Nov, 17, 2014
Last week, we discussed ways to overcome the Winter Blues that many people experience at this time of year. It’s pretty clear that maintaining a fitness routine throughout the dark, rainy and cold months can keep your energy up and your outlook more positive. But there are other ways to counteract SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) other than just turning up the heat by pumping your heart.
Get Some Sleep:
That’s right! You can sleep your way skinny….There is a lot of recent literature touting the importance of sleep in terms of optimal health and even fat loss. Sleep is when our body repairs itself, heals and rejuvenates. When we aren’t getting enough sleep, not only are we dragging all day long but our immune system suffers making us more likely to get sick or injured. Plus one sure way to be grumpy and in a bad mood is to be sleep deprived! We also now understand that when the body doesn’t get the 7-8 hours of sleep every night that it needs, it finds ways to compensate for the lower levels of serotonin or dopamine caused by lack of sleep. It does this by
Posted in fat loss, sleep, stress
Nov, 3, 2014
In the summer, it’s easier to get outside to cycle, run, walk, or hike but as the weather gets a little colder and the nights a little darker, people spend a lot less time outdoors. This lack of sunlight often leads to people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the Winter Blues. Fortunately, I, as well as many other fitness enthusiasts, aren’t affected as much as by the winter blues others because of many of these tips below.
If you have the right gear, you can still get outdoors when it’s cold and wet without feeling miserable. Not only will you keep your fitness routine going, but being outdoors even if it’s cloudy and rainy, still exposes you to some levels of daylight, UV Rays and Vitamin D and will help to prevent SAD. So head to REI or your local sporting retailer to get some warm and waterproof clothing.
Posted in Fitness, winter
Oct, 29, 2014
Halloween launches the holiday weight gain season but it doesn’t have to be that way. You CAN have a healthy Halloween! It’s easy to be tempted by candy, treats, parties, dinners but if you’re proactive, you can maintain your fitness routine and healthy physique for the next 2 months and eliminate the need to start from scratch or reverse a lot of damage on January 1st.
Here’s some tips to stay healthy, lean and fit starting with Halloween:
Resist the Purchase:
Most people will try and get organized and purchase Halloween candy early but JUST DON’T DO IT! If it’s in the house, you (and your kids) will be likely tempted to sneak a few pieces here and there (or the whole bag!!) and wind up having to buy more! Purchase your Halloween candy on Halloween day to avoid an excess consumption of calories days and weeks before the actual holiday. If you do feel the need to buy your Halloween candy early, put it in the garage on the highest shelf or in the attic that you would need to use a ladder to get at. Or store it at your neighbor’s house – just make sure you tell them they can’t eat any of it either!
Move that Body:
Posted in healthy, holiday
Oct, 20, 2014
It’s Race Day – Steps Leading Up to Your Race
If you’ve followed along with this running program series, you’ve learned about proper running progression, correct running technique, important strengthening exercises for your core, hips, and feet as a runner, key stretches and muscle release techniques and more.
Today, I wanted to review important steps as race day approaches:
Proper nutrition is critical throughout your entire training program, but even more important to pay very close attention to your nutrition as you approach race day.
Oct, 13, 2014
Foam Rolling to Release Muscle Aches and Pains
Over the last two months, I’ve focused this column on running programs. Well, the running community is probably a little stiff right now with thousands completing the Portland Full and Half Marathon on October 5th and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure on October 12th as well as many other local runs. So we’ve probably got a number of people feeling a little tight and walking a little funny. So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss the merits of Self-Myofascial Release using Foam Rollers – a perfect way to help release tight areas for runners and athletes of all kinds! I’m a firm believer in the importance of body work such as massage as well as daily foam rolling if you are extremely active. It’s the support your body needs to be able to continue doing what you want for years and years! You can purchase a foam roller at most fitness equipment retailers as well as many department stores.
General Guidelines for Self-Myofascial Release:
- Perform the specific techniques as described below.
- Once you roll over a tight area, you can use one of two techniques:
- Pressure Point – Stop rolling and rest on tight area for 20-30 seconds while breathing slow and deep. Hold to the point of tolerance. It may feel uncomfortable – like a really deep massage – but you should not experience any sharp pain. Once completed, roll to the next tight area.
- Kneading – When you find a tight area, roll back and forth over that area, kneading the tissue until the tension releases or subsides. Remember to breath slow and deep.
- Complete a specific technique for about 1-2 minutes each side and avoid bouncing.
- Maintain proper posture and contract your abdominals to help stabilize your low back while rolling.
