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Category Archives for "I Want to Reduce Pain"
1

Pregnant, Physically Phit, and Powerful

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: My wife is incredibly active, and pregnant. She is strong and not the type to consider a walk exercise but the doctor’s advice has been too generic.  “Don’t do more than you can handle” type of answers. What are the best activities for her, activities that are still challenging? She’s at the end of her 1st trimester; has been running, biking, and swimming. She used to do Triathlons. Didn’t do one this weekend because she’s been zapped of energy lately.

Jeremy, Goleta, CA

Kymberly: Good thing you came to us, since we were once fetuses AND pregnant moms. Yup, revel in those credentials! And we have some super specific, non-generic, targeted advice honed from years hours minutes of checking with the real experts. Listen to your body. If an exercise feels good, it probably is; if it feels like too much, it probably is. Seriously! Read this article, The Pregnant Athlete and see for yourself. Show your wife when she is not having any kind of hormone surge. The bottom line, or would this be the “middle line?” — is that a woman who is fit and active prior to pregnancy will have a good sense of her body and therefore be the best judge. In general, she could continue with her activities, reducing intensity when her energy is low and changing position or exercise when she feels uncomfortable. The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Guidelines put the kibosh no-no on just a few activities: downhill skiing, contact sports, and scuba diving. Whew! Looks like triathlons are fair game if she wants. What the heck, looks like parasailing is an option. Basically, medical advice is that common sense takes over as MD (Most Decisive).

Alexandra: When your wife hits the 3rd trimester, she will probably not find the swimming too much fun. Not because of the exertion, but because those pregnant-lady swimsuits are so ugly simply lovely.

If she doesn’t mind looking like she’s sporting her own personal life ring in the pool, then she’s active, strong and deluded courageous! Truly, I’d rather give you advice. No matter what, even if she asks and looks oh-so-innocent, you are to say, “You look absolutely fabulous,” as the answer to any question that is even remotely worded like this – “Do you think I look big/huge/large/different/unappealing/unattractive?”!!! And look be sincere!

K: When I was pregnant and teaching 8 group fitness classes a week, the activities I found “best” yet still challenging were buying cute outfits that were gender neutral; holding myself back from snapping at my husband for good no reason; and avoiding hot tubs. No, no, not because the heat was too high for the developing baby, but because I kept displacing too much water.

Physically phit moms: When you were pregnant, what did “active” mean to you? And what did you do with your maternity swimsuit?

Photo credits: Creative Commons

13

How Do I Cure Shin Splints from Running?

Dear Fun and Fit: Please help my poor shins! It’s been years since I ran so much and forgot to take care so as NOT to get shin splints. 🙁   Sherry Atlanta, Georgia

Kymberly: Last time I got a plea like this it involved Nigeria and sending money to a dethroned prince. I am prepared to send you good advice at half the price. Yes, for a definition of shin splints, check out this link. Even better, if you want to understand the causes and treatments, try the solutions in our posts on the subject of shin splints:

 

Then send money to me, but preferably more than the dollar or two you stashed in your running shoes.

Alexandra: I’ll give you free advice if you promise to make sense of the complete lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. It would seem you increased the duration a wee bit too enthusiastically (and maybe overpronated).ICE for shin splints
1. Ice the shin.

2. When your shins feel better (not while you are still in pain), strengthen the muscle (anterior tibialis). You can do this with toe (up) taps. By this I mean, don’t focus on tapping your toes on the floor; focus on lifting the toes up. This will hurt a lot if you do it before you are feeling better. For expert tapping hints, have Savion Glover come over and make-out with help you.
3. Dozens of Pairs of Running ShoesGet some inserts for your shoes, especially if you’re going to be the bad girl of fitness and run before you’re all healed. And consider new shoes as yours may be worn out and no longer supporting your foot, ankle, leg and high sense of fashion.
4. Become at one with the simple word “stretch.” As in, “Oh, I just ran for 72 miles (or 2 – but it would feel like 72 to me). Maybe now I should stretch out my shins by pointing my toe and holding for at least 15 seconds.”

