A strong set of core muscles in your torso helps keep your back happy and allows you to do the movements and chores of daily living. I’ve written before about the importance of the transversus abdominus muscle as a key to your core support.
Many people can benefit from core work – such as office workers, new moms, and athletes. For example, I discovered that I could do certain yoga poses better after I took up Pilates. I thought I wasn’t flexible enough but it turns out I wasn’t strong enough.
This set of exercises recommended by coach Timothy Bell will help build your foundation for balanced core support and strength.
5 Fundamental Core and Abdominal Exercises for Beginners
The first session in a 10-series of structural integration has a focus on increasing “vital capacity.” One element of that is working with the ribs and lungs to allow a person to breath more fully and freely.
Recent research has revealed another key role played by the lungs. Scientists at the University of San Francisco, using a new kind of imaging, found that the lungs of mice are a significant partner in producing components of blood. They learned that the lungs produced over half the platelets circulating in the mice’s blood. Platelets help the blood clot when you have a cut. Additionally, the lungs of the mice had a store of blood stem cells. The same could very well be true for people. Take care of your lungs so they stay strong and healthy, not just for strong breathing but maybe also for your blood.
UCSF News Release
Wanting to achieve a goal can be useful to get us motivated. However, “keeping your eye on the prize” does not give any clues about how to get to that goal. Whether it’s completing all 10 sessions of structural integration, walking 10,000 steps per day, or accomplishing results on a project, the path to success is often a more gradual process rather than one eureka moment.
Making a plan is an effective way to get to the eventual goal. Identifying steps needed to get to the goal and some milestones along the way is a good start. Thinking ahead about how to get around roadblocks that might come up and establishing routines for your project can be really helpful.
Obviously, things will occasionally come up that put us off track. No need to give up, just return to the process. Some advice I received is to follow the plan 80% of the time and ask for support or assistance when needed. I try to keep that in mind, be patient, and enjoy the moments on my way to the eventual goal.
At my office job, we have an annual chili cook-off. A colleague in my group won this year with Moroccan Chickpea Chili. That sent me off to the web to find a version to try at home. Cooking Light came through. I really like this recipe, plus it is quick and easy! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – many are spices. I had cooked black beans in the freezer so I used them instead of canned.
My slightly modified version of Moroccan Chickpea Chili
Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 stalk chopped celery
- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
How to Make It – Get the instructions here
Posted in exercise
Tagged food, health
A client asked recently about people unexpectedly experiencing strong emotions while receiving bodywork.
Why would strong emotions occur during a session of bodywork? One explanation is because of how your skin and brain are connected. When an embryo develops, it has three layers. The skin, brain and nerves all develop from the same layer – the ectoderm. These systems remain interconnected throughout life. Manual therapy such as SI affects your neuromuscular system. Nerves in your skin, muscles and connective tissue carry information to your brain. The limbic system in your brain contains the structures that regulate your emotions and form memories. It’s a back-and-forth conversation in the body.
In addition to manual therapy such as SI, exercise like running, yoga or lifting weights can also trigger such emotional releases. Ideas on why emotional releases occur during exercise include how brain chemicals like brain-derived neurotrophic factor are affected by a workout, or how amino acids called peptides flow through your body.
To learn more:
The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality by R. Louis Schultz and Rosemary Feitis
Experience Life article: Laugh, Cry Lift
Those of us who live or work in Minneapolis get our drinking water from the Mississippi River. The city has an extensive water treatment system before the water goes to your home or business. A recent report from the MPCA documents how the quality of the Mississippi River’s water changes from the headwaters to the greater Metro-St. Cloud area. Governor Dayton has declared this the year of water action, and this report illustrates some of the reasons why we all need to pay attention to clean water.
The study finds the Mississippi to be a largely healthy river in its northern reaches, owing largely to forested and wetland landscapes it flows through.
It then acquires significant problems south of St. Cloud, where tributaries from agricultural and more developed landscapes begin to flow into the Mississippi.
See a summary of the report or look at more details about the watershed.
Kale and other leafy greens have been popular for a while because they are nutritional powerhouses. They are tasty, high in fiber and contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals (for details, see WebMD Top 10 Leafy Green Vegetables). They are also low in calories. One way I get my daily greens is in a green smoothie, as I wrote about previously.
A recent study from the University of Illinois provides even more incentive to keep leafy greens – along with other green vegetables – on your menu routinely.
Farm share photo by my share partner.
A study of older adults links consumption of a pigment found in leafy greens to the preservation of “crystallized intelligence,” the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.