Thursday, April 29, 2010

Does Getting Up at an Ungodly Hour to Workout Like Rocky Balboa Work?

Who could forget the iconic image of Rocky Balboa getting up at some ungodly hour eating raw eggs in his quest to try and go the distance with Apollo Creed. There's only one problem.
If you are not getting your 8 hours of sleep particularly when you are
hammering in your training cycle your are not optimizing your body's recovery cycle.
Most of our healing and muscle building occurs while we are sleeping. It affect your body in so many ways. If someone comes into my office with warts I ask them if they are getting about 6 hours of sleep. About half of them will give me this look at me like I'm from another planet. Knowing that many people will answer yes thinking no problem because they are in denial that that they need more sleep versus simply asking them if they are getting 8 hours of sleep. Because a wart is a virus your sleep debt will make it more difficult for your body to get rid of it. Think about more severe illness like when you developed mono in college because you were burning both ends of the candle. If you have a disease that lowers your immunity like uncontrolled diabetes then sleep takes on an even bigger role. There are some Olympians that end up sleeping more than 8 hours on some days because of the stress they are putting their body through in training. Working out at reasonable hours in in the morning seems to fit our natural rhythm more. Working out too late can actually inhibit normal sleep patterns. If you can consistently get to bed early then getting up super early is not a bad thing. Remember, though , even Rocky broke training on his apartment couch with Adrien in the midnight hour so easier said than done.You may or may not get Salmonella if you eat the raw eggs but I guarantee you will not have your body performing optimally under a a demanding training cycle if you are not getting your 8 hours.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wham-O! I'm Not Superman!

So I was goofing off one summer in Buffalo,New York with my nephews on a slip and slide. I thought I might try cruising down the Slip 'n Slide set up on the lawn Silver Surfer style instead of ala Pete Rose head first into home plate... Big mistake.

At the time I had no problem. Somewhere around eight that night my ankle started to feel like it was being crushed. Wham-O! I'm talking about tears streaming down your face type pain. The torque on my ankle from my jumping had caused an acute bone bruise and sprain. The body has a memory to insult and it can react the opposite of delayed gratification. In this case it was pay your dues for your mortal sin of thinking you could crash your body like a teenager. 6 Advils and several sessions of ice and elevation later I was able to get to sleep a little past midnight. Just last week I was reminded of my weekend warrior body when after taking up my second
sessions of Gaelic Football I started experiencing intense pain this time in my foot about 2 hours into my daughter's friend's birthday party that forced me to the couch and crutches for 8 hours.
This time an acute sprain of my foot. The deal is that once your foot starts to swell even a little bit there are a lot of nerves down there that are not very happy. You also don't get to rest the area unless you are put in a cat or on crutches. I have patients that look at me dumbfounded regarding their hobbled condition with foot pain and I ask them what they did and they tell me I hiked or whatever and were fine at the but the reality is that your body remembers. Particularly if you have an old injury. You have to respect that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On the Road to Recovery-Never give Up! What can we learn from the Bill's "Groundhogs Day"how many different ways can you lose a Superbowl

Many people may have forgotten Leon Lett's stripped ball by Don Bebe at the goal line due to raw perseverance on the play in one of Bill's Groundhogs Day how many different ways can you lose a Superbowl but it demonstrates an important life lesson. Never give up! At that point the game was a blowout and Bebe could have just shut it down when Lett was about to score after picking up a fumble. Instead Bebe hustled and chased him down. Here is the play :

I have some patients in my practice that simply give up on themselves. After an injury, I can give patients a game plan to help them rehab their injury like a coach but I can't go out to their homes and workplaces and make them do it.

When I injured my ACL in knee a second time doing jumping drills in a sports conditioning class I saw the Redskins's orthopedic surgeon. His answer was a surgical approach that would involve bone graft taken from my knee to fill in divots in my knee. I chose the consevative rout. I dedicated myself to getting the muscles around my knee as stong and flexible as they could be through strength yoga, condition and simply being active in sports year round. I also strengthened my core to take pressure of the joints. I got lucky avoiding the knife a second time but would not have had the chance had I not payed my dues in the gym.

I am now playing soccer and skiing hard but smart. I know I still have some instability in that knee.
Over time our body can develop movement patterns in sports that compensate for the weakness. Some injuries are to severe for this approach but unless you are a pro athlete on a fat contract you usually have time to make a decision for surgery. Take personal responsibility for your recovery. Most of it is up to you. Oh- and don't ever showboat at the big show unless that's how you want to be defined. 20years later the two men Bebe and Lett have become friends. Leon Lett actually talks about the play as a life lesson when he does speaking engagements.