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    Understanding and Overcoming Plateaus in Sports Performance

    Popular media is full of stories of people conquering challenges no matter what. New employees learn the company’s goals first and their own tasks second. Every year Olympic athletes break their own personal records. We’re led to believe that setting goals, and then working arduously to achieve them, will lead to success.But what if you’ve been working toward a fitness goal for weeks, years, or months, and suddenly hit a plateau? Here’s how to cope with a workout plateau. The first thing to recognize is that it won’t last forever. The second thing is that you don’t deserve all the blame. There are many factors at-play when it comes to workout goals, including sports nutrition and overtraining.What is a Plateau?According to analyst Wu Xiangming,“The plateau phenomenon… refers to the stagnation or even regression of an athlete’s performance within a certain period of time after the rapid progress in years of training.” Xiangming identifies that there are “internal and external” causes for such a plateau(1).While the above study examined South Korean athletes over the course of years, fitness plateaus can still happen to everyday athletes over the course of weeks or months. Basically, an exercise plateau occurs when the athlete is unable to successfully increase the intensity of a workout or earn a new personal best. Intensity can refer to any exercise stimulus, from duration to volume to velocity. Are you unable to go faster, lift heavier, or go higher? Then you’ve probably reached a workout plateau.There are two kinds of plateaus that may affect everyday and competitive athletes: a mental plateau and a physical plateau. For most athletes, a mental plateau expresses itself as a negative and unmotivated attitude toward exercise. A physical plateau is the literal inability to progress in a movement or sport. Usually, athletes experience both in conjunction. Sports psychology analyzes both aspects when identifying athletes’ performance.What Causes A Plateau in Performance?In fact, the “Plateau Effect” is a natural occurrence in sport. As an athlete gets fitter, they must continually add on more intensity to improve. Performance will reach a plateau if the training load is kept constant.(2)Blaming yourself for being “unmotivated” or “lazy” won’t help with sports plateaus. There are many reasons why an athlete might not be progressing. Understanding those reasons is the first step to overcoming them. Ask yourself the following questions.#1: Are My Goals Right For Me?When setting achievable goals it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want and why you want it. Maybe the goal is to run 5km, and you can’t seem to move past 3km. But what was the reason behind running 5km? If you only intend to lose weight, and you’ve indeed gone down in a pant size, then you can be happy with 3km.Truthfully, getting started with a new workout routine is the most difficult part. Once an initial increase in fitness has been realized, it takes much less physical effort to maintain. If you love your 5km runs and easily maintain them in your schedule, then you might make a new goal of simply maintaining your workout schedule. At some point, the goal could be simply to “maintain” rather than “gain.” Here’s another thing that Instagrammers don’t share: most of them are in the maintenance phase. They talk about “gains” but they’ve already put in years of effort to get where they are. Now, they’re in a relatively normalized state, where they eat and train to maintain their current form.Of course, competitive athletes are always striving to win. But, the everyday athlete must weigh their perception of fitness with the creation of goals that are personally fulfilling, sustainable, and achievable. Ask yourself: what are your needs, desires, and motivations? Set goals that match. For more guidance, see our goals setting guide.#2: Have I Given Myself Enough Time?Most people who’ve achieved notable success have been working on their craft for a long time. It takes several years of regular physical movement to change one’s physiology. Set small, incremental goals on your way toward a larger goal. Be willing to give the incremental goals all the time they require.#3: Am I Rested?There’s a reason why some of our most popular articles deal with overtraining and knowing when to take a rest day. Over-exercising is both a cause for and symptom of performance plateaus. The body requires adequate recovery between sets and sessions. Rest isn’t just taking physical days off. It’s everything that makes you feel lively again: sleep, food, creative time, vacations, etcetera. Your nervous system is complex. It rules the mind and body. When it’s undernourished and full of cortisol, it’s going to underperform. The result? Feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Determining just how much rest to get is tricky. That’s why we’ve written this training tips blog post about guidelines for recovery periods and days. Our post on sleep advocates for creating a sleep schedule alongside a workout schedule.#4: Am I Getting Enough Variety?Elite athletes only train intensely two or three times a week. The rest of the week is spent cross-training, lower-intensity exercise, mobility work and active recovery. Even non-competitive athletes do better when they vary the training style and intensity throughout the week. Why is cross-training important? First: injury prevention. Train supporting muscles so that when primary muscles fatigue the secondary muscles kick-in. This helps to prevent unnatural pressure on a joint. Second, cross-training keeps the mind and body curious about movement, increasing enjoyment and motor skill development. Third, it provides active rest days to flush the system of lactate and keep the body supple (if you don’t push it too hard).Here are three ways to introduce variety into your training schedule:Do the opposite. If your goal is running, try swimming. If your goal is to get rock-hard abs, try soft yoga. Let your body use all of its functions in as many ways as possible.Vary bodyweight versus barbells. Bodyweight training builds muscle without using weights. Bodyweight exercises tend to be compound movements, which work multiple parts of the body at once. They’re an easy way to build muscle if you’re focused on cardiovascular endurance and boost the metabolism if you’re focused on hypertrophy.Do something for fun. What is Pilates? Is dancing actually a workout? Do you have an old pair of rollerblades collecting dust in the closet? Take them for a spin! Find new and novel ways to move. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and laugh at what you can’t. #5: Am I Using Sports Nutrition?The field of sports nutrition is complex and ever-expanding. The goal is to promote muscle development and cardiovascular endurance while minimizing fat storage. Thanks to the world wide web, it’s easier than ever to get nutrition advice. From intuitive eating to intermittent fasting, Keto to vegan, someone on YouTube probably has a channel dedicated to telling you why their diet is the best diet. Knowing where to start, and who to trust, is the hard part.Ultimately, what feels good in your body is the best diet for you. But, there are some basic, science-backed sports nutrition truths. Read on! ProteinAdequate protein intake is crucial when overcoming a workout plateau. Protein builds muscles and can be used as fuel when carbohydrate sources are depleted. It is a longer-lasting energy source for the body. Protein also contributes to feeling satiated (which can help with weight-loss goals). Unfortunately, the “right amount” of protein remains undetermined in the scientific community.What we do know is that the body maximizes protein differently depending on age and activity level. Protein is valuable because of amino acids, and vegetarian-based protein sources need to be combined with other amino acid sources in order to create the complete protein that muscles require. It’s not a bad thing to eat more protein than the body requires, but it also doesn’t help. Extra protein is oxidized or transaminated to other organic acids in the body (basically, it’s converted to something other than protein). However, current studies are based on fast-digesting proteins like supplements and powders. More research needs to be done about natural proteins that are bound with other macronutrients, i.e. carbohydrates and fats.(3)You can use our protein calculator to learn a ballpack range of how much protein overall your body requires. If you’re very focused on building physique, lean muscle, and strength training, then you can add many more grams of protein per day to this initial amount.Fats and CarbohydratesThe fitness world is obsessed with protein (for good reason, as shown above). But inadequate overall nutrition will cause the body to steal protein from muscle, rather than fats and carbohydrates.(4) Fast-acting carbohydrates are the first thing that the body uses when cardiovascular intensity increases. Fats are used once carbohydrates are naturally depleted and on endurance-based workouts (like long runs). If you’re underfueling on fats and carbs then your body will use its own muscles as a protein source. Muscle mass will decline, as will overall performance.Nutritional TimingTiming nutritional intake to optimize sports performance is tricky. An athlete must consume enough calories to offset energy expenditure, otherwise they’ll get sick, stressed, and less fit. Try eating several times a day, including nutrient-rich supplements like energy bars that are easier to digest before or during a workout.(5) Most sports scientists advise to spread protein throughout the day, too.6: Am I Enjoying It?So you’re eating properly and working out on-schedule… but you’re still stuck in a training rut. Have you stopped to ask yourself: “Am I actually enjoying this?”Turning an enjoyable activity into a task takes all the fun out of it. Like, turning your relaxing daily run into a never-ending chore to go faster or longer.We may also be lacking personal trust. We may be worried about the “slippery slope” if we miss a workout or over-eat. Sometimes, self-confidence and self-mastery are confused with deprivation and control.When a plateau does occur, it can lead to self-doubt. A sports plateau has a negative and significant effect on exercise satisfaction and exercise commitment.(6)Anxiety around performance– success or failure– can be the reason behind performance plateaus. Acceptance and forgiveness can help an athlete move past a plateau. Keeping exercise fun and entertaining ensures that you’ll keep coming back for more.Three Simple Tips to Overcoming a Performance PlateauYou may find that, once you’ve taken time to listen to your mind and body, your plateau naturally fades away. But if you’re still struggling to move on, try these three simple tips.Shake it up with apps. If you’re a runner, mix it by downloading the adidas Training app. If you’re focused on strength or mobility training, download the adidas Running app. These apps will provide training tips for all fitness levels (beginner to advanced). The apps can help you to:Set new goals and edit old ones. Goals can be short- or long-term.Connect with adidas Runners groups in your area. Meet new workout buddies and learn new running routes.Challenge and inspire you with virtual races and challenges.Hire a personal trainer or take group fitness classes. Personal trainers and fitness instructors will kindly critique your form and exercise function. They will give you new workouts and ensure that you stay accountable to your reps and frequency. A fitness professional’s job is to motivate and encourage you.Work with a nutritionist or dietician. Trying to make your own nutrition plan can be frustrating, intimidating, and downright irritating. So, hire a trained professional. They can help you with gentle nutrition that serves your training needs. Many healthcare plans include nutritionists and dieticians. ConclusionTrying to push past a plateau is like trying to break down a locked door. Instead, listen and feel what the plateau is saying about your lifestyle. A plateau in performance tells you something much larger than the goals you’re NOT achieving. It shows that something in your training plan or lifestyle requires adjustment. The issue could be unrelated to your fitness, like sleep or food or time to relax. Use a workout plateau to learn about what your body and mind really need. Feel free to scale back your exercise, to forget about the goal for a while. Try new ways of living. You might find that when you return with a fresh plan and fresh mindset, you’ll go further than you ever imagined!*** More