K: 5. Stretch your calf – the muscle buddy to your shin (aka agonist and antagonist muscle pair in high-falootin’ circles.) A lot of shin splint trauma comes from an imbalance between the strong, tight, shortened, strong, bossy Alexandra calf and the comparably petite, underloved, underdeveloped, underworked, weak anterior tib. Reduce the pull on the shin from the calf by lengthening the calf with mucho stretching.
If you run again–and we hope you do, someone has to–try to stay on surfaces that absorb impact, such as asphalt, tracks, grass, cardio equipment. Avoid surfaces that have no springback or cushion such as CONCRETE. Translation – sidewalks! Even the best shoes and strongest shins cannot overcome the jarring effect of concrete pounding. Even the strongest of twins cannot overcome the jarring effects of my sister whining when she has to run (for cover).

Readers: What are your tricks to prevent or cure shin splints? Are you secretly harboring any Vanilla Ice recordings?

Photo credits: Creative Commons and Photobucket

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

6

I’m Pregnant, in Pain and Want to Work Out

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Greetings! I have patella femoral syndrome in my right knee. I am 3 mos. pregnant now, and therefore cannot do core strengthening exercises to help my knee out. What are some safe forms of exercise that I can do to alleviate the pain in my knee? Thanks, Sarah, Brooklyn, New York

A: You have PFS? I have SFS – Sistella Femala Syndrome. That’s when you have a female twin who can’t (or won’t) help a sister out! I have found nothing, but nothing, to alleviate that particular pain. As to your knee…you could do these knee exercises while balancing against a wall (and holding a delicious pregnant-lady snack), yet we suggest avoiding #s 3 & 8 and maybe 4. We love the advice on familydoctor.com, but we also suggest you talk to Real Life Doctor dot Brooklyn Ob-Gyn. Of course, we could suggest you take a break, but you are a pregnant lady, which means you feel impelled to do stuff. But really, your knees would feel fine if you sat down and let the bad boy who got you pregnant do all the work!

K: I think you are secretly asking two questions: “what exercises can I still do to stay fit while pregnant?” AND “what exercises can I do to help with knee pain?” Well, we are offering a two-for-one coupon special (kind of like you and your baby-to-be). Alexandra already addressed the knee situation. Gotta ask — any chance you could and would get into a pool and swim or do aqua classes? You can keep up the workouts with minimal knee loading. Just no peeing in the pool, pregnant personage! For overall activity check out the ACOG Guidelines for exercising during pregnancy. Keep in mind that the guidelines are for the “average” pregnant person, which means averagally inactive and kinda sedentaryish, which you are not. So you and your doctor may free you to do more (we are just in a link crazy kind of mood here).

Once you have your baby, you can enroll in the exclusive fitness training program for parents: lift your baby over your head 10 times per day…..until he or she is 18. After that, employ your baby to do all housework and anything else that might hurt your knee. That should free you to get back to those core strengtheners.

A: We hope these exercises help you get to the end of your pregnancy in more comfort. And peace. And joy.

K: (And that’s just what the baby’s dad will experience once you are out of pain).

Dear Mom Readers: When you were pregnant, what pained you the most? The least? What did you do about it besides taking it out on the partner?

Photo credits: Creative Commons (Editor B)

3

I’m Low Without My Runner’s High

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit Godessses,

I am a 52 year old man (emphasis on the old) and I want to feel young again without causing any wear and tear on the old joints.  I used to run often and play basketball but a knee injury derailed me.  I enjoyed the “runners high” and can’t seem to find that feeling from non-impact activities.  How do you propose I get back to running or do I just accept my fate?

