Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Trilogy for Health and Fitness by Dr. Jordan Metzl

Here it is, the start of the New Year.  Perhaps, like many of us, those New Year's resolutions may have included a pledge to become more physically fit. Whether that comes with a promise to join a gym, get back to a sport that you may have enjoyed in the past or just get off the sofa and increase your physical activity, it is always great to prepare yourself for the increase in activity to avoid injury and be the best physical you that you are capable of.

However, there also may be the chance that you have been on autopilot at the gym, don't want to feel limited by your age or are unfortunately suffering an injury you are trying to recover from, then Dr. Metzl's books are for you.  That last sentence sums up my own situation and how I came to seek information to become more knowledgeable about sports injuries and how best to the approach the sport that I love.

Dr. Metzl is a leading New York City Orthopedist, who is also a runner.  For me, that last bit is a bonus.  He also contributes to Runner's World Magazine and  Discovering him online led me to check the library catalog and discover that Virginia Beach Public Library had three of Dr. Metzl's books that are geared to health and fitness.  Admittedly, I started first with The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies: 1,001 Doctor-Approved Health Fixes & Injury-Prevention Secrets for a Leaner, Fitter, More Athletic Body because of a knee injury. I'd been to the orthopedist, but felt something lacking in my course of treatment and wanted to know more about my injury to feel more informed and be my own best patient advocate.

The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies was a valuable tool.  Dr. Metzl stresses the importance of the Kinetic chain.  In simple terms, everything in the body is connected and one thing relies on the next to work well.  The book begins with the foot and progresses upward throughout the body.  It has great diagrams of each affected part of the body, showing all the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of each. It not only described the symptoms of the malady, it also gave advice for each situation as to when you need to see a doctor or if you can use the tools in the section tagged Fix It! and try to recover on your own. Then, the most important part for me, is a section devoted to How to Prevent It.  The exercise diagrams are easy to follow and Dr. Metzl's philosophy is to embrace exercise practices that mimic the body's natural motion during whichever activity is causing you trouble. Most of the recovery or preventative exercises can be done at home, with no gym equipment or gym membership required. The one piece of equipment he does suggest having is a good foam roller.

Now, if you are looking to take up running as your New Year's Resolution or if you are an experienced runner and are anticipating the Shamrock Half and Full Marathon's approach on the 20th of March, you will find the next book another valuable resource.  I am hoping to be out of the woods and use the advice in the book Dr. Jordan Metzl's Running Strong: The Sports Doctor's Complete Guide To Staying Healthy and Injury-Free For Life to be prepared for the event.

All runners, from the beginning, should be doing strength training to condition the muscles to take the load of the body's weight as your feet strike the ground in a repetitive motion to avoid overuse injuries.  Building strong glutes, hamstrings, quads and core are essential in running healthy, strong and better.  Using Metzl's advice gives you the tools to be prepared.  He also suggests not to increase your distance more than ten percent per week when training for a new event.  This book, published in 2015, also includes symbols that indicate where Metzl has invited you to view exercise demonstrations or to join him in his virtual training session of the Iron-Strength Workout for Runners that he has developed using an app from your smart phone.

If your resolution is to just shape up and be more fit in general then The Exercise Cure : A Doctor's All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription For Better Health & Longer Life might be for you.  All three books have the same great picture diagrams for exercises and are easy to follow.

Here's hoping I'll be seeing you out there! :)

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