Tips for Cold Weather Exercise

No need to be stuck in the gym all winter long! Exercising out in the fresh winter air can be healthy and invigorating. The American Council on Exercise encourages people to get outside to exercise even when the weather is cold, as long as they take proper precautions to avoid hypothermia. Those who have asthma or heart problems may wish to check with their doctor before beginning a cold-weather exercise program if they feel it could be an issue.

Check the temperature AND the wind chill – The US National Safety Council advises that exercising in temperatures 20°F and above is generally safe. However, there is an increased risk of hypothermia in temperatures below that, particularly if there is a wind chill involved. Be sure to check the weather conditions before setting out.

Dress in layers – Obviously, you want to dress warmly so as to avoid hypothermia, but you also do not want to become overheated and sweat excessively. Dressing in layers allows you to remove a layer as you become warmer, and also is better at keeping out the wind and cold. The layer closest to your skin should be a light layer of synthetic material that will wick away moisture from your skin and that will dry quickly. The next layer should be of polyester fleece or wool to keep you warm, and the top layer should be a lightweight waterproof shell.

Cover your head and neck – Half of your body’s heat is lost through your head, so be sure to cover it with a warm hat. Even better is something like a balaclava that will keep your head, neck, ears and much of your face warm as you exercise.

Wear mittens – Although insulated gloves can keep your hands warm, mittens are sometimes a better option, as your fingers being enclosed in the same space help to keep each other warm. You can also insert disposable hand warmers into your mittens before you set out and you’ll be good to go for hours.

Wear appropriate footgear – In snow and ice, injuries from falls are far more common and can put your exercise routine on hold for weeks. In slippery conditions, be sure you have footgear that has a good grip. Nonslip devices such as Yaktrax attach to your workout shoes to give you more traction on packed snow and ice.

Keep hydrated – Even in chilly conditions it is important to remember to drink water as you exercise. You still sweat and lose water through evaporation and through your breath, so be sure to take regular water breaks during your workout. Keep your water bottle in an inside pocket of your clothing to keep it from freezing.

By keeping these cold weather exercise tips in mind, you can enjoy the winter weather and stay fit year-round!

IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships 2014

Dr. Carly Maydenver sports chiropractor, was part of the medical treatment team, working with other therapists and doctors.  212 countries were represented by1600 athletes. 

Creating a Good Workout at Red Rocks

Whenever I need a full body workout, I head up to Red Rocks Amphitheater. My typical routine begins with running up the rows from the bottom to the top, which takes about 25 minutes. After that, i do a series of plyometric exercises mixed in with body weight exercises. Istart with the plyometrics, since they help to loosen up the joints and increase my flexibility. These include exaggerated skipping, kareokes, and side ways running. I follow it up with push-ups, lunges up the stairs (forward and sideways), squat jumps and single leg jumps.

One of my favorite exercises to tone the entire body at once is demonstrated below – tricep dip to glut bridge (see pictures below). I performed this exercise on the stairs at red rocks, but it can also be done at a gym on a bench. Begin with wrists on the stairs, with fingers pointing towards you, and feet out in front of you. The further your feet are from your body, the harder the exercise will be. Dip down, while letting your butt almost touch the floor. Allow your triceps to bring the body back up, and then use your glutes to drive your body further up. This can be done one leg at a time to increase the activation of the core, as well as the contraction of the glute. Remember to keep your back in a neutral position.

This exercise should be performed once initial core strengthening has begin and you can properly hold an abdominal brace while breathing at the same time. For help with proper rehabilitation of injuries or to learn about how to support the low back with an abdominal brace position, contact Denver Sports and Family Chiropractic Center.  

Chiropractic for Triathlon Performance

A triathlon is an athletic event incorporating back-to-back running, cycling and swimming. Triathlons exert great strain on the body, which may challenge athletes on both physical and mental levels. The extreme training a triathlete must endure can put the body under great cumulative stress, and it’s not uncommon for the athletes to suffer from a broad range of injuries and overuse stresses.

There are numerous worldwide triathlon events, such as Ironman70.3 Half-Ironman, Olympic and Sprint. The majority of these events advocate the use of chiropractic care to aid not only in treating injuries, but also to improve performance. Chiropractic care offers the possibility of enhanced finishing times and a greater likelihood of triathletes finishing events.

Chiropractic treatment is a practice that focuses on the neuromuscular skeletal system and its use optimizes biomechanics. For these reasons, chiropractic care is ideal for athletes looking to treat or prevent injuries.

One type of chiropractic treatment used by many triathletes is the “Active Release Technique,” which is a form of soft tissue treatment based on an advanced movement massage system. It is very effective in locating and treating the cause of soft tissue conditions. Active Release Techniques are used in most of the large name triathlons, including the Boulder Ironman.

Many triathletes suffer from injuries attributed to repetitive strain and stress, since excessive training can result in muscle restrictions due to adhesion formation. Before treatment takes place, a biomechanical analysis of the athlete is conducted to determine the exact location of restrictions in the body along the kinetic chain. Active Release Techniques focus on specific tissues that have become restricted physically, and are then manipulated back into their original texture, tension and position. Once the soft tissues are repositioned, specific exercises are then carried out in order to aid the recovery of damaged tissues.

denver triathlon sports injury

Unlike most treatments, treating the injured triathlete with chiropractic care does not require extended rest periods before improvements are seen. It is very common that injured athletes who receive the Active Release Technique show signs of improvement in just a few sessions. For those who are looking to invest only in preventive treatment, improvement in performance is also achieved in the span of a few sessions.

