We rely on our feet to get us around, support us in exercise & provide critical feedback on our balance & stability. Yet we tend to neglect our most important foundations–until they give us trouble. The moves below also help with tight arches or ankles, which can lead to stress and strain in the knee & hip joints as well as increase our risk of tripping (and falling!).
I discovered these tricks when trying to find relief for a chronically painful spot on the ball of my foot – a neuroma, I have since learned. Also, clients with sore thighs after hiking are often surprised to find out that an inflexible foot was actually the culprit
Relief is simple: preempt foot pain and improve balance & function with a few simple stretches and tennis ball rolls.
First roll the length of your bare foot over a tennis ball 10-20 times.
Next, pause and press over the arch & any tight spots. Finally, stretch the top of the foot, ankle & shin: stand 1-2 feet from a wall, facing away. Bring the top of one foot against the wall behind you (your toes will point toward ceiling). Gently and gradually orient that knee to the floor and lean back towards wall against your bent leg. Bring heel towards glute and stand up tall. Hold 10-60 seconds. Repeat 2-3x.
There are good planks, and there are great planks. Finding out which is which is the difference between really using your core muscles and just hanging out.
The before and after photos above illustrate this point. On the left, my client has engaged her upper back and shoulders to raise herself off the floor. There is very little core work here. On the right, she keeps the upper back level, transferring the work of elevating and holding the body to the midsection instead of the shoulders.
How to execute your perfect plank in 4 steps:
Start on hands and knees, palms just ahead of shoulders
Round shoulders up to ceiling, then relax to what feels like neutral, or flat across the shoulder blades (not rounded up). Check a mirror or have someone check for you.
Maintain this strict shoulder position. Do not allow any part of your torso from shoulder to hip to change.
Extend first one leg and then the other straight back so you’re on your toes and palms, in your perfect plank.
Here’s another great reason to make berries a regular part of your diet. A recent study showed that women who ate three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries per week decreased their heart attack risk by one-third. The study included nearly 94,000 women as part of the long-running Nurses Health Study II. Berries of all kinds contain healthful compounds called anthocyanins that bestow a range of benefits, including cancer prevention. Fresh or frozen, berries are a tasty way to amp up the health benefits of a salad, cereal or snack any time. Read the full article here:
What does it take to get fit, be healthy, and lose weight? It takes a plan, strategies to overcome excuses, support, information, and a vision. Most of all, though, it takes courage. Let’s face it, deciding to chart a new life course that includes exercise, eating more healthful food or facing down bad habits has a common thread – all these behaviors require change on a personal level. It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone, to step into that gym or class for the first time. Facing the objections or even criticism of others, changing a habit (sometimes saying “no, thanks” to lunch) – it all takes guts.
I think we fall in love with the idea of change, but when it comes time to put our plan into action, we resist. We may set goals and create visions of our potential new selves, but then we resist doing the very things that will launch our journey. Why? There could be many things running under the surface that hold us back and it will take courage to uncover those roadblocks. If you’re like many people, finding the courage to start can be hard. Good news: researchers say you can develop courage by practice.
Here’s a challenge: identify one thing you’ve been avoiding (yucky chores don’t count!) and commit to one small action step. Success builds on success and every small step towards what we want brings us closer to that courageous, fulfilled person we envision.
Meanwhile, to help you get started on a healthier eating plan, I’ve included a link to a delicious smoothie recipe I guarantee you’ll enjoy! Recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Market at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2879 I suggest using unsweetened almond milk and adding protein powder if you want a protein boost. About 220 calories per serving.
Everybody wants to be well. We yearn to be in control and feel better. We want more energy, but we don’t always know where to start. As a health educator, personal trainer and weight management coach, I can help. From basic exercise education to post rehabilitation we’ll build something together.
Personal fitness training, weight management and wellness for optimal health