The truth about sports, nutrition and pain!

Archive for December, 2014

The importance of resting.

Most people are quite competitive with themselves and always want to get better at what they do. If it is running, they want to get faster, if it is resistance training, they want to get bigger and stronger Whatever sport it is we usually want to get better. And what do we do to get better? We train, we train harder, we train faster, we train over and over again until we achieve our goal. And that is for the most part correct, We have to train to improve, but it is not the whole equation, an important part and one that people take for granted is REST.

Let us take running for example. Whenever we run high forces are applied that cause damage to our body. If we rest and recover, our bodies heal and adapt, making us stronger in the process. This is known as supercompensation and it can be applied to most sports. Injuries occur when these forces caused by the sports we practice exceed the body´s ability to handle it, either, because the body is too weak or the forces are too great. And most of the time this is due to 2 factors. We train too much and we don´t rest enough.

If you think about it we shouldn´t really be getting injured nowadays when running, I mean, with all the high-tech shoes out there, how is it possible? But the truth of the matter is that we still get hurt on a frustratingly regular basis, just like 30 years ago. Why you ask? Well in my opinion is not the shoes (1-2). The shoes aren´t even that important ( did a blog on it). The two main factors that predict if you are going to get injured are weight and volume. Meaning, the more you weight the more likely you will get injured, and the more you run the higher your chances of getting injured. And volume and rest are connected, as the more you run the less you rest. Rest includes sleeping properly and this is what a lot of people don´take seriously. Just this year a study came out that said ¨ adolescent athletes who slept eight or more hours each night were 68 percent less likely to be injured than athletes who regularly slept less¨(3). Did you guys see that? It said 68% percent less likely, that is a lot, and something we should take into account. So training is important but resting could be even more important as it could prevent a lot of injuries. And remember if you are injured you cannot train, meaning you won´t get better. So in conclusion REST!!!!!

  1. Theisen D, Malisous L, Genin J, Delattre N. Influence of midsole hardness of standard cushioned shoes on running-related injury risk. Br J Sports Med.2013
  2. Richards CE, Margin PJ, Callister R. Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based. Br J Sports Med.2009 Mar;43(3):159-62.
  3. Mileski MD, Skaggs DL, Bishop GA, Pace JL, Ibrahim DA, Wren TA, Barzdukas A. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. J Pediatr Orthop 2014 MAr,34(2)129-33.
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The myth of Lactic Acid!

I think we have all heard that muscle soreness is produced by lactic acid. That somehow, when you train your body, it produces lactic acid and that is what causes the pain after an intense workout. But the truth of the matter is that this is not true. Scientists have proven that years ago but the myth still persist, even within the sports community. The myth started back in the 1920´s when researchers showed that the exposure of frog legs to high levels of lactic acid interfered with the ability of the muscles to contract in response to electrical stimulation. Later research determined that lactate was produced through the breakdown of glucose without the help of oxygen. So, they concluded that fatigue happened at high exercise intensities because the cardiovascular system could no longer supply the muscles with enough oxygen to keep up with muscular energy demands. This would eventually lead the body to rely on the breakdown of glucose without the help of oxygen, which would lead to the buildup of ¨lactic acid¨. But now we know that is not true, in fact, lactic acid is a chemical that your body produces to feed your muscles so that you can move (1). So it really does the opposite of what a lot of people think!!

So what produces muscle soreness? It is still not 100% certain but most scientist think that next-day soreness is more likely the result of damage to muscle and connective tissue, or inflammation. (That is normal, even good, so don´t get scared)

But the real question most people want to know is what they can do to get rid of the muscle soreness that sometimes occurs after training? And like I said in one of my previous post (click here), not that much! Massage, stretching, it feels good and it relaxes but it won´t prevent you from having that uncomfortable feeling the next day (2-4).

References:

  • Cairns SP. Lactic acid and exercise performance: culprit or friend? Sports Med 2006;36 (4) 279-91.
  • Lund et al. The effect of passive stretching on delayed onset muscle soreness, and other detrimental effects following eccentric exercise.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 1998.
  • Cheung et al. Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors.Sports Medicine 2003 .
  • Weber et al. The Effects of Three Modalities on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 1994.

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