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Thanksgiving is almost here and we can’t wait to enjoy a delicious meal with our families! Before you sit down to a scrumptious feast, take a minute to find out what happens to your body during Thanksgiving dinner!

According to the Calorie Control Council, the average person eats about 3,000 calories throughout the entire turkey day dinner—and that’s not including the 1,500 calories coming in from just drinks and appetizers! Here are four changes your body goes through while enjoy a thanksgiving feast!

  1. Your stomach and brain send rapid fire messages to each other. Ever wonder why your stomach is more bloated on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday? The secret is all in the messages your stomach and brain send to each other during your meal. Once you take that first bite, your stomach begins to expand and make room for more. After a few minutes, it sends a signal to the brain that you’re full and don’t need any more food. Your brain ignores this message and you continue eating—this explains why you know you’re full but keep eating anyway.


Eating too fast or seeing others at the table continue to munch away can encourage you to ignore this signal and help yourself to seconds. To keep this under control, ask yourself if you are still eating because you are hungry, or if you are eating just to eat.

  1. You grow a “food baby”. The high proteins and fats in a traditional Thanksgiving meal take longer to empty out of your stomach, leaving you feeling bloated until you fully digest your meal. Your stomach on average can only hold six cups of food—that’s the size of six tennis balls!
  2. You get sleepy. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a chemical called tryptophan in the turkey making you sleepy and likely to doze off. It’s actually your stuffed stomach! When you eat a large meal, blood flows to the GI tract to help you digest and absorb the food. About thirty minutes after you finish eating all your carbs, your blood sugar peaks and you get drowsy. Carbs also help trigger serotonin, a chemical that creates a sense of calm and sleepiness. To help you pep up, try a calming weight loss tea to encourage digestion.
  3. You feel uncomfortably full, but also starving. The extremely full feeling you get after devouring a delicious Turkey Day spread comes from the high-fats and proteins in the dishes. Both of these create overwhelming feelings of fullness in the body because they take longer to digest. In addition, the amount of protein helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time. However, the refined carbs and sugars in buttery potatoes and pies make them easy to binge on. Once these calories settle into your body (and get stored as fat), they flow into the bloodstream, making you feel hungry again even though you’ve just eaten a load of calories.


The best way to enjoy thanksgiving without completely wrecking your diet plan is to enjoy everything in moderation. You should also try to eat your meal slowly so that you will be less likely to over indulge.

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many people find themselves worrying about what the feast will do to their diet plan. Try these simple food swaps to cut down on calories, fat and sugar for a regret free meal. You can still enjoy all of the classics with these simple changes.

  • White Turkey Meat Instead of Dark Meat

Dark meat, especially with the skin, has twice the fat of turkey breast and almost 40% more calories. Try the white meat without skin to cut out 70 calories from a 3.5 ounce portion of turkey!

  • Low-Fat Gravy Instead of Traditional Gravy

If you can’t imagine Thanksgiving Day without the gravy, then this is a great option for you! Instead of using drippings from your turkey roasting pan, use fat-free turkey broth, flour and seasonings to taste. You can still have delicious gravy while cutting out a lot of the fat!

  • Cranberry Relish Instead of Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce from a can is filled with sugars and artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt to make your own cranberry relish! The fresh fruits will be flavorful and much easier on your waistline. Check out’s 4 cranberry relish recipes for a healthy, delicious and easy-to-make alternative to store bought cranberry sauce!

  • Baked Sweet Potatoes Instead of Sweet Potato Casserole

Baked sweet potatoes are a great substitute for sweet potato casserole. Top the baked potatoes with some brown sugar and crushed pecans for a nice twist on a classic dish. This will save you 420 calories, 66 grams of sugar and 7 grams of fat.

  • Whole Wheat Bread Instead of White Bread

Dinner rolls and butter have little nutritional value. They contain empty calories that will leave you hungry soon after. Whole wheat rolls will add protein and fiber to your holiday meal! Pair that with some olive oil for dipping and you’ll also be getting some heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids!

