There is considerable evidence linking the food we eat to a variety of illnesses. It’s not just a case of what we eat, but also what we don’t eat. So, in honor of #ShoppingCartDay here is a list of four must haves to add in your grocery shopping cart!
1. Shiitake & Button Mushrooms — A great source of vitamin D
Mushrooms are the only plant-based food that can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, in a manner similar to how your skin makes vitamin D. Place your mushrooms by a kitchen window for an afternoon prior to using them to get the best bang for your buck.
Research suggests that vitamin D intake can facilitate the absorption of essential trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and selenium. Healthy levels of trace minerals are required for all metabolic processes. There is literally no physiologic process, at the cellular or systemic level, that can operate at its best (or even operate efficiently) without trace minerals.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in teens and adults, so focusing on natural food-based options to help enrich your levels is a great (and easy) way to help ensure you are getting enough!
2. Bison — a complete protein, never exposed to antibiotics or growth hormone
What is a complete protein you ask? The difference between ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’ proteins is that complete proteins contain all essential amino acids your body requires daily, and incomplete proteins only contain some essential amino acids. Your body digests proteins you eat into amino acids, the building blocks needed to repair tissues in your body, provide energy, and perform all body functions. Because bison is a free-range animal and isn’t grain fed like commercially raised cattle the meat is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Bison, by law, can’t be treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and feed on grass pastures. The incredibly lean meat is an excellent source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. With a mild flavor and so many nutrients it’s a must try!
3. Parsnips — assist your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms
Parsnips are a root vegetable, which look a lot like white carrots. They contain nutrients and molecules known to support your body’s natural defenses against toxins. More and more we are seeing studies that show exposure to toxins has serious health consequences. The more you are able to assist your body in breaking down and removing toxins form your body the better, and of course natural means of assisting is the best!
Parnips, along with other apiaceous vegetables (veggies in the parsley family) are strong supporters of the first stage of detoxification- the inactivation of dangerous molecules that occurs in the liver. Looking for more options in addition to parsnips? Grab carrots, celery, parsley, and fennel!
4. Jerusalem Artichokes — Support a healthy gut
With a taste halfway between the nutty flavor of an artichoke heart and the savory flavor of a potato, the Jerusalem artichoke is a superhero for promoting gut health. Rich in what we refer to as ‘prebiotics’, this food (you are likely to find in the produce section of your grocery store) has a powerful ability to help foster growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics are fiber molecules that are digested directly by friendly bacteria residing in our small and large intestines. The digestion of prebiotics by those friendly bacteria produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that are a major fuel source for the cells that line our GI tract, that promote good immune function and have anti-inflammatory effects. With all the research suggesting an interrelationship between our gut and brain function, immunity, skin, and disease it’s so important to use all natural means available to you- and you might be surprised just how tasty Jerusalem artichokes are!
On the heels of the #RuntoRemember event on Sunday, I thought a release of the next installment in a series of blog posts related to reducing stress and positive thinking made sense. It seems as I write each of these, a new topic of discussion comes to mind. The first Blog post entitled “The Necessity of Difficult Things” discussed how I learned over time to find something that helped me constructively deal with stress. The post was intended to engage readers to reassess how they deal with stress, ask themselves if it is working for them, and nudge one down the path towards understanding what things may work better for them. Today’s post is a bit different, but again has roots in running. Odd for me to admit that something I hated and avoided for decades holds both obvious and hidden meaning. But as they say, life is a journey…
This past January my daughter Summer told me her New Years Resolution was to run her first half marathon before the year’s end. For some folks, this New Year’s Resolution might seem par for the course, but for Summer this is a big deal- a very big deal. Back in middle school she struggled to conform and feel comfortable in her own skin (rough times as we all remember). I knew her to be a hard worker, a smart and friendly kid who easily made friends with all sorts of folks, young and old. She really has a wonderful gift of making people feel comfortable and liking her off the bat. But it was very clear she lacked confidence, she was unsure of herself despite her natural gifts and how she viewed herself was very different (much less positive) than how others viewed her. This was painful to see as a mother, but not something that was remedied with me telling her more often how great she was and about the skills and gifts that I saw her use in her daily life. This was a personal journey that she needed to travel, and I could assist and play a big role in that journey, but it was one she needed to decide to embark on.