A possible reason that chiropractic care prior to an event can result in performance enhancement may be that spinal adjustments improve the body’s maximal oxygen consumption ability. Since prevention is easier than treatment of an injury, many professional athletes invest in preventive and performance enhancing chiropractic treatment.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. Dr. Carly May is certified in Active Release Technique and will be a treating provider at the 5150 and Boulder 70.3 in summer of 2013.

Why Having Good Posture Matters and What You Can Do About It

How many times did we hear from our parents when we were children, “sit up straight”?  Our parents were not telling us to do this merely to keep us from looking like a boiled noodle.  Good posture is important for a variety of health reasons as well.  It helps us to breathe properly, increases concentration, reduces the risk of neck and back pain and increases our sense of well-being.  

And yet most people have bad posture.  It is not surprising, given how many hours we spend sitting at a desk.  Both bad ergonomics and the number of hours spent sitting without getting up and moving around has led to an epidemic of bad posture – and subsequently many cases of back and neck pain.

According to Dr. Roger Sperry, who received a Nobel Prize for brain research, “The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism and healing.”  Proper posture opens the airways and expands the rib cage, allowing us to breathe more deeply. Our lung capacity is reduced by as much as 30% when we slouch.  A brain receiving its full measure of oxygen is more powerful and has a better ability to concentrate.  Your muscles and organs will also benefit from added oxygen, giving you more energy.

Poor posture also makes you tire more easily.  Our skeletal system was designed to perform optimally when we are in the correct posture. The spine takes the majority of the weight-bearing stress both when we are moving and sitting.  However, bad posture moves the weight to areas of the skeleton that were not designed to take a great amount of force.  This makes our muscles, tendons and ligaments work harder to keep us upright and puts excessive stress on less sturdy parts of our bones and joints.  This can lead to adhesions in the muscle to develop, from improper use, which can be easily treated by Active Release Technique.  Over time, bad posture causes changes to the spine that can become permanent, constricting nerves and blood vessels and leading to chronic pain.

Studies have shown that people experiencing depression felt markedly better when their posture improved, and it also increases self-confidence.  A study by researchers at Ohio State University instructed subjects to sit up straight or to slouch.  Of those who sat up straight, “Their confident, upright posture gave them more confidence in their own thoughts, whether they were positive or negative,” according to co-author of the study, Richard Perry, a professor of psychology at the university.

If you have proper posture you should be able to draw a straight line down from the earlobe through the shoulder, hip, knee and mid-ankle. Your chin should be parallel with the floor. Most people’s heads jut forward due to crouching over laptops and hand-held devices like mobile phones and tablets.  When the head juts only an inch forward from the spine it essentially doubles the amount of head weight the musculoskeletal system must absorb.

To help maintain your posture throughout the day, choose an office chair that is ergonomically designed, with extra support for the lower back. You should also get up and move around regularly throughout the day.  Furthermore, it’s important to strengthen your core muscles, which help to promote good posture. If you need help developing a core-strengthening program, please contact our office at 303.500.3414.  Dr. Carly May is a Denver chiropractor who also holds a Master's degree in sports rehabilitation and can help guide you towards exercises that are right for you.  

Denver Chiropractor can help cycling injuries

A burning sensation in the shoulders, numbness of the arms and hands, and tightness in the neck are common sensations among both recreational and competitive cyclists. They might be easy to ignore at first, but if they come back again and again they can seriously interfere with both enjoyment and training progress. Upper and lower back problems are another common consequence of regular cycling. Can a Denver chiropractor help with these problems?

Absolutely. In addition, chiropractors can help prevent injuries and even enhance speed, strength, and efficiency for healthy cyclists. Athletes of all kinds can find help with rehabilitation, maintenance, prevention, and treatment in the hands of a well-trained chiropractor. 

Chiropractors have a unique set of skills to offer cyclists, in addition to their general musculoskeletal expertise. Both specific and general skills are critical to successful treatment of cyclists because everything in cycling is interconnected: the nerves, the muscles, and the joints. In fact, if your physician or chiropractor doesn’t address all three of these issues at once, you are likely to continue to have the symptoms, pain, or injury without relief. In particular, a chiropractor that specializes in sports medicine is will probably have the most to offer you as a cyclist. They will also work with adjunct professionals such as sports trainers or physical therapists as needed to address your particular needs.

Solutions to problems cyclists experience will likely be multi-dimensional. That is, a combination of adjustments, soft tissue treatments such as Active Release Technique, exercises, and stretches will likely be required. For example, if a cyclist is suffering from lower back pain, it may be due to hip rotation. An adjustment of the sacroiliac joints will be quite helpful, but appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises will also be needed to address the weakness and tightness in the muscles that affect the hip joints. Strengthening exercises will contribute stability to the joint, while stretching will help to lengthen the muscles in the region thus preventing them from contracting when stressed. 

In fact, it is absolutely essential that patients do their part to contribute to their recovery from cycling injuries or pain. If you do not complete the required stretching and strengthening exercises at home, you may not see the relief you expect. 

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please call us at 303-500-3414. At Denver Sports and Family Chiropractic Center, we are here to help.

Dr. Carly at the USA Track and Field National Championship

This week I had the privilege of treating some of the fastest runners in the country at the USA Track and Field National Championship at Drake University.  I was there with a group of prestigious sports chiros, rotating on shifts so that the athletes had access to chiropractic care throughout the day.  On the busier days, I treated about 20 athletes per day.  As to be expected, the majority of the injuries consisted of hamstring strains, Achilles tendonitis, and low back pain.  I had free range with my course of treatment, and used treatments such as Active Release Technique and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, in addition to chiropractic adjusting.  

It was extremely rewarding to treat an athlete and then watch them compete moments later in one of the biggest events in their careers.  I look forward to working more events like these in the future.