COOLDOWN, STRETCHING best practices …

When do we cooldown versus stretch???
Do we static stretch or dynamic after activity like running biking etc???
While the research is ALL over the place- there is more and more saying that an active cooldown can be just as beneficial as an active and dynamic warmup- maybe even better than statically just stretching….
this is also why I am a fan of foam rolling after workouts- getting lymph moving, blood pumping, resetting our nervous system to relax.
Active cooldown or spin or jog may also allow even for more ATP to regenerate more quickly flushing out more waste products when you light jog or spin under 100 beats per minute.
Much of this is also based on my own experience (every athlete is a different human built differently tho…) but also some more current research and changing paradigms…
What do you think?
I’m posting some new content in my newsletter as well on this very topic if you aren’t signed up check it out Link is on my website! DaraSportsPT.com
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HIIT for Sleep!

NOT SLEEPING??! HIIT MAY HELP!

There’s a TON of new research out right now on not only the benefits of adequate recovery & rest for athletes- but also how it affects all of us re: mental health, physical performance,glucose & insulin resistance, the list goes on!

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Rest &recovery is HUGE in my opinion for healing tissue, resetting our nervous system, allowing for mental and physical recovery. More and more we’re hearing how deleterious it can be even to our brain health to be lacking in a regular 7-9 hours of sleep…. . . 🔥BUT there’s interesting new research out there showing the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training “HIIT” as negating some of those negative effects of sleep deprivation … see attached pics for research excerpts.

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LOW BACK PAIN & BIKING

LOW BACK PAIN & BIKING!

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#tbt pic to back when I was road racing in SoCal with my girls. Totally unrelated to back pain, I just wanted to show proof I was once a roadie before I turned to mountain biking(aka the dark side 😉 )

Ok back on topic- Low Back Pain with cycling… I get this one a lot. A LOT. I’ll dive more into details this week of the WHY & the HOW to fix…..

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Often people are told to “stretch more”, stretch their hip flexors… or just fix their bike fit….The answer??? it’s NOT STRETCHING- yep you heard me- more often it’s about MORE STRENGTH.

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Biking for younger athletes & kids especially can be difficult on the low back for very DIFFERENT reasons than for us “older” folk (anyone over age 30😝)

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If you have low back pain when riding, achy hips, sciatica, or know someone who does…tag them or stay tuned tomorrow for some ideas on exercises and options for both YOUNG & OLD(ER)

I have some very BASIC exercises that can help both young & old! Let’s all be riding bikes til we’re 100 right???!!!

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Want even MORE exercises direct??? Subscribe to my newsletter ….

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Most of what I treat is “ too much too soon” or “too little too late”.

Sometimes I think what makes me a good PT -is the fact that I’ve had so many injuries myself.🤣 My point??? I’m no better than you- I just want to share what I’ve learned with you all so you do better for yourself. .

Our bodies will tell us when things need “fixing”, we just need to listen.

Sometimes it takes a lot to finally hear the message. Your body will make it work, until it won’t.

. 👉🏽”Too much too soon”. New workout with no warmup or preparation? Haven’t played football in ten years & think you can just jump back in? Just went back to running & think you’re good to do an hour at your old pace? Adding some hill repeats with no prep? Plyometric jump squats but you haven’t done any high intensity work in months??? Your body needs prep time. Your body needs to ADAPT. Your body needs some type of a progression or PLAN. If you add on new or different LOADS to your joints and system, you should be sure you are adequately prepped for that load with your training or other activities.

. 👉🏽”Too little too late”. What NO ONE needs:

A ton of sitting, inactivity, NOT moving for 10,20,30 years. That 6 hour ride the day after a long car drive, and poor night’s sleep…ignoring that nagging little pain day after day hoping it will just go away on its own…That tight back that has “gone out” 3 times before and now it isn’t going away…Old stuff will ALWAYS resurface. Maybe somewhere else, but trust me when I say it will come back, if you ignore it.

