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It's August already! I just finished a wonderful week with 3 of my four children and all our grandchildren. We also had the blessing of having my 92-year-old Mom with us, (a woman who had 10 children and still walks the stairs repetitively 10x's a day, and at least 35 minutes a day outside.)

Many of us have children or adult children heading back to school. Fall sports have already started in the universities, and high school sports are just beginning.  It is with this in mind, and our history of working with many athletes, that I decided to address one of the greatest frustrations for athletes. When I am hurt, am I getting the best care for my particular injury?

To begin my story, I will travel back in time, to 1969! I was the quarterback for my high school team and loved (and still love) football. I enjoyed it more than any other activity! We were scrimmaging after the second game of the season and I broke my hand. I was taken to a physician, who was ahead of his time. His name was Doc Fallot. He was one of the first physicians that I ever met that cared about high school athletes as much as the athletes cared about their sports.

After the X-Ray and the terrible news of the fracture, I was discussing my timeline with "Doc Fallot". He told me I would probably be out 2-6 weeks and to see him in a month. I asked him, if I could be healed in 2 weeks, why would he wait a month to see me? He agreed and I saw him in 2 weeks. Many of you might think this was overly aggressive and not healthy for a young boy. However, my bone was healed in 2 weeks, I was back playing quarterback and defensive back two weeks later.

I am now 65 years old, and I have no issues with that old fracture in my hand. Why this story? Although I am careful not to advise someone to return to their sport prematurely, I have seen too many athletes who have been told to rest beyond what their particular case required, wasting their healing time. Years ago, one of the best soccer players in the state who was from our area, was told to rest for an unnecessarily long time by an orthopedist, and she almost lost her entire senior season!

It is a nice perk for our community that hospitals have been putting trainers and medical residents (some physicians) in our high schools in recent years. Unfortunately, this perk makes athletes and their families think they can't seek care from other sources and can prevent athletes from getting opinions from other sports medicine organizations like McDonald PT. Although we have been in the schools in the past, we, at McDonald Physical Therapy, are not in the schools currently. We have treated high school and college coaches and high school, college and pro athletes and have had the good fortune to be a part of the Notre Dame Sports Medicine program for over 21 years. We know what it takes to get athletes back to safely playing the sports they love during their brief, but exciting high school careers.

Please give your athlete the best chance possible to enjoy their brief athletic career. Please do not settle for one diagnosis or one type of care. If an injury does occur, search for all the best possible options. In the end, your daughter and/or son may be able to have more post- injury high school and college playing days left than they initially think. At MPT, we take the unique nature of each case into consideration and have multiple ways to help athletes get "back into the game"!

Enjoy the journey,
Health Information

Creating a Walking and Running Routine that Works for You

If you're considering beginning a walk or run routine, we have one piece of advice above all others: go for it! Because committing to walking or running is satisfying, energizing, and can have an enormous impact on your overall health. Stress and anxiety relief, weight loss-you name it. It's a low-impact, low-cost way to make a truly lasting impact on your quality of life.
The question is, what should your routine look like? What level of exercise is right for you? How often and how long should you exercise each week? Now that you've made the decision to start, here are a few things to think about when creating your routine.
Check with Your Doctor First
Our first recommendation is to check with your physician. Your doctor will tell you whether or not you are fit to begin walking or running, and perhaps make recommendations on duration, frequency, and intensity. Always start here, especially if you are over 40 years old and live a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
Start with the Basics, Start Slowly
Most exercise routines start with a benchmark, and walking/running is no different. So start by going on a nice and easy walk once or twice around the block to gauge your current level of conditioning. Pay attention to things like heart rate, breathing, and perceived exertion. Bonus points if you make this your first entry in your workout journal.
Three Times a Week, Then Build
In terms of frequency, a good place to start is three times a week, 15-20 minutes per session. This goes for walking or running, and it gives you a good, attainable structure to hang your hat on. As your condition improves, so too can the frequency and duration of your sessions.
Adjust Your Diet and Stay Hydrated
This one is a no-brainer: the more you exercise, the more calories and hydration your body will need to operate. Make an investment in nutritious, colorful meals that include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You'll be amazed at how your body responds when properly fueled and hydrated.
Listen to Your Body
If you begin to experience pain or discomfort, dial things back and give your body a chance to adjust. Overexertion can lead to injury. Some days, you might have a longer walk or run planned, but find that you're reaching your limit only halfway through. It's okay to adjust your routine from time to time. If you're not feeling it one day, or you're under the weather, shorten your exercise or skip it completely.
Consider Good Shoes
Don't overlook this important step (pun intended!). Although your old pair of walking shoes might not make a noticeable impact at first, over time, they may begin to affect your gait and cause imbalances that can cause pain or even injury. Since you've already decided to invest in yourself by starting this routine, set aside some money and invest in a decent pair of running shoes, too.
Join a Group
Running and walking groups are great ways to stay motivated and enhance your routine. Being around other like minded people help you stay accountable, motivated, and have fun doing it. There are groups like these in nearly every city-just Google it or find a local Meet Up!
Don't Get Discouraged
When it comes to reaching that next level in your routine, don't be discouraged if progress is slow. Often, it takes a couple weeks to ease into your new routine and adjust to the physical exertion. Even if you remain consistent, you might experience plateaus in your time, conditioning, or weight loss goals. Don't be discouraged! Keep taking small, consistent steps, and you'll be soon look back with surprise at the amazing progress you've made.
And finally: keep going! The more consistent you are with your routine, the more progress you will make. Soon, you'll have built a routine you can depend on-one you know, inside and out. With a little bit of focus in the areas above, you'll have all you need to lay the groundwork.
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