Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Injury Info: Sprained Ankles

This past weekend my family had a neighborhood bbq with a few families. It was a fun time with lots of friends. But when you get over 40 people in a backyard, it’s pretty inevitable that SOMEONE will get hurt. My brother-in-law drew the short stick.


(this isn’t his ankle, but it looked a lot like that!)

He was just shooting some hoops with my other brother-in-law when he came down on his foot the wrong way. That’s all it takes!

When someone rolls an ankle, the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are stretched and pulled apart. Ligaments are tissues that can tear with a certain amount of stress. A tear in a ligament is a sprain. Sprains come in a variety of different types and degrees of severity and require a great deal of attention. Without appropriate treatment, an ankle sprain may take months to heal.

So…what do you do?

First of all, don’t panic. That makes everything worse.

After looking at the injury and determining just how bad it is, if the person isn’t in a safe place to sit for a while, get some help to move them. (For example, my brother-in-law sitting at the base of the basketball hoop wasn’t ideal!)

After moving him we got a chair to rest his foot up on while he lay on the ground…the key here is ELEVATION! Getting your ankle above your heart will significantly help reduce swelling and pain.


Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen, is a good idea to ease the aching and throbbing that can occur.

From there, it is time to ICE. Soft ice packs are ideal because they can form over the ankle and you get the most benefit. Icing helps reduce swelling, and is most important the first 24-48 hours. After the initial injury and the pain starts to go down a bit, start icing for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.

Following that 24-48 hour period of icing, you can also try hot and cold therapy. Get two big buckets (my family uses coolers) and fill one with ice water and one with hot water (not too hot to put your foot in, but hot enough to feel it). Then immerse your foot in cold for 10 minutes, then hot for 10 minutes, then off. You can repeat this a few times. The change in temperature helps get blood flowing through the injury to promote healing.


Once you are able to start moving around more it is important to keep some kind of COMPRESSION on the ankle. This is because once you start moving, swelling can increase because of the blood flow going down the foot. Wrap the ankle tight enough to feel support, but not tight enough to cut off circulation.


Finally, make sure to take adequate time to REST the ankle. Your body needs time to heal and doing things too fast will prevent your ankle from healing completely, thus making you more vulnerable to future injury.

So, when all else fails, just remember RICE!


~Do you have any good sprained ankle stories?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Plyometrics…ever heard of it? It is a vigorous, high intensity form of exercise, sometimes known as jump training. It involves explosive high-impact movements that "load" or stretch muscles before rapidly contracting them.

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, plyos refer to activities that enable a muscle to reach maximal force in the shortest possible time.

Sounds pretty great, right? They are!

They are a great alternative to “regular” workout days like running and exercise machines. Working different muscles, and definitely strengthening them, does the body lots of good. And, they are pretty easy to add to a workout program. Just tailor them to your level and you are good to go!

Start out with 10 to 15 minutes of warm-up, like a light jog or elliptical workout. Then, mix and match some sets of these exercises, repeating them at least 1 time, or more if you can.

Squat Jumps
Squat jumps are one of the lowest-intensity plyometric lower body exercises. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight and torso angled forward slightly. Bend your elbows to approximately 90 degrees and keep them tucked near your sides. Lower your butt until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Immediately spring upwards, jump off the ground and lift your arms toward the ceiling. As you jump into the air, keep your legs extended and avoid tucking your feet near your buttocks. Land on the balls of your feet, rest for a second and then repeat the sequence.

Although it might seem difficult to coordinate at first, bounding is simply an exaggerated version of running. Begin by simply jogging in a straight line. After a few feet, explode off your right leg forcefully as you push your left arm forward. Then, explode quickly off your left leg and bring your right arm forward. Continue bounding forward in the exaggerated motion without stopping between bounds.
(Bounding sort of reminds me of running like a deer…)

Plyometric Push-ups
For plyometric push-ups, you'll want to use the traditional push-up position (on knees or hands). Place your hands slightly wider than and just behind your shoulders. Keep your core muscles contracted and maintain a straight line from head to heels. Lower yourself to the ground as if you're doing a traditional push-up. Then, explosively push yourself up so that your hands lift off the ground. As you fall back onto your hands, immediately lower back into another push-up. Continue the explosive motions, allowing no pause between repetitions.


