1. Follow the Rule of Ten
If you want to push yourself, build up slowly: Run 10 percent farther than you did last week, or add 10 percent more weight than you lifted last week, says Dr. Rajeev Pandarinath, an assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
2. Don’t Lift Above the Shoulders
Our bodies aren’t built to lift heavy weight over our shoulders, says Dr. Kenneth Fine of the Orthopaedic Center in Rockville. When you’re holding your arms out at a 90-degree angle from your body, the weight shouldn’t go above that.
Says Fine: “The irony is that shoulder presses are not important for the human body, and many elite athletes do not do this exercise, whereas amateur athletes often do. An overhead press puts too much unhealthy stress on the rotator cuff.”
Exercising for several hours a day can be healthy, but it’s best to mix the types of exercise. “Limit any particular activity to one hour a day,” Fine says.
4. Warm Up
Light cardio exercises to warm up your muscles, followed by gentle stretching, can help prevent injuries. More dynamic stretching, such as walking lunges and high knees, can help prepare you for high-intensity workouts such as CrossFit, Pandarinath says.
5. Listen to Your Body
“We like to think we’re still in our twenties, so we train with a lot of gusto and cross a line and start having shoulder and knee pain,” says Dr. Chris Annunziata of Commonwealth Orthopaedics in Arlington.
As more runs and marathons have cropped up, people are “diving in too quickly,” causing injuries, says Dr. Daniel Pereles of Montgomery Orthopaedics. CrossFit and Tough Mudders, among other workouts, can lead to rotator-cuff tendinitis (from lifting weight overhead) as well as knee tendinitis and stress fractures (both from repeatedly jumping).
It’s fine to challenge yourself, but don’t ignore your body’s messages.
Not sure if you're over-exercising? Read more about when to consult a specialist and therapy treatments that could help relieve your aches and pains here.
This article appears in our October 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
Want to impress your friends at your next potluck? Try registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s recipe for kiwi-prosciutto crostini, an easy appetizer that’s as pretty as it is healthy—not to mention delicious. Bright green kiwi fruit has “more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana,” Scritchfield says. “They’re also a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, and they’re high in fiber.”
Kiwis are in season through the month, and Scritchfield makes the most of their tangy flavor by pairing the fruit with cool goat cheese and thin slices of prosciutto. The dish packs a sweet-salty punch and is a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, which Scritchfield says nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t eat enough of.
Yield: 16 servings
Per-serving nutrition: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 230 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein.
16 slices toasted crostini*
1 package (4 ounces) garlic-and-herb goat cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (8 slices), cut in half
1) Spread crostini slices with goat cheese.
2) Peel and slice each kiwi lengthwise into 8 slices. (A serrated peeler works great for this.)
3) Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of kiwi.
4) Top crostini with prosciutto-wrapped kiwifruit. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.
*To make crostini, heat broiler. Slice 8-ounce baguette into ¼-inch slices. Using about 1½ tablespoons olive oil, lightly brush each slice. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cool on wire rack. (May be made up to 2 days before serving. Store in airtight container.)
Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail email@example.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.
It’s 3:32 in the afternoon and you’re starving. Dinner is still a few hours away, and that bag of all-natural trail mix you meant to bring to work is sitting on the kitchen counter at home. Before you give up and reach for a sugar-laden baked good from your favorite coffee chain, try one of these healthier grab-and-go options that will keep you satisfied and help you avoid another energy crash.
While a slice of the iced lemon pound cake may sound light and airy, its 470 calories and 47 grams of sugar say otherwise. Avoid the pastry case and go for a pack of salted almonds instead; the nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats, which are great for your cardiovascular system, and protein to calm your growling stomach.
The “nuts equal healthy” rule doesn’t carry over here, however, where the 690-calorie maple pecan bar offers a whopping 37 grams of fat and 51 grams of sugar. Try the seasonal fruit medley and a pack of bakery chips, which contain a much more reasonable 8 grams of fat.
Pret a Manger
The “hearty grains” muffin may sound healthy, but with 470 calories and 26 grams of fat, it’s a frightening false advertisement. Swap the muffin for mixed fruit for an all-natural sugar kick, paired with Pret’s organic popcorn for something that’s truly whole-grain.
