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Posts Tagged ‘free workouts’

super bowl 2013 rotator

This year I am SUPER excited for the Superbowl, my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing (and going to WIN!). Not only that, but I love a good football party. Sharing time with people you enjoy, delicious food, and unforgettable commercials – its always a good time.

Unfortunately, along with the fun of the party comes lots of calories and sitting (not really a winning combination).  According to an article in the USA Today, Super Bowl parties are second to Thanksgiving when it comes to the number of calories consumed.  If we are not careful, we could eat our daily intake of calories, doubled, during one super bowl game.

DO NOT FEAR!!!!

I have created a healthy, happy superbowl guide to help you. Below are my choice football party recipes and a workout to get you game day ready. You might be surprised how delicious choosing a healthier celebration feels and you’ll feel so good you’ll have ample energy for the after parties.  These resources you can prepare a game day plan that wins all around. Have fun, be safe, and GO NINERS!

Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Superbowl Guide.

SuperBowl Recipes. Plan ahead and cook up a few nutritious recipes so that you have something healthy to serve at your party. Here are a few of my favorites:

kale_3

Caroline’s Crispy Kale Chips

Ditch the Doritos and put out a bowl of these (healthy) bad boys instead. To make them, simply wash kale, dress with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, and roast in the oven until crunchy and crispy.

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  30 mins

Ingredients

1 large bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Wash kale, remove the inner rib or stem, and tear into chip-size pieces. Make the pieces a little larger than you want the chips because they will shrink.
  • The kale must be thoroughly dried. I ran it through a salad spinner, laid it out on paper towels for 5 minutes, and then ran it through the spinner once more.
  • Put the kale pieces in a gallon plastic baggie and add the olive oil. “Massage” the kale to ensure that each piece has a coating of oil.
  • Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can place them right on the sheet). You may need a to use more than one sheet or bake in batches.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt. Use a bit less than you think you need because the kale shrinks and the salt intensifies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the kale is crisp and slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If the chips last more than 5 minutes (mine never do) you can store them for 2 days in an airtight container or bag. Make sure they are cooled thoroughly before storing.

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary  ( adapted from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

Serve the fries alongside ketchup, lemon aioli, and perhaps a turkey burger, if you’re feeling frisky.

Eat-Clean-Vegetarian-Chili

Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili (Gluten/Dairy Free from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 10 servings

This chili is the perfect earthy blend of sweet and spicy. If you want to get even more rich flavor out of the vegetables, roast them until they are nice and caramelized and then add them to the stew. You’ll cut down on your stove-top cook time, and the extra step is worth it. If you can’t find chile negro any mild dried chili will work here.

Ingredients
2 ounces dried chile negro
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
Olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
Sea salt
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
3 28-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 small parsnips, peeled and diced
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the liquids. Rinse off the seeds and skin and discard along with the stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small food processor along with 1/2 cup of roughly chopped cilantro stems, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of soaking liquids. Puree until you get a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You want the spices to get nice and toasted. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. You want a soupy consistency, as the chili will thicken as it simmers.

Simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes more. Ladel the chili in bowls and serve!

Brownies

Winning Brownies (Click HERE to get the recipe from the Gracious Pantry. )

What-Rules-Football

Superbowl Fitness: Caroline’s “Get in the Game WORKOUT CHALLENGE” 

Fuel your SuperBowl Sunday with POWER by getting your workout in before the first commercial. The below drills are designed to work on your strength, speed, stamina, and agility while burning calories and boosting energy. It’s a challenging series – as always, please check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. And note: *You DO NOT need a football or access to a football field for these workouts. Just a positive attitude, a bottle of water, and some space! ; )

Running/Jogging Warm Up Drills. 10 minutes.

  • Easy jog 5 minutes
  • Walking Lunge. 20-30.
  • Butt kicks (kick your heel towards your butt)
  • Squat with side shuffle 1 minute
  • High Knees 1 minute
  • Plank with mountain climber knees 1 minute

“Make a Tight End”

Do 20-30 reps of each move. Work on keeping good form and strengthening your legs, core, and balance.

  • Basic Hip bridge. Laying on back bridge hips up into the air.
  • Squat with straight arms out in front of you. Focus on keeping shoulders down and core engaged.
  • Forward single leg lunge with knee raise (add hop if feeling feisty!). Do reps on one leg and switch.
  • Single leg side lateral lunge. Lunging one leg to the side keeping the other straight. Option to add a knee raise towards chest.
  • Plie squat with inner thigh slide. Squat with legs wide and toes pointed outward, bring heels together when you stand and separate legs wide to squat again.

