May 24, 2013
Have you ever seen people sporting brightly colored tape cut in unusual patterns on their bodies? Wonder if it is a new fashion trend? No, it is kinesiology tape! Commonly referred to as Kinesio Tape (although that is actually a particular brand name), the Kinesio brand tape and its therapeutic use was invented by a Japanese chiropractor named Dr. Kenzo Kase, who was searching for a way to provide a lasting therapuetic effect for his patients that would continue to give them relief after they left his office. Now patented, his tape has become a very popular treatment tool over the years and has been spotted on many professional athletes such as Lance Armstrong, Kevin Garnett, and David Beckham. It was also used extensively by the treatment staff at the 2008 Olympic Games. Today, you can find numerous manufacturers of kinesiology tape, with Kinesio Tape, Rock Tape and SpiderTech being among the more popular and better quality brands. These companies also offer training courses to medical professionals on its proper application.
So what is Kinesio Tape and how does it work? Kinesio Tape is a stretchy elastic tape with a heat activated adhesive on one side. It is applied to the skin in a specific and direct way in order to affect one or more of five physiological systems: circulation, fascia, muscles, joints, or skin. The great thing about kinesiology tape is that it will stay on the skin for three to five days — that is approximately how long it takes for skin cells to slough off, painlessly and naturally releasing the tape from the skin. Unlike other athletic tapes, that restrict movement, full range of motion is maintained with this tape due to its elasticity. You can exercise with it, sleep with it, shower with it, sweat with it, and even match your outfit with it as it comes in a variety of colors. Black colored tape is a great option for athletes who spend a lot of time training outdoors because the sunlight attracting to the dark color further activates the tape adhesive, causing it to adhere to the skin even better. Because of the thinness and breathability of the tape, products like BioFreeze or IcyHot can be applied over the tape and rubbed in for added effect.
Kinesio Tape is commonly used to treat muscular imbalances, joint injuries, swelling, tissue adhesions, ligament and tendon injuries, postural dysfunctions, and neurological conditions. The tape is cut to different lengths and shapes, applied in different directions, and stretched to different tensions depending on the condition being treated. Kinesio Tape has shown positive results in everything from reducing the appearance of scars to alleviating headaches. It’s even been in the news recently for its therapeutic benefit in the treatment of race horses in the Kentucky Derby!
If you are interested in how Kinesio Tape can help you, please call Accelerate Health to schedule a consultation with our Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner, Dr. Kendelle Krause.
June 17, 2012
We have spent a lot of time talking about athletes and the injuries they suffer, but there is one group of athletes we have yet to talk about: industrial athletes. Industrial athletes are people who work in physically demanding jobs, and injuries are just as devastating to industrial athletes as sports athletes, because their livelihood depends on them being physically able to perform their jobs.
Types of Industrial Athletes
Here are some common types of industrial athletes and the hazards they face that can lead to injury:
- Factory/Industrial. Factory and industrial workers are on their feet on hard surfaces, like concrete, for the majority of their workday. This alone can lead to fatigue and injury. Many forms of factory work is very labor intensive around heavy machinery, so over-exertion and work accidents account for injury as well.
- Manual Laborers. As with factory and industrial workers, manual laborers (construction workers, landscapers, etc.) are on their feet most of the day. They also frequently lift heavy loads and perform strenuous tasks that can lead to injury.
- Mail/Package Delivery Drivers. Carrying heavy boxes up and down flights of stairs all day, every day can have dire effects on employees of the postal industry. Muscle strains and fall injuries are a constant threat to the unwary package delivery driver.
- Office Workers. Working in an office is not as physically demanding as other jobs, but typing on a keyboard and sitting in one spot for hours on end can lead to chronic pain and injury.
Common Injuries Among Industrial Athletes
Like sports athletes, overuse and not listening to their bodies is a major cause of injury in industrial athletes. Workers ignore minor aches and pains because they don’t want to take off work for fear of lost wages. Listed below are the most common injuries faced by industrial athletes:
- Sprains and strains. Sprains and strains of joints and tendons are the most common types of injuries suffered by industrial athletes, regardless of the job. Falls, over extension and overuse are the leading causes for these injuries. Stretching, strength exercises and taking breaks will help reduce the risk for these injuries.
