How to Perform Strides

A top question I get is, “What are strides, why are they important, and how do I do them?” So I thought, I would answer all three of those questions today, because strides are one of the most important drills that should be a part of every runner’s training plan. Here’s a quick answer guide for one of the most essential running drills, and of course an explanation on how to perform strides.

Strides – AKA accelerations – are a staple of just about every high school and university track team. However, the majority of recreational runners never do them despite a long list of benefits. What makes this shocking is that it only takes a couple of minutes to knock out some stride after a run. In turn, this helps improve your training and best of all they can be done anywhere – not just on a track.

What are Strides?

Strides are roughly 100m accelerations where you start at a jog, build to roughly 95% of your max speed, and then gradually slow to a stop. A single stride should take around 20-30 seconds.

To begin, start with four strides and after 3-4 weeks increase to six. Take about 45-90 seconds of walking or standing in between each stride to catch your breath. Running strides is NOT an aerobic workout so don’t rush them – you get ZERO additional benefits by shortening the recovery period! So make sure that you’ve recovered properly before moving on.

Also, keep in mind that strides are very short and you’re only running really fast for a few seconds, so they shouldn’t be too difficult. Remember to stay relaxed during a stride – at no point should you be straining or racing.

Where Should I be Running Strides?

Anywhere! I’ve done them in parking lots (be careful!), sidewalks, roads, fields, and of course on the track. If your yard is big enough you can even do them there.

My favorite way to intelligently use barefoot running in a training plan is to incorporate barefoot strides 1-2 times per week. It’s best to do these on a synthetic turf track where the surface is predictable, plush, and free of debris.

When Should I Run Strides?

There are two situations that they are best used:

#1: After an easy or base run

In this scenario, think of strides like a dynamic stretch. They’re helping to increase your range of motion, increase your turnover, and subtly improving your form. By helping shake out some of the tightness you might feel after miles of running at the same pace, strides can help you feel better for your next run.

#2 Before a workout or race

In this case, strides are preparing your body to run fast. They serve as your transition to sustained, harder running.

In either situation, strides should be run at about the same distance and pace. However, if you’re preparing for a very short, fast race like a mile on the track, you might want to do shorter, faster stride. The opposite holds true as well: if you’re running a half or full marathon, a few longer, slower strides can help you warm up properly.

Why Should I be Running Strides?

Well… there’s a lot of reasons why they should be in your training plan.

  • They help you loosen up after a slow distance run
  • Serve as a transition to faster workouts – especially for beginners learning how to start running
  • Increase your running economy by reinforcing proper form (i.e. they make you more efficient)
  • When done barefoot, they develop foot and lower leg strength with a small risk of injury
  • They prepare you to run fast before a race or hard workout
  • They only take a few minutes

Many runners say they’re able to run faster (with less effort) on their distance runs after adding strides in their training regime after a few weeks. Give them a try for 4 weeks, and let me know how you feel!

Here’s a graph showing you a rough idea of how your effort should look when running strides:

Most of the runners I’ve helped coach tell me that they’ve learned to love strides and they make them feel better. Since they’re short, strides don’t require too much effort and they’re actually easy for most people.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Breaking The Pain Barrier: How To Overcome Pain For Good

This post is sponsored by Lewonde

Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the US. Did you know that at any given time, around 30 million Americans are suffering from back pain? If you have a bad back, and you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book to banish pain, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some suggestions to help you hopefully overcome pain for good.

Determining the cause

There are myriad factors that contribute to back pain, and the first thing to do if you suffer from chronic pain or pain that is getting worse is seek medical advice. When you see a doctor, they will examine you and ask you some questions about your symptoms. It may be that pain is associated with underlying causes, in which case, treating the cause could help to alleviate pain.

In other cases, lifestyle changes may be recommended. There may also be causes related to your job. If this is the case, a doctor may be able to recommend safer techniques to try and offer some tips to help you feel more comfortable at work. If you have severe back pain, your doctor may recommend further tests, such as an MRI scan. This will enable them to see if there is damage to the spine or the surrounding muscles or bone tissue.

Correcting your posture

Poor posture is a contributing factor in most cases of lower back pain. Your posture relates to the position of your spine when you’re sitting or standing. If your spine isn’t in an ideal position, this can increase pressure and strain on your muscles, causing discomfort. In this day and age, we tend to spend more time than ever sitting down, due to the prevalence of office jobs.