Penalty ABS.

Perform each move for 1 minute with 15 seconds rest in-between.

  • V Ups.
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Plank
  • Superman
  • Pushup

Cardio BURST: TOUCHDOWN 

Do each move for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest in-between.

  • Burpees. Feel free to add a pushup or squat jump!
  • “Football” run. Also known as “fast feet” : shake your booty and move feet out and in.
  • Squat hops with “touch down” arms. Squat and jump off ground reaching your arms up in the air in a “touchdown” signal.
  • Suicides. Sprint out 10-20 yards, squat and touch ground, sprint back ( you can also use distance measure like light poles, street meters)

Once through the circuit is GREAT – you can also repeat the above 2-3 times and go home with a longer workout.

This challenging all-levels circuit works the entire body, doesn’t require any equipment, and includes the perfect mix of strength and cardio exercises. It’s a winning combination – you’ll feel like such a rockstar when you’re done you might need your OWN halftime show. Leave a comment below if you  complete the above challenge and let me know how it went. Cant wait to congratulate you on your efforts!

Wishing you a safe and fun SuperBowl celebration. Now get focused, put on your game face, and get ready to “BRING IT”. Im positive you’ll have a healthy, happy Superbowl. TOUCHDOWN!

GO 49ers!

Caroline

P.S. There is still time to DONATE to CYCLE for Survival fundraiser and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. This is my third year riding in Cycle for Survival and I truly feel the event has a tangible, powerful impact on those who are affected by rare cancers. My goal is to get as many people as possible to donate $2 dollars to 1.) Raise awareness of the cause and 2.) Raise money for rare cancer! If you would be open to lending your support, you can donate to my ride HERE. Thank you for all of your help in doing good things in the world!  

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It can be hard to make time for exercise and healthy eating during the holidays, but taking care of yourself makes spending time with your loved ones much more fulfilling. After all, when it comes to enjoying the most out of the season, what could be more imporatnt than your health? You want to THRIVE this season not just survive; and that simply all comes back to what you eat, what you drink, and what you think.

Start where you are. Do what you can. Focus on progress not perfection.

As a holiday gift to you, I thought I’d gift you a quick, effective workout you can do over the winter break while you are enjoying vacation time. Perfect for when you are traveling or working out from grandma’s home, this fitness routine doesn’t require any equipment and can be catered to all ability levels. It’s all tied up with a pretty playlist to keep your workout motivation fired up in the winter cold. Leave me a comment below if you enjoy the workout, playlist, or both!

Caroline Jordan Fitness Free Circuit Training Video. 10 Minute Total Body Routine

Caroline Jordan Fitness Winter Break Workout Playlist:

Wishing you a happy holiday filled with health! Looking forward to sharing another great year with you 🙂

With Gratitude,

Caroline

 

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Shin splints are one of the most annoying running and sports injuries that can interfere with your exercise routine. This condition is incredibly common and many tend to consider them an inevitable consequence of an active lifestyle. In reality shin splints really are curable. A few simple steps can treat and prevent shin splints from throwing you off your regular workout regimen.

Shin splints are an inflammatory condition of the shins, on the front of the lower leg called the tibia. The pain is brought on by hard surfaces, poor footwear, too little stretching, or jumping back into strenuous activity after a long break. It’s a common problem in running and stop-start sports like squash, tennis and basketball. Typical shin splints cause pain on either side of the shinbone, or in the muscle itself, and if untreated can become gradually worse until activity is too much to bear. Signs and symptoms related to shin splints may include:

  • Pain along the inner part of the lower leg
  • Tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
  • Moderate swelling in the lower leg
  • Feet may feel numb and weak, because swollen muscles irritate the nerves

The main cause of shin splints is too much force on the shin bone and connective tissues that attach the bone to surrounding muscle. The excessive force is usually caused by:

    • Running downhill
    • Running on a slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
    • Exercising in inappropriate shoes, including good shoes than have worn out overtime.
    • Taking part in sports that include bursts of speed and sudden stops
    • An increase in activity, intensity or exertion, especially if the muscles and tendons struggle to absorb the impact of the shock force when they are tired.
    • Exercising too hard too fast too soon after a long period of inactivity. Gradual return to exercise is the KEY!

