Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Take the Time: Physical Therapy

There are so many shortcuts and fast paths available to us in this lifetime that sometimes we need to know when it's necessary to stop and smell the flowers. If I could travel back in time I would smack my younger self when she decided to not floss twice a day - I'd give her a disapproving glare when she fell asleep with her contacts in - I'd even wag my finger at her for protesting her retainer.

In my younger years I was never the best at following instructions on how to repair my muscles and joints after workouts. Ice? Sure! Epsom Salt Baths? Whuh? heat packs? okay, those were nice... The fact is that all of these remedies and preventions took time - time that I wasn't willing to spend on silly body parts that would just bounce back on their own. As the years have gone by I realize that I'm not able to bounce back like I used to. While I wasn't running as much when I was younger, I still did a serious number on my arm from pitching and on my body from everything I was involved with as a three sport athlete.

In retrospect, my main focus aside from competing should have been studying ways to prepare and repair so that my body would continue to perform at its peak.

Now that I have more knowledge about how important it is to take care of your body before and after workouts and because I feel the results when I don't!, I want to share with you some of the keys to how I stay healthy and positive in the midst of my sometimes demanding workout schedule.


I can't express how important it is to hydrate. Not only is it important for your daily intake, water flowing through your body promotes muscle growth, elasticity and less likelihood of swelling. You should focus on drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day - and even more if you're losing excess fluid during the sweat session you're putting yourself through.


Ever since college athletics I've been a little fearful of hitting the weight room. I never really enjoyed being put under a microscope and trying to hit a certain number for a bench press or a squat - especially when I was convinced that my form was off and was putting extra strain on my back. Now, I see that weight lifting and weight training is important to maintaining a healthy frame and keeping the balance so that the IT band, tendons and minor muscles aren't exploited in new and straining exercises. Build up the muscles and they will protect you from further injury.

Foam Rolling

I was always intimidated by the Foam Roller but let me tell you - it's become one of my best friends! You can find a foam roller at your local sporting goods store for around $20-$30 depending on the size. Foam rolling can be confusing for many people, especially because it can hurt so good. The YouTube video here can give you some key exercises that you'll feel immediately and release that ugly fascia that sticks together just to be a pain. The roller I went for was at Dicks Sporting Goods (similar here).

And the stick!


Stretching is important whether its before or after a workout and even is beneficial when you put your feet on the floor first thing in the morning. It wakes up your muscles and promotes elasticity that you surely will notice if you haven't stretched in a while. I personally take the time several times a day to stretch - whether it's at my desk, practicing good posture in the car or good old fashioned post workout hamstring and calf stretches. Try to spend at least five minutes a day stretching and you'll notice the difference.

Massage Therapy

I am so thankful to have discovered the joys of massage therapy and how it can change your world in just one session. I spend 90 minutes a month in the hands of the amazing performance-changing Maggie of M Therapeutic. I've been a client of hers for close to two years now and it's the one thing I look forward to most each month. I try to schedule my sessions toward the end of the month so that psychologically I can feel like I've worked out all of the kinks of the month's mileage and refresh the mind for the upcoming days that round out my 100 miles.

If you're interested in experiencing what I mean - go to her website (M Therapeutic) and book an appointment today. All new clients are eligible for a discount session at $55 for 60 minutes and more savings if you book three sessions in advance. She specializes in massage for acute & chronic pain, discomfort relating to sports & physical injuries and aptly addresses daily pains & stiffness. Tell her I sent you! 

It's incredibly important to be in tune with your body and listen to what your muscles tell you. Help yourself prevent injuries and illness that may be roadblocks on the way to your personal goals. 

<3 JE


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