The staff at OrthoCarolina offers tips on staying healthy and their favorite way to spend a day outside in Charlotte.
Meet Matt Dobler. The North Carolina native knows a thing or two about being active and preventing injuries. With an undergraduate degree in physical training and a master of medicine, Matt backs up his formal education with practical experience. He’s an avid runner who has competed at both the high school and collegiate levels. Although he’s not as competitive as he was in those university days, Matt doesn’t shy away from a challenge having recently participated in the 195-mile Hood to Coast relay in Portland, Oregon.
Here, Matt shares with us some tips on healthy running and overcoming those long hours sitting in an office to help with avoiding injuries.
We’ve heard a lot recently about the dangers of sitting too much. How does this affect the casual athlete?
If you’re sitting at a computer desk all day, warming up is even more important than for someone who is on their feet during the day. The problem with sitting is begin tight. Your hamstrings and hip flexors, especially, can get really tight. The flexibility of those muscles are very important for running. It’s very possible to have a muscle strain if you’re not warmed up properly, even more so if you’re seated most of the day.
How does someone who sometimes sits all day avoid these common injuries?
Before you run, take a couple minutes to warm up. Stop and stretch. Stretching goes a long way for injury prevention.
It’s important to use more of a dynamic stretching program before running and more of a static program after. I usually do some variations of leg swings. After running, I focus more on static stretching—the more typical feet together, bend down and touch your toes. Quad stretches and hamstring stretches to improve flexibility.
What other common injuries do you see and how can we prevent them?
I work with a lot of athletes who suffer from overuse injuries. The key to avoiding these injuries is to be consistent.
A lot of times over-use injuries are from specific weaknesses or from repetitive activity that’s not consistent. Like someone who goes out and runs 10 miles but didn’t run throughout the week. They are a little bit more likely to develop an overuse injury. Or if you try to progress too quickly. If you’re a 25-mile-a-week runner and you progress too quickly to 75 miles a week. Be more consistent than a weekend warrior. Don’t just run a lot on the weekends. Generally, people who are sedentary are more likely to develop these injuries.
Cross-training is also very important if you’re trying to work your way into a higher mileage. It’s much better with a couple days of cross-training. Getting in the pool swimming laps or especially strength training. Yoga and Pilates are great cross-training for runners as well.
Matt’s Perfect Day Outdoors Around Charlotte
Get caffeinated: Coppa Coffee and Tea
The cozy little coffee shop just south of Mountain Island Lake is known for their friendly welcome and quality drinks. Offering both single origin and blends, a cup of Coppa coffee begins with certified organic and Fair Trade beans, sourced from around the world and roasted daily.
The small pastry case includes oversized muffins and scones as well as savory options like quiche and bagels. Free Wi-Fi and a collection of comfy seating provide a great atmosphere to plan your day outside.
Get going: Latta Plantation and Nature Preserve
There is no shortage of things to do at Latta. The trail system, 16 miles of gravel roads and singletrack, are foot and hoof-traffic only. Cutting through a heavily wooded peninsula on Mountain Island Lake, the trails alternate between shady solitude and lakefront view.
Two boat launches make access to the Mountain Island Lake easy for paddlers. Since this lake serves as the water supply for Charlotte and surrounding areas, development is restricted. The result is a more peaceful paddling experience than other lakes near Charlotte.
Refuel: Lancasters BBQ
Just down the road from the entrance to Latta, Lancaster BBQ prepares some of the best smoky meats and southern treats in Charlotte. Slightly charred and fall-off-the-bone ribs and well-smoked pulled pork share space with super gooey mac-and-cheese and a hearty version of Brunswick stew. The Huntersville location has recently upped their game with a remodeled interior and expanded beer list.