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October 31, 2008

Fitness: Stretching - The Magic Bullet?

Circle What if I told you I knew a way you could increase your annual salary by 30 percent? Perhaps you’d be more interested if I told you I could make your food 30 percent more satisfying. Maybe I’d have your attention if I could convince you that the same strength-training routine you’ve been doing for years could be 30 percent more efficient. Well, if you know the undisclosed weapon for achieving the first two, go ahead and send that tidbit of invaluable information my way, while I let you in on the secret to locking down the third. It’s a little thing I like to call stretching.

Not just for increasing flexibility anymore, stretching after each set done for a particular muscle group can lead to increased strength gains on the size of said muscle group, as well as boost growth abilities. But let’s face it…we think about stretching as we’re speeding through our workout about as much as we pause to think about flossing every morning – a nice touch, but only if we have time. Studies suggest that fascial stretching - a slightly more intense form of stretching – added during rest periods between sets (not even adding time to your normal routine) can amp up muscular strength and size.

According to Nick Nilsson, President of an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company called BetterU, Inc, explains how stretching is the solution to avoiding plateaus in muscular strength and development.

"Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body.
Because fascia is so tough, it doesn't allow the muscle room to expand. It is like stuffing a large pillow into a small pillowcase. The size of the muscle won't change regardless of how hard you train or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your muscles is constricting the muscles within."

Nilsson suggests holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds after each set, which also meets American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines. He also stresses the importance of stretching following strength training, while the muscle is “pumped up,” or showered with increased blood flow.

The fitness staff at Green Mountain at Fox Run leads women through stretches before, during, and after each activity, thus preventing them from being tired, sore, and achy the next day…not to mention super-charging the efficiency of each workout by creating possible strength gains.

According to Lynnann Covell, an 18-year fitness staff veteran at Green Mountain, a number of women verbally express improvements in flexibility, strength, and stamina by day three – even participants with arthritis. I don’t know about you, but those effects coupled with the idea that more muscle means greater calorie-burning capabilities has me sold. Enjoy your day – I’m off to stretch!

 Fascial stretching video

Author: Meredith Beckman - Fitness Specialist/Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, Green Mountain at Fox Run

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Posted by Cindy on October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 30, 2008

Halloween Healthy Recipe: Mummy Hot Dogs

mummy dogs detailWhen family came to visit last weekend, my niece and nephew had a ball making this fun and festive Halloween healthy recipe. Just a few ingredients, a little prep, and BOOm! A yummy mummy dog.  It's an easy, healthy eating snack to make with a group of little (or big) goblins.

Makes 12 Mummy Dogs

1  11-oz. package refrigerated bread stick dough (12 bread sticks)

12  turkey or lean beef hotdogs

Ketchup and mustard

Capers, black olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unwrap bread. Stretch each bread stick to 12 inches. Wrap dough around frankfurters, letting the frankfurters show slightly through the bread. Press in capers for eyes (or you can also use a toothpick to dab some ketchup). Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Serve with Ketchup and mustard. 

Have a Happy Halloween-y!

Hat tip to Moon Dreams and Day Beams blog.

Posted by Laura on October 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

Get Ready for Healthy Weight Week

They don't get the attention the Academy Awards do, but they ought to.  I'm talking about the Slim Chance Awards, given to the "the “worst” of the worst of the many weight-loss products and programs that flood the internet, the airwaves, and the pages of print materials in seemingly increasing numbers."  Whether they're promises for women's weight loss or any other version of the subject, we can be sure they're not about healthy lifestyles or self-acceptance.

Healthy Weight Week is sponsored by the Healthy Weight Network and describes 2009's event as "the 16th annual Healthy Weight Week is a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems.  Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights."  

Last year's award winners:

Evercleanse, Most Outrageous Claim
Bio SpeedSLIM, Worst Claim
HoodiaHerbal, Worst Product
Hollywood Detox Body Wrap, Worst Gimmick

You can see they're serious!

Send nominations to Francie Berg, Coordinator Task Force on Weight Loss Abuse, National Council Against Health Fraud, Healthy Weight Network; 402 South 14th Street; Hettinger, ND 58639, along with supporting material or online link if possible. Or email her at [email protected]  Put Healthy Weight Week in the subject line.

Posted by Marsha on October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2008

Healthy Living: Stop! Don't Touch That Refrigerator Door!

Well, not unless you want to catch a cold, suggest research scientists  from the University of Virginia. It's difficult to determine just how many folks catch colds or the flu from simply touching everyday items like doorknobs and light switches each year. But, we now know, that cold germs can live on these objects for up to a day or more. Yuck.

This recent study found:

Out of thirty adults showing early symptoms of colds, sixteen tested positive for rhinovirus, which causes about half of all colds. They were asked to name 10 places in their homes they had touched in the preceding 18 hours.

"We found that commonly touched areas like refrigerator doors and handles were positive about 40 percent of the time" for cold germs, Winther said.

All three of the salt and pepper shakers they tested were contaminated. Other spots found to harbor the germ: 6 out of 18 doorknobs; 8 of 14 refrigerator handles; 3 of 13 light switches; 6 of 10 remote controls; 8 of 10 bathroom faucets; 4 of 7 phones, and 3 of 4 dishwasher handles.

Additionally, they found that mucus from the infected adults stayed on items up to two days. Double yuck.

So, does that mean that our mother's were right? Of course...they're always right! Remember to wash your hands, and don't put your fingers in your nose! Mom always knows best.

On the bright side (if there is one), this should give us all pause next time we mindlessly turn on the TV to occupy ourselves, or open the refrigerator door to stand there while the cool air washes over us wondering what's good to eat. Instead, we might put down the remote control and take a brisk walk around the block. Fresh air is good for the common cold!                                                    

(I don't really know if that's true - but that's what my mother told me).

Source: Marilyn Marchione - AP

Illustration: Seattlepi.com

Posted by Cindy on October 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 27, 2008

Diabetes: Denial and Depression

Debbie Hendrick, from DiabetesMine, brings up a good point about what she calles the 3 D's: diabetes, denial and depression.

Writing women with type 2 diabetes she's come to know, Blogger Hendrick writes that she is "shocked how so many...strong, beautiful ladies talk about denial and depression. One women voiced, ironically, that "she had a hard time getting out of bed that morning to make [her] way to a Saturday’s motivational luncheon."

Other diabetes community sites, like DiabeticConnect community, are also filled with women outpouring story after story of trying to cope with the emotional stress, depression, and denial of Type 1 and type 2 diabetes .

But new programs that come to aid 3D sufferers are beginning to crop up. Doctors Polonsky and Guzman from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI), located in San Diego, California, are emphasizing that depression and diabetes are a "documented pair" and anti-depressants aren't always effective in diabeics.  BDI, instead, offers "down-to-earth strategies for intervention," one of which is called DiaBudies - a mentorship program.

DiaBuddies is a mentor program for children and adults of all ages with type I and type 2 diabetes . This program matches up clients with a DiaBuddy that can best relate to their needs, based on age, gender, type of diabetes and other considerations.

DiaBuddies provides personal support to help adjust to a new diagnosis, address ongoing issues with diabetes, and/or offer understanding and motivation towards a more successful life with diabetes. All mentors are certified through a training workshop led by DiaBuddies/BDI staff. Supervision meetings are held with the DiaBuddies and BDI clinical psychologists to ensure that the mentorship is successful and progressive.

Although the program is not yet nationwide, there are other online communities sites that offer support, such as TuDiabetes, a social network site.

Women who can travel to the east coast can join Green Mountain at Fox Run's Living Well Program, which is a community supported weekly retreat located in Ludlow, Vermont.  It's a  healthy lifestyle program, run jointly by Green Mountain and Joslin Diabetes Center, that couples  their renowned weight loss program with diabetes management, which includes strategies for coping with stress, emotional issues as well as behavior modification.

For more information, read more about the Living Well diabetes management program online.

Posted by Laura on October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2008

Healthy Halloween Recipe: Spicy 'Bruised' Bugs

This healthy recipe from 365 Halloween are in bright shades of green, yellow, and black. For a snappy, cripsy texture, use fresh or frozen veggies for a crispy texture, and avoid canned. It's a spooktakular way to get kids who "don’t like vegetables" to enjoy healthy eating.

Ingredients (organic whenever possible, fresh or frozen):

  • 2 parts peas
  • 2 parts black beans (canned is ok)
  • 2 parts corn
  • 1 part avocados, largely cubed
  • 1 part carrots, cubed or shaped (see below for ideas)

Toss together above ingredients in a bowl. The following spices are approximate, so use them as a guide and do everything "to taste". I actually like a little less cumin and a little more nutritional yeast, but I adjust the spices every time for new combinations and it is always delicious:

  • 2 parts cumin
  • 1 part ginger
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 2 parts nutritional yeast (or “cheesy sprinkles” as we call them)
  • cold-pressed olive oil, just enough to coat veggies
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or salt)

Drizzle oil and sprinkle spices into mixed veggies. Cumin, ginger, and especially cloves can be acquired tastes due to their intense flavor so try small amounts at first and slowly increase to reach desired taste. Serve in either an equally brightly colored or a black bowl.

For the carrots, we like to use tiny fondant cutters (generally found in the cake decorating supply isle at craft stores). First make thin slices with a mandolin type slicer (or a knife) and then use the cutter to punch out the shape. As you can see, we used stars. Sean decided to get creative and cut out some freeform shapes with a knife. He made a cleaver, dagger, ghost, pumpkin, and a rocket with the word "sugar" carved into it (those are black mustard seeds on top). If you have the time and inclination you can make any spooky shapes you want. Spiders would probably be pretty easy and go great with the "bug" theme.

Also, read our Halloween Recipe for Pizza Mummies.

Posted by Laura on October 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

More on Healthy Weights & Reading

51ilyzv1gwl_sl500_aa240__3A couple weeks ago, I posted about research that showed reading books that young girls could identify with helped improve self esteem and might be a good way to reach them with helpful fitness and health information. Emphasis on the helpful, which to us at Green Mountain means health at every size [HAES] messages.

For anyone who can use a primer on what HAES is all about, I'm thrilled to report that Linda Bacon has published her long-awaited book (long-awaited in HAES circles at least) "Health at Every Size, The Surprising Truth about your Weight." Excerpts from the website:

Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem.

A society that rejects anyone whose size or body shape doesn't meet an impossible ideal is the problem.

A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem.

The solution? Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size is not a diet book. Read it and you will be convinced that the best way to win the war against fat is the give up the fight.

This is a book with helpful messages that anyone concerned about womens healthy living -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- can really use.

Posted by Marsha on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 21, 2008

Healthy Self Esteem in Hollywood – Where ‘O Where ART Thou?

I tried watching Desperate Housewives. I t looked like it might be fun when it first came out, but I grew weary of its manipulative style very quickly. Yet, it’s still on and apparently getting good enough ratings to return for a fifth season.

Quite by accident, I happened across it last week only to discover that one of the main housewives, Eva Longoria’s character ‘Gabby’, now has a couple of children - fat ones.

What I saw in just a few minutes was Eva, shopping with her overweight daughter (who, by the way, looks exactly like I did until I was about 12 -adorable!), for some kind of princess/party dress at a costume store. Of course, it doesn’t fit, and so the humiliation begins.

In an effort to add to the hilarity, the adults portrayed, show all the compassion of a tube of toothpaste. Ignorance and insensitivity abound! Later, the young girl is shown eating a half a sheet of birthday cake at the party and even more ridiculous the clueless Longoria, repeatedly tricks her child into running along side her car while she stops and starts as the young girl tries to open the door and get in, this, in an effort, to get her to exercise.

I confess I know next to nothing about her plot line. But, I guess I know enough to understand that her fat children are supposed to be her penance. Gabby was the neighborhood sexpot who ran around in her underwear while cheating on her husband with the gardener. Now she’s going to pay, right?

To the writers, directors, producers and overpaid actors of Desperate Housewives, way to live up to your name…desperate.

Judge for yourself. Video

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Posted by Cindy on October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 20, 2008

Diabetes: Halloween Treats Are Tricky for Diabetic Kids

Kids love Halloween, but for children with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, trick or treating pose a challenge. Tempting candy is hard to resist when all the other kids get to partake, so what can parents do to encourage healthy eating and good blood glucose management during the holiday?

  • Place the emphasis on having fun in other ways.
  • Celebrate the festivities with creative crafts, costume making, and decorations.
  • Let your child to host his or her own party and plan a healthy menu.
  • Consult with your child's physician on how to factor in some candy into an overall healthy eating plan.
  • Trade some of the sweets for an alternative 'treat' such as a much desired toy, sporting equipment, video game, or special outing.
  • Help your child sort through the candy so that they can decide which items to enjoy in the short and or to store for another occasion.
  • Use the Joslin Diabetes Center's Pediatric and Adolescent Services website to review a list of 15 gram Halloween treats.

With a little planning and assistance, your child will find it easier to manage their Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and still enjoy this fun time!

Posted by Laura on October 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 17, 2008

Healthy Eating: Halloween Candy Doesn't Have to Be Scary

Be afraid...Be very afraid?

Are you spooked by all the candy corn, marshmellow ghosts, licorice black cats and other Halloween treats that are everywhere you look this time of year?  Are you haunted at work by coworkers who bring in bags to share? Are you apprehensive in stores, banks and even doctor's offices because you know you'll see little bowls of goodies just waiting for another victim? Eeeeeeek - what's a healthy eating person to do?

Answer: Indulge a little!

In a past post called Holiday Treats Are Meant To Eat - Mindfully, Cindy points out that traditional holiday goodies are a good thing! The important thing is to be aware of your eating behavior:

  • Eat treats when you really want them. Not just because they're there.
  • Give yourself permission. No sneaking!
  • Sit down. Be mindful. Savor the experience.
  • Taste what you’re eating. If you’re not crazy about fruitcake, leave it be, eat something that really rocks your boat.
  • Put closure on your eating. Treats are just that - a treat – not a substitute for lunch!
  • Make it count. Indulge in special holiday treats only in conjunction with a healthy diet. Don't skip or skimp on meals because you had a piece of fudge!
  • Rejoice in the season.

So make a conscious decision to enjoy a Halloween treat once in a while, you'll lose the fear and feel empowered!

Posted by Laura on October 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack