Fitness, Whole Health

Exercises that Will Work for You

Exercise is beneficial for the body and for well-being.  Whether you want to begin an exercise routine or try something new, where to start?

Think about what kind of exercise is interesting to you.  Is it a fit with your lifestyle?  Aspects to consider:

  • Do you like to work with others or alone (at home or gym)
  • Does the routine mesh with your schedule / lifestyle
  • Is it suitable with your fitness level (not too easy; not too difficult)
  • How much impact are you looking for (can your body handle high impact, or do you require lower impact exercises)?

Physical activity is advantageous, significantly improving one’s health, helps:

  • Establish and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Maintain muscle mass and good energy levels
  • Reduce risk of chronic disease
  • Improve mental function and mental health
  • Sleep better.

To get started with an exercise routine it’s important to consider a health check-up first, especially if you are:

  • not used to strenuous physical activities
  • aged 45 and over.

The health check may identify any health issues or conditions that could potentially cause injury during exercise.  Knowing these limitations, a safe and optimal exercise plan may be developed.

Next set goals:  REALISTIC GOALS.  Create a plan that is attainable for you.  As your fitness level increases and you progress toward reaching your goal, add to it in increments:  SUCCESS!!

Now, maintain your exercise routine on a scheduled basis:  HABIT.

Types of Exercise to Consider:

Walking – is safe and produces dramatic results.

Start with walking in 10 to 15 minute increments. As strength and endurance increase, begin to walk further and faster. Get to the point of being able to walk for 30 to 60 minutes at a good pace.

Strength Training – muscle begins to atrophy after the age of 40.  Strength (resistance) training will help to slow/stop this progression.

Start with lighter weights, that you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times.  Use proper form, doing each exercise correctly. When ready, increase the load to slightly heavier weight.

Try to maintain a weight training schedule of two or more times per week.

Balance Training – can help prevent falls, important for older adults.  The movements are slow and deliberate.  Many daily activities require good balance: walking and going up and down the stairs, standing up from a sitting position, bending over, etc.

Some simple balance exercises include:

  • Stand on one leg and raise the other leg to the side or behind.
    As balance improves try holding the positions for a longer amount of time.

Also try closing your eyes or moving your head in different directions.

  • Heel to toe walking:  walk in a steady, straight line by placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the other foot.  Repeat for 20 steps. To start, use a support if needed.
  • Stand up from a sitting position without using your hands.
    To start, use a support if needed.

Keep practicing until a support is no longer needed.

  • Flexibility/Stretching:  helps with muscle recovery, range of motion and injury prevention.  It also works to improve posture and balance.

Warm up first for about 5 to 10 minutes with some dynamic stretching (high kicks, knee to chest movements, arm and leg swinging). This prepares the body for exercise.

Stretch slowly, doing so with fluid movements. Only go as far as is comfortable – no pain.

Start by holding the stretch for 7 to 10 seconds, then progress further as you become more comfortable.  Yoga and Pilates are good flexibility exercise programs.

The above exercises can be done individually or may be combined. Most importantly, do what you like and have fun with it.

If you feel pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and rest before continuing.  Do not rush your routines; take time to progress.  This will help you to maintain your program.

Fitness, Whole Health

Your Biological Age

Each of us has 2 different ages:  1) chronological age, 2) biological age. Chronological age is the number of years one has been alive.  Biological age is an estimation of how an individual is functioning in comparison to others who are the same chronological age.  In other words, it is an age where the body is in terms of ‘wear and tear’. 1

These days, life expectancy is increasing.  Maintaining the correct diet along with exercising can help to prevent disease and help to manage those diseases already established.

As aging occurs most of the organs and tissues of the body begin to decline in function:

  • Muscle strength declines and bones may weaken, often resulting in falls that may be disabling.
  • The skin undergoes visible changes and the ability to heal wounds may become impaired.
  • The immune system does not function as well as it did when one was younger.
  • The nervous system also declines in its function.

However, in many cases, rapid biological aging and the onset of physical dependency may be postponed/delayed through healthy eating and exercising, both the body and the brain.

Exercising the brain will also help to improve brain function, and maintain memory and thinking skills as aging occurs. Perform mental workouts, challenge yourself to learn new things, including those perceived as difficult.  “Use it or Lose it”.

Even people in their 90’s can become stronger and increase the size of their muscles after participating in a weight-training regimen. Mobility will also be improved.

