Some of you may not know this… Dr. Amanda will be running the Shamrock Half Marathon on March 22nd. In honor of her ambitions, we dedicate this month’s newsletter education to the body region that has been the most challenging for her while training… the hips!
“My goal is to finish a half marathon after having kids. I ran the Flying Pirate half marathon in the OBX 7 years ago. It was my first half marathon, and I quickly said it would be my last! And then I had kids… followed by a strong desire to get my body back to the physical shape I was in prior to having kids. Nate is 2 ½ years old and I’m ready to do this. The satisfaction of completion is just around the corner, I can feel it. And I can also feel every mile in my hips. The aching and gnawing feeling just comes to life at night when I’m trying to relax. I never felt that type of pain prior to having kids! But I’m moving forward with my training successfully and I’m looking forward to crossing the finish line. Included in this newsletter are some tips on what I’ve done for self-care to improve recovery and reduce the discomfort. Good luck to all the runners… I’ll see you out there!” – Dr. Amanda
Stretching is an absolute must… for everyone! But particularly for the running community. In today’s world, we do a lot of sitting: hips flexed, knees bent, and (often) a slumped posture through the shoulders. After prolonged sitting, the muscles become accustomed to their position. This is exactly why when you first stand up you feel stiff. It is difficult for the body to straighten to an erect posture and can take a few steps before you actually feel upright. One of the muscles responsible for hip stabilization (keeping your hips square under your torso) is the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle gets weak from excessive sitting. And, in contrast, gets strong, but TIGHT from running. Although Dr. Amanda has done a lot of different stretches while training, the piriformis stretch has been a staple for helping her hips work through changing from weak to strong and combating the tightness from running. Doing yoga throughout your training can bring you additional benefit. Simple stretching is a great way to loosen the muscles, but yoga’s incorporation of a focus on breathing takes it to a whole new level.
One of the biggest mistakes we make when starting an exercise routine is that we go big too quickly. If you don’t start small, injury is likely to occur. Hip stabilization exercises are another absolute must to get the proper muscles stronger to perform in an endurance activity, like training for a half marathon. But it’s important to keep this in mind for the average or de-conditioned person as well. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, don’t expect to walk 3 miles and feel good. It’s going to hurt! Because the muscles that are responsible for hip stabilization are not prepared to work for that length of time. Small strengthening exercises make the big goals doable. Here is one of Dr. Amanda’s favorite strengthening exercises for hip stabilization.
Massage has many benefits for many different reasons. Returning to running reminded me of muscles Dr. Amanda hadn’t felt in a long time. She had 3 massages over 3-4 weeks to address those sore muscles. She was getting comfortable with running 3-4 miles, 3 times per week when she scheduled the massages. For people that are not natural runners, developing the endurance is challenging when working through the soreness. The massages improve blood flow through the tight muscles, including areas that are difficult to stretch. The increase in blood flow brings additional cells that help heal the microtrauma that occurs from pounding the pavement. It also helps circulate waste out of the muscles like lactic acid. Dr. Amanda is looking forward to her post-race sports massage! The stretching incorporated in a sports massage will facilitate recovery and reduce inflammation by circulating the blood better through those sore muscles.
Throughout the weeks since getting the massages, Dr. Amanda uses a foam roller 2+ times per week. It’s a staple in their living room at home! Foam rolling can be incredibly beneficial to address fascial adhesions that develop as your feet continuously strike the ground. I roll all 4 sides of the thighs- quadriceps and hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteal muscles, the adductors on the inside, and the abductors and IT Band on the outside.
Generally speaking, hydration is very important for people. Hydration for runners is even more important. According to Brigham Health, “Maintaining hydration as a runner is important for health and performance. Water regulates our body temperature, removes waste, helps brings energy to our cells, and cushions our joints. Adequate hydration can improve recovery, minimize injury and cramping, and maximize performance.” The easiest way to remember how much water to drink in a day is to divide your weight in half. This equals the number of ounces of water you should drink everyday for the average person. For the runner, depending on your mileage, you need to increase the amount of water that you drink to restore what was lost in exercise. And don’t be mistaken, nothing replaces water. You may enhance it with some additional electrolytes, but it must be water.
The nutrient and mineral requirements for the body are barely being met for the average person by today’s food standards. Our vegetables don’t contain the minerals they once did and our animal protein is being tainted with antibiotics and preservatives our body’s have to process. Nutritional supplementation of some degree is becoming essential. For the runner, this couldn’t be more true. B-vitamins and minerals help support energy production and muscle contraction, respectively. Omega-3 fatty acids and incredible herbs like Boswellia serrata and turmeric help combat inflammation that comes with putting out the miles. Dr. Amanda is a big fan of Standard Process and MediHerb supplements. The whole food nutrition component coupled with the guarantee of high quality just can’t be beat. Depending on the phase of training and her general health, Dr. Amanda will adapt her regimen to support her body where it needs it most. Just ask if you want to learn more!
As you may have noticed, we’ve begun promoting a product line by ASEA that contains Redox Signaling Molecules. The purpose of increasing your availability of these amazing molecules is that it promotes cellular healing. Besides improving recovery time, Dr. Amanda has also experienced improved sleep, better digestion, and increased energy… even with the additional stress of running more than she has in 7 years! Additionally, Dr. Amanda had a faster recovery time when she was sick about two-thirds of the way through her training. “I genuinely doubt I would have recovered as quickly from the cold/sinus congestion I developed in the middle of February. I was amazed at how quickly I could return to running a longer distance. In the past, I would struggle if I had to take a week off from training. Trying to return to the road was tough. Not this time! It was great!” If you want to learn more about ASEA, check out this month’s class on Tuesday, March 10th at 5:30pm. Click here to sign up! For even more information, check out our ASEA site.