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Posts Categorized: Fix News

26
May 2017
Woman under Stress - Personal Training San Diego

When we say stress, we often mean emotional stress caused by various personal issues, family troubles, work-related stress, etc. However, there are different types of stress and also different ways to manage it. Regardless of the type of stress, there’s no denying that physical exercise is vital in stress management.

 

Take a look at the breakdown of different types of stress and what you can do to secure the well-being of your body and mind.

Acute stress

The most common type of stress, acute stress is a biological reaction to new challenges or demands. As an immediate reaction, acute stress can be triggered by everyday situations, such as an argument at home or work, or a traffic jam, or less frequent events such as a change of job or moving to another city.

 

As long as these ‘’episodes’’ of acute stress are isolated, there should be no permanent health problems. Nevertheless, the greater frequency and intensity of acute stress may indicate acute stress disorder or what is better known as episodic acute stress, in which case you should consult your doctor for suitable treatment.

 

Acute stress can be mitigated by regular physical exercise, a healthy and socially appropriate way to ‘’let off steam’’ and relieve the body of the tension accumulated during the day. You can’t get rid of stress completely because it’s mostly caused by external factors, and you can’t possibly eliminate them all. But, you can take care of your body by eating healthily and doing exercise to minimize the effects the stress will have on your organism.

Chronic stress

If acute stress persists for longer periods of time and seems to be getting more intense, it’s a sign of chronic stress. This type of stress is usually caused by more deeply rooted issues such as an abusive or otherwise bad relationship, dysfunctional family, bad financial situation, etc. Chronic stress is extremely dangerous because it ultimately leads to health issues such as cancer and heart disease.

 

The best thing to do is to do your best to prevent chronic stress altogether. If your job is making you miserable, you should change it. Where possible, get away from the things that are causing you stress.

 

Taking care of your body is equally important. Treat yourself to relaxing massages and other treatments to ease the built-up tension. Let your body help heal your mind.

Physical Stress

Most of the population leads a sedentary lifestyle, sitting at the computer all day long. Children play video games or are overweight. All of these things, combined with an unbalanced diet and the lack of physical exercise, cause what we can physical stress.

 

This type of stress can compromise the well-being of your entire body. For example, bad posture and lack or muscle support for the spine can cause migraines and ultimately compromise the nervous system.

 

If you don’t take care of your body, the effects will inevitably spread to your mind. The lack of physical strength will make you drowsy and irritable, unable to focus on your daily tasks, or worse.

 

If you have been in an accident or suffered a bodily injury, the trauma can cause a significant amount of stress. Rehabilitation is crucial to your recovery, both physical and emotional. At Fix Body Group, our rehabilitation therapists can help you improve posture, alleviate pain and improve strength through corrective exercises, stretching training and active release technique.

Chemical Stress

Did you know that your diet and the environment you live in can contribute to yet another type of stress known as chemical stress? Our body is a complex organism and everything is interconnected. Eating unhealthily, being exposed to pollution and smog, smoking, recreational drug use – all are wearing your system down slowly, but persistently.

 

You should eliminate these chemical stressors as much as you can. If you live in a polluted environment, you should get some fresh air as often as possible. Remember – you should love your body and always do what’s best to preserve its healthy state. A balanced diet and an optimal amount of physical exercise are a good place to start.

Personal training in San Diego

Just like there are different types of stress, some of which very individual in nature, that’s how the approach to manage it should be personalized. At Fix Body Group, we recognize the importance of physical exercise in stress management. Our personal training programs are tailor-made to suit your needs. There are no cookie-cutter workouts, only targeted exercises to help you achieve your goals and take care of your body.

 

Contact San Diego’s best Personal Trainers today for more info and personalized advice!

13
December 2015
bigstock-Man-With-Impaired-Posture-Posi-67397755-1068x712

We all know that our patients are doing good things for their bodies while we are with them, but probably not during the other hours of the week. Especially the prolonged time they potentially spend sitting which is no considered detrimental to their health. As healthcare professionals we see the effects of this everyday in the form of poor posture however we continue to overlook it as something benign that naturally occurs over time without consequence. According to the American Journal of Pain Management “Posture effects and moderates every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.” (1) There is also evidence that poor thoracic posture shows “a trend towards greater mortality” as discussed in a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (2)

