Exercising and Calf Pain: What Can Be Done to Prevent Pain and Injury

Calf pain, which may be accompanied by soreness or muscle tightness, is a common complaint among athletes and trainers. While most calf pains are caused by strained calf muscles, it is still important to seek immediate medical attention especially if the pain is caused by an underlying medical condition or if the pain and inflammation are still present after more than a week. There are actually several ways in which a calf strain may be sustained. It may be caused by muscle exhaustion from an intense activity, extreme weather conditions, or by the hyperextension of the tendons connecting the calf muscles to the bones.

Athletes who do a lot of running and jumping in their respective sports are at higher risks of sustaining a calf injury. Trainers who perform lower body exercises are also prone to getting a strained calf muscle. It is more common to occur in people in their middle twenties and up but men are more likely to sustain leg strains than women.

Calf strains are inevitable. As a matter of fact, you can sustain a calf injury even while walking. There are however several ways in which you can reduce the risks of having calf pain and injury in the future. Through a combination of calf exercises, precautionary measures, and specialized gears, you can play your favorite sports and maximize your training time. Check out some tips and reminders below on how to prevent a calf injury in the future.

1. Before heading into a game or doing a workout routine, always perform warm-up exercises to condition your legs for intense training. Jogging around for 3 to 5 minutes or completing four sets of lunges with 8 repetitions for each set, are some of the simple warm-up exercises you can start with. As much as possible, do not increase the number of repetitions, intensity, and duration of your training by more than 10 percent each week. This allows your leg muscles to recover and adapt more efficiently to increased training.

2. As important as warming up before training is stretching and cooling down afterward. One simple way to stretch is to sit down on the floor with your legs extending straight in front of you. Slowly lean forward and reach your toes with your hands. Hold the position for 8 counts before going back to an upright sitting position. Repeat four times.

3. Another important element in preventing leg injuries is the use of the proper training shoes. Make sure that they fit comfortably well. Wear the advised footwear for a specific activity. Shoes with cushioned insoles are better in reducing the impact of body weight on your legs and feet. Also, replace worn out shoes that may cause injuries not only to your leg muscles but also to your ankles.

4. Wear compression sleeves for your calves and shins. They do not only prevent cramps by stimulating blood circulation, but they also help in the quick recovery of leg muscles from strenuous workouts. Discover the best compression sleeves for calf and shin and learn how different materials and special features prevent leg muscle strain.

5. Do not force yourself to perform activities which you are not conditioned for. Always be extra careful in doing advanced routines or when training on rugged, unstable or inclined surfaces.

The Road to Fitness

Since the start of 2014, I have been regularly exercising. I exercised twice to thrice a week. It was a simple 17-minute Zumba routine for flat abs.  I also did standing abs workout by Fitness Blender as an alternative. I guess by now you know where my problem area is. I can see some cuts on my abs trying to form a six-pack. Or so I thought. The tummy area was still prominent. The fitness regimen was in preparation for a climb. My friends and I were supposed to climb Mt. Kinabalu last June. Then, May came where fiestas and homecoming abound. I did not exercise for a month and I ate to my heart’s delight.

September came and I turned another year older and I felt I need a fresh start with fitness.  I exercised regularly and I stopped drinking coke.  I followed three exercise videos for  some time.

In case you want to try them, these are the youtube videos I follow:

I lost 5 pounds off my weight and 2 inches of my waistline. The holiday season came and for two weeks, I allowed myself to drink coke and enjoy some good food. I did not gain a lot so I am off to a good start in 2015

I never felt alone in my fitness journey. I am inspired by my friends, Grace, Shirly, May and Roselle, who are very determined to be fit and healthy. For the exercise routine, I tried other variations to keep it interesting. I tried Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred but I did not last long. I do not like workouts that involve me lying on the floor. Hopefully, that will change in time. I also tried Shaun T’s FOCUS T25 Base Kit – DVD Workout. I was out of breath and my legs hurt after. I was not willing to do the routine again.

My friend, Grace, posted a video of herself in her workout routine. It looked like something I can do. It was Les Mills Combat DVD Workout. I tried it and I love it. The routine is not that physically demanding but I sweat profusely after the workout. The workout is good for 60 days with 5 different routines.  The routines are combinations of boxing, taekwondo and karate.  There are also burpees, pushups (which I cannot do) and other exercise routine that I do not like.  I still try them or replace them with jogging in place. I listen to my body. I try not to push too hard that would result to injury.

