3 Steps to Recover from an Ankle Sprain

Robin Gerber MS, ATC

Michael Volkmar, MS, CSCS, PES, CPT

One of the most common ‘weekend warrior’ injuries seen by medical doctors is the ankle sprain.  Most frequently the ankle is injured during running or jumping activities in which the foot rolls or twists after stepping on an uneven surface. Continue reading

Top 5 Lower Body Mobility Exercises

These mobility exercises are best done as a warm up to your lower body workouts. They will prime the body for better performance by jump starting the correct muscles. These exercise will also keep you injury free and allow you to train longer and harder. Continue reading

Sign Up for Your First Obstacle Race!

Sign Up for Your First Obstacle Race!
by Mike Volkmar, MS, CSCS, PES and Matt Carroll, USAW LVL 1, AFAA CPT

The rise in popularity of obstacle races is undeniable. The obstacle course race (OCR) community is growing every day with a plethora of different types of races becoming available. There are races for those in the best shape of their lives and there are also races designed to get people from couch to race day. Continue reading

5 Best Exercises for Knee Health

5 Best Exercises for Knee Health by Mike Volkmar, MS, CSCS, PES, CPT

Knee pain be the most frustrating injury to have.  It affects your daily activities.  It can take months to go away.  Of course it is best to add special exercises to prevent knee pain but sadly what do you do if you are already experiencing pain?  Your knee pain could be the result of two factors, muscle imbalances and overuse. Continue reading

Former Navy SEAL Stew Smith Shares Tips to Avoid Muscle Cramps when Running

Watch this excellent video by former Navy SEAL and fitness book author Stew Smith, to learn tips to prevent muscle cramps when running.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Stew Smith's Tips for Breathing Technique During Exercise

Learning to breathe during exercise has benefits such as preventing dizziness during activity, improving athletic performance, and increasing fat burning.

 

What is proper breathing while running?

Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you inhale on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and exhale fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK.  But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio. The carbon dioxide in your body will increase if your breathing patterns are short and hurried. This will increase your heart rate and lactic acid production, and decrease your endurance in any cardiovascular event (running, swimming, biking, etc.)

 

What about breathing and training/lifting?

Proper breathing during exercises where you exert yourself — such as lifting, pushing, or pulling — is much easier to remember and control than the 3:2 ratio during running long distance. To put it simply: always exhale on exertion. For example, when you are pushing a bench press off your chest, you exhale on the push and inhale as you bring it slowly to your chest. When you are doing a pullup, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down. Breathing during exertion is important in preventing internal injury such as hernia, blood vessel strain, and high blood pressure. Because weight lifting and and other types of training can be potentially harmful when done incorrectly, it is advised to get clearance from a doctor before performing too much – too soon. To decrease that pressure, focus on breathing deep all the time — during workouts and in your daily activities.

 

How does more oxygen help to burn more fat?

Oxygen + Water = Fat burn

 

Basically, the body needs water and increased oxygen to burn fat as an energy source. The water intake should be anywhere from a half gallon for women and up to one gallon a day for men. The increased oxygen consumption will assist with the other part of the equation.

As you add more water and oxygen to your system, your body will be able to use the retained water for excretion, prompting almost immediate weight loss of retained water and toxins. This is not the same as sitting in a sauna and sweating which actually dehydrates you. Adding water will re-hydrate you and enable the body to burn more fat (as long as you increase your oxygen intake by doing some form of exercise). Walking, swimming, biking, jogging, calisthenics, and even yard work can help with working your cardiovascular system.

Try the deep breathing rhythm during running or working out and see for yourself how you will perform at a lower heart rate and have more energy for a strong finish.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.

A Beginner Running Plan by Stew Smith

Running injury free requires near perfect technique, great shoes, possibly the addition of orthotics/insoles, and a gradual build-up after long periods of no running or beginning a running plan.

To avoid or deal with running injuries, remember this saying. “If it hurts to run, stop running. If it hurts to walk, do not run. If it hurts doing nothing/walking, go to a doctor.”

Below is a Beginner Running Chart for people seeking to start an exercise plan and need to lose 20+ lbs: (always start your run workout with a quick 5:00 walk and light leg stretch). The RUN / WALK method is highly recommended as you are learning to run.

