Sean Lewis is back with another article on Healthy Living! Time to put on your running shoes and face the beautiful weather because today on the blog it’s all about outdoor activities!
Running and cycling are wonderful activities this time of the year. The spring sunshine and the call of the outdoors beckon us. After a long cold winter of spending days on end indoors, when that sun finally starts to shed its warmth, we flock to take advantage of outdoor activities.
Without being the storm cloud on a sunny day I just want to make you aware that an outdoor run or bike ride can’t replace a day of strength training in the gym. As an athletic therapist the summer months brought me many clients suffering from repetitive trauma injuries. Running and cycling many hours at a time can be injurious to your joints and cause your body to lose valuable muscle mass.
A common held belief is that running makes our legs strong. The logic probably resides in the thought that since I’m using my legs to run, it must make my legs strong. This is far from the truth. Only strength training or using a non aerobic activity builds muscle. On your days between cardiovascular exercise you need to do a full regime of leg strengthening exercises. These would include squats, leg curls, lunges, and leg press. Building the muscles in your legs will help to protect your joints and believe it or not, actually improve your running and biking efficiency.
One more common error is that many people who participate in endurance sports don’t put the same emphasis on protein intake as strength athletes do. Let it be clear that endurance athletes need to be very mindful of their protein intake. They should take in about .5 grams of protein per pound of lean muscle mass. As well they should consume a post workout protein recovery drink. This will help to create a positive protein balance which stops muscle protein breakdown which occurs after vigorous exercise. In addition, this helps with protein reconstruction enhancing muscle growth and protecting immune function which can be suppressed for a couple of hours after exercise.
For those of us that are non-competing athletes, outdoor recreation is a part of our healthy active lifestyle. Our objective is to get fit, be healthy, and feel the positive effects of our exercise choices. Injury prevention and profiting the most we can from the little time we have for ourselves will demonstrate to others that they can do it too. Happy spring everyone and let’s make it through the summer without a bag of ice on our knee!