Females and people with flat feet or rigid arches often have a higher risk of developing shin splints. It’s always best to check with your doctor or podiatrist for your personal specific foot care needs (especially if you are prone to shin splints, Plantar fasciitis, ankle problems, or any other related issues). They will be able to best advise you in a foot care program that is catered to you.

Here are my top tips on how to treat and/or prevent shin splints to care for your legs:

    • Wear proper fitting shoes. Choose a shoe that is suited for your foot based on gait, cushion, arch support, fit ,and sport. This will help decrease the risk of shin splints or other injuries.  Also, be sure to change your shoes every 3-6 months or every 500 miles. I recommend going to a running specific shoe store, like Fleet Feet, to get your custom fit.
    • Run on soft surfaces. Try to find softer surfaces to run on such as a grassy park or a dirt trail. Running on pavement creates extra stress on your legs. Don’t switch back and forth from hard to soft during the same run.
    • Increase Intensity GRADUALLY. Follow an exercise program that is catered to you and involves cross training, strength training, and a gradual increase in intensity.
    • Ice the affected area:  If you have shin splints, apply ice 4-6 times a day for approximately 15 minutes to decrease inflammation of the shins.  Be sure to protect the skin by placing a cloth or wrap between the skin and ice.
    • Rest. If your shin splints have gotten to a point where they hurt even when you’re not training, then you need to take at least a couple days off, maybe a week or two. Talk to your doctor or podiatrist if the condition continues.
    • If it hurts STOP. Don’t exercise longer than your shins can take. Be mindful to how you feel and when you sense pain stop and cool down. Some days this may happen earlier in the workout; other days you’ll last much longer. Eventually your shins will get stronger and you’ll be able to exercise as long as you’d like.
    • Warm Up Before Working Out. Lengthen the time of your warm up to make sure your body is ready to go. 5-8 minutes should be enough if you use your time right with quality exercises and good form.
    • Cross-train. Avoid high-impact sports and try other activities that don’t irritate your shin splints. I am a huge fan of low-impact workouts like swimming, cycling, and walking. With cross-training, you can maintain your fitness while healing your shin splints.
    • Maintain a healthy body weight. Many people gain weight and don’t realize that this is why their shins and knees can’t take as much pounding as they used to. Extra body weight creates more impact on the joints. By maintaining a healthy body weight, you’ll have less pressure on your body in your daily life and in activity.
    • Physical Therapy Exercise for Your Legs. Perform physical therapy exercises to strengthen your shins, ankles, calves, and feet. Making foot and ankle specific stretching and strengthening a regular part of your weekly regimen will help you treat and prevent shin pain.Here is my shin splint prevention video and foot exercise video to help you care for your legs. Follow these exercises 2-3 times a week to work towards healthy, injury free legs and feet.

And the footwork video:

Follow these guidelines to keep your body healthy, strong, and free from shin pain. Have you ever suffered from shin splints? What is your top tip for taking care of your shins and staying active longterm?

Knowledge is power. Heres to healthy, strong, and active bodies forever!

Have a great week and till next time… keep smiling 🙂

Caroline

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If the phrase “Oh, my aching back” is part of your vernacular, you’re not alone. Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in adults (headaches come as a close first). Lucky for you there is a simple (and free!) aid to help relieve and prevent back pain: exercise. Not only does movement help decrease lower back pain, but it may also speed recovery, prevent re-injury, and enable you to enjoy a long life full of activity. Taking proactive steps to prevent or treat lower back pain is easy and can be done at home without any special equipment.

Exercises that may help reduce or prevent back pain include:

    • Aerobic exercise: to condition your heart and muscles, maintain health, and speed recovery. Walking, cycling, and swimming are great back happy cardio options.
    • Strength: with a focus on the back, stomach, and leg muscles.
    • Stretching: to keep your muscles and other supporting tissues flexible and less prone to injury.

Things to avoid to keep your back happy:

    • Straight leg sit-ups.
    • Bent leg sit-ups or partial sit-ups (curl-ups) when you have acute back pain.
    • Lifting both legs while lying on your back (leg lifts).
    • Lifting heavy weights above the waist (standing military press or biceps curls).
    • Toe touches while standing.

