Monthly Archives for March 2015

Go with the flow!

Fitness, Fitness related, Marathons - Anupriya kapur - March 25, 2015

When I started running a couple of years back , and since I had never been into sports or intense physical activity before, one question always plagued me. Is it ok to run during your periods? What if I get them on the day of the marathon? My curiosity led to a lot of reading and talking to long distance runners (in Philippines and India).

Yes, almost all of  us are irritable and sluggish during that time, and understandably so but it’s mind over matter all the way. Running and exercising during PMS and periods don’t affect us negatively, however, if your period becomes very irregular, slows or stops completely, it’s definitely time to see a gynecologist.

cramprun

Here are few pointers I have gathered over time –

Don’t stop – Moderate exercise and running can actually improve various severe side effects of menstruation — including uterine cramping, vomiting, nausea and back pain. As per Livestrong.com when you exercise, your body increases blood flow to the uterus and boosts its production of endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that may counter the affects of these pain-inducing prostaglandins in some women.

Pay attention to hydration – During ovulation, the body temperature goes up. So hydration is even more important.

Clothing – Wear dark comfortable clothes (why am I even saying it!) and dress cooler than you normally would.

Avoid binging – It’s best to not give into craving for junk food and opt for food rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and B-complex. Try to include nuts, leafy salads, sautéed vegetables, fish, red kidney beans, broccoli, chic peas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, avocado, yogurt, milk, oranges and figs in your meals.

It’s the best time to indulge in some dark chocolate as it’s rich in nutrients.

Pads/Tampons – As per a lot of runners I spoke to apparently tampons work better. I still haven’t tried it though. I have been able to avoid chafing caused due to rubbing of pads by applying Vaseline on the inner thighs. I do that only in case of long runs. It was my first day during Airtel half 2014 and I came out unscathed!Yes!

Menstrual Cups – Apparently they work even better than Tampons. I haven’t tried them either. 

Be prepared – In case of long runs, I carry a waist pouch with wet wipes and extra pads. And I also cut down the distance I was planning to run if I have to, without feeling too bad about it.

At the end of the day, we need to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t. Be in touch with your body and listen to it.

So, go with the “flow” I say 🙂

 

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Let’s get straight to the point – Dry Needling works!

Marathons, Running Related Injuries - Anupriya kapur - March 9, 2015

As one starts running longer distances, one starts recognizing the difference between an ache (muscles and body getting used to new work-out) and pain. 2014 was a year of all sort of painful injuries and, as a result, a lot of learning (not).

A runner friend once told me to cut down on the distance I was planning to run – in  case of paucity of time – but  never to miss out on dynamic stretches and foam rolling before and static stretches post the run. I paid a very heavy price for not following her advise. But then runners are a stubborn bunch (that also explains why we are able to run unfathomable distances). I kept running on tight calves despite knowing it’s foolish to run in so much pain. It resulted in a micro fibre tear! (What now?)

My physiotherapist suggested that in order to release the knots formed around my calves (trigger points which are extremely painful and from where the pain radiates), we use the dry needling method*.

Dry needling is used for dysfunctional muscles, encouraging the muscles to release chemicals. The release of these chemicals helps the muscles loosen and relax. Think of it as the deepest deep tissue
massage you have ever experienced.

I put all my faith in him and went ahead with it. He inserted about 5-6 needles into certain knotted areas (and moved the needles slightly) to release the muscle.

Image courtesy beverlyjacobsequinemassage.com

Image courtesy beverlyjacobsequinemassage.com

Overall the experience of needling wasn’t too bad except it left my legs sore for a few days. But the relief I felt was tremendous, as if a lot of weight has been lifted from my ankles. I felt really light and ran a very happy half marathon in Bangkok. So, I’m kind of sold to the idea of this alternative technique to release tight muscles, if it comes to that. But I also believe that the right chiropractor or physiotherapist is the key.

Having said that, now I’m serious about my stretches. It is critical to warm up before a run to ensure proper blood flow to the working area, it also improves the flexibility of muscles and range of motion.
While static stretching post a run is to help the body relax and return to a steady state of rest. There is decrease in muscle tension and increase in muscle relaxation which is important to avoid injuries.

I will write a blog entry soon enough on dynamic and static stretching which has helped me.

* According to the Dry Needling Institute:
“Traditional Acupuncture is used for the diagnosis and treatment of pathological conditions including visceral and systemic dysfunction, while dry needling is used for the assessment and treatment of
myofacial pain syndromes and dysfunction due to myofacial trigger points / tension areas / muscle spasm / increased tonicity.”

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