Athlete's Care Ottawa Blog 

Exercising With Fido - Here's How To Get Started

By Athlete's Care on February 12, 2019

Exercising With Fido - Here's How To Get Started

You’ve seen the pictures and videos on social media of those impeccably dressed people jogging with their impeccably groomed dogs. Could it be you?

Exercise guidelines, how to fit workouts into your busy schedule – these are a couple of the most common questions our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine professionals hear from many of our clients. When you exercise with a friend – especially your best friend – it makes the workout fun and adds motivation.

Those social media videos make it all look so easy and glamorous, but you know that you can’t just jump right into it with your own beloved pet. Here are some ideas on how to get started on a canine-inclusive exercise regimen.

1. Ask the Vet

The first step, if you’re just starting an exercise routine with your dog, is to go to the vet for a thorough check-up. The vet can also give you advice on the kind of exercise that is appropriate to the breed of dog. Some are more suited to jogging and cycling, while others prefer long, brisk walks. Some breeds should not be exercised right after eating. If age is a factor, the vet can give you advice for that too.

2. Make it a Routine

Dogs love routine, and that means you want to be realistic from the outset. If you are beginning during a vacation period, for example, consider whether you’ll be able to keep it up once you get back to work. Start with 10 to 15 minutes of brisk walking per day, and then work your way up to a good 30 minutes. If you have your eye set on jogging or another activity, you can start getting into more complicated or demanding routines once you have a good base established.

3. Pay Attention to Your Pet

Let your pet’s reactions guide you. Are they keeping up with your pace, or continually lagging? Are they panting and breathing fast even before you break a sweat? As you begin establishing your exercise routine, you want to pay attention to any signs that you’re pushing your furry friend too hard. When it comes to your own needs, if you experience what seems like excessive aches and pains, our Ottawa physiotherapists and chiropractors can answer
any questions and help you address any issues you might have.

4. Hydration For Both of You

Remember to bring extra water for Fido to rehydrate on the way along with you. That also means adjusting for the heat, and watching for signs of heat exhaustion. Ask your vet for guidelines relative to your pet’s size, age, and physical condition as to how to proceed in
extreme weather conditions.

5. Remember Fido’s Gear

Just as you need proper footwear to exercise outdoors, so does your dog – sometimes. The will develop thickened pads to adjust to increased exercise, but when it comes to extremes, doggy boots are in order. Does your walking or running routine take you over uneven ground? Is it very hot or very cold outside? Don’t overlook paw protective gear for your dog. This includes if you are taking your pooch hiking over rocks or other hard surfaces.

If you have questions about exercise, or any other aspect of your musculo-skeletal health, our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals can help. Call us or come by one of if you have questions about exercise, or any other aspect of your musculo-skeletal health, our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals can help. Call us or come by one of our Ottawa and area physiotherapy clinics today.


Tips for Safe Running in the Winter

By Athlete's Care on January 11, 2019

Tips for Safe Running in the Winter

Our Ottawa physiotherapy clinics often see clients who injure themselves during the winter months, and there’s no mystery why. When even walking down the street is a challenge, winter running can seem like a pipe dream. But, while we may be tempted to cocoon ourselves indoors during the winter, if you’re a runner, you can still enjoy the outdoors by keeping a few guidelines in mind. A good winter run will help you not just survive but thrive during the colder months. The bonus – keeping you in shape for spring and summer races or marathons.

  • Stay visible – with fewer hours of daylight, chances are that you will be running in the dark at some point. Use reflective materials and use colour to stay visible – dark colours against snow, and lighter colours against paved roads.

  • Run against the traffic – it’s not just cars out there, it’s snow ploughs too.

  • Keep your mobile phone handy in case of any emergencies or incidents.

  • It’s best to run with a buddy, but if that’s difficult to arrange, at least let someone know when you are going and where, so that if you don’t return in a reasonable amount of time due to injury on the way, someone will be looking for you.

  • Wear layers of clothing so you have the option of adjusting them if you get too warm part way through your run. It’s best to choose technical fabrics that wick any sweat or moisture away from the body, and windblock under garments. Cotton is not desirable this time of year because it holds in moisture, which will chill your skin.

  • Make your outer shell a windproof and breathable shell, with a hat and mittens rather than gloves.

  • Footwear – ideal winter running shoes warm, waterproof, and have soles with traction that help you avoid slipping. Our Ottawa physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists can give you advice on your running equipment and other preparations for your winter running.

  • Pick your path – it’s best to have a few different routes mapped out. What with snow and ice, any one or more of them may be impassable or unduly difficult at any given time. Choose the clearest path

  • The wind – it’s usually better to run into the wind for the first half of your run, and run with the wind at your back on the way home. That way, you won’t have the wind in your face once you’ve begun to sweat. In really difficult weather, you can try a zig zag approach, where you would run a few blocks into the wind, and then a few blocks at right angles.

Once you’re back home, remember to get out of your wet clothes as soon as possible. Just as you warmed up during the run, you’ll cool off quickly once you stop. A shower and/or a change into dry clothes as soon as possible will keep your body temperature from dropping suddenly.

Winter running can be challenging, but well worth the effort. And just think – when spring comes around, that challenging route will seem like a breeze.

Prevention and preparation are the best ways to stay safe. Our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists are ready with advice before you go, and consultation and treatment if you do run into issues.




Five Reasons You Might Have Tennis Elbow And None Of Them Involve Tennis

Our Ottawa physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists have treated many patients for a condition called tennis elbow. Despite the nickname, however, it's estimated that only about 5 percent of all cases actually result from playing sports. Here are five major causes and risk factors that might lead to tennis elbow – or lateral epicondylitis.

