Running on Chiropractic
By Laura Staples, Rider University Cross Country Team
As a runner of eight years and counting, I’ve spent a lot of my time in and out of physical therapists’ and doctors’ offices. Unfortunately, I am the breakable type and after a while consistent injuries really took a toll on my running career. The doctors I was seeing helped fix the symptoms and could give somewhat adequate preventable advice, but I found chiropractic care really made the difference in staying healthy and injury free.
After a successful first year of competitive running, I started training for fall’s Cross Country season in mid-June, with temperatures well into the upper 90’s. I found I was having a lot of difficulty with pain in my lower legs, so my mother suggested I see her chiropractor. It was the best decision I ever made.
After a few adjustments over the course of the summer I felt stronger and my running form even improved. I found that chiropractic care kept me one step ahead of the injuries, as instead of seeing doctors to treat the symptoms, consistent adjustments by my chiropractor kept me from experiencing the symptoms at all.
For years I suffered from chronic runner’s knee, and I could not figure out why I kept having the same repetitive injury. My chiropractor helped show me that it was actually because my hips were not aligned correctly that I was experiencing pain in my lower legs. She showed me specific stretches to do on a regular basis and also personalized my adjustments to fix the problem. I still do the stretches she showed me in order to prevent injuries. Since working with her, I no longer have the pain in my knees and quads that I suffered with for so long.
I’m now a member of Rider University’s Cross Country and Track teams, and a lot of our core training is based in the summer, which is not conducive to my overall goal of staying healthy. Along with the increased temperatures comes dehydration and, as a result, injury. Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis has helped me combat the difficulties of summertime training because not only will she adjust me; she’ll also offer nutritional and other healthy living advice.
Without the care of my chiropractor, especially during the intense summer training, I would have never made it to the collegiate level of competition. Consistent adjustments and guidance from my chiropractor made all of the difference in staying healthy, injury free, and having a successful running career.
With the summer season and brutal heat conditions upon us, The Association of NJ Chiropractors (ANJC) has developed guidelines for staying healthy and safe this summer season. Those participating in summer activities, such as running, should follow these health safety tips:
ANJC 10 Tips for “Safer Summer activities”
1. Don't overdo things in the beginning; warm-up with a brisk walk, jumping jacks, or a slow jog for sports activities. A light warm up will get blood pumping and warm up your muscles.
2. While stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Do not follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ rule. Stretching should not be painful. Depending on your lifestyle, stretching needs will vary.
3. If you are working in the garden, bend with your knees and not your back, and use your arms and legs while working. The back, upper legs, shoulders, and wrists are all major muscle groups affected when using your green thumb.
4. A warm-up and cool-down period is as important in gardening as it is for strenuous sporting activity. Performing simple stretches during these periods will help alleviate injuries, pain, and stiffness.
5. Always incorporate breaks while you do your task. To avoid injuries, stop the activity when fatigue starts to set in.
6. Stay properly hydrated. Eight cups of water a day is a general recommendation. High temperatures and athletic activities can increase your recommended intake to a cup every 20 min. Have a sports drink on hand for activities that take longer than an hour to replace electrolytes. If you’re thirsty, than you are in the early stages of dehydration.
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