The Right Run- Common Injuries


Running is a great way to stay in shape. But it can take a toll on your muscles and joints. To avoid running injuries, it’s important to take precautions before you set out.

Most running injuries happen when you push yourself too hard. Adding distance or speed to your running routine, running up hills, and interval training are just some of the reasons running injuries occur. Body mechanics — the way your body is designed — also play a role. The hips, knees, legs, and feet are the most vulnerable to injury.Untitled.001

Runner’s Knee

Type of Injury: Overuse injury

Causes: Several. But it’s commonly due to the kneecap being out of alignment.

What to Look Out For: Vigorous activity leads to pain around the kneecap, particularly when:

  • going up or down stairs
  • squatting
  • sitting with the knee bent for a long time

Stress Fracture

Causes: This is a small crack in a bone that causes pain and discomfort. It typically affects runners in the shin and feet. Often due to going too hard before your body gets used to a new activity.

What to Look Out For: Pain gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Rest is important, as continued stress on the bone can lead to more serious injury.

Shin splint

Causes: Commonly occur after a change in activity, such as running longer distances or increasing the number of days you run too quickly.

What to Look Out For: A pain that occurs in the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone (tibia). People with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.

Achilles Tendinitis

Causes: This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

What to Look Out For: Achilles tendinitis causes pain and stiffness in the area of the tendon, especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the tendon, often due to increasing running distance too quickly. Tight calf muscles may also play a part.

Muscle Pull

Causes: A small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain, often caused by overstretching of a muscle.

What to Look Out For: If you suffer a pulled muscle, you may feel a popping sensation when the muscle tears.

Muscle pull commonly affects these muscles:

  • hamstrings
  • quadriceps
  • calf
  • groin

Ankle Sprain

Causes: This is the stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often occurs when the foot twists or rolls inward.

What to Look Out For: Pain in & around the ankle.

Untitled.001Plantar Fasciitis

Causes: 

An inflammation of the plantar fascia. That’s the thick band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes. People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Although it may be linked to an increase in activity, plantar fasciitis may occur without any identifiable reason.

What to Look Out For: Pain in the arches in weight bearing activities.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS)

The iliotibial band is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee.

Causes: ITBS occurs when this ligament thickens and rubs the knee bone, causing inflammation. Long-distance runners are more likely to develop ITBS.

What to Look Out For: This syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee.

Blisters

Causes: These are fluid-filled sacks on the surface of the skin. They are caused by friction between your shoes/socks and skin.

What You Can Do: To help prevent blisters:

  • start using new shoes gradually
  • wear socks with a double layer
  • apply petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters

Temperature-related Injuries

These include:

  • sunburn
  • heat exhaustion
  • frostbite
  • hypothermia

These can be prevented by dressing appropriately, staying hydrated, and using sunscreen.

Visit Us This Tuesday to Know More on Injury Prevention & Treatment!

The Right Run- Incorrect vs. Correct #Graphically


NOTE: This post explains Biomechanics of Running pictorially.

Which Runner are You?

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Incorrect Vs. Correct

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Achieving Good Running Form

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Scoliosis- An Overview


Scoliosis is not a disease, but rather it is a deformity in the spine that causes an abnormal C-shaped (one curve) or S-shaped curvature (two curves). Depending on when it develops, there are 3 types of scoliosis:

  • Infantile– Birth-3 years of age
  • Juvenile- 4-9 years of age
  • Adolescent 10 years-when growth is complete

Adults can have residuals of childhood scoliosis.

Causes:

A specific cause of scoliosis is unknown or idiopathic. This Scoliosis most typically occurs in individuals 10 to 18 years old (Adolescent). It tends to run in families & is more common in girls than boys. Often it develops in middle or late childhood during a rapid growth spurt.

Scoliosis can also be present at birth or may develop as a result of another neurological condition such as cerebral palsyspina bifida, or spinal muscular atrophy.

Any part of the spine can be affected-cervical, thoracic, or lumbar vertebrae. Most often the thoracic & lumbar spines are affected. At first, a C-shaped curve may develop causing the shoulders and hips to tilt down on one side. In an effort to keep the head in the middle, the spine may compensate by curving the lower part of the spine in the other direction, hence forming an S-curve.

This article focuses on the most common form of scoliosis-idiopathic scoliosis.

What does Scoliosis feel like?

Scoliosis is a painless condition. You may not feel any change in the spine but instead notice that your clothes don’t fit quite right. The shoulders & hips may be uneven, causing one shirtsleeve or pant leg to seem shorter than the other. Often there is rotation of the vertebrae causing an uneven waist so that a pair of pants or skirt twists to one side.