So I started seeding some food for thought on different ways she might be able to start this self-improvement project, and one day in January of 2012 she finally came to me and asked if I would help her train for a 5k race that spring. I enthusiastically agreed, and told her I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to spend some time together no matter whether she decided to run the 5k or not (keeping the pressure low at this point seemed important).
I think it’s fair to say all of us have some ‘thing’ or aspect of our lives we might want or need to embrace a similar ‘journey’ to tackle. Professionally or personally there is always something we can learn to better ourselves. But often it’s scary, or seemingly too big a hill to climb (or even begin to think about climbing) and we put it off. Every day Dr. Gerry and I work with people who feel they have an insurmountable task ahead of them in losing weight and regaining their health. And we very strongly tell them, ‘hey taking the first step to even have a conversation with us about that task is the breaking point… it means you have acknowledged to yourself the possibility of change‘. This blog post is about the power of possibilities.
As a young child Summer was very active, but she had broken her arm a couple years prior to 2012 and had since not really engaged in athletics, opting for books and school work instead. So at the age of 11 she did not have much of a base of cardiovascular fitness and I am fully sure she was equally scared stiff and excited about the goal she had set for herself. We started off slow… SLOW… getting some good running shoes… talking in depth about each daily and weekly goal and putting it into perspective. Week 1: 3 runs that week with each run comprised of 2 total minutes of running broken into 4- 30-second intervals with 2 minutes of walking in between… (2 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, mom! I can totally do that) …running meaning we go faster than walking but we are not racing each other. We kept an easy pace… nice and clear, seemingly easy -with very defined goals. And I did this on purpose because I remember vividly how much I struggled in the first weeks when I started running.
So our first day we were careful to make sure we had everything we needed. We had our headphones and music players charged up, I had my running watch to keep track of the time and we were off… and the first 30 seconds go by, not bad… the second 30 seconds is half way done and then it gets HARD. I offered some gentle support (almost there just a few more seconds!), big picture perspective (wow we are already half way done!!), and lots of positive feedback (I am so proud of you for pushing through!). That first week was an interesting combination of ‘oh boy what did I get myself into’ and ‘cool I did it’. And in this timeframe reassessment of the goal occurs… Can I really do this? Do I want to do this? And I tried very hard to provide positive feedback but not overdo it, while also actively knocking out any comments I heard about quitting (it’s been less than a week, I believe you can do this- so work with me for two weeks before you make any decisions).
When most people embark on a significant endeavor, one that requires time and energy and pushes you beyond your comfort level, that first week is the most critical. The small triumphs have not yet had long enough to build momentum and the discomfort is in the forefront of our minds. We see and feel the impossibilities… and have not yet allowed ourselves to be open to the possibilities. SOOOOOO many people quit in this first week, if I had a penny for every time I have heard clients tell me they tried to diet, or quit smoking, or exercise and couldn’t get through the first week. Change is hard, there is no doubt, but a shift in thinking is the key to success or failure.
So we are now about three weeks into our new endeavor, and Summer is pushing through- it’s not easy, but we are now running for 2-3 minutes at a time. She’s made it past the first two weeks; she has improved enough and shown enough resolve that now I can be a little tougher on her without fear she will flat out quit. In response to the ‘I have a cramp in my side I have to stop’ I can point out we have 20 seconds left in this 3 minutes and then we can walk it off and she trusts me enough to know I am not fibbing. I point out how far she has come in only three weeks and how she has completed every run we scheduled and followed through on her promise to herself to give it a shot… progress and positive reinforcement. Slow, but steady progress to build upon.