  • Pumpkin Pie Instead of Pecan Pie

While neither pie is exceptionally healthy, a slice of pumpkin pie has about 200 calories fewer than pecan pie! As an added bonus, the pumpkin pie will be loaded with vitamin A, calcium and iron. If you’re really looking to cut out even more calories, avoid the crust! A typical pie crust will have about 100 calories.

  • Switch to a Low-Fat Eggnog Recipe

A few simple swaps in your eggnog recipe can cut out a lot of calories. Simple swaps like skim milk instead of cream will make a lighter, but still delicious, drink for the holiday.  This Daily Burn recipe will have you enjoying a season favorite without regret!

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One of the best ways to keep your diet under control is through mindful eating. Mindful eating is all about listening to your body’s response to food, from making conscious decisions about what to eat and when, to how you feel while you eat and carefully listening to your body’s response. The pathway to a healthier life begins by changing a few habits to become more aware of your body while eating, and can make you feel better and lighter in the process!

Here are six ways you can add mindful eating to your daily routine:

Set Daily Intentions.

Going into a new day with a plan on what you are going to eat can set you up for eating success. Try to plan the night before, or even the morning of, what you’re going to eat as your three meals (and a snack too). This simple step helps improve your ability to eat mindfully already.

Eat slowly and enjoy your food.

It’s important to pause between bites and eat slowly. Too often, people get caught up in the rush of daily life and rush through their meals, forgetting to savor the flavor and taste of their food and monitor how their body feels as they consume it. Eating slower will also help ensure you don’t overeat by keeping you more in tune with your body, helping you stop when you start feeling full. If you find you’re eating too much, it’s perfectly fine to leave food on your plate.

Sit Down.

Mom’s dinnertime rule—sit down at the table—holds true even in your adult life. A basic principle of mindful eating is to sit down at a proper table with utensils and enjoy your meal—no matter if it’s dinner or a snack. Eating on the run not only prevents you from fully enjoying your food, but also makes you feel like you “didn’t really eat”, setting you up for thoughtless snacking throughout the day and leading to unnecessary weight gain.

Have regular mealtimes.

Set regular mealtimes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some people tend to skip lunch and make do with a bag of chips until dinner time, which not only saps your energy but also adds unwanted calories to your diet. Treat lunchtime like a slightly smaller dinner and don’t be afraid of a healthy larger lunch. Your body will thank you and you’ll be satisfied until dinnertime.

Cut out mindless snacking.

On-the-go snacking can kill your hunger at mealtimes. If you feel that you need something to hold you until dinnertime, make a conscious decision about what it will be and eat it sitting down, preferably on a plate. Picking up a snack from the gas station or munching on food while you cook will ruin your main meal and interfere with your regular mealtime schedule.

Accept hunger.

Let your hunger come without fear, and don’t let it become too overwhelming before you finally eat your main meal. When you reach a healthy hunger point —before you get famished—go ahead and eat your regular meal. Hunger is sign from your body for nourishment, so don’t ignore it!

With these six simple steps, you can get on the path to eating mindfully and enjoying your meals rather than just eating for nutrition.

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At Laredo Emergency Room, we love celebrating Halloween. In fact, every year we celebrate it with a costume party at our facility. However, Halloween can often be a very unhealthy night for you and your children. Try these ideas for a healthier and happier Halloween night.

Eat Before Trick-or-treating. If you decide to take your kids trick-or-treating, make sure they eat dinner before they leave the house. A full stomach will reduce the amount of candy they eat as they go from door to door.

Set Boundaries. Establish a few rules before trick-or-treating. You can limit the amount of candy your children eat in one night to a few pieces of candy. You can also set a limit on the amount of houses your child goes to. It helps if you plan another fun activity for the rest of the night, so they are excited to stop trick-or-treating and do something they enjoy.

Swap for Healthier Candy. Offer to trade the candy your kids collect for healthier treats. Food Network has some great candy swaps you can make to cut down on calories and sugar. Just make sure your kids are on board before the trick-or-treating, otherwise they will be disappointed when it comes time to swap.