- Leg and joint injuries. Standing in one spot on an assembly line all day long can affect the feet, legs and back and eventually lead to soft tissue damage or other injuries. Sit breaks, stretches or walking around to get the blood flowing will help reduce fatigue.
- Neck and back injuries. Whether sitting, standing or delivering packages all day long, poor posture can have devastating effects on a person’s ability to do their job. Strength exercises for the neck and back and practicing proper form for repetitive tasks will reduce posture-related injuries.
Since there are many similarities between the injuries faced by industrial and sports athletes, the treatment methods are the same. And, the most important and effective treatment is injury prevention; stretching, rest and proper posture are chief among the plethora of injury prevention tips for everyone. Many employers are also hiring athletic trainers and physical therapists to diagnose and treat minor aches and pains before they become a bigger issue. Some employers are even integrating calisthenics into the workday to increase range of motion and strength and reduce worker injury.
Companies that take a proactive approach to injury prevention are seeing marked declines in employee sick days and insurance claims. However, if an injury does occur, treatments like A.R.T., acupuncture and massage will get workers back on their feet in no time.
May 15, 2012
Coaches, personal trainers and sports medicine practitioners all sing the same tune when it comes to stretching. Namely, you need to stretch. Stretching is one of the most important forms of injury prevention, so coaches and doctors aren’t just blowing smoke when it comes to this activity.
The Benefits of Stretching
Stretching does more than help prevent athletic injuries. Here are a couple of benefits to stretching:
- Improve range of motion. This is one of the huge benefits for athletes. The better an athlete’s range of motion and flexibility, the less chance of injury. No, flexibility doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get injured, but it sure does help.
- Reduce muscle tightness. You don’t have to be an athlete to get muscle cramps or tightness, and stretching is an easy way to help alleviate the associated pain and discomfort.
- Improve circulation. Stretching helps improve blood flow to your muscles and joints, and more blood means more oxygen and nutrients get to your muscles. This is a benefit everyone can enjoy.
- Improve posture and coordination. Proper stretching involves controlled movements and holding poses without wobbling. So, stretching has a secondary benefit to improving core strength, posture and coordination.
- Relieve stress. Stretching is very meditative. When done properly, you’re breathing steadily, focusing on your body and relaxing tight muscles. That’s meditation 101.
Tips on Proper Stretching
Stretching sounds pretty simple, but there are a handful of things to keep in mind to get the most out of your flexibility-increasing efforts.
- Never stretch when your muscles are cold. When your muscles are cold, they aren’t as elastic – there isn’t much blood flowing to them, and you can actually overstretch or injure muscles by cold stretching.
- Stretch after a short warm-up. Even though recent research suggests that stretching before a workout or activity can actually slow muscle-reaction time, many coaches and trainers still suggest stretching after a light warm-up so you can achieve your maximum range of motion out of the gate.
- Stretch after a workout. The absolute best time to stretch is after a workout. Your muscles are plenty warm, so this is the time to work on your range of motion and increase the blood flow to your freshly worked out muscles.
- Don’t over-stretch. Stretching isn’t supposed to hurt. Sure, you will feel some tension in your muscles, but if that tension is painful, back off the stretch. If you try to reach too far beyond your range of motion and over-stretch, you will damage your muscles.
- Don’t jerk or bounce. There is such a thing as ballistic stretching, where you essentially hop around to warm up your muscles, but it is best to either hold a static pose (static stretching) or perform fluid movements in dynamic stretching to properly stretch your muscles. Jerky or concussive movements may damage your muscles and joints, especially if you aren’t that flexible.
- Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Quick stretches don’t do much of anything. Holding static stretches for 30 seconds gives you time sufficient time to relax into the stretch and expand your muscles.