This is not all that different to what we see and hear with people on our programs. Some folks lean more on ‘I can’t’ and ‘I have to’ as a knee jerk reaction when the going gets tough. In any endeavor worth pursuing, the going ALWAYS gets tough. Instead of a reason to stop, look for a reason to continue. I’ve come this far; I CAN go a little further, and I trust that there is someone there to help me find strength to test my limits.
Each week Summer’s ‘I can’t’ comments are overtaken by ‘OK, let’s try’. In a subtle way Summer has PROVEN to herself that she is capable of more than she thought was. What a huge turning point. And this is really what this blog post is about. That time where something you were absolutely convinced you could never do becomes potentially possible. That door that was shut to you now is cracked ever so slightly open. Summer turned those three weeks into four months and we did our first running event, a one-mile run, on Mother’s Day 2012.
Summer was convinced that being a runner was not within her, yet she made it happen, slowly- with effort and setbacks- but she made it happen all the same. Once that limit had been tested and broken through I started to see her testing limits in all sorts of areas (school work, social settings, etc) and watched her confidence grow. She ran her first 5k in June of 2012, joined the track team her freshman year in high school, now she won’t bat an eyelash at a fun run 5k (even running solo when I am injured as the picture above shows), and she routinely kicks my butt when we run together. Once you prove yourself wrong and accept that maybe you can do more than you thought, the range of possibilities becomes endless because the world truly is your oyster.
With clients that go through our programs, we not only see a reduction of weight and improvement of health but we also hear them talk about renewed engagement at work, confidence that they can be successful in other things that they had been holding back on. Once you start testing your limits and find out you are stronger and capable of far more than you ever thought, the world looks different. You have proven you can do something you were so sure you could not do, so what’s next? What else have you closed yourself off to? Maybe it’s time to crack that door open just a bit and re-examine?
We are proud to announce the launch of the first in a series of special topic 20Lighter programs over the next 6 to 8 weeks. The 7 Day Healthy Gut Jumpstart Program is a self directed program designed to assist clients in achieving good gut health.
New research is confirming the major role your gut plays in almost every aspect of health and wellness… mood, metabolism, disease, and more. Now more than ever it’s important to understand what good gut health means, how and why it plays an important part in unlocking your best overall health, and where to begin assessing how to make changes to improve the health of your gut.
This 7 day, self-directed program is designed to accomplish each of these goals and get you on the road to unlocking good health and wellness. Visit the Healthy Gut Jumpstart Program page here to take our free gut health assessment and learn about the new program!
As a special introductory offer we are offering this program, valued at over $500, for only $95.
As we continue to digest all the comments from visitors to our poster presentation and put together a review of our data for you, here is a short video giving you an inside peek at this year’s American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting…
Why We Attended
The American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting (APAAM18) is this year’s largest gathering of mental health professionals in the world. This year the APA expected over 12,000 attendees to the conference that offers educational sessions and the latest research into all aspects of mental health including assessment, treatment, epidemiology, management of side effects, etc. This medical conference was a great venue for us to share with providers the benefit 20Lighter Programs offer their patients who have been prescribed drugs for depression and struggle with weight gain as a result. It also gives us the opportunity to get feedback directly from providers on what unique needs their patients prescribed antidepressant drugs may have that are different from our other clients. Overall our goal at 20Lighter is to help all our clients achieve success as they move towards a healthy lifestyle both from a mental and physical perspective.