Another fairly new risk factor that is starting to become more common is excessive usage of mobile phones, tablets and PCs. Over the past seven years mobile device usage has grown from .3 hours a day to 2.8 hours a day for the average adult. Comparatively our computer use has remained about the same over the same time period at 2.4 hours per day. (3) A recent article by Kenneth Hansraj, MD the chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation describes that as the head tilts forward its weight effectively goes from 10 to 12 pounds in the neutral position to as much as 60 pounds at 60 degrees of flexion, which is the typical position that we have while using a mobile device. (4)

Over time this forward head position leads to ligamentous creep deformation having lasting neurophysiological effects. This was demonstrated with a feline study that found the creep deformation that occurred over the first 30 minutes did not recover with 10 minutes of rest and was present up to seven hours later. (5)

The other finding of this research was even more alarming: the primary risk factor was not the load but rather the duration of the load. The implication of this is concerning given we spend an average of 2.8 hours a day using our mobile device.

In addition to the ligamentous deformation, muscle adaptations occur resulting in the ‘Upper Cross Syndrome’ as described by Janda. The UCS is characterized by tightness of the upper trapezius, levator scapula and pectoral muscles along with weakness of the deep cervical flexors and middle to lower trapezius muscles.

As these postural changes occur with the neck and upper body, our lower body becomes susceptible to adaptions as well. These include weakened back muscles as evident in a study by Sanches-Zuriaga that found a decrease in low back muscle activation after soft tissue creep, suggesting that prolonged or repeated flexion could increase the risk of injury. (6) These findings support the fact that prolonged sitting should be interrupted with breaks in order to decrease this risk along with exercise intervention.

For the purpose of this article the focus will be on the Active Subsystem (spinal muscles) as described by Panjabi in his spinal stability system model. The following five exercises can be used for most clients requiring minimal time and no equipment. These exercises will not only help with preventing the above-described deformation and adaptation risks, but also encourage clients to stand up regularly and perform mini exercise breaks throughout the day.

We will start with the forward head posture as described by Harman and colleagues who found that this position is associated with weakness of the deep cervical flexor and mid thoracic scapular retraction muscles. (7) Additionally, shortening of the opposing cervical extensors and pectoral muscles was also noted. A combination of strengthening exercises for the deep cervical flexors and scapular retraction muscles coupled with stretching of the cervical extensor and pectoral muscles was performed for 10 weeks. The findings of the study demonstrated that a short, home-based targeted exercise program can improve the postural alignment related to forward head posture.

Based on the above findings the following three upper body exercises are suggested given they are ‘low-barrier’ homework for clients that they can perform daily without any equipment.

As described earlier, prolonged sitting and its effect on posture is not limited to the upper body alone but also affects the lower body. Tightness of the hip flexors along with an inhibition of the extensor muscles can lead to an aberrant motor pattern know as “gluteal amnesia” according to McGill. (8) He recommends exercises to enhance gluteal muscle function to unload the back in additional to hip flexor mobility with specific psoas muscle targeting.

Based on the above findings the following three upper body exercises are suggested given they are ‘low-barrier’ homework for clients that they can perform daily without any equipment:

 

Head Retraction

Head-retraction_2Begin seated, or standing, looking forward with shoulders back with good neutral posture. Activate core muscles. Attempt to draw head directly backwards. Maintain level head position. Do not tilt head up or down. Hold for two seconds. Return to start position. Beginners should start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

 

Shoulder Retraction
Begin standing in good posture. Shoulders should be back and head up. Bend elbows to Scap-retraction_1-90 degrees and keep elbows near sides. While maintaining good posture, draw shoulders back squeezing shoulder blades together. A stretch may be felt in the chest and front of shoulder. Do not allow shoulders to raise upward. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Beginners should start with 3 sets of 5 repetitions.

 

 

 

 

Doorway Chest Stretch

Place forearm on wall, or doorway, with elbow bent at 90º. Elbows should be slightly

Chest-Stretch-1below shoulder level. While maintaining forearm contact, lean body into doorway until gentle stretch is felt in the chest and shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Beginners should start with 3 repetitions on each side.

As described earlier, prolonged sitting and its effect on posture is not limited to the upper body alone but also affects the lower body. Tightness of the hip flexors along with an inhibition of the extensor muscles can lead to an aberrant motor pattern know as “gluteal amnesia” according to McGill. (8) He recommends exercises to enhance gluteal muscle function to unload the back in additional to hip flexor mobility with specific psoas muscle targeting.

Here two very effective and easy to perform exercises that clients can do during short exercise breaks throughout the day:

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Begin standing in front of a chair about 18 inches away. Place one foot flat on the chairHip-flexor_1seat. Slowly allow hips to glide slightly forward until a gentle stretch is felt on the front of straight leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Beginners should aim for 3 sets each on each side.

 

 

 

 

Glute Hip Bridge

Begin lying on floor, facing up. Bend knees so feet are firmly on floor and arms extended

  1. HP1214_2to sides. Activate core muscles. Lift hips off floor to attain a bridge position with knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment. Slowly return to start position. Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets. Initially, you may develop some cramping in the back of the thigh. A simple hamstring stretch, before and after, may prevent this from occurring. Beginners should aim for 3 sets.

All of the above displayed exercises are easy to execute and include minimal risks if performed as prescribed. Most important here is the regular execution and mid- to long-term adherence to the program. A calendar that reminds clients of the exercises and allows them to check off performed sets and reps could be a nice motivation for them and helps you track their compliance.

13
October 2015
LEMON

Lemons are vitamin C rich citrus fruits that enhance your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within bringing a glow to your face. One of the major health benefits of drinking warm lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy.

Lemon water flushes out toxins and is extremely beneficial for the body.


Warm lemon water serves as the perfect ‘good morning drink’, as it aids the digestive system and makes the process of eliminating the waste products from the body easier. It prevents the problem of constipation and diarrhea, by ensuring smooth bowel functions.

Nutritional Value Of Lemons

A glass of lemon juice contains less than 25 calories. It is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber. It also has medicinal values and antibacterial properties. It also contains traces of iron and vitamin A.

Lemon, a fruit popular for its therapeutic properties, helps maintain your immune system and thus, protects you from the clutches of most types of infections. It also plays the role of a blood purifier. Lemon is a fabulous antiseptic and lime-water juice also works wonders for people having heart problems, owing to its high potassium content. So, make it a part of your daily routine to drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning and enjoy its health benefits. Read on for more interesting information on the benefits of warm lemon water.

16 Health Benefits Of Drinking Warm Lemon Water

    • Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies

    • Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial

    • It balances maintain the pH levels in the body

    • Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins

    • It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile

    • It is also a great source citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium

    • It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases

    • It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid

    • It helps cure the common cold

    • The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells

    • It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are too dilute

    • It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of a heart burn, taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice can give relief

    • It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne

 

  • It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems

  • Aids in the production of digestive juices

  • Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session

 

Packed with all the goodness, make it a point to begin your day with a glass of warm lemon water. Its cleansing and healing effects will have positive effects on your health in the long run. However it is very important to note that when lemon juice  comes directly in contact with the teeth, can ruin the enamel on the teeth. Hence, it is advised to consume it diluted and also rinse your mouth thoroughly after drinking lemon juice.


02
October 2015
foam roller

INJURY PREVENTION & RECOVERY
Use Your Foam Roller the Right Way
Don’t overdo it with the self-massage tool.
By Carl Leivers


Despite the foam roller’s popularity, Richard Hansen, a Boulder, Colorado-based sports chiropractor, says it “shouldn’t be considered the silver bullet for at-home therapy.” Hansen, who treats recreational runners as well as Olympians, warns that incorrect use may cause muscle damage.

Follow these guidelines to use the foam roller safely and effectively:

Roll For Recovery, Not to Treat Injuries

Rolling an injured area can aggravate damaged muscle tissue, particularly in the first few days after the injury. The foam roller is more effective at assisting recovery. It stimulates blood flow, breaks up scar tissue, and helps increase the muscle’s range of motion.
Keep It Light

Aggressive foam roller use may feel good, but it can override your pain sensation. When that happens, it’s possible to use too much pressure or work too long on a particular muscle. “Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s more effective,” Hansen says. “It’s better to underwork tissue than overwork it.” Make sure to avoid bony areas and places where tendons attach. If you’re dealing with IT band syndrome, focus on the middle, not the insertion points of the knee and hip tendons.
Time It

Hansen recommends using the foam roller after your workout, rather than before. Begin by lightly foam rolling an area for 30 seconds, then gently stretch the area for 10 seconds. You can repeat that cycle up to three times on each body area. Hansen says that the foam roller should be just one piece of your recovery process, not your only “go-to” technique.