- Relax and breathe. “Breath into the pose” is something yoga instructors say all the time. If you’re having trouble with a stretch, straighten out of it, take a deep breath and move back into the stretch on your exhale. It also helps to concentrate on the muscle that you are stretching and willing it to relax.
Remember, stretching isn’t supposed to be painful. Only hold a pose as deeply as you are able. Runners and cyclists especially are not known for their flexibility, but adding regular stretching into your regimen will work wonders on you recovery.
April 30, 2012
Summer is rapidly approaching, and with it comes more daylight hours to go outside and get in a workout. It’s a great time of year for athletes, but warmer days also bring a few dangers to athletes who don’t dress or hydrate properly. Here are a few exercise tips to get the most out of your summertime workouts:
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is important for exercise anytime of the year but moreso during the summer months because you sweat more. Failure to properly hydrate can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion and even death.
- Replace your electrolytes. Electrolytes are the substances that help conduct electrical signals throughout your body. Depleted electrolytes decreases your body’s performance, and sweating drains your electrolyte level. So, it is important to drink electrolyte-rich liquids while working out in the summer. Gatorade is the most popular drink, but e-caps and salt tablets are popular options, too.
- Exercise early in the day. During hot summer months, the later you wait to do a workout, the hotter it will be, so workout early in the mornings, before the planet has time to heat up. If your schedule doesn’t allow for early morning exercise, go in the evenings. Just avoid the hottest part of the day (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM).
- Back down the intensity on really hot days. Excessive heat and humidity can sap your energy, regardless of how well you hydrate. If your energy levels just aren’t there, back off the intensity and duration of your workout, because trying to push through will do more harm than good.
- Wear light, moisture-wicking clothes. Sweating helps cool your body during hot summertime runs, but if the sweat doesn’t evaporate, no cooling occurs. Light, moisture-wicking materials help draw the sweat off of your skin and cools your body.
- Wear a hat and/or oil-free sunscreen. Nobody wants to deal with sunburn or skin cancer, and in summertime, there’s more of a risk because people spend more time outside and the sun is more intense. Protect your exposed skin with sunscreen and a hat to help protect your skin from damage. Make sure you wear oil-free sunscreen, because the oil will clog your pores and prevent you from sweating.
- Workout in the shade. Another way to protect yourself from the sun is to workout on a route or in an area that is well shaded. Shaded routes are also cooler and provide more scenery than the hot sidewalks on a city street.
- Stretch afterwards. Stretching is important after every workout any time of the year, but since your muscles are more pliable in the summer months, take advantage and increase your flexibility and help stave off injury.
A Final Note About Humidity
Heat and humidity are a dangerous combination for athletes, especially at lower altitudes. On hot summer days when you are glistening while standing around, the humidity is so high that sweat is not evaporating, so your sweat isn’t cooling you off. Exercising and raising your body temperature only makes it worse. On days like these, the only thing you can do is back off the intensity and dump water over your head to help keep your body cool.
March 16, 2012
Last Saturday night, Accelerate Health and SweatShop Denver celebrated moving into our new locations by throwing a grand opening party like no other. The event took place at the Accelerate Health office and PUSH Gym, which are across the hall from each other. We’re not saying it was the party of the century, but if you weren’t there, you totally missed out. Here are a few photos of the event. Enjoy!
We had not one, but three food trucks parked out front. Manna From Heaven, Basic Kneads Pizza, and The Denver Cupcake Truck were on hand all night to help fill our guests’ bellies.
Upon arriving, guests were reminded to “check-in” to the location through their Facebook account. Checking in entered guests in the drawing for one of our many door prizes. People who didn’t have a Facebook ap on their phone could check-in to their account with the iPad we had available for the occasion. Visitors were also greeted with the smell of freshly popped corn.
The first 25 people through the door received a free Kinesio taping and a discount on a pair of sunglasses, but several sports and wellness vendors were on hand all night with products and information for guests. Here is the Rudy Project booth.
The libations flowed freely at our open bar, where two bartenders served wine and beer.
