Anatomy, Fitness, Yoga

Get to Know Your Hamstrings

You might be surprised to know that tight hamstrings could be causing you low back pain, pulling on your knee and causing mobility problems with your hips and glutes.

Let me introduce you to your hamstrings in this post and then learn how to Move Your Hamstrings followed by how to restore & stretches to help loosen the tightness and heal your body to help prevent future injuries.

Location: Posterior (back side) of body between the Hip and just below the Knee

Muscles: Consists of 3 muscles: from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris.

(Image1 Ref 2)

Nerves: branch of Sciatica Nerves

Actions: Flexion (bend) of the knee joint and extension (straighten) of the hip joint.

“The hamstrings play a crucial role in many daily activities such as walking, running, jumping, and controlling some movement in the gluteus.”

Injuries: The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

“At the hip, the hamstrings play a role in a posture condition known as flat low back. This is because the result of their contraction at this location is a pulling down of the pelvis in back, a move also known as a posterior pelvic tilt. The posterior pelvic tilt, in turn, tends to elongate the natural low back curve, overstretching and/or weakening the muscles in that area and possibly predisposing you to disc injury. Tight hamstrings may also play a role in sacroiliac dysfunction.” 2

(Image 2 Ref 3)

Hamstring injury risk factors include:

Prior hamstring injury. After you’ve had one hamstring injury, you’re more likely to have another one, especially if you try to resume all your activities at pre-injury levels of intensity before your muscles have time to heal and rebuild strength.

Poor flexibility. If you have poor flexibility, your muscles may not be able to bear the full force of the action required during certain activities.

Muscle imbalance. A muscle imbalance may lead to hamstring injury. When the muscles along the front of your thigh — the quadriceps — become stronger and more developed than your hamstring muscles, you may be more likely to injure your hamstring muscles.

Sports that require sprinting or running, or other activities such as dancing that might require extreme stretching, make a hamstring injury more likely.” 1

Injury Prevention:

“As part of an overall physical conditioning program, regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help minimize your risk of hamstring injury. Try to be in shape to play your sport; don’t play your sport to get in shape.” 1

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hamstring-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20372985

  2. https://www.verywellhealth.com/hamstring-muscles-296481

  3. http://www.aspirechirodfw.com/important-posture/

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Yoga

5 Tips to Prevent Tech Neck Pain

Looking down at your phone, tablet, or laptop can cause ongoing neck pain. When you hold this tilted, head-forward posture for long periods of time, you may develop a repetitive stress injury or muscle strain.

5 Tips to Prevent Tech Neck Pain

This ailment is commonly referred to as tech neck (sometimes called text neck) and can be avoided by changing a few habits. Here are 5 simple steps you can take to prevent the pain:

1. Raise your screen higher

Hold your phone or tablet up close to eye level to avoid sloping your head forward or bending your neck down. If your arms get tired from holding the screen higher, buy a holder to elevate your device, or rest your elbows on a tabletop to prop your arms up comfortably. If you work on a laptop, get a second monitor and adjust the height.

2. Take breaks often

If you have to look at a screen for an extended period of time, take breaks. Develop a habit of taking a 2- or 3-minute break every half hour, and set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Use these breaks to change your posture and move around, keeping your muscles loose and spine aligned. Try this quick stretch on break: tuck your chin down, then slowly raise it upward. Then gently turn your head over one shoulder, then the other.

3. Sit in a chair with a headrest

The ergonomics of your chair can help you maintain correct posture and avoid tech neck. Switch to a chair that has a headrest and keep the back of your head flush against the headrest while you use your screen. Holding your head in this position will prevent you from looking down with your neck flexed forward.

4. Strengthen and stretch your muscles

Strengthening and stretching your chest, neck, and upper back can help to prevent muscle imbalances caused by forward head posture. 

Over time, muscle imbalances can develop due to long-term forward head posture. To prevent these imbalances, it helps to strengthen and stretch your chest, neck, and upper back muscles. Keeping these muscles in good shape helps support the weight of your head and minimize strain on your cervical spine.

You can also perform exercises that target your abdominals and lower back. While it may seem counterintuitive to work out this part of your body to prevent tech neck, these muscle groups play a role in supporting your upper body, including your neck.

5. Use pain as a warning sign

If you experience pain in your neck, between the shoulder blades, numbness or tingling in the arms, or frequent headaches, there may be a more serious issue going on. Pay attention to these warning signs and act quickly to make changes to reduce or eliminate any head-forward posture straining your neck.

See What Is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Try all or some of the above methods and see which ones work for you. If your neck pain symptoms don’t improve, it may be time to seek help from a qualified health professional.

