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5 Reasons You Should Stretch In The Morning

5 Reasons why you should stretch in the morning

Woman sitting in bed

Growing up in the dance world stretching was essential for a successful dance career. I got in the habit of stretching every morning when I woke up and over time I noticed significant differences in my flexibility, mood, and concentration. I continued this habit for 7 years but once I stopped dancing my freshman year of college, I also stopped stretching every day. It was only a matter of days until I truly noticed the importance of stretching. I lost my flexibility and I did not have as much energy throughout the day. After prioritizing stretching once again, I was back to my energized self. Seeing these changes in myself, I wanted to share the importance of stretching by pointing out 5 major changes you will experience by setting aside 10-15 minutes every morning:

  1. Say goodbye to back pain and hello to better posture

Stretching reduces tension that has built up in your spine and back muscles. This will eventually help your muscles be more relaxed throughout the day and relaxed back muscles lead to better posture. If you suffer from morning back pains, devote a few minutes to stretching and over time you will see a significant difference. One product that I find extremely effective for stretching out my lower back muscles is the CoreStretch which I found on Medi-Dyne.com. Kiss that achy breaky back goodbye with some easy stretches demonstrated by GMB Fitness.

  1. Jumpstart your brain

After sleeping for hours, it is crucial to help jumpstart the blood flow into your brain. This will sharpen your concentration and cognitive activities throughout the day. Waking up your brain first thing in the morning is a crucial factor to be the best version of yourself and you will see significant changes in your reflexes and memory. You can find several different stretches to get that blood pumping at LiveStrong.

  1. Increase flexibility

Beautiful and flexible. Young beautiful young woman in sportswear doing stretching while sitting in front of window at gym

Stretching lengthens and relaxes your muscles which is more important than you think. Flexibility is crucial for athletes, but it is also important for everyone to be flexible to some degree. Flexibility is one of the first things you’ll lose as you get older, so it is important to stretch every day. My 94 year old great grandma still has her splits and I strive to be like her one day. Increasing flexibility by stretching decreases your risk for injury during your daily activities. If that doesn’t convince you, I have found that stretching lengthens your muscles for a longer/leaner look to your body. Increase your flexibility with a few of my favorite stretches found on Self Fitness. 

  1. Stress no more

A great way to reduce the amount of stress in your body would be to relieve the knots that have built up overtime. Stretching calms your body physically and mentally which helps decrease knots from forming. Waking up your body by a gentle stretch can significantly reduce stress levels by starting your day with an awake and relaxed mind. Use the time spent stretching to clear your mind and focus on your body only, enjoy those few minutes of not having to think about anything but yourself. Some of the best stretches to help reduce stress are found on Healthy Women.

  1. Mood booster

Stretching helps boost the amount of oxygen that enters your brain which ultimately decreases the lethargic feeling that normally occurs half way through the day. By releasing mental tensions first thing in the morning, your overall mood will increase positively. The more blood flow into your muscles, the more energy you will have to start the day. No more waking up on the wrong side of the bed because you’ll stretch out all the bad vibes before you even walk out the door. Try a few stretches from Psychologies.com to boost that mood.

All these benefits will come over time and it’s never too late to start stretching. I believe that to be the best version of yourself, you should devote at least 10-15 minutes in the morning to wake your mind and body up. I notice a difference and I promise you will too! It is a simple habit to get in to that has major benefits. Get your stretch on!

Young woman stretching and relaxing in the city before exercise

 

Medi-Dyne offers a variety of stretching aids to help you make morning stretching a part of your daily routine, such as:

CoreStretch

ProStretch Plus

StretchRite


 

If you would like to read more about stretching, check out these articles:

The Benefits of Stretching Before a Workout

Getting a Safe and Effective Tight Calf Stretch

Tips for Getting Ready for Cycling Season

Tips for Getting Your Body Ready for Cycling Season

Prepare Head to Toe for Cycling Season

Jen Charrette Climbing the Stelvio in Italy

Cycling season is upon us and it’s time to get energized and think about new approaches to your health and well-being— to change, to grow, to challenge yourself.

With that in mind, here are some tips on getting your body ready from head-to-toe.

Head

First set some goals for your cycling. Goals help you maintain motivation, especially one that’s within reach. Maybe you want to do your first triathlon or commit to a new PR. Reach out to friends or cycling groups to ride or train together. Need inspiration? The Cyclist’s Bucket List by Ian Dille has ideas for you. Or search online for websites related to cycling.

Back and Core

Your bike set-up is important to keep your back healthy, but an incorrect bike fit isn’t likely to be the only factor in lower back pain.

What is? Well, muscle fatigue may play a role. The back and abdomen are the weakest link for the majority of cyclists. Cyclists have strong leg muscles but don’t have the core and back strength to support their leg power. If the core is weak you lose power to the pedals.

To strengthen your core and back you’ll need to do some work off the bike. The best thing you can do is stretch. The CoreStretch was originally developed for Physical Therapists to help patients achieve a lower back stretch by using the body’s natural traction. It’s now available for personal use and eliminates the guess work while stretching.

Sensitive Areas

You would think that the evolving technology in cycling shorts would eliminate the need for a protection barrier to prevent saddle sores. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many situations, such as: long rides, indoor training, where you’re on the saddle a lot; and after being off the bike for an extended period. In these cases, you need a barrier. One option is chamois cream but these are messy and also don’t last long. Using a barrier roll-on, like ButtShield, provides a non-messy application that is waterproof and lasts your entire workout. It also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients to help reduce the likelihood of skin infections.

Don’t forget that basic hygiene helps too, like getting out of your shorts and into the shower as soon as possible.

Legs and Feet

There’s no way around it; if you spend long hours on your bike, parts of your body are going to end up hurting. This is especially true for your legs and feet which are doing most of the work. Together all of the following muscles contract in sequence, allowing you to pedal:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Hip flexors
  • Glutes
  • Plantar flexors
  • Dorsiflexors

Want to help those muscles work together? Focus on building off-the-bike leg strength, stretch after your ride, and get deep muscle massages frequently. An affordable way to get a the impact of  massage is with a tool like the RangeRoller. This is a do-it-yourself massager that prevents injuries, aids in recovery, and increases blood flow. I use mine in the evenings for a few minutes while watching TV.

And lastly, what about your feet? We tend to forget about our feet until they fail and start to cause us pain. But there may be some simple preventative solutions to keep them healthy and increase your cycling power.  First, invest in a trusted cycling shoe that fits. A good shoe will effectively transfer power to your pedals and keep your feet comfortable and supported. To keep your feet pain free and dry, use a blister prevention product like BlisterShield in your socks. I find BlisterShield especially useful in damp or hot conditions to prevent foot sores.

Following these simple but effective head to toe steps will get your body in shape now and keep you pedaling all summer long.


Jen Charrette is an avid road cyclist and mountain biker. She travels full time with her husband Randy, 2 sons, and 8 bikes. They chase summer while homeschooling and working remotely. You can find them online @pedaladventures or www.pedaladventures.com


You may also like:

Prevent Cycling Saddle Sores from Ruining Your Ride

Fighting Fatigue During Extended Cycling Rides

 

The Benefits of Stretching before a Workout

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE EXERCISING

by Joe Humphries

It’s difficult to argue against the benefits of exercise; several studies have shown a correlation between exercise and life expectancy. According to a cancer.gov article, those who are physically active often live 3.4 years longer than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. That being said, there are a few key principles that you should become familiar with before embarking on your fitness journey. The things that we do leading up to, and after, the gym will dictate how much we benefit from exercise. Good nutrition is essential if you plan on getting through a strenuous workout; so, fuel your body with healthy and nutritious meals. Also, be sure to stretch before you begin your workouts. Why is stretching so important? Well, there are a number of benefits; this is the perfect time to not only warm up your muscles but to also improve your range of motion. Taking a few minutes to warm up will allow you to get the most out of exercise and can help prevent injury.

two runners stretching

THE IMPORTANCE OF STRETCHING

What does stretching entail, exactly? Stretching involves mobilizing your joints. During this process, muscle temperature increases and the body’s nervous system becomes fully engaged. To better contextualize this statement, imagine starting up a car on a very cold day; you would want to make sure that your vehicle is primed and ready to go before embarking on your journey.

HOW STRETCHING HELPS WITH LACTIC ACID

Of course, stretching doesn’t stop simply because you’ve started a few working sets; to maximize your workout, you will want to stretch in between sets and after your workout. This form of stretching is referred to as “static stretching.” The name is derived from the stretching style, whereby you stretch and hold that particular position for a few seconds. Static stretching is great for reducing lactic acid build-up; if you’re unfamiliar with this term, lactic acid is that burning sensation that you feel after fatiguing a particular muscle. This burning sensation can be attributed to a build-up of lactic acid in the muscle, by stretching and holding that stretched position (usually 10-30 seconds) the lactic acid will begin to dissipate. Lastly, a post-workout stretch is great as the body cools down; stretching after a workout improves flexibility and reduces cramping.

THE BEST WAY TO STRETCH

Honestly, there is no one way to stretch; the key is to stretch properly, which could mean incorporating dynamic, passive, or active stretching into your workouts. So, let’s break these concepts down:

Dynamic stretching– this is where you move your body through a series of challenging movements, which will, in turn, increase your range of motion.

Passive stretching– this is where you incorporate equipment like ProStretch Plus, as well as body weight exercises, into your routine.

Active stretching– this is where you contract one muscle while allowing the other muscle to relax.

ProStretch Plus

GETTING STARTED

Although these concepts may sound challenging, they ensure that you get the absolute best out of your workouts. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or simply looking to get toned, stretching exercises are critical to your success. So, if you’re not already stretching before, during, and after your workouts, hopefully, this article has encouraged you to start.

 

Joe Humphries is a contributing writer and media specialist for Orangetheory Fitness. He regularly writes for health and fitness blogs with an emphasis on high intensity interval training.

https://www.orangetheoryfitness.com/


 

You may also like:

For additional stretching tips, read Getting a Safe and Effective Tight Calf Stretch.

