Being a DC who treats a variety of people—from male to female, young to old, and from all different demographics—it’s common to have patients with a wide range of goals.
For instance, some patients simply want to get rid of their neck or back pain while others appreciate chiropractic care for the way it supports and promotes natural health.
Then there are the patients who are physically active with goals to improve their fitness levels, lose excess fat, or build muscle.
But what about the ones intent on building their endurance and boosting their stamina? What can you, as their DC, do to best support them?
Stress proper posture
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), proper posture is critical to improving endurance because it helps prevent injuries, especially those related to repetitive motions, while engaged in cardiovascular activities. Of course, regular chiropractic sessions can help with this, but there are other exercise-related recommendations you can make as well.
For instance, the NASM recommends that individuals working desk jobs not lean forward or “excessively grab handles on cardio equipment” when exercising, both of which can exacerbate postural issues. Additionally, patients who spend a majority of their day in a sitting position should also avoid bicycles and step machines while at the gym as both can worsen tightened hip flexor muscles.
On a positive note, if the patient does have tight hip flexors, certain stretches can sometimes help according to Stack, a website devoted to providing information to professional and amateur athletes alike. Four to consider include: the kneeling hip flexor stretch, the pigeon stretch, the Spider-Man stretch, and hip flexor mobilization.
Encourage a healthy diet
Another factor that plays a huge role in endurance is diet. If the patient spends their days eating high-fat, fast food meals, washing them down with supersized portions of full-calorie soda, then their stamina is likely going to suffer. Changing to a healthier way of eating then can help them better reach their endurance-related goals.
One recommendation offered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is to eat the correct amount of macronutrients needed to best support a training regimen. This means consuming 2.3-5.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of the person’s body weight. (If the person is training at low intensity for moderate durations, they’ll fall closer to the 2.3.
However, if they are training vigorously or for long periods of time, their carbohydrate needs will be closer to 5.5.) Protein recommendations are 0.55 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight, more if the person is involved in higher-intensity training.
Fat is an important macronutrient as well, serving as a vital source of energy for the athlete. Not all fats are equal, so the Academy encourages the consumption of healthy fats from food sources such as fish, nuts, avocados, olives, and vegetable oils and limiting saturated fats found in full-fat dairy, lard, and “highly marbled cuts of meat.”
Advise building of muscle
When most people hear the word endurance, the first thing they generally think of is cardio. However, Men’s Fitness explains that building muscle is also necessary to improving endurance because it helps reduce joint stress. To do this effectively, the patient should reduce rest periods between strength-training sets, if not get rid of them completely.
Men’s Fitness also shares that endurance is boosted when weights are lifted at a faster pace, when explosive movements and compound movements (which they define as movements that “require using more than one joint—such as squats, step-ups, push-ups and pull-ups) are added, and when the routine is switched up regularly in an effort to keep the body (and mind) from becoming complacent.
Posture, diet, and muscle can all contribute to an effective endurance program. By making suggestions like these, you’ll be helping your patients meet, if not exceed, their stamina-related goals.