Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating flexibility is important. Flexibility is the ability to use a muscle throughout its maximum range of motion. The loss of the ability to bend, twist, and stretch is often a result of muscle disuse. Disuse can come from long periods of sitting or standing.

Sedentary living habits can lead to shortened muscles and tendons. This can cause lower back pain and imbalance in the strength of opposing muscles. The shortening of the hamstrings (back of the thighs) is a very common disorder. Long periods of sitting or standing lead to poor muscle and tendon adjustments and a loss of flexibility in these muscles. This loss of flexibility limits your ability in the following activity.

  1. Walking smoothly.
  2. Sitting down or standing up gracefully.
  3. Performing efficiently in recreational pursuits.

Is Extreme Flexibility Best?

Extreme flexibility has no advantage. If your joints are too loose or flexible, you may become more susceptible to injuries of the joints. Many people are able to stretch one or two inches (plus or minus) from the man. In other words, too much flexibility may increase the chance of injury.

Although no single test will provide adequate information about the flexibility of all the major joints of the body, the following two tests provide a reasonable indication of your ability to stretch.

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility
Evaluating Flexibility


Purpose: To measure the amount of trunk flexion and the ability to stretch the back muscles and back thigh muscles (hamstrings).

Procedure: Sit with your legs fully extended and the bottom of your feet flat against aboard projecting from the wall. Now extend (stretch) your arms and hands forward as far as possible. Hold for a count of three while your partner uses a ruler to measure the distance (in inches) between the board and your fingertips. Distances before the edge (not able to reach your toes) are expressed as  negative scores; those beyond the edge are expressed as positive scores.

Improper Procedures:

  • Not holding the flexed position for a count of three.
  • Bending at the knees.

Trunk Extension for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Extension Stretch
Trunk Extension


Purpose: To measure the range of motion (flexibility) of the back.

Procedure: Lie in a prone position (face down) on the floor. Have a partner kneel and straddle your legs to hold your buttocks and legs down. With your hands grasped behind your neck, raise your upper trunk (chest and head) off the floor and hold for a count of three. Another partner measures the distance from your chin to the floor.

Improper Procedures

  • Not holding the measuring device in a perpendicular position while measuring.
  • Raisin the hips off the floor.
  • Not holding the extended position for a count of three.

Check Your Results

Norms for trunk flexion (inches from fingertips to bottom of feet).

  1. Normal range. Women: -4 to +8. Men: -6 to +6.
  2. Average (mean. Women: +2. Men: +1.
  3. Desired range. Women: +2 to +4. Men: +1 to +3.

Norms for trunk extension (inches from chin to floor).

  1. Normal range. Women: 12 to 30. Men: 4 to 27.
  2. Average (mean). Women: 21. Men: 15.
  3. Desired range. Women: 21 to 25. Men: 15 to 20.

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Choose Your Vegetable

Choose Your Vegetable for a Custom Health Boost

All vegetables are healthy. That is pretty well known. But how about you choose your vegetable based on a specific health need?

  • A 1/2-cup serving of carrots is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for vision, especially night vision, and for helping maintain healthy skin. Carrots are some of the best things you can munch on for a snack.  Nutritionally, eating carrots raw is fine, but cooking them until they are crisp-tender makes the nutrients more available. This is because carrots have a tough cellular wall that is difficult for the digestive system to break down.
Bunch of fresh carrots
  • A 1/2-cup serving of broccoli is a source of vitamins Vitamin A and C. Vitamin C helps maintain healthy gums and teeth and also works with other nutrients to promote healing of cuts. Broccoli that has been cooked still has 15 percent more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as milk.
Choose Your Vegetable of Broccoli
  • A 1/2-cup serving of canned tomatoes offers a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A. In fact, a can of tomatoes is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and iron. What makes these ruby gems even more special is their rich load of lycopene, which becomes more bio-available to your body when it is cooked.
A single tomato


  • A 1/2-cup serving of snow peas is a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Fiber helps keep your digestive tract moving smoothly. Snow peas are a rich source of vitamin C and a source of vitamins A (as beta carotene). They also contain Vitamins B1, and B2.