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    Stress Relievers: Which Sports Are Best to Reduce Stress?

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the daily grind, you might be tempted to lie down on the sofa and rest.But actually, experts agree that exercise is the key to relieving stress. Those who work out regularly reduce their stress levels, improve their mood, and enhance their mental health.In this article, we answer the most common questions on stress and list the best sports to soothe the body and mind.Where does stress come from?Strain at work, in the family, or in your free time – there are plenty of reasons why the body and mind react to stress. Since every person is different, how stressors (things that cause strain or tension) are perceived varies. That’s why some situations might be a threat for some people, while others consider them eustress  (positive stress) that pushes them to a higher performance level. Take a look at what happens in the brain.In the prefrontal cortex……information that we take in is sorted, evaluated, and processed. When the brain is confronted with too much information, it is unable to process it. This leads to a sense of being overwhelmed and stress symptoms, which has, in the long run, a negative effect on our health.When stress occurs frequently or constantly, but the body is unable to manage it, it is felt as something negative. Stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol are released, which make the body more efficient for a short time. It is preparing for fight or flight (just like our predecessors had to flee from wild animals). We want to survive, and this means running away in dangerous situations.Why Can You Relieve Stress With Exercising?The age-old physical reaction – running – still helps our bodies and minds regain balance in today’s world.(1, 2)Physical exertion and sports……are controlled by the motor cortex in our brains. When we move, this area is hard at work and requires much of the resources available to the entire brain. The result is that the prefrontal cortex, which controls our emotional response to stress, lacks resources – it simply cannot maintain the state of being stressed. Its activity level decreases, and the stress level is reduced. What Should You Keep In Mind When You Exercise to Relieve Stress?Exercising is a great way to reduce stress because when you move, your body produces endorphins, which elevate your mood. It’s important……to avoid pushing yourself too hard or trying to reach a new level of performance when you’re stressed out. This can be harmful to your health and even increase your cortisol level and therefore, stress.Keep your workouts shorter and stick with recovery runs or swimming. Low-intensity exercise is effectively lowering cortisol levels.(3) Look for a sport that’s fun for you and makes you feel good. Remember: make sure to take it down a notch on the days when your schedule is packed.What Are the Best Activities to Reduce Stress?There are a lot of ways to relieve stress with sports:Running:Many experts recommend running because it is one of the first skills that we learn. The important thing here is to stay in the aerobic range (your breathing speeds up, but you aren’t out of breath), in order to avoid putting too much strain on your body.Walks:In addition to endurance sports, regular, short walks can help reduce stress hormones.Yoga:Yoga is another effective way to clear your head. By concentrating on your breathing, you enter a meditative state.Team sports:If you spend a lot of time alone, either at work or in your free time, team sports like soccer are a great way to relieve stress. Don’t underestimate the support a social network can provide. In a team, you work together, which builds self-confidence and can reduce stress.Self-defense:Self-defense gives you a heightened awareness of your body, which helps your balance, and improves coordination. You’ll also be more self-confident—low self-esteem can contribute to your stress level.Climbing:Sports you do outside in the fresh air like climbing give you a greater sense of freedom. You learn to focus on the essentials and not get distracted. SummaryIf you want to reduce stress through sports, it’s important that you have a positive association with the activity you choose. In other words, you should enjoy the sport and not overdo it. A short workout that’s not too exhausting helps you feel good and regain a sense of control.There are no advantages to choosing a sport or training plan that just creates more stress because you are overly-competitive or push yourself too hard. The key is to find out how much exercise you need to relax. Your friend might run 10 km to relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean this is what your body needs.Is the stress getting to you? Sports can help! Try the adidas Running and Training apps, and make your workouts more fun.*** More

