STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
How’s your body responding to springing forward?
The online debates have begun about why we put our bodies through this twice a year. I’m in favor of this being the last time as I prefer more daylight at the end of the day.
Regardless, we know it can take a week or so for our bodies to adjust so it’s a great time to support your brain and body by slowing down, simplifying and giving your brain less choices as it adjusts to the time change.
Here are 2 specific brain supporting strategies you can use right now:
THE PROTEIN SHAKE SOLUTION:
Start your day with a Protein Shake. Tips to Build a Balanced Shake:
GREEN SHAKE RECIPES:
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder (can also make without it)
Take 1 handful of kale (stems and all)
8 ounces of water
1 handful of frozen fruit or blueberries
1 banana (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2 green apples (cut into small pieces)
2 peeled limes
Blend or juice everything together.
You can add Vanilla Protein to this recipe as well.
Green Protein Smoothie
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
9 ounces Almond Milk
1 handful Baby Spinach
½ cup Honeydew Melon
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Green Apple Goodness
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
1-2 tsp of Almond Butter
½ cup of ice
8- 10 ounces of unsweetened almond or rice milk, add ice and water
½ green apple (cut into small pieces before blending) + 1 tsp of cinnamon or to taste.
Blend until Smooth.
Green On The Go:
Green juice is everywhere now. You can drink your veggies if you are low on time. You can also add green super food powders* to your smoothie or water. One scoop of powder will give you probiotics for your gut, chlorella, blue green algae, digestive enzymes, spirulina, wheat grass, flax seed and all kinds of veggies for decreasing inflammation and improving gut health. It’s great for when you are traveling. No excuses not to eat your veggies.
CHOCOLATE SHAKE RECIPES:
If you’re a chocolate lover, it can be tricky to make a good tasting shake. You can throw vanilla protein powder into pretty much anything and it will taste good. Give these chocolate recipes a try.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
Chocolate protein powder
7 oz of water or almond milk
4-6 ice cubes
1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
1 scoop of frozen yogurt or 1/3 frozen banana
Blend until Smooth.
Chocolate Almond Oat Smoothie
Chocolate protein powder
8-10 oz of water/almond milk/coconut milk
¼ cup of oats
1-2 tsp almond butter
Blend until Smooth.
Chocolate Mousse Shake
Chocolate protein powder
¼ cup of avocado
Add some ice
Blend until Smooth.
Hope you find this transition less painful by using these Sun & Shakes strategies to support your brain right now.
To Sun, Shakes, & Less Stress!
P.S. For more stress management tips, download this Daily Planner to help you add 1-3 minute rest & relaxation breaks into your day.
P.S.S. Check out our favorite vegan protein powder* here.
*indicates an affiliate link
I'm sure you've heard about how to exercise your core muscles in your trunk area but did you know you’ve got a foot core too?
We’ve got 4 layers of muscles in feet- i.e. the intrinsic muscles. 4 layers!!! Doesn’t seem like there is enough room, does it?
Most of the time you only hear about the plantar fascia (connective tissue) as it gets all the attention when it’s flared up, i.e. plantar fasciitis.
They may not be as vocal when you’ve got a foot injury, but the foot intrinsic muscles are important too. They make up your foot core and help provide stability of the arch and control toe movements. They play a huge role in functional movements and by helping with your balance and posture.
It's very easy for them to be weak or even turned off due to tight spots in your calf and foot fascia. They LOVE to be lazy when you’re wearing cushy shoes (all that cushion in our shoes helps with impact on our joints but encourages our foot core to not work very hard).
So how about we give them some love in honor of Valentine’s day?
1. DO A FOOT CORE CHECKUP.
You probably know if you have a high arch, low arch or no arch but let’s see how your foot core muscles are doing. This might be easiest to do in front of a mirror where you can see your foot vs trying to look down at your foot. Or you could video and look at it after you do the moves.
Stand on one leg. Hold onto a counter, wall or chair if needed to but with as little support as possible. Don’t lock out your knee- keep a soft knee.
What do you see going on in the foot your standing on?
Is there any flickering going on in the top of your foot tendons or any movement side to side from trying to keep from falling over?
Or is your foot like a flat pancake on the floor with no arch? Or maybe it’s like a dead fish- limp, no life?
Are your toes holding on for dear life to the floor, so you don’t fall over?
How does it feel?
Does it hurt to stand on one foot?
Are you wondering where the floor is?
Is it hard to balance? Are your hips working hard moving side to side to keep you upright?
No judgment just look and feel what’s going on or not going on.
What happens if you bend your knee slightly? Any changes?
Now check out the other foot. Go through same questions and then compare to other foot.
Flat arches, no signs of muscle activity on top of your foot, difficulty balancing and/or your toes flexed and trying to grip on the floor are signs your foot core muscles need some attention.
