BodyGears_June Issue

The physical therapist’s perspective on running might differ slightly from typically advice you see online. While others might be experts in building running programs, we’re the movement experts with training to know what basic abilities your body should have to make you the most efficient runner you can be. Not only does an efficient running technique prevent injury, but it lowers your energy consumption, meaning you can run faster for longer.

NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body ®



INSIDE: • Our 5 Key Elements for Successful Marathon Training

It’s that time of year again when we brush off the dust from our outdoor running gear, boot-up our favorite running tracker, and hit the pavement for the start of marathon training season! Seasoned runners might be fine with a 12-week training plan, but if you’re newer to October’s Chicago Marathon, starting now with a 20-week plan is an excellent idea. Keep reading for tips and tricks from the movement experts that will get you to PR no matter your experience level. (continued inside)

• The Best and Worst Cross- Training Activities For Runners

• Staff Spotlight

• Exercise of The Month

• Patient Success Spotlight



NEWSLETTER The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body



The physical therapist’s perspective on running might differ slightly from typically advice you see online. While others might be experts in building running programs, we’re the movement experts with training to know what basic abilities your body should have to make you the most efficient runner you can be. Not only does an efficient running technique prevent injury, but it lowers your energy consumption, meaning you can run faster for longer. 1. Warm-Up the Right Way Yes, there is definitely a wrong way to warm-up before a run. Two wrong ways, in fact. These are static stretching (holding your muscles at end-range for 30 seconds) and ballistic stretching (leg swings and fast shoulder/torso twisting). The reason we warm-up is that we don’t typically use our muscles through their full range of motion during our usual daily activities. The warm-up is supposed to give your body a chance to ACTIVATE the muscles through ranges they haven’t had to use yet that day without overloading them too soon. Neither static stretching nor ballistic stretching provides that active component that your body is craving. Instead, adopt a solid dynamic warm-up that requires the muscles to actively shorten and lengthen through their full available range of motion. Ask your physical therapist to develop a custom warm- up for you based on your trouble areas or email to request our standard runner’s warm-up. 2. Check the Cadence on Your Base Mileage You should be running 3-5 days a week and a great goal is aiming to run 50 miles a week by race day. Even if you follow the recommended advice and increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week, you’re still at risk of running with aches and pains if your running technique is inefficient. An easy way to check your risk level is to calculate your cadence: While you’re running, set a timer for 30 seconds and count the number of times your left foot hits the ground. Double that number to include the right foot and then double that number again to get to 60 seconds to give you your spm (steps per minute). If your number is below 160, make an appointment with us ASAP. If you’re below 170, try increasing your cadence by 4spm each week until you get there. Advanced runners can even try going beyond 170 to 180 by increasing 2spm each week. The main goal with adjusting cadence is to prevent overstriding which can easily lead to injury. 3. Maintain Full Hip Range of Motion We commonly see runners for knee pain but the problem is almost never at the knee joint. Stiff hips that don’t

move through their full range of motion can cause more torque through the knee leading to pain and potential injury.The motions that are typically limited are hip extension (moving the leg behind you) and either internal or external rotation. Test your hip extension by lying face down with a pillow under your stomach and your knees bent. You should

be able to lift your knee about 6 inches towards the ceiling, it should feel the same on both sides, and you shouldn’t have to extend your back. Test your hip rotation in sitting by moving each foot all the way to the left and right. Again, it should feel the same on both sides and you’re looking for around 45 degrees in both directions. If you find you’ve got tight hips, stretching isn’t always the answer. Request a free screen with a Body Gears physical therapist to determine whether the issue is a joint restriction, short muscle, or weak muscle. 4. Train Your Foot Muscles If the issue isn’t at the hip, then it’s almost certainly at the foot and ankle. As the part of your body that strikes the ground, your feet are an incredibly important area to train individually. In particular, the intrinsic muscles of the foot help to prevent over-pronation and plantar fasciitis by supporting the arch. Check out the Exercise of the Month in this newsletter for a great exercise to work those overlooked muscles. 5. Keep the Ice in Your Water Bottle First of all, if you have to ice something after most or every run, that’s not normal. Come see us ASAP. If you’re icing “prophylactically” after your long runs to prevent muscle soreness or it’s a habit from an old injury, then cut that out. Ice restricts blood flow and you need blood to bring nutrients that make your muscles stronger and to flush away cellular waste. If you’re feeling a little swollen or inflamed after a long run, try compression and elevation instead. Inflammation can be a good thing and the misconception is that we need to get rid of it immediately. Inflammation is only a problem if it sticks around longer than 24 hours. If you’re noticing swelling with or without pain after a run, it’s typically a sign of increased joint stress and a warning that an injury could be around the corner. It’s best to come in for a free screen to find out what’s going on and how you can optimize your performance.