Its important not to let the fear of more back pain keep you from trying gentle activity. Exercise is the remedy to healing your body. Too little activity can lead to loss of flexibility, strength, endurance, and actually cause more pain. With permission from your doctor, a gentle program of cardiovascular and strength exercise can help ease your aching back and help you on towards health.

Ive created a simple 10 minute physical therapy workout to keep your back happy. These are a few exercises will help strengthen and stretch the areas that need it most and help you on towards optimal spinal health. Aim to work through the routine twice focusing on quality and moving slowly with control.   As always, check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a fitness routine. Honor your body and if anything doesnt feel right stop immediately.

Caroline’s Happy Back Workout Routine

Strength

  1. Birddog (Opposite Arm and Leg Extension): Strengthens muscles running down sides of spine, back of shoulders, hips and buttocks. Begin on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Keep head aligned with spine (to help avoid tilting head, look at floor).  Keep buttocks and abdomen tight. Do not arch the back.  Lift one arm up and forward until it is level with torso; simultaneously lift the opposite leg in the same manner. Keep arm, spine, and opposite leg aligned as if they are forming a tabletop. Balance yourself for 5 seconds then slowly return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat. Do 10-12 repetitions 2-3 sets.
  2. Plank: Lie face-down on the floor with your legs together, forearms close to the torso, and toes perpendicular to the floor as if you’re going to do a push up. Lift your body using your abdominal muscles and your arms, until it’s in a straight line from head to toe, and the only things touching the floor are your toes and your forearms. Hold this position for as long as you can, working up to three minutes at a time. Click HERE for more of my perfect plank tips. 
  3. The Bridge: Strengthens several core muscle groups – buttocks, back, abs. Lie flat on your back with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on floor. Tighten abs. Lift your butt off the floor keeping your abs engaged. Your shoulders to knees should be in straight line. Hold for a count of five. Slowly lower buttocks to floor. Do 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps.
  4. Side Plank: Roll to the side and come up on one foot and elbow. Make sure the hips are lifted and the core is engaged, and hang tight for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can stomach!).

Stretch

1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch. Kneel on mat. Bend right leg and place right foot ahead of you on floor, knee lined up over ankle. Left leg (knee to toes) remains on floor behind you (place a cushion under the knee if mat does not provide enough cushioning). Keeping back upright, press pelvis forward slightly – until you feel a stretch in the front of the left hip. Do not extend knee beyond toes. Tighten left buttock and tuck the tailbone under to increase the stretch and or move your left knee further back. Remember to keep back upright. Hold stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

 2. Lying Piriformis / Glute Stretch. Lie on back with legs in air, knees bent at 90 right angle. Place left ankle just above right knee. Grab the back of your right thigh and pull legs toward chest until you feel a stretch in the left glute. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

 3. Knee-to-chest stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Using both hands, pull up one knee and press it to your chest. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Return to the starting position and then repeat with both legs at the same time. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.

When you are pain free and ready to continue your lower back strengthening program with a more challenging routine, feel free to try out my latest 10 minute hip and core circuit. These exercises will continue to build your core strength to help you stay active and pain free for life!

 

Do you have a favorite exercise that helps strengthen your body towards health? Leave me a comment below if you enjoy these videos or have a favorite exercise move to share! Hope you have fun with these workout videos and enjoy a healthy, happy back for life!

See you soon… till then, keep shining!

Caroline

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It’s the beginning of Fall and your schedule is busier then hell. You’re working long hours, traveling lots, and juggling 10 million responsibilities at once. You have no time for a workout, right?

Got 20 minutes?

For those of you who workout with me in San Francisco you know, it doesn’t take a lot to see major muscle results. By learning how to work out smarter you can squeeze fitness into even the busiest fall schedule and stay on track with your health goals. This workout is inspired by my Body Precision group fitness classes at EQUINOX Pine Street. Its a series of functional, body weight exercises at an intense pace to help you build muscle and burn calories in under 20 minutes. This versatile workout requires no equipment and only a few feet of space, so your makeshift gym can be a hotel room, a park, or even the beach. The best time to prioritize your health and feeling your best is RIGHT NOW. The more whole and healthy you are the more FULLY you can enjoy your life this Fall. Below is my “Get Fit Fast” Fall Workout to help you make time for exercise and make it through the season feeling your best.

Caroline’s “Get Fit Fast” Fall Workout.

6 exercise moves:

 Move #1: Jump Squat. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out. Keeping your chest upright and core tight, bend your knees and sit your hips back, extending your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height. Press through your heels to jump as high as you can off the ground, swinging your arms behind you  That’s one rep. Land softly and immediately lower into your next squat.

Move #2: Crossfit Situp. Lie faceup on the floor with a folded towel under your lower back, soles of your feet together knees open to the sides, and arms overhead on the floor. Brace your core and sit up, reaching your fingers toward or past your toes. Slowly return to start.

Move #3: Burpee. Bend your knees to place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders. Jump both feet behind you, bending your elbows to lower your body to the floor. Quickly reverse the motion, then jump straight up and clap your hands overhead.

Move #4: Triceps Dip. Sit on the edge of a bench or chair and place your palms facedown next to your thighs, fingers gripping the edge. Place your feet on the floor in front of you, knees bent. Keeping your arms straight, scoot forward until your hips and butt are in front of the seat. Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push back to start.

Move #5: Lunge Hop. Step your right foot forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees, keeping your chest upright and core tight. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, raising your left fist toward the ceiling and lowering your right fist toward the floor. Jump as high as you can, switching your arm and leg positions in midair and landing in another lunge. Continue quickly alternating.

Move #6: Pushup. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and extend your legs behind you. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels (a). Lower your body until your chest touches the floor, keeping your elbows close to your sides (b). Push back to start, fully extending your arms.

Four Different Workout Routines:

Workout One: Count the Time. Do 10 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes. Exercise order: Squat hop, Situp, Burpee, Triceps Dip, Lunge Hop, Pushup.

Workout Two: Countdown. Complete 60 reps of the first move, 50 of the second, 40 of the third, and so on, until you’ve worked down to 10 reps of the last exercise. Exercise order: Situp, Squat hop, Pushup, Lunge Hop, Triceps Dip, Burpee.

Workout Three: Go For Rounds. Do 12 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest. Complete five rounds and note how long it takes you to finish. Aim to do the workout faster next time. Exercise Order: Burpee, Triceps Dip, Lunge Hop, Situp, Pushup, Squat Hop.

Workout Four: Work the Reps Complete as many reps as you can of each move in one minute each, moving from one exercise to the next without stopping. Rest one minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times. Keep track of your total rep count (e.g., if you finish 20 lunge hops, start counting pushups at 21). Try to beat your grand total next time. Exercise Order: Lunge hop, Pushup, Situp, Burpee, Squat Hop, Triceps Dip.

Looking for other quick, effective workouts to make your workout time count? Check out these posts:

 

 

Whats one way you will make time for fitness this Fall? Leave your #1 on-the-go exercise tip as a comment below. Together we can inspire each other to be healthier.

Hope you enjoy the workout above and have a strong start to a fabulous fall season! See you soon… till next time, keep shining 🙂

Caroline

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I love sharing my enthusiasm for wellness with you in any and everyway I can. A few years ago I started a YouTube channel as another way to provide workouts, tips, and motivation to others. More than 60 videos later I am happy to have a collection of fitness inspired clips and fun workouts.

YouTube provides detailed insights on video views, demographics, and other fun facts on a regular basis. While most of my YouTube clips stand average in video hits, there is one that stands out by a LONG shot as the most viewed video on my little channel. Suprisingly, it’s not the 10 minute quick fix circuit or the post-run stretch routine. It’s my “free foot exercise video”. I fimed this workout last year to share a few foot strength exercises with others. Apparently this is a special topic of interest and has brought that 6 minute video over 40,000 views. Recently I have been dealing with some foot pain of my own and I revisited the workout to nurse my feet back to health. These simple exercises have helped me (and apparently many others) strengthen their bodies from the ground up. This week I wanted to share all sorts of fun foot information with you and the video that continues to be my “Biggest Hit” for happy feet.

The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 ligaments and more than a dozen muscles. Do you give them the same attention as you give your OTHER fit parts?