What We Shared
Our presentation at APAAM18 came about as prospective clients asked us about their chances of being successful on 20Lighter even though they were taking antidepressant medications. With ~15% of our clients taking at last one prescription antidepressant at the start of their program, we felt it was important for us understand how this group of clients do versus clients who are not taking antidepressant meds. We reviewed all client data (all data was blinded and the study was approved by an Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical procedures and confidentiality) for those completing a 40Day program between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017. We analyzed the changes for each group (clients on depression meds or not on depression meds) from baseline (Day 1) to the end of the reduced calorie portion of the program (Day 40) in body weight, BMI, body fat %, visceral fat rating, and body water %. We found that the mean change from Day 1 to Day 40 in reduction of weight, BMI, body fat %, and visceral fat and increase in body water % were all clinically relevant and statistically significant. So each group- both clients taking and not taking depression meds both showed great changes in all body composition measures between Day 1 and Day 40. Next we wanted to learn if those changes from Day 1 to Day 40 were equal… did either group perform better? To see how the groups compared to each other we calculated the mean % body weight lost, reduction in body fat %, BMI, and visceral fat and the increase in body water % for both groups and then asked if those means were clinically or statistically different. We found that both groups of clients, those on depression meds at the start of their program and those not on meds did equally well, and that the improvements did not differ clinically or statistically.
What We Learned
We had great traffic to our poster, and lots of providers from all over the world stopped by to look at the data and ask questions about it. Some practitioners offered anecdotes from their own clients’ experiences, and some shared info they had learned at the meeting sessions they had attended. We will be expending this discussion into it’s own blog post as some specific new research providers shared is incredibly interesting to us and fits pretty smoothly with the overall tenets of our program. Very excited to share that blog post over the next week or so as we also share some video from the meeting itself.
Why This Matters To You
Some clients ask us why we go to these meetings, and how it benefits them. The answer to this question is really two fold. First the research that we do to submit data to the meetings for presentation informs us on how our clients have done on program historically. This work allows us to share solid data-driven information with clients concerned or focused on specific aspects relevant to them (I have type 2 diabetes what can I expect for results? Will my antidepressant medication impact my ability to do well on 20Lighter?). The more we understand how specific groups of clients do versus our clients as a whole, the better we can talk with them about how they will benefit from the program based on actual data, unlike other programs who rely on generalities and shrug off questions and addressing specific concerns with ‘oh yes our clients do great’ and avoid providing meaningful responses. 20Lighter takes the health and well being of our clients incredibly seriously, and we feel understanding- in a granular way- how our clients perform and what co-morbidities impact their ability to do well is of significant importance.
Additionally, every time we share our data with medical and health care community the feedback we get helps us make 20Lighter programs better. From adding new assessments to monitor progress from a different perspective to finding new products that offer our clients benefits on and off program, we always leave a medical conference with more knowledge than when we arrived. APAAM18 was no different; our exposure to the most cutting edge research into the causes and neurological mechanisms of depression allows us to further tailor our programs to help address the shared underlying physiologic issues that contribute both to weight gain and to depression. In short we want to learn and stay abreast of cutting edge research so we can make 20Lighter programs even more effective for our clients.
As April comes to a close, we’d like to take a few minutes to recap for you the media headlines, Scientific studies, and 20Lighter happenings that you may have missed. We review the most interesting and relevant topics to keep you in the loop on health & wellness articles and research. If you have an questions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jess Barnes, Ph.D. Gerry Dembrowski, D.C. Co-founders, The 20Lighter Program
Every golfer knows that good mechanics are the key to a consistent game.
Here we discuss the top three myths & misconceptions and look at what the scientific evidence shows.
#1: Golf is a low impact sport
Although considered a low impact activity as a whole, golf has some significant effects on specific parts of your body. A recent biomechanical study showed that the force generated during a back swing produced high peak tibial (lower leg) forces in the leading knee on par (couldn’t resist) with forces seen while jogging. So as you look at the number of rounds you play and the time spent at the driving range, the impact on your body may be significantly higher than you think.
#2: Golf, especially with a cart, is not a workout. And 10 pounds of body weight won’t make that much of a difference
Golfers walking 18 holes take between 11,245 and 16,667 steps on average. An adult has a 2.6-foot mean stride length, making the total distance covered while walking 18 holes between 5.5 and 8 miles. Those who use a golf cart tally an average of 6280 steps or just over 3 miles of walking over the 18-hole course.