For tips on how to avoid injury, read Scariest Word for Runners: Injury.

Shin Splints: Too Much Too Soon

ShinSplint_PinPost_2017

Shin splints typically occur below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints), and almost EVERY athlete has experienced them. They usually occur in beginning runners that increase their mileage too quickly or veteran runners, who add speed work, change of terrain or too much volume to their workout routines. Basically, shin splints are always caused by TOO MUCH TOO SOON.

The Causes

There can be a number of imbalances happening at once which make the cause of your shin splints hard to pinpoint, but here are a few of the main causes. Overpronation (a frequent cause of medial shin splints), inadequate stretching, old shoes or shoes that are not right for your body and foot type, excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip from running on cambered roads or always running in the same direction on a track, and the most common, doing too much too soon.

The Symptoms

It is hard to define what a shin splint is since there is no end-all consensus among sports scientists and doctors. Most believe they are small tears in the muscle that’s pulled off the bone, an inflammation of the thin sheath of tissue that wraps around the tibia, or shin bone, an inflammation of the muscle, or some combination of these. The most common symptom for shin splints is pain in the medial area (the inside of the shin) or anterior area (toward the outside of the leg). So while the experts can’t agree on what they are exactly, they do agree on how to treat them.

The Treatments

Sadly, most experts agree that you should stop running completely or decrease your training depending on the extent and duration of pain. Then during the acute phase, you need to ice your shin to reduce inflammation. The best method of icing is freezing water in Dixie cups and doing an ice massage on the area. After you bring the inflammation down, here are some other treatments to try:

1) Stretching: Stretch your Achilles if you have medial shin splints, and your calves if you have anterior shin splints. The best way to do this is to use the Pro-Stretch by Medi-Dyne. You can also gently stretch your shins by kneeling on a mat, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels. Push your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat 3-5 times. ShinSplints_TooMuchTooSoon-Pic1

2) Strengthen: In a standing position, balance on one leg and spell out the alphabet on the floor or in the air with your toes. Do this with each leg. Another great strength exercise is to alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat 4-5 times. These exercises are good for both recovery and prevention. Try to do them three times a day at least 3x a week.

ShinSplints_TooMuchTooSoon-Pic2

 

3) Compression: Compression binds the tendons up against the shaft of the shin to prevent stress. So if you continue running and reduce your volume, wrap your leg before you run. You can use either tape or an Ace bandage, starting just above the ankle and continuing to just below the knee. You can wear compression sleeves or compression socks too, my favorite are Cho-Pat Calf Compression Sleeve or the Shin Splint Compression Sleeve. Just make sure you keep wrapping your leg until the pain goes away, which usually takes three to six weeks.

ShinSplints_TooMuchTooSoon-Pic3

 

4) Cross-Train: Cross-Train for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool, elliptical, strength train or ride a bike. When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

 

5) Proper Shoes: You need to wear the correct running shoes for your foot type. Go to your local running store and have an associate fit you. Typically,  overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics. When you find a pair or two that are comfortable and work for your feet, make sure to buy two pairs and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.

 

6) Terrain: Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until shin pain goes away completely, and then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence. If the roads you run on are cambered, run out and back on the same side of the road. Likewise, when running on a track, switch directions.

 

Luckily, shin splints can usually be dealt with quickly by looking at your training and your biomechanics. Just make sure you do more than just ice and take inflammation pills. You won’t prevent re-injury unless you find and fix the underlying cause.

 

MeghanKennihan-bio_pic About Meghan:

Meghan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy   of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach. She has over 12 years of experience teaching spin classes, weight-lifting, and group exercise. Meghan is   also experienced runner, ultrarunner, and triathlete competing, winning, and placing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra distances, and triathlons. She also holds multiple state Powerlifting records. Learn more about Meghan www.trainwithmeghan.com

Medi-Dyne is proud to have Meghan as an Athlete Ambassador.

 

* Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and rehabilitation.

10 Ways to Stay Motivated and Focused on Fitness Goals

runner at sunset

Medi-Dyne’s Athlete Ambassador and Guest Blogger, Meghan Kennihan,

has 10 tips for staying on track with your fitness and health goals!

Did you make a training goal for 2017? Sign up for a spring, summer, or fall race? Have you already lost your motivation? If so, I am here to help. Don’t despair! Here are 10 tips to get your MOJO back and ACHIEVE your goals.

 

  • Get Paid! : Money is the ultimate motivator. The best way to sustain motivation is immediate gratification. Put a dollar in a jar every time you workout for more than 30 minutes.  Use the money at the end of the month to reward yourself with a night on the town, massage, or spa treatment.
  • Get Help! : Enlist the help of a personal trainer or run coach. Not only will they be able to show you the best exercises for you but they also will teach you proper technique to avoid injury and hold you accountable for your goals.
  • Get Happy! : Exercise has a wonderful ability to flood your body and brain with “happy” endorphins but you will counteract this benefit if you are dreading every step. Choose a workout you enjoy. There are so many ways to exercise. If you don’t like running take a cycling class or kickboxing class. If you like to be solo jump on the elliptical machine or stairclimber. The more enjoyable it is, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.
  • Get Real! : Set realistic goals and write them down. Don’t just say “I resolve to lose 20 lbs” or “I will go to the gym more often”. Make your goals specific. Write down a series of smaller goals leading up to the “big one”. Set a time table to accomplish them (i.e. “I will go to the gym 3 days a week to do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise”). Writing your goals down lets you monitor your improvements and is a good review when your motivation is waning.
  • Get Social!: Make an appointment to meet up with a friend or neighbor to exercise. If you have someone relying on you to go to the gym or go for a run you’ll be less likely to cancel. Also, if you like to bike, run, or swim, join a club. The social component makes it fun and the group will provide accountability. Similarly, sign up for a class, if you paid you might as well get your money’s worth and your classmates will notice when you’re gone.
  • Get Techy!: There are so many tools to help you achieve your fitness goals. Heart rate monitors, pedometers, calorie trackers etc. make exercise more exciting because you can see the results of your efforts. For example, make a goal of 10,000+ steps a day and your pedometer will tell you if you have been negligent
  • Get Rest! : You have to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild. Exercising hard everyday is just as detrimental as not exercising at all. One of the biggest reasons people stop exercising is because they go out too fast and push too hard and get injured. Listen to your body and if you are having an off-day, take it easy and rest.
  • Get Loud! : Make a workout playlist with your favorite upbeat songs. Studies have found that men and women who do their workouts to music, workout longer and at a higher intensity than those who workout in silence. Music helps the person working out not to concentrate on the discomforts of the exercises, thus allowing them to exert more or try new things in the working out process.
  • Get Variety!: Cross-training is the key to staying injury free and keeping your body continuously challenged. If you don’t change your workouts your body only trains one set of muscles, your muscles will adapt to the monotony and you will stop seeing results. To avoid a fitness plateau make sure you incorporate different strength training, cardiovascular, balance, and flexibility exercises into your workout.
  • Get Healthy!: All your hard work will go to waste if you eat all the calories you just worked so hard to burn off. It’s a simple equation, in order to lose weight, calories in have to be less than calories out. Try to eat mini meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going strong. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods just think moderation. So, instead of having your own super-sized French fry, have a few from your child’s Happy Meal.

 

Now …..GET GOING!

MeghanKennihan-bio_pic  About Meghan:

Meghan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy   of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach. She has over 12 years of experience teaching spin classes, weight-lifting, and group exercise. Meghan is also an   experienced runner, ultrarunner, and triathlete competing, winning, and placing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra distances, and triathlons. She also holds   multiple state Powerlifting records. Learn more about Meghan www.trainwithmeghan.com

Medi-Dyne is proud to have Meghan as an Athlete Ambassador.

2016 Holiday Fit Gift Guide

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

By Medi-Dyne Ambassador & Guest Blogger

Jen Haught

Happy Holidays Red

 

The holiday season is once again upon us and if you are like me, you struggle with what to get your loved ones. I always want my gift to be well received, but I look for other details as well; for example, can I get it from a local business? Is it made in the USA? Would it be useful to them? Would they even want it? No wonder people say the holidays are stressful!

 

I picked out ten gifts that I think your favorite athlete would enjoy and secretly won’t return behind your back.

 

 

Five1Five Signs

 

I stumbled on Five1Five Signs medal holders a couple years ago and am a huge fan. Their signs are unique because they are hand painted carved wood signs, not just vinyl letters like most other signs. I have one in my office and I have given out a few as gifts and people really love them. These signs aren’t just for runners, but for swimmers, gymnasts, triathletes and more. Contact Andy and you can have it personalized so your favorite athlete can hang their medals proudly!

 

 

 

 

TigerLady

 

When I was a runner, I would do the majority of my running in the dark by myself, especially when the time changed in November. I was ALWAYS decked out head to toe in reflective gear, lights, and bright colors, but all that gear wouldn’t have saved me from an attacker. Tiger Lady is safety at your fingertips. It is small, light weight, and needs no batteries or charging. I had no issues running with it and it made me feel A LOT safer no matter where I was. I carry it when I’m not running as well so instead of holding onto my phone in my hand, I replaced with a Tiger Lady. No one coming up to attack me would suspect that I had a self defense claw in my hand. To activate the three claws, all you have to do is close your hand and make a fist. The retractable claws protrude between your knuckles ready to meet your attacker. I feel confident and very Wolverine-like when I have my Tiger Lady.

 

 

 

RangeRoller

 

The RangeRoller is no joke. It gives you a a deep massage that you wouldn’t believe! The roller gets in the inner and outer layers of muscles and tissue to help break up and eliminate scar tissue, increase circulation and is effective getting out those nasty knots from just about anywhere. My husband, myself and even our dogs love it!

 

 

Road ID

 

I think Road ID is probably the number one item that every athlete should have because it can save your life. They make these bracelets for adults and children and they make them in a variety of styles and colors. Your personal and medical information can be accessed from medical personnel through their website. They will be able to access your emergency contacts, your doctors, insurance information, medications, allergies, surgeries, and so much more. You can go online and update it anytime you want. If you don’t have one, GET ONE! It will give you and your loved ones piece of mind when you are out on the roads.

