avoid the ‘three too’s’: too much, too soon, too fast.  Pushing yourself too hard can compromise your ability to recover.

Still worried about getting injured while training?  Schedule a Fitness Screen with one of TherapydiaSF’s physical therapists.  We will identify any potential risk factors to injury or decreased performance and create a customized exercise program to help you meet your training goals.

(1)http://sprunig.net/wp-content/uploads/What-are-the-Main-Risk-Factors-for-Running-Related-Injuries_2014.pdf

(2) Walter SD, Hart LE, McIntosh JM, et al. The Ontario cohort study of running-related injuries. Arch Intern Med. 1989;149:2561–4.

 

Yoga for Athletes

Sports like running and cycling increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, but training may also lead to tightness and muscle imbalances. Sequences in this 4-week series are designed to improve balance, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve overall flexibility to help to decrease the chance of injury and improve athletic performance.  

Yoga for Athletes

Sports like running and cycling increase strength and cardiovascular endurance, but training may also lead to tightness and muscle imbalances. Sequences in this 4-week series are designed to improve balance, strengthen supporting muscles, and improve overall flexibility to help to decrease the chance of injury and improve athletic performance.  

TPSF @ lululemon Run Club-Grant Avenue

This week, TPSF will be supporting the weekly lululemon run from the Grant Avenue store.  Stop by to say hello, ask questions about an injury, or get some advice about running from our physical therapists who specialize in the treatment of runners!

6:10 pm injury talk

6:20 pm warm up

6:30 pm choose 3, 4.5 or 6 mile run

Fit as a…fiddle?

run-rehab-featured

 

Body image has been a hot topic over the past several years. Recently, many companies have run advertising campaigns to promote healthy body types in reaction to the extremely thin models who have been so prevalent in the media.

The recent video of dancer Misty Copeland has had a huge impact on the dance world and has made us think about the concept of an ideal dancer’s body.  I remember not too long ago, when “athletic body type” was considered a euphemism for “thick” or “heavyset.”  I hope you agree that while Misty is certainly athletic, she is neither thick nor heavyset.

Beyond the notion of an ideal body type, I’ve recently been thinking about the concept of fitness. I blame this partly on recently reading The Sports Gene by David Epstein, and also having just returned from a continuing education class filled with practitioners who each work with a different clientele, including college athletes, golfers, yoga practitioners, and the general population, some more active than others.   As I thought about the baseball pitchers, cyclists, runners, and CrossFit participants with whom we each work, I could easily identify ways they are fit, but I also thought of areas where they may be deficient.  I began to wonder about fitness.

When someone is decribed as “fit”, what does that really mean?  Does it mean the same thing to everyone?  There are different dictionary definitions of fitness, some of which brought a smile to my face:

1. The condition of being physically fit and healthy (I’m going to need a little more here…).

2.  Good health or physical condition, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition (ok, we may be getting somewhere…).

3.  The capacity of an organism to survive and transmit its genotype to reproductive offspring as compared to competing organisms (well….I bet you know plenty of people who have the capacity to transmit their genotype to reproductive offspring who you would not call fit).

So, we’re back to the drawing board with defining fitness.

Is a body builder with bulging biceps and massive quads more fit than a marathon runner?

Is Tiger Woods more fit than Serena Williams or Michael Phelps?

What does it mean to be fit?  Ah…what I would do to take a camera out onto the streets of San Francisco and ask people this question (stay tuned…).

As we think about each of the athletes and their respective sports, it quickly becomes clear that fitness is hard to define and describe.  While the bodybuilder might have larger muscles that allow him to lift heavy weights, the marathon runner would certainly show greater cardiovascular endurance across those 26.2 miles.  Tiger Woods and Serena Williams both demonstrate amazing muscular development and precise hand-eye coordination, but if he had to run around the golf course like she does the tennis court, could Tiger keep up with Serena?  Michael loves the game of golf and, like Tiger, has an amazingly strong core, yet I wouldn’t want either one of them representing the other’s sport in competition.

This is an important topic to me both personally and in my work with athletes of all ages, skill levels, shapes and sizes.  To me, there is no one definition of fitness.  I believe that fitness is a balanced combination of strength, stability, balance, flexibility, and endurance…and maybe even mindfulness.  What the general population thinks of as an ideal of fitness may actually be a person who excels in the sport in which they train, but has severe and potentially harmful imbalances in some of the categories mentioned above.  The fittest people with whom I work are those who enjoy a variety of exercise and sporting activities.  These are the folks who are rarely in our studio for treatment, except for the occasional tune up after having changed their routine. Often, the people who appear most physically fit are those who are plagued with injuries related to imbalances in overall fitness.

I’ve learned that there is no one ideal body type just as there may be different ideas of fitness.  I encourage my clients to be successful in their rehab and develop and improve their fitness by recommending a three key steps:

1. Move well and move often.

2. Find something you enjoy doing.

3. Mix up your routine—your body will thank you for it.

So, what does fitness mean to you?

And, in case you were wondering where “Fit as a fiddle” came from…

On the Run

I can’t escape it.  My work follows me wherever I go.  Everyone always talks about how PT’s get to leave their work at the clinic.  Once we’re done with the daily documentation there really shouldn’t be anything that has to be done at home.  The one thing no one talks about is how hard it is to take off your PT hat to see the world through different eyes.

It used to be fun.  In graduate school we’d be given assignments to go out in a public space to observe people walking and completing daily activities.  Now I watch people wherever I am, evaluating their every move.   It’s so normal for me that I don’t even realize I’m doing it, much of the time.  It’s not until T and I are on one of our epic urban hikes and I’m performing running analyses on every poor runner who happens to bound by, gleefully unaware that I’m scrutinizing their every step and he tells me, in his kind way, that he’s heard enough.  It’s even gotten to the point where he calls out mechanics he doesn’t like in runners passing by and sometimes I have to tell him, in my kind way, that I’ve heard enough.  Ever the entrepreneur, he recently, and only half-jokingly, suggested I set up a booth on The Embarcadero and offer my services to the scores of runners passing by.

I have, however, begun to see this “problem” as more of a blessing than a curse. I do believe it’s made me a better PT by exposing me to all types of running styles.  I didn’t need to read a running magazine a few years ago to forecast the growing popularity of the minimalist shoe. In the past few years, I have seen a noticeable increase in the number of people running without shoes or in minimal shoes, and with that, a rise in the number of runners who come to me with an injury related to running because they haven’t transitioned correctly or may not be appropriate for minimalist footwear.  I also now see more runners landing on their toes than I have in the past, independent of shoe type, and while some runners look so natural moving down the road, the effort is palpable in many others.

I feel fortunate to work in a city where running is so popular, a job that involves the rehabilitation and prevention of running injuries, and in an era when research on running mechanics, styles, and trends is constantly emerging.  I look forward to sharing what I see and learn…just as soon as I get back from my run.