So how would a 10-pound weight loss impact your body over those miles walked? Studies show the force (stress of weight bearing down on your knees) reduction is about four times greater than the actual weight lost. For every 1 pound of weight loss, there is a 4-pound reduction on your knee-joint load per step. So lets look at two practical examples for some perspective; for discussion sake we will say the number of steps taken is 13,956 or 6.8 miles (the mid-way point between the high & low for 18 holes from above):
Jack, weighed 210 pounds, and lost 10 pounds. Over 18 holes his knees see 326,400 pounds less in compressive load.
Arnold weighed 220 pounds and lost 16 pounds (the low end of the 16-22 pound average of our 20 day program). Over 18 holes his knees see 522,000 pounds less in compressive load.
As we get older it gets harder for our bodies to recover from this type of chronic strain, and injuries become more common. Be proactive in controlling your weight and reducing stress and strain on your joints to make the most of your opportunities to be out on the course!
#3: Stretching or resistance bands are the best way to improve torso and hip rotation to produce better Club Head Velocity (CHV)
Kinematic studies have highlighted the importance of adequate flexibility, particularly in the trunk, hips, and shoulders, to achieve the body positions required for optimal CHV. For perspective, reported averages of torso rotation during the back swing for a driver range from 78° – 109° with the pelvis rotating between 37° – 64°. This means if you were standing with your feet pointed straight towards 12 on the face of a clock your hips would to rotate to between 1:30 and 2 on the clock and your rib cage would rotate to between 2:30 and 3:30 on the clock.
Not surprisingly the accumulation of visceral fat (the fat surrounding the internal organs, sitting under the rib cage and in the abdomen) is a major factor in the degree of freedom one has to rotate the hips and torso. While stretching can provide some small benefit, only reducing that visceral fat load will enable significant improvement in the type of rotation needed to produce great CHV. The 20Lighter program and it’s patent-pending, visceral fat targeting meal plan produces dramatic changes in both the 20 day and 40 day programs.
Interested in learning more about how 20Lighter can help you reduce the stress on your joints, improve your energy out on the course, and really see improvement in your torso & hip movement? Sign up for a free introductory webinar hosted by the 20Lighter co-founders! Click here for more info
For all of those wondering if just one outrageous meal can really affect your health, we now have a definitive answer. A recent study looked at the effects of a single high calorie meal with high fat and refined sugar content in healthy individuals and the news is not good, actually it’s quite strikingly bad.
After just four hours, that one meal resulted in increased triglyceride, cholesterol, and free fatty acid levels. While that is not all that surprising, what was surprising was that the study subjects (healthy men described as ‘young, non-obese and exceptionally fit’) showed detrimental changes in blood cells and blood vessels and an immune response similar to one provoked by an infection.
The study showed the high fat/sugar meal induced changes in the blood vessels that mimic key early events in the development of atherogenesis (narrowing of arteries). It showed changes in red blood cells indicating a significant increase in inflammation, dramatic changes in the shape of the cells to morphologies that are commonly associated with Liver & Kidney disease. There was also evidence of increased white blood cells which produce pro-inflammatory molecules and are associated with athersclerosis. Lastly, the meal triggered oxidative stress mechanisms positively linked to risk of acute coronary syndromes in humans.
While this may seem overly technical and confusing, the bottom line is striking changes on many levels are found after only one high fat, high sugar, and high calorie meal. We spend a lot of time discussing with our clients the role that inflammation plays in weight gain and in metabolic disease. This study just provides some concrete evidence that points to why people can really struggle to regain momentum after falling off the ‘healthy eating’ bandwagon… there are indeed specific physiological mechanisms that have been triggered, and they have downstream effects on many systems and in order to get back to the state your body was in prior to the ‘splurge’, you are going to have to address those pathways/mechanisms until they are back under control again.
