May health challenge: work your calfs!

Happy Sweating on Sunday! I hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend. We have been busy. Yesterday, we volunteered at an adoption event for the dog rescue we volunteer at. Today, our new refrigerator came. Plus, I have been working on the garden and getting the pool cleaned. So, I have had tons of fresh air. My Fitbit died! It was old, but for Mother’s Day I got a new Smart Watch. It is not a Fitbit and I will do a review on it after I have had it for a bit. It is larger, so I am not sure I am loving that feature. As we come into May it is time to start getting ready for Hurricane Season. It is my least favorite time of the year. There are a couple of important announcements to take note of. 1- Wednesday in my weekly newsletter I will be proving a coupon code just for Mom’s to get an awesome deal on one month of coaching. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to get one for you, or your mom. 2- May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month here on this blog. So, I will be doing posts on this topic. But, if you are a member of my mailing list you can get yourself a free 60 minute coaching session related to High Blood Pressure. You don’t have to have High Blood Pressure to qualify, maybe you would like to prevent getting it. Be sure and join my mailing list and then contact me once you have to claim your free coaching session. I do limit how many I give away, so don’t delay.

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Now, on to the calf muscles. I chose this set of muscles because I always get cramping in the side of my right shin area when I walk fast, or run. This is because my Soleus muscle is weak. It also may explain why I have painful feet and episodes of Plantar Fasciitis. The calf muscles are actually a set of three muscles. The Gastrocnemius muscle is the one you generally see on the back of the leg. It is made up of two thick muscles. The Soleus is thin and long, and lies under the Gastrocnemius. The Soleus runs from the Achilles Tendon and fans out as it goes up and attaches at the knee area. Since this is the exact area that cramps this is where I decided to start. After some research I decided the move of the week, for this first week, would be seated calf raises. If you do standing calf raises you probably are targeting more of the Gastrocnemius than the Soleus. I did this exercise this morning before running on the treadmill. While I did still cramp a little it was only in the last 3 minutes of my run, a big improvement from cramping very quickly. I call it a cramp it is more of a tightening, which to me is the same thing. At any rate it hurts and it slows me down. I tried to take a pictures of my calf muscles for a before image, but it is super hard to take a selfie of this part of the body. I will have someone else assist me and share it in my weekly newsletter. Taking pics is a great way to evaluate your progress, but there are other ways and some are better.

Will you join me in the May Health Challenge and build your calf muscles? Just in time for short season too! If you do join in, please share what is working for you, why you decided to join, and how you are progressing in the comments. I would so love to hear from my readers. Don’t be shy!

Below are two short videos. One explains the Soleus muscle and what it’s function is. The second will show you how to do the Seated Calf Raise. If you would like to learn more about my new coaching plan, click here.

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Muscles used when running!

I had mentioned before that my daughter wants to be a police officer. I also mentioned that as part of her PE education this year she would begin training for the Physical Fitness test to be an officer. It is my goal to do it with her. She has to be able to run 1.5 miles in 15 min. I have completed this goal. I don’t know if it is running, or jogging, but whatever I did it. I am still doing it at least once a week, but I did have to stop for a bit because I have a history of Plantar Fasciitis and it was starting to flare up. Trust me if you have ever had it, you don’t really want it again. I am also 51 and have Kidney Disease, so I have to be sure and monitor for any symptoms of over stress or High Blood Pressure. I did get medical clearance from my kidney doctor to increase my intensity of exercise as long as I have no heart issues, which I do not. As a goal it is a great goal to have, but I must say just plain old fast walking is much more enjoyable and less jarring to the body. High impact aerobics is great, however for maintaining bone health as we age. You should start slow and increase slowly to be sure your body can tolerate it, and always seek approval from your doctor if you have underlying medical issues or have lived a sedentary lifestyle for an extended period of time.

See the image below to see all of the muscles used while running, or even jogging. The original source of the image is freetrainers.com

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Sweating on Sunday: Exercising with Painful Feet

Updated 4/18/2021 I have always had painful feet my whole life.  It is just worse now that I am older.  When I am exercising inside, I prefer to be barefoot.   However, running in place in bare feet can be very painful.   I wear these inserts, inside my Crocs, for outdoor walking, or running in place indoors.  I also am looking at purchasing a pair of these Yoga socks.  When I am at work, where I average 12,000 steps every time I work, I rely on New Balance running shoes or Sketchers on the Go.  I love my Sketchers on the Go.  They are starting to wear out and I really need to buy a new pair. I just ordered these Compression Socks with heel support for indoor walking, or tired legs. I will post whether I like them, or not, after wearing them for a while.    Last Summer I had a period of time where I had Plantar Fasciitis.  If you have experienced that you know it is extremely painful and makes walking let alone exercise incredibly difficult.  The inserts mentioned above saved my feet, and then the New Balance sneakers.  I don’t personally wear the inserts in the New Balance sneakers.  It is too hot and uncomfortable for me.  I wear them when barefoot or inside my open back Crocs.  There may be other products on the market that work just as well, but these are the go-to products that I must have. 