Learn more:

Workplace Ergonomics and Neck Pain

Forward Head Posture’s Effect on Neck Muscles

 

original post: https://www.spine-health.com/blog/5-tips-prevent-tech-neck-pain

 

Stress Management, Transformation, weight loss

The Blame Game

The Blame Game, aka excuses, is the biggest reason people gain weight and keep it on.

They will think of million reasons that they have gained weight or a million things to blame it on rather then themselves and the habits that got them there.

They want the weight to come off “but” <— that being the key word that let’s you know if you are playing the game, there is always something that is in the way.

That thing in the way is the challenge or the obstacle and most people see the peak of the problem and think it is just too hard and takes too much energy and they “don’t have the time or energy for that.”

It’s just my body type, it’s my thyroid, it’s genetic, it’s my age….I’ve heard a lot and I’ve seen a lot…a lot of people not letting their excuses define them. They stop blaming their problems on something or someone and find a way.

Otherwise, this means that changing doesn’t feel worth the effort.

Sure, they might be willing to throw some money at it, but they don’t want to put in the work.

Well, guess what..?! Choosing the easy path is what got you where you are! And if you want something to change, you have to choose the other path. You have to dig yourself out of the whole, the debt that you got yourself in.

Think of weight loss like getting yourself out of debt. Say you have 8 credit cards (8 bad habits), we could work on all of them a little at a time or we can dive in and pay off one at a time. But consistency is key. You cannot pay $60 have interest of $30 and then add another $40 in purchases and expect to see results.

Gosh, you might even need to “get a part-time job” to pay it off faster (cut out that weekend ice cream).

And I don’t want to forget to mention that in the process of getting yourself out of calorie debt you might actually save money and learn some key habits to get yourself out of financial debt too.

Mind-Body work can be amazing for your life.

Are you ready for some life changing this year?

Your Success Coach & Yoga Teacher,

Izzy Nalley

Fitness, nutrition, Stress Management, Uncategorized, weight loss

Got Cravings?

This is something I bring up a lot when talking about understanding your nutrition and deficiencies, as well as common hang ups that derail people’s new diet plan or healthy eating lifestyle change: CRAVINGS.

You get stressed and suddenly: CHOCOLATE! or COFFEE! both could be your body craving magnesium or could be (a may be a mix of all this) food relationship problem i.e. avoidance or comfort foods.

But lets talk about cravings from a nutrition stand point.

IMG_8785

If you are ruled all day by cravings then most likely this is your nutritionally deprived body and mind screaming at you trying to get your attention.

What is actually happening.

Your body is screaming that its hungry (nutritionally deprived) but your mind hears “starving” and freaks out like an irrational over protected mother and starts trying to accumulate enough calories to keep you alive for as long as possible.

Therefore you might be extremely lacking in calcium and magnesium are in need of leafy greens like broccoli, spinach & kale but your mind (I often refer to the ego mind as a toddler) say chocolate and coffee and carbs until your pleasure senses of the brain level or until you are full.

But guess what? The body didn’t really get what it needed… and so the cycle continues.

So what do you do?

Plant based, mega veggie shakes. Not just a protein shake but the stuff with servings of veggies. real food not synthetic.
Blend that stuff up with almond milk and yogurt &/or fruits and sneak it into your system.

Have a go-to smoothie/shake for each craving to slowly replace the calorie dense with nutrient dense.

I went from eating chocolate, oreos & coffee every day, eating sporadic meals to consistent healthy eating within 6 months using this method along with flooding my body with fruits and veggies.  >My Food Relationship Talk<

My favorite products:

Juice Plus Trio Blend & Shakes.

My chocolate fix:

Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
Banana
1/2 Avocado
2 tbsp of Peanut Butter
Ice Optional
1 scoop of dutch chocolate JP

Now, when I get a craving I realize that it is a warning sign, I access what I’ve been eating and it is normally that I have fell off the healthy food train or slacked a little.

Below is one helpful cheatsheet. Although is doesn’t cover everything, I find this one is a good place to start and experiment with.         >click here for more on pinterest. <

success mindset

Rewire your Brain to Beat Procrastination

Turn off the phone, tune into yourself, and be productive when it counts.

Have you ever found yourself staring at your phone or laptop, mindlessly checking social media or going down an internet rabbit hole when you’re supposed to be doing something else? So have I.

*Can you read this entire blog post?
85% of readers will not.
10% of those who do will skim some if not most parts. *

My name is [Izzy], and I’m addicted to information.
More specifically, I am addicted to the infinite and immediately available mental stimulation the internet offers in the form of information. And, according to scientists, I’m not alone. Information addiction is real, and is a perfect outlet for procrastination. After all, why would I want to perform some unpleasant task when I can sit and laugh at cat memes instead?