The most common signs of scoliosis are-

  • Visible curvature of the spine to one side/ Leaning to one side
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Prominent or winging shoulder blades
  • Uneven breasts (girls) or nipples (boys)
  • Uneven hips
  • Leg-length difference
  • Abnormal gait
  • Bump or rib hump on one side of the spine, most noticeable when bending forward at the waist.
  • Hemlines or trouser lengths uneven
  • Clothing does not fit correctly

The presence of one or more of these signs suggests a need for a medical exam by your medical professional.

It is important to note that idiopathic scoliosis results in spinal deformity, but is not a cause of back pain.

 Treatment:

The optimal treatment depends on the degree or severity of the scoliosis.

There are several ways to treat scoliosis in children:

Examination & x-rays taken over a period of time will help show if the scoliosis is staying the same or progressing (getting worse).

Selecting treatment options for the child with scoliosis involves several factors-

  • Age of the child
  • Degree of the spinal curve
  • Skeletal maturity of the spine
  • Preferences of the patient & family

Treatment may be nothing more than observation especially if the curve is 30-degrees or less in a child who is no longer growing. If the curve is progressing & the child is growing rapidly, the child is referred for exercise and/or bracing.

Preventing severe curvature is important for the physical appearance & health of the patient. The deformity can cause marked psychological distress & physical disability, especially among adolescent patients. A high degree of curvature may also put the patient at risk for cardiopulmonary compromise as the curve in the spine rotates the chest & can cause pressure on the heart, lungs (i.e. shortness of breath), liver, & other internal organs.

Early diagnosis & treatment are important to help prevent curve progression & stabilize the spine while the child grows & also prevent problems with breathing & cardiovascular function.

Important Note: That idiopathic scoliosis is not caused by activity such as exercise, sports or carrying heavy object; nor does it come from sleeping position, posture or minor differences in leg length.

Why should Senior Citizens Exercise?


Welcome to one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Exercise!-The fountain of youth!

For the most part, when older people lose their ability to do things on their own, it is not because they have aged. More likely, it is because they have become inactive.

The human body is made for movement, and this applies to senior citizens too.
As you grow older, leading an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, and manage the symptoms of any illness or pain. Exercise can even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.

No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways.

Don’t worry if you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. In addition, the right kind of regular exercise can reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, and falls.
You may have a hard time starting an exercise routine. Once you do start, though, you will begin to notice the benefits, including improved sleep and self-esteem.

What can Exercise do for Me?

Most people know that exercise is good for them. Somehow, though, older adults have been left out of the picture — until recently. Today a new picture is emerging from research: Older people of different physical conditions have much to gain from exercise and from staying physically active. They also have much to lose if they become physically inactive.

Exercise isn’t just for older adults in the younger age range, who live independently and are able to go on brisk jogs. Researchers have found that exercise and physical activity also can improve the health of people who are 90 or older, who are frail, or who have the diseases that seem to accompany aging. Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people grow older. In some cases, it can improve health for older people who already have diseases and disabilities, if it’s done on a long-term, regular basis.

Physical Health benefits:

  • Helps maintain or lose weight: As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, overall wellness improves. 
  • Reduces the impact of illness & chronic disease: Among the many benefits of exercise for seniors include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. Seniors who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. 
  • Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance: Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis. 

Mental Health Benefits:

  • Improves your sleep: Poor sleep is not an automatic consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. 
  • Boosts mood and self-confidence: Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself. 
  • Exercise is good for the brain: Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Not sure if you can Exercise

You may be reluctant to start exercising, even though you’ve heard that it’s one of the healthiest things you can do. You may be afraid that physical activity will harm you; or you might think you have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment in order to exercise. Or, you may feel embarrassed to exercise because you think it’s for younger people or for people who look great in gym clothes. You may think exercise is only for people who are able to do things like jogging.

In fact, just about every older adult can safely do some form of physical activity at little or no cost. And you don’t have to exercise in a public place or use expensive equipment, if you don’t want to.

Even household chores can improve your health. The key is to increase your physical activity, by exercising and by using your own muscle power.

Benefits Everyday Life:
The most rewarding part of beginning a fitness routine is noticing the difference it makes in the rest of your life. Even if you begin exercising with a few simple stretches while seated or a short walk around the block, you’ll notice an improvement in how you feel as you go about your day.

  • House cleaning, gardening, shopping, and errands. Want to feel less winded while vacuuming or rushing to and from appointments? Doing just 15 to 20 minutes of heart-healthy cardio each day, such as walking, biking, swimming, or water aerobics will help give you the stamina you need. 
  • Lifting grandchildren, carrying groceries, household chores. Building muscle mass a few times each week through weight lifting, resistance exercises, and nautilus machines will help give you more strength. 
  • Tying shoes, looking behind you while driving, navigating steps. Incorporating basic stretching—even while seated—into your fitness routine will make the most ordinary movements easier. 

