Monday, August 25, 2008

Just Hanging Around...letting gravity take care of things!

So I have been enjoying my somewhat break from running. I think it was/is a good thing to do. One thing I have been getting back to doing is a little strange, but a different way to loosen up a tired body. Probably about 10 or more years ago I bought a gravity inversion table. I thought it might help with the back problems I had at the time. I was seeing a chiropractor an awful lot for my back and probably getting too many adjustments. I thought that the inversion table might keep me from having to see a chiropractor so much. I had put it away a few years ago, after all how many contraptions can one have in the basement? I alreay have a treadmill and a Concept 2 Rower sitting around (the rower is like the ones in health clubs- someone gave it to me and it just needed a little welding and it works just fine now). Anyhow I took the inversion table out and put it together again last week. So now I have been hanging around a bit just like a human bat!

With a gravity inversion table you can tilt backwards and hang from your locked in feet. You can do a partial hang while still lieing down on the table or you can tilt the table all the way back and only hang suspended from your ankles. It is supposed to put space between your vertebrae and keep you from shrinking as you get older. It can be relaxing hanging upside down and it does stretch you out quite a bit. I do like how it works on the muscles at the front of my hips and my lower back. It stretches and relaxes them so that I feel looser and not so tight when I am done. You can also move around as you hang. You can go side to side and work on stretching the quadratus lumborum or even do sit-ups from the upside down position. I can arch back and forth and twist from side to side. All of these movements serve to stretch and relax some overworked and hard to stretch muscles. I have felt better since using the gravity inversion table again. It is fun and definitely a weird thing to do but it is an easy way to get a nice long stretch along your body. You just have to figure out where to put such a contraption.

I have the Health Mark one like pictured at the top of this page. Amazon sells this one still and many other models of gravity inversion tables.

I continue to mountain bike and enjoy it. I read up some on plantar fasciitis. Here is a thread on on different ways that runners have tried to treat this problem. Here is an article recommended by runners on treating plantar fasciitis. One thing I read was that some runners said taking time off doesn't really heal it. I have been rolling the bottom of my feet using golf balls. I ran a 5k last Monday, a track workout on Wednesday, and I then ran 8 miles on Saturday. One thing I notice is that the day after I run my body gets really bent out of shape (hips, leg, back) and is back to that stiffness (can barely put my socks on and tie my shoes some days). However after doing some resistance stretching exercises and hanging upside down the stiffness goes away after a short time, so I am happy with that result. Today (Monday) was the last day before a new school year begins. I mountain biked for an hour and then ran 8 miles. My hips are definitely loosening up from the stretches adn biking that I am doing and I feel like I have a greater range of motion. The running feels better than it did a couple of weeks ago.

The bottom of my foot is not as tight and the pain in front of the heel is not getting worse and may be improving so that is encouraging. I have abandoned the use of all the things I was trying: insoles and heel lifts. I think the stretching is helping some of the tightnesses I have, but without the heel lift I do see one leg as still shorter than the other but I don't want to bother with it for now in case the lift was causing the problems with the bottom of my foot.

Every once in a while if I move the foot wrong I feel a pain in front of the heel. I have had problems there since the Spring, I just never made note of it except in my head. I first noticed it when when I did the Z-Health drill where you turn one foot onto its side. I found that I would get a pain or shock in that heel area when doing that drill so it is something that maybe I have had for a while that doesn't really bother me much that I aggravated recently.

As long as I feel good I will slowly ease back into whatever running I can do. I just won't run if things aren't going right.

1 comment:

Shaunna Schumacher said...

When I was experiencing suffering from back pain before, my uncle taught me some stretches to help ease some of the pain. I kept at it until I found the Inversion table. At first, I thought it was weird, but it was interesting at the same time, so I bought it. I panicked when I had my first go, but eventually, I got the hang of it. The first thing I noticed was that my back was getting less painful day by day. Now, I use the table every morning to get my day going.