Running has a bad reputation especially as we get older. But really running is an amazing workout! And when done correctly with the proper conditioning it is completely safe. I have helped train a 99 year old to complete a 1 mile down hill run. So Age is not the issue!
But all jokes aside, running is a very intense activity. You are basically doing a single squat over and over again. Lots of people start running as adults to lose weight or get back into shape. And this is why many people struggle with running injuries. They don’t realize that running is not the entry-level exercise. Running requires a lot of strength that we don’t think about. For instance, when was the last time you stood comfortable on one foot? How comfortable are you doing squats?
I remember Sally’s face when I asked her those questions. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would I stand on one foot? I don’t like squats because they hurt my knees.” Were her answers.
Sally called me because her back hurt when she ran and she was scared she herniated a disc.
I was sitting at a park one day and started chatting with this mom, whom I’d seen before but never really talked to before. When Donna found out I was a physical therapist she stood up quickly and asked me “Do I walk like a duck?” Then she did a runway walk so that I could see how she walked.
Donna went on to tell me that she’s been super paranoid about how she walks since her oldest son told her she walks like a duck. “I’m not really sure why it bothered me so much. He said it several weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it.”
I told her of course that hurt your feelings. But why did he say that to you? Was he pointing out that you walk with your feet pointed out? She said “yes, that and he told me I waddle side to side.” (Aren’t kids great 🤦♀️)
I told her many people walk with their feet turned out is this new for you? Have you been having pain in your feet or your knees? After the second question she gave me an odd look like how did you know that? So I told her many people with foot or knee pain will change how they walk to avoid the pain. At the end of the day my feet are achy. I’ve noticed that I don’t like to sit for longer than 30 minutes because my feet start to really hurt. My knees have kind of always been an issue but they don’t stop me from doing anything. So, I just ignore them.
Walking with your feet turned out isn’t necessarily a problem. However, when you have knee pain and foot pain that you notice every day and it's changing how you do things, that means that there’s something going on in your joints. That pain means that there is some uneven wearing in your joints which is what causes arthritis. So I think what your son is noticing is that you’re changing how you walk to avoid pain.
Several weeks after that conversation Donna ended up calling me and scheduling an evaluation just to see what might be possible to do. She was still more concerned about the waddling than anything else.
When she came for the evaluation I was able to show her how her hips, knees and ankles all worked together. She was able to feel how some muscles and ligaments were tight which caused her to change how she had to walk. After just a few weeks, Donna was shocked that she was able to sit for longer than 30 minutes without her feet hurting. Her knees didn’t hurt as much walking up and down the stairs. She was shocked because she had just been living with these mild aches and pains for years thinking it was just part of being her age.
Donna told me that she has more energy throughout the day to play with her kids; even her oldest son.
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Have you ever had pain in your forearm after a long day of typing? Maybe the pain started as a little soreness that you ignored, then slowly over time the pain started to become achy all the time. The ache started to affect your hand and arm strength. You had difficulty cooking and holding the laundry basket. Then your hand starts to go numb. That's when you decide maybe I can’t ignore this anymore. I mean anything that’s going numb and you can’t hold on to things that can’t be good, right? So now you’re on Google, which tells you that you have anything from tendinitis to carpal tunnel. And neither one of those words sound good. The google search leads you to the doctor for more answers. The doctor says to take this medication, try stretching if it doesn’t get better then they'll refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. Just the mention going to an orthopedic surgeon has your mind reeling. Anything that needs somebody with the title surgeon is not good. So now you go home and you really stop using your hand because moving hurts and this pain is so bad now that you might have to have surgery. Over the next several weeks pain just gets worse from not moving it and the exercise the doctor gave you on the paper, it doesn’t get better. What do you do now?
First you are 100 % right not to do an exercise that causes a joint to pop. It’s awesome that you’re paying enough attention to your body to realize something isn't’ right. I’m glad you’re looking for ways to resolve the pop in order to strengthen your abdominal muscles. (As I pointed out I know many people don’t Iike abdominal workouts.) There can be several reasons your hip will pop while doing abdominal exercises, specifically when lifting both legs at the same time.
My family like many Houstonians had an impromptu camping trip. We finally got good use out of winter clothes since we wore all of them at one time. Our kids were having a great time on our mini winter vacation. We were without power for 48 hours then we lost our water on day 3 of this storm which resulted in a pipe bursting over our master bathroom. We were able to quickly turn off the main water supply and then my husband, thankfully, was able to get the parts he needed to fix the leak and get us up and running again.
But that kind of got me thinking that there are probably lots of Houstonians right now that are looking at either one or multiple busted pipes. Which could mean days or weeks of renovation that need to be done on their home. And in order to save money they might try to do the demolition themselves to prevent further damage to their home from having wet drywall.
I have a few tips that can help you stay healthy during this time. You don’t want to get sick or injured on top of all of that drama.
There’s a brace for basically every body part and injury so they must work, right?