Sincerely,  Will I. Jaugernaut

Dear Will:

K: Where’s there’s a Will, there’s a way. First, we see you are into accurate names and fun names. Accurate = “Goddesses;” Fun = “Will I. Jaugernaut.” Second, in our world, 52 is not old, but sprightly, especially if we you are active. So let’s focus on the “I want to feel young again and get high” part of the question. We assume you want to reach that goal without going back to the 70’s and relying on other, non-recommended methods. You know what “they” say about the 70’s: “If you remember them, you weren’t there.” That leaves us with the critical point that you have only two knees for the rest of your life. (Acquiring someone else’s knee parts through surgery does not count.) So the priority is to hang onto those precious knees and get lifelong use of them. As Will Shakespeare (two Wills in one post!) never said:- get thee to a non-runnery.  How about heading to an elliptical machine, stationary bike, or row machine? If being outdoors is what brings you that youthful feeling, hop onto a bicycle and enjoy the scenery. All the listed options minimize joint impact while allowing you to create as much or little intensity as you want.

A: One thing is to check your footwear. Lately, there’s a lot of research indicating that less is more when it comes to running footwear. If you think wearing “barefoot” shoes would decrease your knee pain, consider that as an option. Or run in the pool. That is much easier on the knees and you will get that “impact” feeling. As to accepting your fate, there is nothing we do about the name you’ve chosen! In that respect, you are doomed!

K: But we get it that what you really want to do is keep running. It could be that you have reached your lifetime limit on that much impact. Oooorrr, there’s still hope. Try integrating strengthening exercises for your hip abductors, hamstrings, and quads into your workouts (courtesy of this IDEA article). Check your form (or get a friend to check it or videotape you running). Heck, send me a check for that check! Maybe you are pronating, landing oddly, doing some kind of whacked out–yet subtle–form fault over and over, that you can fix once you know about it. Dude, I don’t like running and here I am working it, so give this all a try. Or not. After all, those nice, reduced impact cardio machines are waiting for you and your knees. Pant pant run run…..

Readers, runners, and exercise highsters: What gives you “runner’s high” without actually running?

6

Here’s to Shoe, Eddie Izzard

Dear Fun and Fit:

I am a famous comedian and actor. I LOVE high-heeled shoes more than anything. But after running around the stage for hours, making people laugh so hard they cough up their Marmite and Bovril, my feet hurt. I don’t want to change my style, so please give me some advice for my over-exercised feet.

With understated Brit-love,

Eddie Izzard

Dear Eddie:

First of all, you are so hilarious that I tip my only pair of black high heels to you! You are so ultra-glam that only a mega-fabutastic solution will do. I suggest soaking your famous, well-paid feet in a tub. But not just ANY tub, no no no, that won’t do for you. I searched high and low (by moving my computer mouse around) and found you the perfect tub.

As you have two sore feet, these come as a pair. You can either stand with one foot in each and do a “straddle-soak” or sit in a comfy La-Z-Boy (a frightening American chair that involves t.v. watching and beer) with one foot in each tub, gently swishing your tootsies back and forth in the water.

In case your back also hurts from all your stand-up gigs, I suggest this lovely matching tub and floor for you to soak in. You will have a smashing view out the window if that groupie will just get out of your way. Or you can let her stay, but ask her to bring you some grapes and biscuits (fancy English-talk for “cookies”). Now that I think about it, you should do your next show with this as your stage set.

And, Eddie, don’t tell anyone else that I am encouraging you to keep wearing those high heels. In real life, they just aren’t good for you. But then, neither am I.

Dear Readers: This has been a special guest post done in collaboration with several Twitter stalkers and goons, after a challenge put forth by “The Evil Instigator” as  ecomod hath dubbed him!  The challenge? – Take these tubs and make a post! And the challenge we give to you, oh readers, is to go to each of these sites and leave a snarky comment!

<p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p> <p>

Nick, AKA @cupboards

AventeTile, AKA @AventeTile

Dogwalkblog, AKA @dogwalkblog

Madame Sunday, AKA @ModernSauce

Ecomod, AKA @ecomod

And the Evil Instigator, Mr. Paul Anater, AKA @Paul_Anater


3

Allergies and Activity–Something to Sneeze At

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:

I have really bad allergies during spring when everything is just starting to bloom so I try not to be outdoors (especially on windy days) … to control my symptoms along with the usual allergy medicine. However, I noticed that when I’m running in the morning, I am usually allergy symptom-free! Do you have any ideas why that is the case? Do you think I can distract my allergy enough with activity that it won’t tell my body to sound out the alarm and make me miserable?

