Spring has spRUNg

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Well, almost anyway. If you’re crazy brave enough to run out-of-doors you’ll notice the number of people joining you has increased. Maybe it’s just 5 others running along the canal instead of 1, but there’s no doubt the slight rise in temperature means running season is just around the corner. 

Most people take to spring running to help shed the pounds gained from a winter of hibernating, but there are a multitude of other benefits. Increased cardiovascular health, decreased stress, increased energy, prevention of bone/muscle loss and the increased ability to survive during a zombie apocalypse are just a few. Oh, and stomping your time from last year’s Ottawa Race Weekend is a good reason to lace up the trainers sooner rather than later. So let’s get to it, shall we? 

No matter if your past running experience is 20 marathons or 20 minutes, the best thing you can do for yourself now is to START SLOW. After 4 months of sitting around (conveniently the span of the worst parts of an Ottawa winter), you’ve lost enough endurance to merit starting out at a beginner level. Don’t think all that snowboarding counts either – running is a different ball game, using different muscles in different ways. Your lungs and heart might be in good shape, but we want to keep your joints and tendons like that too. 

So how do you start running slowly? Try 20 to 30 minutes at low intensity, two or three times a week. Low intensity is different for everyone, so listen to your body. Once you’ve got 30 minutes down no problem, start increasing the time in 5 minute intervals, or increasing the intensity by about 5%. It might seem slow, but d’you know what else is slow? An injured runner. 

Will starting slowly guarantee you won’t be injured? Unfortunately not, but it’s a great place to start. Another great way to detour around injury town is to partake in a running evaluation. Performed at any of our three clinics, it’s spread over two sessions. The first is a clinical evaluation, which delves into your previous running/injury history, takes a good look at your current level/goals, and identifies any physical factors that may impact your running biomechanics. 

The second session is a running evaluation, where your technique is assessed on an outdoor track. Based on your movement patterns, recommendations are made to make you the best runner you can be, while minimizing injury. If this is the year you want to have your fastest time, the detailed training plan we’ll provide will certainly get you there. This isn’t a generic week-to-week program! Running is a highly technical sport and a personalized plan will definitely help bring out your best.

You can schedule a running evaluation by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics. Now go get running! Race Weekend is only 9 weeks away!

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7 Habits of Highly Fit People

Happy holidays y’all! Between the parties, and the food, and the endless trips to the mall, have you managed to stay on track with your fitness goals? Just given up and decided NEXT year’s resolutions will stick? You don’t have to wait for an arbitrary stoke of midnight. You could start…NOW! How to do it and stay on track? Try to make use of the same habits the fittest of the fit use:

SET A GOAL: This is where you start. Now, while “get healthier in 2015” is a goal, it’s not smart! I mean, it’s clearly an intelligent thing to pursue but it’s not: Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic, Timely. What is a smart goal? How about I will run 5k in under 30 minutes by March 31 or I will lose 1″ from my waist in 4 weeks or I will do my physio exercises as often as prescribed and log my progress for each appointment. Notice that it’s set goal. Don’t go crazy – baby steps mean you’re more likely to avoid burnout or two-weeks-in-give-up-itis.

WRITE IT DOWN: Doesn’t matter what your goal is, forget about it and it’s not going to happen. Writing it down helps you cement it as a priority, and means you’re taking a little more time to think about it.

WATCH YOUR PORTIONS: If your goals are based on getting fitter, but you’re still eating whatever you want, you’re going to have a bad time. Fitness isn’t just about exercise folks. You still need to eat right. (Not sure how? Give our dietitian Meghan a call – she works out of the Westboro Clinic)

MAKE MOVEMENT MATTER: Don’t have 2 hours to do WODs at the crossfit box everyday? That’s cool, but if you want to get fit, you need to make fitness a priority. It could be a brisk run every morning or yoga in your basement once the kids are asleep. You’ve just got to make the time.

P-L-A-N: Failing to plan? Then you’re planning to fail. You’ve heard it before, and it’ll never stop being true. Want to eat healthy? Then you’ll need to prepare meals instead of just picking something up from the drive through. Planning a morning pump class? Pack your bag the night before. Fit people don’t just end up being fit. They plan it.

MAKE MOVEMENT MATTER (II): You’re fitting workouts in, and that’s awesome, but don’t waste your own time. If you’re not seeing positive results, think about changing the speed, length or intensity of your workouts. In the beginning a 15 minute walk might be a huge accomplishment, but you need to keep challenging your body as it adapts to what you throw at it.

SET A REALISTIC GOAL: Remember, your goals need to be smaRt! Choosing a realistic goal means setting yourself up to achieve it right from the beginning. You might want to lose 20 lbs, but you’re not going to do it in a month. Try breaking that huge goal into little, attainable goals, like 4 lbs. a month, and your successes will help keep you motivated above and beyond your initial goals.

I’m Sorry, a What of Health Professionals?

Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics

A smattering folks. Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics houses a smattering of health professionals. With a name like Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinic you might think:

a. We’ve got physiotherapists
b. We probably have people who know something about sports
c. Physiotherapists know something about sports

You my friend, are correct, but we’ve got so much more!  While physiotherapists can perform a multitude of services, we’ve also got some specialized professionals on deck to help those of you who are injured get back to your lifestyle pain free, and keep those of you who are healthy right there.

DIETICIAN SERVICES:
Getting your body to a happy, healthy point is about more than just doing your physio exercises. You are what you eat isn’t just a saying. You might not think of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics when pondering how to lower your cholesterol or lose weight but you should! Registered Dietitian Ottawa Meghan Barnes works out of our Westboro clinic, and she can help you with both of those things. She can also help with your food allergies, get your diet tuned up for optimal sports performance, or just get you on the healthy eating train in general.

It’s $90.00 for the initial one-on-one consultation, where you’ll go through a nutritional assessment, discuss goals and develop an eating plan. 30 minute follow-up visits to keep you on track are $45, or you can opt for a package at $260 (initial consultation + 5 follow-ups)

MASSAGE THERAPY:
Nope, spas aren’t the only place to get a relaxing massage. Registered Massage Therapist Ottawa Jason Walsh will take you from stressed to blissed in a matter of minutes. Stress is bad news, and has been linked to negative moods, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss, and decreased immune function. Not things you’d find in a healthy body.

If you’ve suffered an injury you’ll know massage makes a big difference not only with pain management, but also the healing process. If you’re injured and haven’t tried massage, ask your physiotherapist if it might be appropriate for your situation.

Massage is also beneficial for the un-stressed, un-injured yet active person. The first ski³bike³kayak of the season often leaves you with aching muscles, and massage is great to help loosen you right up. By keeping muscles mobile and healthy you not only feel less like a rusty joint, but are way less prone to injury. It improves circulation, helps with flexibility, and reduces après workout recovery time. Go massage!

Massage sessions start at 30 minutes for $51, and go up in 15 minute increments. 45 minutes is $68, 60 minutes costs $85, and if you’re lucky enough to have the time a 90 minute massage is $125.

So those are a couple of non-physiotherapy services we offer, but as you can see there are many, many more. Curious about anything in particular? Ask us next time you’re in, or feel free to send an e-mail if you’d like to see it on the blog: info@optsc.com