 Consider Sharing with a Charity. There are tons of great options for donating candy to charities around Halloween. Things like orphanages, women’s homes, or children’s hospitals will be looking to provide candy to children who were not able to trick-or-treat. You can also send left over candy to troops overseas. Make sure your kids take a part in the decision to share their candy. Make a deal like ‘one candy for you, one candy to share,’ so that your kids get to take part in the sharing experience.

Throw a Halloween party. A Halloween-themed party for your kids and their friends keeps the fun in Halloween and the sweets out of it. You can even serve these adorable healthy Halloween treats from Everyday Health.

Camp out. Instead of trick-or-treating, try camping with your kids on Halloween. A tent in the backyard and ghost stories could be the perfect night. It’s also a good way to get away from the ringing doorbells if you want your kids to go to sleep before the older kids are done trick-or-treating.

Trade Sweets for Toys. Toys work as a great candy alternative. Halloween-themed items like squishy eyeballs, glow-in-the-dark insects, jumping spiders and vampire teeth are sure to please! Better yet, let your child be a part of the decision to swap their candy for toys. Let them know that the more candy they trade, the better their swap will be. talks about a great way to get your children involved in this decision through their cleverly titled Switch Witch.

Come to Our Halloween Party. This Halloween we will be having another party that’s free and fun for the entire family. We will have a bouncy castle, face painting, a costume contest, and more! Check out our Facebook event to find out more.


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It’s easy to think that the best way to lose weight and get the most of out your workout is to exercise hard and wait until mealtime to eat—however, this can often do more harm than good. Fueling your body before and after every workout is the best way to see results. It can help you burn the most calories, build lean muscle, stay energized, lose weight and speed up your recovery rate.

Research published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that your body burns that same amount of fat whether or not you eat before you exercise, but there’s a catch: you can cause muscle loss if you continually work out on an empty stomach. If your body does not have enough energy to finish your workout, it can start taking protein from your muscles, which will prohibit muscle gain. Furthermore, if you don’t eat before getting in a good workout, your body will not have enough energy to power through an intense workout.

The best pre-workout foods are always made up of some type of fat, complex carbohydrate and protein. You don’t always need to have a full meal, a quick snack is enough to help you make the most out of your workout. Just try and make sure you eat about an hour before your workout starts. Eating too close to a workout can slow you down or cause cramps.

Some of these foods include whole wheat toast with banana and cinnamon, Greek yogurt and trail mix, smoothies, grilled chicken and veggies, and oatmeal with fruit. Fitness Magazine has some other great suggestions for pre-workout snacks.

Don’t forget to refuel after a workout as well. Eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes to an hour after you finish that last rep helps refill energy stores, build and repair muscles that were broken down and helps keep your metabolism going strong. A few simple steps like these can help you maximize your workout and see the best results!

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Did you know desk jobs can often be bad for your health?  Sedentary jobs take a toll on the body, but there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure you are living a healthy lifestyle. Here are nine tips to keep you on the path to a better life.