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Are we doomed as humans? Let’s be honest we’re not on the planet for eternity- my point is this: make those years, days, count, and make them last as long as you can. Find some time to work on yourself. Find someone to help you if you don’t know where to start

Motivation and organization for athletes

How do we fit it all in?

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This could be work tasks, training for sport, PT, life in general.

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Commonalities I have seen with my patients who get better- quickly- is dedication to set aside some time every week & be organized about the things that matter- in my case their PT. .

The key here is the actual “doing” doesn’t take long. I try and keep it simple with patients because I wouldn’t do a million exercises myself… a good clinician can keep thing succinct and clear and have greater effect with those 3-4 exercises than an exhaustive and confusing list that’s hard to manage or sustain adherence to.

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It’s the “doing” and the “planning” that is real the battle. The mind is the biggest hurdle, not the physical act of doing.

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Once you set a plan, the actual doing, the workout, the PT, the bike ride- well that’s easy.

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I say this to all of you friends and athletes- YOU GOT THIS. Make it happen. I got your back

Strength training for endurance athletes

Strength training for cyclists, runners, triathletes, endurance athletes.
It’s not about getting big and buff, it is simply about starting to build a routine, a thought, a new idea, and eventually  maybe a habit of adding in some strength and mobility work off the bike. 
I challenge every one of these athletes to learn basic movements and exercises like Squats, Bridges, Pushups.
I suggest every athlete explore, practice and learn these movements because they require no equipment, engage the entire body- upper, lower, core- and they should be easy enough that you can refer back to them in the future, you can refer to them if you’re somewhere with no bike or unable to do cardio, and want a good workout, or eventually use them to build a bigger strength program so that you are a strong athlete for many years to come.

Some goals to attain I would challenge every athlete of any sport: 

Can every athlete complete with good form a Squat, Plank, Bridge, Push-up, Pull-up? These are fundamental movements and all translate to strength on the bike, but also full body health.
Ideal would be to pencil in and commit to at least 2 sessions a week of 20-30 minute blocks, no more, no less.
Let me clarify, it doesn’t need to be MY workouts. Yoga, Pilates, Rock Climbing, Surfing, Crossfit, many other awesome options.
As endurance athletes, especially cyclists – if we don’t load our bones, we are at risk for osteoporosis, poor bone density, increased risk of injury, and a host of other issues later in life. Load those joints, that’s how they get nutrition. 

5 minute deep breathing & relaxation technique

Busy weekend? Stressful day? Hard workouts? I look at this pic from my Yoga trip to Bali and all I can think is….take me back!

For those of us not in Bali right now🙋🏻‍♀️- Here is one of my favorite ways to relax & it only takes 5 mins…

. This technique can help your parasympathetic nervous system reset(“rest &digest”) if your sympathetic nervous system is going overdrive(“fight or flight”).

Hard workouts, racing, stressful job, busy home life, traffic, not sleeping, all of this can put our body on HIGH ALERT and really mess with healing, sports training, mental clarity, mood, digestion…..

I often do this before bed, sometimes while stretching out on my foam roll or after finishing up a workout…. let me know if you have other ones you like!

. 👉🏽Rest with legs elevated on pillow or chair, one hand on belly one hand on chest. 👉🏽Focus on deep breathing, most people don’t know what a normal breathing pattern should be: ✅Inhale first by filling the belly, start from the bottom and then let the breath go UP.

✅Next fill the ribcage as you continue to inhale ✅Last fill up the breath to the top at the sternum.

✅Your exhale is the exact opposite, going from top down.

Focus on slow deep breaths, inhale thru the nose exhale thru the mouth. Feel the breath in your belly, ribcage, chest with your hands.

. 🗣Inhale slowly for 5 counts.

🗣Hold the breath for 5 counts.

🗣Exhale slowly for 5 counts.

Repeat for 10 breaths…

How relaxing is that????