The loss of muscle mass and function does not have to be an inevitable and irreversible consequence of aging.  People who keep fit by maintaining an ideal weight and eating properly into their later years have a better chance of being biologically younger than their chronological age.


1 Nancy L., “Altering Your Biological Age” , NancyLFitness blog,

Try these exercises shown below to start your journey toward a younger biological age.

Consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.


DumbbellSideBend  Dumbbell Side Bend (for the Abs)

  1. Standing straight, hold a dumbbell (or similar) in the right hand.
  2. Tighten the abs (abdominal muscles).
  3. Bend to the right, as far as possible.
  4. Return to standing.
  5. Repeat 8-10 times on the right side.
  6. Do the same with the left side.

ShoulderFlexion  Standing Front Raise (for shoulder flexion)

  1. Stand with or without holding a weight in the right hand at side.
  2. Keeping elbow straight, raise up arm as far as your range of motion allows.
  3. Slowly lower arm.
  4. Repeat 8-10 times.
  5. Do the same with the left arm.


WallPushAway  Wall Push-Up (for the chest, shoulders and triceps)

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width; place both hand palms on a wall at shoulder height.
  2. With hands on the wall, step back until arms are straight.
  3. Keeping heels on the floor, body straight and elbows up, bend elbows to lean toward the wall.
  4. Hold for a few seconds.
  5. Bearing body weight on the arms push away from the wall back to starting position.
  6. Do 10-15 repetitions.
  7. Increase the number of repetitions as you become more strong.

Note:  To increase difficulty and strengthen the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists and hands move your feet 3 or more feet farther away from the wall.


LowBack  Wall sit (for legs and buttocks)

  1. Lean your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and solidly on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles (abs) and put your feet forward.
  3. Keeping feet 6 inches apart, slide down the wall until knees are at 90 ° (knees are directly over the ankles; thighs are parallel to the floor).
  4. Hold for this position ~10 seconds or until you can no longer stand it (use this amount of time as a starting point, extend the amount of hold time later when you are stronger).
  5. Upon completion, return to the starting position by sliding UP the wall.


LowBack1  Chair sit-up (for lower back)

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with feet on the floor, hands to sides for support.
  2. Hold a weight at chest, if desired. (If  just starting with exercise you may want to exclude the weight.)
  3. Bend forward at the waist, keeping lower back straight, move chest to tops of thighs.
  4. Slowly straighten back up, using your lower back muscles to raise your torso.


There are no guidelines defining Superfoods.

Although, officially, there is no scientific definition for superfood, there is a category of food often referred to as Superfoods. These foods are typically high in nutrients and low in calories and are good sources of essential nutrients, anti-oxidants and important vitamins and minerals.

Regular exercise and eating healthy foods can have numerous health benefits:

  • help to decrease stress
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • help with bodily joint mobility
  • thrive and function with more energy.

Some of the foods in the “superfood” category to include in your diet are:

Green Beans are low in sodium, very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese, along with dietary fiber.

  • High Fiber prevents weight gain, thus promoting weight loss.
  • An increase in fiber by 8 grams for every 1000 calories consumed will help toward a weight loss of 4.5 lb.
  • Also try raspberries, chickpeas, strawberries.

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which the body does not produce by itself. These fatty acids are said to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol.  Salmon is also a good source of selenium and B vitamins.

Be mindful of the differences between farm-raised Salmon and wild caught Salmon:

  • Farm-Raised Salmon may contain pesticides. It’s primarily farmed in open net pens that are vulnerable to infection from disease and parasites, as a result, they are sometimes treated with very high levels of antibiotics and pesticides.
  • Wild fish, on the other hand, may have a lower concentration of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl which is an environmentally toxic organic pollutant), but could be higher in mercury.
  • Also try Tuna.

Watermelon provides lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with few calories. It is a good source of vitamin C and lycopene, and is said help protect against some types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  • Eating foods full of water keeps you satisfied with less calories. Watermelon is a guilt-free, easy dessert.
  • Watermelon consumption will aid toward bodily hydration and maintenance of collagen (which gives structure to skin and hair).
  • Also try cucumbers (95% water), salad greens (90%), strawberries (91%), cantaloupe (90% water) and honeydew (90% water).

Blueberries contain polyphenols (for a healthy heart), phytonutrients (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics), vitamin C and fiber.  These all help to fight chronic diseases. They also work to protect the brain from inflammation and help to improve memory by promoting communication between brain cells.