  1. 1. Avoid the candy bowl. A lot of offices have a seemingly innocent bowl of candy displayed. The candy from this bowl can add up over time, resulting in unwanted calories and weight gain. Try taking different paths around the office to avoid the candy bowl so you’re not tempted to grab some. If you still crave something sweet, keep fruits like cherries or grapes at your desk. Even better—consider trying a fruit bowl and encourage your coworkers to join you in a healthier lifestyle!
  2. 2. Beat the 3 o’clock sleepiness by keeping hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day. You can also try eating naturally hydrating fruits like oranges, grapefruit, grapes, watermelon and apples. Staying hydrated can also stop you from feeling sleepy when 3 o’clock hits. Bring a 16 oz. water bottle to work and set goals for yourself—finish it once by lunch, then another bottle by 3pm, then finish the last by 5pm.
  3. 3. Use the office to exercise. Try taking a quick walk during your lunch break—it’s destressing and refreshing! Find a walking partner at work to join you for daily walks, so you can hold each other accountable. If that’s not possible, park your car further than you usually do so you have a longer walk twice a day. To increase the health benefits, try committing to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. 4. Don’t skip lunch. Eating healthy lunches is important to keeping a balanced diet. Make sure you’re eating reasonable portions so you aren’t consuming too many calories and then sitting in a chair all afternoon. Try meal prepping at the beginning of the week, so you’re not tempted to order unhealthy foods nearby.
  5. 5. Keep your neck up. Avoid tension neck syndrome (TNS) which can happen when you hold your neck and upper shoulders in an awkward position for a long period of time. TNS can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, muscle tightness and tenderness. If your job requires you to be on the phone or type for most of the day, you are especially susceptible. Avoid unnecessary pain and use the speakerphone function or a headset at work when you’re on the phone and make sure your computer screens are elevated to eye level.
  6. 6. Look out for eyestrain. If you work in front of a computer all day, chances are you’ve suffered from eye strain at one point. Make sure your computer screen is an arm’s length away, and that you can comfortably read the screen at that distance. If not, increase the font size on your computer.
  7. 7. Take a vacation. Yes, you read that correctly. Vacations are a part of staying healthy at work. Taking time to recharge your batteries and get your mind off work will help reduce stress and allow you to be more productive when you return to work. If left unchecked, stress can impair your immune system and increase your chance of getting sick, so try to minimize it whenever you can.
  8. 8. Disinfect your keyboard and mouse. Cleaning your desk area every three months isn’t enough to keep bacteria at bay. Your keyboard, mouse, and phone can harbor thousands of germs. Don’t wait until flu season is halfway over—disinfect your desk at least once a week to minimize your risk of getting sick.
  9. 9. Know your limits. Be self-aware and know your limits. Listen to your body about when it’s time to take breaks, get exercise, or take a vacation. It’ll help you stay physically and mentally healthy both at work and at home.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Did you know that walking can be a great way to start achieving your fitness goals? Though it’s low-impact, it can be a powerful tool in getting you on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle. You don’t need a gym membership to start feeling better, all you need is to get on your feet!

Walking is an ideal activity for all ages because it doesn’t put a lot of stress on your body the same way running and jumping can. This makes it perfect for elderly people and people trying to transition to a healthier lifestyle. It works large muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscle and other leg and foot muscles, getting your heart beating faster and strengthening and toning these muscles.

Exercising these muscles creates many benefits—including improving your circulation, increasing cardiovascular endurance, boosting bone health, and reducing obesity and diabetes risk. Regular walking exercise can also lower your bad cholesterol, and raise your good cholesterol. Outdoor walking is even better—sun exposure will help your body synthesize vitamin D, a nutrient that could help provide protection from osteoporosis, high blood pressure and cancer.

The speed you use when walking matters. You should try reaching a moderate intensity level when walking. Intensity matters more than the total time you spend exercising. Studies show that simply 20 to 35 minutes of intense walking a day cut participants’ risk of diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome (an obesity-related group of conditions) by 50 percent.

The Center for Disease Control recommends adults focus on getting 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week. You can achieve this CDC goal through walking.  A good way to make sure you’ve reached moderate intensity is by trying the “talk test”. If you’re truly at a moderate intensity level, you should be able to talk but not sing. Vigorous activity will only allow you to say a few words before you break to breathe.

You can also measure the intensity of your walking workout by time and distance. Brisk walking can take you three miles or more per hour. If you want a specific analysis, try working with a personal trainer or physician to help you determine your ideal pace with a heart monitor.

Getting started can be intimidating, but creating a game plan before you begin is your best shot at success. Writing down a specific time of day to exercise and adding it to your to-do list can be very beneficial. In addition, walking with a partner, tracking your activity and walking around during TV commercial breaks are very easy ways to add walking to your daily regimen. Stick to 10 to 15-minute walking sessions a day until you work up to your goal.

Once your walking goals seem easy and you stop noticing physical improvements – increase your distance, frequency or intensity. Adding walking to other exercise activities can increase your health benefits, so don’t shy away from doing other forms of exercise! Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle today and make walking a priority in your life today.