One foot core may be having more issues than the other one. It'll depend on which hand you are dominant and what kind of activities you do each day. Also if you've had any injuries on one side. It doesn't matter, both sides probably need attention.
2. GIVE YOUR FOOT CORE SOME LOVE.
Massage your foot core:
Self-Massage on the bottom of your feet with your hands or massage tools will help release trigger points (tender spots). Keep it simple and use a tennis ball, racket ball or even dog toy if you don’t want to buy a massage tool. Roll back and forth from the ball of your foot to the heel or find tender spots to hold pressure on for a few breaths then move to another tender spot.
You can do foot massage in sitting or standing. Sitting is less intense than standing. Massage the bottom of your foot as described to get to the foot core muscles. You can gently massage the top of your foot with your hands but the top (dorsum) of your foot is more sensitive and more bony.
If your foot is flared up, you can do ice massage by rolling back and forth on the bottom of your with a frozen water bottle for several minutes.
An added bonus to massaging your feet is that the bottom of your foot has acupressure spots for every organ in your body. When you massage your foot, you’re sending calming signals to your whole body.
Stretch your foot core:
Stretching the tight spots in your toes, ankles, and calves in sitting or standing can help your foot core turn on.
Strengthen your foot core:
Full body and barefoot workouts like Yoga or Pilates will help strengthen your foot core.
Challenge your foot core:
Pilates Reformer work, unstable surfaces (like Bosu ball or foam surfaces) and doing band work resistance exercises barefoot are some of my favorite ways to challenge the foot core.
Support your foot core:
Good arch support will help keep your foot in good alignment which helps your foot core turn on properly. You might need some extra arch support if you have very flat feet or high arches, stand a lot each day, or do an impact sport like running. It could be a simple over the counter foam insert to a custom orthotic.
Typically, the liner that comes in your shoe is crap. You’re not looking for a huge build up under the arch. Just a little arch support so it’s not completely collapsed, and you aren’t getting pain in your feet or knees with activities. You can learn from a health professional how to use kinesiotape to calm down foot pain if you get flare ups and support your arch but it’s important to also strengthen your foot core to help avoid foot injuries.
3. DO A RECHECK.
If you try any of the above foot care tips, recheck to see how your foot core is doing. Stand again on one leg and see what’s going on down there.
Do you see more activity on the top of your foot, have better balance and/or a little bit of arch activity where there is some space between your foot and the floor?
How does it feel? Hopefully you’ll feel more contact with the floor and more grounded or stable overall.
Even though your feet are at the end of the line, they’re the first body part in contact with the ground which then causes a chain reaction up the leg and into your trunk muscles. They need just as much love as the rest of your body. Just a few mini moves for the foot core make a big difference in your posture and balance.
Give your foot core some love each day!
Want more tips on how to check your form? Here's a Fit Blog that'll help.
Want more massage tools & stretch routines to support and challenge your foot core (and hip core) We’ll show you how in HIP Camp™.
Well I finally got a standing desk after wanting one for soooooo long. It’s a height adjustable standing desk platform that my computer monitor/laptop and keyboard/mouse sit on top of on part of my desk. Love it BUT...
I got a little too over excited about it and ended up not being able to type for a few days. I forgot to follow my own advice about not overdoing it.
It took me a bit to figure out why I was having headaches and pain in my hands and forearms.
I finally put it together that it all started after getting my new fun toy. I went from sitting doing work tasks to standing several hours. I needed to break it up and build up over time.
Standing and working on a computer is great for the hips, circulation, etc. but puts more stress on the neck, shoulders, and forearms because you’ve typically got less support when typing or writing.
Plus your postural muscles have to work harder in standing. It’s real easy to tighten up your upper traps if your postural muscles get tired or if you’re so focused on work that you aren’t mindful your arms, wrists and fingers being on fire! Duh Mollie. LOL
Remember your fascia (connective tissue) takes the shape of what you normally do each day. And it takes time to reshape it.
If you do like I did and go from sitting most of the day to standing while on the computer, you’re most likely going to have new flared- up spots talking to you.
It’s best to break up and build up your tolerance to new activities.
It’s true for anything new.
Anything you’re doing for long periods.
Long drive or commute.
Long documents to edit.
Long time on your phone.
BREAK IT UP
I highly recommend adding a standing option to your desk if you have a lot of writing or typing to do on a regular basis. There are some obvious health benefits that are well documented to standing more than sitting at work.
Despite my initial issues, the standing option when writing or typing helps me focus more and my back and legs feel less stiff at the end of the day. I like the variety too.
You can use the Mini Moves Daily Planner below to take breaks as you build up your tolerance over a few weeks.
Stand up more!
P.S. Need some tips on how to stretch and relax your body during your workday? Here you go:
How are your feet doing? If they aren't feeling healthy & happy, it’s always good to check in on any shoes that you use regularly or that have foam soles. Whether you wear them or not, the foam in your shoes gets more dense and compresses over time.