The Best and Worst Cross-Training Activities For Runners

We highly recommend cross-training once a week as part of your marathon prep. Using muscles outside of your running pattern and strengthening different muscles will help you maintain efficient running mechanics and balance to your body. However, many runners are concerned that certain activities might be detrimental to their training and others want to pick the best activity that gives them the most bang for their buck. Below is a list of three best and three worst activities for runners and you can use the reasoning behind our choices to help you make decisions on other activities you might be interested in. Best: 1. HIIT Training: Doing interval training with callisthenic and light resistance exercises at high intensity (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great compliment to marathon training. You’re still challenging your cardiovascular system and the variety of exercises you can do keeps things mentally interesting and physically beneficial. There are lots of great classes, apps, and free videos out there but it’s easy enough to make your own workouts too using just the timer on your phone and a little creativity (lunges, squats, step-ups, push-ups, and mountain climbers are a great place to start). 2. Tennis: This is one of the best sports you can pick to balance out your running routine. The reason is that running simply involves moving forward in a straight line which means muscles involved in rotation and lateral motions aren’t getting any attention. The lateral motions involved in tennis are great to workout muscles that don’t get used much with running but are still needed to provide support to your joints. Not to mention you can still get a great cardio workout and it’s a non-contact sport. Basketball is also a great choice but is higher impact and can involve a bit of contact depending on your level of competitiveness. 3. Yoga/Pilates: These are great options for building body awareness and increasing balance and stability. Even if you’re someone who is already

® really flexible, this might even be the best choice for you to learn to better stabilize your joints through those greater ranges of motion you’re able to go into. These are also great options for incorporating rotation and reaching the limbs outside of that forward plane. Worst: 1. Elliptical: People often consider this a great no-impact version of running that lets you get more mileage in but we wouldn’t even count this as cross-training since you’re using almost exactly the same motions as running and staying in that single forward plane. Using this machine won’t necessarily make you a worse runner but it makes the top of our list since it defeats the whole purpose of cross-training. 2. Rowing Machine: People who have never rowed competitively will tell you that this is primarily an upper body exercise but that is false. There’s a specific technique to using the rowing machine properly and your legs should be your powerhouse with your upper body assisting. Since cross- training should give your legs a bit of a break from being the powerhouse, this isn’t a great choice for complimenting your marathon training. On the other hand, doing row exercises with pulleys or weights using just your upper body could be a great component of some HIIT training. 3. Cycling/Spinning: For the same reasons as above, this requires all leg effort in a single forward plane. Sure, you can get a great cardio workout in but you’re not really mixing things up for your body in the way that cross-training is intended to do. If you want to pick something where you’re still only moving in that forward plane, then swimming is a much better way to go. If you’d like to know why swimming didn’t make our top 3 list, email to find out and also receive our free dynamic warm-up routine for runners.


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Patient Success Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

"Body Gears did an amazing job. I had plantar fasciitis on my right foot and could hardly walk in the mornings it hurt so bad. I went to other PTs, doctors, even had cortisone shots but nothing helped. I was told I would have it forever and would need to alter my entire running program to include icing, stretching, etc. Well, that's just not true. After about 6 visits at Body Gears, the pain completely went away. I can run and ski pain-free and I don't have to wear those silly socks at night. The clinic was clean, bright, and the staff was very accommodating with my hectic schedule.The therapist worked with me one on one for almost an hour every visit addressing my foot, knee, gait, and posture. They explained why I had persistent back pain and helped heal not only heal my foot but I was able to overcome all sorts of other nagging aches and pains. Body Gears is a group of wonderful extremely talented PTs." - S. H. (Body Gears Graduate) "Body Gears is a group of wonderful extremely talented PTs.”