 

 

CopyCat Yoga Mat

 

I came across the Copycat Yoga Mat on Etsy and I thought this was such a cool product. I was a disaster at yoga and never knew where to put my hands and feet for poses. I’d feel frustrated and miss instructions on breathing or other information. In class, I felt self conscious and I think this mat will really help adults and children learn yoga with confidence. Not only does the mat show foot and hand placement, but it shows different poses like Triangle and Halfmoon. The mat is non toxic, eco friendly, phthalate and latex free, SGS tested and certified. It is extra thick (1/4″ which is twice as thick than a standard yoga mat), extra long (72″ x 24″ which is 4″ longer than a standard yoga mat) and self adjusts to work with any height.

 

 

 

 

Pro-stretch Plus

 

If your favorite athlete complains of achilles tendonitis, ankle pain, back pain, calf strain and tight calf muscles, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, ball of foot pain, tight hamstring pain, IT band syndrome, and/or shin pain, then the Pro-stretch Plus is going to help them. It helps give you an effective and comfortable stretch that will help prevent future injuries. You are going to save them so much pain, aggravation, and frustration, plus YOU won’t have to hear them keep complaining about their pain every time you talk to them. It’s a win-win!

 

 

 Shwings

 

I came across the Shwings a few years ago and immediately fell in love with them. They have over 150 styles in all different colors and will make all your shoes look unique and fun! They have wings, lighting bolts, skulls, butterflies, and even mustaches! They have been featured in magazines such as InStyle, UsWeekly, Parents and more. They are a perfect stocking stuffer for kids and adults of all ages. I have three pairs myself!

 

 

 

 

“The Long Run” by Matt Long

 

I’m constantly talking about Matt Long and his inspiring book, “The Long Run”. While bike riding, Matt was hit by a twenty ton bus making an illegal turn and his bike “sliced him open like a can”. He needed sixty eight units of blood 10 hours after the accident and was in the hospital for five months. Every bone in his left leg was broken, the right side of his pelvis was shattered, as well as his right shoulder and severed multiple arteries. He would endure over forty operations and the doctors weren’t even sure he would walk again, let alone compete. Matt’s book describes his intense and painful recovery and how he was able finish the NYC marathon three years after the accident. This story is incredible and I’m not lying when I say that I read it at least once a year.

 

 

 

 

 2Toms SportsShield Towelette

 

Ah, chafing, every runners nightmare. Since I was bigger runner I had lots of chafing issues and after a particular run while training for the NYC marathon last year, I realized BodyGlide wasn’t going to cut it. As I silently screamed in agony in the shower after a long run, I decided to try some new products. I came across 2Toms SportShield Towelettes during a Runchat, looked at their products and decided to try their towelettes and roll on. Since I’ve tried them, I haven’t had any chafing issues.  NOT ONE. I’m particularly fond of the towelettes because they are small and portable. I had been known to unwrap one and stick it down my bra for long runs just in case I’ve missed a spot.

 

 

 

 

 

BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones

 

I actually won a pair of these BackBeat Fit headphones and I’m a huge fan. When we joined Rex Wellness Center earlier this year, I wanted a pair of wireless headphones because my wires kept getting caught on the machines and weights, it drove me crazy. It was easy hooking them up with my phone so I was happily watching Parks and Rec while on the bike or listening to JT while using the weight machines.  I found they were easy to use, comfortable and the sound is fantastic. It definitely drowns out crying babies and overly talkative adults on airplanes.

 

 

What is on your wishlist this year? 

jenhaught_biopicAbout Jen Haught: Jen grew up in Manchester, NH and then moved to the Raleigh, NC area in 2003 with her husband and two dogs, Jager and Sammy. She likes reading, make up, coloring, hiking, hockey, working out and being lazy.

Jen has overcome her share of injuries and  health and fitness struggles, but enjoys inspiring others to live their best happy, healthy lives.

You can reach Jen on Instagram @JenHaught or Twitter @JenHaught79. We are honored to have Jen as our November Guest Blogger and a Medi-Dyne Ambassador.

SCARIEST Word for Runners: INJURY

SCARIEST Word for Runners: INJURY

Runner with ankle injury has sprained and strained ankle.

Here is how to NEVER hear that frightening word.

Medi-Dyne is proud to welcome back Athlete Ambassador Meghan Kennihan as our guest blogger.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Every runner has an injury threshold and it is different for everyone. Some people can run 120 miles a week and some can only run 20, but if you exceed your threshold you are asking for injury. Most runners get injured because they do too much, too soon, too fast. Training errors are the number one cause of self-inflicted running injuries. When you rush the process of building up mileage or try to run too fast your body does not have time to recover and handle the increasing demands you are inflicting on it. Most doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors will tell you to build your mileage by no more than 10% a week, which is a general rule, however, you may only be able to build by 5%. Each runner is different so make sure you listen to your body and KNOW YOUR LIMITS. It’s a good idea to alternate hard and easy days to give your body the recovery it needs from speed workouts, long runs, hill training etc. Make sure you incorporate rest weeks into your training plan every three weeks and keep a detailed log of your mileage and how you feel after your runs so you can recognize when problems start to occur.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Don’t run through pain. The majority of running injuries come on gradually and can be stopped if you catch them early. This means a shorter recovery period. Aches and pains do come with running but persistent aches and pains do not. If a pain causes you enough discomfort that you alter your gait, it’s time to stop. Take 2-3 days off, cross-train if you need to and then test out your “injury” gradually. If you’re pain free, get back to your normal routine. If it still hurts, you may need to see a doctor and find out the root cause of the pain, or you may just need more time off.

STRENGTH TRAIN

It is very important for runners to have strong hip and core muscles. When you strengthen your inner and outer thighs, your butt, and your transverse abdominis (stabilizing abdominal muscles) you increase your leg stability all the way down to your feet. Lying leg raises, inner thigh raises, clams, planks, and side planks are great exercises to add to your training program.

R.I.C.E

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are great when you have aches and pains in your muscles and joints. These four things can help relieve your pain, reduce swelling and send blood to those tissues to help speed the healing process. However, many runners neglect the REST part of the equation and continue to run then ice, then run the next day and ice again. This may take the pain away for a short time but you are not giving the tissues any time to heal before you are pounding away at them again. Elevating and compressing the area with a bandage or towel will also help reduce the inflammation. Then make sure you REST the next day and give your body a chance to heal, rather than running and prolonging the injury. Do not take NSAIDs except for acute injuries; instead try turmeric pills or anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon, blueberries, or leafy greens.

VARY RUNNING SURFACES

If you are always running a cambered road you are putting more pressure on your one leg over and over and over which can easily lead to hip and knee problems on that side. Also the road has no give to it and when you land all that impact (2-3x your body weight) is going right back into your legs. Try to do some of your runs, especially your long runs, on level surfaces and if possible soft surfaces such as crushed limestone, trails, even a bike path. The treadmill can also offer a forgiving surface if you can stand the boredom.

Sports Knee pain

TOO MUCH SPEED

There is such a thing as too much speedwork and too much racing. Those efforts are near max and can be very hard on your body and your mind. Doing speedwork twice a week then racing on the weekend does not give your body or mind sufficient rest. Even elite runners limit their speedwork to no more than 5-10% at 5K pace and no more than 20% at tempo or threshold pace. A good rule of thumb for racing is to take one day of recovery for every mile raced.

CROSS-TRAIN

Running is very hard on the body, 2-3x your body weight with each stride, make sure you take at least one day of rest each week and consider making one of your run days a “cross-training” day. Cross-training can improve your muscle balance and work muscles that you never knew you had. Activities such as swimming, cycling, elliptical and rowing will improve your aerobic fitness and even help your running.

YOU’RE INJURED, NOW WHAT

If you have an injury, take this opportunity to make the best of it. Ask yourself what can I learn about myself? How can this time off help my running in the long term? What CAN I do… swim? Bike? Strength? PT?

Try to find the cause of your injury, muscle imbalance? Shoe? Training? Nutrition? But be prepared to come up empty and to heal up and return to running without knowing the cause of the pain that made you stop. This mind set will enable you to get through your injuries with less stress and anxiety. The most important thing is to accept that time is the only real healer, and try not to layer extra stress and anxiety onto the injury experience by grasping at healing measures like ultrasounds, electric stem, graston, steroids, acupunture etc. and expecting miracles from them.

Disclaimer: Please consult your physician before continuing to exercise through any pain or discomfort. The training tips and treatments in this article are suggestions based on years of training and experience, but should not replace a treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

About Meghan:

Meghan Kennihan - Athlete AmbassadorMeghan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach. She has over 12 years of experience teaching spin classes, weight-lifting, and group exercise. Meghan is also an experienced runner, ultrarunner, and triathlete competing, winning, and placing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra distances, and triathlons. She also holds multiple state Powerlifting records. Learn more about Meghan www.trainwithmeghan.com

Medi-Dyne is proud to have Meghan as an Athlete Ambassador.

Summer HEAT: How to Run, Train, and Race!

Summer Heat: How to Run, Train, and Race!

Ambassador Blogger: Meghan Kennihan

MeghanKennihan-bio_pic

 

Medi-Dyne Ambassador: Meghan Kennihan

@TrainWithMeghan

It’s that time again. The hottest part of the summer.  Heat is probably one of the worst uncontrollable elements runners face. The effects of heat and humidity on your training and racing not only cause suffering in the moment but also hinder your recovery.

The Problems with HEAT:

Sweat and Fluid Loss:

Running in the heat causes your core body temperature to rise which means you start to feel worse and worse just like when you have a fever. Heat impacts runners at a physiological level through dehydration, increased heart rate, and reduced blood flow/oxygen to the muscles used for running. Your body cools itself and maintains balance through sweat. Sweat has a cooling effect on the body because it removes excess heat through evaporation. However, the rate of evaporation and how well the body is cooled depends on the humidity. When humidity is low, evaporation increases and you will be able to cool yourself better but you will be losing fluid quickly. When humidity is high, evaporation decreases, less cooling occurs and you suffer even more. The fluid loss and dehydration from fluid loss also effects running performance, a loss of 2% of body weight leads to about 4-6% drop in performance.