Lou, of BVIbrantNow.com Windsor, CA

Kymberly: Veeery interesting, young grassy-hopper. For the record, I am allergic to any kind of running in the morning. Ok, just running. Amazingly I am always symptom-free when power walking. Back to you, Lou: Normally pollen counts are highest in the mornings (check out this MD-reviewed and super readable article, “Exercise Outdoors — Even with Allergies“).  So you’d think you’d be sneezing and wheezing and cursing the purty flowers and bucolic buds on that early run. I know I might curse a leetle teeny bit when up and out early, like anything that is :00 dawn-o’clock.  But there’s a twist to the story. According to this fine, fine, and poachable article, “although exercising outdoors can increase your contact with pollen, ironically, the extra adrenalin your body produces while you are working out can temporarily dampen the allergic response.”  In other words, YES, you can distract your allergy with activity. Make my work easy and just read the darn link, will ‘ya?! The only flaw here is that once you stop, the dampening effect of the adrenalin stops and symptoms come back. So keep running until evening when pollen counts drop or you do. My lawyer says to say “not really.”

Alexandra: I have distracted many, many things over the years with “enough activity” yet have only dealt with grass allergies during soccer games. I sneezed every time the other team scored!  Since your allergy symptoms will increase as your running speed increases, you either need to distract your allergies by running slower (aka walking) or get a face mask. It would appear that even isolating yourself on a pollen and mold-free cruise ship wouldn’t necessarily solve your an allergic reaction, although you would suffer in style. Speaking of suffering in style, why don’t you just get a trendy spacesuit? Then you could run anywhere, in any season, any time of day? Just for the record, I have no actual medical degree, and therefore no idea why you are symptom-free during the worst time of the day for inhaling pollen. My fitness theory? You are out-running whatever the wind is blowing into your face. Sadly, this would mean keeping up or even increasing your running speed. This goes so far against my personal motto of “Why run when you can drive?” that I am having an allergic reaction to my own theory. I recommend you walk with Run…DMC that is.

K: On the days you still want to work out but your allergies are acting up, try either swimming or shifting to indoor cardio activities. Wear a flattering outfit so you can distract someone or something.

A: Lou, if you think you’ve got it bad, take a look at this poor little bear cub. He should not forage in the early hours:

Sneezing bear

Readers with allergies: What tricks do you use to minimize symptoms when you want to exercise but the air says “don’t breathe me now?”

Photo credit: Mike Tually – Creative Commons


2

Pain in the Butt–My Trainer That Is

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

I went through some serious medical issues in the last 5 years. But now that I am able to, I would like to find my girlish figure that is hidden somewhere in here. I know it will take some hard work & commitment. But I’m ready. I met with a personal trainer. I told him my goal is to lose weight & get toned up. I thought cardio was good but P(ersonal) T(rainer) said it is only 10% to reach my goal. 40% is weight training or resistance training. And of course 50% is nutrition. He had me do some squats & sit ups on a ball. (poor ball) I’ve been sore for 3 days. I can’t afford the personal trainer. Plus I think he has it in for me… If I keep doing the things he has shown me will the pain subside??? Thanks for the help.

Susie, Las Vegas

K: So your girlish figure turned churlish on you and now it’s time to turn back? Fun and Fit like your attitude! First, let’s do some magic math. Assuming your girlish figure is hiding under some matronly (we could say “Rubenesque“) fat, I prefer 25% cardio, 25% resistance training, 50% good nutrition and 100% laughing along with Fun and Fit twice a week when we publish new posts. That adds up to rollicking times in and out of the gym!

Given your trainer budget, do cardio training on your own as often as feasible and tolerable. Avoid getting too hung up on numbers, including our magic ones above. Unless it’s a phone number of your girlish figure calling to say she wants to get together, then hang up. If you can afford the trainer a little while longer, make the investment in learning strength training as it will pay off. You can avoid more pain (and frustration) having a professional teach you upper body, lower body, and core exercises. If you cannot afford a trainer, hie thee hiney hence to group classes. So effective, so supportive, so affordable, so many ideas to keep you exercising!