Do you have painful feet?  What products do you have to have?  If you would like to work with a Health Coach to help manage your painful feet, use the contact form below to message me.

The stretches in the video below I still use today even though my Plantar Fasciitis is healed. It is not something I wish to have return anytime soon. While Plantar Fasciitis is a pain in the foot it is more of a calf issue.

Check out my April 2021 Challenge.

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run

How To Get Rid Of Plantar Fasciitis!

Updated 2/3/2022:

As I stated last week, February is Heart Health Awareness Month.  My Thursday topics will be heart-related topics, especially in relation to CKD.  The 4 topics will be exercise, nutrition, stress, and cholesterol.  Plus, I am introducing a new monthly plan, called Walking Buddy.  That is right, I will be your walking buddy.  I will give more details in tomorrow’s post.  This plan will be strictly for people who want or need a walking partner. It is a virtual walking partner.

I got Plantar Fasciitis in early Summer last year.  Ooh, it was awfully painful.  I saw lots of websites claiming instant relief, or getting rid of it quickly.  While I hate to say something is untrue, I am telling you if you have a serious case, nothing will be quick.  It is a long, slow healing process.  But, there are things that will at least help alleviate the pain, and stress caused to your foot.  Hopefully, you only get it in one foot, not both.  I will share the things that actually work, and help the most.  It took mine 5 months to completely heal, but it can take up to a year, or longer if you don’t try some of these tips.  In the worst-case scenario, there is surgery, but I don’t think that happens very often.  So, here are the things that worked for me, in order of importance.

First, what is Plantar Fasciitis?  For most people, it means heel pain.  But, not everyone gets heel pain.  The Plantar Fascia runs all along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes.  So, you can have an injury anywhere along there.  Mine was more towards the center of my arch.  If you have high arches, like me, you are more prone to get it, or flat feet too.  There are ways to tape and wrap, but they are very time-consuming, and I didn’t find it all that helpful.  I never tried taping but did do the ace wrap in ways meant to be helpful.

1-  Rest.  Yes, you must let it rest.  If you work on your feet all day, it is imperative that you not be on it, as much as possible, when you are not working.  This was torture for me.  By the end of the day, at first, the pain was almost unbearable.  People with CKD can only take Tylenol, which does not help inflammation.  This brings me to my next tip.

2- In the beginning especially, in the acute phase, use ice to decrease the inflammation.  You can apply ice any way you find that works, but what I found best is to put a water bottle in the freezer before I went to work, then roll my foot on it back and forth, after a long day on my feet.  Be sure to put a cloth between your foot and the ice.  This felt heavenly.  Some people find just rolling their foot on a tennis ball helps.  It did not for me.  I needed the ice.

3-  Do not exercise, as much as possible in the beginning.  When you do start to exercise again, take it slow.  It will not heal, and you can make it worse if you continue with your exercise regime.

4-  Now for the three products that I swear by.  The boot OMG, worn at night, as soon as I started wearing this, I started to see slow, but immediate results.  The little supports, I would wear in my shoe when I would work, or when exercising.  I tried the inserts first, and they not only didn’t help but seemed to make it worse.  But, those little beauties alleviated so much pain from being on my feet all day.  They are elastic, for compression to control swelling and softball support.  Just slip it over your foot and wear it all day., or night.  I bought both of these products at Walmart.  The boot was a little expensive but so worth it.  It stretches that tissue while you sleep.  Wear good shoes.  I love New Balance.  I wear them every time I walk, or work now, for long periods.  There are more expensive brands, but I find these work and are affordable.  My feet love these.  This brings me to my last point.

5-  Stretches.  There are lots of videos on Youtube that will help you do stretches for Plantar Fasciitis.  Along with the items I shared above, there were only 2 stretches, and one exercise I found actually helped.  The first stretch was actually quite difficult but really helped a lot.  You know how you stretch your fingers out away from each other?  Well, that is what you need to do with your toes.  At first, my toes wouldn’t do it.  It was like they were dumb and just couldn’t follow the command my brain was telling it.  So, I would use my fingers to force them apart.  But, slowly I was able to do it on command.  I still do this stretch on a regular basis.  The second one is similar to what the boot does.  Pull your toes towards your knee.  You can use a towel, or engage your calf muscle.  This is a great stretch for your calf muscle also.  The exercise that helped is rotating the foot in a complete circle several times, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

If you would like me to work with a Health Coach to help you meet your health and wellness goals, use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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