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    Tired After Running: 5 Tips to Recover From Running Fatigue

    You laced up your running shoes, were full of motivation, and finished a fantastic run. But suddenly, fatigue sets in, and you feel totally exhausted. Have you ever experienced this? You might have been hit by running fatigue.What is Running Fatigue?Running fatigue is a physical state of exhaustion that occurs when someone runs (too) hard or runs long distances regularly. When constant exhaustion occurs, the body can’t recover fully. Thus, the fatigue is carried over to the next training session. Why? Because it takes time for your body to eliminate waste products from your tissues and muscles and to repair the muscle fibers.These five tips are guaranteed to help you prevent tiredness and recover quickly after a run.5 Tips to Overcome Running Fatigue1. Fuel up Before Your RunHave a snack rich in carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes before you head out for a run. After all, your body can’t feel good after training if you haven’t given it enough fuel before the run. So, grab a banana, eat a low-fiber granola bar, or a slice of toast with jam.Also, don’t forget to hydrate. Although a glass of water before working out can help get you going, start hydrating long before your run. Drinking too much water right before working out can cause discomfort in your stomach; it takes time to digest water.2. Listen to Your Body (And Do Some Cool-Down Stretches) Do you get side stitches during your run? Are you dizzy? Do your legs feel weak? Listen to what your body is telling you! If you need a break during training, take it. Reduce your pace a bit or even walk for a while.Tip for beginning runners:Make sure you don’t increase your pace and intensity too fast. Overtraining symptoms can develop. Your body needs time to get used to the increased effort. By ramping up your running in a slow and controlled manner, you can improve your performance and avoid being tired after running.The ideal time to cool down and do some stretching is post-run:3. Refuel After a RunTo overcome fatigue after running, you should have a small meal of complex carbohydrates and protein at least an hour after your run. This gives you more energy and also helps your muscles recover. Ideas for your post-workout meal:A smoothie with coconut water, Greek yogurt, fruit, and chia seeds Oats with milk and dried fruit A veggie omelet with a slice of whole grain breadH3: 4. Take Time to RecoverA good night’s sleep is essential for your health and recovery, and it’s just as important as your actual running training. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but certainly doesn’t get enough attention. When you sleep, your body has time to regenerate, repair microscopic damage done by working out, and build muscle.If you need to rest, but also feel like moving your body a bit, you can do a short yoga-inspired session in the adidas Training app, mild stretching, or foam rolling.Good to know:Recovery starts before you go for a run. Plan rest days and stretching sessions as regular elements of your training routine.5. Monitor Your Mental HealthInstead of feeling energized after running, you feel somewhat depressed, tired, or grouchy? You might be mentally exhausted.Sports is a great way to reduce stress, but you should always feel good about the activity you choose – it should not stress you out! If you don’t enjoy the sports type (anymore), take a break from it and try something different: switch running to yoga, walking, or swimming.Always listen to your body and give yourself the time you need to recover and feel great!*** More