But procrastination can lead to negative consequences, from mental fatigue to missed deadlines that frustrate my manager. How did I become addicted to something so potentially destructive? And how do I recover for the sake of productivity? The answer to both questions is the same: neuroplasticity.

What fires together wires together” — Donald Hebb

Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity, discovered back in the 1940’s by Donald Hebb, is how the brain changes (for better or worse) in response to repeated experience.

“Heady” stuff? Here’s a real-world example you might relate to:

My first encounter with the internet was transformative. As I clicked away, my brain thought “this is new and this is awesome!” and released some dopamine to motivate me to seek that rush of unexpected discovery again (and again, and again). As hours of web surfing went by, I became less tolerant of enduring boring, difficult, or stressful tasks and began choosing distraction over productivity. In other words, I wired my brain for procrastination.

Yeah, yeah…I’ll finish reading this later

Procrastination is a fact of life. According to Piers Steel, author of The Procrastination Equation, about 95 percent of people admit to putting off work (perhaps the other 5 percent didn’t get around to completing the survey). So, it’s safe to assume you, like me, are a procrastinator at times…you might even be procrastinating now. The good news is we can learn ourselves out of procrastination the same way we learned ourselves into it — by taking small, consistent actions that offer our brain a reward.

Use your mind to change your mind

There are seemingly endless strategies to overcome internet-fueled procrastination. I found the process below especially helpful, and hope you will as well.

Accept reality

You’re going to procrastinate from time to time — you’re only human and can’t do it all. In fact, it’s possible that beating ourselves up leads to more procrastination, making it harder to be effective. Have self-compassion and recognize there is a time for procrastination before and after your task, but for now you must focus.

Disconnect from the internet

The internet and your smartphone will demand your attention subconsciously — you’ve trained your brain for that. Place your phone in another room, with notifications and sound off. If you have to work on your computer, turn Wi-Fi off.

Be mindful

Take a few minutes to observe your thoughts and emotions. I find mindfulness meditation, particularly breathing meditation, a great tool for insight. When I began meditating, I held the common belief that to meditate “correctly,” my mind had to become totally blank. But to be truly mindful is to be aware of yourself without judgment. Noticing my thoughts and the emotions around them helps me understand what needs to be done next.

Prioritize what’s important

If, while observing, you noticed fear or anxiety around starting (or not finishing) a particular task, pay attention. These emotions are a great indicator of why you’re procrastinating. Whether you think you’re unable to do something well or simply want to avoid having to deal with it at all, use this insight to prioritize your tasks, and make the decision to work on one that seems especially difficult. Remember, the goal is not only to finish a task, but to make it easier to be productive in the future. Accomplishing difficult tasks will bring you the positive feelings necessary to rewire your brain.

Focus on one thing at a time

Once you’ve decided where to begin, focus on how to organize the task into small pieces (SMART goals are a great tool here). Don’t think about multi-tasking — this is single-tasking. Keep your focus on one part of the task at a time to avoid being overwhelmed about the outcome of the final product and the work required to get there.

there.

Jump in

The hardest part of getting started is…getting started. A lot of this is because of the way we judge our thoughts — dismissing our efforts before giving them a chance to develop. Let go of your expectations and judgments and just BEGIN. Sometimes you can find a shortcut to help overcome the initial obstacles to productivity. For instance, templates are a great way to remove the stress of staring at a blank page. Every task likely has a similar hack to ease you into action.

Take a (timed) break

If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break. Set a timer for five minutes and do something else. You could return to breathing to clear your mind again, do some jumping jacks to get your blood flowing, or go outside for some fresh air — but do not allow yourself to check the internet or your phone.

CYA: Celebrate Your Accomplishments

When your task is finished, pat yourself on the back; you’ve earned some self-esteem. Procrastination is usually a response to the unpleasant feelings associated with a task. Rewiring your brain requires sending yourself different messages. Recognizing that you can move through difficult emotions and accomplish your tasks is crucial to replacing your negative thought patterns. Each success rewires your brain so that the next time you’re faced with a difficult task, you will approach it with more confidence, patience, and focus — and less urge to check your phone.

Don’t worry about perfection

Once your task is done, let it go. I could write this blog a million times, a million ways, and it would never be perfect — that’s just part of the deal. Accept imperfection, value the effort, and keep moving onto your next task.

Speaking of perfection, you likely won’t do any of these steps perfectly, but you’ll make progress. With repeated effort, you’ll become skilled at being productive when it matters, just like you became skilled at procrastinating. Be patient and kind to yourself as you grow. And, of course, give yourself a few minutes after you’re done with your task to hop on the internet for that sweet, sweet dopamine rush. Which reminds me, I was so busy writing this that I haven’t checked Facebook all day…

Written by Brian Daignault on October 4, 2018.