This is the schedule I am following.

Les Mills Combat_02 60 Day Supreme Warrior Calendar

I thank my friend, Grace, for introducing me to this workout. I am currently on my 6th day.  So far, I am feeling good about this workout. Wish me luck!

How about you?  Do you follow a fitness regimen?

Get the beach body of your dreams in five easy steps

Are you going on holiday this year but worried about stepping out on the beach in your bikini? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five stress free tips that’ll help you shape up in time for summer.

 Hit the gym

Getting that well-toned body requires some physical activity (even though we wish it didn’t), so why not hit the gym? Go for a run on the tread mill; work up a sweat on the cross trainer; or give the rowing machine a go. You could even book into an aerobics class, try your hand at Zumba or see what Pilates is all about – so don’t make excuses. Liposuction surgery can remove fat in difficult places, but a decent exercise regime could do the trick – naturally.

Make the most of the great outdoors

If you hate the gym, make the most of the great outdoors. Enjoy a relaxing bike ride through the country, take the family on a weekend hike or treat the kids to a fun-filled outing. Keeping active will help you burn calories and should take your mind off food. Shaping up should be fun, so pack your life full of adventure and get fit in style.

 

Improve your diet

There are many ways to look beautiful this summer, but a well-balanced diet can help. Eat three nutritious meals at regular intervals throughout the day and chomp on wholemeal bread, vegetable sticks or cans of soup if you feel peckish (as these will keep your energy levels up). Many people think avoiding carbohydrates is the best way to diet, but your body needs a range of nutrients, so don’t cut out an entire food group altogether.

Use visual stimuli

Heading to a luxurious place this summer? Then put a picture on your fridge for inspiration. Imagine walking along an exotic beach in a brand new bikini and stop yourself from overeating. We all need a little encouragement from time-to-time, so make the most of visual stimuli. It’s also a good idea to put a calendar in an obvious place, so you can see how long you’ve got before you leave. Seeing the days fly by could spring you into action and keep you motivated.

 

Pamper yourself

Take good care of yourself and feel beautiful in time for summer. Follow a healthy eating plan and enjoy regular exercise – but make sure you pamper and preen. A little relaxation’s good for the soul, so enjoy a massage at a beauty parlour or course of Botox with a reputable company. Many clinics offer skin rejuvenation treatments too and will help you look and feel great in no time! Take the time to unwind and look as good as you can.

 

Preparing for summer doesn’t have to be a stressful process, so make sure you feel great and enjoy the sun.

**This blog post is a collaboration with Isabella Franklin. She wrote the post. I made all the graphics with my own photos.

Pedometer

Few hours before 2012 chimes in, it is time for contemplating on New Year’s resolutions. One of the commonly broken New Year’s resolutions is losing weight and getting fit. I am one of those people who resolved to eat smarter and exercise more.  Yet, I still can see flabs in my tummy and arms. My weight did not change much.

Finding time to exercise is difficult. I can give a litany of excuses. The simplest way to exercise that sounded appealing to me is taking ‘10,000 steps a day’ . Thus, I bought a cheap pedometer for starters. It only cost P50 at CDR-King.

Above was the my pedometer reading after I did some errands that involved a lot of walking.  I have yet to achieve 10,000 steps in one day. When I walked our dog, I got 700-800 steps.

I don’t know the device’s accuracy. I tried walking leisurely to test. It recorded less than the steps I took. When I walked fast, it seemed to record more than the actual steps. I, therefore, conclude that this device can only approximate my steps. Nevertheless, my goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day with this inaccurate device of mine.  Good luck to me.

I found this study and below is its proposal:

Based on currently available evidence, we propose the following preliminary indices be used to classify pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults: (i). <5000 steps/day may be used as a 'sedentary lifestyle index'; (ii). 5000-7499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered 'low active'; (iii). 7500-9999 likely includes some volitional activities (and/or elevated occupational activity demands) and might be considered 'somewhat active'; and (iv). >or=10000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as 'active'. Individuals who take >12500 steps/day are likely to be classified as 'highly active'.

Oh no, 12,500 steps! What have I gotten myself into? LOL!