If this is the result in non-obese healthy individuals, imagine the consequences in those who are overweight or obese, have prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, or any other common metabolic conditions. Be careful about falling into the trap of ‘just one meal won’t hurt’…
It’s official… Spring is here! Depending on where you are in the U.S., you may have started to venture outside to begin shaking off that Winter hibernation mode. As Spring sports begin to come into play (hahaha), overuse injuries once again ruin peoples weekends & plans. Let’s discuss the most common injuries people encounter and what to do about them if/when they do rear their ugly head.
For those of us who are eager to get out of the house, Spring is both an exciting and stressful time. It’s the time of year we are all made aware of just how out of shape we ended up after the Winter, and reminded of how painful those first few weeks of getting back into the groove of your favorite sport can be. Usually most people start by revisiting their equipment, reviewing and organizing what they have and the shape it is in, then moving on to a formulating plan for that first week or two of significant activity, and lastly struggling through the aches and pains until your body has adapted. Here are suggestions to survive those very first two to three weeks with as little discomfort as possible:
Make a plan… a conservative & flexible plan. Map out those first 7 to 14 days, but allow yourself to modify if needed because of soreness, or if you find out your equipment needs to be tuned up, or swapped out.
Consider a supplement specifically to help with muscle soreness. Some folks are weary of supplements, others swear by them… but it’s hard to know what is hype and what really works. There are clear and Scientifically validated benefits to supplementing at the start of, and during, a sports season. For more on this topic check out our ebook on Supplements for Active People & Recreational Athletes.
Stay hydrated, focus on protein after your workouts/practice, and get adequate rest.
Once you have survived those first few weeks, and feel like you have established a baseline of cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength is when you are most likely to injure yourself. This is when the overuse injuries can start to come into the picture. You are feeling good, stepping up your mileage, playing 18 holes for the first time, or going for that extra batting practice. And sometimes we bite off a bit more than our bodies are ready to chew, and pay the price. Usually within 6-12 hours you KNOW you overdid it. But then what? What is the best way to manage those overuse injuries? How can you get back into your groove as soon as possible with minimal setback? These are the questions weekend warriors and newbies struggle to answer. Let’s talk broadly and then then look at a few specific examples.
First, there is no way around the fact that when an injury pops up; Yes, it WILL require you to step back from your current schedule to recover and heal. But in most cases you can find some option that helps preserve some level of fitness so you are not starting again from zero. Think about cross training options that involve different motions, but allow you to keep your cardiovascular engagement (elliptical, rowing, stationary bike, etc). Most injuries arise either out of repetitive motion or an awkward/unnatural movement of the body. Injuries that happens as a direct result of the repetitive nature of your sport of choice include shin splints (repetitive motion = steps), golf elbow (repetitive motion = swings), and in order to heal and get over the injury you have to stop the repetitive motion and allow the inflammation to work itself out. In other cases where the injuries are related to an overextension or awkward movement (ankle sprain, shoulder strain), again time is needed to allow the healing of damaged tissue, but the origin of the problem is not the motion itself it was a collision, overexertion, or misstep.
There is a saying ‘money is the root of all evil’… well recreational athletes know that it’s actually inflammation that is evil. In general, aches and pains after exercise and most (if not all) injuries include moderate inflammation, so here’s a recap on what is known about at-home treatments.