If you’re in the mood to sip your snack, don’t attempt to down one of Potbelly’s milkshakes. The mocha shake packs a mind-boggling 802 calories and 100 percent of your daily recommended value of saturated fat. Instead, go for the mixed-berry smoothie, which at 464 calories isn’t ideal but at least has a third of the fat and many more antioxidants than its coffee-flavored counterpart.
While you don’t really have to ask whether Cosi’s Mississippi mud pie is good for you, you’d be surprised to know how much sugar also sneaks its way into the “healthy” yogurt parfaits. The Greek yogurt clocks in at 24 grams, while the strawberry fresh fruit parfait has nearly double that. Ditch the dairy and try a bag of carrots, a fruit cup, or even a turkey sandwich off the kids’ menu.
Au Bon Pain
Pecans are going to give us a complex: ABP’s 740-calorie pecan roll contains 43 grams of fat. Instead, go for hardboiled eggs, which have 13 grams of protein to give you that last-leg-of-the-day power boost you need. Or if your sweet tooth will not be denied, try the 230-calorie pack of chocolate covered almonds.
Here at Well+Being, we love a good yoga session almost as much as we love a nice burrito. Now, thanks to Dan Abramson, there’s a product that combines the two. Abramson, who’s based in San Francisco, is the creator of Brogamats: extra-long, extra-thick yoga mats designed with men in mind but appropriate for “people of all walks of life, all genders, all Lululemon budgets, and all levels of earthy pretentiousness,” as the website declares. Even more fun than the mats themselves are the bags to put them in, which come in solid colors or printed with man-friendly things like bears, plaid, and, yes, an image of a foil-wrapped burrito (though it’s unfortunately currently sold out).
Brogamats are available online, along with Abramson’s Kickstarter-funded Yoga Joes—a collection of GI Joe look-alike toys molded into traditional yoga poses, aimed at getting a wider audience interested in the practice. Both would make a great gift for your favorite yoga enthusiast with a sense of humor; it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts, after all.
Don’t see the perfect design? Abramson happily takes suggestions—“the best ideas come from people around me,” he says via e-mail. Our picks for Washington-centric versions: seersucker (the official unofficial Washington summer uniform), a Metro map (for when you want to be simultaneously relaxed and tense), and an all-over Shackburger print so you can dream about what you’ll be doing after yoga. Check out the current Brogamats bag collection below, and share your design suggestions in the comments.
On Sunday morning, around 35,000 runners gathered for the 30th annual Army Ten Miler. Of the 26,238 finishers, 25-year-old Kerri Gallagher won the women’s overall for the third consecutive year, finishing in 54:50—six seconds faster than her 2013 time, which broke the course record. Army Spc. Caroline Jepleting, who flew in from Germany for the race, came in second in the women's division, earning the top US military finisher spot with a time of 56:34. Solonei Da Silva, 32, won the men’s overall for the second year in a row, with a time of 48:28.
The 2015 Army Ten-Miler is scheduled for October 11. Read on for some highlights from this year’s race below, and see more photos via Flickr.
Pumpkin-flavored treats are popping up everywhere, but indulging in all of the breads, cupcakes, muffins, and lattes—many of which are loaded with sugar, fat, and empty calories to keep you craving more—unfortunately doesn’t count as a balanced diet.
Instead, we’d like to introduce you to five fall specials around town that will allow you to taste the season without ditching your healthy eating plan.
Turkey & Cheddar on 9-Grain Cranberry Ciabatta at Au Bon Pain
The cranberry ciabatta bread is certainly festive, but it’s also responsible for 290 of the 550 calories in this sandwich. Dine open-faced instead, and focus on the rest of this flavor-packed meal: savory turkey, cheddar cheese, and arugula with an apple butter and mustard spread.
Jamaican Sweet Pumpkin and Vegetable at Soup Up DC
This Union Market eatery offers a fun alternative to basic pumpkin soup. It’s composed of locally grown vegetables and is gluten-, additive-, and preservative-free, making it a great choice to warm up on a chilly October afternoon.
