Archive for August, 2009

Back Pain? Try This Exercise!

Do you work a sedentary job? Or, do you have a long commute to and from work finding yourself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic? If this is the case then you could be suffering from back pain. Hours and hours of sitting create a poor posture and stiffness in the back joints. One way to protect your back from the harmful effects of sedentary life is by learning how to do a transverse abdominal draw! Once you master the exercise in the supine position (on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor), then you can begin to perform it at your desk, in your car, and finally walking around doing your chores, cardio, or weight training!

The transverse abdominal muscle is the first muscle to contract to stabilize the Lumbar spine with any movement of your trunk. If this muscle is not activating then you are a candidate for back pain or much worse.

How to:
• Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor.

• Lightly place your hands just below and to the sides of your belly button. Firmly press two fingers from each hand into your lower abdomen.

• Gently begin to draw your lower abdomen down towards the floor (picture a string pulling your navel towards the floor) but do not move your pelvis, raise your chest or hold your breath.

• Stop drawing in your stomach as soon as you feel your muscles get tight. The muscles underneath your fingers should feel taut but the movement does not require a lot of effort. If you move too far, you will in fact stop working your transverse abs and begin to work your oblique muscles (your side abdominal muscles) instead.

• Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, breathing normally the entire time.

• Do 10 repetitions.

August 31, 2009 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Reduce the Stress on Your Lower Back

LL003This is an excellent exercise both for stretching the lower back and reducing the stress on the lower back ligaments and discs.

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. With your knees bent, draw your legs towards your chest.
  3. Hold this position for 15 – 20 seconds and then relax.

August 28, 2009 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

Natural Healing Medicine

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Have some ginger! Ginger root has long been known as one of the healing herbs. Often used as a flavoring spice, it is a natural healing medicine that is used for a variety of ailments. Click here to read more on Healing Powers of Ginger by Blynthia Hall in LiveLiving Christian Health and Wellness eMagazine.

August 26, 2009 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Seated Rows

LiveLiving ImageIs your back beginning to look like the outside of a bowl?  Are shoulders rolled forward and in towards your chest? This could be a sign that your pectoralis muscles are extremely tight and that your back muscles are very weak.  One way to pull your shoulders back in line is by strengthening your back muscles.  The seated row exercise is a great way to correct your posture and avoid looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Here is how to perform the exercise.  Please keep in mind that you do not need a fancy machine to perform this exercise and the exact same move can be performed with an exercise resistance band.

 Seated row:

  1. Begin by sitting on the machine with your chest against the chest pad, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Reach forward to hold the handles with your arms straight.  Pull your shoulders back and maintain a straight line between the back surface of your hand and your wrist.
  3. On the contraction of your back muscles, keep your chest against the chest pad and pull back by bending the elbows until your hands are in front of your stomach. Your elbows should travel directly backwards.
  4. Slowly return towards the starting position, stopping just before your elbows are almost straight.  Repeat the move for 15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.  If 15 repetitions are easy, you will need to increase your resistance.

August 24, 2009 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

If You’re not Regular You Need to Read This

LiveLiving Image 8797My grandmother ate prunes often. As kids, my brother, sister and I would snicker when we saw her eat them because we knew where those prunes would later send her. She would try persuading us to eat them, but it only took a few times for us to figure out that eating prunes might cause a short interruption in our play time. The whole idea of regularity is often underestimated and though it may not sound pleasant, regular bowel movements are an indication of good digestion.

All prunes are from plums, but only a certain plum can become a prune. Prunes actually come from dried European plums. Usually European plums are blue in color. They have a thick flesh, oval shape and tend to be sweet and aromatic, but not juicy. In fermentation juicy plums will spoil before they dry out so they cannot become prunes.

Nutrition benefits

The high fiber content of prunes makes them beneficial in reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and diverticular disease. High fiber foods are generally more successful for weight loss than low fiber ones.

Prunes are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron. They contain a diverse group of plant compounds called phenolics that have a variety of health benefits and are high in antioxidants. Prunes actually have more antioxidants than blueberries. The antioxidants prevent free radical damage to fats which is a significant benefit. Cholesterol which is a kind of fat that becomes a danger to us when damaged by free radicals (oxidized) in the body. Prunes help prevent this type of damage by delivering more protective enzymes than any other food.

August 21, 2009 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

Is There a Best Time to Exercise?

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Although the most popular time to exercise is between 4 and 8 pm (that’s when most people get off work and school), there is not best time to workout. For some, 6 am works best. For others exercising at that time would be nauseating. Likewise, many like to finish work and head straight to the fitness club to unwind. The best time to workout is whatever time works best for you.

August 19, 2009 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Releasing Stress from the Upper Body

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The neck and shoulder region is the major storehouse for muscular tension. People experience discomfort and pain in this region because of job-related activities, such as working at a computer all day, poor postural habits, or trauma (e.g. from a motor vehicle accident). Stretching the upper trapezius muscles can provide great relief from the pain or tightness that has built up in these muscles; however, overstretching or stretching too aggressively can create more pain and inflammation.

When performing this stretch, maintain a pain free motion at all times. This stretch can be performed 3 or 4 times a day and is great to perform during breaks from long hours spent at the computer. If you are experiencing headaches, neck pain, ear aches, or jaw pain, a primary culprit could be an upper trapezius muscle that is too tight.

The movement:

•Sit or Stand

• Place your right arm behind your back

• Place your left arm on the top of your head

• With your head in a neutral position, eyes forward, slowly bend your left ear towards your left shoulder. Gently apply pressure with your left hand giving an easy stretch on the right side of your neck.

• Repeat on the opposite side. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and perform 2-3 sets a couple of times per day.

August 17, 2009 at 12:33 am Leave a comment

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