Monthly Archives: January 2017

Keep on Moving!

Keep on moving, don’t stop! On the coldest days, try this indoor workout.

Getting your blood pumping outdoors — even just a brisk walk around the block — can help keep you strong, healthy, and happy throughout the winter. But when the wind is whipping, the sidewalks are icy, and you feel truly stuck, resist the sofa’s siren song. This indoor cardio circuit from Cleveland Clinic fitness expert Ryan Sidak will jump-start your engine with no home gym required! Do the sequence below two to five times, depending on your fitness level.

High Knees: Standing upright, raise your right knee up toward your chest as high as you can. Return your right foot to the ground and repeat with the left knee. For more intensity, increase the pace so that you are running in place with high knees. Do 20 repetitions.

Mountain Climbers: Secure a chair by pushing it against a wall. Place your palms flat on the seat of the chair and extend your body straight back, in a line from the top of your head to your heels. Begin in a push-up position, hands directly below your shoulders. Now raise one knee, as close to your chest as you can, and return it to the starting positing. Repeat with opposite leg and continue alternating for 20 repetitions. If you’d like, when you’re ready, you can increase the pace for a more intense workout.

Lunges: Standing upright, lift your right foot off the ground and take a big step forward. While shifting your weight to the front right foot, lower the knee of the left leg toward the ground. Be careful that your right knee doesn’t extend beyond your toes. Maintain a good upright posture all the while, and press up through your right heel to the starting position. Perform 6 to 10 lunges, always leading with the right side and then repeating with the left.

Wellness Challenge: Salads

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What could be better than a taste of summer in the depths of winter? Your wellness challenge for this week is to have a side salad with dinner for four or more nights this week. Need some motivation? Here are some reasons why eating salads is good for you:

Eat Salads for the Fiber

Eating a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation. And eating more fiber can help you feel fuller, eat less, and ultimately lose weight.

Eat Salads for the Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetables

Many experts agree that Americans need to eat more fruit and vegetables (especially dark green and orange vegetables) and legumes — all popular salad ingredients. There is plenty of evidence that nutrient-rich plant foods contribute to overall health. If you frequently eat green salads, you’ll likely have higher blood levels of a host of powerful antioxidants (vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene,) especially if your salad includes some raw vegetables. Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.

Eat Salads to Cut Calories and Increase Satisfaction

If losing weight is your goal, you may want to start your meals with a green salad. Studies have shown that eating a low-calorie first course, like a green salad of 150 calories or less, enhances satiety (feelings of fullness) and reduces the total number of calories eaten during the meal.

“Bigger is better” as long as the salad is bigger in volume, not in calories – which means more veggies and less dressing and other fatty add-ons.

Eat Salads to Get Smart Fats

Eating a little good fat (like the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, avocado and nuts) with your vegetables appears to help your body absorb protective phytochemicals, like lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark green vegetables.

A recent study measured how well phytochemicals were absorbed by the body after people ate a salad of lettuce, carrot, and spinach, with or without 2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado. The avocado-eaters absorbed eight times more alpha-carotene and more than 13 times more beta-carotene (both of which are thought to help protect against cancer and heart disease) than the group eating salads without avocado.

If you dress your salad with a little olive oil, there may even be some additional years in it for you. Italian research on people aged 60 and older has suggested that a diet that includes plenty of olive oil and raw vegetables is linked to reduced mortality.

Click here for some ideas on delicious side salads. Enjoy!

Why Cruciferous Vegetables Are Good for You

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What do broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy have in common?

They’re all members of the cruciferous, or cabbage, family of vegetables. And they all contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber that are important to your health (although some have more than others.)

Various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining (endometrium), lung, colon, liver, and cervix, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And studies that track the diets of people over time have found that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of prostate cancer.

Lab studies show that one of the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane – can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells. Another way cruciferous vegetables may help to protect against cancer is by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the overload of harmful molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are generated by the body. Reducing these free radicals may reduce the risk of colon, lung, prostate, breast, and other cancers.

To maximize taste and nutrition, here are some tips for buying and cooking cruciferous vegetables:

• Don’t overcook cruciferous vegetables. They can produce a strong sulfur odor and become unappealing.
• You can buy several types of cruciferous vegetables ready-to-go in the frozen or fresh packaged sections of your supermarket, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
• No raw veggie platter is complete without dark green broccoli or snowy white cauliflower florets.
• Add raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your green salad to give it a big nutrient boost.
• Add chopped cruciferous veggies to soups, stews, and casseroles.
• When buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark green, or bluish hue on the top. They’re likely to contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than florets with lighter green tops. If it has yellow in it or is limp and bendable, the broccoli is old — don’t buy it.

Salsa Dancing

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Salsa dance has been around for several decades, but many gyms have recently started offering salsa dance classes. Salsa dancing involves a lot of spontaneous movements that can work a variety of muscles in your body, including the muscles in your legs, hips and even your arms. Unlike running, salsa dancing does not negatively impact your legs, but it can help you to burn up to ten calories per minute.

Freedom of Salsa Dance

Unlike traditional cardio classes, classes that focus on salsa dancing are not regimented. This can make them feel more fun and exciting. Salsa dancing usually requires you to dance with a partner and features a series of hip movements, twirls and other dance moves. However, the great thing about salsa dancing is the variety if offers. While other dancing styles require you to move in a certain way, there are many ways to salsa dance.

Benefits of Salsa Dancing

Once you learn to salsa dance, there are many benefits that you can enjoy. It burns calories quickly and keeps your body moving at all times. This not only keeps the activity fun and interesting, but it also keeps your heart rate up and keeps your muscles active too. All the movements you do will strengthen your lower body, make your hips more flexible and help you with your posture. You can also burn fat by salsa dancing.

If you want to get a good workout but are bored with traditional methods, salsa dancing might be for you. When done properly, it can help you improve your fitness levels in just a few sessions.

If you live on the Mendocino Coast, you might want to try the salsa lessons on Sundays from 5:00-7:00pm at the Weller House Inn at 524 Stewart Street in Fort Bragg. Call (707) 964-4415 for more information.