Snow Peas
Snow Peas

Helpful Healthy Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs: Ancient Healing

Humans have always longed for good health and vitality. Even prehistoric cave dwellers searched for relief from their various ailments. Many ancient Egyptians had arthritis. Medieval people experienced all kinds of infections and sicknesses. And don’t forget the great plague, which wiped out a large part of the world’s population!

What did all these people do before the dawn of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with their thousands of synthetic medications?

They turned to the plant kingdom.

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety

Through trial and error, the earliest humans discovered that some plants have medicinal properties. These properties, they learned, could help to purify, normalize and energize the body. They also found that many plants could enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

Of course, humans have always looked for other – perhaps more sophisticated – methods to heal illness and promote health. Some of these methods were downright dangerous. Like using leeches to “bleed” a patient. Other methods were ineffective. Sorcery, for example, probably didn’t cure too many sick people…except through the power of suggestion.

Today we have sophisticated surgical procedures and a positively mind-boggling array of chemical treatments. We have lasers, laparoscopes, lithotripsy. Intensive care units, pacemakers and in vitro fertilization. And, of course, we have the countless pills, capsules and injections.

Still, throughout the evolution of medicine, one treatment has remained constant: The use of plants as a natural remedy. Leeching, sorcery and other “weird science” techniques have come and gone, but herbal medicine has withstood the test of time.

In fact, half of all our modern-day drugs come not from a laboratory test tube, but from plants! Aspirin and digitalis are just two examples. Aspirin, for instance, comes from two herbs: White willow bark and meadowsweet. The “modern” decongestant pseudoephedrine was discovered by Chinese herbalists more than 5,000 years ago.

Helpful Healthy Herbs First Known Recordings

The first written record of herbal medicine dates back to the Sumerians – more than 5,000 years ago. After that, we find many other historical traces of herbalism, including Chinese herb books from 2700 B.C., Old Testament references to herbs and a first century A.D. Greek encyclopedia of 500 herbs.

Sixty-seven healing herbs are mentioned in the 4,500-year old Rig Veda, one of India’s four books of wisdom. Herbs were a big part of ancient India’s Ayurveda medicine.

The world’s oldest surviving medical text, the Ebers Papyrus, mentions 876 herbal formulas that were used by Egyptian herbalists. This document dates back to 1,500 B.C.!

When monasteries were formed after the fall of Rome, the Church looked askance at herbs. However, “underground herbalists” flourished…and many of them were women.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used herbs. So did Thomas Jefferson. Likewise for most Native Americans. And the founder of the Kellogg cereal company was a naturopath who frequently turned to herbs in his practice.

Simply put, an herb is any plant that is known to have medicinal qualities. The great advantage of herbs is that they are natural. So they do not produce side effects. However, an herb may cause an allergic reaction, but that’s rare. It’s also possible that an herb may interact with a medication. Check with your doctor before taking herbs if you take prescription medication(s).

How fast do helpful healthy herbs work? Keep in mind, they are not like synthetic medicines. Their primary action is to balance and restore the body’s normal processes. That may take some time. But for the millions of people who have been helped by herbs, the benefits are well worth the wait.

Will herbs work for you?

There is only one way to find out. Discover for yourself what herbs have to offer.

Enzyme Power Healing

Over-Looked Enzyme Power Healing

The advantages of Enzyme Power Healing is not often talked about, but is very deserving of our attention. Enzyme nutrition is sadly over looked.

Dr. Edward Howell, father of enzyme nutrition and therapy, said,

“Enzymes are the very substances that make life possible”.

Natural News has a great write-up on the health benefits of enzyme power healing. If this nutritional concept is new to you, visit NaturalNews.com – The Healing Power of Enzymes for Treating Disease when you’re done here. Great information that explains it in great detail.

