Should I Wear Sunglasses When Exercising?

Do you often wonder why you don’t see more athletes wearing sunglasses when they are training and/or racing outside in the sun?  Some feel that the glasses are cumbersome and get in their way.  Others just have problems finding the right sunglasses that don’t slip on their nose, don’t fog and are the right weight for them.  Well sunglasses are just about as important as good running shoes if training outside on a regular basis.

Depending on the time of day you are exercising, direct sunlight can cause unnecessary strain on your eyes.  Sunglasses are a form of protective eyewear which protects ones eyes from bright light and damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR).  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the natural radiation found in the invisible light spectrum. There are 3 ranges of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC.  Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can even increase the possibility of significant eye damage, including temporary discomfort to long-term vision problems such as cataracts.
Runners, cyclists, swimmers and walkers that exercise outside on a regular basis can face visual problems due to prolong exposure to sunlight if they are not wearing some type of visual aid.  Health professionals recommend use of sunglasses not only for protection against bright light and UV rays but also to prevent drying of retina and protect eyes from the entry of foreign body.
When selecting your sunglasses you will have a wide variety of lens tint options to suit your preference and outdoor lighting condition. Smoke lenses show the least amount of color distortion and are perfect for use in full sun conditions. Brown lenses are great for bright sunlight and enhance color.

AC (All conditions) Red lenses offer an enhanced view in cloudy or foggy weather. Red lenses will also provide contrast in mid to low lighting conditions.  Yellow lenses offer an extremely bright view in overcast or rainy conditions.

Clear lenses enable the wearer to have protection at night, or other extremely low lighting conditions. Although clear, the Tifosi clear lenses will still offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

CK SPORTS can help you find sunglasses that fit your face and that will meet your needs as a runner, walker or cyclist.   We carry the Tifosi brand ( the Italian word referring to a super-fan, an enthusiast) that have specific lens for your sport and provide you with various options as far as lens tint/color.   Their mission is to design eyewear for all sports and outdoor activities that include swimming, biking and running as well as golf, tennis and fishing to mention a few other sports.   These sunglasses (pictured in this article) are  lightweight and can fit all face sizes.

Stop in and try a pair on.  CK SPORTS is located at 121 and Custer in McKinney, Tx and we are opened seven days a week.

How Do I Use a Foam Roller?

Tips for Using a Foam Roller

  • Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release

  • Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.

  • Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.

  • Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.

  • Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.

  • If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.

  • Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.

  • Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.

  • Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.

  • Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.

  • Rest a day between sessions when you start.

  • Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.

  • After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.

  • Do not use a foam roller without your physician’s approval if you have any heart illness or chronic pain condition.

More About Techniques With the Foam Roller

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  • Find a tender spot on the area you are working and keep the roller on this spot. Wait for discomfort to diminish by 50-75%. This could take some time and be uncomfortable.

  • When this area is no longer sensitive then begin to see if there are other sensitive areas and repeat.

  • When this area is free of pain and can be rolled over, then continue rolling regularly to keep the area relaxed.

  • Use the roller as warm up prior to activity and also for warm down after exercise

  • There is some freedom for experimentation and “feel” when using the rollers. See what works best for you and manipulate the roller to the correct position.

Maintaining Your Foam Roller

Due to how foam rollers are manufactured, all foam products will have some surface imperfections. Imperfections such as surface bubbles, dimensional tolerance and differences in color are normal. These imperfections will not affect the performance of the foam roller and other foam products.

Normal use will cause indentations or pressure points. Pressure points may slowly re-cover, however, continuous pressure lasting several hours should be avoided. Do not store objects on top of foam items. Foam performs best if stored flat, away from sunlight and within temperature ranges between 75°F – 125°F.

 Cleaning:    

Use a mild soap and water mixture or Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol.  DO NOT use bleach solutions, oils or other chemicals as they can cause softening, discoloration and distortion of shape.

CK SPORTS carries all types of foam rollers; full, half size and even the new GRID.  Stop in and let us set you up with the best foam roller for your sport. 

You Don’t have to Run in Drenched Clothes

 So everyone is putting together their fitness plans, picking out their next race, and preparing their training schedule. When putting thought into your goals, don’t forget to give careful thought about your wardrobe as well. That does not mean if the pink shoes will match the shorts and headband but more so if you have the right apparel for the hot and humid days ahead of us. Save your cotton tanks your casual outings with family and friends and make sure the shorts and shirts you run in are technical moisture management apparel that will make your workouts much more comfortable and less risk of chafing and have wet, heavy clothing sticking to your skin the last hour of a workout!