If you do spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, it’s essential to make sure you understand how you should be sitting to prevent back pain. Your spine should be straight, your shoulders should be relaxed, and you shouldn’t have to crane the neck to see the screen properly. If you’re reaching for the keyboard or the screen isn’t level with your eye line, adjust the height of your chair or desk. If you don’t already have a specially designed ergonomic office chair, ask your employer to provide one. It’s very important that your spine is supported properly while you’re in a sitting position.

Maintaining good posture is not just important when you’re sitting down. You should also pay attention to your posture when you’re standing, especially if your job involves standing for long periods of time or lifting. If you do have to lift items as part of your job, use machinery for heavy loads and make sure you bend your knees and keep your back straight. When you’re standing, try to avoid stooping or slumping and keep your shoulders back.

Finding the right mattress

The importance of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated. If you suffer from back pain or you’re prone to bouts of discomfort, it’s particularly beneficial to find the right mattress. If your mattress isn’t perfect, this can cause back pain or make existing symptoms worse. Therefore, if you’re looking for a new mattress to help with back pain, try some different styles and brands and avoid going for the cheapest option. You often get what you pay for in terms of quality and durability when you’re shopping for mattresses. If back pain is an issue, look out for products that have been ergonomically designed. These mattresses promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension, and they provide support for the spine while you sleep.

Choosing the right forms of exercise

Most of us are aware of the benefits of doing regular exercise for our health and wellbeing. Living with pain can make exercising difficult, but you don’t have to give up on working out if you suffer from back pain. You may not be able to do certain activities, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t be active.

Aim for low-impact exercises and avoid anything that involves jarring movements. Lifting weights and jumping aren’t ideal for people with back pain, for example. Swimming is often recommended, as the water supports your body weight. If you want to stay active without risking injury, speak to your doctor or a qualified personal trainer before changing your exercise regime or embarking on a new training program.

Conditioning your back

They say that prevention is better than cure, and conditioning can help to reduce the risk of recurrent pain. Conditioning involves strengthening the muscles to make your body resistant to injury. You can do this with a physical therapist or by doing specific, targeted exercises at home. These exercises are not focused solely on the back. They also help to increases strength and suppleness in the hips and the core.

Examples of exercises include McKenzie stretches and dynamic lumbar stabilization. The aim is to stretch the back, build muscle, and improve flexibility. You may also find that exercises like those found in yoga and Pilates routines effective. If you’re new to these activities, it’s best to go to a beginner’s class. Once you’re familiar with the stretches, and you’ve honed your technique, you can then practice at home.

Posture

Back pain can make life a misery, especially if you have periods when pain intensifies or you have prolonged bouts. If you suffer from back pain, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice. In some cases, there may be an underlying cause, and treating this should be a priority. Many cases of back pain are linked to poor posture. If you slouch when you’re standing or you tend to sit slumped in your chair at work; this can affect the alignment of your spine and increase tension in your muscles.

Due to most of sitting during a large portion of our day, it can lead to muscles being tight and pulling us into a position that leads to poor posture. To help release these muscles and let your spine relax and decompress, you can use a lumbar stretcher like the Lewonde Back Stretcher (pictured above). By stretching your spine, you allow it to decompress, which allows it pull in nutrients, oxygen, and fluid back into the discs. Therefore, alleviating your back pain, and hopefully letting you overcome pain for good. Plus you can use it to stretch your spine, or put it in your office chair to help you maintain proper posture while sitting. I use mine everyday and have noticed a real difference in the tightness of my back.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

3 Ways to Live a More Positive Lifestyle

Life is full of stressors. Sometimes hard work doesn’t seem to pay off, and sometimes it takes a long time to get where people want to get. It’s easy to get swept up in the negativity and to make unhealthy life choices.

But making positive life choices ultimately leads to a more healthy and fruitful existence, even when those choices are initially hard to make.

Below are some tips and tricks to feeding and cultivating a more positive lifestyle.

Journal

One of the biggest new trends in lifestyle development is the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation, journaling, therapy, or a number of other mediums. Mindfulness is the process through which a person attempts to be entirely present in each moment, rather than thinking about the future and all the things they want to achieve, the past, or some event or goal that is not yet happening.