Check with you doctor if you have…

  1. Chest pain 
  2. Irregular, rapid, or fluttery heart beat 
  3. Severe shortness of breath 
  4. Significant, ongoing weight loss that hasn’t been diagnosed 
  5. Infections, such as pneumonia, accompanied by fever 
  6. Fever, which can cause dehydration and a rapid heart beat 
  7. Acute deep-vein thrombosis (blood clot) 
  8. Hernia that is causing symptoms 
  9. Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal 
  10. Joint swelling 
  11. Persistent pain or a problem walking after you have fallen 
  12. Certain eye conditions, such as bleeding in the retina or detached retina. Before you exercise after a cataract or lens implant, or after laser treatment or other eye surgery, check with your physician. 


DISCLAIMER: Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Benefits of Pilates


The Pilates approach offers a gentle & powerful path to achieving your potential for health, strength, flexibility & stamina. This unique technique can help you develop supple movements & strength as well as improve your posture & general well-being.
There is no set way of teaching Pilates as the exercises have been adapted & redeveloped further by Pilates & his students.

Basic Key to Pilates: An intentional mind-body interaction-Focussing the mind & stabilizing the body while you exercise.

Health Benefits of Pilates:
  1. No age limit
  2. Minimum strain on the body
  3. Reduced risk of injury during & after exercise
  4. Better Flexibility
  5. Improved Strength
  6. Increased Muscle Tone
  7. Deeper, Efficient Breathing
  8. Reduces Stress
  9. Improved Digestion
  10. Clearer Skin
  11. Trimmer, Flatter Stomach & toned Buttocks & thighs
  12. Stimulates Immune System

You can take up Pilates at any stage of life, although you should start with gentle exercises & build up the time that you spend exercising slowly. Begin with simple exercises & build up to more advanced techniques, depending on your fitness level & ability. Practiced correctly & regularly, these exercises can help you Improve your physical & mental well-being in various ways. Eg: Strengthen muscles, better support & stability, better posture. Keeping your mental focus will ensure you remain aware of how your body feels, which will help you to exercise safely.

COMING SOON!! How to start Pilates

DISCLAIMER: Consult your doctor before trying out Pilates.

Living Active at 60+


“What is Age?”

 

“Just a number!”
It doesn’t matter whether you are 17 or seventy, if you decide to be happy, healthy and enjoy life!
Bright examples of the likes of Pandit Ravishankar who, at the grand old age of 90 is still playing his Sitar so magnificently that his concerts are drawing capacity crowds. Let’s not forget the biggest star of Bollywood Amitabh Bachan who is still acting, even at the age of 60! Lata Mangeshkar is still belting out hit songs, while Gulzaar is still writing beautiful and soul touching poetry along with hit scripts!
Still we see that people have wrong assumptions about the old, when instead ‘Life begins after 40….’. We see ads talking about anti-ageing properties of creams, we see celebrities who go to extreme measures to look young. Everywhere you see there is an obsession of not aging and looking younger. While being young is celebrated, old age is something we feel we need to hide.
The obvious reason why we would all like to defy ageing and remain young is because getting old has been associated with illness, ailments, dependency and a general deterioration in quality of our life.
But we fail to note that old age is not cause of all these; it is ill health that is to be blamed.
So, how do you AGE HEALTHY?Quite Simply … By Being ACTIVE!
Being physically active reduces the onset of many chronic diseases and reduces the physical decline in the elderly.

Benefits of staying Active in Old Age:
  1. Reduced Loss of Muscle Mass: As we grow older, our muscle mass reduces thus we experience reduced strength. But regular exercise can improve circulation and reduce loss of muscle mass.
  2. Prevent Falls: When we are active, we move constantly thus strengthen the joints while improving flexibility, which prevents them from falls or other accidents.
  3. Strengthen Bones: Regular weight bearing exercises- walking maintains bone strength and protects against fractures.
  4. Reduced Risk: For ailments- Blood pressure, Coronary heart disease and delay onset of Diabetes.
  5. Reduced Osteoarthritis Pain: Because of improved blood circulation and greater bone health, you would feel reduced osteoarthritis pain.
  6. Social and Emotional Benefits: Those who are active, feel better about themselves, remain happy, are more sociable because they can go out and visit others, they can sleep better.