Original Post:

View at Medium.com

nutrition

8 Foods to Grow Gorgeous Nails and Shiny Hair

Focusing on your overall health means paying attention to details big and small:

• your weight

• your blood pressure

• how you feel

• how you look

As for how you look, though you may opt out of fussing with frills, that doesn’t mean that things like your fingernails and hair aren’t important. In fact, they can be a key sign of good (or bad) health.

Your hair and your nails are made up of keratin. Keratin is a special protein made by cells in your skin.

When it’s made, it pushes through the skin, then dies and turns hard, turning into hair or nails.  This process is called “keratinization.”

When the process of keratinization is going well, it reflects good health. Nails and hair will be strong and smooth.

By contrast, a person who is sick will have nails that are dry and brittle. Their hair will break easily and be dull. There are other signs and symptoms your hair and nails will give youtoo!

The body functions that determine whether keratinization is well supported are a healthy kidney and thyroid, as well as hormones that are in balance.

To ensure that these organs and functions are well supported, there are several nutrients that you should be sure you’re getting.

These include:

• Protein: gets broken down into amino acids that build keratin

• Vitamin A: Helps your body absorb protein

• Vitamin C: Works with zinc to build collagen

• Vitamin B2: Helps develop new tissue

• Vitamin B7 (biotin): Develops stronger nails

Other nutrients that are key to growing vibrant, healthy nails and hair include vitamins D and E, iron, calcium and iodine.

To support nail and hair health, there are certain foods that will make a big difference. Eating more of these will add strength and shine:

8 Foods to Grow Gorgeous Nails and Shiny Hair

1. Protein – Adding a plant-based protein powder to your smoothie will stop hair loss.

2. Blueberries – Blueberries are high in antioxidants that protect growing cells against free radical damage.

3. Almonds – Almonds are loaded with magnesium. This mineral counters stress that can cause damage to hair and nail cells. Other good sources of magnesium include cacao nibs and leafy greens. And almonds are also high in protein.

4. Beer – Not that I’m advocating alcohol but here’s one good reason to tilt a glass every now and then. Beer contains silicon, a mineral that boosts scalp circulation and hair growth.  It also fights brittleness in nails.

5. Oysters – Oysters are the food highest in zinc. Zinc is needed to make the keratin that turns into hair and nails. Not a fan of shellfish? You can also get zinc from poultry, cereals, and baked beans.

6. Yogurt – There’s a link between losing hair and low levels of Vitamin D. Also, the calcium in dairy helps build healthy hair and nails. Just be sure you read the labels before you buy yogurt.

7. Eggs – Not only are eggs high in protein and vitamin D, they also contain biotin, which plays a key role in building keratin.

8. Salmon – Salmon contains biotin and protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin. Since nails and hair are formed from the top layer of skin, healthy skin means healthy nails.

nutrition, Transformation, Yoga

The Yoga Way of Dealing with Cravings

We crave distraction, food, comfort, shopping…looking for the next external stimulus that will carry with it a tinge of happiness.

Fleeting happiness: Conditional Happiness.

We make others or something else responsible for our happiness. Making it anyone’s fault other than our own.

We avoid sitting with just our own thoughts because we hate what the voice in our head (our Ego) will tell us we did wrong.

That voice is not you.

That voice is a congregation of thoughts and comments of others that has formed a layer of your subconscious…. something that belongs to you, but is NOT you.

Can you re-write that? Can you learn to like your mind? To like quiet time? Yes.

For some of us we might only be a self-help book or two away from improvement.

For others, for most it is a long journey of self-discovery or re-writing the BS that society and uncompassionate people have fed your mind from a very young age.

Ultimately the comfort seeking, distractions and numbing activities function as a temporary bandaid that we have discovered to avoid the boring, blank void.

We have stopping listening to our heart & gut and instead see emotions as annoyances that need to be put in a closet instead of dealing with it.

With the practice of observing, mindfulness & meditation we stop run from our problems instead of solving them, we stop blaming others instead of observing the situation and planning for what we will do next time.

We Do Not live in the since of regretting or reliving the moment over and over, we just use each challenge as a learning opportunity.

Take a look and listen to my YouTube video about eating till 80% full and/or how to use Yoga & Meditation to help deal with cravings.

Using Meditation & Yoga to deal with cravings: https://youtu.be/LfCInw2iQcE

80% Full: https://youtu.be/KfMiYV9HDFs

Stay tuned to the next blog: Stop Hitting Your Self-Destruct Button