Did protein deficiency lead to exercise injury?

A few months back, I decided to take up jumping rope again. I’d been starting the day with stretches, calisthenics and an over 20 mile bicycle ride to work and so was not out of shape.

After a series of 30 – 60 minute rope jumping sessions over the course of a couple of weeks, I developed a number of aches and pains. My upper left arm seemed to have tendonitis. The left foot was slightly swollen and noticeably sore on the upper portion. Plus, from time to time I had pains like bee stings in my sides, shoulders, or arms.

Jumping rope is a high-impact exercise so the foot damage was understandable. The various upper-body problems were a mystery.

As I maintain a strict vegan diet, I began to suspect that lack of protein was the basis of the exercise injury. I tallied up my daily protein intake and found that I was barely at the minimum. There just was nothing available for repair or growth. I’d probably been at a low point for some time and the additional vigorous exertion made me hit bottom.

Every day now, I have hemp protein with my morning oatmeal. I’ve changed from juice to a soy milk smoothie made fresh in the blender at breakfast and dinner. I’ve switched from whole grain rolls to tofu sandwiches for lunch. Every dinner includes a portion of beans

After increasing the protein in my diet, the bee sting pains quickly disappeared. Because of frequent re-injury, it took some weeks for the foot problem to subside. This was only after I started jogging on a dirt track instead of the concrete and asphalt of the city streets. Unfortunately, the soreness in the left arm — though somewhat better — has yet to heal completely. Most importantly — even after adding a strenuous PM weekday workout on an elliptical machine — there’ve been no new problems.

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Anthony Olszewski

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A vegan in his mid-50s, Anthony Olszewski believes that inertia, not time, is the enemy. His 20 mile plus bicycle commutes over the GWB to NYC prove that. Anthony Olszewski was born in Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in 1956.
During his college years, Mr. Olszewski worked as a bartender in a tavern owned by his family, the Tunnel Bar. He also operated an exterminating business and raised canaries and parakeets for sale.
Mr. Olszewski was the Web Site Editor for Bret Schundler’s 1997 campaign for Mayor of Jersey City and the 2001 Gubernatorial campaigns (primary and general elections) against James E. McGreevey.

Mr. Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics, including Jersey City short stories, tropical fish, running with your dog, the genetics of cage birds, the poetry of Amiri Baraka, the portrayal of African-Americans in popular culture, Jersey City politics, and Hudson County history. He currently provides Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing through a number Web Sites and is a member of Mensa.

Anthony Olszewski is best reached by e-mail at aolsz@bellatlantic.net — voice mail is available at 201-984-1956.