If you have great knees, consider yourself lucky.  And take care of them.  Here’s a couple of articles in the NY Times regarding knee health.

Article 1.

Article 2.

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

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I found out tonight that on of my friends got hit by a car in Evanston – luckily he is completely fine.  This place is not a buzzing metropolis, but sometimes drivers make really stupid mistakes.  As I pointed out earlier, accidents happen.  Hedge the risk and wear your helmet.

~ J

Chicago Marathon IGood morning running enthusiasts!  The Chicago marathon is in full swing.  The field is full and the spectators have packed the streets – making for a fun race to run as well as see.  I popped in at the most northern part of the route, between miles 7 and 8.  The runners looked strong and for those few who looked like they were hurting, I really hope they get the strength to reach their goal.

I’ll capture some key stats from the event later.  Currently, the Chicago Marathon website is overloaded.

~ Happy Marathoning ~

Jessica

View of Downtown ChicagoI bike to school.  It’s awesome.  If you haven’t gotten on a bike since your childhood, you should definitely get back on.  However, what is a little disconcerting to me is the number of people who are making their commute without without a helmet.

So what?  Well here are some choice stats from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:

  • A very high percentage of cyclists’ brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 per cent.
  • Direct costs of cyclists’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year, rising with health care costs.
  • About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.

So, is it worth wearing a helmet?  I’d say yes.  Are you going to school and investing heavily in the future of your brain to support you?  Maybe you should spend the $20 and hedge your risk of getting a head injury.

~ Happy (and safe) Biking ~
Jessica

Academic institutions are finally getting on the blogging bandwagon full force.

What I find interesting is that schools are resisting the open blogging of students.  But it’s the giant elephant in the room.  With a little searching, savvy perspective students are going to find students’ blogs anyways.  Embrace it.  Use the enthusiasm of your students to market your product!

In other news, it’s getting chilly in the Second City.  How’s the training going?

~ Happy Trails ~
Jessica

I’d also claim the news is older than the NY Times article.  But there’s all these apps that you can use to motivate yourself to workout more.  The only thing I have some personal experience with is the Nike+iPod.  Overall, I found it to be a solid product.  It’s super convenient to walk out the door with just an iPod and shoe pod – no watch.  I found that running sans watch (while still timing myself through the iPod system) allowed me to really enjoy my run rather than cycle down the minutes.

Anyone use some of these other apps?  Thoughts?

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

So I began having some knee trouble, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in physical therapy. Now I sorta limped walked into the physical therapy center with a smirk on my face.  I was in the best shape of my life!  I had recently broken my record for the mile run, without even trying to make that PR; I was just completing some interval training.  I maintained a regular workout regimen that balanced cardio and weight lifting.  My legs were not weak, and I had the strongest core I’d ever experienced.  So, what was a physical therapist going to give me to work on?

Well, turns out in our assessment that I neglected some muscles important to maintaining knee stabilization – that inner and outer thigh strength.  Now, I had included side lunges twice a week.  Apparently that’s not enough.

By incorporating inner & outer leg lifts and a “clamshell” workout into your weight routine, you’ll develop all the muscles in your legs and contribute to the stability in your knees.

Incorporating these exercise to further balance out my leg strength has been very helpful in alleviating some of the pain and strengthening the joint.  Good points is that these exercises are easily done while reading or watching the Today show.  Bad point is that I never want to do them when I go to the gym!

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica

Listen to this new Jay-Z song!

Maybe he got inspired by my blog.  Either way, it’s nice that he’s back on the music scene.

~ Jessica

I-55 BridgeWell it’s time to trade in the city on the river for a city on a lake.  Goodbye to Memphis.  Hello to Evanston.

I’ve got some great pictures from the road trip below.  The most notable thing about the 551 mile journey was the US makes a lot of corn.  Seriously.  A LOT of corn.

Some first impressions of these new environs.  1:  it’s windy.  really rather windy.  2:  the lake and view is fantastic.  3:  Evanston is pretty tiny.  Chicago is huge.  It took me around an hour to get from my place into the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

For the active-life enthusiast, there’s a lot of options.  Lakefront mixed-use trails offer great views of downtown Chicago – both from E-ton and Lincoln Park.  Commuting the 12 miles into the heart of Chi-town is possible by bike.  Also, there’s rowing here!!!

Since I’ve spent some time in Memphis and Chicago, both music meccas, I leave you with a few youtube videos:

~ Windy Trails ~
Jessica

Artsy, huh?

Artsy, huh?

As a running enthusiast, I’ve gotten tired of people knocking the sport.  “It’s so bad for your knees.”  Hmmm… Erroneous!!!

This New York Times article highlights a Stanford University study that followed runners and non-runners for 20 years.  The study’s Conclusion:  “Long-distance running among healthy older individuals was not associated with accelerated radiographic OA. These data raise the possibility that severe OA [osteoarthritis] may not be more common among runners.”  Booyah.

One of the points made in the NY Times article rings true with my own experiences.  The stronger your leg muscles and your core, the better your knees handle the impact.  Injury prevention/joint protections should be the top reason to hit the strength training at the gym.  Through strengthening quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles in weight training, you better prepare your body to handle the impact.

Keeping all of these muscles strong is integral to making sure your body stays in alignment throughout your entire running workout.  When you get tired, your muscles stop absorbing the impact and your form becomes sloppy.  So then all the happy pounding the pavement starts to become the unhappy pounding the knee joint.

I hope to place a few exercises to incorporate into your running routine in the future.  So check back!

~ Happy Trails ~

Jessica