Mindfulness is a great way to be appreciative of the present moment, regardless of what that moment holds. Mindfulness journaling can be used to meditate on the joys and pitfalls of the present moment, and to ground the individual in the positivity of the present.

Journaling can also be utilized as a way to recall and store memories. After a great day out on an adventure with friends, or a good conversation on the phone, journaling can culture an appreciation of this memory by recalling it and recording it. Then, this memory can be revisited later, sparking even more joy and thankfulness.

Journaling overall can be a huge addition to the positivity in an individual’s life. Journals can also be daunting. For this reason, many advise keeping a one-line-a-day journal, in which each day a line is written about a positive experience from that day, this way they don’t get overwhelmed or feel bad when they cannot keep up with extensive journaling for every day.

Create a Fresh Start

The closet is full of clothes, but there is nothing to wear. All the books on the bookshelf have already been read, or have never and will never be read. Last year’s junk is piling up, leaving no room for positive changes in a new year.

A big clean out of the house or the apartment is a great way to make room for new memories and new positive experiences in life. Utilizing the system of a keep, give away, or throw away is useful. And items kept in the keep pile should have a significant reason for being there.

Many claim that the best way to decide what to keep a clothing item is to hold it while asking three questions: is it a special occasion or seasonal garment; has it been worn in the last three months; and does it bring joy. If the garment does not fit one or more of these categories, it should be given away or thrown away. The same types of questions can be applied to other types of items in the home as well.

Cleaning out the closet and giving items to charity can be a cathartic experience and leaving empty space for new clothes and new items is a wonderful way to build excitement and to invest in the future.

After the big clean out, space can be carefully curated to hold only items of importance that make the homeowner happy to look at and to wear or utilize.

Taking pride in personal items and getting rid of items that don’t bring that sense of pride, happiness, or sentimentality is a wonderful way to invest in positivity and to live a more positive lifestyle.

Have an Adventure

Individuals wishing to live a more positive life need to remember to invest in themselves, their future, and their happiness. This means that while an adventure might not be practical at the time, planning and budgeting for the future is a wonderful investment in themselves.

This self-investment breeds eternal positivity because it reinforces self-love and self-compassion, as well as the fact that every individual deserves happiness and positivity. Even if an adventure is seemingly out of reach financially, like a backpacking trip through Europe or skydiving, a loan from Payoff.com can make it easier and closer than it might seem.

Using a personal loan, individuals can go on a nature-driven vacation to visit a national park, backpack a trail, or camp with friends. Maybe someone’s dream vacation is to see the Eiffel Tower, or Big Ben, or the Statue of Liberty, or even a show on Broadway. Taking a beach day is an adventure as well.

The inherent positivity of an individual investing in their own happiness is one of the biggest leaps one can take in the quest to live a more positive lifestyle.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

10 Things to Do The Summer Before College

The summer before college is a little bittersweet. You’ve just thrown your graduation cap with all of your grade school friends and are now preparing to not only say goodbye to them but also your family. It’s a weird transitional time of where you’re closing one chapter and preparing to begin another one. Here are 10 things to do the summer before college to help make the transition a little easier and fun.

#1. Contact your soon-to-be roommate (if you’re living in the dorms).

Once school begins you’ll be spending quite a bit of time with your roommate, so you might as well get to know them before school starts. Because, how awkward is it to meet someone for the first time and then sleep in the same room as them that same day? To avoid the awkwardness, you should at least talk to your roommate before the move-in day. The first step could be email (simply introduce yourself), and then maybe after a couple of back and forth you can add them on social media. But REMEMBER: while social media can be a good way to learn about the other person’s interests, hobbies, and lifestyle, it’s never the whole story. So skim, don’t stalk!

Speaking of social media…

#2. Clean up/organize your social media accounts.

Remove any old embarrassingng posts that you don’t want your roommate to see.

Make a LinkedIn account. You can find jobs/internships, network with professionals in any field, and much more. You might not use it all too much right away, but you’ll definitely see the use of it later on in your college life. (Speaking of which… you should begin your internship search NOW – trust me, it’s not too early!)

Join the Facebook page and/or follow the Twitter account for your class and stay updated! Talk to people, ask questions, and make friends before you officially start college.

#3. Make a list of things you need to buy for your college dorm.

