May 30, 2012
Hydration is important any time of the year, especially for athletes and those who lead active lifestyles. But now that summer is upon us, this is the perfect time to remind everyone how to properly hydrate and of how hydration and athletic performance are linked to one another. Following are 10 tips for athletes, or anyone, to maintain proper hydration:
- Drink water.The simplest and most obvious way to maintain hydration is to drink water. However, the amount you need to drink depends on your body type. The eight-glasses-a-day rule doesn’t apply to everyone, because smaller people need less water than individuals with larger frames. The urine test is still the best way to gauge your fluid levels. If your urine is pale yellow; you’re properly hydrated.
- Eat fruit. Fruit contains a lot of water, and there is a decent amount of carbohydrates in a serving of fruit, too. So, eating fruit helps you hydrate and builds up your energy stores for the next workout or competition.
- Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. Any time you leave the house, take a water bottle with you and sip it periodically throughout the day, refilling the bottle when needed. This habit will keep you properly hydrated all day long and is better than filling up on water an hour before your workout and becoming bloated.
- Drink before you feel thirsty. One of the first signs of dehydration is felling thirsty, so if you wait to drink when you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. So, drink water before you feel thirsty both before and during a workout or competition.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeinated beverages, such as soft drinks, coffee and tea are diuretics and increase urination which leads to dehydration. Decreasing or cutting out caffeinated beverages altogether will help maintain proper hydration levels.
- Drink sports drinks, too. Electrolytes are salts that transmit electrical signals throughout your body, and the levels become depleted during strenuous exercise. If you don’t replace your electrolytes before, during and after a workout, your body won’t function at peak performance and can have dire health consequences. Having enough electrolytes also allows you to absorb more water, so, drink a sports drink during the day to maintain your electrolyte levels.
- Give salt tablets a try. Gatorade and other sports drinks are the electrolyte beverages of choice, but getting enough during a competition or workout can be difficult. Many endurance and long-distance athletes take electrolyte tablets (e-caps) or salt tablets to replenish lost electrolytes during long workouts and races.
- Stop drinking 30 minutes to an hour before a exercising. Drinking fluids up until the moment your workout or competition starts can make you to feel bloated, cause unwanted urination during the workout or make you over-hydrated. If you properly hydrate throughout the day, you won’t feel thirsty minutes before your workout or race.
- Weigh yourself before and after a workout. You don’t literally shed pounds of fat during each workout. Any weight lost during a workout is primarily water weight, because you are not properly replenishing during exercise. Weighing yourself before and after a workout will let you know how much water weight you are losing. The rule is to drink 16 ounces of water for every pound lost during a workout. You can also use this information to determine how much more fluids you need during a workout; if you need to drink 32 ounces of water after a workout, you should drink that much more during the workout to maintain proper hydration.
- Do not drink too much water. It is possible to drink too much water. Doing so can cause hyponatremia (water intoxication). You’ll feel sluggish, bloated, even a little dizzy. This occurs because excessive water causes lower sodium in your blood. It can pose a serious health risk, and you should consult a doctor if you are severely over-hydrated. Drinking a sports drink can help balance everything back out.
January 31, 2012
Proper hydration (water and fluid intake) is crucial to all of our bodily functions. It aids in digestion, waste and toxin removal, nutrient transportation and body temperature regulation. Proper hydration is also crucial to peak athletic performance.
How Hydration Aids Athletic Performance
During exercise, body temperature rises and muscles require more blood, and the main functions of hydration for athletes are to regulate body temperature and maintain blood volume. Water is a crucial component in blood, and your muscles require more blood when working out. In a properly hydrated athlete, blood volume remains constant, so there is enough blood for the muscles and the rest of the body and it is easily transported to the muscles. If fluid levels are too low, your blood will thicken, so it will not get to the muscles as easily.
