understand how training and exercise



Muscle Cramps


What do I do with my cramps?

When you hear this, your first thought is probably a magnesium insufficiency... Yes, this might be true, but could only be the tip of the iceberg. There might just be other more obvious causes to this problem, of which muscle fatigue is one. Therefore you need to try and understand the context of your cramps. If you have a cramp at night it might be as a result of over exertion of that particular muscle the previous day. This is usually
a calf cramp. Get out of bed immediately and put that muscle on stretch. By standing on that leg, the cramp should subside. You can also put a hot pack on that muscle to increase the blood circulation in the muscle. Avoid sudden movements and don't try to contract the muscle. It becomes obvious that a general level of fitness is important to prevent muscle cramps. Your daily training should comfortably exceed the activity you do at home or at work. In doing so you will never be bothered by cramps, even when moving, painting out your house or hiking for the first time in months. If you are repeatedly getting cramps in a particular muscle, you should come in for a muscle function assessment. Weakness in other muscles may well be causing these cramps. Usually your body will compensate for muscle weakness in one area by over using another. You can solve this problem with a very specific strengthening program. If a shortage of some sort is causing your cramps, you will have general cramps throughout your body. This might be sorted out by a better diet or getting some supplements from your local health store. Therefore I would like to emphasise that you should understand the context of your cramps before just leaping to the closest bottle of supplements.

Dangers of passive stretching

We usually stretch, because we feel stiff or because we want to become more supple. However, we do this without considering why we are stiff... It is noticeable that the more people stretch, the more they need to stretch and that the feeling of stiffness doesn't ever go away. Usually the feeling of muscle stiffness is caused by some form of inflammation. By simply resting, the inflammation will subside and you can easily get rid of symptoms this way. If your problem
persists with rest, you have to ask what is causing the symptoms! Muscle stiffness is usually caused by weakness. With very specific muscle strengthening, you will never experience stiffness again and the need to stretch will disappear. Three common stretches that may lead to long term back-, hip- and knee degeneration. If weak muscles (usually stiff ) are stretched persistently, this will lead to muscles becoming weaker. More weakness will cause an increased feeling of stiffness and enhance the need to stretch more. This vicious cycle may lead to joint degeneration, chronic dull ache with no relief from pain medication, chronic tiredness and general weakness. In severe cases this may lead to neurological problems and decreased sensation. Therefore please consider the cause of your stiffness before starting a passive stretching routine. If symptoms persist, it will be wise to consult your physio regarding the cause of your stiffness. Avoid long term complications by not treating your stiffness symptomatically.

Sport Shoes


How to make the right choice.

A well discussed topic with many different opinions. We will only try to give you basic guidelines on the do's and don'ts of running shoes. It is very important to wear the appropriate shoe for your sport. For example: you cannot wear running shoes in sports where you change direction often. Rather look out for a cross trainer for these sports. Be sure to have enough time when buying your sport shoes. You must be able to walk around in the shop with your shoes and
mimic the type of movement required in your sport. Don't buy shoes that seem a little uncomfortable. The comfort of the shoe is much more important than the looks. It is important to replace your running shoes annually, especially if you are a regular runner. Try to find a time in the year that works well for you. (January is normally not a good idea after all the Christmas shopping and holidays...) Never change your shoes on match day or close to your event, as it will lead to blisters and or injuries. So make sure your shoes work for you before running your first Comrades. Once you've found a shoe that works for you, try to stick to the brand. Ask the salesman for the follow up shoe of your current `range. It is always a risk to change your brand, as you normally only find out that you've made a mistake 2 weeks down the line. There are 3 major types of running shoes: a neutral shoe, anti-pronation shoes and motion control shoes. Don't get caught by a salesman trying to sell you anti-pronation shoes. It is really important to know what your foot posture is, before deciding on a shoe type. Make an appointment with your physio to determine your foot posture. We will be able to tell you why your feet have a specific posture and give you exercises to correct or support your foot. We will gladly help you with all these decisions or maybe a foot massage is just the right thing to kick start 2011.