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Harshest Running Surfaces on your Body

Have you ever gotten home from a nice run and found your legs, ankles, and knees feeling different than your run the day before?  Did you run on the same ground surface?  Different surfaces affect the wear and tear on your lower body in different ways.  Knowing and choosing the ideal surfaces can help extend your career a lot longer.

Natural Grass – The best and most ideal surface to run on is natural grass.  Running in the grass has good impact absorption.  Since it is such a soft absorbing surface, your muscles actually work harder, which in turn will build more strength.  Grass has the most give of any surface without going overboard and being too soft.  If you can find a relatively flat, straight length of grass, utilize it.

Dirt Trails – The next best running surface are dirt trails.  These trails provide a similar cushion for your lower body, as the grass will.  The soft ground will soften the impact of your feet while the scenic nature along the path will help take your mind off the run.  Be cautious of tree roots and muddy terrain that could cause ankle sprains or other injuries.

Concrete – On the other end of the spectrum are the surfaces that take the biggest toll on your body over time.  The worst surface to run on is concrete.  It provides the highest shock value to a runner’s legs.  Concrete surfaces are said to be 10 times as hard as asphalt.  The surface is so abrasive that it doesn’t have any give to absorb the contact of your lower body.  Avoid concrete as much as you can even if it is one of the most common running surfaces around.

Sand – Another popular running surface that you should avoid is sand.  Television shows and movies have made running in the sand seem like a sexy but beneficial option, which is wrong.  Sand is such a soft surface that the risk of Achilles tendon is very high.  That coupled with the unevenness of most parts of the beach can put unbalanced stress on the lower body.  If you are planning on enjoying the ocean breeze on a sand surface run, just remember to keep it relatively short so injury is avoided.

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How your child’s backpack weight is shortening their life

Since backpacks were designed to help humans carry a larger / heavier load than with just their arms, kids have been tending to go overboard, loading them with too much.  Is this leading to long-term back, neck, or shoulder issues?  If not carried properly or at the right tightness, the answer is yes.

Backpacks are a source of convenience, but also can end up having negative long-term effects on a person’s body after years and years or carrying one.  Most parents assume the pain is temporary and will improve on its own, but in reality adolescent spine injuries are a bigger concern than most don’t consider.  Research has shown that adults that suffer from sever back problems often had back pain as a kid.  So how do we prevent this from happening?

Experts are now highly recommending the 15 percent rule, which is the weight of the backpack shouldn’t be more than 15 percent of the student’s body weight.  It is also suggested that students always wear both straps on their shoulders to evenly distribute the weight and avoid the one-strap messenger bags.  If it is allowed at your specific school, rolling backpacks are the most ideal choice for helping lighten the load.

When adjusting the backpack for ideal positioning on the back, tighten it until the straps are snug so the majority of the weight is on the upper back.  If the backpack has a waist belt, utilize it as much as possibly to distribute the weight evenly and relieve some of the strain.  When loading the backpack, put the heaviest books closest to the back.

This issue should not be overlooked because it can result in long-term effects on the body.  It’s important for parents to keep an eye on their children and their workload.  With the previously mentioned steps, you can quickly make their life a lot easier.

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Sitting vs. Standing on the Job

The new trend that is slowing catching on throughout the offices of America is standing instead of sitting at your desk.  Many workers are starting to believe that standing helps production, focus, and health.  More and more people are buying into this trend and standing desks sales have increased drastically.  Some research has shown that sitting down all day can slow down your metabolism and increase your risk for heart disease.

Scientists at the University of Missouri have actually discovered that the act of sitting down seems to shut off the circulation of fat-absorbing enzymes called lipase.  And other researchers found that even if you exercise nearly every day, the benefits can be undone from spending the majority of your time sitting down.

Workers that have given the standing method a trial run have described benefits of a higher level of focus and production because you don’t have time to sit back and relax in a chair and lose your train of thought.  It also helps keep you perky throughout the day instead of dozing off once you hit that wall around 3 o’clock.

If you are considering trying standing at your desk all day there are a few important things to keep in mind.  The most important thing would be to make sure you wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  Another simple thing you can do while standing is not to stand still.  The more you shift around and adjust your weight, the better circulation you will get and also relieve built up tension.  It is also important to get exercise outside of work to help keep any damage caused at work at a minimum.

This argument comes down to a personal preference in the end.  But everyone should at least try to stand for a day, or part of the day.  The benefits that people have described may not apply to everyone that attempts standing, I challenge you to at least try it, you never know, it just might keep you on your toes!

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About Us

Advanced Physical Medicine is a multi-disciplinary wellness clinic that offers pain management and rehabilitation to patients in Chicagoland and beyond. When it comes to healthcare, APM utilizes a variety of different specialists including medical doctors, podiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors and neurosurgeons to make joint decisions regarding the best treatment for you. Each treatment plan is tailored specifically according to your needs. You see, at APM, we treat you as a person, and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today and experience the difference with APM. We look forward to talking to you.