21
September 2015
fixbodygroupanklesprain
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

Tens of thousands of Americans sprain an ankle every year. But ankle sprains get little respect, with most of us shrugging off the injury as inconsequential and soon returning to normal activities.

Several new studies in people and animals, however, suggest that the effects of even a single sprained ankle could be more substantial and lingering than we have supposed, potentially altering how well and often someone moves, for life.

Healthy ankles are, of course, essential for movement.

“The ankle is the base of the body,” said Tricia Hubbard-Turner, a professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who led the recent studies. “Everything starts with the ankle.”

But the ankle can be surprisingly fragile and vulnerable to clumsiness (or maybe that’s just me). Step awkwardly off a curb, slide off your high heels, plant a foot wrong while running or playing a sport, and you overstretch or tear the ligaments around the joint and sprain your ankle.

Until recently, few of us worried much about the injury, assuming in most cases that the sprain would fully heal within a week or two, with or without medical attention.

But three new studies, each co-authored by Dr. Hubbard-Turner, raise serious questions about the benignity of ankle sprains.

In the most worrying, since it involves young people, she and her colleagues recruited 20 college students with chronic ankle instability — a condition caused by ankle sprains, in which the ankle easily gives way during movement — and 20 healthy students and asked all of them to wear a pedometer for a week. The researchers controlled for variables like sex, B.M.I. and general health.

It turned out that the students with chronic ankle instability moved significantly less than the other students, taking about 2,000 fewer steps on average each day.

That finding echoed the results of an earlier study by Dr. Hubbard-Turner, although that experiment involved young adult mice. For it, the researchers mildly sprained some of the rodents’ ankles by surgically snipping one of the ligaments on the outside of the joint. They more severely sprained other animals’ joints by snipping two of the ankle ligaments; and performed sham surgery on others to serve as a control group.

Then they let the ligaments heal for several days before giving all of the animals access to running wheels and also testing them for balance by inking their feet and having them skitter along a narrow beam. The researchers could track slips by noting where the colored footprints had slipped off of the beam.

The researchers followed the mice for a year.

At the end of that time, the mice that had undergone sham surgery — whose ankle ligaments had remained untouched — were running significantly more mileage on their wheels than the mice that had had sprains, especially those that had had a severe sprain, even though, presumably, the injury had healed long ago.

The animals with past sprains also continued to slip during balance testing far more often than the control mice. Their balance was impaired and, the researchers concluded, about 70 percent of the mice from the sprain groups had developed the rodent equivalent of chronic ankle instability as a result of a single past sprain.

However, this animal study and that of the college students were relatively short-term. Although mice may be approaching rodent retirement age after a year, that span does not generally represent their entire life, and the researchers wondered whether the past ankle sprain might turn out to affect their life-long movement patterns.

So for another study, this one published last month in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, they continued to follow and test the same groups of mice until they passed away from old age, usually within an additional 12 months.

They found that the repercussions of a single ankle sprain lingered throughout the animals’ lives. The mice that had experienced a mild sprain in young adulthood generally continued to run less and more slowly throughout their lives than the animals that had undergone sham surgery, and those that had experienced a severe ankle sprain ran even fewer miles and at the slowest speeds.

“In these animals, a single sprain had led to far more inactivity” throughout their lives than among the animals with intact ankles, Dr. Hubbard-Turner said.

Of course, these were mice, not humans, so it’s impossible to know whether the same decline in lifelong activity occurs in people who sprain an ankle.

But that possibility implies that we should take sore ankles seriously, Dr. Hubbard-Turner said.

“Don’t ignore a sprain,” she said.

If you twist or otherwise hurt your ankle, consult a doctor or physical therapist about diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. And if you have sprained an ankle in the past, even if the injury seems fully healed, consider balance testing by a physical therapist to determine whether you are more wobbly than you suspect.

Finally, if you have never sprained an ankle, pat yourself on the back, preferably while standing on one leg. “Balance training is a good idea for everyone,” Dr. Hubbard-Turner said. (This video has useful balance training tips here.)

The best way to avoid the ramifications of a sprained ankle, she said, “is to not sprain it in the first place.”

13
June 2015
HITT the beach!

In honor of sunny days and warmer temperatures, now’s the perfect time to say so long to the weight room and take things outside. And why not head straight to the shore? Apart from the beautiful views and mood boost from spending time in the sun, your muscles will have an extra challenge stabilizing you in the sand.

