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.

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Endorphins Make Me Feel Good…

So what is an endorphin?  How do you explain or describe it?  

Well, Wikipedia’s definition is:

I will have a bowl of endorphins please

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being

ummmm…..what???  They are endogenous opioid peptides?   Okay then.  Lets start with an easy statement about endorphins.  They are supposed to make a person feel good – that simple.   Some people say it’s in our heads while others have done research and say it is a chemical released in our body that makes us happy, content, settled.  The articles side all over the place – they are not real, they are very real, research has proven, research has not “scientifically” proven…..so read on and you make your own decision.

For runner’s and/or endurance athletes they often are heard describing it as a “runner’s high”.  You know, that good feeling you get after a long run, a roll in the hay or a good laugh?  It’s not just because you’ve relieved exercise guilt, had a wham-bam orgasm or heard an absolute knee-slapper.  That elated feeling, which can last up to 12 hours for some people,also  has a scientific explanation.  It comes from a release of endorphins.   And it’s an “all natural” way of getting high.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.     This  feeling,  is often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.   

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters referenced in the Wikipedia definition outlined in this article earlier.  The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines.  However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, family practitioner and author of  “Eat for Health” and “Eat to Live” notes that the science of endorphins-from-exercise is controversial, and that some medical professionals believe the positive feeling you get when you meet a physical challenge, rather than the exertion itself, is what stimulates the endorphin release. Several articles that were researched indicated that endorphins are indeed real and provide benefits to us that include:

Relief of pain
Enhanced immune system
Reduced stress levels
Postpone aging process
Modulated appetite
Lowers blood pressure
Influences calm or euphoric state of mind

 But whatever the cause and benefit, exercise has been proven to enhance the mood.  So lets not speculate any longer.  Get outside, find your sport and start feeling good……endorphin or no endorphin.  In Dr. Fuhrman also recommends prolonged activities such as cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis or a long cardio workout for the best effects. So try to catch an endorphin  see what cha think!  

References;

Endorphins 101: Your Guide to Natural Euphoria
Dr Joel Fuhrman; MD Family practitioner and author

Triathlon Transition Tips

Article written by Poseidon Triathlon Coach, Jim Brown 

Practice – Both mentally and physically. It’s much easier and quicker to shave a minute or even more off your overall time than to try to improve your swim, bike or run by the same amount.  You can improve your transition times by this much with just an hour or two of practicing. In contrast, it could take as a long as an entire season (or longer) to shave a minute off a 750m swim or a 5K run. Visualizing a quick, clean transition before the race and at the end of your swim and bike legs can help your performance.

Get in Gear Put your bike in the right gear for the course before you rack. You won’t want to be in a high gear if there’s a big hill ready to greet you immediately out of T2! Do your course recon first!

Make your transition spot a clutter free zone –For sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, you don’t need socks or a lot of other clutter. Eliminating unnecessary items will help you and others around you.

Bike shoes in the pedals – Put on your bike shoes while riding the course at 18 mi/hr instead of standing still in transition. (Unless T1 exits is on a big hill!) You can clip your shoes into place with rubber bands. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Run with your bike – After putting your helmet on, run upright with good form on the left side of your bike holding your seat with your right hand.

Flying Mount – Learn a flying mount & dismount. It’s good to practice on a trainer or a soft track surface first. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Your bike is your Sherpa—Tape Gels, and sunglasses (sometimes they’ll fit on the outside of your helmet), and whatever else you may need to your bike.  It’s a waste of time to rummage around the transition area looking for these items and packing them for the ride.

T1 and T2 are not fitting rooms – Any clothing changes, especially on a wet body takes lots of time. Triathlon suits are designed for swimming, biking and running, so you shouldn’t need to change clothes.

Location, Location, Location – Know where your bike is located, where the bike and run exits are, and the quickest route to them.  In huge transition areas, it’s sometimes a good idea to use a bright colored marker (I’ve seen balloons, teddy bears, old swim caps, chalk marks, etc.) to help you find your bike.

Stand up/Spin up/Stretch—The last few minutes on the bike should prepare you for the run. Stand up and pedal in a high gear first for a minute or two to shunt blood from your quadriceps to other muscles in your legs.  Stretch out your hamstrings and calf muscles, to get them ready to run.  Spin up in an easy gear at high cadence (90), which helps activate your neuromuscular system for running.

Use lace locks or speed laces (and body glide/baby powder)—Tying shoe laces takes time. Body glide or baby powder put in your shoe ahead of time can allow for quick foot entry into your shoe. It’s also faster to put on your shoes while standing as opposed to sitting down and getting up.   All of these race items can be found at CK SPORTS, located at 121 and Custer in McKinney.

