TODAY anchor Jenna Wolfe isn't just a fitness buff who loves to work out (and has the muscles to show for it). She's also a personal trainer in her spare time. And now, she's your trainer — on Facebook, at least. Every week, she will be answering reader workout questions. Got a fitness query? Head over to our Facebook page and ask away.
Q: I love walking on the treadmill, but why do I always get shin splints? — Trish Cordara Crisp
A: You have touched on the most common running/jogging/walking related topic — shin splints. The reason we get them is from the repeated pounding placed on our joints and muscles with each step we take. The good news is: they can be treated. Shin splints aren't caused by an acute injury, but rather from cumulative stress. So how do we treat them? First off, rest. Second, rest. Third, rest. This doesn't mean you can't do other things, but while your shins are barking, you need to give them some time away from the treadmill. Go for a swim, hop on the bike, jump on the rowing machine. You can also ice them down after a workout or whenever they're hurting. Take a paper cup, fill it with water, freeze it and use that to ice the shins. Eventually you can peel off the paper and directly apply the ice. And finally, you should be stretching. I like to warm up for 10 minutes and then lightly stretch. After my workout, I stretch deeper into those legs.
Q: What's a good thing to eat after a good 45 minute workout that ends at 7 p.m.? — Cathy Swanson
A: Good question, Cathy. Naturally you're going to eat different post-workout meals at night than you would in the morning. Some people enjoy a protein shake at night after the gym, especially when they finish up late. I prefer actual food. I'd recommend a lighter meal, rich in protein (chicken, fish, cottage cheese) and vegetables and light in carbs. I would also try to eat a smaller meal than you would earlier in the day. And try to get that meal in about 2 hours before bedtime to give your body a chance to digest.
Q: My question is about nutrition. I drink a lot of sparkling water. Is that OK, or should I drink still water as well? — Catherine Crawford Ball
A: Sparkling water hydrates the body just as well as still water. However, after a workout, people will most often drink less sparkling water than still because the carbonation makes you feel full. As long as you can replace the water lost during your workout, either one is OK.
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