Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care

Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care.
I need new running shoes. At my family’s request to add more fitness options we purchased a treadmill to extend the running season as no one in my family ( sheepishly I include myself here) are too keen to be running outside in the snow, snow shoeing is an altogether different activity.

So the giant box arrives and my son and I assemble the beast. This was made more difficult than it needed to be by two Lego lovers who should follow instructions better.
That aside, I needed new running shoes. This for me is about as appealing as Christmas shopping, there are too many choices, too many features, most of which are not suitable for many people.

There had been a trend to minimalist running shoes, shoes that were barely there to benefit people who wanted to get in on the barefoot or toe running trend that had been prevalent of late. I am not one of those people, at 190+ pounds minimalist shoes are not for me and I have not trained myself to be a forefoot running person.
If in the market for new running shoes for the purpose of running I would recommend you visit a running specialty store at least to have a discussion of what type shoe or even brand of shoe works for you, also bring your old shoes with you for the sales associate to look at.

Simple tips that you can apply if you’re shoe shopping.
Arches- Do the arches of your feet rest on the floor when you’re weight bearing, i.e you have flat feet? Then a shoe that has more support on the inside of the shoe are better, how can you tell if a shoe has more support for the arch? Grab a shoe and try to wring it out like a dish rag, can you? This is probably not a shoe for you. More supportive shoes often have an insert of some other material in the arch area. Second squeeze the heel, can you squeeze the sides together or are they stiff? Stiffer shoes won’t allow your ankle to roll in as much keeping a more neutral position.

Weight-Are you like me and are a heavier runner, you might want a more cushioned shoe, when you run you are landing with a force usually 2.5 times your weight again and again, in a mile you make approximately 2000 of those impacts, so you can see how cushioning might play a role. Also keep in mind that the foam will deteriorate with time and impact so you probably need to replace those shoes more often, as often as every 3 months depending on mileage.

Try before you buy- Before you shell out big bucks, try the shoes out, go for a short jog in the store, wear them for a bit. If they’re uncomfortable in a few minutes they’re not for you.

Size-Get sized, just like women’s clothes, a size 10 from one manufacturer may not be the same as another.

Don’t shop by fashion, colour, brand or price.

What does this have to do with chiropractic? As I mentioned running puts a lot of force through your joints, from your feet all the way up the legs to the knees, hips and eventually your spine. Starting to run is a big change for your body. Injuries to runners occur when you make a change of more than 10% to any running parameter, distance, speed, stride length etc. As a chiropractor I can help your body manage this change and the forces inherent with running.
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Back to school means buying backpacks

Back to school means buying backpacks

We’re getting close to what some parents will refer to as, “ the most wonderful time of the year”, when our kids return to school. Back to school invariably also means back to school shopping, and often at the top of the list is a new backpack.

Back to school means buying backpacks

For some this will be their first back pack and for others a replacement for the holey, tattered mess that barely survived the year.

Here are some tips for buying, packing and wearing a backpack.

What to buy:   Several things to consider here, size, fit and features.

If your child is a kindergartner, the back pack should be roughly the same size as their back, so a considerably smaller backpack than the one your teen needs. Look for padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit snug to their back, and internal pockets. Lighter materials are better such as nylon or canvas.

Older students, can have a larger bag, look for reinforced bottoms, padded backs, internal laptop sleeves, straps at the waist and chest will help to lessen the load on the back.

How to pack the bag:

This is important because the recommendation for those children under 10 years is that they carry no more than 10% of their body mass, that includes the weight of the bag itself! Older kids can have up to 15% of their body weight in the backpack, think about that for a minute, a 200 pound teenage boy should still only carry 30 pounds in their backpack! Check your child’s bag many high schoolers will have twice that, not good for a growing spine. A lot of this weight can be reduced by limiting a lot of junk from the bag, also bringing home and to class only what you need. Sometimes provisions can be made for students to have 2 sets of textbooks one for school and one for home if they’re having pain associated with carrying heavy textbooks back and forth from school.

Pack the bag with the heaviest items at the back closest to the body and use the pockets to distribute the load.

Wearing the bag:

Wear the bag with both straps, even though it’s cool not to, adjust the straps so they’re snug keeping the bag close to the body, not hanging way back and low like a teen boy’s pants.