For more health tips, follow us on Facebook! Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Fall officially arrives at your local coffee shops and restaurants this September. With the advent of fall comes new, sugar-laden drinks full of limited-time flavors usher in the start of the holiday season. Before you head out to join crowd, take a minute to think about the health effects of these festive drinks.

Holiday drinks can have serious negative effects on your health. One reason for this is the amount of sugar each drink contains. For example, a venti white chocolate mocha from Startbucks contains 18 teaspoons of sugar—that’s almost double the amount of sugar in a single can of Coke! It’s also more than two times the daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.

Because these drinks are typically consumed in a short amount of time, the sugar in them is absorbed into your body very quickly, causing your blood pressure to spike. As a response, your pancreas releases lots of insulin which can lead to the development of diabetes. At the same time, your body stores up the excess calories as fat. The stored fat releases chemicals and hormones that are harmful to your body. The buildup of fatty deposits combined with the pancreas constantly overproducing insulin can wreak havoc on your body, leaving you even more susceptible to serious illnesses.

In addition, the flavorings used in hot drinks aren’t necessarily good for your body. Though fall-themed flavors like pumpkin and caramel sound comforting, some drinks sold at coffee shops tend to use a large amount of natural and artificial flavors—meaning there might not even be any pumpkin in your pumpkin spice latte.  It’s important to understand the source of the flavors used in your hot drinks before you consume them.

Despite this, you can still enjoy a nice, seasonal drink this fall! If you absolutely must have your Pumpkin Spice Latte this year, try making it at home using this healthy recipe from EatingBirdFood. This recipe can be made vegan, cuts out a lot of the fat from a normal PSL and won’t cost you $5.00 a drink. SuperheroYou has plenty of homemade recipes that put traditional coffee shops to shame. Find a whole list of do-it-yourself fall drinks here.

If you are in a rush and need to get your coffee to go, there are a few simple ideas of drink swaps you can make to reduce your calorie and sugar intake. Instead of a Pumpkin Spice Latte you can order a Caffé Misto. This drink will still provide a nice burst of cinnamon, but it will cut out almost 75% of the calories. Another option is to ditch the White Chocolate Mocha for a Skinny Vanilla Latte. This swap will take you from 470 calories to 120 calories. For more Starbucks swaps, check out this PopSugar article.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the perks of the season. With a few simple changes, you can still enjoy all fall has to offer while still keeping your waistline in check.

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If there’s one thing Mexican food is known for, it’s vibrant flavor. However, if you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, you may find yourself avoiding some of your favorite foods. Have no fear – there are plenty of food swaps you can try that stick to your diet plan without sacrificing flavor!

1. Wheat Tortillas Instead of Flour Tortillas

Instead of a flour tortilla, try eating whole wheat tortillas or using bibb lettuce. Substituting in a wheat tortilla can cut out up to 100 calories per tortilla and they are a better option because they are not processed like flour tortillas. However, you can take it one step further and cut the calories altogether by using bibb lettuce instead. Bibb lettuce is packed with vitamins A, C and K, and is perfect for keeping a taco together.

 2. Fish Instead of Ground Beef

Fish is always a great swap for any meal. It is a leaner protein that’s lower in calories and full of heart-healthy omega-3. Using fish instead of beef will lower your calorie and cholesterol intake. Substituting fish will still let you get a meat-like texture without forfeiting flavor.

3. Brown Rice Instead of White Rice

You can enjoy a healthier meal by switching in brown rice for white rice for a better source of carbohydrates. Brown rice has a significantly higher amount of fiber than white rice, and fiber is important because it slows down the release of sugar from the food you eat so you can stay full longer, allowing you to lose more weight and feel full. Fiber can also help you maintain a healthy gut as well as lower cholesterol levels and control blood glucose.

4. Guacamole Instead of Queso

Just because you are dieting, it shouldn’t mean you have to forego having chips and dips. However, instead of queso, try substituting in guacamole. Guacamole is made from raw fruits and vegetables, so it has a high nutritional value. Avocados provide almost 20 essential vitamins and minerals and a good dose of healthy fats that your body needs.