Heart Rate and Blood Flow:

Another problem is that temperature and humidity increase your heart rate and amplify these effects. At 60-75 degrees your heart rate increases by 2-4 beats per minute. From 75-90 degrees it can increase up to 10 beats per minute and the humidity will make it increase even more. Rate of perceived exertion are much greater as temperature and humidity rise too. Making matters worse is that when you sweat your blood volume decreases which means  less blood returns to your heart, less reaches your hard working muscles and  you produce less energy. This will cause you to run slower at a given effort level.  For every 10 degree increase in air temperature above 55 degrees there is a 1.5-3% increase in average finishing time for a marathon. (i.e. An extra 3-6 minutes for a 3:30 marathon with every 10 degree increase).  Another issue is that when the heat needs to be dissipated, a lot of the blood also gets diverted to the skin.  Again, the oxygen is redirected via blood flow to your skin instead of your muscles, thus you have less energy for running and your heart and lungs have to work harder to make up for the loss. Higher heart rate at a set pace and higher perceived exertion are the result.

Slow Recovery:

Heat and humidity effect your recovery too! After you exercise in hot conditions, your body needs to spend more energy on cooling itself rather than delivering nutrients to your muscles who need the repair. The muscles have been damaged by the workout but  can’t get the nutrients they need to repair  and recovery is slower. Slower recovery can mean that you might not be ready for  your next hard workout or race.

Enough of the BAD NEWS! Let’s figure out what to do about it!

Train in the Heat:

Training alone provides a bit of an adaption because a side effect of running is an increase in total plasma volume and blood which plays an important role in the cooling process, so the fittest athletes typically have the highest plasma volume and can therefore adapt more easily to heat. Running in hot conditions can result in making it easier to maintain a faster pace, reduce rate of perceived exertion, higher blood plasma volume, increased sweat rate, decrease in salt in sweat, reduced heart rate at a given pace and temperature, and a quicker onset of sweating.  How about that for some great changes just from training? And bonus! it only about 2 weeks of heat exposure. Still, heat acclimatization can only take you so far…

Adjust Your Pace Expectations:

It is smart to adjust expectations when running in the heat… learn to adjust the level of effort or intensity based on what your body is signaling to you.  It’s important that you find ways to adjust your workout times and race paces to reflect how you’ll perform in hot conditions. There are plenty of “temperature” calculators for running where you enter your race times and the temperature and they will adjust your expectations for you. Thank you technology!

Hydrate Properly:

Staying hydrated is essential to your run performance and training.  Dehydration in athletes leads to fatigue, headaches, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping. In extreme cases heat exhaustion and heatstroke, can occur. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during and after exercise especially in the hot summer months.

 Before Your Runs:

If you are training or racing for an hour or more it’s important to make sure you are well hydrated for a few days before. How do you know you are well-hydrated? You should eliminate pale urine at least six times a day. In days leading up to your long run, race, or hard training day make sure you drink plenty of water and nonalcoholic beverages. Alcohol Before your run drink about 16 ounces of water or electrolyte drink like Nuun or coconut water.

During Your Runs:

Drinking on the Run is EASY just drink to thirst. Scientific evidence says that drinking when you’re thirsty can help prevent underhydrating or overhydrating.

Research has shown that sports drinks enhance performance significantly more than plain water in high-intensity and long-duration runs and races.
Some good sports drinks are Nuun, Osmo, Skratch Labs, and Hammer Nutrition.

Your Unique Sweat Rate:

Everyone’s fluid needs are different. The above guidelines are general but some sweat more than others. If you want to get scientific about your hydration needs. You can determine your sweat rate by weighing yourself naked before one of your training runs, and then again after. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss. Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid needs during a run or race. For example, if you lose 3 pounds during an hour run, that’s 3 pints or 48 ounces. So having about 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes would be helpful to your performance. Weather conditions will also affect your sweat rate and hydration needs so doing this test in different temperatures will provide you with even more accurate results.

After Your Run:

Drink 20 to 24 fl oz. of water for every pound lost after your run. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color.

Dress the Part:

 Dress appropriately for the weather. Your running clothes including your socks should be light in color and made of a wicking technical fiber. Technical fabrics pull moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler. Try to avoid 100% cotton, these fabrics absorb sweat and do not dry quickly which weighs down the clothing and can cause chafing. Make sure you apply 2Toms to all possible chafing areas like toes, heels, nipples, between the legs to ensure a comfortable run.

Pre-Cooling:

Another technique is pre-cooling. Pre-cooling is a technique that is used to lower your core body temperature before running. This ideally extends the amount of time you can run before your core temperature raises so high that it hurts your performance. Recent studies have shown that pre-cooling can significantly improve performance in hot and humid conditions. One study reported that pre-cooling can boost performance by 16%.  The best way to pre-cool is with a cooling vest that you wear 10-20 minutes before your run or race. However, if you don’t have the money for a vest you can eat a freeze pop or frozen sports drink slushy 10-20 minutes before your run. Another option is using frozen towels on your head and neck on your way to the track or trailhead.

You can do EVERYTHING I have mentioned above but when it comes down to the bottom line. It’s YOUR ATTITUDE. Instead of getting discouraged because you have to train, run, or race in the heat realize that everyone is dealing with the same conditions and have faith in yourself and have FUN! Be grateful you are running!

 

About Meghan:

Meghan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach. She has over 12 years of experience teaching spin classes, weight-lifting, and group exercise. Meghan is also an experienced runner, ultrarunner, and triathlete competing, winning, and placing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra distances, and triathlons. She also holds multiple state Powerlifting records. Learn more about Meghan www.trainwithmeghan.com

Medi-Dyne is proud to have Meghan as an Athlete Ambassador.

2Toms Introduces GripShield

Medi-Dyne Introduces 2Toms® GripShield® Grip Enhancing Gel

GripShield_logo

July 28, 2016 (Colleyville, TX) – Medi-Dyne, a leading producer of innovative pain prevention products announces the introduction of 2Toms® GripShield®.

2Toms GripShield is formulated to work fast to keep hands dry and enhance the grip of anyone who is concerned about wet sweaty hands including many athletes and those who work with their hands. Whether it is before or during activity, 2Toms GripShield delivers results by quickly drying hands and creating a moisture barrier to improve grip and enhance performance. GripShield can even be used inside of gloves, and may help prevent odor buildup as well! GripShield applies to a multitude of sports and activities that include, but are not limited to; tennis, baseball, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, skiing, softball, mechanics, industrial work, or any activity in which a firm, dry grip is essential.

“GripShield is a natural extension of our 2Toms line of innovative products that simply and effectively protects and enhances people’s ability to be at their best,” states Craig DiGiovanni Vice President of Medi-Dyne. “GripShield will also be taking us in to new markets expanding the reach and exposure of all our brands.”

100% Guarantee: 2Toms GripShield comes with the 2Toms 100% guarantee. Users, if not completely satisfied will receive a full refund.

2Toms® products are made in the U.S.A.

About Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products

Medi-Dyne is a global company dedicated to providing easy-to-use pain relief and performance enhancing solutions that ensure peak performance. Medi-Dyne’s contributions include over sixty patented foot care, knee, blister care, stretching and strengthening innovations marketed under the well-recognized names of brands of: 2Toms®, Cho-Pat®, CoreStretch®, ProStretch®, RangeRoller™, StretchRite®, Tuli’s®.

 

Medi-Dyne.com

Contact:
Mandy Owens
Marketing Manager
(817)251-8660
mandy@medi-dyne.com

How to Avoid Swimsuit Chafe, Wetsuit Chafe and PFD Chafe

2Toms Swimsuit chafe preventionWhen we think about water activities its’ often a cool laps in the pool, the thrill of riding the waves, or even the excitement of the bang of the starting gun – but it’s not chafing.

Swimsuit chafe, wetsuit chafe, or life vest (PFD) chafe are certainly not part of the image but they too often become part of the reality; a reality that often interferes with training, change the mechanics of your stroke and can certainly spoil the fun.

Chafing happens due to friction, whether it’s skin-to-skin rubbing or friction between your skin and fabric such as your swimsuit, wetsuit or life vest. Regardless of the reason, the net result is often a painful burning or stinging sensation that can come on quickly and eventually escalate to becoming a bleeding open wound. These swimsuit chafe abrasions can become painful, the burning sensation become intolerable resulting sidelining you from your favorite activity.

Saltwater often accelerates the on-set of swimsuit chafe.  When you think about it, it makes sense. 2Toms Wetsuit chafe prevention Sea salt is often use for skin cleansing or even therapeutic baths but they’re never left on the skin for prolonged periods of time.  The continuous skin friction of an open water ocean swim, surfing or other salt water activity is prime conditions for swimsuit chafe. Saltwater swimsuit chafe or PFD chafe can escalate more quickly than in fresh water. Once the skin is broken, the salts and ions in the salt water cause cells to break open exposing more cells underneath to damage and the bacteria found in open water.

2Toms Wetsuit chafe protectionWhether you’re in the water for fun, competition or exercise, preventing swimsuit chafe before it starts is a priority for anyone planning on spending time in the water.

Recommended steps to preventing swimsuit chafe:

 

  1. Wear a bathing suit that fits well, one that stays in place but is not too loose or too tight. This applies to PFDs as well.
  2. Keep your bathing suit clean and dry. Remember to rinse it in fresh water after every use and put it back on after it dries. Dirt, debris and dried sweat increase the possibility of friction between your bathing suit and skin. Gentle, effective detergents like 2Toms StinkFree Detergent can be used in a sink, bucket or washing machine and are designed to deal with high-performance fabrics.
  3. Hydrate yourself so you can sweat freely.
  4. Rinse your body with fresh water to avoid sweat from sitting on your skin and forming salt crystals.
  1. Prevent chafing before it starts with 2Toms SportShield and SportShield for Her! Both of these products are designed to form a long-lasting, odor-neutral barrier that protects you from skin-to-skin and skin- fabric chafing.  SportShield will not affect the stitching of swimsuits as do some other petroleum-based products.
  2. To prevent swimsuit chafe, apply 2Toms SportShield anywhere there is a seam on the swimsuit or anywhere the PDF touches the skin.

So, next time you’re getting ready for a day of surfing, watersports, or a long pool training session, take a few minutes to shield yourself from swimsuit chafe!

2Toms SportsShield & SportShield for Her! Available in travel size!

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Ready to have a #StinkFreeSummer?

2Toms_StinkFreeSummer

Ready to have a #StinkFreeSummer ?
SF Det 30oz

Running clothes, high-performance fabrics, and sports gear are great but wow can they stink!

2Toms® Stink Free® Sports Detergent is GUARANTEED to remove  odors  & stains in your high performance athletic apparel! Using a revolutionary residue lifter, Stink Free restores clothing performance and breath ability.

No dyes or perfumes.

Stink Free Detergent doesn’t mask odors it eliminates them! With just 1 – 2 ounces your clothes come out of the wash smelling, well, like nothing!  Just clean & fresh.

100% Guaranteed!

Stink Free Sports Detergent is guaranteed to remove odors and stains in your high performance athletic apparel & any gear you can wash or soak including: Hockey pads, Shin Guards, Shoes, Cleats, Sleeping Bags, Pillows, Tents, Sleeping Mats, Hiking Boots, Backpacks, Hydration Packs, Motorcycle Gear, Yoga Mats, Towels, Uniforms, and much more!   Learn More

Get a sample & see for yourself!2Toms_StinkFree_Detergent_Sample

Take the 2Toms #StinkFreeSummer Challenge and see for yourself just how well 2Toms StinkFree Detergent works!

Click here to get your sample

NOTE:  Samples are limited to one per household. Available only while supplies last. Limited supply is available. Unfortunately, we cannot ship outside of the US.

 

Stinky Shoes & Gear?  Try 2Toms Stink Free Spray!

StinkFree-Spray-2012-SM

2Toms® StinkFree® Spray is guaranteed to remove, not mask, odors caused by sweat left in your shoes, boots, gear, gym bags, pads/guards, gloves, lockers, etc.  Our technically advanced formula cleans the pores that trap the odor in shoes and gear.  Stink Free Spray has no perfume in it’s formula, therefore it leaves behind no smell once dry.

StinkFree Spray is safe to use on canvas, leather, satin, and denim and shoes.

Can’t wash it?  Need a quick fix?  Stink Free Spray is guaranteed to remove odors in shoes and gear including:
Hockey & lacrosse pads, Shin Guards, Shoes, Hiking Boots, Running Shoes, Cleats, Camping gear, Backpacks, Hydration Packs, Motorcycle Gear, Yoga Mats, Towels, Uniforms, and much more!  100% Guaranteed!

Learn More

 

 

Read what others are saying:

I’ve saved a fortune on clothes & bags using this stuff! — read more

Lacrosse_Bag-sm

IT Band Syndrome: Relief and Prevention

Upper Leg Pain ExercisesRecent Studies on IT Band Syndrome (ITBS):
A Look at Hip and Knee Mechanics

Illiotibial band syndrome (IT Band Syndrome / ITBS) is one of the leading causes of pain in athletes whose sports involve running.  The estimated incidence rate for athletes is believed to be between 5% and 14%.

Traditionally, believed to be an overuse injury, IT Band Syndrome is often described as being caused by friction or rubbing of the  iliotibial band (ITB) over the lower part of the femur as the knee extends and flexes. Sufferers of ITBS typically experience pain along the outside of the knee joint.  This pain is sometimes accompanied by a clicking sensation which is the result of the IT band tightening and snapping across the joint during physical activity.  ITBS usually starts with tightness, and untreated, can become very painful.  Pain from ITBS is typically experienced on the outside of the knee or lower thigh and can be made worse by activities like climbing up and down stairs, getting out of a car, or running up or down hills.  A person with ITBS may also feel tenderness in the knee tissue when applying pressure.

It’s believed then that the continual rubbing of the IT band over the outside of the femur may cause swelling, pain or a stinging sensation on the outside of the knee.  Recent studies, however, have focused on the frontal and transverse plan mechanics of the knee and lower extremity, suggesting that atypical hip and knee mechanics are the primary factors in development of ITBS.

Studies comparing runners with IT Band Syndrome to healthy runners found that the IT Band Syndrome group exhibited significantly greater hip adduction and knee internal rotation than the control group, leading researcher to reconsider the role of hip and knee in running mechanics. Subsequent studies have focused on the importance of running mechanics, providing evidence that gait re-training with step rate manipulation may be important for the treatment of IT Band Syndrome. The jury is still out on whether gait re-training is the key to curing ITBS, however, most reports did find that traditional strengthening of the hip abductors and flexibility exercises do contribute to a successful outcome.

ITBS Prevention & Remedies

Because the most notable symptom of IT Band Syndrome is typically swelling and pain on the outside of the knee, many runners mistakenly think they have a knee injury. It’s critical to rule out a knee problem or other serious injury. Ensuring proper gait as well as strength and flexibility of the hip abductors can be the most effective ways to prevent IT Band Syndrome.

IT Band Syndrome can become extremely painful and debilitating and can sideline a runner completely if not treated in its early stages.

Some risk factors for developing ITBS are:

  • Physical factors like stiffness of the IT Band tissue, unequal leg lengths, or extremely flat feet or high arches
  • A sudden increase in running routine intensity
  • Inadequate warm ups before or cool downs after running
  • Women are more likely to suffer from ITBS than men

ITBS Prevention

To prevent being sidelined with ITBS, it is best to prevent ITBS before it happens or to identify it in its very early stages.  Suggestions for preventing ITBS include:

  • core_comboRun on level surfaces – Running on flat surfaces can help avoid injury. If athletes are running on roads, it is important that they run on both sides of the road as many roads are higher in the center and slope to the sides. This slope can cause one foot to be lower than the other, resulting in the pelvis tilting to one side and stressing the IT band.
  • Avoid running on concrete surfaces – If running on a track, it is a good idea to change directions periodically.
  • Balance training – Runners should make sure that they include strength training and flexibility exercises in their workout routine and build in rest and recovery time into their training schedule.
  • Stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the IT band – Athletes can help prevent and treat ITBS by using the CoreStretch to strengthen weak hip and core muscles. The CoreStretch uses the body’s natural traction to safely and effectively stretch hamstrings, lower back, hips, piriformis, and glutes.
  • Only wear athletic shoes that are in good condition – If shoes are worn along the outside of the sole, they should be replaced.

ITBS Treatment

If an athlete begins to notice IT band pain, they should take steps to treat their ITBS before the pain increases.  Some steps to treat ITBS include:

Step 1:  Immediate Relief – Reduce Discomfort

  • Rest from training activities – Runners should decrease mileage or take a few days off if they feel pain on the outside of the knee.
  • IT Band Syndrome StrapUse a strap like the Cho-Pat IT Band Strap to compress the area and assist with ITBS healing. The Cho-Pat IT Band Strap provides Dynamic Pain Diffusion at the point of injury to alleviate the pain and discomfort of ITBS.
  • Ice massage – Freeze water in a small paper cup and rub the ice directly on the area of pain for about 15 minutes or until it gets numb. With ITBS, it is best to ice immediately after a run, but even icing it well at least once a day will help.
  • When you’re ready to go back to activity, cross train! Substitute other activities like swimming, cycling, and rowing while taking a break from running.

Step 2:  Long Term Healing:  Stretch, Strengthen & Massage

STRETCH

stretchrite_piriformis_stretchGiven the relevance of gait, hips positioning and knee rotation to ITBS, it is important to keep the posterior chain strong and flexible with a goal of improving alignment and restoring the workload back to the appropriate muscles.

Stretching exercises targeting the gluteus medius, piriformis, vascus lateralis, gastroc and soleus will help to ensure flexibility along the posterior chain.

The patented StretchRite features a non-elastic strap which makes it easy to perform each stretch properly and effectively.

STRENGTHEN
Strengthening exercises include focus on the hip abductors, which can include: lateral leg raises, clamshells, hip thrusts, and side
steps/shuffle.

MASSAGE

RangeRoller_ITBS_Solution

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medi-Dyne’s Advanced ITBS Solution available at the Medi-Dyne store.

advanced_ITBand_Solution Medi-Dyne

Runner’s Knee: Immediate Relief & Long-Term Healing

Runner’s Knee

Medi-Dyne_Knee_Pain_SolutionsRunners knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is the term used for non-specific pain that involves pain behind or around the kneecap, pain when you bend the knee, especially when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or getting up from a chair and in some cases, pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill. Pain can be sharp and sudden or dull and chronic. Not just found in runners, this syndrome is one of the most widely diagnosed in individual whose work or activities involve significant running or knee bending.

Functional risk factors for Runner’s Knee can include:
• Over use
• Prior injury
• Biomechanics
• Overpronation

Reducing the Pain of Runner’s Knee

An extremely common condition, a diagnosis of Runner’s Knee (PFPS) covers a range of usually vague symptoms of pain ‘in’, ‘under’ or ‘behind’ the kneecap. While there is no consensus on exactly what causes PFPS, a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports &
Exercise found hip weakness and instability to be a contributing factor.  Additional research supports initial rest, minimizing impact, and
stretching and strengthening the supporting muscles can reduce pain. In the case of runner’s knee, research shows positive results from
introducing routines focused on glute, hip flexor/extensor and quad strength as well as hamstring and hip flexibility.

Individual experiencing early stages of Runner’s Knee pain can take steps to provide immediate relief and long-term healing.