As always if your child experiences any back pain, give me a call and we can assess the problem for any concerns.

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Heart Rate

A common question people ask when we discuss exercise is “ how do I know if I’m exercising hard enough?”. What should my heart rate be?

A reasonable question, it can be explained in a number of ways and may differ depending on the exercise goal. Most often we use heart rate as the measuring stick to determine the intensity of exercise, makes sense the harder you work the greater the need for your body tissues for oxygen and fuel, the faster your heart needs to beat to bring the oxygen and fuel around to the various tissues through the blood. We can also use breathing rate, more on that later. The intensity you exercise at is termed the training zone. This is merely a range of heart rate you should be working at to achieve a particular goal.

For example a person having a goal of increasing their cardiovascular endurance may have a different training zone than someone primarily interested in weight loss. Note that any exercise is beneficial for either population but there may be more bang for your buck at certain heart rates.

So how do you calculate your training zone? Typically we use a percentage of your maximal heart rate, well great but what is my maximum heart rate? We use a theoretical maximum of 220 beats per minute minus your age, so at 40 years old your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute.

Now that we know the maximum heart rate we need to be able to measure your heart rate, the easiest location is at the carotid artery at the side of the neck, to find this artery, slide your fingers backwards from the mid-line of the neck until you feel it, alternately you could use the radial pulse on the thumb side of the wrist just below the base of the thumb. The higher tech way would be to use a heart rate monitor which uses a sensor strap around the chest and wirelessly feeds the information to a watch. The advantage here is you can save this information to your computer and track your progress.

Now we know how to measure our heart rate, where should it be during exercise? To train your heart for endurance typically you want to work at a higher intensity of 70-90% of maximum , for more fat burning a lower intensity of 50-70% of maximum.

Another way to measure exercise intensity which is proven to be accurate, (actually a method developed by a University of Toronto professor I had) is the talk test. Simply to check if you’re exercising at a moderate intensity of 50%-70% you should be able to carry on a conversation without being breathless, if you are at a higher intensity you would be unable to carry on a conversation.

Put one of these methods to the test the next time you’re exercising and see if you’re at the right intensity for your particular fitness goal.

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Different Types of Exercises

By now you’ve seen my posts on the benefits of exercise, if there ever was a fountain of youth it is exercise.

For the uninitiated however, exercise is a loaded word, there are so many types of exercise floating about and all are the “best” at doing something, making you stronger, fitter, leaner, faster etc.

There may be some truth to that for the athlete, the bodybuilder etc., but when I’m recommending exercise or encouraging someone to be more active any exercise is good, with some exceptions, more on that later.

Lets break down some of the words of exercise to understand them better.

Aerobic exercise- aka “cardio”- this probably came into our collective consciousness in the ‘80’s with the “20 minute work-out” the leotards and the leg warmers. Aerobic exercise simply means “ with oxygen” your muscles are using a fuel source that requires oxygen and this exercise tends to be of a longer duration, minutes or longer and is responsible for innumerable health benefits; lowered risk of heart disease, blood sugar control, improved cardiovascular (heart/lung) health, blood pressure and cholesterol, mental health improvements etc. Walking or jogging, aerobic classes, cross country skiing are examples of aerobic exercises.

Anerobic exercise- this type of exercise requires no oxygen and depends on the fuel stored in the muscles for energy. This type of exercise is intense, short lived (seconds instead of minutes) think, sprint instead of marathon. Anerobic exercise tends to be uncomfortable, however it is short lived and can result in increased strength and endurance especially if done in sets or bursts of high intensity.

Resistance training/strength training- is just that working against some kind of resistance, this is what most people think of when they think of “weight lifting”, however you don’t need to go to a gym and lift iron barbells around to get the benefits of resistance training, you can simply use your own body weight or exercise bands to get a positive effect. What kinds of effects, you ask? The list is exhaustive but here are a few; increased lean muscle mass ( we lose muscle as we age), increase metabolism ( as muscle mass decreases so does our internal “ thermostat” so more muscle more fuel burned), decrease diabetes risk/ improve diabetes control, lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease…etc., you get the idea.

The best message is get out and do something that elevates your heart rate be it aerobic, anerobic or resistance training of some kind every day.


See Dr. Mike Evans great video here for more information.