Brooke Goss asked: For my cardio workout I enjoy running and using the elliptical but lately I have gotten shin splints. Is it my shoes? Is there an exercise or stretch that I can do to help? Also, do you have any suggestions on what I can drink or eat before my run to give me more energy? Thanks!
Paul Mazzella: Your questions were good ones and I had to consult my experts. For the first part of your question I consulted Mai, one of our Physical Therapists, who offered the following suggestions: Many times, shin splints are caused when the foot and ankle are not functioning properly. If your shoes are old (it is recommended that sneakers be replace somewhere between 300 – 500 miles), replacing the shoes may help. Also, choosing the elliptical over running may ease symptoms. You should try stretching your calf muscles (gastroc and soleus). It may also help to stretch your tibialis anterior muscle (if the front of your shins are hurting). Start in the tall kneel position, then lower your body and sit on your feet, keeping your toes pointed and our heels together. For the second part of your question, I deferred to our Nutritionist, Kim Garrity, who offered the following advice: Carbohydrates are your bodies primary source of energy. A carbohydrate snack approximately 1/2 hr to 1 hr prior to your workout is best to increase energy supply to the muscle. Good sources would be fruit, whole grain cereal or a cereal bar, crackers or pretzels. You should aim for between 30-60grams.
Thanks for two great questions Brooke!