Some other ideas –

  • for legs, try some box jumps, jump rope, tuck jumps or jumping lunges
  • chest and back, try lateral jumps. They help strengthen upper body stabilization muscles
  • for your mid section, try the ball to the wall workout. Stand near a wall with a medicine ball in your hands at one hip. Throw it against the wall, using your torso muscles, and catch it on the other side.

~What are your favorite plyo moves?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Body Weight Workout

Don’t have a gym membership?

Don’t have time to leave the house for the gym or a run?

Don’t have weights or at home gym?

Have no fear. There are TONS of things you can do to get a good sweat going at your home, with just your body. You can mix and match any of the exercises, or increase or decrease amounts…but here is just an example:

  • Warm-Up: 5 minutes of jump rope (with a jump rope, or imaginary!)


  • Circuit 1: repeat 2x
    • 20 body weight squats
    • 30 mountain climbers
    • 10 push ups
  • 2 minutes of high knees, 2 minutes of butt-kickers


  • Circuit 2: repeat 2x
    • 10 walking lunges, each leg
    • 20 plank jacks
    • 20 chair dips
  • 3 minutes of jumping jacks


  • Circuit 3: repeat 2x
    • 1 minute plank
    • 20 sit ups
    • 20 Russian Twists
  • Stretch!

Let me know if you try it!

Also, the blog world is full of yummy recipes recently! So many to try. Check them out!

Peach and Chicken Salad

Tortilla Soup

Lasagna Cupcakes

Chicken Taco Salad

Steamed Salmon and Veggies

Avocado Corn Soup

Taco Muffins

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School

It’s here! Back to the daily school thing. Parts of it are exciting, other parts not so much. Either way, it is time to get back to it. Which for me means packing lunches. I like to have food on hand that I know I want to eat and is good for me to eat. That doesn’t mean boring, though. The blog world is busting with school lunch ideas and posts to keep things healthy and exciting. Here are a couple I found worth checking out!

Healthy Brown Bag Lunches

Thermos Ideas for Lunch

Speaking of back-to-school lunches, you also need some healthy after-school treats! Since we are still on a zucchini kick at our house, I whipped up a batch of Zucchini Muffins.


Let’s just say they were a hit.

Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
2/3 c. coconut oil
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. shredded zucchini

In one bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients (dry). In a second bowl, mix together the remaining 5 ingredients (wet). After both are mixed well, mix them together. Following that mixing action, fold in the 2 cups of zucchini.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20–23 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins


Let me know if you try them out!

~What are your favorite brown bag lunch ideas?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off Balance

Years ago my family was at a family reunion and my sister and I were talking to my cousin’s husband, who is a physical therapist. My sister had rolled her ankle playing tennis recently but she felt like it was getting stronger and she was ready to play. He decided to see just how strong it is and asked her to do some balance tests on both feet. To say the least, her non-injured side was much stronger than her injured! She pretty much fell over herself when trying to balance on her bad ankle.


Runners World recently came out with an article about making sure your body is balanced and equally strong. This prevents injury and improves performance.

Every physically active person has a dominant side. The key is to figure out which side it is. A simple balance test (below) will tell you if you have a weak side. What's the value of knowing which side is stronger? When you favor one side, the resulting weakness on the opposite side can leave you more vulnerable to injury.

Your body uses two strategies to balance on one foot. First, it tweaks ankle and foot muscles. The second is a "hip strategy"—you twist your torso to steady yourself. But when you run, you're not using the ankle strategy at all, putting the strain of compensating for your weaker side entirely in the hips. "Leg dominance won't cause injury," he says, "but strengthening the hip and working on balance will help you avoid it."

Stand on one leg, eyes closed. Time how long you can hold without toppling or putting down your foot. Switch legs. If both sides are close (30 seconds on each side, or 30 on one and 25 on the other), you've got good equilibrium. But if the difference is wide—five or 10 seconds on one leg, up to 30 on the other—you're out of balance, and may have hip-muscle issues.

Here are a few exercises to do after workouts for 3 weeks. Then try the balance test again and see some improvement!

HOW: Loop an exercise band around the ankle on your strong leg. Keeping your outside knee straight, raise the outside leg to the side. Lift for two seconds, return for two seconds, controlling the movement. Do three sets of 10 reps.
WHY: By training only the weak side you build symmetry. There is twice as much muscle activity for the support leg, so your inside leg is the one reaping the balance-improvement benefits.

