Recovery and rehabilitation

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 22 December 2019

Dr Anand Gangwal, director of PrimePhysio and an Ironman finisher, says that runners must listen to their bodies

There are a lot of runners — professional and recreational — who suffer injuries and face the question of how to run post an injury.
 
Dr Anand Gangwal is Pune-based professional expert in the field of physiotherapy and sports medicine and is very well known for his fitness regime. He stresses that pain is a protective mechanism of the body and many people tend to ignore it.

“My first suggestion to runners is to listen to their bodies. If there is constant pain for more than six to seven days, they must meet a doctor. Because pain tells us that we might be doing something wrong while training,” Dr Gangwal says.

Planning your year is important, he says and adds, “Nutrition and hydration are important. Hydrating before, during and after the run is also important. After the run, it is important to do proper stretching in order to relax the muscles. After a run, make sure you spend at least 15 minutes for stretching. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times, for each leg. Work on your flexibility,” advises Dr Gangwal.

Resting post run is good to maintain performance, he adds.

The question is...
Dr Gangwal busts certain myths about running

Will walking/running spoil my knees?
Running and walking do not spoil your knees. There are many studies that say that due to running and walking, the cartilage gets stronger. However, after running or walking, if there is pain, it must not be neglected. If the pain continues, the person must see a doctor. 

Will all my diseases go away if I start working out?
All diseases will not go away. There are many lifestyle diseases which can be taken care of. Stress is one of the reasons for some diseases. Exercise reduces stress levels which means there will be less diseases. Good nutrition is also important. So physical activity will definitely help reduce diseases. 

Can I workout all the time, everyday? How much of a workout is enough?
Rest days are important. You should have at least one or two days to rest. In these, you can cross train or do yoga. But rest is equally important.

Should I fast? Should I remain hungry and workout to lose all the weight quickly?
Every body is different. For some it might suit, for others it might not. So before deciding, a person should read more about it. But there is no harm in trying. Also, fasting does not mean compromising on what you eat. It just means that you give your body a window where you don’t eat. So when you eat, eat healthy. Make sure there are nutrients and micronutrients in your intake. Also, make changes gradually. 

One person started working out with me and is progressing faster than me. Should I copy him/her?
Try to understand what that person is doing right. Don’t copy but always try to observe what is different in your case. 

Should I leave sugar/salt?
A person can cut down on sugar. But not salt. Salt intake is important. If salt level goes down, the person becomes irritable. Hence salt intake is important. 

Should I take protein or only drink water everyday?
Protein is extremely important. Average need of protein is 0.8 gm per kg of weight, so for 50 kg, a person needs 40 gm proteins. Using supplements is advisable if the diet is unable to provide you with the necessary nutrients. Hence eat a balanced diet first and then decide if you want to take supplements.

Also, there are natural supplements in our body. Enhancing supplements which are already in our body like multivitamins is advisable. 

How much food is enough for a human? And how much exercise is enough?
Listen to your body. Is it real hunger or is it desire for food? Once you understand your body, it will be helpful. Stress makes you eat more. For exercise, there are times when you are too tired for a run and your body is telling you to stop. This is when you should not exercise and rest instead. Always listen to what your body is saying.

Why we must run

  • Running and walking do not spoil your knees. There are many studies that say that due to running and walking, the cartilage gets stronger. However, after running or walking, if there is pain, it must not be neglected.
  • If a runner feels constant pain for more than six to seven days, s/he must see a doctor
  • After a run, make sure you spend at least 15 minutes for stretching. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times, for each leg
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