Blood also helps absorb body heat and transports it to your skin, which is why you sweat. The evaporating sweat helps cool your body, too. If you are not properly hydrated, the aforementioned depleted blood volume will not transfer heat to your skin, so you will not sweat and can overheat.
Athletes who compete or work out for more than an hour at a time (marathoners, Ironmen, cyclists, etc.) need to replace nutrients while exercising, and proper hydration assists in nutrient absorption, too.
How Dehydration Affects Athletic Performance
Dehydration is a loss of water and fluids in the body, and it can have severe affects on your athletic performance and overall health. Inadequate fluid intake and improper fluid replacement mid- and post-workout are the biggest causes of dehydration among athletes; athletes simply don’t drink enough fluids. Exercising in hot, dry weather and excessive sweating are other causes.
Mild cases of dehydration are almost inevitable for athletes. You can never be perfect about replacing fluids, but your situation becomes more perilous as you become more dehydrated.
Listed below, in increasing level of severity, are ways dehydration negatively affects athletic performance:
- Reduction of VO2 Max.
- Feeling thirsty, loss of appetite and diminished endurance.
- Cotton mouth and impaired performance.
- Increased exercise effort, apathy, discomfort.
- Difficulty concentrating, increased pulse and breathing rate.
- Sleepiness, tingling, headache, stumbling.
- Labored breathing, confusion, weakness, labored breathing.
- Swelling of the tongue, muscle spasms, loss of balance.
- Delirium, heat exhaustion, heat stroke or death.
The most severe cases of dehydration can lead to death because improper blood flow and excessive heat can cause your organs to shut down.
How to Properly Hydrate
Hydration is a never-ending battle for athletes. It’s easy to say “Just drink more water,” but knowing when and how much to drink before, during and after exercise takes practice. In an upcoming post, we will discuss how to properly hydrate so you get the most out of your exercise or competition.
>> Read our 10 Tips for Proper Hydration
December 30, 2011
On December 10, Accelerate Health moved to a new office, located at 38 East 5th Avenue, Denver, Colorado. If you have yet to come visit us, here are some photos of our new office:
The Reception Area
The Main Exam Room/Chiropractic Room 1
Chiropractic Room 2
Chiropractic Room 3
Dr. Clark's Office
November 30, 2011
The vast majority of our clients at Accelerate Health are athletes recovering from sports injuries. Some of the most common sports injuries we see are shin splints, plantar fasciitis, psoas strains and lower back injuries. We want our clients to recover as quickly as possible, but it’d be best if they avoided injury altogether. So, here are 10 injury prevention tips for athletes:
- Listen to your body. There’s a fine line between pain from exertion and pain from injury, and athletes toe that line all the time. It’s the only way to get better. But, pay attention to your body and know when too much is too much. An extra recovery day won’t kill your training, but pushing too hard when you need a break might.
- Do not overtrain. Overtraining occurs when you work too hard for too long without giving yourself enough rest. It’s like you ignore the “I need a break” signals your body is sending. At the very least, overtraining will result in a mediocre performance on race day. But, overtraining also starts you down the path to injury.
- Take recovery days. You can’t go hard all the time. As stated before, this leads to overtraining, poor performance and injury. Recovery days give your muscles time to rebuild and become stronger, and it gives your mind time to recharge for the next hard workout.
- Eat healthy. Everybody should eat healthy, regardless of their activity level. For athletes, a proper diet helps speed muscle recovery and reduce injury. Lean proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and a lot of fluids are what athletes need the most. >> Learn more about Sports Nutrition.
- Get enough sleep. The importance of sleep to injury prevention and athletic performance cannot be over-emphasized. Get on a regular sleep schedule, and get as many hours a night as you can, because sleep is the ultimate recovery workout. Also, try to eat two to three hours before going to bed. Eating supper too close to bedtime will actually keep you up longer.