HOW: Stand with your weak leg on a pillow. Balance for 30 seconds (you can use a light touch on a wall). Repeat three times. Tip: When you can balance relatively easily for 30 seconds, increase the intensity by closing your eyes, which makes it harder to balance.
WHY: Supporting yourself on your weaker leg while standing on an unstable surface forces you to employ an ankle and a hip strategy to balance, and helps your weak leg catch up to your strong one.

Are you off balance?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Zucchini Round-Up

It’s zucchini season! And my family is definitely getting the most of our zucchini plant. I love it!


But we sort of have tons of it. And so do our neighbors. So I thought I’d round up some tasty zucchini recipes for all to enjoy…that way we can make the most of our gardens!

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole: I love the idea of vegetables for breakfast!


Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Zucchini Pancakes – I think these look so good! And I’m not even a pancake person


Corn and Zucchini Melody

Santa Fe Salad


Zucchini Cheese Quiche

Zucchini Pizza Casserole


Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna

HEALTHY Zucchini Bread


Enjoy! Let me know if you try one of these out…I’m excited to try some out myself!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bake On: Second Stop

After making the 1st stop, Carrot Cake Muffin Bars, I decided to try out some Graham Crackers. I had tried graham crackers in the past, but they never came out crunchy like a cracker, more like a cookie. So I gave it another go.

I took the recipe and make it my own, and this is what I came up with:

1 1/2 c. wheat flour
2 T. brown sugar
3 T. honey
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil 
2 T. maple syrup (or molasses)
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. milk

In one bowl, combine the wheat, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the middle to pour the oil, syrup and vanilla in to. Mix the liquids together a bit, then mix with the dry ingredients.

At this point, you should just start using your hands :) Slowly drizzle the milk in while mixing the all the ingredients.


After adding all the milk, you should be able to make the dough into a ball and place it on some parchment paper.


Roll out using a rolling pin or cup until the dough is about 1/8 in thick. Then cut off the edges to make a straight rectangle and begin slicing into the size crackers you would like.



Once you have the dough cut, use a slick spatula to transfer to your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use the dough from the edges that you trimmed off to roll out and make some more. Just keep doing that until all the dough is used.


Since the dough is so thin it is super flimsy. So be careful transferring…and don’t be afraid of weird shapes. It will still taste great! You can fork them to look like graham crackers even more!

Bake at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes for crispy crackers (less if you want them more cookie like).


Finished product! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bake On: 1st Stop

After almost 7 weeks of working as a Sports Camp Counselor, I returned home and emptied my bag I had been living out of each week….just to turn around and pack another bag to head on vacation with my family!
Before heading out, though, I was ready to get my bake on. It had been a while since I had been in the kitchen!
First stop, Eat Live Run’s Carrot Cake Muffin Bars.
I did what any girl would do and scouted out her recipe, and tweaked it to make it my own.
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. white flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) of butter
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 egg
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. grated carrots
1/4 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl (flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, oats)
Combine the butter, oil, brown sugar and honey. Then beat in the egg. After it is mixed well, slowly steam in the milk.
Then put the dry and wet ingredients together. At the end, gently fold in those carrots!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

I , of course, added a bit of melted chocolate chips on top. If there is chocolate on it, people are more willing to try it. Seriously.


P.S. Stay tuned for the second stop. Even though I did them one right after the other!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My New Favorite

A few weeks ago I was at the gym during a new treadmill class they started. I wasn’t in the class, but of course I listened to what workout they were doing and what the instructor was saying. I was interested to see how the class went. That day they did a 1/2 mile warm up, 4 mile interval workout, and 1/2 mile cool down. Since they I have added it to my workouts, and I love it!

Here is the lowdown:

warm-up: You can choose how to warm up. I usually start with a brisk walk and take it to a very light jog just to get blood flowing. You could also just do some jumping jacks, jump rope, or an incline walk.

intervals: I chose to do the 4 miles like the instructor did, but you can make it as short or as long as you’d like. You do a mile with 3 intervals, and then repeat until you’d like to stop. The first .5 miles is done at your “dream pace”. You are pushing yourself a little, but keep it in range of a 5k or 10k pace. It shouldn’t be easy, but you should be able to maintain it. The next .25 miles is a sprint. You want to be breathing heavy and pushing yourself. The final .25 miles is a bit of a cool down/easy jog. You can choose to walk this part if you’d like, or just take it slowly. Then, repeat! Here is an example chart I use:




