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Pose of the week: side plank

The side plank or sage tree is a balancing yoga pose that targets your shoulder and arm muscles. This pose involves supporting your body weight using the strength of one arm at a time. Concentrate on pushing away from the floor with the supporting arm, positioned directly under your shoulder, while extending your opposite arm toward the ceiling. Avoid allowing your torso to sag toward the floor and keep your legs straight, forming a “T-shape.” You will find that you are simultaneously toning your oblique muscles as you hold this position. For the modified version, balance on the knee closest to the floor.
Photo: © Moshimochi |

Strawberries: Not Just Vitamin C

A 1-cup serving of whole strawberries offers more vitamin C than an orange–81 mg, or more than 130 percent of the Recommended Daily Value for this nutrient, which is important for keeping your immune system strong. Strawberries are also rich in a class of phytonutrients (health-promoting compounds found in plant foods) known as phenols. The main phenols in strawberries are anthocyanins and ellagitannins. They are responsible for the red color of this berry and act as powerful antioxidants that help protect your body’s cells from damage from free radicals, or charged oxygen-like particles, according to the American Cancer Society. The phenols are anti-inflammatory because they reduce the activity of a pro-inflammatory enzyme in the human body known as cyclo-oxygenase, or COX. COX is involved in inflammation related to asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

Ask the Expert

Question: “I’ve hit a plateau in my weight loss program, what should I do?”

Answer: It is not uncommon to ‘hit a plateau’ during a weight loss program. You’re headed towards your goal, yet cannot seem to lose that last 10 lbs. There are several things you can do to get back on track. Be sure your weight loss goals are realistic. Are you already at a healthy weight? If not, make sure you are keeping up the intensity of your exercise program. Fitness experts recommend 30-60 minutes of exercise, most days of the week.

Talk to a fitness professional about adding weights and/or resistance exercises to your program. Aerobics burns fat but muscle mass burns calories while at rest, increasing your metabolism. Don’t get in a rut, change your routine every couple of weeks.

Also, make sure that your calorie intake is adequate. Many dieters fail to eat enough! This alone can trigger the weight loss plateau effect. Also, do not go too long without eating. This is not good for your metabolism/metabolic rate. For a woman, 3-4 hours without food is a reasonable maximum. And always eat breakfast!