  • Consuming about a cup of berries can increase levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower blood pressure.
  • Also try red raspberries and strawberries.

Tomatoes are considered to be both, a fruit and a vegetable. They come in many varieties and contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, lycopene and copper along with fiber and protein.

Research suggests that the combination of these nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular/heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostate cancer.

Tomatoes may be eaten raw or as an ingredient in foods:

  • Add sliced tomatoes to sandwiches.
  • Chop tomatoes in salad.
  • Use marinara or tomato sauces on pasta instead of creamy sauces.
  • Drink tomato juice or vegetable juice made from tomatoes.
  • Top scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes or add them to a taco.
  • Eat tomatoes as a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Make a tomato sandwich.
  • Add canned or stewed tomatoes to soups and stews.
  • Serve stewed tomatoes over a baked potato.
  • Make salsa with lots of fresh tomato.
  • Put salsa on meats, fish, and eggs.
  • Also try Strawberries and Broccoli.

Dietary fiber is important in weight loss and weight management because consuming foods high in fiber keeps you feeling full for longer, thus reducing caloric intake.

Fitness, Whole Health

Abs, Core and Glutes – what is it?

There are the abs then the core muscles and, finally, the glutes.

Improve your total body health by training these areas of your body.  The results will be increased strength, stability and balance.

What muscles are involved?

The body’s core muscles include:

  • abs (abdominal muscles)
  • back muscles
  • pelvic floor muscles
  • glutes (buttocks)
  • other torso muscles.

What exercises are best for strengthening these muscles?

Planks and plank variations, abdominal bridges, reverse crunches, leg raises, and chin-ups are some good exercises for building the core muscles, the plank being one of the best.  The plank is a simple isometric exercise that can engage more than 20 muscles, including the abs, back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings – depending on the variation of plank being   performed.

Planks are a simple exercise that can be done at home, negating the necessity of going to the gym.

There are many variations that include the side plank, forearm plank, hover plank, walking plank, extended plank, Bosu topside plank, single arm plank, plank hip dips,  reverse plank, and (on a stability ball):  plank crunches & plank pike-ups & plank rollouts. 

Planks increase strength along with contouring the obliques and help with posture and physique.

Begin with the two planks variations described below.  Start out holding each move for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, adding a few seconds at each work out.



Prone Plank

  1. Begin by supporting your body weight on just the toes and elbows, resting on the forearms.
  2. Tighten your abs (abdominal muscles) to stabilize the trunk, and rise up.
  3. Keep forearms parallel to each other with hands flat on the ground, or clasped together – whatever works best for you.
  4. Chin should be tucked; maintain good neck alignment with the trunk; keep eye gaze between hands; do not allow trunk to sag or hips to pike up.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Slowly lower down, keeping back straight.
  7. Repeat.



Side (oblique) Plank

  1. Lie on your side, bring legs together until heels touch.
  2. Balance body weight on feet and elbow.
  3. Lift your trunk, forming a straight line.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower trunk.
  6. Repeat.


Seniors, Whole Health

Strength Training Basics – For Seniors

We start losing muscle after the age of 40.  Resistance training, AKA strength training, works to prevent this muscle loss and helps to maintain and build healthy bones.

During strength training muscle pulls against bone.  The force of the muscle pulling against the bone stimulates bone building  and improves calcium retention.  This increased strength will help to:

  • prevent falls
  • climb stairs
  • get up out of a chair
  • increase muscle elasticity
  • strengthen connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments.

In general, exercise and strength training will improve quality of life by helping to slow down and even reversing some diseases that are caused by a sedentary lifestyle such as: type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart and metabolic disease.

Just starting out?

Begin slowly.  Start with no weight or very little weight and then slowly increase the amount of weight.  This is called Progressive Overload, progressively placing greater demands on the muscles and bone.

Increase loads as is comfortable.  Resistance bands or household items such as cans of soup, bags of rice or potatoes can are a good alternative to using dumbbells.

Do enough repetitions so that the muscles become too tired to lift any more.  This is referred to as training to failure (momentary muscle failure).

Aim for three sets of 8 to 10 reps.  When the exercise becomes too easy, either increase the amount of the weight or add more reps.  Lifting lighter weights for more repetitions is just as effective as heavy ones for fewer reps.