Those who are active can maintain their balance, have control over their weight, can move around independently and are able to lift, pull and push things easily. Thus those who are active live a more happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

 
Avoid Smoking:
We have all heard about the health hazards caused due to smoking, but still many senior citizens continue to smoke. Studies suggest that smoking not only contributes to the fine wrinkles on your face but is also harmful to the health of your heart.

Regular Medical Check Ups:
Senior citizens should very importantly get regular checkups done. This is the best way to prevent chronic medical problems. Regular checkups help to fix whatever problem you have before they get worse.

Keep Busy? How?
Positive attitude helps to keep you healthy. Being positive and thinking about all the good things in your life even when things are not going right helps to remain calm and relaxed. A relaxed mind and a positive approach help to improve your immunity and gain good health.

How to Stay Active?
There are plenty of benefits of staying active in our senior years, but does that mean you have to buy expensive equipment or join gym to do so?– Definitely not.
Doctors believe that any kind of moderate exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, gardening, cycling are excellent to maintain a good fitness levels and also stay fit.
What about being Mentally Active?
According to Help Age International which in an organization working for elderly, “Most people’s mental abilities (memory, learning, creativity, intelligence) remain unchanged as they grow older, especially if they remain mentally active and involved (listening, talking, advising, reading, telling stories).”
Thus unlike what we think, old age is not about weak cognitive and memory, if we remain active and keep ourselves busy, we can definitely keep our wits about us. Further, research also shows that human brain can adapt and grow even in old age. The decline in mental abilities in old age is more because of degenerative diseases rather than old age. The other age related losses like poor memory and cognition is more due to mental inactivity rather than old age per se.
How to stay mentally active?
In old age, more activity equals to better health so like physical activity, more mental activity means increased connections between nerve cells.
A study conducted on 2000 seniors over the age of 65 who engage in exercising, reading and indulging in conversation had 38% less chance of suffering from Alzheimer’sSo, play games (Sudoku, puzzles, board games, card games), read interesting books or magazines, indulge in stimulating conversations, also socializing is also a good way of staying alert mentally.
Exercise: Exercise is the best way to remain healthy and fit at any age. Exercise in form of walking, jogging or even simple stretches can be very beneficial. Exercising, not only helps in preventing many diseases but also in fighting ageing process.
It is rightly said,
‘If you do not use your body, you will lose it.’
Exercise can also improve gait, balance, coordination, reaction time, and muscle strength—even in very old and frail elderly people. It also proves that current physical activity protects against hip fracture, reducing the risk by up to 50. Thus, people who regularly exercise are less likely to fall.


Group Walks: Walking is good, whether the outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health.
For people in their 60s, regular walking appears to lower the risk of dementia. Walking helps stave off dementia as it improves cerebral blood flow & lowers risk of vascular disease.
Sitting is bad for cholesterol. Its bad for your back & muscles.
Story teller: Old parents make great storytellers. If your grandkids are too young, then you can tell stories to your grandkids very often or every day. And you can help your grandchildren in their studies.
Reading:
“Books are a man’s best friend” 
is a famous old adage and is very true. Many people like to read mythological books in old age. So next time you pass by a book stall, remember to buy one.
Laughter Club: You can also become a member of the laughter club as we all know that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter raises the serotonin levels in the brain and offers a ‘feel good’ factor. Exercising regularly will not only keep you active but will also decrease your risk of injury and age related diseases.
Kirtans: If you are devotional then go to kirtans and bhajans regularly. Going to kirtans and bhajans will not only keep you engaged but will also help in making new friends of the same age group, which is quite important as it helps you socialize.
Hobby: If you loved doing something but couldn’t do it because of work responsibilities and family then old age is the time right time for you to nurture your hobby. For instance, gardening, painting, writing etc.
Doing plenty of mentally-stimulating activities – such as playing chess, reading a newspaper, or attending a play – in old age helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Going out: Sitting home can be really boring for old people. Go for a stroll in the evening, meet friends. You can also go for plays, picnics etc with your friends.
Volunteer: Many people after retirement join some NGO and volunteer in many activities. If you are really interested in volunteering, join a NGO.

Factors like depression affect your health as you age; hence it is necessary to keep your mind busy and entertained by pursuing a hobby, solving crosswords or Sudoku. Solving puzzles stimulates your brain, improves memory and offers clarity of mind both short term and long term.
You can also learn new things that you enjoy as there is no age to learning, or you can volunteer to share your talents with others.
Working out your brain prevents depression and frustration and offers mental peace and good health.
Growing old is a natural process that we all are approaching little by little each day. By implementing the above mentioned tips in your day to day life will keep your body and mind fit, and help you to age gracefully.
“Be Active, Live Longer and Healthier!”