 

 Each Run Workout is to be done THREE times a week

 

Week 1

Walk 20-30 minutes / stretching entire body daily  (monitor weight loss*)

Week 2

Run 1:00 / Walk 1-2:00 for 20-30 minutes

Week 3

Run 1:00 / Walk 1:00 for 30 minutes (listen body as injuries occur this week**)

Week 4

3 Sets of Run 1:30 / Walk 1:30 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 1:00

Week 5

3 Sets of Run 2:30 / Walk 1:00 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 30 seconds

Week 6

4 Sets of Run 3:00 / Walk 1:30

Week 7

Run 1 mile / try non-stop / walk 1 mile fast

Week 8

Run / walk combo 2.5 miles  (from weeks 8-10 – try to run as much as you can)

Week 9

Run / walk combo 2.75 miles

Week10

Run / walk combo 3 miles

 

 

  • * – if you are losing 2-3 lbs this week by simply adding walking / stretching and more water to your life – keep it up until weight loss slows to under 1 lb per week.

 

  • ** – Typically injuries occur during running programs the 3rd week IF too aggressive with initial training

 

Running When Overweight – The human body is built for survival and is quite resilient to most of the stresses we can throw at it; however, the knee is not designed to take too much excess weight even through a pain free running program. Usually meniscus and articular cartilage will wear away exposing bone on bone and premature arthritis. This takes years though. So, if you are over 40 lbs overweight replace walking/running everyday with some days of non-impact aerobics like biking, swimming, rowing or elliptical gliding.

Read more about proper running techniques to prevent injuries and get the most out of your running workout.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

Great Advice for Proper Running Technique by Stew Smith

Everyday you can usually spot someone who chooses running as their source of daily exercise. So many times people pass by, running in pain and obviously not enjoying the popular cardiovascular activity. Improper technique is the main culprit for less enjoyment and injury among runners. Maybe they would enjoy running a little more if they knew the proper techniques. Here are a few tips to help you pick up your pace and stay injury free:

Breathing – Take big, deep inhalations and exhalations similar to the way you yawn. This will help you receive the oxygen your body needs. Too many people breathe too shallow when they run, causing a hyperventilation effect. Slow down the running pace if you need to, but concentrate on your breathing.

Stride and Foot Contact – When jogging, open your stride but lean slightly forward to a point where you will land closer to the middle of your foot – not the back of your heel but the middle of your foot – and roll across your foot, pushing off the ground with your toes. But not flat footed! Many people run flat footed, back of heel strike, or on their toes causing stress on their feet, lower back, hips, knees and ankles. You can eliminate this by following the simple audio test. If you can hear your feet hitting the ground when you run, then you are running wrong. It should sound like your shoes are rolling on the ground quietly. Comfortable running shoes will also aid in prevention of injuries. Truly – it depends on if you are sprinting or jogging. If you are sprinting you will run more on your toes and when jogging you want a roll of the foot off the mid foot / top of heel (not bottom of heel).

Arm Swing – You should have a relaxed arm swing but very pronounced. Swing your hands from about chest high to just past your hips. The term “hip to lip” is a good way to remember this when you are running. Your arms should be slightly bent but not flexed. Run limp wristed. It is impossible to flex your arms with a limp wrist.

Relaxed Upper Body – You should relax your fists, arms, shoulders, and face. Too many people clench their fists and grit their teeth when they run. This causes the oxygenated blood that you need to go to your legs to also go to your upper body. The only things that need to be working when you are running are your “lungs and your legs.”

Start slowly and warm up – Do not stretch your legs until you have warmed up your body by jogging or biking slowly for about 5-10 minutes. Run every other day if you are just beginning and only add mileage to your run as you feel comfortable.

Running is statistically one of the most potentially dangerous exercises you can do, but it does not have to be as long as you remember to do everything in moderation and follow these running tips. So, do not be one of 50% of runners nationwide who injure themselves this year by running too often and incorrectly. Good luck and enjoy probably one of the best weight loss plans known to man.

Especially if you are overweight by 20-30+ lbs – running can be downright dangerous for long distances / even sprints. So pick a non impact aerobic activity as you lose weight to avoid the extra impact on your hips, knees, shins, feet, lower back. All of which are susceptible to impact injuries even if not over weight.

See this Beginner Running Plan that will slowly take you from walking to running.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.