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!

Don’t cool off your exercise routine!

The weather around here is starting to get a wee bit chilly, and for most people that means hibernating for the next eight months until we see warm days again. DON’T DO IT! You can still play outside if it’s cold, and your body will be all the better for it, cross our hearts. If you’re not sure how to go about it without losing an appendage to frostbite, pay attention! Here are some tips for cold weather workouts:

LAYER: yes, it will be cold when you first get going, but you most certainly will warm up. Wearing layers means you can put off the chill before you start to get going, and can peel layers off as you start to warm up. You can also keep your gross, sweaty layers in close, but more importantly away from breezes that’ll give you the chills.

WEAR MITTENS: you might think wrapping each individual finger would help keep them warmer, but mittens actually keep your hands warmer than gloves do. More often than not you’ve got to take your gloves off to unzip/button/snap/tie most things anyway, so all they’re doing is robbing your digits of the warmth. Stick to mittens, kittens.

WARM UP INSIDE: do you hate leaving your nice, warm bed only to step into your cold, cold bathroom on chilly mornings? I bet you do, and you might be comparing that to warming up inside: “Why would I get all toasty just to dash out into the frigid wilderness?! You’re crazy.” Not so friend! Getting your warm on inside will be easier on your muscles, so when you do step out you’ll be ready to get right to working out. You might not even notice the cold.

DRINK IT UP: hydration is important ALL the time. Just because you’re not sweating as profusely as you might on a humid, sticky August afternoon, doesn’t mean you aren’t still losing fluids. You’re still sweating, breathing, and producing urine (if you aren’t you should probably stop reading this and get to a doctor, right now), so be sure to hydrate before, during and after your workouts.

WEAR SOMETHING FLASHY: colder temperatures = darker times ahead, so be sure to break out your brights! Bright colours, reflectors and lights can be the difference between being seen or being squished.

Play safe out there! Don’t let the cold weather put a freeze on your playtime!

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 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 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