Naperville Chiropractor – Elite Performance Institute http://elite-performance-institute.com Naperville chiropractor Dr. Brian Damhoff works with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions using Active Release, chiropractic and sports rehabilitation. Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:34:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 http://elite-performance-institute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-Logo-Color-Change-32x32.jpg Naperville Chiropractor – Elite Performance Institute http://elite-performance-institute.com 32 32 Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite http://elite-performance-institute.com/2018/08/01/hiking-half-dome-in-yosemite/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 23:41:30 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1326 “Half Dome was perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of all the prominent points about Yosemite which has never been and will never be trodden by human foot.” – Josiah Whitney, describing Half Dome in 1868 If only Josiah Whitney had been able to experience what I got to experience, hiking Half Dome in Read more about Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite[...]

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“Half Dome was perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of all the prominent points about Yosemite which has never been and will never be trodden by human foot.”

– Josiah Whitney, describing Half Dome in 1868

If only Josiah Whitney had been able to experience what I got to experience, hiking Half Dome in all its’ glory. A 16-mile magical journey that traveled through magnificent forests, past waterfalls I could only imagine in movies and climbing 5,000 feet to one of the best views of the valley. Half Dome exceeded every expectation I had, or could have had, coming in.

To start, you need a permit to hike Half Dome. There are 2 ways to accomplish this, the early lottery (which I wasn’t successful in) or a lottery 2 days before (which I was successful in). There are only around 250 permits that are given out per day. I started the hike bright and early at 6:15 am partly to avoid the massive amount of people coming into Yosemite and partly to make sure I had enough time to complete the hike. I boldly predicted I’d complete the 18-mile hike (added on 2 miles to the parked car) by 2 or 3 pm. Little did I know what I was in for!

Half Dome

The start of the journey

I started off on the Mist Trail which began innocently enough with some mild elevation gain on a nice paved trail. The slight elevation gain was enough to get the heart pumping bright and early in the morning. As I proceeded along the trail, I got my first view of a waterfall that for lack of better words didn’t look real. A little further along and I was treated to magnificent up-close views of Vernal Fall’s. I have never been to Ireland or Scotland but I felt like this waterfall belonged there. As you went up the right side of the waterfall, you were greeted with about 1,000 stairs just to get those quads firing. The Mist Trail lived up to its’ name as I was treated to a light cool mist from the waterfall that simply felt amazing on a warm day.

Vernal Falls

Just a little farther along the trail was my favorite waterfall of the whole entire trip, Nevada Falls. Along the way, I met a couple of hikers who had lost the trail and a little hope. I had packed along the trail map just in case and I was able to navigate all of us back onto the correct trail thankfully. There are very few markings on the trail and although it is well traveled, there were a few places that you could have gone the wrong way by accident. Nevada Falls is something that I can’t explain in words no matter how I could try. It was easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve been on this earth and I savored the moment. As you can see from the picture below, the beauty is simply stunning!

Half Dome

My favorite picture of the trip and my favorite waterfall

After the beautiful scenery of back to back waterfalls, the next part of the trail got a little more boring by comparison. I continued to rise in elevation and at this point, I was starting to feel the effects of hiking at elevation in some warm weather. It was about 85 degrees in the sun and about 70 in the shade by the river but this section was almost all the hot portion. I stopped several times to catch my breath as the switchbacks and the rocky terrain became very tedious as I ascended towards the base of Half Dome. I was glad that I had packed along some Nuun tablets to replenish the electrolytes that I was sweating off from the gradual climb.

Half Dome

As I approached the base of Half Dome, I got some preview views of what was to come of the scenic valley which was definitely some great motivation to keep pushing. Finally, I reached the ranger that would grant admission, with proof of our permit, to the restricted Half Dome area. The difficulty of the hike did not disappoint because, after that checkpoint, I reached the toughest part of the climb. It became immensely steep and it was non-stop switchbacks, that would challenge even the most aerobically fit humans, from here to the base of Half Dome. I was breathing pretty hard and had to take frequent breaks at this point but I continued to press forward.

Half Dome

400 feet straight up to the top of Half Dome, intimidating!

Finally, I reached the base of Half Dome! However, getting to the base of Half Dome and looking up at it was the most intimidating aspect of the climb. When I saw it, I immediately second-guessed myself and thought, can I really do this? The trail goes literally almost straight vertical ascending into the sky and you have some cables that look like they are from the 1800’s to hang onto and pull yourself up. However, everyone told me that it was easier going up this portion of the trail then it was on the switchbacks that I had just completed. I took a break and sat down to eat my lunch while watching people ascend the face of Half Dome. As I was sitting, I heard a noise and saw a 32 ounce Nalgene water bottle come tumbling down the Half Dome route like a Plinko chip on the Price is Right. Thankfully, the water bottle fell innocently to the ground but it could have easily injured someone or ripped someone off the Half Dome cables.

Half Dome

Sweatiest hands I’ve ever had taking a picture!

I summoned up my courage and decided it was time. I grabbed ahold of the cables and began my ascent up the side of Half Dome. I was surprised to find that what people had told me was true, it was actually much easier than it looked……..as long as you didn’t look down. You would pull yourself up and then when you got to one of the horizontal boards, you would rest. At one of the resting spots, I decided to do something risky, take a picture. Never had I been more nervous in my life to drop my phone so the few pictures I snapped on the way up didn’t quite do it justice. I was really glad that I had bought some gloves the day before at a hardware store and they definitely helped going up and down the cables.

Half Dome

On top of Half Dome and feeling like I was on top of the world!

Finally, at 12:30 pm, 6 hours after we started, we made it to the top of Half Dome. The space up top was actually huge. The views were literally out of this world! After a long and tedious hike, I got the glory of seeing the valley in all its beauty from one of the top vantage points in the park. You could see literally forever at the top and I gained a new appreciation in my heart for the beauty of Yosemite National Park. After enjoying the views up top for almost an hour, it was time to do the hard part, go back down.

Half Dome

Thankfully, the way down went much faster than the way up. However, despite bringing a full gallon of water in my pack, I was running short on water and really had to conserve it. I thought a gallon would be more than enough but with the heat and tedious nature of the climb, I went through more water than I expected. I would advise bringing more if you make the hike yourself during the summer. On the hike back, I was able to soak in the beauty of everything the trail had to offer one more time. I certainly enjoyed my time at the beautiful waterfalls a second time. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was how my quads/knees felt like after climbing 5,000 feet in elevation and then coming back down. I ended up making it back to the parking lot around 5:00 pm just missing my estimate of 2-3 pm.

Overall, hiking Half Dome was a once in a lifetime experience. It took just as much mental effort as physical. I saw people from all walks of life, old, young, athletic, overweight, etc make it to the top. Don’t ever feel limited or intimidated that you yourself can’t make this climb as long as you put your mind to it and come prepared. As always, my recommendation is don’t look at pictures on the internet, get out there and do it! Whether that’s Half Dome at Yosemite National Park or going to a local state park, get outside, be active, enjoy life!

Half Dome

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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Sleep While You Are Alive http://elite-performance-institute.com/2018/06/07/sleep-while-you-are-alive/ Thu, 07 Jun 2018 12:52:26 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1300 “Sleep is the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting.” “Humans beings are the only species that deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason.” -Matthew Walker The more we learn about sleep, the more we realize that it is one of the most vital things we do as humans. I recently Read more about Sleep While You Are Alive[...]

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sleep

“Sleep is the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting.”

“Humans beings are the only species that deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason.”

-Matthew Walker

The more we learn about sleep, the more we realize that it is one of the most vital things we do as humans. I recently listened to a Joe Rogan podcast with sleep expert Matthew Walker, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California in Berkeley (author of “Why We Sleep” which you can check out here). I was blown away by the amount of awesome data and statistics that he presented. Dr. Walker estimates that 1 out of every 2 in the United States are not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep. If you want to watch or listen to the full podcast, you can do that here.

Here are some incredible stats relating to athletic performance:

  • If you’re getting 6 hours of sleep or less, your time to physical exhaustion drops by up to 30%
  • Lactic acid builds up quicker the less you sleep
  • The ability of your lungs to expire CO2 and inhale oxygen decreases
  • The less sleep you have the lower your peak muscular strength, lower your vertical jump height, and lower your peak running speed
  • A 60% increase in the probability of injury comparing people who get 9 hours of sleep a night to those who get 5
  • Your stability muscles fail earlier when not getting enough sleep

Not enough to convince you to start sleeping more yet? Here are some more stats:

  • After 20 hours of being awake, you are as physically and cognitively impaired as you would be if you were legally drunk
  • Every 30 seconds, there is a car accident linked to lack of sleep, drowsy driving kills more people on the roads than alcohol or drugs combined
  • One study found that, with one week of 6 hours of sleep per night, 711 genes were distorted in their activity
    • Half of those genes experienced an increase in activity – these were genes related to the promotion of tumors, genes related to chronic inflammation, and genes associated with stress (and therefore cardiovascular disease)
    • Half of these genes were suppressed – many of these were genes related to immune response, so we become immune deficient with a lack of sleep
  • If you’re dieting, but not getting sufficient sleep, 70% of all the weight you lose will come from lean muscle, not fat – our body becomes resistant at giving up fat when it’s underslept
  • Men who sleep 5-6 hours a night will have a level of testosterone 6-10 years their senior
  • With 14 days straight of 6 hours sleep or less, your cognitive performance nosedives, and with no sign of leveling off
  • People sleeping 4-5 hours a night will on average eat 200-300 extra calories each day (70,000 extra calories each year which translates into 10-15 lbs. of body mass)
  • Insufficient sleep is the most significant lifestyle factor for determining whether or not you’ll develop Alzheimer’s Disease
  • One study sleep-deprived individuals for one night (to 4 hours of sleep) – they experienced a 70% reduction in critical anti cancer-fighting cells (natural killer cells)

Here are some debunks for some common sleep myths:

  • We can’t use naps to regain sleep we’ve lost
  • The shorter your sleep on average, the shorter your life
  • The number of people who can survive on 6 hours of sleep or less, rounded to a whole number, and expressed as a percentage of the population is 0
  • You don’t know you’re sleep deprived when you’re sleep deprived
  • Less sleep does not equal more productivity
  • Dr. Walker estimates that if you pull an all-nighter, and then are allowed to sleep as long as you want the next night, you’ll sleep longer but you’ll only get back 3-4 hours of that lost total 8

Why school’s should think strongly about pushing back start times:

  • One school shifted start times from 7:25am to 8:30am, average SAT scores rose 212 points
  • One study documented a school which shifted school start times from 7:35am to 8:55am – this resulted in 70% reduction in car crashes the following year

Stats from Podcast Notes

How much could healthcare costs be cut by having everyone sleep at minimum 8 hours per night? How much better of an athlete or a student could you be if you sleep 8 hours per night? Do you want to live a longer more productive life? I can’t answer these questions but you can. Make sleep a priority in your life and the dividends will be worth it. Sleep while you are alive, not dead.

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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Adventuring at Zion National Park http://elite-performance-institute.com/2018/01/02/adventuring-at-zion-national-park/ Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:46:49 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1204 After 3.5 years of working without taking more than 1 day off at a time, I decided it was time for a vacation. And, what would a vacation be without an adventure? I eagerly scoped out places of interest when I stumbled upon Zion National Park. Let’s just say it was love at first sight! Read more about Adventuring at Zion National Park[...]

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After 3.5 years of working without taking more than 1 day off at a time, I decided it was time for a vacation. And, what would a vacation be without an adventure? I eagerly scoped out places of interest when I stumbled upon Zion National Park. Let’s just say it was love at first sight! I found a great website that had every bit of information I would need to make my trip a success. After meticulously planning for months, the day finally came!

We started at Zion National Park on a beautiful, brisk morning. When we drove in the previous night, it was dark and we had no clue that we were tucked in a valley of immense beauty. We ate a large breakfast bright and early then traveled into the park. In fact, when we entered the park, we were confused because there wasn’t anyone at the booth to take our money (we came back later for the sunset and happily paid our $30). As the sun came up, we looked around in awe at what we were about to hike, Angel’s Landing.

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Starting on our way up to Angels’ Landing

Angel’s Landing, appropriately named, is a 5 mile round trip hike that features a 1,500 foot elevation change. It’s not for the faint of heart. As we begun to climb on the trail, we couldn’t help but stop every 5 minutes to take a picture of the beautiful scenery. We remarked how quiet and serene it was. It was nice to pause and hear the flow of the Virgin River in the background. It reminded me of listening to one of those relaxation tapes, so calm and peaceful. As we ascended on the initial switchbacks, I think we both realized that we had our work cut out for us. We kept glancing ahead not knowing exactly where the trail would go. That made it even more exhilarating as we climbed upwards into the unknown.

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The serene Virgin River in the canyon floor

The trail flattened out some after a series of switchbacks and we dived into the mountainside only to find more switchbacks! These switchbacks are known as Walter’s Wiggles and feature a 250 feet elevation gain over 21 switchbacks. They definitely got the heart pumping and the calves firing! Once we reached the top, we were thinking that we were at the top of Angel’s Landing. However, this point, known as Scouts Lookout, was just the beginning of the hardest part of the ascent, the last 500 feet.

Zion3

Walter’s Wiggles switchbacks, great workout!

Intimidating. That’s the word I would describe the trail from Scouts Lookout to the top of Angel’s Landing. Make a false move and it’s a 1000+ foot plunge (I googled this before the trip and found out this has happened on 5 occasions in the past, yikes!). Thankfully they have a chain for you to help pull yourself up as you climb up the adverse and steep terrain. We caught up to a group and quickly became friends. It’s amazing how friendly people are when climbing! We stopped several times on the final ascent, one to take pictures and two to catch our breath as it was anything but easy.

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Intimidating to say the least, the last stretch of Angel’s Landing!

Finally after a long and treacherous hike, we reached the top of Angel’s Landing. I don’t think I can properly describe the beauty in mere words. Hopefully my pictures will do it partial justice. Surprisingly at the top, I looked at my phone and it had cell phone service after not having service all day. So, I sat on the edge of Angel’s Landing basking in the beauty and called my mother. I know it meant the world to her and I’m glad I got to call her. We relaxed for awhile at the top and soaked it all in. It was just unbelievable!

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The views on top of Angel’s Landing were out of this world!

Hard to believe but that was our first of 4 hikes for the day! After a short break to recharge after our descent, we went on to tackle the Emerald Pools Trail. The Emerald Pools are basically pools surrounded by some of the world’s greatest scenery. The trail was a lot less strenuous, especially in terms of elevation changes, which helped our tired legs. There’s an upper, middle and lower pool and all are distinct and uniquely beautiful. My favorite was the middle Emerald Pool because it featured awesome waterfalls! The trail was a little slick because of the water so you had to watch your footing. But, I would say the pools would be a relatively easy hike for anyone who visits Zion.

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Emerald Pool’s

When we were on top of Angel’s Landing. Our group of friends we had made told us that we had to check out the Weeping Rock. We recharged a little bit and headed that way next. We were expecting something really awesome but perhaps we were just spoiled by the beauty from earlier. When we reached Weeping Rock, we weren’t blown away like we were at the previous two destinations. Don’t get me wrong, it was still beautiful! Weeping Rock was essentially a free shower by nature where a flowing stream travels over an area of rock that is cut out like a bowl. It made for a cool picture!

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Weeping Rock

After that, it was time for our last hike of Zion National Park, the Canyon Overlook Trail. This short hike led to one of the best views at Zion, especially with the sun setting. There was a large group of people out here all trying to do the same thing we were trying to do; get some beautiful shots of the setting sun casting light on the canyon! I got a little adventurous here and went off the trail. However, I came scampering back to the trail area after a couple of swift canyon gusts made me chilled to the bone. It was really awesome and a little bit scary at the same time to hear the wind swirling through the canyon. The wind sounded like it was out of a movie! As the sunset, I reflected on my magical day at Zion National Park and was full of gratitude for the opportunity life presented to me.

Zion11

Canyon Overlook Trail, what an awesome place to sit and enjoy!

I truly hope that this post inspires you to live out your adventurous side. We have become so wrapped up in our technologically advanced world that we forget, reading this blog and looking at these pictures, is nothing compared to the real thing. Nature was made to be admired. Whatever it is you aspire to do, do it, don’t wait or the opportunity may be lost. I can’t wait till my next adventure! Any ideas?