But you might want to hold off on actually buying them until you’ve seen your dorm room.

#4. Register for classes.

Review (which means actually read through) the syllabus for each class to see if it’s something that you’d actually be interested in. Remember, this is college, where you actually pay for your classes – therefore only register for classes that you think are going to be worth your time, money, and effort!

*You might want to check the reputation of the professor before registering for a class, although you have to use your discretion with some of the reviews.*

#5. Apply for scholarships.

Most colleges offer financial assistance of some sort, including university grants, but you can always apply for outside scholarships! But before you go ahead and start applying to scholarships, master these scholarship hacks first so you don’t waste time!

#6. Look up textbooks for your classes.

Be warned: textbooks are expensive! However, there are good and bad times to buy textbooks, and TUN’s Textbook Search Engine will give you the cheapest options (new, used, or e-books) for your textbooks.

#7. Research clubs and organizations offered by your school.

Be prepared to get involved! One thing that a lot of college grads express regret over is not being involved on campus. Joining clubs and organizations is a great way to make friends and build professional relationships.

#8. Look into your school’s Study Abroad programs (highly recommended!).

Plan ahead: talk to your parents, do some research, and write down any questions you might have.

#9: Pick up your forgotten hobbies or learn new skills!

This may be picking up your guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner of your room for years, vlogging, workout out, or learning Photoshop or Excel. Let’s face it – you probably have more time now than you’ll ever have (sorry…) so make good use of it!

#10. Take it easy.

In college, most students work over the summer, and after you graduate from college, you’ll miss the big block of free time called summer vacation. So take advantage of it. Take a road trip with some friends, go on a family vacation, and hang out with your high school friends before parting ways (even though you’re probably going to get together for Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, New Years, and basically any major Holiday or breaks)!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How to Stay Fashionable on a Budget

A lot of people consider their fashion choices to be very important—they are a reflection of who you are as a person after all. So, it goes to say that a lot of people are inclined to spend quite a bit of cash on their clothes. But what happens when life gets in the way, and your budget for clothing plummets? Here’s some tips to so you can keep your look fresh by having a stay fashionable budget.

It might be that you’re simply not making enough to afford the styles you desire, or maybe you’re saving up for a big purchase, like an engagement ring for your fiancée. If you find yourself on a tight budget, there is no need to worry that your style will slip. In fact, it’s not that hard to stay fashionable while you are on a budget using these tips:

Invest in Staples

You’re probably thinking “How is investing going to help me save money on fashion?” Well, listen up, because this is a very important lesson. There are some staple fashion pieces that will never go out of style—they serve as the base for your wardrobe and constitute the outfits that you wear every single day. If you invest a little extra cash in these pieces, then you will save some money in the long run by not having to replace them as often. Plus, it’s a good way to supplement some of the cheaper options in your wardrobe with some nicer pieces.

A lot of people have different ideas about what are and are not considered “staples,” and that’s okay! It all depends on your body shape, personal style, and what you feel most comfortable in. Here are some examples of what a lot of people consider to be “staple” wardrobe pieces:

  • Jeans
  • A leather jacket
  • Black slacks
  • Black flats
  • A little black dress

These don’t have to be name brands or cost a ton of money. You can get a great pair of jeans for $20, and a great leather jacket at the thrift store. The idea is not to spend a lot of money, but instead to spend your money wisely on classic pieces that will remain in your wardrobe for a long time.

Stay Ahead of the Trends

Any true fashionista understands just how truly cyclical trends are. This means that everything that was once in style will most likely come back into style, for better or for worse. This is great news for those who stay one step of the trends, however, because they can always catch the next fashion trend before it becomes expensive.

If you read blogs, pay attention to fashion week trends and stay on top of what is hot in fashion. Not only will you be able to be one of the first on the fashion bandwagon, but you might also be able to find some trendy pieces for dirt cheap in thrift stores! This is due to the cyclical nature of trends and people’s tendency to dispose of their unwanted clothing without realizing those fashions will come back in style.

Have a Clothing Swap

This is one of the most fun options on this list. If you find yourself getting tired of your current wardrobe, then it’s time to throw a clothing swap party! This is a fun and innovative way to spice up your wardrobe for free.