Sweet Potato Falafel Flatbread at Pret A Manger
This fun twist on a Mediterranean staple brings pumpkin’s superfood cousin, sweet potato, into play. The falafel is topped with immunity-boosting pickled cabbage and carrots paired with cool tzatziki sauce and tomatoes, and the whole ensemble rests on Pret’s artificial-flavoring-free flatbread. Though this sandwich offers 25 grams of protein, it contains about half the daily recommended amount of sodium; if you’re watching your salt intake, you may want to give this one a pass.
Roasted Turkey and Fall Vegetables Salad at Sweetgreen
The salad chain’s new menu includes this bowl of organic mesclun topped with roasted turkey, in-season Brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes, and a cranberry vinaigrette. This is a low-calorie, vitamin-packed way to treat your taste buds to the harvest season in a low-calorie, vitamin-packed meal.
Chipotle Pumpkin Soup at Cosi
Sip this cancer-fighting soup made with butternut squash (not pumpkin, as the name suggests) and spiked with chipotle sauce. The bright orange fall vegetable is packed with alpha and beta carotene, which can help prevent the spread of cancer cells.
According to the American Cancer Society, women in the US have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Though the figures are lower, a number of men are diagnosed every year, as well. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, recognized each October, aims to increase awareness and education about the deadly disease and raise money to put toward finding a cure. Local organizations, workout studios, and businesses are hosting events this month to show their support. Know of one that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments—and don’t forget to enter this week’s photo contest, themed around the color pink for breast cancer awareness.
The downtown DC day spa is donating 20 percent of sales from certain services to Breast Care for Washington DC. Think Kevyn Aucoin makeup lessons, Deborah Lippman mani-pedis, massages, and more. October 9, noon to 6 PM.
Here’s a good reason to check out the Capital Wheel at National Harbor: This weekend, the lights on the Ferris wheel will be pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and when riders show up wearing the rosy hue, a portion of the proceeds from their ticket purchase will go to the Inova Life With Cancer Family Center. Look for area retailers displaying pink ribbons; a portion of their sales will also benefit Inova. October 10 through 13.
Makers Lab offers up a “workout dance party,” featuring a hip-hop dance set to tunes from a deejay, plus refreshments in the form of Raw juices. Tickets ($20) include a complimentary juice, and proceeds benefit ZuriWorks for Women’s Health, which aims to increase cancer awareness and education. October 19, 4 to 7 PM.
Turn your usual weekend partying into a philanthropic effort with this Friday-night event at the Midtown Party Plex. Participate in a costume contest, watch a fashion show, try out some pink hair extensions, and hit the cash bar; proceeds from ticket sales ($20 in advance, $25 at the door) benefit the nonprofit We Will Survive Cancer. October 24, 8 to 11 PM.
Fitness Together Capitol Hill has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation for a bench-press competition to raise money for education and services. For every pound a participating athlete lifts, $1 will be donated to the foundation. If you’re not into lifting weights, you can sponsor individual athletes and participate in the raffle. October 25, 8 to 11 AM.
Alpha Breast Cancer Support Services holds a 5K run/walk beginning at Arlington’s Bon Air Park. Register as an individual for $10, or gather your friends and go as a team. Proceeds will go toward breast cancer awareness among Ethiopian and Eritrean women. October 25, 9 AM.
Suit up in pink and head to a step or indoor-cycling class at Metro Center’s Crunch Fitness to benefit the cause. KTX Fitness trainer Keith Thompson leads the sessions; a portion of the proceeds from class sales ($30 each) benefit breast cancer awareness. October 25 and 26, multiple sessions.
Head to College Park for a daylong fitness event with Phunktions Hip Hop Dance Company to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Start the morning with a 5K, then check out a range of fitness classes that includes yoga, core boot camp, and ballroom-dance basics. Tickets are $20 for the 5K and classes, or $15 for the classes only. October 26, 9 AM to 6 PM.