What we have for you is some enzyme power healing beverage recipes to help you get started using enzymes. These beverages are extremely healthy and beneficial. The healthy ingredients speak for themselves!

Enzyme Power Healting Smoothie

Enzyme Power Healing Smoothie

Papaya, pineapple, and ripe bananas are loaded with enzymes that help digestion and break down toxins, fat, and inflammation in the body. Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, breaks down cholesterol in the blood. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the blood and tissues. Studies show that it can help eliminate muscle, joint, and headache pain.

Bromelain also helps break down fat. Papain, an enzyme that is plentiful in papaya, breaks down protein molecules in the blood, reducing inflammation that is linked to allergies or pain. Drink up!

Not only is this smoothie delicious and satisfying, it is an amazing healer.

Ingredients:Fresh sliced pineapple
1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (not canned)
1 frozen banana

Directions: Combine with desired amount of water in a blender and blend to desired smoothie consistency.

Enzyme Power Healing Juice

1/2 pineapple, outer skin removed ( juice the core as well as the flesh)
1 1-inch piece of ginger

Directions: Pass all ingredients through a juicer. Dilute with pure water to taste. Drink immediately.

Commuting to Work?

Commuting to Work and Excess Weight

A survey of 10,500 Americans found that for every extra 30 minutes commuters spent driving, they had a 3 percent greater chance of becoming obese compared with workers who spent less time driving.

In addition, people who lived within walking distance of stores (typically less than one-half mile) were statistically less likely to be obese than those who had to drive to shop.  These findings indicate obesity has an environmental component that can be addressed.

The bottom line is, the longer you must drive on your way to work, the more likely you are to be obese.  Living closer to work and avoiding traffic jams may help not only your your stress levels, but your waistline as well. The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Is Commuting to Work Preventing You From Exercising?

Get Fit Fast. Cannot fit an entire muscle strengthening routine into your schedule? Do just two exercises every day, so by week’s end you have hit all your body parts. It will take less than ten minutes and you will keep your muscles and bones strong.

Eat Better, Too

Grocery Bag
Grocery Bag

Before modern medicine, a sound diet was the best defense against disease. As more and more medications were developed in the 20th century, we lost our focus on nutrition.

More recently, a significant amount of research has been redirected toward the important effects of the six primary classes of nutrients. These include vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and water. The studies focused on each element’s effect on the body.

It is important to follow a good nutritional program. Among exercisers, particularly those trying to lose weight, it is common to take in too few calories. The combination of commuting to work, over-working and under-eating can place stress on your body and its immune system.

Tip: Most people require about ten calories per pound of body weight per day. If you go over that amount, you will probably gain weight. If you fall too far short, you set yourself up for immune-system problems.

Garcinia Fruit for Weight Loss

Garcinia Fruit: A Powerful Diet Supplement

Garcinia Fruit contains the active ingredient hydroxyciteic acid (HCA), which promotes weight loss, according to results of a placebo controlled study. The HCA inhibits an enzyme called citrate lyase that makes fat from carbohydrates.  In addition, it helps increase serotonin. Serotonin is known as the ‘feel good‘ neurotransmitter in the brain. It improves mood and the desire to over-indulge in food on a bad day.

A placebo controlled study combined guggul extract with Garcinia cambogia extract and tyrosine. Over six weeks, twenty overweight persons experienced a significant decrease in body fat mass and average body weight. The subjects lost body fat, but not lean mass. Fatigue went down, and there were no adverse effects.

Since the study, garcinia has been growing in popularity and the verdict looks pretty good.

What is Garcinia Fruit?

Garcinia Fruit
Garcinia Fruit
  • It looks like a pumpkin.
  • It is found in South-East Asia.
  • It is high in hydroxycitric acid.
  • It helps increase serotonin levels.
  • It suppresses the appetite.
  • It is said to be one of the most powerful diet supplements discovered.

Serotonin acts a natural appetite suppressant. That tub of ice cream, those french fries, that pile of mashed potatoes with gravy…they seem so right when your serotonin is low. That is because people with low serotonin levels tend to overeat.

Lifestyle Activities for Fitness

Every Day Lifestyle Activities for Fitness

Lifestyle activities do not have to be planned. You can make small changes to make your day more physically active and improve your fitness.

Lifestyle Activities: Examples

  • Take 2 to 3 minute walking breaks at work a few times a day.
  • Put away the TV remote control and get up to change the channel.
  • March in place during TV commercials.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Stand or walk, rather than sit, while talking on the phone.
  • Play with your family – kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.
  • Walk to your coworker’s office rather than use the phone or email.

Even a shopping trip can be considered exercise. It is a chance to walk and carry your bags, be they loaded with groceries or other goodies.

In addition, doing chores like lawn mowing, leaf raking, gardening, and housework can count as activity.

If you can do only a few or none of these activities, that’s okay. Appreciate what you can do, even if you think it is a small amount. Doing any movement – even for a short time – can make you healthier. Remember, each activity you do is a step toward a more active lifestyle.

What About Stretching? (Weight Bearing or Non-Weight Bearing)

Woman StretchingStretching may help you:

  • Be more flexible.
  • Feel more relaxed.
  • Improve posture.

Keep your muscles from getting tight after doing other physical activities. You do not have to set aside a special time or place to stretch.

At home or at work, stand up, push your arms toward the ceiling, and stretch. Stretch slowly and only enough to feel tightness. You should never feel pain.

Hold each stretch, without bouncing, for about 30 seconds.

Important: Do not stretch cold muscles.

Yoga and tai chi are two types of stretching. They help you breathe deeply, relax, and get rid of stress.

Rose Symbolism and Rose Petal Tea

Rose Symbolism in Honor of Valentine’s Day

Generation to generation, story tellers have passed on myths and legends regarding Rose symbolism. Since roses are showing up every where, I went and dug up some rose symbolism and history to share. There a bit of this and a bit of that, but for the up-coming Valentine’s Day, it makes for a few conversation starters, if nothing else.


Rose Prose

Roman Rose Symbolism

The rose has been called the flower of love due to its link to the Roman goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the Roman goddess Venus. Romans believed that roses symbolize love, beauty, purity and passion. The Romans were known to use rose petals in their bath water. They also decorated their homes with petals and strew them across the floor at banquets.

Roman legend says that suitors passionately in love pursued a beautiful maiden. She took refuge in the temple of the goddess Diana (the Greek god Venus) who became jealous. When the suitors broke down the temple gates to get near their beloved maiden, Diana turned the maiden into a rose and her suitors into thorns.

Cleopatra was probably the most famous symbol of beauty. It is said that she bathed in ass’s milk to keep her skin youthful.  The cedar wood ship on which she sailed to meet Marc Antony had rose-scented sails. She welcomed him into a bedroom carpeted several inches deep in rose petals!

Today, roses are used in culinary creations and crafts. Rose essential oil is used in perfumes. The rose is still an essential element in perfumes such as Chanel #5, Arpege, Joy, White Linen, Beautiful, Lauren and Opium.

Rose petals can be used to make elixirs, tinctures and vinegar’s.

Many people swear that rosewater positively alters their mood. It would seem it has the ability to muster an emotional strength from within.

The Complete Book of Roses provides a general history and guide through the complex evolution of roses.

Relish Rosebuds with Rose Petal Tea

1/2 cup black teaUnopen Rose for Rose Symbolism
2 tablespoons organic rosebuds
2 tablespoons hibiscus
2 tablespoons seedless rose hips
1 tablespoon cloves

Place tea in food safe container. Mix in all ingredients and store in
airtight container.

To Brew: Place one teaspoon tea in muslin bag or tea infuser. Fill cup
with one cup boiling water, cover, brew 3 minutes. Remove tea and
serve sweetened with sugar or honey and lemon, if desired.

Aromatherapy effect: roses give feeling of well being and happiness.

See also: Edible Flowers

A Mothers Prayer

A Mothers Prayer Written in the 1920’s

How much both mothers and teachers – and teaching – have changed. Not for the better, sad to say. The following poem titled, “A Mother’s Prayer“, touched my heart, as it reminded me of the kind of mother and teacher that was once the norm.

Jessie Field Shambaugh
Jessie Field Shambaugh

Dear Father, Thou who hast given me the great gift of mother-love, help me to show that love every day in a gentle voice, tender, skillful hands and a brave spirit.

Save me from nervous hurry and worry, from nagging, from short-sightedness and from dimness of vision that I may tuck my children in bed at night with a serene light still shining in my eyes.

Grant to me an understanding heart that I may always prove worthy of the trust of my children for I long to have them turn to me with their mistakes and failures as well as their achievements and successes.

Work within me, Thou who has made the rich colors of autumn and the tender skies of spring, that I may see beauty and make it a part of my home. Teach me Thy way of gladness, for I would ever keep a merry heart, a keen zest for the new and untried and pure fun in the give and take of every day companionship.

Dear Father of All, may the love, the patience, the understanding, the beauty and the gladness of my home reach out to other homes and so help to bring in Thy Kingdom on earth. Amen.

-Written by Jessie Field Shambaugh, 1920s

About Jessie Field Shambaugh, Author of A Mothers Prayer

The Goldenrod School
The Goldenrod School Jessie Field Shambaugh taught in.


Jessie Field Shambaugh, the author of A Mothers Prayer, was a teacher who inspired rural children.

Jessie Field graduated from Tabor College in 1903, and began teaching at Goldenrod School in Fremont Township, Page County. There she organized the boys’ and girls’ clubs that became the models for the 4-H Club movement in the United States. Read more from The University of Iowa.

Here’s a scanned image of the prayer from a publication I found it in. Click on it for a larger view.

A Mothers Prayer
A Mother’s Prayer

Guilty of Bad Mood Eating?

Are You Guilt of Bad-Mood Eating?

No bad mood eating. Eat with a positive attitudeDo you tend to overeat when you are feeling down? Or snacking at work, or when you do not really feel hungry? This is bad mood eating and it is a bad habit. Remind yourself that those chips will not make you feel better. When we are depressed, angry, lonely or anxious, many of us eat in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. Research found this does not prove true. The next time you are in a bad mood and find yourself reaching for a snack, try these steps:

  • Stop. Ask yourself why you want to eat. If it is because you are in a bad mood, remind yourself that no matter how delicious it looks, it is not going to do a thing for your mood except, perhaps, make you feel guilty afterwards. This is definitely not what you need at a moment like this.
  • Do something instead. Call or visit a friend, listen to music, take a walk — these things actually do make you feel better. With some repetitions, this self-reminding strategy should become a habit you will find yourself using without thinking twice.

Since bad mood eating can also be considered emotional, you may also wish to read about Emotional Eating.

The Metabolism Factor

If you can get yourself into regular walking, you will also gain a boost in your metabolism, not just your mood! This can really help bad mood eating.

As we get older, our metabolism slows down four percent per decade. You can boost your metabolism through diet – eating six small meals a day, for example, will cause a small increase in your metabolic rate – but the best way to rev up your metabolism is through exercise. Specifically: A three-day-a-week exercise program that incorporates both aerobics and strength training.
On treadmill
The absolute basic premise of weight loss is that you need to burn more calories than you take in. You need to exercise at least three times a week so that your muscles can burn fat. Choose strength training exercises designed to strengthen the major muscle groups. Start slowly and gradually increase the weight as your strength increases. After all is said and done, you have to come up with a way of life you are comfortable with. You can’t go on fad diets or just exercise sporadically for sufficient results.