So you ask, why technical apparel. What’s so great about it?

Basically technical apparel is what some refer to as moisture management fabric which pulls sweat from the skin and spreads it out into the garment so that it will dry faster. This description is called “wicking” but understand that even cotton (the frowned upon fabric among athletes) wicks (pulls) moisture faster than synthetics, BUT it holds onto the moisture not allowing the moisture to spread out. This causes wet clothing they will cling while working out. Technical garments take much longer to saturate and will dry more quickly never giving you a heavy, soaking wet feeling.

So what’s the big deal about a heavy, wet piece of clothing while working out? Aren’t we suppose to be drenched is your next thought right?   Well, this feeling/effect can cause other problems.

  • In cold temperatures working out in cotton and having the layer of apparel closest to your skin get wet with little ability to dray can cause hypothermia.
  • When cotton is super-saturated, it has the effect on your skin that lying in a bath tub does—you (your skin) becomes prune-like. This is bad because when you add heat and movement to your already sensitive skin, the likelihood of blistering, chafing, or callusing is very high.

Polyester and nylon may have a bad rap with casual clothing, but for the an athlete they are the fabric of choice. There are plenty of advantages to polyester and nylon. It’s light, durable, smooth against the skin, and has tremendous moisture managing properties. It keeps you dry, and keeps you from chafing and blistering. Polyester is a very light and thin material, so it can be molded and fit into many types of clothing. It can be a light singlet or a t-shirt as easily as it can be included in a heavy winter “shell” jacket. Due to polyester’s great moisture managing properties it will keep you dry, which keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—all without causing skin abrasions that you end up nursing long after the chafing happened. If you are trying to pick between the two fabrics (which many times the apparel will be a blend of both) nylon is more durable (typically) and holds the color in the fabric after various washes a little better.

Fit

Last, when selecting your fitness apparel, make sure you purchase your apparel the correct size. Wearing shorts that are larger than you need can cause chafing simply due to having too much fabric between your legs and causing it to rub against your skin when exercising. Technical garments work best when fit closer to the skin but as more manufacturers evolve new technology has allowed for the fit to be looser and still be effective for moisture management, warmth and cooling.

CK SPORTS 

CK SPORTS carries various brands of technical apparel for both men and women.  The brands range from Pearl Izumi, Brooks, Under Armour, Mizuno and much more.  Visit our store and our staff will help you select the best fit for your body type and exercise needs.   When making these purchases you will want to take care of your apparel since it is an investment.  Unlike cotton fabric, technical fabric does costs a little more.  If you wash/dry it correctly, it will last a long time and remain effective.  

Did you say Pickle Juice before my Run?

Pickle Juice??  What the heck?   You want me to drink some pickle juice before my run / ride / walk???   Why can’t I stick to some GUs, Gels or Chomps and just eat a pickle when I order my sandwich that comes with a pickle?   Well, good question but if you google pickle juice and the athletic and health benefits of it, you might be surprised the amount of information and studies you will find.  Some studies adamantly say pickle juice is beneficial in helping stop cramps and others are hesitant to say that cramping is even caused by dehydration and/or lack of salt intake.  So we created this blog to give you some insight and let you come to your own conclusions on whether or not you want to venture out and give it a try.

Pickle juice is the liquid substance used to give cucumbers their salty, sour taste.  In most cases, it is made of water, salt, calcium chloride and vinegar (acetic acid), and occasionally contains flavorings like dill or “bread and butter”.   The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas heat.  Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.”  Pickle companies (such as Mt. Olive Pickle, Vlasic Foods and Golden Pickle) claim that pickle juice is similar to an isotonic beverage and can prevent muscle cramps caused from strenuous exercise.   Mt. Olive Pickle asserts that “an athletic trainer from the University of Northern Iowa” uses pickle juice to avoid muscle cramps in athletes. (http://www.mtolivepickles.com/Picklemania/PickleJuicePower.html)

Golden Pickle has even created a sports drink, appropriately named “Pickle Juice Sport” which you can purchase at CK SPORTS.  Golden Pickle claims that Pickle Juice Sport has “approximately 30 times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade.” (www.goldenpicklejuice.com). It is even endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten.