Most exercisers are working up a sweat for one reason: to keep the body healthy and fit from head to toe. But if you’re fitness focus is constantly above the ankles, your entire body is missing out. The body is a linkage system (remember the KINETIC CHAIN?) and the FEET are the foundation of that system. If the muscles of the feet aren’t working properly to hold the feet and ankles in correct alignment, it’s a good chance that nothing above the feet is properly aligned either. This results in poor body mechanics and puts extra stress on the joints during movement. The feet can support three times your body weight when walking, seven times your body weight when running, and up to ten times your body weight when jumping. That’s a lot of impact on the feet! Over time, a foot misalignment or poor muscle use can result in foot, ankle, knee, hip, sacro-illiac joint, lower-mid-upper back, shoulder, and neck pain. Seventy-five percent of Americans experience foot health problems. Don’t become one of them. Make foot care a regular part of your routine and stride strong every time you hit the ground.

Before you develop a personal foot health care program, it’s important to get to know your feet first. Feet are a good indicator of overall health. How well do you know yours? Pay attention and notice the following:

  • How do you wear out your shoes?
  • Where do you typically carry the weight on your feet?
  • Where do you have calluses if any?
  • What direction do your toes face?
  • Are the bones of your feet are stacked correctly?
  • Do your shoes fit?
  • How old are your shoes?
  • Do you replace them at least every 6 months?
  • What does your footprint look like?
  • How often to your feet ache?
  • How often do you have foot cramps?
  • Do you have any recurring knee, hip, or back pain?
  • Can you move all the joints of your toes like you move your fingers—freely and easily?
  • When you exercise, do you ever do anything specifically for your toes and feet?

Everyone’s feet are unique and building an awareness of how your feet function will help you create personal foot care program. Your feet work hard everyday and sometimes they pay the consequences. The following is a list of common foot problems:

  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes a sharp heel pain that usually occurs with the very first steps in the morning. Once the foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position. Plantar  fasciitis is particularly common in runners, dancers, and sports that involve jumping. It is also found in people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. Treatment involves stretching, strengthening, and resting the feet, calves, and Achilles tendon.
  • Stress Fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, or overuse, such as repeatedly jumping or running long distances. Stress fractures are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Track and field, basketball, dance, aerobics, and football athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you’re starting a new exercise or running program you are at high risk if you do too much too soon. Treatment for stress fractures typically requires rest and time off from activity.
  • Calluses. Calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure. Change footwear to avoid pressure or regularly file calluses down if they start to hurt.
  • Foot Cramps/Tingling/Numbness. Foot cramps can be caused by a weakness and lack of flexibility or mobility in the foot. Improper or poorly fit footwear can also cause foot cramps, tingling, or numbness.
  • Athlete’s Foot. The athlete’s foot fungus thrives in moist, dark places (like your shoes). Take wet socks off immediately after workouts and wear shower shoes in public showers. Always dry your feet thoroughly and see your doctor if you regularly experience itching or burning sensations in your feet.
  • Blisters. Blisters can become painful and affect your ability in all the sports you love. Make sure to wear moisture wicking socks (instead of cotton) and well fitting shoes to prevent blisters. If you do get blisters, cover them with gauze pads instead of bandages.

Help Your Feet Out: Give em a WORKOUT!

A well-balanced workout program and proper hygiene can help you avoid the above conditions from derailing you from your fitness routine. But it also helps to make foot and ankle specific stretching and strengthening a regular part of your weekly regimen. I challenge you to take care of you’re toes with the following exercises. Aim for three times a week, before or after your workout.

  • Toe grip (to strengthen the foot muscles to improve balance): Drop a towel on the floor and use your toes to grip and move it towards you on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot.
  • Toe extension (to strengthen and support the muscles, which in turn will protect the bones of the feet): Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.
  • Toe Stretch: Put foam toe separators (easy to find at the drugstore in the nail polish isle) between your toes and squeeze for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Calf raise (to strengthen the feet and the calves and improve balance): Stand near a counter or a doorway and hold on lightly for balance. Balance on one foot and rise up onto your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
  • Calf stretch (to keep the Achilles tendons and the plantar fascia from getting tight): Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.
  • Plantar Fascia Stretch: With your knees on the floor, tuck your toes and sit back on your heels. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds multiple times a day.