All you do is clean out your closet of gently-used clothing that you no longer want or wear and encourage all your most fashionable friends to do the same. Then, grab some drinks and snacks and invite your friends over. Pick and choose new pieces from each other’s unwanted clothing until you have some awesome new additions to your wardrobe!

Shop the Menswear Section

With the fashion industry today being what it is, men’s clothing is generally less expensive. This is great news for the smart fashionista who knows how to rock an androgynous look and for every sale-savvy, fashion-forward gentleman. A menswear garment can easily become one of your best statement pieces with a little fashion know-how.

From bold blazers to basic white t-shirts, the men’s sections of stores have a lot of great clothing to offer at a lower price point. Here are some other great pieces that can be found in the men’s section:

  • Button-ups
  • Sweatshirts
  • Graphic T-shirts
  • Flannels

Of course, this last bit mainly applies to the ladies. If you’re already a man who shops in the men’s section though; there are still things you can do to stay within your budget while looking good. Sometimes, it means making changes to your habits outside your clothing. Do you find yourself buying new razors every month? If so, it might be time to invest in a beard trimmer Not having to make repeat purchases monthly can save you in the long run. It can also mean thinking ahead to prevent yourself from incurring future costs. Find your eyes straining from staring at a computer all day long? It’s not a good look. Instead, save your eyes—and your wallet—from having to buy glasses later down the line with a pair of sleek anti-glare shades.

Adjust Other Factors in Your Budget

Sometimes, after all this, it still might seem like your budget is still too small to accommodate the styles you really want. It might also be time to sit down, look at your budget, and see if there are other unnecessary costs that you can cut out.

If you’ve recently started a home renovation project that leaves you little money for clothes, maybe you can determine where to make more affordable purchases. Blinds at low prices, or even DIY furniture allow you to make a great home space without leaving you in rags. If you find yourself spending exorbitant amounts on a chiropractor and massage therapist for back pains every month, have you considered that it might be a new mattress is what you need or a back-friendly stand-up desk to reduce shoulder and lower back pain? Or if you travel frequently for work, and you have to pay out-of-pocket until your company reimburses you, maybe you need to look into affordable car rentals and hotel expenses. You’ll be amazed at all the ways you can free up more of your budget by eliminating or diminishing repeat expenses with smart choices and quality products.

Conclusion

Fashion is a fun expression of what you feel on the inside. It helps you create a visual representation of who you are as a person. While sometimes it can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be as unaffordable as it seems. With some smart thinking and some expert tips; you can be your most fashionable self while still adhering to your budget.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Reflection on 2017 and What’s to Come in 2018

First, Happy New Year! Although I’ve been MIA for a solid minute, I’m hoping to be back for a while. I wanted to start back this year with a little reflection on 2017 and sharing some goals and changes to the blog for 2018.

#1. If you had to describe your 2017 in three words, what would they be?

They would be: Exciting, Adventurous, challenging

#2. What, or who, are you most thankful for?

My friends for supporting me through the ups and downs that I’ve faced the past few months.

#3. What new things did you discover about yourself?

I learned a lot of things, but the main would be, when I put my mind to something, I’ll achieve it.

#4. What single achievement are you most proud of?

I’ve achieved a lot this year, but honestly, the thing I’m most proud of is my volunteering twice a week with Reading Partners and helping my RP become a better and stronger reader.

#5. What was the best news you received?

That I got accepted into the University I’m attending, which was my first choice #ReignCane!

#6. What was your favorite place that you visited in 2017?

Panama City, Panama. Hands down an amazing country with amazing food and people.

#7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

I’m going to say friendliness. Starting college requires you to go out of your way and be friendly to people since everyone’s trying to make friends.

#8. Which new skills did you learn?

I learned how to ask for help.

#9. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?

The only thing stopping you from doing something is you.

#10. What advice would you give your early 2017 self if you could?

Be excited about opportunities, and enjoy the adventure along the way.

Getting Excited About 2018

Despite the fact that any day of the year you can set a goal to achieve, January 1st seems to be the day we all choose to do so. I have three main goals this year. I’ve already been working on these goals whether I’ve actually started working on them, or I’ve just been planning the steps needed to achieve it. Here are the three goals I’m hoping to achieve or start the journey to achieve in 2018.

#1: Do well in college

I’m not going to lie. College is hard. There’s a transitional period that nobody tells you about. Which is that it takes you about half of your first semester to learn how to study in college because mid-terms and finals in high school are comparable to that of quizzes in college. So my goal is to keep my head above water this year, and the next couple of years ahead of me.

#2: Run a sub-2hr half marathon

I ran my first half-marathon this year. It was an amazing experience, and I did it with relatively little training. Don’t worry, that sentence makes me cringe too. At the time of which would’ve been time to train for it, I was on a D1 collegiate rowing team. Due to rowing being an endurance sport that requires a lot of strength, I was able to pull off a decent finish for my first half-marathon. With the races I’ve signed up for this year including 2 half marathons, I’m going to truly train for them.

#3: The Next Phase for RunningSoleGirl

It’s crazy to think I started RunningSoleGirl as a freshman in high school, and I want to continue on with it as a freshman in college. RunningSoleGirl has always focused on empowering women when it comes to health and fitness, and my mission is to continue that. However, I want to change it up a bit, but this has to do with my other two goals to begin working on in 2018. I plan on posting my training logs as well as tips to survive college. The usual health and fitness posts will continue on, but there will be some variety now. This makes it easier for me to continue posting on here, and I hope you lovelies support it.

Here’s to the journey that 2018 will bring us on!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Choose A Path To Learn More About Your Health

Are you interesting in learning more about your health? Perhaps you want to understand how to get your body in better shape, or maybe you’re fascinated by what makes your body tick. If that’s the case, there are a few different paths you can take to learn more about your health. But before we get to the right paths to knowledge let’s consider one that you should avoid.

Make sure that you don’t start by conducting research online. If you type in any symptoms or signs of health issues online within five minutes, you are likely to diagnose yourself with a dangerous, perhaps life-threatening disease. The reason for this is obvious. Some of the most basic symptoms can crop up for no reason, or they can be the first sign of a fatal illness. But unless you have expert knowledge in this area, there’s no way to tell which it is. This brings us to the first pathway you can take to learn more about your health.

Study Medicine

If you want to learn more about your health and your body the best option is always going to be to study medicine. You probably think that you need to get great grades in school and have a massive IQ to study medicine, but that’s not true. Indeed you can take an RN to BSN online course with very little experience or existing knowledge. This will provide you with key information and give you the chance to get first-hand experience working in a hospital with patients. It is easily one of the best ways to learn more about the human body and your own health.

Talk To A Nutritionist

Of course, if you are interested in the state of your health specifically; you might want to think about speaking to a nutritionist. After all, ninety percent of health issues can be resolved by fixing your diet. You really are what you eat; whether you’re eating too much dairy, have an undiagnosed allergy to gluten or need to cut back on the red meats a nutritionist will be able to help.

Celebs regularly start by speaking to a nutritionist when they want to lose weight. So, if you are eager to get in shape, this could be a great place to begin.

Pick Up A Book

We definitely think that you need to stay offline if you want to learn more about the health. It’s impossible to ignore the scaremongering articles, and even positive health posts could lead you to weird sections of the web where you’ll be self-diagnosed with a fatal illness. However, you can still research and read. The books and resources that intern doctors read each night are readily available from sites like Amazon. If you’re interested in how your body works, why not read a few? Who knows it might encourage you to pursue a late career in medicine.

I hope this advice helps you find your own path to more knowledge about your health.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How Strenuous Exercise Can Affect Your Auditory Health

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. However, sometimes strenuous exercise can have its drawbacks. One of them can be hearing loss. This may sound bizarre, but there are certain situations that are more likely to occur when you are taking part in a vigorous workout.

Knowing When to Seek Professional Help

The following list of potential causes of hearing difficulties is not entirely inclusive and is merely basic knowledge that should help you to understand different conditions that may affect anyone engaging with strenuous exercise. If you experience symptoms or abnormalities in your hearing following exercise, ensure that you contact an ear doctor. This professional will be able to examine you and prescribe the most appropriate treatments.

Accidents

When exercising, your mind may well be focused on other areas than your peripheral surroundings. Your mind may be wandering during a jog, you may have your attention on a ball that you are dribbling, or perhaps you are working out where you may need to slow down and stop when ice skating or roller skating. During this time you may well receive a knock on the side of the head. Perhaps you will trip and fall awkwardly, a ball will come from an unexpected direction, or a competitor will bump into you. Sudden bumps to the ear area of the head can create a tear in the membrane of your inner ear. This allows a fluid called perilymph to leak into your ear cavity. This damage may be permanent. However, most of the time hearing will return to some degree.

Restricted Blood Flow

When you are working out, your blood is pumped around your body at a faster pace than usual in order to transport blood around your body. As you relax after exercise, the blood flow has to slow. Sometimes complications can mean that blood flow to areas such as your ears becomes restricted as blood is redistributed around your body. This can affect your hearing negatively.

Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (LVAS)

LVAS is a less common condition, however, it’s always good to be familiar with its symptoms in order to identify it. People who have large vestibular aqueduct syndrome experience hearing difficulties when exercising. This is due to the pressure forces on their endolymphatic sac to push back into their cochlea, causing significant problems with their auditory ability.

Excessively Loud Music

Many of us pop earphones in when working out. Music makes the experience more fun and engaging. It can also help you to feel more productive. However, your ears have numerous tiny hairs inside which allow sound signals to be transmitted to your brain. When you listen to excessively loud music, these hairs can become flattened. The main problem? They do not regrow, so damage is permanent. Remember to keep the volume on your headphones or earphones lower to maintain your good hearing.

So, now that you are more aware of the causes of hearing problems that are specifically associated with exercise, you can take more precautions to avoid permanent damage while you are working out. Be careful and stay safe!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Warning! Your Rest Days Could Be Ruining Your Gains

If you set aside a couple of days per week to rest and recover from your workouts, then you’re on the right path. Generally, the concept of a rest day is a good idea and will benefit you. It’s not healthy to workout every single day, you’ll overtrain and damage your muscles, leading to no gains at all.

I won’t have a go at you for being a tad confused here already. Clearly, the title says that rest days could be ruining your gains. But, I just said they were good…so…what’s all that about then? The keyword in all of this is ‘could’. Your rest days could be ruining gains, but only when they’re not used properly.

Now, you will be surprised to know how many people wrongly use their rest days. Which is hilarious considering how easy a rest day should be for you. All you really have to do is rest and recover, how can you possibly go wrong? Well, I’ve written this article to show you some of the bad things you might do on your rest days that lead to a lack of gains in the future. Give them a read, and follow any advice that might help you stop doing the wrong thing.

Eating Too Much

The thing about a rest day is that you shouldn’t do much physical activity at all. As a consequence, you won’t burn many calories on these days, but that’s okay! This only becomes an issue when your food intake is large. I know so many people that sit at home on a rest day and just binge eat. They think it’s a chance to have a cheat day and just fuel up on food ready for their workout the following day.

The logic behind this is fairly well thought out, so I’ll give you credit if you do this. To prepare for your next set of workouts, you consume a lot of calories and carbs to provide more energy and get you nice and refuelled. A bit like stopping your car overnight and filling up the tank, right? However, as I said, you aren’t burning many calories on a rest day, so all that food is just going to pile on, with very few calories coming off. It makes it harder to lose weight and could be why you’re not doing so. Instead, you need to follow a low calorie diet, particularly on rest days. Try and reduce the calories, even more, when you aren’t working out. This prevents any unnecessary calorie overloading and will keep you on the right path to fitness success.

Doing Your Cardio

Bizarrely, quite a few people set aside their rest days for cardio. I know, it doesn’t make any sense, it’s not a rest day if you’re exercising. People do this as they think you only need a rest from generic training. If you train using weights, then cardio counts as a rest, correct?

No, it doesn’t. You’re still working your muscles, you’re still putting your body through some tough work, it’s not a rest. You’ll run the risk of overtraining, which is exactly what you should avoid by taking a rest day. Do cardio either on the same day as your regular workouts or on another day. Rest on your rest day, don’t work out in any way!

Not Stretching

So, there are certain things you’re doing that you shouldn’t be doing, and there’s one thing you need to do that maybe you aren’t. Stretching is essential if you want to keep your muscles healthy and feel less sore. If you lengthen your muscles, you become more flexible, less prone to injuries, and will see more gains in general.

You should set aside time during your rest days to really go through a full body stretching and mobility routine. The reason you do it on your rest day is because you should have a good hour or so spare where you’d normally work out. Get a solid stretching session in to prepare your body for your workouts and keep it in good health.