- These techniques can be done 1-2 times daily and can be done before or after a workout.
Here are my favorite Myofascial Release Techniques:
Oct, 6, 2014
During the last 2 months, we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs including the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest in the next few weeks.
Last week, we reviewed the importance of running technique and discussed how muscle tightness can affect your running mechanics. So this week and next, we will focus on various mobility and release techniques to keep you running strong and injury free. Today, I’m going to start with wall stretching which is a very relaxing way to release and since most runners are super tight to begin with, they are more likely to do it since it’s not so painful!
Complete the following stretching program after each run or workout. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds – ideally longer. And remember, hold each stretch to the point of tension – not pain!
Hamstring on the wall: Lie on your back with your hips close to the wall and your legs positioned straight up against the wall. To make the stretch less intense, move your hips a few inches away from the wall. To make the stretch more intense, keep your hips positioned right up against the wall and wrap a towel around your feet and lightly pull your legs a few inches away from the wall. Feel your stretch in the muscles at the back of your upper leg. Hold this stretch for as long as you feel comfortable – minimum 30 seconds each leg and ideally longer. Try to relax and breathe in to the stretch. Feel free to read a magazine or watch T.V. while holding this stretch. This is a great stretch to do after a run because it assists in the recovery process as blood is flushed from the legs back to the heart.
Posted in Running, stretching
Sep, 29, 2014
During the last 7 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest in the next few weeks.
For today’s portion of running program, I wanted to focus on running technique. It seems easy enough, doesn’t it? Right leg, left leg, right leg….I remember asking a Canadian National Running Coach about the best way to improve my client’s running technique and his response was “the best way to improve someone’s running technique is to run!” And there is some truth to this for sure. The more you run, the fitter you become and the easier it is for your body to find the most efficient running forms.
With that said, there actually is a science to running correctly to minimize injuries and maximize performance.
Here are some tips to help you fine-tune your running technique.
Keep in mind, don’t make any dramatic changes to your running stride too quickly which can lead to injury. Gradually adjust one thing at a time.
Most people run with too low of a cadence which puts extra strain on your body and the longer your foot stays in contact with the ground, the greater the energy required to propel it forward. Do not focus on lengthening your stride but rather go for shorter, quicker strides. Focus on achieving a cadence of 90 strides per leg per minute (180 foot strikes per minute). The easiest way to measure this is to count how many times your feet strike in 15 seconds and then multiply by 4. You can also use a metronome or fast paced music to help you get comfortable with how fast your leg speed should be.
Sep, 23, 2014
During the last 6 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.
In this Running Program Series I’ve focused on strengthening critical areas for runners such as the feet and hips. Today, I wanted to focus on one last critical area to condition as a runner – your core. If your core is strong, you will be better able to stabilize and align your body, absorb and brace for the impact of running and run more efficiently and with better mechanics. It’s important to mention that your core is not only your abs – but also includes your back and hips. Try to perform the following exercises 2-3 days per week.
Tubing Trunk Rotation
Anchor an exercise tube around a pole at about mid-body height. Stand sideways to the pole holding the tube in both hands standing far enough so there is tension on the tube. Keep your abdominals contracted, maintain good posture and slowly pull the tube across your body. Perform 8-20 reps each side.
Posted in abdominals, Running
Sep, 15, 2014
During the last 5 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.
Last week, we discussed the importance of strengthening your feet as a runner and today, I wanted to stress the importance of strengthening your hips. Strong Hips = Strong Knees. Weak Hips = Weak Knees. If your hips aren’t stable and effectively able to stabilize your pelvis while running, your knees will suffer.
Here’s some tips to conditioning your hips in a variety of ways:
Perform these exercises 2 days per week
Leg Step Up:
Sep, 8, 2014
During the last 4 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.
Today (week 5), I wanted to talk about your feet and how important they are to running. As you run, the muscles of your feet and lower limb absorb the forces of up to three times your body weight. So let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 450 pounds of force with each stride! So it’s clear that the foot is important but very few people actually work on strengthening their feet and even though it’s one of the most important areas for runners, it’s the most neglected!
Here’s some tips to strengthening your feet and many you can do anywhere so shouldn’t take extra time:
Lay a towel flat on the floor in front of you. Place your bare feet on the towel edge closest to you and then curl your toes pulling the towel closer and closer to you. Continue this exercise for a couple minutes. It’s an easy one to do while you’re watching TV or reading. Some runners will do this in the shower with a wet towel making it heavier and more challenging.
Take a small soft ball like a Hacky Sac and squeeze your toes around the ball. Continue for 1-2 minutes.