Here are a few other tips to help your feet feel strong and fabulous:

  • As soon as you’re done with your workout, get out of your athletic shoes and into roomier shoes to accommodate the swelling that’s happened.
  • Soak you’re feet in cool water or an ice bath to bring down the inflammation or swelling from your workout.
  • Give your self a foot massage. Roll the plantar fascia muscle (arch of the foot) with a golf or tennis ball. Or sweet-talk your significant other to give your toes a quick rub.
  • Replace your workout shoes often. Get new trainers at least every six months. Mark the date of purchase on the heel and track your training. Be sure to watch the wear of the shoe, if the outer sole is worn all the way through, it’s time for a new pair.
  • Give you’re toes some fresh air. Take off your shoes to be barefoot whenever you can.
  • Train your balance. To prevent ankle sprains and to improve proprioception, make balance and stability exercises part of your regular routine.

Want happy feet for life? Get to know your feet and follow these simple stretching and strengthening exercises. Take good care of your ankles, arches, and toes. It can be done in a few minutes a day and just might make the difference in keeping your feet pain and injury free. Exercise specific to foot care can go a long way towards improving all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Start from the ground up – work your feet for a maximum body benefit!

And without further to do, heres the Footwork Video that will hopefully be a HIT with you too!

Leave a comment below after you try the video – would love to hear how your toes do! Heres to fearless feet and unstoppable fitness from the ground up 🙂

Keep those feet happy! See you soon,

Caroline

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Today, more Americans are traveling on business and pleasure than ever before. Sadly, nearly one-half of travelers polled by USA Today felt that they were in worse shape because they lack the time or the means to exercise properly during travel. No wonder they feel this way, air travel IS physically stressful. It disrupts sleep, slows circulation, and dehydrates the body. Not to mention, frequent flying throws a wrench in the timing and quality of regular activity and eating patterns. On the road, it is easy to give in to pressure and fatigue—grabbing fast food, having an extra drink to help relax, or collapsing in front of the hotel TV. But to live a life fueled with energy and health, making a few small changes in the way you travel can make a huge impact in how you feel on a daily basis.

My mission is to help wiped-out, eat-on-the-run travelers meet their wellness goals. To provide creative ways to exercise, eat right, and reduce stress while on the road. Staying in shape while traveling IS possible, it just requires a little effort.  Here are my top tips to help establish healthy travel habits and win in wellness as a jetsetter athlete.

Exercise On the Fly. 

    • Make time for away-from-home workouts by fitting them in first thing in the morning, before you leave your hotel or home.  Even 10 to 20 minutes of movement in the morning in your hotel room is enough to keep your metabolism revved and energy high for hours of traveling.
    • Book a daytime arrival, especially if you are on a west-to-east flight. Once you are there, get yourself outside and do something active in the daylight. This will help you recover from jet lag quickly and improve your chances of sleeping well in your hotel.
    • Wear comfortable workout shoes so you can walk as much as possible. Avoid the escalator walkways and take the stairs.
    • Don’t wreck your back with awkward luggage. Take a posture-friendly backpack that distributes weight evenly through your core (heavy backpacks should have a hip strap). A suitcase with wheels or a stylish rolly laptop case is even more ideal.
    • If you’re not traveling first or business class, book an emergency exit row aisle seat to enjoy a roomier seat with extra leg room.
    • During your flight, take a bathroom break and stretch out your legs. Stand for 5 minutes and perform simple head, neck, shoulder, and leg stretches.
    • Walk the length of the plane every hour or two to keep your back happy, your muscles supple, and your blood circulating.
    • Get fitness equipment that fits in your travel bag. Maintain your strength training with easy-to-pack resistance bands and do these no-frills resistance band exercises in your hotel room.
    • To preserve your hard-earned fitness level, exercise at least every third day while on the road, performing at least a third of your aerobic routine at your typical level of intensity and completing your strength training program at least once a week, using the same amount of resistance. Keeping part of your routine in tact will help maintain your fitness and energy levels.
    • Use down time in the airport to stretch, drink water, and relax. Here is my quick, no equipment needed, 6 minute stretching series. These exercises will help you decompress, stretch out, and get to your destination feeling fabulous!