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    The Best Healthy Protein Bars for Men 2021

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    Who doesn’t love a good protein bar? Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or just something to tide you over until mealtime, protein bars are a fantastic option that provide nutrients and energy with great taste—and usually very little (or even zero) sugar. But with so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one to pick. So we’ve rounded up some of the best and most popular protein bars for you.

    Our Top 3 Picks

    No matter if you’re on a low-carb, high protein diet or just trying to lose weight, a protein bar is a great choice. They help keep you full between meals, and have vastly more nutritional value than a candy bar. They’re better for breakfast than cereal and pastries. They work awesome as a between-meal snack. And a lot of people substitute them for meals when altogether.
    They’re also great for athletic recovery. After a hard session in the weight room or CrossFit arena, a protein bar can give your muscles and tissues a kickstart to recovery with a jolt of amino acids, to get you back in the game faster while keeping vital nutrients flowing.
    Protein bars come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. The most popular—LUNA bars, PureProtein, and ONE come to mind—have been around for years. But the new breed of protein bars like GoMacro, PowerCrunch, and thinkThin are taking the protein bar into previously uncharted territories, providing vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options. Even stalwart brands like Gatorade and SlimFast have gotten in on the protein bar action.
    So quit snacking between meals, kickstart your recovery, and start enjoying healthy snacks today. There’s a flavor to suit every taste. And most come in a variety of flavors and package sizes, so experimenting until you find the one that’s right for you is a breeze. So try some of these bestselling protein bars, and take our health and fitness into your own hands. More

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    Working Out on Your Period >> Understand the Menstrual Cycle Phases

    There are days when you power through a HIIT workout with ease and then those days when you don’t want to get out of your bathrobe. By understanding your cycle, you can stop seeing your period as a burden and be able to take advantage of the physical and emotional benefits. Find out how to schedule your workouts to maximize those hormonal boosts and learn when it’s best to focus on recovery and regeneration. Breakdown of the Menstrual Cycle PhasesMenstrual PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your cycle starts on the first day of your period. The lining of the uterus is shed through the vagina, releasing blood, mucus, and tissue. Symptoms like cramps, bloating, headaches and mood swings can add an extra challenge to your fitness motivation. Yoga Poses for Cramp ReliefDo you get cramps? Try easy yoga poses like the child’s pose, cat-cow, and savasana to ease the pain.You might feel tired or lethargic and need more rest than usual. This is a great opportunity to cancel plans, stay home, and write in your mindfulness journal. Set some goals for yourself that you can achieve during the follicular stage. Keep in mind, this is not the time to stress yourself out with setting a new PR (personal record). The goal of working out on your period should be to stay active and listen to your body.What to WearWhether you prefer tampons, pads, menstrual cups, period underwear, adidas Techfit Period Proof Tights, or a combination of these – there are plenty of options to keep you comfortable during menstruation.Your workoutFollicular PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your period is over and now your pituitary gland releases the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. Your estrogen and testosterone levels will begin to increase, which energizes you and might improve your mood. You’ll feel more social, and assertive as testosterone stimulates your libido. Now is the time to take the initiative and focus on achieving goals. An egg will be released from a follicle in your ovary around day 14, at the end of the follicular phase. At this point the estrogen and testosterone peak, which makes you feel more confident. Enjoy it!Your workoutLuteal PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your body is starting to wind down after the high of the follicular and ovulatory phase. After the first couple of days, your estrogen and testosterone production will decline and your body will ramp up progesterone levels. Focus on a healthy, balanced diet right now and boost your serotonin levels by staying active. As you enter the second part of this phase, you may notice your skin getting oily or even breaking out, breast tenderness, and mood changes. These are all symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. Reduce your symptomsCut down on caffeine to reduce breast soreness, reduce your sugar intake, and make sure you stay hydrated. Avoid fatty, processed foods and salt, too, as they increase water retention. Studies show that regular yoga sessions can reduce the common symptoms of PMS.(1)Your workoutTime to build lean muscle. Focus on strength training and challenging yoga sessions. Research shows that this is when strength training really pays off.(2)Gradually shift to lighter workouts as you approach your upcoming menstruation. Try the Strong Before Your Period workout in the adidas Training app.TakeawayThe key to staying active throughout your menstrual cycle phases is understanding what is happening in your body. Everyone’s cycle is different; keep track of yours so you can really get the most out of those powerful follicular and ovulatory phases and use the luteal and menstrual phases for healthy nutrition, recovery, regeneration, and mindfulness. Remember, if you want to keep working out on your period, there’s no reason you can’t. Just pay attention to how you feel and make sure you take a bit more time to rest.*** More

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    Why Does Your Knee Hurt? How to Relieve Patellar Tendonitis or Jumper’s Knee

    Does your knee hurt after a run or a bodyweight training session? There’s a good chance that you suffer from jumper’s knee (also called patellar tendonitis). What is patellar tendonitis?Patellar tendonitis – also known as jumper’s knee – is a chronic reaction to overuse or an injury to the patellar tendon, which joins the bottom of the kneecap or patella to the shin bone:If you suffer from patellar tendonitis, you feel pain in the front of your knee on what is called the lower pole of the patella.The first symptom is often warm-up pain (i.e. pain upon starting an activity, which then fades), usually after standing up from a sitting position or climbing stairs. It then develops into ongoing pain, swelling of the patella, tenderness, and restricted range of motion.Activities that trigger patellar tendonitis:stop-and-go sports like running, soccer, or tennis over-trainingshoes with poor cushioning on a hard running surfacejumping improperly, e.g. during bodyweight training  not enough stretching can lead to tight quadricep muscles, which are responsible for extending the knee Good to knowThere is a difference between jumper’s knee and runner’s knee: the latter involves pain on the outside of your knee and not on the front of your knee at the bottom of your knee cap (like jumper’s knee). First aid for pain If you feel pain in your knee, you should treat it. Try to rest and use cold compresses. You should also temporarily avoid jumping and explosive leg movements (e.g. running or lower body plyometric exercises). Gradually restart your workouts again, reduce the intensity, and focus on cycling or swimming. Make sure you avoid straining the injured knee. 3 great exercises to treat knee pain If you suffer from patellar tendonitis, the following exercises can provide relief:Foam Rolling:Relieve tension in the front side of the thighGet down on all fours. Stretch out the leg, in which you’re experiencing pain. Place the front side of the thigh on the foam roll. Then simply roll the length of the entire thigh. Make sure to keep the rolling very slow. You can repeat this exercise as often as you are able. Foam Rolling directly on the knee cap Get down on all fours. Bring one leg forward (whichever is in pain) and place the lower edge of the knee cap directly on the foam roll, and roll it back and forth very slowly. Note: this exercise can be painful. Make sure to never exceed your pain threshold. Only practice this exercise as often as you feel comfortable.   Stretching:Stretching the QuadsLie on your side, with the leg you want to stretch on top. Slightly bend the bottom leg to stabilize the pelvis. Grab the foot of your top leg and gently pull it toward your butt. Make sure you can actually feel a stretching sensation in your quads. It’s also important not to over arch your back. Hold this stretched position for 60 to 90 seconds. Important: If there is no improvement after treating it yourself, you should consult your doctor. Manipulative therapy (fascia), ultrasound, anti-inflammatory medication, shockwave therapy, or infiltration treatment can provide further relief. Plus, other causes of the problems may be identified. *** More

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    Running with Allergies: 4 Tips to Treat Seasonal Allergies