Dr. Katrina Carpenter, PT, DPT

® Katrina earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. She also has a Bachelor of Pre-Physical Therapy degree with a minor in biology from Northern Illinois University. She completed internships in Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Rockford, and Seattle Washington during her graduate school experience and has developed an interest in pelvic health. She has experience in manual therapy and is now working on a certification in Functional Mobilization and Pelvic Floor. Certifications & Training • Doctor of Physical Therapy • Licensed Physical Therapist by the State of Illinois • APTA/IPTA Member (See Q & A with Dr. Katrina on the insert.)

Exercise of the Month Toe Yoga

Create a supported arch in your foot by alternating lifting the big toe while keeping the rest of the toes down and lifting the toes while keeping the big toe down. Work on one foot at a time while seated and progress to standing once you’ve mastered it. If you’re struggling, try using your fingers to both pull up and help create the arch or pull up lightly on the toes you’re trying to keep down to give them more input to push against. You can also try positioning your toes first with your hands then trying to hold the position as you remove your hands. Don’t get discouraged! Eventually you’ll be able to keep practicing under your desk at work or during your commute.


There’s a lot of advice out there for runners – what shoes to wear, how to design a training program, what to eat and drink, race mistakes to avoid, and on and on. Running form and technique advice is in a category of its own with often conflicting and ever-changing advice. When that happens, at Body Gears we like to consult the evidence! If we want to talk about having an ‘economical running technique’ we first need to answer, ‘what is running economy?’ Running economy refers to how much energy it takes YOU to run at a specific speed. If you have a good running economy, you will need less energy to run at the same steady pace than someone with a poor running economy. Running economy measures energy expenditure by comparing your oxygen consumption with your carbon dioxide output (respiratory exchange ratio). Using less oxygen indicates you’re using less energy, which means less effort and more energy to run further. If two elite runners have a similar VO2max, the winner will have a better running economy. Now you’re probably raring to go, thinking ‘Just tell me what I have to do to improve my running economy!’ but researchers have stopped to ask whether it’s even possible to influence your running economy with your running technique. An article from Sports Medicine titled, Is there an Economical Running Technique? explored this question by reviewing several research studies to evaluate which factors most strongly impact running economy. They categorized their findings into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors refer to your running technique. The phase of running that can be modified the most is the ground contact phase during propulsion, which they found has the most effect on running economy. There is a mathematical way to calculate your optimal stride frequency and length, and experienced runners will generally be within 3% of that number. However, if your stride length is 6% greater than that optimal number, it will be detrimental to your running economy. Another major intrinsic factor is vertical oscillation (how much you bounce up and down). Performing less work against gravity will improve your running economy. Consult with a physical therapist if you think

this is an issue for you or you want to have this running component analyzed. The technique with the strongest evidence for improving running economy is to extend your back legless as your toes leave the ground. You can achieve this by not pointing your toes as much or not extending your knee as much as you push off the ground. There are a variety of reasons for this but primarily it puts the muscles on the back of your leg in a stronger position and uses less energy to flex your leg during swing phase to prevent your toes clipping the ground. Last of the intrinsic factors is the ever-debated foot strike. To rearfoot, midfoot, or forefoot strike? This largely depends on your level of experience. Referring solely to running economy, experienced runners will be unaffected by whatever foot strike they chose. However, novice runners will see a decline in running economy when switching from rearfoot to forefoot striking. This is largely due to the method by which most people will attempt to transition their foot strike pattern. If you do want to change your foot strike pattern, then enlisting the guidance of an experienced running coach or physical therapist to prevent any detrimental effects to your body or running program. Finally, extrinsic factors refer to your shoes and running surface. If your shoe weighs a pound or more, the weight of your shoes can negatively affect your running economy. The surface you run on should be firm with a small amount of give for the greatest economic benefit. Too much cushioning (like sand) puts an increased demand on your body, while no cushioning (like concrete) doesn’t give you any mechanical benefit. The best surface (like grass or a track) will have some elastic recoil to it and return more energy to your body when you run, which will improve your running economy. Remember that running economy is only one aspect of running and there are even more factors that can affect your running economy, like genetics and medical conditions. The physical therapists at Body Gears can assist you with not only implementing the intrinsic and extrinsic factors listed above, but also address any mechanical, neuromuscular, or motor control barriers that may be impacting your run.

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{ a girls night out with a purpose }

join us

It’s our 5 year anniversary and we’re celebrating with a fun night of pampering, shopping, & honest conversation about women’s health & wellness.

July 10, 2019 | 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Artifact Events 4325 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago For more information: • 847.293.5283 To purchase tickets visit:

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