Zion12

 

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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Easy Tips to Eat Healthier http://elite-performance-institute.com/2017/06/20/easy-tips-eat-healthier/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:40:29 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1135 Do you want to eat healthier? You’re not alone. On my new patient intake forms, one of the questions that I ask is what are your health goals. By far and away, the most common goal I see listed is to eat healthier and lose weight. I hear all sorts of reasons for why people Read more about Easy Tips to Eat Healthier[...]

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Do you want to eat healthier? You’re not alone. On my new patient intake forms, one of the questions that I ask is what are your health goals. By far and away, the most common goal I see listed is to eat healthier and lose weight. I hear all sorts of reasons for why people aren’t eating healthier: it costs too much, I don’t have time, I’m not sure what to eat, it’s not convenient for my lifestyle, etc. Maybe you’re reading this right now and have your own excuse in your head. So I’m going to do my best to give you some easy tips to eat healthier that you can incorporate into your lifestyle right now!

Make Better Breakfast Choices

To me, there’s no better breakfast, and more convenient, than to make a healthy smoothie in the morning. For those who aren’t a big fan of vegetables, a smoothie in the morning is an easy way to sneak in some undetected vegetables. Breakfast can be tricky because of marketing tactics but don’t be fooled, there’s no such thing as a “healthy” cereal. There are plenty of other healthy options but when I make my smoothie in the morning, it takes me less than 3 minutes and I can take it out the door with me and drink it as I drive to work. I change up what I put into my smoothie but generally the format follows:

eat healthier smoothie

6 oz Water

Banana

Spinach (very generous handful)

Berries

Hemp Protein

Scoop of Peanut Butter

That particular smoothie keeps me full from 6am until I eat lunch around 11:30am and it tastes great to me. You can switch up what you want in the smoothie but always make sure you include some veggies!

Avoid Eating After Dinner

The most common time of day for people to eat crap (technical term there) that they shouldn’t is after dinner. Are you a chronic post dinner chocolate eater? Let me guess you have good intentions of only eating part of the chocolate bar and then you end up eating the whole thing. Do you sit in bed eating cookies binge watching Netflix before you go to bed? There are many bad choices you can make. Don’t be an offender, cut out the crap after dinner and you will definitely be a healthier eater.

Don’t Use Busy as an Excuse

I often hear I’m too busy to eat healthy. It takes me about 8 minutes to prepare a quick and easy healthy dinner. I put whatever meat my heart desires along with a bunch of vegetables into a pan and 8 minutes later, I have a piping hot, healthy meal. Yet all these people who don’t have time, stop at a drivethru after work, and end up spending just about the same amount of time as it takes me to prepare a healthy meal while spending 2-3x more than it would to eat at home. Eating healthy is too expensive you say?

Other Additional Tips

-Eat more vegetables, please

-There isn’t a 100% right or wrong way to eat for anyone

-There are no magic supplements to make you lose weight

-Don’t get burned out on a particular diet

-The less ingredients something has the better

-Try not to eat out of boxes or cans

-You can’t eat healthy out of the microwave

-It’s ok to have a cheat meal, just don’t turn it into a cheat week

-Make sure you’re exercising on a regular basis

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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Strategies For Sitting http://elite-performance-institute.com/2017/05/09/strategies-for-sitting/ Tue, 09 May 2017 18:54:00 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1116 Let’s face it, we all know that sitting is not good for us. However, the majority of people living in the United States work jobs that require you to sit for most of the day. I have a lot of patients who work these types of jobs that come in for low back pain, neck Read more about Strategies For Sitting[...]

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Let’s face it, we all know that sitting is not good for us. However, the majority of people living in the United States work jobs that require you to sit for most of the day. I have a lot of patients who work these types of jobs that come in for low back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues, etc. Although I can see clearly that sitting is affecting their biomechanics and a cause of their pain, I can’t say just stop sitting. So if you do work a job that requires a lot of sitting, what can you do? Here’s some tips for you:

sitting

Maximize Your Workstation Biomechanics

Is your computer monitor set up so you don’t have to look up or down at it? Does your chair have good lumbar support? I recommend a McKenzie lumbar roll if your chair doesn’t have good lumbar support. Do you have proper support for your elbows? Do you have a headset for the phone? Do you sit on your wallet? That’s a big no no! There’s lots of little things that you can do that will make a big difference biomechanically.

