Running has become an increasingly popular activity for exercise among people of all ages. In fact, 60 million people within the United States participate in some form of running activity each year. People participate in running activities for numerous reasons including: improving fitness, weight concerns, running a race/competition, staying healthy, and having fun. Running for 5 – 10 minutes per day has shown to decrease the risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Running less than 50 minutes per week has also shown to reduce the risk of death from heart disease when compared to individuals who don’t participate in running at all. While running has many benefits, about 50% of people get injured each year from running. Running injuries can be caused by poor running technique, reduced strength and flexibility, improper footwear, as well as overuse.
Walking, running, jogging, dancing, are all functional activities we do daily without thinking about it. They simply come second nature to us and are essential to a healthy life. What if your big toe, also known as the hallux, was amputated? Would you still be able to do what you love at all or even with ease?
Achilles pain or injury can prevent itself in the form of tendinopathy (i.e. tendinitis or tendinosis), or the more critical Achilles tendon tear or rupture. The Achilles tendon is the tendon to the gastroc and soleus, which together are known as the calf muscles. The role of a tendon is to transfer the force from the contracting muscle to the intended joint of movement. Together these muscles plantarflex the ankle joint, or point the foot downwards. This action creates the force needed to push the ground away and help propel the body forwards (or upwards) when we are walking, running, or jumping. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, and the gastroc and soleus are the primary ankle plantar flexor muscles.
The body is one resilient structure that changes based on the loads you put on it to protect itself from damage. This is the entire reason why we get stronger when we lift and better endurance when we move. However, if we stay sedentary, the body finds no need to get stronger or build endurance. Therefore, exercise may just be the best medicine to keep you strong, moving, and healthy, especially if you’re 50 or older. Read on to discover the best exercises to stay fit and healthy after 50!
I don’t have to be the first to tell you that this has been a tough year for everyone emotionally, mentally and physically. Sticking to a healthy routine has never been more important. Throughout the last year, running has always been an outlet for me. Through tough, lonely, and cold days where it was an effort to even get out of the house, running has always put my mind and body at ease, providing stress relief and happiness, even if for a short period of time.
A common misconception is that strength training is only beneficial for young adults. This is simply not true! Strengthening can be beneficial at any age; in fact there is no age limitation to gain strength. We know that muscle strength can be increased by progressive loads at any age. There is also evidence that suggests muscle strength can help with mobility, such as gait speed, and improving function for tasks, such as standing up from a chair. Increasing strength in the older population is beneficial to decrease risk of injury and has other health benefits as well.
The IT band, or Illiotibial band, is connective tissue that runs along the lateral thigh from the hip to the outside of the tibia (shinbone), just below your knee. IT band pain occurs due to inflammation caused by friction between the IT band and thigh bone, often with repeated knee flexion and extension. This inflammation leads to pain on the outside of the knee, especially with repetitive use in running, walking, hiking and cycling.
As physical therapists, the physical component of health and wellness is easily understood and commonly discussed around injury prevention and rehabilitation. However, every day we treat patients that have also been affected by depression, anxiety, increased levels of stress, and low self-esteem due to injury and decreased functional ability. We strive to maintain a holistic approach to patient care and effectively serve the communities around us, remaining well acquainted with the benefits of exercise on mental health and wellness. Here are a few ways that exercise has been proven to boost our mental health.