• 3 Core Exercises for Runners

    morning-run-sunrise-400x400Having a strong core is an important component of fitness for anyone.  But many recreational runners often neglect training their abdominal and low-back muscles.

    Increasing core strength can improve running performance and may reduce injury risk. The best core exercises for runners are those that mimic the specific ways the core muscles are required to work during running. Here are three moves that are targeted for runners, but great for anyone looking to strengthen their core.

    Supine March

    Why it’s good for runners: Core stability begins with the transverse abdominis, a deep abdominal muscle that needs to hold the right amount of tension to prevent excessive movement of the pelvis and lumbar spine during running. The greatest challenge this muscle faces in running is maintaining appropriate tension while the legs move freely and alternately. The Supine March is a great exercise for runners because it administers that very challenge in a controlled way.

    How to do it: Lie face up in the floor with both knees sharply bent and your feet flat on the floor. Press your low back into the floor. While concentrating on keeping your low back pressed into the floor, lift your left leg until your left foot comes even with your right knee. Now lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat with the right leg. Continue until you begin to feel an uncomfortable burn in your tummy, up to 20 reps per leg.

    Standing Trunk Rotation with Cable

    Why it’s good for runners: One of the important jobs of the core muscles during running is to control rotational forces. Among the biggest energy wasters in running is excessive rotation of the hips, pelvis, and/or spine. The Standing Rotation with Cable isolates and intensifies this particular challenge.

    How to do it: Stand with your left side facing a cable pulley station with a handle attached at shoulder height. Grasp the handle with both hands and both arms fully extended. Begin with your torso rotated toward the handle and tension in the cable (i.e. the weight stack is slightly elevated from the resting position). Rotate your torso to the right while keeping your arms fully extended and the handle in line with the center of your chest. Keep your eyes focused on the handle as you rotate and your hips locked forward. Return to the start position without allowing the weight stack to come to rest. Complete 12 repetitions, then reverse your position and repeat the exercise.

    Suitcase Deadlift

    Why it’s good for runners: Running is all about moving against gravity in an upright position. Most core exercises don’t mimic this fundamental element of running. The Suitcase Deadlift does. In particular, it trains the oblique muscles on the sides of the torso to do what they are asked to do during running, which is to keep the torso vertically in line with the legs against resistance. The low back muscles are also challenged in a running-specific way in this exercise.

    How to do it: Stand with your arms hanging at your sides and a dumbbell in one hand. Push your hips back, bend the knees, and reach the dumbbell down as close to the floor as you can without rounding your lower back. Now stand up again. Don’t allow your torso to tilt to either side while performing this movement. Complete 10 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the exercise while holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand.

     

  • 5 Simple Spring Picnic Ideas

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    What could be a better way to spend a beautiful spring day with your family and friends than a good old fashioned picnic in the park?  Unfortunately many staple picnic foods are laden with unhealthy fats and sugar.  I’ve personally tested all these healthy and easy to make picnic ideas. Not only are they easy to make and picky kid approved, but they’re also sophisticated enough for an adult picnic too.

    Watermelon feta skewers:

    Cube (or make melon balls) of seedless watermelon, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil(optional for picky kids) and alternate of wooden or reusable skewers.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

    Yogurt cream cheese and cucumber wraps:

    It sounds complicated, but yogurt cream cheese is a healthy alternative to regular cream cheese and is surprisingly easy to make. See the recipe I used here.  Whole Foods also sells a pre made version.  Spread yogurt cream cheese on whole grain tortilla with slices of cucumber, roll and enjoy.

    Almond butter and fresh strawberry sandwiches:

    As easy as it sounds, spread almond butter on whole grain bread and top with fresh sliced strawberries. Almond butter provides a great source of protein and healthy fats and fresh strawberries are the perfect way to get vitamin C, minus all the preservatives and sugar of most jams.

    Ants on a log with a twist:

    Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber and the sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of amino acids complement the proteins in the chickpeas.  Spread hummus on celery sticks and top with raisins.  There are many great store bought varieties available or try this recipe here

    Edamame Guacamole:

    Made with avocado and edamame, this guacamole variation is both creamy and fresh.  Plus the edamame adds a great source of protein. Serve with raw vegetables like celery, carrots and radishes for dipping or alongside baked pita chips as a healthy snack or appetizer.  See how easy it is to make here.

  • Lori's Ride To Conquer Cancer

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    Lori Johnson, RMT and founder of Soma Studio would like to personally extend her thanks to all her generous supporters who helped her raise and surpass her fundraising goal for the 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer.

    The money  raised for The Ride to Conquer Cancer will benefit BC Cancer Foundation and support leading clinicians, scientists, and researchers whose search for new discoveries and improved patient outcomes will have a real impact in our communities throughout the province, across Canada, and around the world. In other words, your participation will accelerate the conquest of cancer.

    Learn more about The Ride To Conquer Cancer.