The For Goodness Sake Foundation hosts a fundraising event at the Reebok Fithub in Georgetown. A $25 ticket gets you a Zumba workout with a Reebok instructor, 15 percent off in-store merchandise, a swag bag, light bites, mini spa services, and more. Even better, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Capital Breast Care Center. October 26, 2 to 4:30 PM.
Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.
Beth McCann was jogging on the W&OD Trail in Arlington a few years back when severe pain literally stopped her in her tracks.
A registered nurse at the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, McCann had been an almost daily jogger for 30 years. When training for a marathon (she runs about one a year), she can log nearly 50 miles in a week.
On this October day—she had been training for the Marine Corps Marathon—she barely managed to walk home. A visit to a sports-medicine specialist revealed a stress fracture in her lower back. She ended up on crutches for six weeks and was unable to run for a year.
The specialist McCann saw was Kenneth Fine of the Orthopaedic Center, which has locations in DC and Rockville. Dr. Fine, she says, made her realize the importance of rest (she hadn’t been sleeping well before her injury but continued to be on the go) and of listening to her body during exercise (she had ignored aches and pains before the fracture).
McCann started getting deep-tissue massages every two to four weeks to help with circulation to the injured area. During the year she couldn’t run, she took spinning classes and lifted weights; now that she’s able to run again, she still takes days off from jogging to spin and weightlift.
“I’m a push-the-envelope kind of athlete, and that will get you in trouble, as I have found out,” says the 54-year-old Arlington resident.
It’s a common problem in Washington. As CrossFit, Tough Mudder competitions, and marathons are becoming increasingly popular, overuse injuries are taking a toll.
“Washington has a high number of people who are very motivated and disciplined, sometimes to the point of being obsessive, which can lead to over-exercising,” Fine says. While he notes that exercise is important in managing or staving off stress and illness, an obsession with exercise “leads to our area having a very high fitness level but to more overuse injuries. You will see the orthopedic surgeon more often, but you’ll see other doctors less often.”
When to Consult a Specialist
As the name suggests, sports-medicine doctors study and treat athletic injuries such as ligament and cartilage tears, stress fractures, and muscle and tendon strains.
The basic treatment for minor or moderate sports injuries has remained the same for years—ice for the first 48 hours paired with 72 hours of rest and elevation. How do you know when an injury is severe enough to see a doctor? One key sign is if you can’t bear weight on the affected area.
“If it hurts you a little bit to walk, it’s okay to wait and protect yourself and not exercise,” says Dr. Chris Annunziata of Commonwealth Orthopaedics in Arlington. “Give it up to a week and you should be getting better with ice, elevation, and rest. If it doesn’t get better, go to the doctor.”
While physicians not trained in sports medicine might treat just the acute injury, a sports-medicine specialist will also try to determine what led to the injury—and then to correct any problems with the goal of maximizing future performance.
“If someone is a long-distance runner, do they have inflexibility of their muscles or an imbalance of strength?” Annunziata says. “We try to direct care to affect those causes.”
Sports-medicine specialists are trained to get you back on your feet as safely and as soon as possible and to keep you moving even during treatment.
Says Annunziata: “If a runner comes in with knee irritation, we will allow them to do swimming, elliptical training, and cycling to improve lower-extremity flexibility around the knee and hip.”
From Dry Needling to Plasma
A sports-medicine doctor usually will do one of several things to treat an injury. He or she may prescribe anti-inflammatory pills or give an anti-inflammatory shot. If trained as an orthopedist—many othopedists have experience with sports-related injuries—the doctor will perform any necessary surgery.
Depending on the injury, a sports-medicine doctor may send you to physical therapy. Some physical therapists are also certified in sports medicine. As with any sports specialist, their aim is first to identify the reason the injury may have occurred.
“I look at how you are moving—are you having neck pain when you turn your head?—and try to figure out the source of your pain,” says Stacy King, owner of Aspire PT & Wellness in Bethesda, who is an orthopedic clinical specialist.
Once the problem is identified, a physical therapist will, among other things, give a patient stretches and corrective exercises to improve flexibility and strength.
Dry needling is a new trend in therapy that, like acupuncture, involves inserting needles into the body. While acupuncture follows a set of points and meridians, dry needling targets trigger points in muscles that are causing pain. The goal is to get a twitch response, which feels like a muscle cramp and which ultimately relaxes the muscle.
“It’s a faster form of treating trigger points,” King says. “The patient often feels the benefits quickly—some feel results immediately.” The average number of treatments is four, and side effects can include muscle soreness and bruising.
A physical therapist must be trained to do dry needling, through an organization such as Kinetacore, and this treatment isn’t for everyone. Someone who is in the first trimester of pregnancy, has a clotting disorder, or is within six weeks of having surgery shouldn’t receive dry needling.
Other therapies are on the horizon for treating serious or lingering sports injuries—including those that rely on the human body, such as plasma and stem cells, to accelerate healing.
PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, therapy is one such treatment. A patient’s own blood is centrifuged, separating it into layers. The platelet-rich layer, full of growth factors, is then injected back into the patient.
Although the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons hasn’t yet validated PRP as a scientifically proven method of treatment—it’s being studied—Fine says he and other doctors are using it.
“I have used it in cases such as elbow tendinitis and plantar fascitis where patients have not improved with standard treatments,” he says. “The pros are that it makes intuitive sense to inject growth factors to try to stimulate tissue to heal, and there are some studies showing its benefits. The cons are that we really don’t know at what concentration they would work best. There are many studies that show no improvement from PRP.”
While Fine says he hasn’t seen serious negative side effects, possible ones include infection, blood clots, nerve pain or injury, skin discoloration, and worsening of symptoms.
Other treatments in the experimental stages include stem-cell therapy and human-growth-hormone injections into joints. “Stem cells are being used, but they are in the very early stages, so there really are no good scientific articles,” Fine says.
Choosing a Doctor
Many family physicians now are very well versed in sports medicine; you might check if your primary-care doctor is board-certified in the field. Other medical specialties allow physicians to get a Certificate of Added Qualifications in sports medicine. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, can do a fellowship and take a written test through the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery to become certified in sports medicine. The American Board of Family Medicine offers a similar test for family doctors. Licensed physical therapists—who don’t have an MD—can also become board-certified through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities.
“It’s a sexy thing to tell your patients you’re a sports-medicine specialist,” Fine says, “but not everyone is certified.”
Want to see a sports-medicine practitioner? You can find certified specialists at certificationmatters.org.
To find recommended sports-medicine specialists, orthopedists, and rehabilitation doctors, see our Top Doctors list.
This article appears in the October 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda recently underwent a $90 million expansion, and along with a 2,400-seat cinema and a fine-dining terrace, the mall is now home to a Lululemon outpost. The athletic apparel company celebrates the grand opening of its latest location all weekend, and even if you’re not in the market for new yoga pants or running tights, you can still join in on the fun.
Drop by on Friday, October 3, between 11 AM and 2 PM to customize your own trail mix snack and sip some “Lululemonade” to the tunes of the in-store deejay.
Saturday brings a free yoga class in the lower level of Nordstrom beginning at 8:30 AM; after that, you can watch “acroyoga” performances in the Lululemon store windows to inspire you to new levels of yogi-excellence (or to make you realize you have some more poses to master).
On Sunday, take advantage of free Zengo cycling classes at 8:30 and 9:30 AM, again in Nordstrom’s lower level; the routine is a bit like yoga on a bike, and promises a full-body and mind workout that will increase your zen while you sweat. As a bonus, you’ll also have the chance to win additional free Zengo classes throughout the day.
Free workouts and an excuse to window-shop? Not a bad way to spend the weekend.
Lululemon Westfield Montgomery. 2101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda.
Going meatless (even occasionally) is good for your health, good for the environment, and—with the right recipe—great for your taste buds. In honor of World Vegetarian Day on October 1, we’ve rounded up some easy-to-make, meat-free options that are packed with nutrition and fall flavors: light snacks, slow-cooker soups, even a feast made for two. (And if you want to celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day afterward as a reward; Best Bites has you covered.) Read on for the recipes, and if you try one, tweet us at @washwellbeing to let us know how you liked it!
Soups and Chili
Hearty Main Dishes
Snacks and Sides
Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.