5. Crisp Vegetables Instead of Tortilla Chips

If you would like to take it one step further, you can replace tortilla chips with raw carrots or celery. Tortilla chips are high in calories and sodium. Replacing it with a crisp vegetable will allow you to get the crunch you crave without eating empty calories. Pair this with some guacamole, and you’ll get your daily allotment of vegetables in no time!


Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean boring eating. With a few simple switches, you can be on your way to a healthier (and tastier!) lifestyle.


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Whether you’ve just started a new exercise regimen or you’re a seasoned health advocate with a long-established workout routine, there’s always at risk of injuring yourself while exercising. It’s even more likely to happen with exercises you’re already familiar with, so do yourself a favor and learn the warning signs before you end up in recovery for weeks.

1. Ankle Sprain

Running outdoors is not the only way to twist an ankle. In fact, jogging or full-on running on an indoor treadmill can cause an ankle sprain. Indoor ankle sprains are usually caused by stepping half-on, half-off the treadmill while the belt is still moving. You can also twist an ankle by quickly jumping off a treadmill after your workout, causing your ankle to roll in an unnatural direction. Running on uneven terrain outdoors or running up and off curbs can increase your risk of twisting your ankle.

Stay safe and injury free by attaching a clip on the treadmill to your clothes, which automatically stops the belt if you fall. If you’re running outside, stay on paved, level roads and sidewalks, and avoid potholes and areas where you have to go up and down a curb.

2. Shin Splints

Many runners experience shin splints in at least one of their workouts. It’s described as a pain along the inner edge of your shinbone, and is really muscle inflammation that can flare up after just a couple workouts. It’s especially common in running sports or jumping activities. Increasing the intensity of your workouts, wearing worn-out workout shoes, uneven ground and running up/downhill or on hard asphalt increases your chance of a flare up.

Wearing the right shoes, gradually increasing workout intensity (no more than 10% a week), and slowly warming up by doing an exercise like jumping jacks before running or jogging helps reduce your chances of developing this injury.

3. Low-Back Strains

Any sudden, sharp pain is a sign something’s gone wrong. If it happens in your lower back during your workout, it’s a definite sign you’ve overdone it and created low-back strains. Squats and deadlifts done with bad form can damage the lower back, creating strains, nerve compressions and disk herniation. Sideways bends and twisting motions can also cause lower back strains.

To avoid this, learn how maintain a neutral spine by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your spine should make contact with the floor under your neck and lower back, allowing your back’s natural curves to absorb shock during exercise. If you’re a beginner, learn the correct form before adding weight. Weightlifters just starting out should do the leg press or hip sled first before trying squats. Always ask a qualified personal trainer for advice if you’re ever unsure of proper form.

4. Rotator Cuff Injury

Your rotator cuff, which surrounds and stabilizes the shoulder join, is made up of four main muscles. If you feel shoulder pain when you reach behind you, overhead or out to the side, you may have rotator cuff strain. This can happen from repeating overhead activity, like swimming, tossing a ball, or military presses. These activities can lead to a rotator cuff injury when repeated over time.

The best way to avoid injuring your rotator cuff is by strengthening your rotator cuff muscles as part of your upper-body program. Using good posture, avoiding repetitive overhead exercises with too-heavy weights, and doing pulldowns in the front instead of behind the neck can help you stay safe.

5. Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small, hairline fractures caused by exercising too much, too soon or from repetitive jumping in one place. The majority of these fractures occur in foot, heel or shin bones. Any pain around the site of the fracture that gets worse after exercising, walking or standing is usually a symptom of a stress fracture. The area might also swell. Sports like basketball and tennis as well as conditions like osteoporosis can increase your risk of stress fracture.

If left untreated, the stress fracture won’t heal properly and will lead to chronic pain. Protect yourself by increasing workout intensity no more than 5-10% in exercise volume reach week. Cross-training can also help you avoid stress fractures.

The good news is that these common workout injuries are easily avoidable. Taking the time to learn the symptoms and protect yourself now will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

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