- Stretch and foam roll. Athletes, runners especially, are notorious for not stretching enough. Stretching before and after a workout increases your range of motion and flexibility which decreases your risk of injury. Also, if you have a foam roller, roll out some of your tighter areas after a workout. A foam roller is like a personal masseuse. >> Learn more about Stretching and Injury Prevention
- Cross-train a couple times a week. Cross-training means doing an activity that isn’t your main focus. If you’re a runner, jump on a bike or swim a few times a week. If you’re a cyclist, lift some weights or go on a hike. Cross-training still elevates your heart rate and increases your strength while breaking up your workouts. This helps avoid injuries from overuse and repetition.
- Strengthen your core. As the name suggests, your core is one of the most important muscle groups in your body and includes more than just your abs. Core muscles are responsible for maintaining balance and posture. Anything you can do to strengthen your core muscles will improve the overall efficiency and strength of your body. And stronger, more efficient movements decrease the likelihood of suffering a sports injury.
- Give yoga a try. Yoga offers a three-pronged approach to injury prevention. The postures stretch various parts of your body — often parts that are never stretched out. Yoga also requires an engaged core, so you’re strengthening your core muscles with every class. Finally, there is a relaxation component to yoga that allows you to mentally recharge. However, relaxation may be a relative term for your first few classes as you struggle to keep balance and achieve the poses.
- Come visit Accelerate Health. A.R.T., acupuncture, chiropractic and deep-tissue massage treatments aren’t just for injured athletes. All of our services are designed to help decrease recovery time from hard workouts and decrease your chance of injury.
November 14, 2011
Pain and injury are a risk faced by those who lead an active lifestyle, and taking time off to let an injury heal is one of the worst things you can tell an athlete to do. For athletes, forced time away from a sport is pure torture, but Accelerate Health can help reduce your downtime by accelerating your recovery. You can also take a proactive approach with our services and help prevent an injury from ever occurring.
Services Offered By Accelerate Health
Accelerate Health has several different treatment methods available, and our staff of certified and licensed practitioners are experts in their fields. Below is a list of services that we offer and a brief description of how those services will promote healing and overall health:
- A.R.T. Active Release Technique, or A.R.T., is a treatment system that specifically targets areas of pain and injury. There are over 500 different A.R.T. moves that practitioners choose from and use to break up scar tissue, increase blood flow and reduce downtime from an injury.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an alternative medicine solution that involves inserting and moving needles around at various points of the body to promote natural healing, relieve stress and improve body function.
- Chiropractic. Chiropractic is designed to promote healing and overall body health. Rather than treating symptoms with medicine, chiropractors look for underlying problems that stem from the nervous system and body structure misalignments. They will often readjust the body, usually in the spinal region, to bring everything back into alignment.
- Deep-Tissue Massage. Deep-tissue massage, or sports massage, is a popular treatment for athletes abound. Deep-tissue massage focuses on improving blood flow to fatigued or injured muscles and breaking up scar tissue to prevent and treat muscular injuries.
Accelerate Health Patients
Our services are designed for anyone who has chronic pain or overuse injuries, but our main clientele consists of people who live an active lifestyle and are, therefore, more prone to overuse injuries. Here is a short list of who we treat:
- Surgery Rehab Patients
- Anyone with chronic pain or overuse injuries
How to Set Up an Appointment
If you are in pain and don’t know why, or if you do know why and want some relief, set up an evaluation appointment and treatment, today. You can make an appointment online at acceleratehealthpc.com, or give us a call at 303-863-8330.
August 28, 2009
Active Release Techniques make me hurt so good
By Tamara Rice Lave
As featured in the September 2009 issue of Running Times Magazine
My hamstrings and quadriceps are bruised and slightly tender to the touch. In some spots the bruising is a dark red, but in others it is blue, green and brown. Was I kicked by a horse? Trampled by a wild boar? Attacked by a band of ruffians? No, no, and no. The truth is that I paid someone to inflict these injuries upon me.
