Bad back or not, you too can jog | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Bad back or not, you too can jog

A prolapsed disc can be a daunting injury for anyone to overcome. The good news is that it is entirely possible to return to your running again. The important thing to remember is that you need to do some additional training as well. Heath Matthews tells more.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 15, 2009 11:01 IST

I used to run for 30 minutes regularly till 2006. Then I suffered a disc prolapse in my back. Since then I am bit apprehensive to jog as I am not sure whether it will be safe for me, or what rehabilitation I may need.
I do not have a backache at present, but I need to know how I should starting jogging again and build it up. How much can I jog, and is there any specific surface — road or track — I should jog on?
Dr Sudeep Pathak, Bhopal
A prolapsed disc can be a daunting injury for anyone to overcome. The good news is that it is entirely possible to return to your running again. The important thing to remember is that you need to do some additional training as well.
Prolapsed discs follow a pattern: often they will be associated with weak back muscles and, on the same side, weak gluteus muscles over tight hamstrings.

In conjunction with a running programme you will need to strengthen these muscle groups. We would need more information pertaining to your prolapse to give advice on exact exercises to do but with regard to the jogging please follow the outline given below.

Right now, you can begin with 20 minutes of interval jogging. Start with five minutes of walking at a pace that’s comfortable but slightly faster than normal. Jog for the sixth minute. Return to brisk walking for a further five minutes and jog for the 12th minute. Walk again for a further five minutes and jog again for the 18th minute. Walk for the last minute to cool down.

If you feel no pain in your back then continue this programme for one week, every alternate day. Then on, decrease the walking by one minute and increase the jogging by a minute each week, until you are jogging for 20 minutes. After that, you can decide if you want to increase the distance or the speed, but we can discuss this further once you are comfortable with the full 20 minutes.

The surface is not as important as the footwear you use. Please invest in a good pair of running shoes and run in an area where the ground is flat and even.
I trust that this is helpful to you and encourage you to warm up correctly with stretching prior to your jogging and then to limber down afterwards as well.
Dr Pathak’s query was answered by Heath Matthews, physiotherapist, Mittal Champions Trust.

Decoding diet supplements

If you’ve entered a gym, you’ve heard the word
‘supplements’ and wondered if you should get some too. Without proper advice, supplements can be tricky territory, so know what they’re all about.

What is a diet supplement?
A dietary or nutritional supplement is a preparation meant to provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, amino acids or fatty acids that are not consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet.

Pro: Supplements help cover holes in our diet, give a much-needed energy boost during training, and help us regenerate stronger muscles post-workouts.

Con: Supplements can cause harm if taken indiscriminately, without proper monitoring. Your supplement intake needs to be monitored by a doctor or a dietician to ensure it’s not affecting your blood sugar.

Some kinds of supplements

Good multivitamins (a mix of the B group of vitamins, vitamin C and minerals) are useful, if you don’t have enough of them in your diet, as they keep the immune system healthy. Multivitamins are generally safe and aren’t associated with any harmful side effects.

Whey protein shakes
These are okay for those people who follow an intense weight training routine that wears out a lot of muscle mass. Best taken soon after a workout, the best quality of whey protein contains 80 per cent of protein. About 1 gm of whey protein powder is needed for every kilo of body weight. So if you weigh 50 kg, your shake could have 50 gm of whey protein powder.

Energy drinks
During really intense workouts, which rapidly deplete your glucose reserves, energy drinks give you that extra glucose boost to let you continue working hard.

Who can take supplements?
If your diet doesn’t have the nutrients you need, a multivitamin supplement can be good for you.
Protein supplements are recommended only if you are underweight or into intense weight training to gain muscle mass. Don’t have whey protein just so you can look built up like our Bollywood heroes. A toned, functionally-fit body is far more desirable.

How do the pros do it?
Sportspersons only take supplements in a mix that is personalised depending on their training and nutrient needs. They may drink a combination of an energy drink and water during training and have a whey protein shake post-training. They may also have multivitamins and amino acid tablets which speed up muscle recovery and help replenish fluids better.

Do you need
In gym parlance, when somebody mentions supplements, they’re talking about protein supplements or mass gainers like whey
protein powders.

If you eat a
balanced diet, you do not need any diet supplements.

If your weekly workout routine is a mix of cardio exercise and weight training, you don’t need
to take supplements.

Those of you
trying to lose weight don’t need supplements, since they’ll only
pile on extra calories.

The flipside of supplements
Supplements cause harm if taken indiscriminately, without proper monitoring. An overdose of multivitamins can cause nausea, headaches and even kidney damage. Protein supplements can have side effects like dry eyes and temporary visual loss. Creatine overdose can lead to kidney failure.
Children below the age of 16 should avoid protein supplements like creatine. These have been linked to avulsion fractures, which are caused when a muscle’s tendon or ligament tears away from where it’s attached to the bone. Vegetarians need to be careful as many supplements are from non-veg sources.