Try to perform at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercises once a week.  You will, no doubt, experience muscle soreness – sometimes not until a day or two later.

Muscle soreness is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is an indication that the body is becoming stronger.  However, do not over-do it, and be sure to give the body plenty of time to recover from an exercise routine.

Also, exercise recovery tends to take longer as we age.  For people with lower bone mass, exercises such as walking or low-impact aerobics is a safe choice.

For most people, exercise should not be a problem.  However, for some individuals increasing their level of physical activity can have an adverse effect.   These people may need to seek medical advice concerning the most suitable type of activity to fit their needs.

Please consult with your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.  Strength training exercises for older adults may include squats, deadlifts, lunges and overhead presses.  Over time, increase weight to increase difficulty and intensity.  Examples:

Shrug2  Shrug

  1. Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold dumbbells in each hand with palms facing in (toward torso).
  3. Keeping arms straight, elevate (raise up) shoulders high.  Pause.
  4. Lower shoulders back down to normal position. That is 1 rep.
  5. Do 10 – 15 reps.

UprightRow  Upright Rows

Increase strength in both the back and upper arms.  Improve shoulder range of motion shoulders and elbow joint mobility.

  1. Stand with good posture; feet are about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold dumbbells in each hand in front of torso.
  3. Leading with the elbows, lift the weights together upward toward the chin. Or alternate lifting one hand at a time.
  4. Keep abs tight, using your core muscles.  Do not arch back.
  5. Return to starting position.  That’s one rep.
  6. Repeat for 10 reps.

DeltoidRaise  Front Deltoid Raise

  1. Stand with good posture; feet are about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing thighs.
  3. Keeping arms straight raise the dumbbells at arm’s length overhead.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8 – 10 repetitions for each arm.

Squat  Plie Squat (Dumbbell Between Feet)

  1. To start, sand straight up with feet wider than shoulder distance apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell by one end.
  3. Bend knees until thighs parallel to floor, and the other end of the dumbbell touches the floor.
  4. Pressing through your heels stand back up to the starting position.
  5. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise.  Do 6-8 reps.


Wall Sit  Wall Sit

Performing the wall sit will strengthen the quadriceps (front of thighs) muscles.

  1. To start, place your back against a wall.  The feet should be shoulder width apart and forward from the wall.
  2. Engaging the core muscles, slide down leaning against the wall until knees are at a 90° angle (thighs parallel to the floor).  Knees should end up directly above ankles.
  3. Hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds.
  4. Compete with yourself by gradually increasing the hold time to 60 seconds or longer.


Fitness, Nutrition

Keep up your New Year’s Resolution

What was your New Year’s resolution?

  • Change a behavior.
  • Accomplish a personal goal.
  • Improve life.

Want to exercise, but don’t have time.  And/or want to eat clean, but don’t have recipes.

FIT CUI PROGRAM IS HERE TO HELP:  Improve balance, muscle tone, mental outlook.

Smile – Breathe – Feel Great

Workout while cooking dinner:  step-by-step recipes with fitness instruction at each step of the recipe.


Meal preparation packed with exercise & healthy cuisine.


(Also available at

Nutrition, Whole Health

The Well-Stocked Kitchen

Forage in the pantry

Chow, nosh, eats, edible fare – be prepared in the case of:

  • unexpected guests
  • cannot go grocery shopping due to inclement weather
  • not in the mood to go ‘out-to-dinner’.

With a well-stocked kitchen and essential ingredients in the pantry, it is possible to quickly prepare delicious, nutritious cuisine in a moment’s notice.

Listed below are some ‘must have’ items that can be combined in various ways to create a satisfying and nutritious meal without having to make a trip to the store.

Pantry Basics

Basic Herbs & Spices & Seasonings

  • Basil
  • Cinnamon, ground
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley, dried
  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper, crushed
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

Beyond Basic Herbs & Spices & Seasonings (for some added pizzazz)

  • Allspice
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cloves
  • Coriander, ground
  • Cumin, ground
  • Curry Powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Dill
  • Five-spice powder
  • Ginger, ground
  • Sage
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nutmeg

Basic Dry Goods

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Beans, dried: black, cannellini / navy, kidney, garbanzo, lentil
  • Bread, baguette & sandwich bread
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Cereal, non-sweetened breakfast
  • Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour, all purpose
  • Grains: barley, millet, bulgur, quinoa, couscous
  • Pasta: standard, whole grain, rice noodles, egg noodles
  • Nuts / Seeds: almonds, peanuts, sunflower, mixed seeds, mixed nuts
  • Rice: long-grain white, brown
  • Rolled Oats
  • Tortillas, whole wheat / corn
  • Yeast, dried

Basic Canned Goods

  • Broth, low sodium chicken & beef.
  • Beans: cannellini, navy, chickpeas, black beans
  • Evaporated milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Tuna, Salmon
  • Artichokes
  • Ham
  • Vegetables: Corn, Green beans


  • Honey
  • Sugar, white & brown
  • Syrup, maple


  • Club soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • V-8


  • Crackers, assorted
  • Popcorn, kernels (for popping)
  • Dried fruit: raisins, apricots, cherries


  • Butter, unsalted
  • Cheese: sharp cheddar, feta, parmesan, mozzarella
  • Eggs, large
  • Milk:  dairy, coconut, almond
  • Yogurt, plain  Greek


  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli / Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Leafy greens & Spinach
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Garlic
  • Onions, red & yellow
  • Parsley / Cilantro
  • Potatoes: sweet / yams, white / new
  • Scallions
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini


  • Ground meat: beef, turkey / chicken
  • Chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • Vegetables: peas, chopped spinach, okra
  • Fish & Shellfish
  • Bacon, lean or Canadian Bacon
  • Frozen fruit: strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Gingerroot (cut in pieces, stored in plastic baggie)
  • Ice cream, vanilla
  • Pork, ground or boneless
  • Sausage, Italian or Turkey

Jars / Bottled Items

  • Clam juice
  • Condiments: ketchup, mayonnaise,  mustard
  • Jelly, jam / preserves
  • Non-stick spray
  • Oils:  olive (extra virgin), canola, sesame
  • Olives: green, black, calamata
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Peanut butter or other nut butter variety
  • Salsa
  • Soy / Teriyaki sauce
  • Tabasco hot sauce
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegar: distilled white, balsamic, rice wine
  • Wines: Marsala, Madeira, and Sherry
  • Worcestershire sauce

More Jars / Bottled Items

  • Applesauce
  • Capers
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Pesto
  • Pumpkin Purée
  • Salad dressing

Look for our next cookbook.  It will feature a collection of recipes that use only the above list of pantry basics.


Fitness, Wellness, Whole Health

Weight Loss Facts

Slim down at a slow and steady rate, eat less / move more:

  • There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.
  • It is safe to lose 1.5 to 2.0 pounds per week.
  • It is generally unsafe to lose more than 2.0 pounds per week.
  • To lose 1 pound per week, you need a daily reduction of 500 calories/day, which is a reduction of 3500 calories/week.

To achieve a reduction of 500 calories per day, for losing 1 pound/week:

Reduce caloric consumption by 500 calories/day.

Or, ideally, eat less and move more.  Eat 250 calories less per day.  Plus, exercise to burn 250 calories.

To lose 2 pounds per week, double the above number:  1000 calorie/day reduction, 7000 calories per week.

Caloric values for some favorite, but unhealthy  foods:

Food                                                      Calories
Bacon, 1 slice                                          44
Beer, 1 can                                             154
Bread, 1 slice white                               79
Cereal, sugared, ¾ Cup                        100
Chips, potato, 1 oz                                 152
Cookie, 1 oz butter cookie                   132
Cracker, 5 regular size                           81
French fries, 1 med serving                  365
Ice Cream, ½ cup vanilla                     137
Soda, 12 oz. can                                      150
Pizza, 1 slice                                            285

Caloric values for some favorite, healthy foods:

Food                                                      Calories
Apple, 1                                                     95
Banana, 1                                                105
Brown rice, ½ Cup                                 108
Carrots, 1 med.                                          25
Chicken breast, 3 oz.                              140
Cheese, 1 slice, American                       104
Dark chocolate, 1 oz.                               155
Eggs, 1 lg. boiled                                        78
Green beans, 1 Cup                                    31
Salmon, 3 oz., raw                                     177
Walnuts, ¼ Cup                                        180


To keep the pounds off after losing weight, a change in lifestyle is recommended.  Do the math!  Adjust your daily energy balance to achieve your desired calorie reduction.  Stay away from excess sugar and fat.


