October 2016

How to Enjoy the Fall Weather Injury Free!

Fall is upon us and many of us feel inspired to enjoy the last bit of our warmer weather before the snow hits. This means walks, hikes, bike rides, runs, and many more awesome outdoor activities. With Gatineau Park just next door and so many of us gravitating to its lovely trails, we want to go over some simple and useful tips to enjoy this added outdoor activity and avoid injury and/or pain.  

Remember to always stay hydrated during and post activity! Even though it's a cooler temperature outside, your body still needs water. Dress appropriately: wind breakers, rain coats, and sturdy closed toed foot wear will keep you safe and comfortable. And you should always tell someone where and when you are going out; or better yet, take a friend!

Now for our expert guidance: make sure you warm up before your activity! Begin with five to 10 minutes of warm up, especially your ankles and hip joints. Focusing on healthy mobility, stability, and flexibility of the ankles and hips will reduce the possibility of injuries when trail running or hiking, as well as any painful calf cramps.

Take a look at our drills/exercise section mentioned previously for many mobility drills to help you achieve a proper warm up! This ankle drill is definitely a good start. 

When performing your outdoor activity, make sure you are staying strong and in control. While having fun, make sure your body is recruiting the right muscles while walking/running/cycling and try not to rely on old antalgic gait patterns (moving in a way to avoid pain). Creating a sense of body awareness will help you avoid injuries, as well as connect you to the exercise even more. It's a great idea to get a full functional assessment to ensure you are moving well.

Finally, stretch!  It will only take you 10 minutes and you will feel a world of a difference the next day and the next time you're out trekking.  Now it's important to focus on areas that are tight, and for the purpose of this newsletter we will focus on the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus, two muscles that cross the ankle joint. These muscles plantar flex the foot at the ankle (push your foot down into the ground) and the Gastrocnemius also flexes the knee.  Since the Gastrocnemius crosses two joints, the knee and the ankle, to properly stretch both muscles you can not preform the same action. To stretch the Soleus you want to extend your knee (keep your leg straight with NO bend at the knee) and dorsi flex your ankle (bring your toes up toward your body), this can be done by placing your foot up against a curb for instance.  To stretch the Gastrocnemius flex your knee (bend your knee) and dorsi flex your ankle. These two stretches will be felt in two distinctly different areas of your calf. The Soleus is felt lower closer to the ankle and the Gastrocnemius higher closer to the knee.  Remember to hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds, about 6 deep breaths, and move slowly into them, ensuring the stretch is pain free. If you feel pain, stop what you are doing and contact us so we can remedy the issue.  

So there you have it guys, a few easy tips to happily enjoy the beautiful outdoors while staying injury free.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestion please send them our way. We love to help you!

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