Step 1:  Immediate Relief – Reduce DiscomfortCho-Pat_Origina_Knee_Strap_Runners_knee

For reducing the pain of Runner’s Knee, after initial rest, reducing discomfort during activity becomes an important aspect of recovery.
Cho-Pat’s® Original Knee Strap™ stabilizes and tightens up on the kneecap mechanism by applying pressure upon the patellar tendon below the kneecap. For many suffering from Runner’s Knee, this compression reduces or eliminates inflammation and helps prevent knees from giving out while still allowing full mobility.

Cho-Pat_Dynamic_Knee_Compression_SleeveFor others looking for greater coverage and support, compression sleeves like the Cho-Pat® Dynamic Knee Compression Sleeve™ provides light-weight support-oriented compression in a sleeve that both stabilizes the knee and reduces the inflammation caused by Runner’s Knee.

Step 2:  Long-Term Healing – Stretch, Strengthen & Massage

STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN

StretchRite for Runners KneeFor Runner’s Knee, stretching exercises targeting the gluteus medius, piriformis, hamstrings, and quads will help to ensure flexibility along the posterior chain are important.

The patented StretchRite® features a non-elastic strap which makes it easy to perform each stretch properly and effectively. Six ergonomically-shaped handgrips offer a comfortable non-cinching hold and make it simple to adjust tension during the stretch. The handgrips also serve as visual feedback helping athletes safely stretch and monitor their progress.

Strengthening exercises should include focus on the hip abductors.
1. TFL/Glutes (lying side leg lifts, resisted side steps; glute bridge)
2. External Rotators (lying clam raise)
3. Quadriceps (straight leg lifts)
MASSAGE
RangeRoller_ITBS_SolutionFor Runner’s Knee, massage and myofacial release can often relieve muscle tension and create tissue mobility contributing significantly towards increasing flexibility. RangeRoller®’s unique design allow you to use both the TriggerTreads™ for increasing circulation as well as the end of the RangeRoller handle for releasing trigger points. For increased flexibility, circulation and performance consider massaging the:
• Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL – at the bending point of the hip)
• Vascus lateralis (outside quad)
• Glutes

 

 

Medi-Dyne’s Advanced Runner’s Knee Solution available at the Medi-Dyne store.

Medi-Dyne_Advanced_RunnersKnee_500-500x500

An Athlete’s Guide to Jumper’s Knee

Jumper’s knee can affect athletes in many sports.

Runner's Knee

Athletes who participate in sports in which they do a lot of jumping like basketball, volleyball, and long jump may experience a painful condition known as Jumper’s Knee.  Jumper’s knee, or patellar tendonitis, is pain in the tendon which attaches the knee cap (patella) to the top of the shin bone (tibia).  Jumper’s knee is typically an overuse injury caused by repetitive strain placed on the patellar or quadriceps tendon during jumping but can affect athletes in “non-jumping” sports as well.

Some of the risk factors that contribute to jumper’s knee are increased body weight, being bow-legged or knock-kneed, having an abnormally high or low kneecap, and having legs of unequal length.  Males are twice as likely as females to be afflicted by jumper’s knee.  An athlete who has tight leg muscles and reduced flexibility in the thighs and hamstrings can have a muscle imbalance which can cause jumper’s knee pain.  Other factors that can contribute to jumper’s knee are the use of steroids which often results in weaker muscles and tendons and being afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis which causes inflammation of the knee joint.

Jumper’s knee typically consists of pain at the bottom front of the kneecap over what is called the lower pole of the patella.  The bottom of the patella will be very tender when pressing in, and activities like jumping are painful.  An athlete suffering from jumper’s knee is likely to experience aching and stiffness after exercise and it is possible that the affected tendon may appear larger than the tendon on the unaffected side.

Jumper’s knee can be categorized into four grades of injury:

  • Grade 1: Pain is experienced in the patellar tendon after training only.
  • Grade 2: Pain is felt before and after training but eases up once the knee is warmed up.
  • Grade 3: Pain is experienced during training and limits athletic performance.
  • Grade 4: Pain is felt even during every day activities.

It is important to pay attention to knee pain.  Jumper’s knee may initially appear to be an annoying minor injury that is not very concerning.  As it may not be a debilitating injury, many athletes may continue to train and compete on it.  However, neglecting jumper’s knee can cause this minor knee pain to become chronic and difficult to treat.

Jumper’s Knee – Prevention

Ideally, athletes should prevent jumper’s knee pain before it starts.  Suggestions for preventing jumper’s knee include:

  • Athletes should pace themselves. It is important to schedule days off from training so the body can heal and regenerate.
  • Improve hip flexibility and mobility by using a tool like the CoreStretch. The CoreStretch allows tissues to elongate, stretch, and relax. The CoreStretch uses the body’s natural traction to provide a deep, effective stretch of the hips, hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
  • An athlete should avoid playing and practicing on hard surfaces when practical.
  • Wearing shoes designed for the sport and that are in good condition will help avoid injury.

If an athlete is experiencing early stages of Jumper’s Knee pain, they can usually treat themselves.  A more severe injury may require longer rest and could result in surgery.

Jumper’s Knee treatments includes:

1. Step 1:  Immediate Relief – Reduce Discomfort

  • Rest or adapt training to reduce impact and jumping activities.
  • Apply ice on a regular basis during the first 24 to 48 hours after experiencing pain and after any form of exercise.
  • Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee StrapWear a knee strap like the Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap to reduce pain of Jumper’s Knee and ease the strain on the tendon. The Dual Action Knee Strap delivers support both above and below the knee. This dual support provides Dynamic Pain Diffusion to reduce the amount of force that is placed on the knee, decrease the chance of misalignment or displacement, and improve tracking.
  • cho-pat_dynamicknee-500x500Use a compression sleeve like the Cho-Pat Dynamic Knee Compression Sleeve which combines warmth, compression, and reinforcement to help reduce pain and discomfort and promote healing.

2. Step 2:  Long Term Healing:  Stretch, Strengthen & Massage

Targeted muscles for healing and preventing Jumper’s Knee

• Gluteus medius
• Piriformis
• Psoas
• Hamstrings
• Quads
• Gastroc

StretchRiteStretching exercises targeting the gluteus medius, piriformis, hamstrings, and quads will help to
ensure flexibility along the posterior chain and can help to prevent future Jumper’s Knee issues.

The patented StretchRite® system features a non-elastic strap which makes it easy to perform each stretch properly and effectively. Six ergonomically-shaped handgrips offer a comfortable non-cinching hold and make it simple to adjust tension during the stretch. The handgrips also serve as visual feedback helping athletes safely stretch and monitor their progress. The StretchRite offers a comfortable, more effective stretch which improves flexibility and promotes healing in the knee.

Successful strengthening programs for Jumper’s Knee have focused on gastroc & soleus muscles as well as proprioceptive training.

Massage and myofacial release can often relieve muscle tension and create tissue mobility contributing significantly towards increasing RangeRoller-2194flexibility and reducing the occurrence of Jumper’s Knee . RangeRoller®’s unique design allow you to use both the TriggerTreads™ for increasing circulation as well as the end of the RangeRoller handle for releasing trigger points.
For increased flexibility, circulation and performance consider massaging the:
• Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL – at the bending point of the hip)
• Glutes
• Quads
• Gastroc & soleus

Baseball Elbow and Shoulder Pain

Elbow TendonitisBaseball Elbow and Shoulder Pain

It’s the week baseball fans look forward to from the minute the World Series is over-Spring Training!  First pitchers and catchers report, then position players and then the spring training games begin.  For millions of parents, however, spring training is more about their children hitting the baseball fields than the pros.

Unfortunately, many of these kids will experience pain and injury while playing baseball.  Children who are pitchers have about a fifty-fifty chance of experiencing elbow or shoulder pain during their baseball careers. A recent study has shown that when a child pitches with a tired arm, they are six times more likely to suffer from elbow pain and four times more likely to experience shoulder pain than a player who did not have a tired arm.  This same study showed that half of the youth pitchers studied reported elbow or shoulder pain at least once during the season and concluded that the overriding factor in the development of arm pain among youth baseball pitchers appears to be overuse.

While youth baseball has traditionally been considered a spring sport, the reality is that more and more children are playing baseball throughout the year.  Because of the extended seasons, youth baseball players are putting more strain on their shoulders and elbows than ever before.  Consider these research findings:

  • Players who pitch more than 100 innings in a calendar year are three times more likely to require elbow or shoulder surgery or to retire due to injury.
  • When a player throws more than 600 pitches per season, the risk of elbow pain was three times greater.
  • Playing catcher can double or triple a pitcher’s risk of serious injury.
  • 26% of youth players and 58% of high school pitchers experience elbow pain.
  • 30% of 9- to 19-year-old boys playing baseball experience shoulder pain.
  • Nearly half (46%) of youth players (average age 15 years) said that at least once they had actually been encouraged to keep playing despite having arm pain.

It is not surprising that a result of the increase in arm injuries suffered by youth baseball pitchers is that the number of shoulder and so-called Tommy John elbow (ulnar) ligament-transplant operations has risen dramatically.  There are three main risk factors for injury to youth baseball pitchers: overuse, poor pitching mechanics, and poor physical conditioning.

A player may start by complaining of shoulder pain that is present only when throwing and for a short time afterward; however, the shoulder pain may progress to where it is present before, during, and after activity. The athlete may eventually become unable to throw at all due to the pain in the shoulder. Trouble can also start when an athlete mentions shoulder or elbow stiffness and trouble “getting loose” or arm fatigue.

Chronic shoulder conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, impingement and subluxation are closely related.  All of these conditions may cause pain in the same area: in the tendon or in a pinched bursa (the small cushion that allows tendons to move over the bone as they contract and relax) next to the tendon.  Rotator cuff tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes irritated and inflamed as it rubs on the undersurface of the shoulder.  Bursitis results from the repeated pinching of the bursae between the shoulder structures which puts additional pressure on the already-inflamed shoulder area.  The combination of tendinitis and bursitis may result in an impingement in the shoulder. Symptoms include pain and weakness with overhead arm movements.  Subluxation is where the shoulder slips partially out of joint and then returns to its original position.  This causes instability of the shoulder joint and is often related to fatigued shoulder muscles.