In fact, there’s a specific knee brace for patellofemoral syndrome, it helps by preventing your kneecap from leaving its track.
Before we talk about whether the brace helps patellofemoral syndrome let’s talk about the symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome.
An achy pain on the outside or underneath the kneecap, in addition to, popping or clicking in the knee while walking, running, standing up and sitting down or squatting. Feeling as if you have to bend and straighten your leg to warm up after sitting for longer than 30 minutes.
This is not an exhaustive list but those are the common complaints from people with patellofemoral syndrome.
I was talking to this woman, Mary, who is in her 40s. She recently started to have lower back pain. As I was talking to Mary about her history she told me about how she takes care of her mother. Her mother started to have severe back pain many years ago that requires her to get corticosteroids shots every few months depending on when the pain returns. Unfortunately, for Mary’s mother when the pain returns she is unable to get out of bed, up from a chair or walk across the room without assistance from Mary or another family member.
This cycle of doctors appointment and shots every few months starting in her 40s caused Mary to feel overwhelmed. That’s how she found me. After downloading my back pain ebook she felt comfortable coming in for an evaluation to see what if anything could be done for her back.
I’ve seen several people posting about having new fitness or health goals on social media recently. (Not to mention my own desire to get by on the right nutritional track. 👊)
Many people jump onto the latest “diet” trend then in about 1-2 months they are discouraged and right back where they started. After seeing my parents, myself and several friends fall into this horrible cycle I finally found what worked for me. Which is what I’m going to share in this post. I want to tell you about just a few simple tweaks you can make that will make you feel better, inspiring you to make additional changes slowly over time. --There is a reason that 🐢won that race.
I am of the mind set that if you make healthy choices more often than not you will feel better. Naturally we like to feel better which will allow us to make more changes slowly over time.
Sudden dramatic changes always scare us….think about a job loss is a very scary and many many times lift altering situation. But a job promotion can bring a flood of fears and insecurities also.
Changing what you eat can feel overwhelming and let's face it …. a bland 😜 way of life. And who is going to volunteer to be miserable. Not many people.
It is hard to change what you eat since there is always a sense of tradition and loving moments associated with foods. That fun time you had with a girl over coffee and dessert that you are constantly reminded of when you go to your local coffee shop. The day you graduated everyone celebrated by cheerings with this drink or this favorite meal. Food is tired into many emotions for us.
Now of course sometimes not great memories...remember the time you ate at THAT restaurant and the chicken didn’t taste quite right? You were sick for 3 whole days! NEVER going there again.
Therefore, instead of starting with trying to cut all your favorite foods out of your life what if we changed just a few things around how you eat.
Tip 1: Chew Your Food More (20+ times) And Take Smaller Bites
I know it seems silly but chewing is the mechanical break down of your food. Therefore, by chewing and breaking up the food more before the chemical digestion, that starts in the stomach, it helps you get more nutrition from the foods you’re eating.
(I thought of a few other benefits of chewing more: 1. Stop feeling bloated. 2. less of a choking hazard 3. Your 4 year old won't finish eating 45 minutes after you 😜)
In addition, chewing over a longer period allow time for your brain to receive the "I'm full." signal from your stomach. Since this signal is sent by hormones there is a delay which allows for a huge discrepancy between when you are actually physiologically full versus when you "feel full". This signal delay typically results in fast eater over eating then feeling stuffed while slow eaters eat less food without feeling deprived or overly full.
Bonus: chewing your food more allows more of the flavor to develop in your mouth allowing for more overall enjoyment of your meal.
Tip 2: Don't Eat While Distracted
We “eat” with our eyes and nose as much as our mouths. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and they just throw your food on the plate making it look far less appealing. Not that taste changed at all but your immediate perception of the food changed.😞 I love the smell of my morning coffee☕️ almost as much as the taste. And I’m certainly not going to drink spoiled milk after smelling it. 😖
To get more enjoyment while eating with the added bonus of not feeling the need to over eat then engage more of your senses during the meal you are completely present for each meal.
If you are watching 📺 or working while eating then you will be more likely to eat past the point of being full and move into being uncomfortably stuffed all while not feeling satisfied.
Wouldn’t it be nice to eat enough food to feel full and content or even energized enough to look forward to what comes next in your day? Be present for your meals...fully enjoy the colors on the plate, the smells of the foods, and the delicious flavors by being completely present.
Bonus: We all know what happens when we open a bag of chips or cookies while watching a movie….I swear that bag was full! 🤔 (I don't even remember eating them so the calories don’t count right?) 😬 😜
Tip 3: Only Eat Food On a Plate
I don’t know about you but if I open a bag of chips then I'm GOING TO FINISH that bag of chips. (this is why I just don’t buy them...I’m weak 🥺)
This brings me to my third nutrition tip: don't eat food straight out of the package. It sounds good…”I’ll have a sandwich and “some” chips.” Then you sit down with the bag of chips and before you know all the chips are gone.