After reading this, it’s maybe more apparent how your rest day can go totally wrong. If you’re eating loads, still doing workouts, and not stretching, then you’ve really messed up your rest day. I can’t stress enough how important one or two proper rest days per week will help you. Use them properly, or you will see issues with your gains. If you feel like you’ve maybe hit a wall recently, then this could be the problem.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Mental Health: Using Your Experiences To Help Others

Every year almost 1 in 5 (around 42.5 million) American adults suffer from some sort of mental health issue; including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. This is a scarily large figure but doesn’t include a large number of cases. Especially of mental health issues within teenagers and younger children. This large figure means that, although there are a lot of people suffering from mental health issues; there are also a lot of people that are suffering or have suffered; who want to use their experiences with mental health to help others.

If you have suffered from a mental health issue; you will be able to better understand the person whom you are trying to help. You can also share your own experiences, so they don’t feel alone. Many people do this; I’ve listed a few different ways in which you too can take your experience to help others. Of course, none of these options are a replacement of professional help; they are simply others forms of support and forms that often help a person to realize that something may be wrong and that they may need professional help. There is importance with mental health using your experience to help others.

Mentoring

If you are still of school or college age, then mentoring might be a good option for you. It allows you to engage with people the same age or a little bit younger than you and provide support and guidance. Most people, when they first realize that something may be wrong do one of two things; they either search for their symptoms online or talk to a friend.

As we all know, Googling symptoms is never a good idea, as it always says somewhere down the line that you’re dying of some rare disease that you don’t even find in your country. Talking to a friend, however, that is helpful. Friends are there to provide you emotional support, so are often the first people you tell about a mental health issue, even before family. However, some people may feel as though they don’t have a friend they can truly trust, and confide in, which is why peer-to-peer mentoring is such a good idea – It provides you with a confidant, who you can trust to listen to you and try to help you if they can.

Blogging

Blogging can assist you in helping others on a much wider scale than one to one mentoring. Depending on your experiences, you can write about a range of topics from self-help and techniques on coping with stress, to any medication you may be taking. Many people with mental health issues feel completely alone, but simply sharing your experiences can change that, and help them have a much more positive view of themselves. Blogging allows you the option to remain anonymous, and with plenty of useful tools and websites online, setting up a blog nowadays is relatively easy, so there’s absolutely no reason why this couldn’t be an option for you.

Vlogging

In the past few years watching your favorite channels on YouTube seems to be more popular than watching your favorite channels on an actual television. If you wanted to aim your support and guidance at younger adults and teenagers, vlogging is a brilliant idea. There are many wonderful YouTube channels based solely on mental health; which have videos based on the suggested topics of blog posts from above. Many of the bigger YouTubers, such as Zoella and JackGap, also use their channels as a platform to talk about their own experiences with their mental health. This allows young people with mental health issues to feel more ‘normal’; by knowing that their favorite YouTube star also suffers from the same things as they do. There are many helpful guides online that explain to you how to set up a YouTube channel, which can make the whole process a lot easier – All you need now is a camera.

Become A Therapist

A therapist is a mental health professional, who assists their patients in reducing their symptoms of mental illness, by improving their emotional and cognitive skills, and teaching them how to cope with various challenges from everyday life. Granted, this isn’t the easiest way to share your experiences concerning mental health. It certainly takes a lot of dedication, but if it’s what you want to do, then it is definitely possible. By taking an online psychology degree, you can study and get the qualifications you need to commence in higher education, while still having the time to hold down a full-time job.

Join A Therapy Group

If you don’t want to become a therapist yourself, joining a therapy group is another great way to share your experiences with mental health. Not only will it help you, as you can share you problems, hear others advice, and hear other people’s own experiences, but you can also help out other in the group in the same way. This is a lot like mentoring, except it’s not on a one to one basis; which in the long run might be better for some people. It provides you with a group of people who understand you, rather than just one; which could provide you with a sense of belonging.

All of these are great ways of using your own experiences with mental health to help others. Many of them could also help you improve your own mental health at the same time; as they provide an audience to which you can let out any feelings and emotions. However, you must always remember that, although you may want to help people, and although you may have in-depth experience of your own mental health problems unless you do train to become a therapist, you are not a professional. You can certainly provide advice and support. However, you need to know when to let a person know they need to speak to a professional.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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