So why would pickle juice work?  Exercise induced muscle cramps are can be caused by dehydration from exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids.  When you sweat during exercise, you can lose a lot of salt from your blood.  These salts are also known as electrolytes.  The loss of electrolytes can cause muscle cramping, especially in hot, humid weather.  Cells in the body use electrolytes to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. In this case, these impulses are responsible for muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt, or electrolyte content.  Therefore, drinking pickle juice before exercising could possibly provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.  Other studies claim that your body gets enough sodium through the foods you eat and pills, juice, etc are not necessarily needed.

One study (resource provided below) compared pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product.  Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage.  Dale et. al. concluded that pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study also warns of the danger of ingesting too much salt as well so be smart when training and see what works for you, your workouts and your climate.  In most articles two ounces is the suggested serving size of pickle juice.

There was even another study that took two groups of men and put them through strenuous enough exercise for them to lose 3% of their body weight through perspiration (mild dehydration) and then s contraption was put on the big toe of their unexercised leg, and the tibial nerve in the men’s ankles was electrically stimulated, causing a muscle in the big toe to cramp — ow??    The procedure causes some discomfort, making it too painful to use on larger muscles, like the hamstrings or the quadriceps.  The duration of their cramping was about 2 to 2.5 minutes.   The volunteers rested and did not drink any fluids. Then their tibial nerve was zapped again.  This time, though, as soon as the toe cramps began, each man downed about 2.5 ounces of either deionized water or pickle juice, strained from a jar of ordinary Vlasic dills.  The reaction, for some, was rapid. Within about 85 seconds, the men drinking pickle juice stopped cramping.  But the cramps continued unabated in the men drinking water.   hmmmm….so you see….one has to wonder?  Can pickle juice work for you and your workouts?

And if pickle juice isn’t your thing – no worries.  There are various supplements made from various companies (Shark Salts, Hammer, Salt Stick, etc) also provided at CK SPORTS that provide a source of salt for athletes.  Whatever direction you go to increase your salt intake do remember that too much of a good thing.  And if you are on a salt-restricted diet, you may want to look elsewhere for a muscle cramp remedy.   Medical professionals believe that salt plays a major role in preventing dehydration that causes muscle cramps, but it does not necessarily have to come from pickle juice or other salt tablets.  In fact, Kurt Spindler, the Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Center, suggests that athletes just conscientiously salt their food at their meals to avoid muscle cramps.

RESOURCES

Muscle Cramps. (2005) A-Z Health Guide from WebMD. Retrieved September 18, 2006.  http://www.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/sig239850.asp

Dale, R. B. Leaver-Dunn, D. Bishop, P. (2003).  A compositional analysis of a common acetic acid  solution with practical implications for ingestion. Journal of Athletic Training. 38(1) .57.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/phys-ed-can-pickle-juice-stop-muscle-cramps/

Food For Thought…..

by Jeff Horowitz – Smart Training (excerpts also from Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal)

In case you missed it, an article in the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Journal section of Novemebr 22, “Countdown To a Food Coma”, gave some unexpected support for running and other exercise. The WSJ reported that researchers had found that your body’s reaction to big meals can be an indicater of future heart problems. And interesting for runners, exercise immediately before a big meal — and a regular habit of exercising — can help insulate your body from this harm. Says the WSJ: “Th[e] post-meal recovery period is being studied by scientists who are increasingly finding that what happens in the body after eating a big meal doesn’t just bring on sleepiness, commonly known as food coma. It can also increase the risk of later health problems. “Everybody absorbs fats, sugars and other nutrients differently. These variations can provide clues about a person’s risk for common medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, research shows. Even in healthy people, cells that line the blood vessels temporarily function less efficiently after a person eats a high-fat meal.

“Researchers also are studying strategies for reducing risks in the period immediately after a meal, known as the postprandial phase. While going for a walk after eating might help digestion, for example, recent studies suggest that exercising 12 or more hours before the meal can prevent one of the most damaging effects—a post-meal spike in a type of fat called triglycerides.