But let me start at the beginning. In early 2004, I injured my Achilles tendon doing a track workout two days after a fast half marathon. With the Olympic trials on the line, I was willing to do just about anything to coax it to heal. I ran in the water, stretched my hamstrings, iced my injured tendon, wore a special boot, got fitted for orthotics, and even bought an ultrasound/electro stimulation machine. I also spent hundreds of dollars on massage, chiropractic visits, physical therapy, and acupuncture. Despite my efforts, an MRI revealed that my Achilles had microscopic tears that put it at risk of rupturing, and so I decided to skip the trials.
For the next year, the injury persisted. It abated for a while, but by the spring of 2005 it was flaring up so badly that at moments I was literally frozen in pain. One night I was recounting my Achilles woes to a friend, and she recommended that I see Dan Selstad, a Del Mar, Calif., sports therapist specializing in Active Release Techniques (ART). I’d never heard of ART before, but I figured I would give it a try.
When I arrived at Dan’s office, I was pessimistic, to say the least. After spending thousands of dollars trying to heal my Achilles, I did not think that anyone or anything could help me. But after one session with Dan’s magic hands, my injury had noticeably improved. It turned out that it wasn’t my Achilles that was causing the flare-ups, but my Achilles bursa and my flexor hallucis longus (big toe muscle). Dan treated those, and I was able to run without any pain.
So what exactly is ART? “ART is a type of myofascial release that uses active motion to help break down scar tissue in overused or injured muscles,” Dan says. “It’s different than massage because you’re using active motion to help break down scar tissue. You’re not gliding over the skin like massage does; you’re holding a fixed point while the muscle is actually moving underneath your contact.” Dan uses ART to treat such athletic greats as eight-time Ironman champion Paula Newby-Fraser and 2006 Ironman champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Michellie Jones.
“I see Dan once a week and sometimes twice a week,” Jones says. “There’s no way I could get away with not seeing him that much. That’s how important ART is. I’ve gone in with torn calves or a hip or hamstring issue, and Dan stays on top of stuff for me. It’s part of my training program to see him at least once a week.”
Yet as effective as ART is, it also really hurts. Once I was getting ART on my IT bands, and I told Dan it wasn’t that bad: just a seven on a scale of one to 10. “Oh, I’m just buttering the bread,” Dan said, as he dug his hands into my legs, making me scream.
Most ART therapists seem to have an incredibly positive disposition — almost as if they like inflicting pain. Dan is always friendly and upbeat, and so is Lynn Schankliess, the physical therapist I see in the San Francisco Bay area. Lynn is equally sunny but significantly more retro. By retro, I mean Middle Ages. Although she does regular ART, she has also mastered a technique called “Graston,” which involves using various metal instruments that must have debuted in torture chambers of medieval Europe.
Lynn’s favorite is about the size of a butter knife, but she also has one that is long and thin, allowing her to grip it with both hands. She rubs the instrument back and forth to break up adhesions in my muscles. She does it for about 10 seconds on each spot, and the pain is so intense that I feel like screaming/biting/kicking and pummeling her all at once. It’s no surprise that, when Lynn worked at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the offensive linemen called her “Spawn of Satan” (or the more affectionate “Spawn”).
Lynn also uses an Eastern technique called Gua Sha, which uses a small, guitar pick-shaped instrument that’s made of bone, polycarbonate, or horn to help release toxins. It has a different feel than Graston, a lighter sweeping motion, but like Graston, it allows Lynn to get to the tissue she can’t get to with her hands.
Lynn has helped me get over an Achilles injury (in the other leg), a calf injury, and a recalcitrant hamstring injury. Her savagery breaks up the scar tissue and helps my muscles to flow, allowing me to do what I love: run.
I have another appointment scheduled with Lynn for this Wednesday 11:00 a. m. I have no illusions about what it will be like: 60 minutes of discomfort and pain. But I also know that it works, and despite the unsightly bruises, I’ll definitely be back again.
Tamara Rice Lave, Ph. D., represented the U. S. in the marathon at the 2003 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Paris.