There is something to the idea of out of 👀out of mind...so if you make that same sandwich and put chips on the plate then when you become full you won't feel the need to have seconds.
Of course, I am not really advocating eating chips regularly. Personally, I like baby carrots with my sandwiches...but in all fairness you don’t want to eat the whole bag of baby carrots either 🤢
So as a way to eat in moderation, whether you are talking about a healthy or a treat snack, put your food on a plate. 😜 👊
Tip 4: Eat on smaller plates
In the 1960 the average dinner plate measured 8.5 inches, now the average dinner plate measured 12 inches.
Why does the plate size matter? We are very visual eaters so when we see a space on our plates we feel as though something is missing. This causes us to fill the whole plate up with food whether we need that much food or not to be full. This is the danger since even if we are not that hungry we feel obligated to finish all the food on our plates.
In the 1960s, life was more physical than it is now ie it required more energy for our day to day tasks. For instance, automatic dishwashers, and automatic washers/ dryers were not common in everyone’s home in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 1970s that it became common for there to be one car per two adults in a house. I’m pointing this out to show that just doing our basic day to day choirs took more physical effort when it was common to eat less food.
If we just look at the 1960's to now, our world has dramatically changed. Most of our 2020 jobs are done while sitting and even physical/manual labor jobs have much better tools and equipment requiring less physical effort to complete.
Yet we have been trained to eat more food and in many cases higher energy foods used people consumed in the 1960s.
Finding plates that are smaller but still hold the amount of food you need to get the number of calories you need to be healthy while not feeling overly stuffed is the tip for this week. There is a difference between physical need for food, the psychological need for energy, and our appetite, eating driven my emotional desire, this is a real struggle for many people on a daily basis. I hope this tip is helpful. Have a great day!
Tip 5: Drink water with your meal
Setting a goal to drink 8 -16 oz of water with each meal can improve your health. If you are already doing this then congratulations keep reading to find out why this is such a great habit.
First, by drinking 8 - 16 oz of water each meal when you don’t normally drink that much water means that now getting 24 - 48 oz. People who typically drink coffee, tea or sodas will notice a huge difference in their skin (it will be less dry), the flexibility of ligaments, tendons and muscle and so much more. Your whole body from your skin to digestion will look and feel better!
Second, if you drink your water with food then your body will absorb more water compared to if you simply chug water to “catch up” or when you drink between meals. By drinking with your food you will reduce the immediate need to use the restroom. (which is the biggest complaint I get from everyone that I talk to about increasing their water consumption.)
Third, by maintaining good hydration then you will help reduce uncontrollable hunger. That’s right drinking water can help you feel full more quickly during a meal; allowing you to eat less without feeling starved. In addition, an odd quirk in our bodies is that the chemical trigger that tells you that you’re hungry can be triggered by your bodies need for food or water. Which means that sometimes we might be eating when our bodies really want water.
Try drinking water with your meals and tell me if it makes a difference for you.
To learn more about hydration check out my blog.
Tip #6: Have Peppermint Tea After Your Meals
What wait do I really need a reason to have peppermint after my meal? No, But there is a reason, other than they taste good and help with bad breath, to eat a peppermint at the end of a meal.
You know that feeling of being full but you just can't stop craving more of something..but what…
Which prompts you to look through the refrigerator, think about getting a second helping of dinner, or maybe something else…
You know those times that you’ve eaten enough food but you can't shake the urge to find something else to eat. Let peppermint come to the rescue...peppermint will stop that craving in its tracks.
That’s right simply eating a peppermint breath mint, peppermint candy, peppermint gum or peppermint tea….your choice...you can stop your appetite from nagging at you to eat more even when you physically feel full.
There you have it… 6 tips on how to modify the amount of food you are eating while maximizing the nutrition you are getting from the food you are eating.
The trick too starting and staying on a health journey is not to make huge dramatic changes, it’s to make small incremental changes that you can be consistent with over a long time until you forget that you ever did things a different way.
You started a new exercise program or maybe just a new exercise, push yourself hard, then the next day something doesn’t feel pain when you lift your leg. Now you are left thinking “Did hurt myself?” “Does a strained muscle hurt to touch?” “What do I do now?”...
These are questions my family and friends ask me. This is what I tell them.
Yes a strained muscle hurts to touch. BUT that doesn’t mean you need to run to your primary care or a surgeon for medications, MRIs, XRays, injections or surgery.
Let’s take a small step back and look at what it means to have a strained muscle?
I get stopped all the time by very worried people, “I was working out and now this muscle hurts, did I injure it.”
Most of the time, all they’ve done is stained the muscle or maybe over work something but in a day or two the pain will go away.
I love hearing how people injure themselves...for instance, I had a mom of 4 call me very anxious that she could’ve just pulled a muscle in “my knee or maybe just the back of my leg.” “I can’t stand on my leg without pain. I don’t have time to see the doctor, let alone have surgery.” I asked her what happened?
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald