Fruits and vegetables have always been a part of a healthy diet. But how much should we consume on a daily basis? And does it really matter?
According to research published online March 1, 2021 by the journal Circulation and posted on Harvard Health, there are substantial health benefits to eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day versus consuming only 2.
Benefits include lower risks of death from heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease such as COPD.
1. Start by adding 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables to your daily food intake until you reach the recommended 5 servings a day.
2. Try new fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.
3. Experiment with new recipes that include a variety of vegetables.
4. Enjoy a piece of fruit as a delicious snack between meals.
“Swimming” lengthens and strengthens the spine as well as improves the muscles helpful in maintaining good posture. It is especially necessary for those of us who spend many hours sitting on a daily basis. Try this exercise 3-5x a week for 3-10 repetitions and you’ll both see & feel the difference in no time!
Set-Up: small area on the floor on carpet or a mat Lie on your stomach with legs about hip-width apart and arms reaching overhead, keeping shoulders down.
***engage core up into spine & tuck your “tail” under ***float 1 leg off the floor and the opposite arm off the floor ***hold hover for 2-3 seconds, then set arm & leg down ***repeat by switching the floating leg and arm
***repeat the set-up ***engage core up into spine & tuck your “tail” under ***float your head (reaching long) and all limbs off the floor ***keeping all limbs off the floor, lift opposite arm & leg slightly higher & switch quickly maintaining a contraction in your abs
***repeat the set-up & steps for intermediate and challenge the work by balancing on a bosu while performing the exercise
PRO TIP: This exercise is more about the length than the height.
Interested in leading a more heart-healthy lifestyle? Small steps go a long way especially when you connect with others to stay motivated. This fact sheet suggests several lifestyle changes you can make starting today and ways to get your friends, family, and colleagues involved.
Information provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
You may think that flexibility is only important for gymnasts and dancers. However, we all need to maintain a level of flexibility throughout our life.
As a part of the aging process, flexibility decreases. Some of the reasons include increased stiffness in our joints, decreased water in our tissues & spine and loss of elasticity throughout the muscle tendons & tissue. This can negatively impact everything from posture and balance to the ease at which we perform the daily tasks of life.
The good news is you can slow and even reverse poor flexibility. One of the best ways is to stretch on a regular basis. There are 3 types of stretching: static, isometric and dynamic.
Static: this type of stretching is probably the one most of us are familiar with and have done at some time in our lives. It consists of holding a position (stretch) for a period of time say 20-30 seconds. Static stretching is best done after a workout or sufficient warm-up. It’s not recommended as a warm-up prior to a workout.
Isometric: Similar to static stretching, you hold a position and gently contract your stretched muscle during a stretch. Hold your pose while alternating 15 to 20 seconds of contracting and relaxing your muscle. This type of stretching improves strength along with flexibility.
Dynamic: As the name implies, dynamic stretching involves moving through a specific range of motion. Examples include neck rolls, knee raises & leg circles. This type of stretching can be done before during and after a workout.
A great way to incorporate flexibility training into your schedule is to start or maintain a consistent Pilates practice. The diversity of Pilates equipment allows for greater support and overall comfort. And a well-rounded Pilates workout integrates a variety of stretches helping you to not only increase your flexibility but also improve posture, balance, and overall ease of daily living.