Spring is on its way, which means athletes everywhere are emerging from
hibernation and throwing on their running shoes. Before you join their ranks, follow along as
Adam Bennett, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, answers our sports-injury prevention questions, from what changes you should make to your diet if you’re in training, to what you should do if training starts to hurt:
If you experience pain while in training for an athletic event, what are your options?
The main issue is to determine the cause of the pain. If the cause is muscle soreness, then more rest between runs or training may help. Additionally, some strength training via yoga, Pilates or basic weight lifting
may diminish soreness after a workout. If pain persists, seek medical care, which could include X-rays depending on the site and severity of the pain.
What causes shin splints and what is the best way to deal with them and still be able to exercise?
First order of business is to make sure that your shin splints are in fact, shin splints. Other causes of shin pain include muscle strains, stress fractures and tendinitis. "Shin splints" is a painful condition that occurs when the muscle attachments pull on
the periosteum (a membrane that covers bones) of the tibia, which leads to inflammation and pain. If you do have shin splints, anti-inflammatory over-the-counter pain relievers, intense stretching, deep tissue massage, gait analysis, modifying the type of
shoe you wear and rest days in your training program all may help diminish your symptoms. Formal physical therapy is an effective way to implement all of these strategies.
Are sports and recovery drinks after a workout or training better than simply drinking water? Do they aid recovery?Sports drinks contain glucose and electrolytes, which need to be replenished after sweating during training
or exercise. Sports drinks are probably not essential for exercise lasting 20 minutes or less. For exercise lasting longer than 20 minutes, research shows improved performance when utilizing fluids that contain glucose and electrolytes. Research also indicates
that ingesting carbohydrates and protein within 10 minutes of an intense workout improves recovery. I don’t have brand recommendations but I believe it’s a good idea to replenish with a drink that uses natural flavors and sweeteners and avoids ingredients
like high fructose corn syrup. Certainly anything with caffeine, which might dehydrate the athlete, is a bad idea. Please tell your kids not to drink soda pop after exercise.
Is it better to consume protein drinks or food sources of protein after a workout for muscle recovery?
I would guess they are about equivalent. The advantage of a drink is that you replenish fluids as well.
If you have an injury in your arms or wrists, such as tendonitis, what exercises could you do to increase strength without causing further injury?
This is a tough scenario but there are things you can do. Specifically putting resistance in your mid-forearm and keeping your hands and wrists relaxed can allow you to work out the major muscles of your upper body without irritating the tendons in your
wrists. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to pull this off try working with a personal trainer a couple of times and have him or her show you.
For those training for a marathon, half marathon or triathlon, do you have any diet and training recommendations?
My first recommendation is to consider implementing rest days as part of your training. I often suggest athletes work longer and more intensely one day and then allow for complete rest the next day. If that is too much rest, consider a two-days-on, one-day-off
schedule. Rest days allow for replenishment of glycogen stores in the muscle cells and fluid losses to be replaced adequately. As a result, athletes typically feel better on workout days and can push themselves even harder, which ultimately leads to a better
performance on race day.
In terms of a daily diet, avoiding fried foods, caffeine and alcohol is likely to bring benefit. If you sweat a lot, you may need to add salty foods to your diet. This is especially important if you cramp easily.
For those not in training but who still want a great workout, what would you recommend?
High-intensity interval training is likely the most effective way to improve overall fitness. For my patients who are frustrated with their ability to lose weight, I often suggest they incorporate high-intensity interval training into their workout routine.
Crossfit is a popular example, which works for some, but there are many ways to do this type of training.
If you are concerned about the risk of injury during strength training as an older athlete, what should you do? Are lighter weights with more reps better? Or, should you increase weight and reduce reps?
Most people don't realize the importance of resistance training to overall health. My only concern about injury is if you had arthritis in any of your upper extremity joints (shoulder, elbow, wrists). If you do have arthritis in these joints, then lighter weights
would be preferred. If you continue to lift to the point your muscles become sore the next day, it is unlikely you will lose significant muscle mass. My only suggestion is to vary the weight, repetition
or motion of your regimen so your body won’t adapt as easily. This will ensure maximum benefit from every session.
For more information on keeping your young athletes healthy, join us on
Thursday, March 20th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. for a Sports Medicine Symposium at Highland Park High School. We invite you to join us for a discussion on how to keep young athletes in optimum health and prevent injuries. For more information, call
Matt Castle at 224-765-2090.
The months of training have come to a close and you’ve crossed the finish line. Now what?
Carrie Jaworksi, MD, Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine and a physician at NorthShore, offers her insight on what to expect after the race and how to recover adequately to ensure that you are ready to race again another day:
Immediately After the Race : Once you cross that finish line there are a handful of things that you'll need to do to help your body recover. Eat something! It’s important to replenish the energy stores you depleted during the race. Initially,
it’s best to start with a sports drink and food that is easy to digest. If you can’t tolerate sports drinks, then take bananas, yogurt and pretzels to the finish line instead. Gradually work up to a high-carbohydrate post-race dinner to further assist you
in replenishing your energy stores.
Taking a cold bath and icing your muscles is recommended to help prevent muscle soreness but don’t do that immediately. It is more important to keep moving in that first 30 to 60 minutes. You'll be tired but try to resist the urge to sit; instead, take a
long walk back to your hotel or car. Your body will thank you for it later.
The Next Day: You ran for a long time and chances are you are you'll wake up sore the next day. To help ease your muscle pain, plan ahead and schedule a massage for the days following the race. It will certainly help to alleviate your soreness
and speed your recovery. Plan on being sore for a few days. Take it easy while you are recovering.
Post-Event Emotions: You may feel down after the race. Think about it: You’ve been training for this event, both physically and mentally for months, and now it’s over. The early recovery period will likely be the most difficult transition
because you won’t be running and will have more time to reflect on your experience. There are several ways you can combat this: 1) Plan to meet up with your running friends the Saturday after the race to discusses personal experiences with the race. 2) Combit
to a new goal whether it's another race or even just to keep up with a regular running routine once you recover. 3) Splurge on a treat for yourself, from a new pair of running shoes to that racing watch you’ve been eyeing. Whatever you do, enjoy your downtime
and get some much-needed rest.
Preparing for the Next Race: How long should you rest before training for the next race? While your break time depends on your own level of experience with distance running, it’s recommended that you give your body at least one day off per
mile before running your next distance race. This means the earliest you should race again after a marathon is almost a month. Everyone should plan on a reverse taper over the first three to four weeks post-marathon. The first week post-marathon should be
mainly rest for three days, with some gentle jogging and cross training to round out the end of the week. By the weekend, most of your muscle soreness should be gone, so a longer distance may be reasonable. Remember to go slow and keep it to an hour at most.
After the first week post-marathon, you can begin to build more mileage based on your level of experience. Be sure to keep some cross-training days on your schedule to keep your body strong and injury-free. Any persisting soreness or undue fatigue may be
your body’s way of telling you it needs more time to recover. Be sure to listen to your body and adjust your training, or see your physician as needed.
How did you feel after the race? What tips would offer to others?
Ready, set, go! You registered for the big race and now you’re all set to begin your training routine. Ramping
up your endurance can be easy when the temperatures are cool during daytime and nighttime hours. But what do you do about training when the temperature and heat index continue to rise?
While staying on schedule and continuing training is vital to your conditioning and mental preparation, when it’s hot outside it’s important to make some adjustments in your routine to avoid injury, dehydration and fatigue.
Carrie Jaworski, MD, sports medicine physician, offers the following tips for those training for endurance races this summer:
Are you currently training for a race or run? What do you do to beat the heat?
Does the heat put a cramp in your fitness routine? Join experts at NorthShore on
Saturday, June 16 from 8a.m. – 12:45p.m. for an educational morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden—complete with a healthy eating demonstration, work-out demonstration and panel discussions on skin care, heart health, and sports injury care and prevention.
Space is limited for this free event. Register today for
Total Care for the Athlete at Heart.