 

Eat Right In Flight. Avoid Tummy Turbulence with these tips:

    • Pack Your Own Snacks. Plan ahead and bring a few packable snacks in your carry on bag. Here are some easy eat on the fly ideas:
        • Homemade trail mix. It’s easy to make your own trail mix — not to mention healthier than the store-bought stuff — and it’ll help keep you full and energized. Make sure to buy unsalted peanuts and dried fruit without added sugar. Portion out individual serving sizes in ziplock bags so you don’t over-do it. Mix your own or test one of these healthy homemade trail mix combos.
        • String cheese. If your diet likes dairy, you can get some of your daily dose of calcium with travel-friendly string cheese.
        • Fruit. Apples, pears, bananas, and other fruits are easy to take with you and are an excellent source of fiber, something that becomes important as travels begin to wreak havoc on your digestive system.
        • Pre cut veggies.  Baby carrots and sugar snap peas are perfect when you need something crunchy.
        • Nutrition bars with five or fewer natural ingredients are the most convenient snack to pack and wont create a mess. Make sure to drink plenty of water with it as eating too many bars can sometimes cause constipation :/.
    • Know Your Options. If you’re stuck in the airport and forced to face the food court, it’s helpful to know which restaurants can offer you healthier menus. Luckily, many airports have the same chain restaurants and you can rely on this knowledge to help guide your diet decisions. Heres a few Restaurant foods to eat and to avoidat the airport. You can also locate healthy restaurant options in your destination using quick, simple iphone applications. Here are my top healthy restaurant finding tools:
        • Research healthy dining options for your destination by looking up your desired zip-code on healthydiningfinder.com . This service locates healthy restaurants and menu choices for you. Simply enter your zipcode and it will identify all the best menu items from nearby restaurants.
        • Yumee . Looking for a restaurant to fit your healthy eating specifics? This app is for you. Released November 2011, Yumee scopes out local digs to find places (and even specific menu items) that meet users’ nutritional requirements. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
        • Fooducate . Chosen as a 2011 best iPhone Health & Fitness app, Fooducate turns smartphones into scanners. Pick a food product and scan the bar code to get all the details on the nutrients inside. Users can even compare different items to find the healthiest, tastiest, most affordable choice. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
    • Hydrate! Flying is extremely dehydrating, which means the eight glasses of H2O a day rule really won’t cut it. Before you hop the plane, fill your own water bottle. To combat dehydration (and the fatigue it causes), drink two 8-ounce glasses before boarding, then another one each hour in flight. Add an extra 6-8 ounces for every hour in the air.

 

Sit Back, RELAX. In flight Stress Reduction

Since travel is very schedule-based, there’s not a lot of room for error; running for a plane or train can leave muscles sore and heads pounding. The last thing you want to do is arrive depleted of energy and unable to enjoy your destination fully.  To relieve this pressure and improve time away from home, unwind using some of these in-flight stress-busting strategies:

    • Pamper Yourself. Many airports now contain on-site spas and salons that offer stress-reducing therapies for travelers. Across the United States, it’s now possible to get a manicure, massage or nap during a layover without being a V.I.P. flyer. Pink polish for my toes? Why yes please thank you.
    • Get comfortable. Travel companies often sell lightweight aids to help travelers keep their cool. Put together a kit that includes an inflatable travel pillow, sleep mask and earplugs to help improve rest during long flights, and wear comfortable, natural fibers to regulate body temperature. A warm scarf or cozy sweater can also be a relaxing, soothing touch when the climate is cool.
    • Inhale, Exhale, REPEAT. Take a few minutes for yourself to sit in quiet and breathe deep. You can even load your digital music player with quiet music or audio meditations to help you de-stress while in transit.

My #1 Healthy Traveling Success Strategy:  Just do it. And do it. And do it.

The best way to stay on track is to constantly recommit to your health goals and follow your plan every time. Create a habit out of healthy traveling. Get support from friends, family, and associates. Share your goals and report back when you return. Don’t leave room for excuses. Plan your day around your workout. If you have to get up early, then do it. Most clubs open at 5 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. You could plan to walk on the hotel treadmill for a few minutes each day, and chances are you’ll stay for more. At the very least, get a room on an upper floor and commit to taking the stairs a few times a day. Write it down, check it off, congratulate yourself, and do it again on your next trip.

Healthy traveling is just all about planning. Think ahead, envision where, how, and when you will sleep, eat, and exercise before you go, and pack accordingly. Plan for success and you will stay on track and accomplish your health goals. It may take a little effort, but living a life fueled with energy and wellness is worth it. Stay committed to your goals, flexible with your schedule, and open to all that is possible – with these healthy habits you’ll be an unstoppable travel pro!

Whats your #1 healthy traveling habit? Leave your flying fit tip as a comment below – would love to hear how you stay healthy in the air. Hope to see you soon for a workout or two… till then, keep smiling!

Caroline

 

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