1. Repetitive Motions

Tennis elbow is an injury, one that is the result of repeated motions that wear on the main tendon in the elbow which connects the bone to the extensor muscle. Earlier generations called the condition writer’s cramp and washer woman’s elbow, which points at the cause. Repeated motions which place too much strain on the elbow or overextend the arm can cause it.

Occupations, activities, and hobbies are often behind those repetitive motions. These can include:

  • House painters and renovators;
  • Carpenters and plumbers;
  • Bakers and butchers;
  • Factory workers;
  • Computer work;
  • Knitting and needlework;
  • Artists – painters and sculptors;
  • And more.

2. Overusing The Forearm Muscles

Perhaps you’ve gotten a new job, or taken up a new hobby that involves the forearm muscles, and you’ve developed pain where you never experienced it before. The muscles of the forearm pull the wrist back and away form the palm. If those muscles are overused, as they are in certain activities, small tears can develop in the tendons, which become inflamed. Where overuse is the cause, a simple prescription of rest may be the only treatment required in some cases. Your Ottawa physiotherapist, chiropractor, or other sports medicine specialist can advise you what treatment is right for your specific needs.

3. Age Is A Risk Factor

From statistics on tennis players, we know that age doesn’t necessarily affect whether or not you will contract tennis elbow, it does affect the severity. Twice as many players over the age of 50 experienced a significant disability as a result of tennis elbow. Recent research points to why age may be a factor. As we age, our tissues degenerate, and our ability to repair tissues diminishes. That means that, as the repeated action occurs, the body can no longer repair itself before more damage takes place.

4. Chronic Stress

The way that tennis elbow develops may be more complex in some cases than simple overuse. Where there is chronic stress on the forearm muscle, it may weaken and become even less able to support the wrist and hand adequately. This, in turn, adds more stress on the tendon, causing a cascading level of damage to the soft tissues.

In addition to physical stress, tennis elbow has been linked in one study to psychological stress, including symptoms of depression and anxiety.

5. It’s Not Only Tennis

Naturally, tennis and racquet sports which involve a swinging motion put you at risk for overuse and/or repetitive strain of the forearm muscle and tendon – particularly if your form is poor while performing a backhand stroke. Other sports that inherently involve the forearm muscle include baseball, golf, cricket, weightlifting, boxing, archery, martial arts, and bowling. 

Proper form can go a long way towards minimizing your risk of developing tennis elbow. Ask your Ottawa physiotherapy and sports medicine specialist for advice on how you can minimize your risk of developing this painful condition. Call or drop by one of our Ottawa area physiotherapy clinics today.


What should you drink during exercise?

By Athlete's Care on October 20, 2017

What should you drink during exercise?

How to stay hydrated when you work out – and at all times – is one of the questions our Ottawa physiotherapy and sports medicine clients ask about the most. With so much information (and misinformation) out there, it’s a good question and important to know. Most of our bodies, as the saying goes, are made up of water – up to 60 percent, as it happens. When you work out and sweat, you can lose a lot of liquids, and not just that. You can lose electrolytes or salts, and other nutrients. What should you drink to replenish all you need?


Water is still your best and most basic choice for hydration before, during, and after you exercise. It’s easily digested, and replenishes the liquid you are using from sweating. There are a couple of important things to remember:

  • If you plan on exercising for 60 minutes or less, plain water, or water flavoured with a sliced lemon, orange, a handful of strawberries, or other fruit, is ideal and all you should require.
  • If your exercise routine extends beyond 60 minutes, you will also require some calories and electrolytes (salts) to function at your best.

 Here are some other liquids that you’ll find useful in keeping you hydrated during your exercise routine.

  •          Coffee or tea, preferably black – if you drink this pre-run or pre-exercise, it has been shown by clinical studies to improve your endurance.
  •          Coconut water, clear with no preservatives – a good source of potassium and sodium (electrolytes).
  •          Vegetable juices – typically a good source of sodium.
  •          Chocolate milk – some runners swear by the carbohydrate and protein boost chocolate milk provides to aid muscle recovery.

Store Bought

If you don’t care for plain water and you want to use store bought sports drinks, the key is to read the label.

  •          Stay away from added sugars and high calorie preparations;
  •          Avoid coffee-based and high caffeine drinks during your workout;
  •          Avoid excessive use of preservatives.

How Much?

The general guidelines should only be used as a reference.

  •          2-3 hours before exercise, the general guideline is to drink between 17 and 20 ounces of water.
  •          20-30 minutes before exercise – 8 ounces.
  •          8 ounces of water every 30 minutes after you begin to exercise.

There are ways that your body will tell you it needs more hydration, or other nutrients.

  •          Are you thirsty? Drink!! Thirst is your best guide for whether you are hydrated enough.
  •          Cramping – it’s been shown that dehydration seems to play a role in muscle cramping as you exercise.
  •          What are the environmental conditions? If it’s hot and humid, you’ll need more hydration than when it’s cooler.
  •          The bathroom check – what colour is your urine? It should be a transparent, lemony shade. Darker, and more opaque, means you are not sufficiently hydrated.
  •          The sweat test – this involves weighing yourself just before and immediately after your workout with a very accurate measure. If you’ve lost 16 ounces, for example, then you’ll know it’s been lost as sweat, and 16 ounces of water is how much you need to drink.


Just blend all the ingredients, and store in the fridge for up to a week. Here are a couple of ideas for homemade sports refreshers that will provide hydration, carbs for energy, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.

Ice Tea Cooler

4 cups herbal tea
2 -4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Lemon Sports Drink

4 cups water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup honey

Let us help you perfect and manage your exercise routine. Our Ottawa physiotherapists and sports medicine professionals can provide expert advice on your hydration needs and any other questions you may have. Call us or come by one of our Ottawa physiotherapy clinics today.

Blog Archives