One of the biggest tasks for the body after eating is to deal with fats in the blood. Cholesterol, particularly LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, infiltrates the walls of the arteries and forms plaques, which can block blood flow or eventually rupture, leading to heart attack and stroke. The condition is known as atherosclerosis.
     “Triglycerides, which typically peak after a big meal, are present in food and are also converted by the body from other nutrients, like carbohydrates. Triglycerides are particularly problematic because they are so good at penetrating the arterial wall.
    ”In a follow-up study, also published in JAMA, the research team found that testing for elevated triglycerides after eating was a better predictor of future heart attack than measurements taken while a person was fasting, which is the typical method during a checkup. Triglyceride counts after eating also were a more accurate predictor of stroke in women than were cholesterol measurements, according to a study published this year in Annals of Neurology.
     Light exercise like a slow walk, done continuously for 30 minutes or more, appears to reduce the peak in triglycerides that occurs after eating a meal some 12 to 16 hours later.
     It’s unclear exactly why there is a delay, but exercise induces a number of cellular responses that require different amounts of time before taking effect…Other research has suggested that the benefits of exercise on fat processing can last as long as 48 hours.
     The ideal is to be consistently active. But if people are more sedentary and want to time their exercise, it is best to take that long walk half a day before a big meal.

My Feet were made for Running

My Feet Were Made for Running… I long for the days that looking at someone’s feet was just looking at someone’s feet. But a foot just isn’t a foot for me. Whether I find myself in Kroger in the check out lane or at the dentist office, I can spot a flat foot, a bunion or a caved ankle a mile away! I have to refrain from saying something! So I keep my mouth shut and instead type up this article.

Many do not understand the importance of shoes for their specific feet. Sure, it’s true that you can pick any shoe from any store and “get away” with wearing it but there is no guarantee that you aren’t going to have issues down the road.  And if the shoe is not the right match more than likely  issues will arise.  It always surprises me when I hear a runner/walker tell me that their feet always hurt but they just deal with it. You don’t have to deal with it. Don’t deal with it!  You are entitiled to be comfortable and you should LOVE your shoes. Everyone is different but there are shoes for everyone….

Kind of like the Oscar Mayer hot dog. Some people are neutral, some supinate, some pronate, some have flat feet, some have high arches, some have no arches. Feet are different and believe it or not, there is a shoe out there that will work for your feet!  We hope you come to CK SPORTS to let us interview your feet but if you don’t make sure that you go some place that will spend time with you to figure out what your issues are and what shoe is best for your foot.

Are you injured? Now what to do?

CK SPORTS, Inc. located in McKinney Texas is always asked about injuries and what to do, well, statistics show that during any given year 2/3 of all runners will have to take at least one week off from running due to some variation of injury. While all of us don’t want to be a statistic and fall into this dreaded category its actually what you do once your  injured that can decide how fast you will be back or how much extra damage you will do to yourself.

First ask yourself how you got to this injury so that you can prevent the same injury from happening in the future. I have described ways people get injured in previous articles but most runners fall into one of the following categories: Errors in training such as too much speed work, increasing mileage too quickly, not enough rest in-between physiologically demanding sessions or running on the wrong terrain, runners who wear inappropriate shoes which is an easy fix by visiting CK Sports and lastly runners whose biomechanics are off due to pelvic misalignments and muscle imbalances.

While someone who is injured should always seek medical advice first there are some easy questions to ask yourself in order to figure out if you should stop running: Does your pain alter your natural gait pattern? Is the area in question red or swollen? Is there weakness associated with the injury? Is there an injury to your back? Answering yes to any of these deserves time off until healed from the injury of further evaluation.

If you end up injured to the point of not being able to run there are numerous activities that you can engage in so that your fitness/aerobics levels do not drop too much. The pool is sometimes the first place to start as both swimming and aqua jogging are great at stressing the cardiovascular system without placing a great load into the body as dry land running does. Cycling is another activity that is low impact but at the same time delivers that cardiovascular stress needed along with strengthening the legs. If on the other hand you can run make sure that your getting regular massage therapy, reducing the number of miles you run in a given week until healthy again, that your running on softer surfaces and most of all listening to your body as your body will be the first to tell you if an injury is about to happen.

Dr. Jake Oergel

say’s focusing on sports injuries and biomechanical corrections. Dr. Oergel is Full-Body Certified in Active Release Technique and is an experienced kinesiotaping practitioner. Dr. Oergel is also an accomplished Ironman triathlete who has competed in over 75 endurance events.

 CK SPORTS, Inc. is a full service Dallas area based triathlon store that focuses on swimming, running, and cycling.  Check out our website for information including an online store.