Monday, June 21, 2010

Superman Exercise for back strength

This is my favorite exercise for building back strength.

You can perform this exercise from a few different starting positions, depending on what is comfortable for you. Start either by lying forward over a physio-ball, with hands and toes touching the floor to stabilize you, on the floor on your hands and knees, or lying flat on your tummy, with arms outstretched overhead.

Now raise your right leg a few inches of the floor, while at the same time raising your left arm up off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, and then repeat with opposite leg and arm. Repeat 10 times.

The more advanced version is to lie flat of your tummy, and raise both arms and legs off at the same time, holding as long as you can – up to 2 minutes.

Keep your neck neutral during this exercise, and maintain a strong core while performing it – that means belly tight.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Brief Introduction to Fascia

Fascia is a connective tissue in your body that surrounds and supports every single structure, including bone, organs, muscles, blood vessels and even individual cells. It runs from top of your head to the tip of your toes, in a 3-D web, literally providing the framework off which everything is contained, separated, supported and protected.

Fascia is tough yet pliable, but can become solidified and shortened through poor posture, trauma and inflammation. (Fascia has lots of nerve supply, but not as much blood supply, making it slower to heal, but more painful than some tissues when injured.)

This tightening and shortening in one area will pull on the rest of the fascial web, causing distortions and strain within the body, not to mention more pain and decreased range of motion.

To break it down on a smaller level, lets take a muscle. Fascia surrounds the muscle itself, separating it from other muscles near by. It also surrounds everything that makes up the muscle: every muscular fascicle, fibril, mycrofibril and cell within the muscle. If there is a restriction in one part of the fascia within this muscle, it will place tension and pressure on the entire muscle, causing it to work harder to contract and relax, leading to fatigue, and potentially more trauma.

The restrictions within this single muscle will cause tension on surrounding structures as well. Think of it like a pull in a knit sweater. If you tug on the pull, it will tighten the weave of the garment, causing scrunching and bunching not just at the pull site, but way up at distant spots also.

So sometimes your neck pain isn’t coming from your neck at all!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vegetarian Low Carb Sushi Recipe

California rolls are filled with white rice, fake crab, and sometimes mayo, along with some veggies (like the smallest piece of avocado on the planet, and a tiny sliver of cucumber). Not a great choice for someone trying to eat healthy. I want to share with you an alternative that is much more nutritious, but just as yummy.

Dee’s Veggie Sushi

Nori sheets – 4, can be purchased at most grocery stores.
Cabbage – about 1/2 small head, shredded finely – replaces the rice
Carrot – 3, shredded
Lettuce – 3 leaves, chopped into strips
Asparagus Spears – 4 (one for each roll)
Avocado – 1
Sprouts – any kind

Put a bit of each veggie across one end of a nori sheet, add a dash of curry powder and turmeric, and roll it up. Wet the end to seal, and let sit a few minutes before cutting into bite sized pieces.

You can purchase a bamboo mat to help with the rolling, and they are great. You can find them right beside the nori sheets at most grocery stores.

I will sometimes put a drop or two of soy sauce on each one (rather than dipping them into sauce), but they taste pretty good as is too!

This makes 4 rolls, which cut into about 5 or 6 pieces each. I would eat this all myself for lunch. It looks like a lot of food, but other than the avocado, it isn’t much in the way of calories. You can split this between a few people, and have it with some lean protein, or double the batch and make it a stand-alone meal!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exercise: Wall Squat

Wall Squat

This is a fabulous exercise for building leg strength, and anyone that has a wall can do it! You might want to have a chair close by also, just in case you need the support.
Start by leaning your back against a wall, with feet shoulder width apart and about a femur length away from the wall (Just my cheeky way of saying that when you squat down, you want your knees to be stacked over your ankles).
Now press your low back into the wall, and slide down the wall until you are squatting! Just go as far as is comfortable – remember that you have to get back up again! Hold the squat position as long as you can, up to a minute or two, and then slowly rise back up, supporting your back on the wall.
If you didn’t feel that you are either in need of further instruction, or you are amazing!