A: Stop worrying about the pain as it will subside. Unless you live with Kymberly. Your muscles are adapting to the fact that you are asking them to pay rent after letting them mooch off you free for years. As long as the pain is not in your joints, you are fine. If your trainer is just the right combination of sadism and compassion, your muscles should be somewhat sore after every session! You wouldn’t pay him to let you lie in the sun would you? While we’re on the topic of numbers, I want to encourage you to pay less attention to your scale (at least for the first few months) and more attention to your clothing size. The speed at which you gain muscle strength (and mass) and lose fat is not exactly equal, so you might not enjoy the scale for a while. I mention this in a purely caring, I Hate Scales, kind of way.

As we are both group exercise instructors, we are mucho partial to that form of exercise. Read the class descriptions, choose one that does not have these words–advanced, extreme, high, super, energetic, or killer–and get in there. You can wear your baggiest shmatte so don’t worry about the clingy wear at all. Inform the teacher before class starts that you are a beginner. Say you are nervous. Say you want to be right in front so she or he can keep an eye on you. Allude ever so casually to your medical issues if they will affect your heart rate or ability to remain upright. Tell yourself you’ll do 20 minutes, then stay for 30. Let your teacher know with a smile and thumbs up that you are leaving early because you made it this far. We teacher types get nervous if we think people are leaving early so they can go pass out in the locker room. Oh, while you’re in the locker room, look in the mirror and say “Yay-ess! I did it. And will keep on doing it.” We have no idea what “it” is, but have gotten lots of entertainment out of seeing suckers students do this!

Pained Readers: Do you remember first starting out an exercise program? What do you recall about it? And do you like paintings by Rubens?

7

Bad Ankle Bridezilla

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

Hi, I’m 22 years old and sprained my ankle very badly a little over a month ago. For the last month I have been very good about not walking too much, but now I’m losing patience and need to figure out a way to get moving again. Furthermore, my wedding is in another month, and I need to get into bridezilla shape. I am encouraged to walk at the moment “just until it almost hurts” as the doc put it, but I’d like to know if there’s a way to strengthen the ankle and build myself up to doing more while lowering the risk of re-injury. I’m already doing your girly pushups! Thanks!

Julianna, Budapest, Hungary

.

K: If you are wanting to reach true Bridezilla status, you are already on the right path. Stay inactive, increase your frustration, lose more patience, and take out your stress, pain, and weight gain on those around you. Instead of saying “bum ankle,” pare down to just “bum” and mean your fiancé.

A: A true Bridezilla would claim that both ankles are sprained, and insist on being carried to all events. So you might just be a “Wanna-Willa-Zilla.”

K: Okay, fine, you can have some serious humorous advice. Given your pending wedding, focus on getting ready for that versus strengthening your ankle. Even with a sprain you have many workout options. Commit to a full strength training program: upper body, abs, lower body. Choose non- or low-weight bearing lower body exercises. For cardio, get into a pool or onto a bike. Then ride like the wind, Bridezilla! Cue up the Wicked Witch music from Wizard of Oz. You could also get onto low-impact cardio equipment such as a stationary bike, elliptical machine or rower. Avoid the treadmill or stairclimber for now.

A: Shouldn’t we tell her to avoid people for now too? I mean, it’s just a month until the wedding. Who wants to be around that? Any exercise suggestions we make are not medical advice, by the way. Make sure your doc or physical therapist approves of our winning ways before attempting bungee jumps or anything that “almost hurts.” With that in mind, I have lots of students who surf and skateboard, and I put them on wobble boardsdiscs, and the BOSU® to strengthen their ankles. Here is a link that describes some excellent exercises: bit.ly/9L28uP. You are required to print it out, decorate it with doilies and have all your wedding guests perform these exercises while your band plays, “Red Right Ankle” by the Decemberists. To prevent re-injury, you might want to find out about plantar flexion (bendy indoor plants), dorsi flexion (flipbooks about dolphins), inversion (a DVD you watch at home), and eversion (what I do when it comes to chores) bit.ly/9hEgDz. Why? So you can ask your physical therapist what your feet do and choose the right exercises for the future. You are planning an exciting future full of love, joy, candy, tip-toeing through the tulips, and a complete lack of spousal snoring, right?

