First post ; Jogging - Shin Splints ; Biking

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    Nov 18, 2010 2:29 AM GMT
    I've been overweight almost my entire life (since I was 12). At my heaviest, when i was 16, I weighed around 320lbs and was just over 6' tall. For the past few years I've changed my diet drastically; eating almost all organic, natural foods; and last month I stopped eating sugar/honey completely, using stevia instead. So far, at the age of 25, I've lost about 70 pounds.. so it's going a bit slowly.

    I love to jog, nothing feels more natural and liberating than just going outside and running. My problem with that is I can only do it once or twice a week before my shins are destroyed. Using a treadmill is a little easier on the legs, and so I'm promising myself that I'll get acquainted with the new gym in town this winter. I'm also forcing myself to take a racquetball class, to help get into the habit of daily activity.

    My main question then is about the stress running places on the shins (made worse by being overweight, I know). What are some good warm up exercises, or running techniques, that can help reduce this?

    Also somewhat related, how does the weight-loss-potential of jogging compare to biking? Is it relatively the same? I know they use different muscles, and I'd like to start riding a bike just to tone up those particular muscles.
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    Nov 18, 2010 4:59 AM GMT

    Shin splints are actually a muscular issue. There's a muscle that runs beside your shin bone (called tibialis anterior) It's purposes is to invert your foot, and point your toe upwards. You can stretch it by pulling your foot downwards until feeling a stretch and then holding it for a minute or so. Also shin splints can be caused by tight calve muscles so you need to stretch those as well.

    As far as your weight is concerned you could be at a risk for stress fractures. If you want to increase your running, gradually building up your distance along with weight loss can help reduce impact. Your bones will generally restrengthen. The eliptical machine is a good alternative for a weight bearing bone strengthening exercise without the impact. You could also try pool running or swimming. The bike doesn't really burn as many calories per minute, but you can get a good workout doing intervals once you build sometime up. With any exercise program eating a healthy diet is key.

    In other words try a variety of things, see what works, and take care of your muscles by stretching and strengthening.

    Good luck and congratulations on the weight you've lost thus far. 70 lbs is a huge accomplishment.
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    Nov 18, 2010 7:08 AM GMT
    First, I congratulate your weight loss. May you reach your goals! (So long as they are reasonable. icon_smile.gif )

    Second, I did a brief search on shin splints, and came across this:

    Several reasons for this:
    1. Shin splints come from training your calf muscles too quickly. The muscle grows faster than your shin muscle, overbalancing, and the pain is pressure (from the large muscle) on the bone.
    2. Poor nutrition. Solutions: 1. Eat more bananas (potassium), 2. Shin muscle exercises, 3. More gradual build-up in your training program.

    Read more: How to Ease The Pain From Shin Splints |
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    Nov 23, 2010 9:33 PM GMT
    If you are overweight and working on cardio, think non impact (or low impact). Start with stationary bicycling, eliptical trainer,walking or swimming. As your general conditioning improves, transition to impact activities such as running (if your joints can tolerate it). Don't start with running or you'll end up with all kinds of issues.

    As for the shin splints:

    1) Stretch your calf muscle
    2) Strengthening your anterior tibialis muscle. Anterior tibialis dorsiflexes your ankle (opposite motion of pushing on the gas pedal of your car).
    3) Evaluate your shoewear. If your tennis shoes are more than one year old, it is time to get new ones.
    4) Get insoles for your shoes to support your arch. Try superfeet insoles.
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    Nov 23, 2010 9:48 PM GMT
    Cycling can help you to continue to lose weight and become fitter, and will be easier on your joints in the long run.

    However... to get to that point where cycling can be effective will mean riding ALOT and with intensity. Maybe build up to where you can join a regular group ride that pushes the pace a bit. Plus, if you were to have to give up running altogether (because of injury or whatever) in favor of cycling, you still should do some weight-bearing exercises in addition for all-over fitness.

    I still think that running is the most effective for losing weight quickly, but it has its drawbacks. If you love to run, follow the advice of some of the other guys about being fitted for the proper footwear, etc. Also, try running on surfaces other than asphalt, if possible.