The most common elbow injury in young baseball players is medial epicondyle apophysitis, better known as “little league elbow.”  This is caused by overuse and involves injury to one of the growth plates on the inside of the elbow.  This type of injury occurs in young athletes because their growth plates are weaker than the muscles that attach to them.  The stress placed on the growth plates from repetitive throwing can cause them to become inflamed and produce pain and swelling.  If a child continues to throw through pain, there is a risk that the growth plate may even begin to separate from the rest of the bone.

Here are some suggestions for preventing shoulder and elbow injuries in youth baseball players:

  • Develop proper body mechanics. It is important to make sure a young pitcher learns how to properly position his throwing arm during all phases of the pitching motion.
  • Perform a daily regimen of warm up and stretching exercises to decrease muscle tendon imbalances, increase range of motion, promote circulation and improve performance. The StretchRite is an effective tool to use for stretching and strengthening an athlete’s entire arm and shoulder.
  • Age appropriate training and recovery time is necessary. It is recommended that a youth athlete’s overall training increases by no more than 10 percent per week in amount and frequency.
  • Follow recommended pitch count guidelines and get adequate rest in between games to prevent overuse. Little League guidelines call for pitching for no more than 6 innings per week. General guidelines dictate that early adolescent pitchers should not throw more than 80 to 100 pitches per week. As the pitcher matures and builds up strength and endurance, the number of pitches thrown can gradually increase.
  • Limit the amount of throwing that a child does at the start of the season and build up arm strength and endurance gradually.

It is important to never allow players to play through pain and to make sure children understand that persistent pain is a sign of a chronic (i.e. overuse) or acute injury that should sideline a child from playing until it subsides.  If your child gets injured, it is a good idea to consult a professional.

Stretching Safely and Effectively

Stretching Safely and Effectively

(Part 4 of a 4 part series on Stretching Your Way into Better Health

roller 3Our recent blog series, Stretching Your Way into Better Health, has covered how a stretching program can help in maintaining flexibility, improving athletic performance and preventing injury.

For all of its benefits, stretching can also cause adverse effects like sprains and strains if not performed properly.  In order to avoid the dangers of improper stretching, it is important to keep some rules in mind when starting a new stretching program.  While stretching can be done anytime and anywhere, using improper techniques can actually do more harm than good.

Here are some tips for stretching safely and effectively:

  • Focus on having equal flexibility on both sides. In fact, muscle strength imbalances are often the cause of chain reaction injuries. As everyone’s genetics for flexibility are different, striving for symmetry in your own body is more important than striving for the flexibility and range of motion of a gymnast or ballet dancer. This is especially important for those recovering from a previous injury.
  • Focus on major muscle groups along the body’s interconnective chain, such as the calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Be sure to stretch the muscles that are routinely used both at work and play. The CoreStretch and StretchRite both provide safe and effective way to stretch most of these muscles.
  • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. If there is a particularly tight muscle, it should be held for closer to 60 seconds. It is important to remember to breathe normally while stretching.
  • Do not bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement as bouncing during stretching could potentially cause injury.
  • The goal while stretching should be to feel tension not pain. If a stretch hurts, it is probably too much. Back off to the point where the pain ceases and then hold the stretch in that position. Using a product like the StretchRite can help in getting just the right amount of stretch. The StretchRite’s design allows you to adjust the tension during stretching and makes it easy to safely individualize the amount of stretch required.
  • Be consistent and stretch on a regular basis. Stretching can be time-consuming, but the most benefits can be obtained by stretching at least 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Movement can be part of an effective stretching routine. Gentle movements such as yoga or tai chi can help with flexibility and range of motion in addition to helping to prevent boredom by adding variety to regular routines.
  • Pre-activity warm up can include dynamic stretches. Start slowly with low intensity to warm up the muscles. Once muscles become accustomed to the motion, it is safe to speed up gradually.

Tight HamstringsWhile regular stretching can be a significant contributing factor to a healthy lifestyle, it is important to know when to exercise caution.  People with chronic conditions or injuries may need to adjust their stretching techniques.  It is important to note that stretching an already strained muscle could potentially cause further harm.

Following basic stretching precautions can help ensure that stretching helps, rather than harms, your body.

 

Read the entire Stretching Your Way into Better Health Series:

 

Stretching for Injury Prevention

Stretching for Injury Prevention

(Part 3 of a 4 part series on Stretching Your Way into Better Health)

IT Band SyndromeThere are many good reasons why everyone can benefit from making stretching part of their daily routine.   Our last blog post, Stretching for Improved Performance, focused on how incorporating a regular stretching routine into your training schedule can pay off in improved athletic performance.  While improving athletic performance is a great reason to stretch, another equally important benefit from stretching on a regular basis is injury prevention.

Whether you are an athlete, active adult or a senior, a regular stretching routine can help your muscles be strong and injury resistant.  When a joint’s range of motion is increased through stretching, there is a decrease in the resistance that muscles experience during daily activities.  Flexible muscles are less likely to become injured from a slightly extensive movement.   Flexibility has two important components:

Static flexibility– This type of flexibility describes range of motion without consideration for speed of movement. This represents the maximum range a muscle can achieve with an external force such as gravity or manual assistance. An example would be holding a hamstring stretch at an end-of-range position.

Elbow TendonitisDynamic flexibility– This term describes the use of the desired range of motion at a desired velocity. Dynamic flexibility is the range athletes can produce themselves. For example, a baseball pitcher needs a lot of shoulder rotational flexibility but also needs to be able to produce it at rapid speeds of movement.

 

For athletes and active adults wanting to properly stretch and warm-up prior to athletic activity, it is an important part of injury prevention to never stretch or begin that activity when your muscles are cold.  It is a good idea to begin with some mild aerobic activity such as walking, cycling or slow jogging for 5-to-10 minutes prior to stretching.  This mild activity increases blood flow to the muscles, increases the muscle temperature and makes the collagen fibers more elastic.  This initial activity will help your stretching routine be more effective, prevent soreness and injury, increase range of motion, and improve performance.

The most effective way to decrease the possibility of injury before athletic activity is to perform dynamic stretching (stretching with movement).  In the past, athletes were told to use static stretching (stationary reach and hold) prior to practice and competition with the thought that static stretching prepared the muscles for activity and helped to prevent injury.  Recent studies are now suggesting that static stretching prior to activity can actually decrease athletic performance and may increase an athlete’s chance of injury.

Dynamic stretching consists of slow, controlled motions which help prepare the body for movement and change of direction. This type of stretching closely mimics movements made during exercise and involves moving many parts of the body by using momentum and active muscular effort to gradually increase reach, range of motion, and speed of movement.  Dynamic stretching helps lengthen muscles, increases balance, improves mobility, coordination and range of motion, and decreases the chance of injury.

FlexibilityAn effective and safe way to perform dynamic stretching is to use the CoreStretch.  The CoreStretch was originally developed for use by physical therapists so it safely provides a stretch that both allows the tissues to relax and elongate and develops the major muscle groups that make up the body’s core.  Online videos can provide instruction on using the CoreStretch.  A downloadable guide is also available.

Static stretching involves stretching as far as possible and holding that stretch for 10-30 seconds with no movement.  Because you simply go as far as you can in static stretching, this kind of stretching does not require much training and is the easiest to do for those who are just adding stretching to their exercise routine.  Static stretches are best used to improve flexibility and cool the body down after exercise.

Back Pain ReliefStretching is also very important for aging adults to maintain good balance and avoid injuries.  When a child falls, he usually shakes it off and keeps moving. But when an older adult falls, there can be serious consequences such as broken bones or head injuries.  These injuries can limit mobility and lead to a downward health spiral.  Every year, thousands of older Americans die as a result of breaking a hip. Broken bones and head injuries can reduce confidence, increase a fear of falling, and threaten independence.

Stretching exercises that improve endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility can help prevent falls and related injuries.  Seniors who stretch regularly can experience benefits such as increase in reaction times, improved coordination, stronger bones, better brain function, and increased muscle mass which can help protect bones and joints.  Seniors can benefit from both static and dynamic stretching exercises.

Regardless of your age or athletic ability, the New Year is a great time to begin a stretching program for injury prevention.  So start stretching today and help your muscles become flexible, strong, and injury free!

Read the entire Stretching Your Way into Better Health Series:

Stretching for Improved Performance

Stretching for Improved Performance
(Part 2 of a 4 series on Stretching Your Way into Better Health)

Medi-Dyne_Stretching_for_Improved_Performance_2Whether you are a hard core athlete or a weekend warrior, your athletic performance can benefit from a regular stretching routine.  While there’s been a lot of talk about dynamic vs static stretching and whether stretching is better before or after activity (or both) most experts agree that a program of consistent, daily stretching improves sport performance by increasing muscle strength and flexibility.

Stretching is so often an after-thought. With busy schedules, its easy to focus on exercising or participating in a sporting event but not on stretching. Sure, you might throw in a quick hamstrings or calf stretch for good measure but then its off to the “real” exercise. Unfortunately, it’s this same “time-saving” behavior that may cost you real time in the end.

Regular stretching can improve joint range of motion and muscle capacity, which can in turn help improve performance and decrease risk of injury.  So, if you’re looking to improve your performance, its important to understand why stretching can help and how to stretch correctly.

Part 1 of this series, Top 10 Reasons Why Stretching Should Be Part of Your New Year, provided general insight on why stretching is important.

For active individuals or athletes looking to improve their performance, stretching is critical. The speed at which a muscle changes length affects the force it can generate. This is called force-velocity relationship.  As muscle stiffness is decreased and flexibility increased, it requires less energy to move or contract the muscle. Some studies have shown that stretch-induced hypertrophy (enlargement) positively impacts this force-velocity relationship by increasing the isometric force production and velocity of muscle contractions. The result? Improved running speed, strength, and jumping distance and height.

