Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What the heck are shin splints?

Shin splints is a term used to describe pain in the front of your lower leg, specifically across your tibia (or shin bone). This condition can be caused by running down hill, training in worn-out shoes, overtraining and playing sport with a lot of stop and starts such as tennis and basketball. Sometimes the pain fades away while exercising, but it usually returns the next day and can worsen when ignored. If you think you have shin splints:

  • Treat them at home with RICE (Rest, ice, compression and elevation).
  • Take a few weeks off from high-impact exercises such as running, jumping, kickboxing and the like.
  • Invest in a pair of shock-absorbing insoles or orthotics to correct your gait if necessary.
  • Stretch the lower leg both in the front (tibialis) and rear (gastrocnemius and soleus) every day.
  • Engage in cross-training activities that are different than your primary form of exercise.

-Oxygen Magazine

What's for Breakfast?

If you haven't been a habitual breakfast eater, it may take some effort to make this meal a regular part of your day. Here are four tips to making your morning meal something you can swallow.

1.) Change Your Mindset

Eliminate your breakfast barriers. "People hear 'breakfast' and think that means time and planning and sitting down for a cooked meal. They don't have to do that," says Suzanne Steen, registered dietician, director of sports nutrition at the University of Washington and co-author of The Ultimate Sports Nutrition Handbook. "Get rid of all the excuses - not enough time, I'm not hungry, I'm on a diet or I'm afraid I'll feel hungrier all day. You need breakfast. Think of it as a small snack if you want, but eat something every morning."

2.) Habit Forming

While variety is a good thing, it may be easier to have the same thing to eat every morning. "Often people skip breakfast because thinking about what they're going to eat is stressful," says Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, registered dietician and author of Power Eating. By coming up with a healthy breakfast idea and eating the same thing every day, it eliminates the stress excuse. Don't feel you need to exercise your chef skills either. A simple meal of cereal, milk and fruit will meet your nutritional and energy needs with minimum fuss.

3.) Plan Ahead 

"Most people are squeezing out breakfast in the morning. They're not leaving enough time to sit down and eat," admits Suzanne Havala Hobbs, registered dietician and author of nine books including Being Vegetarian for Dummies. If that sounds like you, plan on taking something with you to work. "Even if it's a Ziploc bag with fruit and nuts, pack something to take with you to eat at the office." says Hobbs. "When you've got more control over what you're eating, you'll eat more nutritiously." Also, when you shop for groceries, remember to include healthy breakfast choices. Yogurt, prepackaged oatmeal, frozen waffles, energy bars and other simple choices should all be on your list.

4.) Retrain Your Body

If you're not used to eating breakfast, you may not feel hungry first thing in the morning. Ease into a breakfast routine and you'll start waking up with the desire for food. "Think about retraining your body and setting a breakfast clock," says Steen. "Stick to a routine as much as you can, just like you would with a workout. By training your body to know when to feel hungry, you'll end up helping yourself stick to a diet and facilitate weight loss."

On the Run?
Here are some fast and healthy breakfasts you can grab on the go:

  1. Yogurt with granola
  2. Sliced apple with peanut butter
  3. Instant oatmeal mixed with a scoop of flavored protein powder
  4. Bowl of fresh fruit salad and a slice of cheese
  5. Smoothie made with soy or skim milk, a banana, ice cubes, frozen fruit, a scoop of protein powder and a tablespoon of wheat germ
  6. Protein bar
  7. High-fiber blueberry waffles with fresh berries on top Peanut butter and banana on whole-wheat toast -Whole-grain cereal with fruit and skim milk
  8. Scrambled egg whites with cheese and veggies.

-Kelly James-Enger

Question of the Week?
Q: What can you do today to stop the cravings?
A: Try replacing sugary foods or refined-carbohydrate foods with higher-protein foods for a few days.

-Mens Health