Here are a couple pictures of people enjoying themselves. All told, several hundred friends, family and clients came out to help celebrate the grand opening.
The last ingredient to a great party is music, and we had a DJ spinning beats all night.
Finally, here are several pictures of Dr. Clark chatting with her guests and posing for the occasional photo-op. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and helped make the event a huge success.
Photos courtesy of Isaac Mion
December 15, 2011
Many athletes are familiar with a foam roller, that little tube that people roll up and down their legs. If you don’t already own a foam roller, we strongly suggest you invest in one; some cost as little as $20. This tool helps reduce the risk of injury, speed recovery and can make you a stronger athlete.
Reasons to Use a Foam Roller
Foam rolling can hurt. A lot. So why do people do it? Here are some of the reasons foam rollers exist:
- Simulate deep-tissue massage. Kinks, knots and muscle cramps happen, and since we can’t all afford a massage every day, foam rollers provide a cost-effective solution.
- Reduce muscle soreness by improving blood flow. Intense exercise causes damage to your muscles, resulting in soreness. Foam rolling after a hard workout improves blood flow to speed repair of the damaged muscles.
- Break up scar tissue. The muscle damage from exercise can also cause scar tissue to form. Foam rolling is one way to break up the scar tissue and maintain the elasticity of your muscles.
- Strengthen your core. Foam rollers can also be used as a workout tool to strengthen your core muscles. You can use a roller for crunches, push-ups and various balance drills.
- Prevent injury. All of the reasons to foam roll equate to one thing, preventing injury, and as long as you’re doing it properly, regularly foam rolling is an effective way to prevent sports injuries.
Types of Foam Rollers
Technically there is only one type of foam roller; the solid foam roller. But there are two additional products people use to simulate their own deep-tissue massage and strengthen their core muscles.
- Solid foam rollers. Standard foam rollers consist of a solid foam cylinder and are available in different densities. The denser the foam, the more pressure you can exert on cramped muscles. Denser foam rollers also last longer; less-dense rollers become soft and lose their effectiveness over time.
- The Grid. The Grid is a piece of plastic pipe with foam on the outside. The foam is molded into different “Distrodensity Zones.” These zones are designed to simulate how a masseuse applies pressure. For example, there is a zone for fingertip massage.
- Plastic pipe. Some people just forego the foam altogether and use a piece of plastic pipe (like ABS or PVC pipe used for plumbing) to roll out their kinks and break up scar tissue.
Tips for Using a Foam Roller
Using a foam roller sounds simple enough; you just roll up and down sore muscles. But there are a few things to keep in mind so you gain the most benefit from the experience.
- Only foam roll after a workout. Foam rolling works best when your muscles are warm and the blood is flowing. Attempting to foam roll when your muscles are cold will be more painful than necessary and can do more harm than good.
- Do not roll over bones or joints. Rolling over bones and joints will be very painful and potentially damaging, so keep the roller on your muscles.
- Sit in one spot for a while. Deep-tissue massage therapists often press in one area for a long time to “release” your muscles. You can do this with a foam roller by holding it at the area of pain or muscle attachment for a while before rolling the muscle out.
- Roll slowly. Don’t just sit on the foam roller and start rolling really fast. Going slow and focusing on trouble areas will give you a deeper, more effective massage.
- Apply as much body weight as possible. When foam rolling, you use your own body weight to give yourself a deep-tissue massage. The more weight you apply, the deeper the massage, but keep it within your pain threshold. Too much weight on a damaged muscle will only harm it more.
- Relax and breathe. Foam rolling can be painful, but it is even more painful if you hold your breath and tense up. Focus on relaxing and taking steady breaths to help loosen your muscles.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep muscles limber and elastic. Foam rolling causes your body to use water, much like a workout, so you must replenish your fluids afterwards.
Foam rollers are a wise investment for any athlete. They are relatively cheap — available at most sporting goods stores — and can greatly reduce your risk of injury. And anything you can do to reduce your risk of injury is well worth it.
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.