Hit the road fastIn T2, grab what you need and go. Put on your hat, fuel, and race belt/bib while you are running.  Even if you are running slightly slower through transition, it’s better than standing still.


Never try anything new on race day!

ATTEND THE TRANSITION CLINIC AT CK SPORTS ON TUESDAY, MAY 15TH AT 6:30PM.  They are located at 8880 State Highway 121, McKinney, TX 75070

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/

What is Active Therapy?

by Tim Hines-
Elite Performance Chiropractic located in McKinney, Tx.

ART is a patented, soft-tissue mobilization technique preferred by many of today’s top athletes. The goal of ART is similar to sports massage, in that it aims to remove scar tissue from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Chronic and repetitive injury causes scar tissue to form in the body. Over time this scar tissue becomes adhesion that limits function and can became very painful — even leading to more injury.

Active Release is a very focused approach to aiding the body in recovering from the effects of these chronic injuries. Most often practiced by chiropractors, some have likened ART to a chiropractor’s approach to sports massage. While the end goals may be similar, the techniques are quite different. Swedish massage treats the body with a broad, full-body approach. Sports and therapeutic massage are more focused approaches, treating problem areas. ART is even more focused. Certified practitioners of ART are trained to find the source of the problem, go right to it and treat it directly.

How does it work? A simple way to describe it would be a pin-and-stretch. The ART practitioner finds the adhesion that is limiting the function of the muscle, joint, etc. Pressure is applied to the problem spot, and the muscle, or ligament, or tendon, is stretched while pressure is increased. The effect breaks up the adhesion and frees the surrounding soft-tissue. As a massage therapist who is certified in ART, I look at it as another tool in the tool-box of therapies.

Sometimes, all it takes is a screw-driver to fix something — other times, you might need a hammer — often, both a hammer, screw-driver, and even a wrench are needed. ART is great because it can treat injuries quickly, and creates a faster recovery. It can be a crucial part of your overall care. I find that combining ART with chiropractic adjustments and massage, along with proper conditioning and important things like the right fit of shoes, or a properly balanced bike, all work in conjunction to help you perform at a top level.

To Our Grand Old Flag –

Saturday evening I went for a walk and while I was out I noticed our flag.  It was breezy so the flag was sticking out in the wind just enough to see the distinct stars lined up against the blue background, the red stripes and the white  stripes.  I took a picture…one day before the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

This morning on 9/11 I got up, put on my shoes and running clothes  and went for a run.  It was peaceful and quiet outside.   No headphones – just the sound of me breathing and my feet.  I looked up and saw the same  flag today at half mass.  Silently hugging the flag pole…no wind.  …and it made me think….

Ten years ago, I went for a run the day after 9/11.  It wasn’t peaceful.  It was the evening after the morning of the 9/11 tragedy.   The sun was still out but everything was dead quiet.  Few people were outside.  No planes were in the sky.  Some houses had flags outside.  Some did not.  It was a eerie day.  A very sad day.  A day full of questions and uncertainity. It was a day that made me think of my family, my friends and made me call them. 

Throughout this past week,  the news has been commenerating the ten year anniversary of 9/11.  The children of the fallen have spoken this week.   A look back on that day has been played and replayed.  It makes me sad.  It makes me think of those who lost their husband, wife, Mom, Dad, daughter, son, sister , or brother.   9/11 is historic beyond imaginable….In a day of cameras and technology the pictures of the actual attack, the destruction, the grief and the aftermath year after year will be with us forever; in every form of media.  Interviews, film, pictures, etc.  It won’t every be buried in a history book on the 11th chapter.  It will always be vivid and part of America.  So yes it makes me sad. 

But what I also realized when looking at our flag is that it  never fades.  It will always be bold.  It will always be blue, the stars will always be precise.  The stripes exact.  The United States Flag resembles so much for all of us.  It’s where people want to come that don’t live in the United States.  The land of freedom, opportunity and growth.  America the Beautiful.

That flag might have made me sad thinking about 9/11 but it also made me grateful because it speaks to each of us every day when we wake up in the morning able to get out of bed and go for a run, pick our jobs, choose our careers, build our businesses, raise our families,  pick our schools, voice our opinions, and so much more…  So today, I thank all of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice that has made this country what it is.   A country different than all others just like our flag. 

 And when looking at our flag always remember  the firefighters, the soldiers, and all others who serve and protect us allowing us to live in such a great country.   No one will ever forget the flag  held proudly at ground zero on the day of the attack.   So I move forward quietly tonight never forgetting but also always remembering our Flag….and our Country.   And I pray for each of the families that  lost loved ones on 9/11 and hope they see how America (each of us) will never forget.