Don’t wait until your feet hurt to do a shoe checkup.
Have they lived their best life? Are the soles worn out? Is the fabric stretched out? Are your feet hurting at the end of the day or after workouts? Do your knees or back hurt more lately?
If so, they're all signs it might be time to get a new pair.
Before you pick out a pair because of the color or cuteness, here are some shoe shopping tips to consider that’ll help prevent injury and give your foot muscles the love they deserve.
What’s your first impression after putting on the shoes? Don’t play mind games with yourself by telling yourself that you need to wear them in for that seam cutting into your pinky toe to go away.
It doesn’t matter how cute they are, if anything feels uncomfortable or off when you first put them on... you need to move on.
If they pass the first impression test, move around in them to double check your foot and heel stay in place. Stand on one leg. Jump. Walk or run a few steps. Turn and stop quickly.
Still feel good without any slipping or sliding going on? You may have a keeper.
You're aiming for just enough support for your arch and the activity you will be doing. The more impact your activity, the more cushion you will likely need from your shoe.
Caution: Be careful with the barefoot or minimal arch shoe styles, especially if you run. I love to workout barefoot to help turn on all my foot muscles but it’s super easy to injure yourself if you run or lift weights with shoes that have minimal arch support. I’ve done it a few times and it can take months to heal foot injuries. If you have a pair, you must wean into them and they aren’t meant to be worn all day. Change it up and/or take a break if you feel your foot muscles getting tired or cramping when using a minimal arch support style shoe.
Make sure you’ve got the right tread on the bottom for what you’ll be doing. Rocky terrain requires a different level of traction than smooth pavement.
If you’re committed to a green lifestyle, take the time to investigate where your shoe parts and packaging come from and whether the shipping does or does not support the planet. Here are two companies to consider:
- Upper in Alveomesh (100% recycled plastic bottles). Alveomesh is a technical fabric made exclusively from recycled plastic bottles. It brings breathability, flexibility and lightness to the shoe.
- Pannels in suede & leather
- Side V Logo in Rubber and Rice Waste (23%)
- Organic cotton laces (100%)
- Midsole made from sugar cane (53%)
- Glued outsole made of Amazon rubber (12%) & rice waste (30%)
- Sugarcane insole, Amazon rubber, recycled E.V.A. & organic cotton
- Tech inner lining (100% recycled plastic bottles) developed to acquire a better resistance to friction and provide maximum comfort and flexibility thanks to its mesh structure.
It’s actually fun to see how creative these companies are getting with recycling and athletic gear. The Veja shoe listed above is super cute too.
OK, time to go check your shoes and get to shopping.
To Happy, Healthy Feet!
P.S. Ready to have a calm, strong, well-rested body? Our online bodywork camps will not only help you Move With Ease but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Woohoo, it’s almost time to ring in 2022! Always an exciting time to push reset and have a fresh start.
We are more committed than ever to helping you move better to feel better and showing you how to rest more so you can heal more. Your body. Others. The Planet.
This poem by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes sums up perfectly the bodywork adventure ahead that we hope you will continue to join us on.
We do not become healers.
Let’s stretch to bring back the spring.
Let’s rest to bring out the bliss.
Let’s remember who we truly are and move forward together on this bodywork adventure to have more energy, ease, and flow each day.
We believe Rested, Healthy Healers, Leaders, & Creators will heal the planet.
Wishing you a Joyful, Playful & Restful New Year!
Mollie & Ender
Team Core Power
P.S. Our online bodywork camps will help you a Calm, Strong, Well-Rested Body (from the comfort of your home). Learn more here.
It’s time to move it. Move your body. Let’s face it, there’s still a ton of chaos going on in our lives. One way to release all that energy you can’t help but absorb is to move your body.
Sometimes we need to move our body to get an energy boost, but the prescription we need right now is to move our body in ways that release energy.
Here are 4 MOVES to release all the anxious energy you’ve got trapped in your body. They will all help you feel more calm, centered, and confident.
Summary: Pick one move or try them all. You may have days when you need to throw everything at it to get back in your body (i.e. more centered and calm) so you can carry on.
All is Well!
How’s it going using the Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your core during workouts?
Are you more aware of how to reset your posture during your day?
One way to feel and get your core stabilizer muscles working is to hold a small ball or towel roll between your inner thighs as you run through the posture checklist or during your core exercises like when doing a basic abdominal crunch, hip bridge, plank or pushup.
If you’re ready for more of a challenge to your core, then it’s time to practice doing these posture cues while doing a mind body workout like Pilates.
Pilates exercises are some of the most powerful for strengthening AND stretching your core to improve your posture and performance.
Done right, you’ll walk out of your Pilates session a different person than going in. You’ll feel taller, calmer, centered... EMPOWERED.