Let’s Go Nuts

Eat nuts (small handful)  for a healthy and wholesome snack.  Nuts contain healthy fats and essential nutrients along with fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E and magnesium.  But they are also high in calories, especially when they are encased in the various sugar and salt toppings that are available.

Nut Characteristics

Lowest Calorie:  Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios

Higher Calorie:  Macadamia Nuts, Pecans

Heart Healthy:  Walnuts

Brain Healthy:  Peanuts, Walnuts

Disease Prevention:  Almonds

Weight Loss Snack:  Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachio

Nutritional Highlights

Nut                  Calories    Fat (g)  Protein (g)    Carbs (g)        Fiber (g)                 Attribute
Almonds           161                14                6                        6                      3.5               L-arginine, calcium
Cashews            155                13                5                        9                      1.0               Unsaturated  fat
Pistachios          156               13                6                        8                      3.0              Substantial
Walnuts             182               18                4                        4                      2.0              Omega-3 fatty acid
Peanuts              176               17                4                        5                      3.0               Legume, not a nut
Brazil Nuts        182               18                4                         3                     2.0               Selenium
Macadamia       200               21                2                        4                     2.5                Monounsaturated
Pecans                193               20                3                        4                     2.5                Antioxidant
Hazel Nuts         176               9                  6                        6                     3.5                Anti-inflammatory

Consuming nuts may help reduce chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis and obesity (they help you feel full, suppressing appetite).  Eat nuts that have nothing added like salt, sugar, etc. – eat them raw or dry roasted.

Bottom Line:  For a healthy snack, choose an ounce of unsalted, raw nuts. They provide many nutrients and antioxidants without extra calories from sugar/toppings.




Fitness, Whole Health

Essential Glutes

Many of the jobs/careers out there require extended periods of sitting.  When sitting too much for too long, the glutes (buttock muscles) begin to not work as efficiently as they should.  This leads to tightening and shortening of the hip flexor muscles which can lead to injury, back pain, obesity and osteoporosis.

Also, other muscles will begin compensate, taking on the work load.  The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become too strong in comparison creating imbalance, increasing the risk of injury.

Strong glutes:

  • Stabilize the pelvis for walking and running to prevent injuries at the hip, knee, and ankle.  (Weak glutes can contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.)
  • Help with back pain – strong glutes support the back.  When the glutes strong, the lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of activity.
  • Improve athletic performance – gain speed and agility with stronger glutes
  • Increase power- a stronger gluteus maximus buttock muscle, largest muscle in the body, works to create lots of power to improve daily life.
  • Give the body a nice shape.

To strengthen the glutes train them about once a week.  Start with an aerobic warm up for about 10 minutes, then perform the exercises described below to build your glutes:

  Hip Bridge
  • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Pushing through the heels, press hips up toward the ceiling.  Maintain back, hips and thighs in a straight line.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat 10 -20 times.
  Lunge, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart (wide stance), back straight and head up. May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Step forward, bending both legs simultaneously until thigh of front leg is parallel to the floor.  The heel of the back foot will come off the floor.
  • Straighten legs to rise up.
  • Repeat action on same side for 8-12 reps.
  • Switch sides, and repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Squat, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet pointed slightly out.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Squat by bending knees and pushing hips out behind until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight; maintain body weight on heels.
  • Push through heels to stand back up to standing/starting position.
  • Repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Standing Side Leg Lift, with or without leg weight
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet about hip distance apart, toes pointed forward. May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Lift right leg out quickly.  (May hold onto a support, if needed.)
  • Slowly lower it back to start position, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  • Repeat 10 – 20 times
  • Repeat action with left leg, 10 – 20 times.
  Step Up, with or without dumbbell
  • Keeping head up and back straight, place right foot on a bench, step or a box.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Bring left leg up toward chest, then place left foot on the step-up surface, so that both feet are now on the step-up surface.
  • Step down with the left foot, keeping right foot on the step-up surface.
  • Repeat on both sides, doing 15 reps on each side.
  Kick Back – with or without leg weight
  • Get down on ‘hands and knees’.  May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Bring left leg to chest, keeping hips level.
  • Now drive leg back and up so that it is straight out and slightly up.  Contract glutes and hold the contraction at the top for a couple of seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the process with the right leg.
  • Repeat, alternating legs.
  • Complete 20 reps on each side.
  Wall Sit
  • Stand with back against a wall.
  • Slide down until knees are at a 90 degree angle, thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 20 – 60 seconds, or more.