Sit With Good Posture

The key here is to sit with good posture as much as you can. If anyone tells you that it’s possible to sit all day long with perfect posture, they’re a liar. When you add in the stressors and pressure of working various desk jobs, it’s impossible to sit with good posture. The most common things I see are anterior head carriage where your head is forward too much, forward rolled shoulders and too much lumbar flexion. So do your best to sit with good posture for as long as you can throughout the day!

Move When You Can

Take the long way to the bathroom or printer. Take a walk on lunch even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Have a phone meeting? How about walking around your office while you talk! Find a reason to get up every hour or more frequently and just move. A new thing I’ve seen is the standing desks but even with a standing desk, sedentary is sedentary. The more you sit in the same position, the more you put chronic tension on your tissues leading to injuries.

Do “Anti-Sitting” Exercises

Whenever I have someone that works a desk job, I give them what I call anti-sitting exercises to help counter the effects of sitting. These include exercises to promote thoracic extension and mobility, open up the chest, open up the hip flexors, turn on the glutes, etc. I recommend doing these exercises every single day. The way injuries from sitting occur is that it’s not a single incident that causes the pain. Instead, it’s an accumulation of microtrauma that causes the injury. I’ve created a playlist on my YouTube channel that has videos of some of the anti-sitting exercises I give to my patients, check that out here.

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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5 Tips to Improve Your Running http://elite-performance-institute.com/2017/03/06/5-tips-to-improve-your-running/ Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:00:42 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=1003 Who doesn’t want to improve their running? I’m in a unique position of being a high school track and field/cross country coach and a chiropractor so needless to say, I see runners all day for a variety of issues. I’m often asked by my patients and my athletes I coach, what can I do to become Read more about 5 Tips to Improve Your Running[...]

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Who doesn’t want to improve their running? I’m in a unique position of being a high school track and field/cross country coach and a chiropractor so needless to say, I see runners all day for a variety of issues. I’m often asked by my patients and my athletes I coach, what can I do to become a better runner? Here are my top 5 tips to improve your running.

  1. Running Tall
  2. Recover Better
  3. Get Your Form Checked
  4. Don’t Let Little Things Become Big Things
  5. Just Breathe

Running

Running Tall

I wrote a previous blog about this one. Simply put, the best running cue I could ever give someone is to run tall. A lot of poor biomechanics and habits can be fixed by this simple cue. If you run with poor posture, it can shut off a lot of the correct muscles and lead to not only injuries but poor running economy.

Recover Better

Sometimes we forget that rest is as important if not more important than the work. Are you sleeping at least 8 hours a night? Do you eat the correct nutrition? Are you recovering on your recovery days and running an appropriate pace? Nick Symmonds runs 8 minute miles on his recovery days and has a PR in the 800m of 1:42.95. I see a lot of people who sleep 5 hours a night and live on coffee, if that’s you, you’re not adequately recovering. Do you think you can eat whatever you want because you’ll just run it off? If so, then you’re not recovering properly.

Get Your Form Checked

As a coach, I find a lot of athletes aren’t even aware of their poor form. Perhaps you have a bad mechanic or two and don’t even realize that. Over time, bad mechanics lead to injuries not to mention you will run slower than you’re capable of. Luckily for you, a lot of the local shoe running stores have running form clinics that could be very useful. A lot of coaches are very good about checking form as well so it may be worth investing a little money to get your foam analyzed. I offer running analysis at my office and I send you the videos and analysis afterwards so you’ll always have it.

Don’t Let Little Things Become Big Things

I often see individuals that come into my office and say, well it started months ago and it just kept getting worse and I just kept running on it, but now it’s gotten to a point where I can’t run at all. There are a lot of little things that can ultimately become big things and set you back. Consistency is one of the most important factors to improving running but if you’re consistently injured, you can’t progress. Half of my job as a high school coach is to make sure little things don’t become big things. We do lots of foam rolling and self myofascial work for the little injuries that seem to pop up. We also do a lot of strength work and corrective exercises.

Just Breathe

Learn how to breathe, seriously! If you don’t breathe with your diaphragm, the way we were designed to breathe, you’re not able to get as much oxygen in your lungs. And, last time I checked, that’s kind of important in running! Your diaphragm also integrates directly into your core. Think of your core as a box, the diaphragm is the lid for that box. A strong, functional core will go a long ways towards improving your ability to run and staying injury free.