    By Pouria Taheri,Head of Medical for adidas Runners and RUNBASE BerlinSpring draws us outdoors and may even spark the start of marathon training, but anyone with hay fever or other seasonal allergies has major limitations to deal with. Spring fever? I don’t think so. Early blooming trees, grasses, and pollen make life hard for those who suffer from allergies. “A training schedule that works can become a real challenge for athletes,” says Pouria Taheri, orthopedic specialist and trauma surgeon, sports physician and adidas Runners medical coach. The body resists any personal ambition. “Even in regular daily activities there is no end to the itchy nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. Breathing becomes harder and the general performance level drops; exercising makes it even worse.”  Here are 4 tips on how to work out despite seasonal allergies: 1. Don’t give upThe fun in sports quickly evaporates when allergies prevent you from lacing up your running shoes. Frustration and the exhausting symptoms often make you want to take a break. “It’s understandable, but that’s exactly what I try to avoid as the attending physician. I encourage people to deal with the annoying problem,” says Pouria Taheri. Fortunately there are several approaches to running with allergies. Most people can hardly believe the most important tip: don’t give up! “Often the reason for the complaints is a lack of fresh air and exercise,” explains the sports physician. You have to gradually give your immune system the chance to adapt.2. Strengthen your immune systemDid you know that regular exercise outdoors is almost as effective as allergen immunotherapy? Carefully building up resilience actually stabilizes the immune system. There are a lot of ways to strengthen your immune system, and many of them involve food. Take a look at what you’re eating and see if you can make some healthy changes. 3. Use first aid for acute problemsIn the alternative above, however, a subjective evaluation of your limits is decisive. You should have medical support such as an inhaler within reach so that your drive doesn’t get you into trouble. “Taking allergy medicine like an antihistamine before your workout is advisable to treat constant problems.” Antihistamines prevent the allergies from causing difficulty breathing or serious reactions like shortness of breath. Alternating your workouts between outdoors and indoors is a smart way to gradually strengthen your immune system and create a smooth transition to resilience.4. Allergen immunotherapyYou should seek medical treatment for ongoing afflictions or tough problems that recur over the years. “Many people try to address the problem with allergen immunotherapy, in which regular exposure to allergens teaches your immune system to adapt. However, this requires patience; the therapy usually takes one to two years.”Good to know:This treatment is not right for everyone. Possible interactions with other substances or medications can lead to adverse reactions. It should be noted that medical supervision is critical in this process for recreational athletes as well as competitive athletes with conditions such as reactive airway disease or asthma.TakeawayAt the end of the day, the annoying sneezing and the many little obstacles of seasonal allergies shouldn’t keep you from reaching your goals. The benefits of combining endurance and strength training are immeasurable and can improve your health long term, so that you don’t have to sacrifice quality of life in old age. Perseverance and smart decisions are essential to reach this higher goal. *** More

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    Best Infrared Light Devices for Hair Loss, Workout Recovery, and More

    For at least a decade, doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors have used infrared light therapy to heal injured muscles and treat conditions like Parkinson disease, depression, and even cancer. Now, the benefits are not just for the lettered. You can buy at-home infrared light devices to help manage everything from injuries to blood pressure, hair loss to wrinkles. Question is, while infrared light devices promise to be a medical panacea, they cost thousands of dollars. Are they worth it?
    The devices vary in size, shape, and function, but all use infrared LED lights, either invisible near infrared (NIR) or visible red infrared (RI). No one is entirely sure what these lights do in the human body, but scientists believe they penetrate our cells, activating the mitochondria, our cells’ power plant. Energizing these mitochondrion make cells healthier, encouraging repair processes.NASA started studying artificial light therapy in the 1980s and the research has increased in recent years with improvements in LED light technology. Anecdotal and scientifically gathered data links NIR and RI to all kinds of health and healing benefits, but the research is limited in scale, says Brent Bauer, research director for the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.“We’re still waiting for reliable, large-scale studies to validate some of these claims,” he says. “Until we have some good-quality studies that evaluate both the efficacy and safety of these new devices, caution is prudent.”He does acknowledge NIR and RI light are different than the kind of skin-damaging energy used in tanning beds or solar UV rays. Used moderately, there are few side effects or risks associated with infrared light devices.Weighed against the growing list of benefits, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of the options available. Here are the top options to consider. More