Pilates is an art form like martial arts or dance. Knowing the history and purpose behind the exercises will help you experience the full benefits of it.
Just like dance, the more you practice Pilates, the more you perfect it and it becomes a lifestyle.
The first step is learning the movement pattern for each exercise then you progress to focusing on your form from head to toe while executing each exercise.
The goal is to eventually become your own coach. You can’t do that without having a good instructor to help you learn how each exercise should feel in your body.
Here are some resources to help you make sure you are getting the most out of your Pilates workouts and not just going through the motions:
Getting started and the benefits of Pilates
How to find a great Pilates Studio & Instructor
How to pick your first class & understand the most common Pilates cues
There is no better time than the present to introduce (or reintroduce) your body to the Pilates world.
I love that Pilates can be modified to be more gentle or challenging depending on what your body needs. I’ve used it with all ages and abilities.
When you stick with it, it becomes a lifestyle. It’s addictive 😊 but a healthy one.
What's on the agenda for you over the long, holiday weekend? Hopefully something to refresh your mind, body and soul. I don't know anyone that isn't needing more rest in their life right now. All forms of exhaustion- mental, physical, emotional- are at an all time high.
So here is your Rest Prescription for the weekend. It's a great one to help you fall asleep but you can also do it floating in the pool and before taking a nap in a hammock. It's super simple.
If you get off track, start over at 32 or just pick any number and count backwards as you do a full inhale and exhale.
You can pick any number. It doesn't matter where you start.
If you fall asleep, woohoo. Just rest. When you wake up, you wake up. Whatever length of time it is, your mind, body and soul needed it.
Get outside if you can over the weekend and do a few minutes of this breath work to take a nap. Use the exercise to help with sleep on a regular basis.
Deep breaths and baby steps!
P.S. Want better sleep? Download this 5 minute rest meditation to take a quick time out, prep for a nap or to relax your body before sleep.
Hope you're staying cool & enjoying some summer fun so far. Summer is a great time to check in on how we are doing with our green, healthy living habits to support nature and the planet.
Here are 5 tips to help you have a green, clean, healthy body & home while you help save the planet.
1. Look for businesses that are Certified B Corporations™: B Corps are for profit businesses that commit to balance both profit and purpose. These brands meet legal standards to consider not only the needs of their customer and employees in their decision making but also the environment and larger global community.
2. Look for the BUNNY LABEL to find brands that don’t do testing on animals. Download the cruelty cutter app to make it easier to shop cruelty free.
3. GROCERY SHOPPING:
4. HOUSEHOLD GOODS:
5. CAMPS WITH A CAUSE: our online bodywork camps will not only help you have a strong, calm, well-rested body but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Remember it all adds up. Mini moves & baby steps to have a healthier body and lifestyle. The brands you chose matter for not only you and your home but our planet.
Go More Green!
P.S. More scoop on 2 of my favorite Animal Rescue & Rehab organizations that we support with every online camp sale.
Beagle Freedom Project is a non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organization and the world’s leading organization for rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research. Since 2010 the charity has been freeing survivors from laboratory experiments, senior and special needs animals from shelters, and victims of horrific abuse from around the world. FYI Beagles are the most tested on dogs, particularly in the cosmetic and beauty industry, due to their gentle nature. Remember look for the bunny label or use the cruelty cutter app to shop.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues & rehabs orphaned elephants, rhino’s & wildlife in Kenya to return them healthy to the wild as well as securing habitats for future generations, providing fresh water relief, vet rescue units and my favorite- their canine project using dogs to sniff out wildlife crime.
*denotes affiliate link
Before you jump into your core workouts, try these moves to help turn on your core and maximize your results.
OPEN UP YOUR HIPS: tight hips can make it harder to contract the pelvic floor muscles (the base of your core). In fact, tight hips can pretty much turn off your pelvic floor. Stretch the front and back of your hips with a runner’s lunge and full squat to prep for a core workout.
WARM UP YOUR SPINE: The Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
CHECK YOUR FORM: Use this Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your deep core stabilizer muscles and reset your posture during workouts. Be mindful of these spots for better form and check in frequently from head to toe that you’ve got yourself lined up during your core workouts.
Here is the Head To Toe Posture Checklist and posture cues to become familiar with and the video to walk you through the following spots.
HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST VIDEO
Becoming mindful of these key spots from head to toe during your core, Pilates or Yoga workouts will help you improve your posture overtime. Using good form during your workouts WILL carry over into your day.
You can take these posture cues out of the gym or off the mat to help reset your posture anytime during your day.
Better posture equals more confidence, better performance, and decreased risk for injury. You’ll walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
Prep, Reset, Reshape!
P.S. Download the Head To Toe Posture Checklist Video to reset your posture during your day.
Mollie Miller, PT