Tight Calf Muscles Can Cause Shin and Foot Pain

Some of the most common running ailments - shin splints, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis (inflammation of tissue on the bottom of the foot) - are actually caused by calf muscles that are too tight. In the case of shin splints, for instance, the shin muscles have to work extra hard during a run when the calf muscles aren't supple enough, and shin pain results from this overexertion. Fortunately, this is a problem that's easy to resolve. Stretching your calf muscles frequently can help prevent these running-related problems. Here's a simple calf stretch you can do almost anywhere: Standing backwards on the bottom step of a staircase, slide one foot back so your heel extends off the step. Then stretch your ankle downward slowly so that you feel your calf muscles stretching from the ankle to the back of your knee. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then alternate to the other foot. Note: Tight calf muscles are not the only cause of problems like shin splints, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Talk to your personal trainer on how to stretch. If this does not help the problem, talk to your doctor.

Stress Getting in the Way of Your Life?

Does your nine-to-five seem more like try-to-survive? You're not alone. Jobs are often the biggest sources of stress. What can you do at work to keep you from stress overload that leads to stress overeat? Find your escape hatch at work, or better yet, find several. Take a less-stress stroll, do a stress-lowering workout at lunch or call a friend or family member for some stress-relieving venting. What are your escape hatches? Remember, a healthy calorie controlled diet in itself can decrease the stress in your life.

Three Strength Training Safety Tips

1. When doing leg exercises, always keep your knees in alignment with your toes. 2. When using the barbell, always place your hands the same distance from the center of the bar. 3. Never twist or bend your spine excessively; this can cause lower back problems.