.5 miles


“dream speed” 10k

.25 miles


Fast pace

.25 miles


Easy pace

You are welcome to take short breaks between the mile intervals. Make it suit YOUR workout. It really is a great one!

cool down: Always remember to do something to actively cool down your muscles. I usually do a brisk walk and gradually slow it down, then follow with some stretching.
I do this workout on the treadmill so I can control my speed. You could also do this with a walk, and mix in some incline to make the harder parts harder, and easier parts easier. Or you can do it at a track or around town or on an elliptical…whatever works!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yoga For You

So remember WAY back in January (it seems like so long ago) that I set a goal to do yoga at least once a week? Well, I’m back at it. I’ve done it for a few weeks now, and I’m really starting to like it. I love to do it after a sweating run. It totally releases the tension from the run and calms my body down.

When I came across this article on the best yoga for you I thought it was great to learn about the different types and how they benefit us in different ways!

Cardio-Style: Bikram


Also sometimes known as “hot yoga”, bikram is usually done in a room around 103 degrees with humidity. Dang! The heat promotes sweating and warms up the body, making your muscles more flexible so they can stretch with less risk of injury.

Stress-Reducer: Restorative


Props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks support your body so you can feel a deep release, poses are often held for 15 minutes, and snoozing is completely okay. Letting go physically encourages the mind to do the same.

Drop Some Pounds: Vinyasa Flow


This flab-melting workout will have you moving continuously (but not effortlessly) from pose to pose. Because each vinyasa flow class is different (the pace, poses, and sequences vary), your muscles will constantly be challenged in new ways, which burns extra calories.

Boost Your Spirits: Anusara


This method unwinds your body while lifting your mood. Each class focuses on an inspirational idea (like feeling grounded or embodying confidence), which the style's founder, John Friend, calls a "heart theme." Expect some chanting and oms (feel free to speak up or sit quietly) and lots of classic moves such as lunges and planks. You'll probably partner up with a classmate for a pose or two to experience "the joy of community" and for some extra stretching you wouldn't be able to do on your own.

Build Strength: Power Yoga

This style may sound hardcore, but its name was actually inspired by the inner strength it develops. "Each session improves your posture and creates more confidence, which breeds self-empowerment," says Rudy Mettia, founder of Corporalita Power Yoga in Los Angeles. That's not to say your muscles get off scot-free. Hardly. There's plenty of toning and lean muscle building for your core, legs, and glutes.

To be honest, I didn’t know there were so many different kinds. And these are only a few! I guess that just shows that there is yoga for everyone! So try different kinds and figure out what works for you and your body!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We often hear about cholesterol and how dangerous it can be and how we need to be eating things that don’t raise cholesterol. But is what we are hearing all true?

I read this article on cholesterol deceptions and thought I would share some of the main points with you. I know I learned something new!

  • Cholesterol is actually an essential part of your body, used to produce cell membranes, steroid hormones, vitamin D and the bile acids your body needs to digest fat. Your brain needs cholesterol to function properly, as does your immune system, and if a cell becomes damaged, it needs cholesterol in order to be repaired.
  • Making excess cholesterol is actually your body’s response to inflammation, which it does to help heal and repair your cells. So if you have high cholesterol you probably have high inflammation levels too
  • The talk that eating foods high in cholesterol drive up cholesterol? Think again. And start eating more eggs! According to the Harvard Heart Letter, it’s a myth that all the cholesterol in eggs goes into your bloodstream and your arteries.

So what’s the best way to keep cholesterol at a good level?

Remember the inflammation connection? Your body tends to make more cholesterol when it’s in a chronically inflamed state. What causes the underlying inflammation?

Inflammation is often due to poor diet and the consumption of processed foods or lack of live healthy raw foods. For instance, if you eat a lot of fast food, you probably have increased inflammation levels, as pro-inflammatory foods include sugar, soda, alcohol, bread, trans fats and red meat.

Inflammation is a problem because when your body is in a chronic state of inflammation, the inflammation can lodge in your muscles, joints and tissues. In fact, chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many diseases, both physical and neurological, including heart disease.

~As with most things, the conclusion drawn is that we could all do a little better to eat things closer to the ground and spend more time on our feet. The benefits are endless!

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