In this post, fitness blogger Ashley shows us some basic stretches and shares a juice recipe. She also gives some interesting nutritional info on kale and spirulina.
So I realize I’m only 27…young, able bodied, healthy etc etc…but there are some days where I am starting to feel the 20 years of sports taking a toll on me. My knees crack and crunch when I bend down, my back hurts after certain lifting days and the range of motion in my shoulders just isn’t what it used to be. I’m not writing this to have a mini pity party for myself, I actually had quite a wonderful day…my awesome nephew had his four year old birthday party and I celebrated Mother’s day with my mom and step dad. No pity parties allowed after a day spent with family.
I only write about these aches and pains because they brought me to the realization that I am in need of a change in my routine. It’s so easy to get stuck doing the same exercises on the same day every week without fail so I’ve decided to start focusing on my flexibility. It is one of those things that I know is so good for me but if I run out of time or energy, I typically skip it.
The main muscle groups I’ve been trying to increase flexibility in are my hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and quads. All of these areas contribute to my on and off low back pain so I’m trying to lengthen and strengthen. I’ve also been taking yoga at least once a week which encourages lower impact exercises to help with balance and flexibility. If you currently don’t take the time to work on your flexibility, I highly suggest joining the stretch party and just start by spending five minutes post workout just cooling down and working on it. The more consistent you are with it, the faster the results and more than likely, the better you’ll feel. Here are two simple stretches you can start with:
Runner Stretch is a great for hamstrings. Stretch that opposite arm over to reach for your toes to feel a nice pull in those lats as well.
This is a great stretch for hip flexors. If you can’t grab your foot, that’s okay, stay within your body’s range of motion. Once you’re in the correct position, try to sit up nice and straight for an even deeper stretch.
Back in the kitchen, I’ve been trying out some new food recipes as well as juice recipes. I’ve been using my juicer now for about three week now and I’ve really enjoyed it…though it takes a little bit of time to prepare, the nutrients I get out of each glass is well worth it. I actually enjoy healthy foods. I mean of course I was probably attracted to them at first because I know they are good for me but I actually really do like the taste. For me, fruits are a lot easier to consume so juicing helps me take in more veggies. Besides the color of the veggie juices, they are actually quite tasty.
Another plant based protein I’ve started incorporating in my juices is spirulina. It is actually a blue-green algae that is 65 to 71 percent complete protein (beef is 22 percent) with all essential amino acids in perfect balance. It also contains vitamin B12 which usually is only found in animal products. This superfood has helped me control cravings and has also helped balance out the decrease in meat protein in my diet. The label suggests one teaspoon a day and it’s pretty flavorless. All you have to get past is the bright green color and the fact that it’s algae.
So here’s a good juice recipe to add one teaspoon of spirulina to:
1 celery stalk
1 peeled lemon
6 kale leaves
*side note: Kale is a superfood…thanks Brewers Organics for adding this to the menu. It has the highest vegetable source of vitamin K and may help the risk of developing certain cancers. It’s a source of calcium, chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Kale is low calorie and also a good source of minerals, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It promotes eye and skin health as well. (thank you rebootwithjoe.com for all your fun veggie facts)
2 handfuls of spinach
*you can also add a peeled orange or some carrots to sweeten it up a little.
While you’re enjoying your nutritious green drink, I’m off to figure out what to make with the world’s largest zucchini I got in my order this week.