Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Keeping the Body Tuned Up

               One thing that I have surely learned (the hard way) is that with the amount of training time many of us athletes are putting in, we simply cannot stay perfectly healthy if we neglect the small things we need to do in addition to logging the hours of training. I'm referring to eating healthy, stretching, sleeping enough, and getting regular body work done (which includes things like chiropractic care, massage, and ART - active release technique therapy). If you are unfamiliar with ART, read about it HERE.  Keeping the body in alignment and the muscles loose, balanced, and firing properly, allows us to perform on race day at our best, but it also allows us to train efficiently daily. Many triathletes neglect getting body work done throughout their training cycles, and visit a massage therapist or chiropractor right before a race - and that's it.  Similar to car maintenance, the body needs frequent upkeep. We need to keep everything running well and our bodies aligned so that we don't suddenly, one day, find ourselves with an extreme imbalance or nagging injury that could have been prevented.  We fill up our gas tanks, change our oil, clean air filters in our cars, and should do so on a regular basis. When we don't, things gunk up and don't run as smoothly. It's a simple analogy, but a very fitting one as well. Our bodies, in my opinion, are much more important than our cars. Cars last for a few years. Bodies last for more than just a few years.  Triathletes often put thousands of dollars into aerodynamic bikes, top of the line equipment, and flights to travel to races, when really they are not willing to invest in a big area that will make a real difference on race day. Equipment can only take one so far; we all know that true results come from hard work day in and day out, how well the body can recover from those efforts, and how hard we can push when the gun goes off.

Dr. Justin Houck, D.C, ART   
                  Today I visited my go to chiropractor and ART specialist Dr. Justin Houck at Accelerate Health in Denver, where I received a few back and neck adjustments, as well as ART work deep in the glutes, psoas, hip, and shoulder areas. The past few weeks I have been dealing with a slight right hip flexor pain, an area which I believe got inflamed due to a lot of high cadence work and single-leg drills on the bike trainer. Yesterday during my swim workout, I had a lot of pain while kicking on both my back and stomach. After the ART session on the right hip flexor, it is feeling good so far.  It's clear that staying on top of things is necessary. I first felt the pain three weeks ago on the bike, yet chose to ignore it for a while before coming in. It went away for a week, and then crept back up recently. Neglect will simply make it worse, while frequent visits will prevent these types of small issues from turning into anything. Prevention is just as big of a part of this as dealing with minor issues when they arise.
       Dr. Houck is on-board in his support of my racing efforts this year, which I am very grateful for.  If you are looking for a Denver-area chiropractor, who also full body certified in Active Release Technique, check out Accelerate Health near Lincoln and 5th Avenue just south of downtown Denver. One of his big areas of focus is treating sports-related injuries.  One thing I like about the philosophy of Dr. Houck is that he understands that athletes are athletes, and they still need to train and compete when possible. His goal is to work on athletes and keep them doing what they are doing - to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible. Too often doctors give the "take 2-3 weeks off" prescription before truly assessing an issue or injury, which may not require us to completely stop training, and therefore cause us to lose fitness which took us months to obtain. In addition, Dr. Houck will actually 'see' you, work on you, and talk with you about what is going on. A few other chiropractors I have been to in the past have treated me nothing more than another item in the assembly line - in and out in less than 2 minutes, after being passed along by a number of other office staff before getting my 30 seconds in with the doctor, who you can tell is so rushed to answer any questions that you feel you can't even ask them.
The new office of Accelerate Health - Denver, CO

      Take care of your body with regular chiropractic and massage maintenance visits, and take care of yourself before things become an serious issue.

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