Stretching has additional benefits as it relates to performance:

  • Stretching improves flexibility and the range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility improves your performance by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and assists your muscles in working most effectively. Studies have shown that regular stretching improves force, jump height, and speed.
  • Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. The increased blood flow delivers more oxygenated blood to the working muscle allowing it to quickly turn glucose into fuel and maintain output and fend off fatigue.
  • Stretching will reduce your risk of injury and relieve post workout aches and pains as getting oxygenated blood to your muscles plays an important role in the recovery process.
  • Regularly stretching muscles may also serve to alleviate DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that pain you get when you do some activity that your muscles aren’t used to doing or doing so strenuously.

Three types of stretches to help increase your athletic performance:

Static Stretching

This is the most common form of stretching, and it involves gently taking a muscle to its first point of tension and then holding it in that position. Static sustained stretches are designed to hold a minimally challenging position for a joint or a muscle. The focus is on relaxing the body part being stretched and letting it go further on its own.  Static stretching is effective at helping to lengthen tight muscles. Static stretching is often use post-activity or as part of a daily stretching routine. Research suggests that holding the position for 30–60 seconds will increase flexibility in the tissue.Occasionally static stretching is used to pre-activity to warm-up a particularly tight muscle (calf or hamstring).

Designed as a full body stretching device, the StretchRite  provides comfortable, measurable static stretching exercises for active individuals looking to increase their flexibility.  Online videos provide guidance for effectively performing basic to advanced stretches. Downloadable guide with sport-specific suggestions is also available.

 

Dynamic Stretching

ProStretch Plus preferred world-wide for tight calves and hamstring stretching.Dynamic stretching is now believed to be the best way to warm up as takes muscles through movements similar to the activities you are about to perform.  Dynamic movement stretches take a joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, moving a body part further with each repetition.  Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise because it prepares your joints for movement and your muscles for optimal activation.

The ProStretch Plus is a useful tool that athletes and trainers world-wide use for safe and effective dynamic stretching of the lower leg including the hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendon, plantar fasciia and toes.  The ProStretch Plus allows for a safe, gradual, controlled stretch that no slant board or curb can provide.  Online videos provides guidance for effectively performing basic to advanced stretches. Downloadable guides are also available.

 

Self-myofascial Release

RangeRoller_Calf_2-5_100dpiMyofascial release focuses not only on the muscles but also the soft connective tissue that surrounds muscles (fascia).  The pressure that is applied to muscles while when using a therapy roller helps to eliminate tension and reduce the impact of knots or tender spots.  Using a multi-layer therapy roller like the RangeRoller helps the muscles to lengthen and shorten more appropriately, allowing greater ranges of motion to be achieved during exercise and athletic activities.  Watch how to perform self-myofascial release using the RangeRoller.

 

Stretching Guidelines for Athletes and Active Individuals

•Athletes who are very flexible and are playing in ideal conditions will benefit from dynamic stretching before activity.   This will help maximize performance while minimizing risk of injury.

•Less flexible athletes and those with tight muscles should perform static stretching on a regular basis to increase flexibility and lengthen muscles (ideally 20-30 minutes at least 3 days a week).

•For all athletes, long static stretches before athletic activity are not recommended.  Too much static stretching before athletic activity will affect the way muscles fire to produce movement and protect joints.  This could result in a decrease in power and strength and could put the athlete at risk for injury.

So, remember that muscle strength and flexibility is a fundamental building block in sports performance.  Incorporating a regular stretching routine into your training schedule will definitely pay off in improved athletic performance and a reduction in your risk of injury.

Read the entire Stretching Your Way into Better Health series:

BlisterShield and SportShield – The Race Guards Preferred Blister and Chafing Relief

RaceGuardsYou train for weeks, often months for a race.  With the finish as your goal, you plan for everything – except mid-race injuries.  Sure, every race has 1st Aid Stations but often they are not anywhere near where you are when you need help.  But RaceGuards are!BlisterShield Trial Size

Race Guards puts CPR/1st Aid trained (often medical professionals) staff on the course, running right alongside those who need them – wherever they are along the course.

Founder Andy Voggenthaler, an endurance sports enthusiast for over 20 years, has seen a lot of injured and fatigued runners along the way.  It was his stopping to help a fellow racer who later passed away that started him thinking about how he could help.

Voggenthaler, a San Diego resident, originally tested the idea in March 2012 at the Finish Chelsea’s Run in San Diego. Sent out in teams, Race Guards paced the race with the runners so that help was right there when needed.  Thirteen runners were assisted by the EMT’s, physician assistants, and doctors who volunteered during that initial race.  “The interesting thing that happened at that race was that the Race Guards were all so enthusiastic and excited to have helped,” said Voggenthaler.

Once the need was determined, he proposed the idea to his then employer AIG who provided a scholarship to get the concept off of the ground. Today, Race Guards works with “blue chip” partners and sponsors to staff races across the US.

The Race Guards goal is simple:  Get more people to the finish line.  Race Guards must be certified in First Aid, CPR and AED operation.  They serve as first responders to get participants back on track to finish the race whenever possible.  Every Race Guard 1st aid kit contains 2Toms BlisterShield and SportShield.  “We use 2Toms all of the time,” noted Voggenthaler, “If we can get to racers when it’s a hotspot – before it’s a blister – it’s perfect.”

SportShield Trial SizeRaceGuards relies on BlisterShield and SportShield but the truer testimonial may come from the RaceGuards staff.  Andy Voggenthaler and fellow RaceGuards personally use the product.  “I swim in the cove a lot,” noted Jeff “BodyGlide used to be the product of choice until I tried 2Toms SportShield. Now, that’s all I use under my wet suit.  I now use 2Toms BlisterShield in my shoes to prevent blisters and SportShield to prevent chafing when I run”.

Next time you sign up for a race ask if RaceGuards will be there!

Medi-Dyne is proud to have the 2Toms brand as part of the RaceGuards team.

Tight Calves Stretches: Not All Stretches Are Created Equal

ProStretch Plus preferred world-wide for tight calves and hamstring stretching.

ProStretch Plus preferred world-wide for tight calves and hamstring stretching.

Tight calves can cause trouble for any active individual. Stretching tight calves and keeping both the calf and the entire posterior chain (the series of lower body muscles including lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves) strong and flexible are an important part of any conditioning and injury prevention strategy. This series of muscles works in a chain-like manner. Imbalances in flexibility and strength along this chain can often result in knee, lower back or Achilles tendon injuries. This is especially important with active adults and youth athletes.

“These boys’ hamstrings are so tight. They’re growing so fast that their muscles can’t keep up. Keeping their hamstrings and calves flexible is critical to preventing injuries especially to the back and knees and for preventing plantar fasciitis and Sever’s,” says Delano Carneiro, High School Lacrosse Strength & Conditioning Coach and trainer.

Carneiro is always looking for stretches that give his athletes the “biggest bang for the buck”. For tight calves and the posterior chain he, like most coaches, has relied on students’ independent/manual stretching. But not all stretches are created equal. Safety, control, compliance, effectiveness, and efficiency need to be taken into consideration when designing a stretching protocol. It’s easy to ineffectively perform stretches with poor technique, lack of effort or inadequate time.

Maria Hutsick, Athletic Trainer, Medfield High School and former Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University was pleased with the options that the ProStretch Plus provided,

“Many of our runners preferred using the ProStretch Plus. They appreciated the deeper hamstring and calf stretch it provided and their ability to control how they worked into the stretch.” Hutsick also used the ProStretch Plus as an educational tool, “The ProStretch Plus enables the user to stretch the plantar fascia and to isolate the hamstrings, gastrocnemius, and soleus. It provides a great way to teach the difference between the muscles and how to stretch each thoroughly.”

She noted that some of the male athletes preferred the slant board for the passive nature of the stretch and the ability to stretch both legs at once. Carniero recently used the ProStretch Plus with his athletes. “The ProStretch Plus is a versatile tool,” notes Caniero. “I love having it on the sidelines. Players get a much better hamstring and calf stretch than they do with the manual exercises. More importantly they want to use it so I know they’re getting their stretching done effectively.” Carniero finds curb stretching comparatively inconvenient and limiting. “I work with male and female athletes. The curb doesn’t allow those with tight calf muscles to ease into their stretch and requires a lot of repositioning. Some of the manual calf and hamstring stretches just aren’t deep enough for the more flexible athletes. The ProStretch Plus accommodated everyone.” Carniero noted that he personally suffers from tight plantar fascia and says the toe lift provides a great stretch. Evaluating Stretching Options

Even at the highest levels it can be hard to get athletes to take stretching as seriously as strength training. Identifying stretches that are effective, efficient and engaging goes a long way towards fostering compliance and achieving results.

ProStretch_Comparison_Chart
ProStretch Plus: Allows for targeted stretching of all of the major components along the posterior chain including IT band, hamstrings, gastroc, soleus, plantar fascia and toes. The unique design automatically holds the foot in the optimal position for providing a biomechanically accurate and safe stretch. The rocker allows the athlete to ease into and control the stretch at their own pace and encourages a longer, deeper stretch. ProStretch provides a full range of stretching from 8 – 43 degrees. The movable foot rest delivers both foot size and stretching degree options. The optional toe rest provides a maximum stretch of the plantar fascia and toes.

Slant Board: While many slant boards can be adjusted, the options are preset and the change is a manual, disruptive process requiring the user to stop the stretch and reposition. Primary muscles targeted: calves and hamstrings.

Curb: Like the slant board the curb forces the calf into a fixed position. If the stretch is too deep or not deep enough repositioning is required. This often leads to under or over stretching.

Manual Stretching: Manual stretches will work for some better than others and in some cases will not provide a deep or complete enough stretch. A comprehensive routine of individual stretches may prove to be inefficient and difficult to ensure compliance.
For over 20 years trainers, athletes and physical therapists have relied on ProStretch® to safely and effectively stretch tight calves, hamstrings and the posterior chain.
ProStretch Plus®, which accommodates both a wider range of foot sizes and adds a plantar fascia and toe stretch is quickly becoming the new favorite.