-Dr. Brian Damhoff DC MS

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Strong Butt Equals Happy Healthy Runners http://elite-performance-institute.com/2016/11/21/strong-butt-equals-happy-healthy-runners/ Mon, 21 Nov 2016 20:00:14 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=986 Are you a runner with knee pain, hip pain, IT band syndrome, shin splints, etc.? Have you tried getting treatment for your running injuries and found it to be ineffective? Perhaps you went somewhere and they took an x-ray and said nothings wrong, take a pain killer and here have some muscle relaxers too. Or, Read more about Strong Butt Equals Happy Healthy Runners[...]

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Are you a runner with knee pain, hip pain, IT band syndrome, shin splints, etc.? Have you tried getting treatment for your running injuries and found it to be ineffective? Perhaps you went somewhere and they took an x-ray and said nothings wrong, take a pain killer and here have some muscle relaxers too. Or, maybe they sent you to therapy where you went for 6 weeks and worked really hard only to ease back into running and found out that the pain was still there. If so, then you might want to keep reading. You might have a weak butt causing a change in your biomechanics leading to these injuries.

Let’s talk about the butt. A super important muscle in the butt that dictates a lot of the stability when you run is called the gluteus medius. It’s a very small muscle for the problems it can cause. The gluteus medius functions to pull your thigh away from your midline aka hip abduction. It also functions to control what I call pelvis leveling and unleveling aka stability of the hip. What I see in runners with a weak gluteus medius is that their hip collapses a little bit on each step. A lot of these types of runners have a cadence that is less than ideal because they spend more time on each leg when that hip collapses. Your coach may cue you to increase your cadence but you’ll find that if you fix the weakness, your cadence will naturally increase.

Butt

So let’s break it down. You have a weak gluteus medius that causes your hip to not stabilize like it should. You take 1000-2000 steps per mile. If you run a marathon, that’s 26,000-52,000 times that you are impacting the ground. What do you think will happen to your body if your hip doesn’t stabilize correctly? Will something become injured if your hip collapses over 20,000 times in a race? As great of compensators as our bodies are that just seems to be asking a lot for our bodies to do!

I’m not saying your butt needs to look like Kim Kardashian’s to have optimal glutes as a runner. What you need are optimally firing gluteus medius muscles on both sides of your body. I muscle test the gluteus medius on every runner that comes into my office regardless of the injury they present with. I commonly find gluteus medius weakness and fixing weaknesses are how you prevent injuries from reoccurring and becoming chronic. There are a ton of exercises you can do but one of my favorites, and an easy one to do, is below:

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Cumulative Injury Cycle http://elite-performance-institute.com/2016/10/13/cumulative-injury-cycle/ Thu, 13 Oct 2016 16:21:27 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=965 Have you ever woken up one day with a pain and thought how the heck did this injury occur? It’s a common question I get in my clinic. People say to me, doctor I didn’t do anything I swear, I just woke up and it hurt, how did that happen? I would say about 50% Read more about Cumulative Injury Cycle[...]

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Have you ever woken up one day with a pain and thought how the heck did this injury occur? It’s a common question I get in my clinic. People say to me, doctor I didn’t do anything I swear, I just woke up and it hurt, how did that happen? I would say about 50% of the patients I see have a mechanism similar to this as opposed to direct trauma to an area. The cumulative injury cycle explains how this type of injury can occur.

 

The cumulative injury cycle, pictured above, explains that injuries can occur in 3 manners: 1. Acute 2. Repetitive Injury 3. Constant Pressure/Tension. If left uncorrected these can lead to 1. Inflammation 2. Adhesions/Fibrosis 3. Weak and Tight Tissues 4. Decreased Circulation. And, if nothing is done about those, it can lead to loss of function/strength/range of motion, pain, etc. Relating to our above scenario, a repetitive injury or constant pressure/tension are the cause of the injuries that present without trauma. An example would be someone who works at a desk job where they constantly sit with poor posture all day. They put constant pressure/tension on their upper back/shoulders by sitting with poor posture which can lead to the next step of decreased circulation which leads to adhesions which lead to weak and tight muscles. When a patient comes in, my job is to find where the issue is and correct the issue, it’s as simple as that!

To correct for these issues, my tool of choice is Active Release Technique (ART) and specific rehabilitation exercises. I find that ART works fantastic for breaking down adhesions but if you don’t correct the biomechanical issues, the cycle can start again and you’ll be back to square one. How many times have you heard of someone getting treatment or going to rehabilitation for an injury and they get better but then in time, the problem comes back? What that means is that they have re-entered the cumulative injury cycle. I spend a lot of time with my patients to try to make sure that I take care of the problem and keep it from coming back. Hopefully this helps to explain how some injuries can just come out of the blue and why some injuries seem to never go away.

-Dr. Brian Damhoff

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New Study Finds Youth Soccer Injuries Doubled http://elite-performance-institute.com/2016/09/15/new-study-finds-youth-soccer-injuries-doubled/ Thu, 15 Sep 2016 15:21:52 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=956 Soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in the United States and worldwide. But, a new study found that youth soccer injuries have increased significantly from 1990 to 2014. In fact, the number of emergency room visits due to youth soccer related injuries have increased by 78% and the yearly rate of injuries Read more about New Study Finds Youth Soccer Injuries Doubled[...]

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Soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in the United States and worldwide. But, a new study found that youth soccer injuries have increased significantly from 1990 to 2014. In fact, the number of emergency room visits due to youth soccer related injuries have increased by 78% and the yearly rate of injuries have increased by 111%. Wow! How is it that with the advancement in equipment, training methods, healthcare and injury prevention that injuries are increasing by so much in youth soccer?

In my opinion injuries are increasing for a number of reasons. Youth soccer has transformed into a year round sport with indoor and outdoor facilities all over. In addition to the longer season, there’s the longer practices and the repetitions of movements and skills. I always think of it like a factory worker. They do the same movements day in and day out and are prone to injury. Yet, it seems like no one bats an eye when it comes to the specialization of youth sports such as soccer.

One of the scariest parts of this study is that it found that concussions increased 1596 percent! Concussions at the youth level are one of the scariest injuries out there in my opinion. The effects not only short term but also long term are still being studied and there is a lot more to learn. Brain trauma is still a very undeveloped field and the more research that is done, the scarier concussions become.

So what can be done? I recommend that youth should play multiple sports throughout the year but not just one sport such as soccer. I also recommend not playing two sports at the same time such as basketball and soccer. If your child suffers a concussion, do not rush them to return to play and always make sure the return to play is managed by an appropriate healthcare professional. I’m all for youth playing sports instead of sitting on the couch and playing video games but it is important to make sure that they are not overworked.

-Dr. Brian Damhoff

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The PNXC Food Challenge http://elite-performance-institute.com/2016/08/25/food-challenge/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:38:03 +0000 http://elite-performance-institute.com/?p=944 A number of dedicated high school athletes and their parents have made a decision to better their health by signing the 2016 Plainfield North cross country food contract. The contract stipulates that during the cross country season, everyone who signs will avoid all pop, eat vegetables two times a day at least five times a Read more about The PNXC Food Challenge[...]

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Food

A number of dedicated high school athletes and their parents have made a decision to better their health by signing the 2016 Plainfield North cross country food contract. The contract stipulates that during the cross country season, everyone who signs will avoid all pop, eat vegetables two times a day at least five times a week and avoid a large list of fast food restaurants. You can see the above picture to read the full contract and stipulations. Talk about dedication for high schoolers and busy parents!

Last year was the first year of our food contract. Every single athlete on the team signed the contract for the entirety of the cross country season. The season starts in late August and runs through the beginning of November. Over the course of this period, only one athlete violated the contract. However, he quickly owned up to his mistake and is no doubt a better person as a result of his ability to own up to his own mistake. The season was one to remember as our team advanced to state for the first time in school history and there is no doubt that this contract contributed towards their success.

This year, the new addition to the contract is to eat vegetables at least two times a day five times a week. For some of our athletes and parents, this will be a very tough challenge! We are approximately one week into the contract and so far so good. The vegetable aspect is the toughest aspect for our athletes as most of them have eliminated fast food and pop entirely from their diets as a result of last years contract.

Now the challenge for you the reader. Will you join the Plainfield North cross country team and take the challenge? I would love to see other teams, individuals, families also make that decision to better their health. I think you’ll find out the results to be worth it!

-Dr. Brian Damhoff

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