Everybody knows ice helps… first thing anyone will tell you is ‘Go stick some ice on that’. Ice is good, but contrast therapy is better, much better. Contrast therapy reduces pain & swelling, allows recovery from injuries with reduced pain medications, and is helpful even when you are not injured (quicker recovery after exercise). Contrast therapy is a fancy sounding name for alternating application of cold and hot to an affected area. Apply ice or an ice pack (use a paper towel or very thin cloth between your skin and the bag of ice or icepack) to the area of injury for 10 – 15 minutes then apply mild to moderate heat (try putting rice in an old sock, tying off and popping in microwave for 60 seconds) again leave in place for 10-15 minutes, then repeat the ice step. Always start and end with cold treatments. Consider buying a box of small paper dixie cups, filling about half full and freezing overnight, then peel off the top of the cup exposing the ice but leaving a place to hold the cup while you rub over the area of injury. Contrast therapy is particularly effective in treatment of an overuse injury & strains and sprains, but be careful about using hot compresses immediately after getting hurt, or where obvious swelling is still apparent.
Any way you slice it, there is some short term easing off needed to allow healing and recovery back to 100% function. During this time, what strategies can you use to 1- get smarter and avoid this frustrating and painful issue in the future, and 2- minimize the impact on your season. When an injury happens, read up on it… understand why and how it happened so you can take steps to avoid this issue in the future. Yes, you have golfer’s elbow, but do you know the part of your body that is inflamed? What motion in particular is associated with this injury? Are there drills or exercises you can do to strengthen that muscle or other compensatory body parts that can help reduce the strain & in turn reduce the likelihood of another injury? Are there support items you can purchase to help recover and prevent another injury (brace, KT tape, etc)? Is the injury a result of worn out equipment? Perhaps the injury you have is NOT from only one of these factors, maybe there are several contributing? Get smart about not only what the problem is, but why it happened and take steps to avoid this in the future. It’s no doubt frustrating to have to ease off your plans, but when you get informed about what is going on, why it happened, and what you are doing to prevent it from happening again those feelings of frustration & disappointment are replaced with a plan to avoid revisiting this in the future. Revisit other activities you can do that don’t hurt, non-impact options like elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and rowing machines may not be ‘your thing’ but in the short term they can help you not lose fitness while you recover.
Here’s my personal anecdote on overuse injuries, and how I am currently dealing with the disruption it causes. My daughter and I have as our 2018 New Year’s Resolution to run a half marathon together in the Fall. This will be her first half, and longest distance to date, with mostly 5k’s under her belt. I set my training plan beginning on February 1st, was out for that first run on January 31st, ahead of schedule and was immediately reminded of just how awful the first two weeks of getting back into shape can be. But I stuck with it, and little by little I rebuilt my cardiovascular fitness and was able to manage a respectable 3 mile training run by mid March. The weather has not been cooperating, the ground is a mess with ice, snow, salt, sand, and bits of tree branches all over. But, I hate the treadmill so much that when it started to get up to about 40 degrees outside I was bundling up and heading out for my runs. Using MapMyRun, I had some great routes sketched out, investigating some new areas, and enjoying some consistency in my 3-4 mile runs. And last Tuesday that all came to an abrupt halt when I woke to discover I had fantastic posters shin splints in my right leg. Oh joy. I started with the NSAIDs, and I ran through the pain but cut back my distance. I revisited the treadmill for softer surface, but it just got worse. I was forced to admit I needed a full few days off to recover. So I refreshed my memory of what causes posterior shin splints (which are different than regular shin splints), and realized I had several issues in play… using old worn out shoes (trying to spare my new trainers from the muddy water), uneven surfaces (my new routes had significantly sloping road edges), my gait (I am a mid foot striker and land heavy on the outside edge, the motion which put significant strain right in the wrong spot), and hill terrain (my new routes had a few respectable climbs). So all these things together were affecting my situation. Back to the drawing board I went. I mapped out new runs in varying distances with a keen eye towards elevation gains over the route, then drove the course to check the road conditions and make sure the edges did not slope too sharply, and threw out my old shoes so I would not be tempted to use them again. And while I have been sidelined for a few days, I have felt like I have used that time to help prevent the likelihood of ending up in this spot again. I am looking forward to getting back out on the road, and as luck would have it there are some great mid-50’s temps arriving mid week to help get me back out there even if for a shorter distance than I had originally planned.