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Agree or disagree??

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I believe it was Tony Robbins breaking it down as such: there is no such thing as “balance”…..

there Is however such a thing as work/life “integration”. But there is not balance. Does this ring true to you??

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Hearing that #truth was 💯 a sigh of relief to me. It’s stressful to try and do it all. I’d even say- it’s unhealthy.

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🔥We can’t have it all. Multi-tasking as I’ve learned, often means you’re half-ass listening to your partner, or patient, while thinking about other concerns. It’s unfair to everyone, it’s rude, and often results in mediocre results of many things, versus success in a few.

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🔥Let’s stop trying to be perfect.

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Let’s stop trying to do yoga everyday, eat perfect 24-7, ride hard rides 24-7, hang with our family, and then expect to sleep 9 hours every day. THAT SHIT WON’T HAPPEN. Not everyday. Let it go.

#sorrynotsorry

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So what can we do? We can TRY to do our best. All you can do is your best.

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✅Make time when you can to be relatively consistent with exercise ✅Work on it- we’re human & flawed but it’s about #progressnotperfection. ✅Make time to put value in relaxing activities away from work. Work isn’t your life. Your life is your life.

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✅Do your PT exercises I give you😉- when you can. ✅Make a valiant attempt to really carve out time for those people & things that MATTER.

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❌Hit the delete button on the stuff that doesn’t.❌Be ok with saying NO.

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Stress can affect your mental state but also physically- I see and treat it nearly everyday with my patients. Sometimes we need to hear it’s ok…you don’t need to be perfect, at the end of the day, just doing your best is enough.

Do you all feel me on this?

Stretch & Relax. Yes you.

True story- So I end up hanging randomly with Vince Vaughn one night back in Hollywood at a Cantina with some friends when I was finishing up PT school… let me tell you he is SNARKY & sarcastic as hell…he was on a tear, & if you know me, then you know that’s right up my alley…so we get to talking, and he asks me what I do, and I tell him I’m in PT school…and he goes without missing a beat, “so you’re going to grad school learn how to stretch people”. Mic DROP.

I am dying.

He’s kinda right. Except I don’t stretch people much- I’m pretty lazy, I prefer to teach people how to stretch themselves.

What’s my point here??? Besides Vince Vaughn mocking me? Ok here goes- Are you like me? I’m def NOT one of the stretchy ones like my caption says, 100% honest you guys I do NOT love stretching all time. #truth ….

BUT It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. Trust me when I say Yoga is sometimes a struggle for me, but I enjoy the challenge.

We can’t always do the stuff we know we’re good at, but get UNcomfortable- YOU need that, we all do, we need to grow, & MOVE more.

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Take a minute this weekend and do maybe just ONE stretch while you hang out before bed….if nothing else, it will help you relax…and you might even feel better on Sunday when you go ride, run, hike, hang out with your fam & friends.

Quick workout ideas…

I’m a fan of circuits either for time (ie do as many as you can for 1 minute then switch) or for reps- 10-15 reps per exercise then switch.

A simple workout of 4 moves that target full body and core can be repeated for 3-4 rounds for a GREAT workout, and be done in 20-30mins.

Some examples:

1) Plank holds or modified Burpee to be more dynamic. Can’t do a Burpee? break it down and do a plank, then walk hands back up to hands in the air. OR hold a plank 30secx5 (or some variation)

2) Pushup.
Can’t do Pushup? Scale to push-up against the wall, or even regress to a forearm plank and just hold. forearm planks, push-up against wall, push-up plus are all great options for upper body and core strength 

3) Air Squats or Jump Squats. Can’t do a Jump squat? Knee issues sometimes limit these… Do an Air Squat hold, or a Bridge on the ground, or clamshells…many alternatives – pick one you feel confident with and get after it!

4) Bridge- great full lower body hip and glute strengtheners as well as back. If that’s too easy do single leg. Can also add resistance band around the thighs to really make it challenging.