K: Lastly, Fun and Fit are sorry you hurt your ankle so close to your big day. What a Bud-a Pest that must be!

A: The doc advised me to work with Kymberly “just until it almost hurts” and look how that turned out! Constant nagging pain. But don’t tell her that I call her that.

Dear Readers (and Bridezillas): What contributed to your pre-wedding stress? Have you had to deal with any Bridezillas? What are “girly” push-ups?

7

Spinning, Walking, Treading are Big Fat Pains

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Q: Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra

I am really trying to get into better shape. But all my joints ache. The worst are my knees. I work out on an elliptical trainer for 25 minutes and a spinning machine for 20 minutes and do 10 minutes of stretching to start each workout. I do this M/W/F. The other four days I deal with the pain. I am a 61-year-old male and I am trying to lose 25lbs. It is not fun and I am really hating the pain. What do I do?

Frank, California

K: Swim

A: Swim

K: Hey, I said it first!

A: I thought it first!

K and A: We thought it at the same time. Whoa! Twin telepathy. ……. Ahh haa haaa made you look.

K: Now that you wonder whether we really do have twin telepathy, I can tell you what Alexandra was thinking. Bupkus. But I am thinking that getting into a pool and doing laps really is the best option. If swimming is not a realistic option for whatever reason – no pool handy, hate to get wet, you only wear a bathing suit in the privacy of your bathtub–whatever–then we have to come up with more clever solutions.

A: Solution: Do something else.

Wow, that was a quick and short blog post. But since there is lots of white space left, and Kymberly whimpers if I get the last word, I’ll continue. Have you already ascertained that these machines are the best (meaning “most pain-free”) choice for your knees? How about the water aerobics in the pool? That is way easy on the joints, especially deep-water classes. First of all, the best type of pre-workout stretching is to do the movement you’re about to do. Huh, what? Who’s on first? What I mean is, I don’t know what kind of stretching you are doing, but the wrong kind could start you off on the wrong path (have you ever gotten lost on an elliptical?). Let’s say you decide to take my excellent pool class advice. The best warm-up for that is to get in the pool and move. Not stand still and clutch your foot to the back of your hind end (aka “gluteus attractivus”) for example.

K: Frank, are you sure it’s the cardio machines causing the pain and not the stretching? Without more detail about your stretching regimen it’s hard to tell what to suggest. Do you do any upper thigh strengthening (quads especially)? Put static stretching at the end or your workout. Add in some strength training for your legs twice a week. Make sure the seat of your spinning cycle is set high enough for your leg length. Nag, nag, nag. Lastly, given your goals, commitment and pain level, invest in a personal trainer for at least one month. Get your form, equipment settings, stretching plan all checked by a professional. And I don’t mean us. We’re way too busy holding our feet to our gluteii attractivi (Latin plural for that technical word Alexandra made up above). The non-technical word for this position is the “Frank in Footer” ).

A: You are smart to choose relatively low-impact activities, as they are easier on the knees, yet since you are still in pain, I recommend the New Jersey approach and fuggedaboutit. I can tell by your frankness (ooh, that is a pun you have not heard in 61 years), that you are an outgoing guy, so why don’t you find a local gym with a “seniors” program (a euphemism for “anyone older than myself”) and take a group low-impact class? The variety of movement will decrease the potential for pain and the ever-so-enjoyable atmosphere will make your workout go by quicker. At the very least, you’ll still be in pain on the 4 non-exercise days, but it will be fun while you’re in class. And that’s an improvement. Unless you take my sister’s class – in which case your pain will increase tremendously. Have you heard her jokes? Like an emery board on the ears. By the way, quit calling your wife “the pain.”
Readers: When exercise has been painful, what did you do about it? And do you think twins have telepathy with each other?

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