 

“Working out in the sand adds a ton of resistance to any exercise you’re doing,” says DailyBurn trainer Anja Garcia, who loves getting her sweat on outside when she goes on vacation. And HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a natural choice for outdoor workouts because you can condition the whole body efficiently, without any equipment. This popular training method challenges your aerobic and anaerobic systems, meaning you’ll improve cardiovascular endurance and build strength at the same time. Plus, your muscles will work overtime blasting more calories than they would with just steady state cardio alone (also known as the afterburn effect).

 

Ready to soak up some sun and feel the right kind of burn? Try these three HIIT workouts designed by Garcia with the surf and the sand in mind. They’re short, sweet and sure to leave you sweating! Now go on and HIIT the beach!

 

HIIT Workout #1: 10-Minute Tone Up
Ten minutes is all you need for a killer burn. Set up two towels 20 yards from one another and then HIIT it! Warm up with 30 seconds of skips and 30 seconds of walking lunges. Then, complete three rounds of the exercises below with 30 seconds of rest between each round.

 

  • Single-leg bounding: Drive the right knee up and leap off the left leg, pretending you are gliding through the air. Repeat on the other side. Try to get as high as possible.
  • Plank drag: Set up towels 20 yards apart. Start in a plank position with one towel under your toes. Drag your toes towards your hands by engaging your core, then walk your hands out again so you’re closer to the far towel.
  • Side shuffle: Shuffle laterally from one towel to the other, facing the same way as you go there and back.
  • Inchworm pushups: Hinge at the waist, bend down and walk your hands away from your feet so you’re in a plank position. Do one pushup, walk your feet toward your hands and repeat.
  • Long jumps: Bend your knees and jump as far as you can towards the other towel! Keep jumping for the whole 30 seconds.

 

HIIT Workout #2: Tabata Bang!
Get off your towel and try some Tabata! Complete 10 alternating lunges, 10 squats and a 30-second plank hold to get warmed up. Then, alternate 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest for each exercise in the circuit. Complete eight rounds.

 

  • Surfer get-ups: Start on the ground in a low plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your belly touching the sand. Push up from the ground and jump into a squatting position with the right leg in front of the left, as if you’re balancing on a surf board. Remember to squeeze your glutes and engage the core! Return to the original plank position and repeat with your left leg in front of the right for the surf stance.
  • Lateral plank: Assume a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Take two steps to the right while maintaining a plank, and perform a pushup. Repeat the process by moving back to the left. Perform another pushup and repeat.
  • Lunge jumps: With the right leg in front of the left, get into a lunge position so your knees are both at 90-degree angles. Use your core and quads to ump straight up, switching your legs in mid-air. Land with your left leg forward, then repeat.
  • Twisting mountain climbers: In a plank position, bring one knee to the opposite elbow. Quickly switch legs and twist the opposite knee to opposite elbow. Try to have your knee touch your elbow for every rep.

 

HIIT Workout #3: Perfect 10 Circuits
Get strong and lean with this workout that will challenge your whole body. Use your abdominals to stabilize your core during the lunges and jump squats, and give it all you’ve got with the sprints at the end of each circuit. Complete five rounds total with 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

 

  • Lateral lunges: Step right leg out into a lateral lunge with the left leg straight. As you stand up, drag the left leg back to standing while using the sand as resistance. Repeat movement on the other side.
  • 180-degree jump squats: Squat and touch the ground, jump 180-degrees clockwise and touch the ground again. Repeat by jumping 180-degrees counter-clockwise. Two jumps equals one rep.
  • Down dog pushups: Start in a down dog position. Walk your hands out to a full plank, perform a pushup and then walk your hands back to down dog.
  • Shuttle sprints: Place two towels about 20 yards apart, and using them as markers, start at one and sprint to the other. That’s one! Keep your speed up, sprinting back and forth five times (10 lengths total).

 

Source

12
June 2015
Make that gym time count!

Everyone knows it’s hard to find that extra time to work out everyday – so use these 7 tips to make sure you’re making the most of it!

 

1. Socializing too much: We love our workout buddies as much as anyone else, but when it comes to gym time, make sure you and your buddy are on the same workout wavelength. That means she should be just as dedicated to an effective workout as you so you can both get in and get out (and then catch up!).

 

2. Going slow and steady: Not every workout has to be a sweaty endeavor, but if your go-to gym workout involves reading a magazine on the treadmill — or, even worse, talking on your phone — you’re wasting your time. Speed it up with intervals so you can push your potential — and your calorie burn.

 

3. Not having a plan: If you’ve gotten to the gym but you’re not sure what to do, trying to decide on the right exercise can be a major waste of time. Before you go to the gym, take a few moments to plan how you should be working out; you’ll get to the gym and know exactly what you should be doing.

 

4. Taking too many breaks: Keeping your heart rate up is key to your workout success, so if your workout is full of breaks and water-fountain trips, it’s time to cut a few out of your routine. Limit breaks between intense intervals and circuits (by doing supersets) to reap your workout’s cardio and calorie-burning benefits in a shorter amount of time.

 

5. Idling in the locker room: If you’re not focused, a quick locker-room trip can turn into 20 minutes of trying to find your socks or being distracted by your phone. Keep your gym bag organized, and try to go to the gym at off-peak times if possible in order to make the locker-room stop quicker.

 

6. Only using the machines: Sure, those strength-training machines can help you work certain muscles, but often they are just a waste of time. Using the machines at the gym means you become less engaged with your workout and are also only spot-training muscle groups — both of which are prime time-wasters. Cut your time on muscle-isolating gym machines, and use that time instead for total-body strength-training moves, like this full-body circuit workout with weights.

 

7. Not knowing what you’re doing: If you’re new to the gym, going in without any advice or instruction can mean a haphazard gym trip; even worse, your gym newbie status can lead you to perform moves improperly for an ineffective workout. Instead, take advantage of the free training consultation many gyms provide; you’ll be able to learn more about essential strength-training moves and the gym floor setup. You should also take beginner-level fitness classes so you can follow along and learn instead of trying to figure it out yourself; being part of a class can make the gym feel less intimidating when you’re new.

 

 

Source

07
June 2015
Are you food literate?

Food Literacy is understanding the process of how food gets to your plate and what types of foods should be on your plate.

 

Sounds simple, but there are a lot of moving parts. One researcher defined food literacy to including planning and management, selection, preparation and eating. Jamie Oliver’s advocacy for food literacy in the U.S. the past few years has made it painfully clear Americans don’t really know the best foods to eat and default to starchy, sweet and processed.

 

Beyond the balance of produce, grains and proteins in our diet there is more to consider. How much energy is used to produce our food? Should Americans eat the average of nine ounces of meat daily? (answer no!) How often should be buy local? How important is organic? It quickly gets complicated!

 

Recently at the Urban Ag Conference, I had the opportunity to listen to food advocates talk about food literacy. Community workers in poor areas talked about how little information is needed to move families to healthier eating habits without harming budgets. Here are some ideas we can all implement in our own communities:

 

COOK

 

The most subversive thing we can do to fight “BigFood” is to prepare meals at home. Home cooks used fresh ingredients and less sugar and salt and very little (if any) food additives and dyes.

 

But saying that and implementing that are entirely different things.

 

Community participants need to teach people how to cook healthy foods. This can be done at Farmers Markets, through community classes, and through the school system. We can work with local elected officials to find funding and develop program that best meet local needs. Don’t look for blanket solutions, look for methods that resonate with your community.

 

BE A ROLE MODEL, NOT AN ASS

 

We can be role models in our community by practicing what we preach. Bring a healthy appetizer to your next party or talk to a neighbor about your farmers market finds. Give a demonstration in your kid’s school about the amount of sugar in drinks. Heck, start a blog about healthy eating.

 

PATIENCE

 

If you’ve ever been on a diet you know how easy it is to slip back into old habits. Even if you feel better with new food choices, life can get in the way and people can backslide. That’s OK, don’t judge, just be there for your community and continue to help those who ask (please don’t foist yourself unto people who don’t want the attention!).

 

FLAVOR

 

Any food you’re sharing with others needs to taste good. Let’s face it green smoothies that seem to glow are alarming to someone who would rather chomp on a hamburger. Develop a few recipes that are flavorful, easy to share and inexpensive.

 


Take the Food Literacy Quiz at TrueFoodMovement.com!

 

26
May 2015
Benchin'

Experts agree that keeping your chest workouts well rounded makes for the best results – and here’s three other lifts to help you do just that.

 

A well-sculpted chest can give you an imposing physique as well as improve your overall posture. Of course, to get such a chest, you may have to put in a lot of hard work in the gym and keep your body fueled with muscle-building foods such as proteins and carbohydrates. If you have the will, patience, and desire to improve your physical appearance, here are 3 chest exercises to perform at least once every week:

 

1. Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press


The twisting dumbbell bench press is a variation of the popular bench press exercise. It is one of the most effective workouts for building upper body strength and parts like the chest. Furthermore, it is easy to master making it the ideal workout for beginners who want to improve their upper body physique fast.

 

2. Weighted push-ups


Another common and popular exercise that you can change a bit to build a bigger chest is the push-up. In this case, you perform push-ups while carrying extra weight on your back. It is advisable to have a training partner around to help you position weights onto your back though this is not mandatory.

 

3. Dips

 

Unlike the other two exercises described above, most people tend to shun dips while working out in the gym. This is largely because they can be tough to perform for beginners. Nevertheless, they are great exercises for sculpting and enhancing the size of the chest. Furthermore, you can perform dips anywhere provided there are bars or beams to hold onto with both hands.

 

Find step-by-step instructions for these workouts at MuscleAndFitnessTips.org!

26
May 2015
Get you gone!

Hiking is fun, sure – and a great way to explore the beauty of the great outdoors; but did you know that its benefits go far beyond just physical activity?

 

Hiking is great way to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the outdoors. One of the main advantages of hiking is that it is an activity that is highly adaptable to many individual circumstances, such as fitness level, free time, monetary constraints, and length of travel desired.

 

In fact, this sport is one of the easiest physical pastimes to begin enjoying. Aside from providing a great source of physical activity and exercise, this fun hobby also has many hidden benefits that you will enjoy as you explore the hiking opportunities available in your locality.

 

Fight Stress With Each Hike

 

The modern world is demanding and nearly everyone must adhere to hectic work and family schedules. Taking time out to relax is important, and most people are already aware of the stress relieving properties of exercise.

 

Hiking not only provides the physical relief of other exercise options, but spending time outdoors and in nature has been shown to be a powerful stress and anxiety reliever. People who spend more time in outdoor green spaces exhibit lower levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which translates into a happier, healthier and more relaxed state of mind. Hiking perfectly combines exercise with time in nature.

 

Improved Quality of Sleep

 

Sleep deprivation has almost become the norm in today’s society. Whether you’re kept awake from stress, a constant flow of emails or an inability to shut off the TV, computer or mobile device, you’re not alone.

 

Nearly 20 percent of Americans report getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night. Most people need, on average, about 6-7 hours of sleep nightly to be adequately rested. Hiking, along with the benefits of aiding relaxation and reducing anxiety, can also help people to achieve a higher quality of sleep.

 

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep by over 50 percent in those who engage in a regular schedule of exercise. Thus, hiking can be an important part of getting a better night’s sleep.

 

Bonus Sleep Benefits of Camping

 

If you choose to take your hike to the next level and decide to spend an entire night in nature, or a few nights, you are helping your sleep cycle tremendously.

Most of us in the modern world have gotten so used to the artificial lights, noises and distractions of modern technology that our bodies have forgotten how and when it’s time to sleep. A night under the stars is a good way to reset that.

 

Your body will be in complete darkness at night and teach itself to wake up with the sun, as you’re meant to naturally. Just remember to not bring any electronic gadgets that you don’t absolutely need. Having a phone and GPS for emergencies is the only one I’d suggest, and only turn them on when you need them.

 

Hiking Helps to Build Stronger, Healthier Bones

 

Not only does hiking strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility, it also helps to build stronger bones. Exercise that is weight bearing, meaning that you are on your feet and supporting your entire body weight with your legs,causes new bone tissue to form.

 

Adding to your bone mass helps to avoid accidental breaks or fractures, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and strengthens your entire body. Hiking is a low-impact weight bearing exercise, making it appropriate for nearly any age group or level of fitness.

 

Hiking – A Whole Body & Mind Workout

 

Hiking requires that you utilize every part of your body, improves your balance and coordination and helps to build overall core strength. It also stimulates your senses as you bask in the beauty of nature, improves your mental capabilities as you maintain your trail route and creates an increased awareness of your surroundings.

 

Hiking lets you take full control of your workout, because you can go as fast or slow as you want and can control the level of intensity you experience. Because of the adaptability of hiking, both beginners and seasoned fitness aficionados can benefit from and achieve a satisfying workout.

 

You don’t need any special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes, you don’t need to pay for a fitness club membership and you don’t have to deal with the anxiety of learning how to operate exercise machines.

 

Hiking is good for your body, mind and soul.

 

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