Salt continues to be a hot topic in endurance sports. Should runners add or avoid salt in their diets? As with most things, the answer is: it depends.
The Scoop on Sodium
Sodium is a key electrolyte that the body needs to function properly; having either too much or too little in the system can lead to problems. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance in your body’s cells and impacts the function of nerves and muscles, including the heart.
Continue reading “Do runners need to add salt to their diet or take salt tablets before a race?”
with Dr. Richard Beauchamp, M.D., FRCSC
Two words that can really stress out a runner: stress fracture. A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone brought on by repetitive loading and strain, resulting in pain and tenderness at the injury site. Stress fractures occur most frequently in the foot (metatarsals), the shin (tibia) and the hip (femur or pelvis). The condition can be accelerated by inadequate muscular support; therefore, maintaining balanced muscle and bone strength is the best way to avoid a stress fracture. Bones are the skeletal structures that provide attachment points for muscles, ligaments and tendons, which exert force in order to generate movement. The bones also receive their strength from the proper use of the adjacent muscles, so any situation where there is muscle weakness or misalignment can lead to the weakening of the bones, which may, in turn, lead to fractures. Continue reading “Stressed Out”
with Tara Postnikoff
You may have noticed that sometimes there are conflicting results in scientific studies related to the foods we should or should not eat. One day you read that caffeine is good for you but the next day, it’s not. Sometimes carbs are the answer to weight loss, while other days it’s protein. The answer, in part, is because of our genetics. A newer field of study, called nutrigenomics, looks at how individual genetic variations affect a person’s response to nutrients and impacts the risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases. This can help runners take their nutrition to the next level and personalize their diets for optimal health and performance. In other words, while everyone can benefit from a healthy and balanced diet of nutrient-dense vegetables and minimally processed foods, your genetics can help identify specific nutrition recommendations to optimize health, body composition and reduce your risk of certain diseases. Examples of genetic variability include whether or not an athlete will respond to a given dietary intervention such as a moderate to high protein diet, or ability to metabolize starch well. These are key markers for runners to know whether they should be eating a high protein diet, or restricting carbohydrate intake. Another interesting gene is one that has implications for energy balance. Continue reading “Do my genetics influence the way I should eat as a runner?”
by Dr. Richard Beauchamp, M.D., FRCSC
Soft tissue injuries are the most frequent causes of back pain. Many muscle units extending from the pelvis all the way up to the neck support the spine. These are the spinae erectae and the quadratus lumborum muscles. Injuries to these muscles can lead to dysfunction and the development of back pain. Injuries are most frequently a result of weak pelvic and abdominal muscles superimposed on a poor running technique. Initial treatment for a runner with a recent injury means resting the back for about a week to let the soft tissues heal (NO RUNNING). Application of ice is a good anti-inflammatory agent without the side effects of oral medication. Ice should be applied with a towel covering for 20 minutes three times a day. Pain that lasts more than two to three weeks could also be treated with oral anti-inflammatories. During all of these treatments, maintaining an activity level is important (active rest). Cycling, walking and general muscle strengthening exercises are to be encouraged. Continue reading “Soft Tissue Causes of Back pain- Muscle, Fascia”
by Don Zabloski
While attending weekly toddler Sportball sessions with my son and young granddaughter, I have witnessed the positive relationship between age-appropriate exercise and an overall sense of well-being. As parents follow, direct and guide their children around the gym to attempt various physical literacy challenges, they are experiencing positive mood swings evident in their bright and happy facial expressions. Not to be outmatched, the children openly demonstrate their joy for chasing balls, spinning hula hoops and manipulating bean bags at their personal pace. Spirits have also been lifted for those of us on the sidelines, in the roles of enthusiastic cheerleaders and picture takers.
Continue reading “Active Minutes”
by Lisa Podlecki, RD, Diploma Sport Nutrition IOC
While plenty of attention is typically paid to pre- and post-workout nutrition, what you eat during a workout or race can also have an impact on your performance. For example, have you ever felt faint, light-headed or dizzy during a workout? Have you been unable to focus or concentrate? Do you find that your pace decreases during the second half of a race? Have you experienced a sudden loss of energy or “hitting the wall?” If any of these symptoms resonate with you, or you want to take your performance to the next level, consider trying the strategies below. Continue reading “Nutrition During Sport: Amping Up Performance”
by Tara Postnikoff
Don’t be fooled by seeds’ small size—they can pack a big nutritional punch. Like nuts, seeds contain a mixture of healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that offer potential health benefits. Seeds are a source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and their high fat content can help increase satiety.
It’s a mistake to overlook seeds as part of a healthy diet, especially for runners. Seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the body and must be obtained from food. Two powerful components of Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA is known to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties, and is thought to assist in joint lubrication and shock absorption. DHA is good for the brain as it improves blood flow during mental tasks, in addition to promoting cardiovascular health and muscle recovery. Read on to see what you think of these super seeds.
Continue reading “How do seeds benefit the runner?”
by Dr. Richard Beauchamp, M.D., FRCSC
Among runners and walkers, arm injuries are much less common than leg injuries. Even so, an injury to the arm or shoulder can be debilitating—anyone who has experienced the pain of inflammation around the shoulder knows what I mean. An athlete can cope with a leg injury by limping, using crutches, elevating, sitting, or lying down. In contrast, it is very difficult to “rest” an arm joint such as the shoulder or elbow. Even standing and sitting can require the arm musculature to contract, often resulting in pain. You just can’t “get away” from arm pain quite as easily.
Since runners pound the pavement so hard and so repetitively, it is a natural assumption that injuries would be confined to their legs. Runners’ legs have to contend with an inordinate amount of force—up to three or four times their body weight. These forces have to be absorbed by the body, thus injuries can occur in the legs, as well as up the skeletal structure to the back, neck and arms. Continue reading “Arm Injuries in Runners”
by Kaylie Wilson
Hi, my name is Kaylie Wilson and I am a Physical Therapist at Momentum Health in Calgary, AB. I have been practicing for almost 7 years in private orthopedics, so I have seen a lot of different injuries! I am also an avid runner and have been for 15 years. I have competed in 2 half marathons, and 1 full marathon, though currently, all my runs are with my very active border collie, Jackson. Due to the present COVID-19 pandemic, there are more people taking up running with gyms being closed, so now would be a good time to discuss common running injuries. The first one I am discussing in this week’s blog is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, otherwise known as Runner’s Knee.
Continue reading “Common Running Injuries”
by Lisa Podlecki, RD,
Diploma Sport Nutrition IOC
These stuffed mushrooms are a great twist on your typical Italian dish and a perfect way to add some extra vegetables and fibre your day. Feel free to swap in other ingredients based on your personal preference. Continue reading “Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms”