Archive for March 2013

8 Tips for Proper Alignment and Perfect Posture

Proper alignment of your body provides the foundation for allowing your muscles to work most effectively, while putting the least amount of stress on your joints.

When your body is in proper alignment, your hip, knee, and ankle joints balance your back’s natural curves when you move making it possible to maintain good posture in any position.  Conversely, when your body is out of alignment it can place stress on your low back, hips, knees and ankles.

Poor posture can cause neck and back strain and pain, headaches, and fatigue.  It can restrict your oxygen intake and reduce your overall calorie’s burned.

Proper posture helps your body function at peak performance. It promotes movement efficiency and endurance.  Good posture makes you look taller, thinner, healthier, younger, and contributes to an overall feeling of wellbeing.  According to the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA), “ posture and good body mechanics are quite possibly the most important considerations in making exercise effective and preventing Injury”.

STANDING: Good posture—when you are standing—is straight vertical alignment of your body from the top of your head, through your body’s center, to the bottom of your feet.  The feet should be relaxed with the body’s weight resting on three points: the heel, the base of the big toe, and the little toe.

FRONT VIEW: Good posture shows equal heights of shoulders, hips, and knees. The head is held straight, not tilted or turned to one side.

SIDE VIEW: Good posture can be seen as an imaginary vertical line through the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. In addition, the three natural curves in your back can be seen.

BACK VIEW: The spine and head are straight, not curved to the right or left.

NETA provides the following keys to proper alignment:

1. The head must be in line with the ribs and hips

2. The back of the neck is kept long and in line with the spine, neither thrust forward nor back.

3. The upper torso and the shoulders should be relaxed, shoulder blades retracted and depressed.

4. The rib cage should be directly in line with the hips, lifted, but not forced forward.

5.  Avoid arching the back as this can put undue stress on the vertebrae.

6. The pelvis is at the midline of the body, neither tucking under nor rotating back.

7. The natural curves of the spine should be neither exaggerated nor entirely flattened out.

8. Contracting the abdominals and lifting the torso will keep pelvic and spinal alignment in neutral.

When the body is carefully stacked in correct alignment, the muscles will use less energy to maintain this position, and there will be less strain on ligaments, bones and muscles.  This is known as physiologically efficient posture.

Eleanor Metheny suggests: “There is no single best posture for all individuals.  Each person must take the body he/she has and make the best of it.  For each person, the best posture is that in which the body segments are balanced in the position of least strain and maximum support.  This is an individual matter.”



Nutrition: Back to the Basics

Eat this, not that.  If it’s derived from the ground, it is most likely a go-ahead.  Everything in moderation.  High carb, low fat.  High protein, low carb.  Gluten-free.  Juicing…you can drink more vegetables and fruits then you can chew.  Improve your mood, concentration, coordination, sleep, and energy while treating or preventing migraines, acne, ADHD, leg edema, heart disease, colon cancer and more with the simple removal of one thing:  wheat.   No eating past 8:00 pm—even if you are physically hungry… drink water and you will suddenly cure your hunger pains. 

Now combine our own monkey chatter with the “eat this, not that”, “everything in moderation”, “not eating past 8:00 pm” and more media or “nutrition expert” derived food phrases and we are left in complete confusion on deciding what to eat; thus, leading to anxiety, stress and fear.  Instead of looking at the big picture, we find either excuses or reasons why we should or shouldn’t eat something—we can focus on small details, like avoiding apples because there is too much sugar, and miss what is really going on behind our food choices.  I want to encourage everyone at home to go back to the basics.  Think about when you were a kid or think about a time in your life when your food choices were not as complicated or confusing:  parents made sure breakfast was never skipped; food was eaten when you were physically hungry; family members encouraged us to try a particular vegetable at least once before it was dismissed as the worst food created on the planet (I used to think my parents were trying to poison me with green beans); portions were reasonable.  In some ways, we need to go back to how we were eating as children…

  1.  Listen and honor your hunger ques.  Before your meal, rank your hunger on a scale of 0 to 10.  Ranking yourself at a 0 would mean you feel completely empty or “starved” and you could be at risk for overeating.   A neutral state would represent neither being hungry nor full.  Before your meal, being at a 3 or 4 is ideal as this is where hunger has awakened. 
  2. Train your palate.  Guests come here all the time trying new things they never would have tried at home.  Continue to do this in your everyday life.  If you used to hate tomatoes as a child, you may find that you really enjoy them now.  In fact, you can train yourself to enjoy foods you never used to—for example, change the way you prepare certain foods and you may find this becomes a new weekly staple in your kitchen. 
  3.  Be your own researcher.  If something sounds too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true.   Start asking yourself the “why?” question when you hear media regarding fad diets, super foods, etc.  Make sure you are looking at scientifically based sources and the information is backed by solid research.   
  4. Whole Foods > Highly Processed.  Whole foods including non-starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables in proper portions, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, healthy fats such as olive oil and omega-3 rich salmon, healthy protein sources, herbs, salt-free seasonings, water, water and more water.



Friday Fitness: Cleansersizing

 Time management is something that many people struggle with, especially when it comes to exercising, and even more so during holidays. This weekend is Easter weekend and for many of you out there it might be a slightly busier time than normal and it might be that much more challenging to fit time in for exercise. Maybe you have family coming in town and need to tidy the place up, or maybe you are hosting an Easter egg hunt and you are simply swamped with finding places to put those eggs. Or maybe this is just a typical weekend for you. Whatever your case is, today’s Fitness Friday is all about killing two birds with one stone.

 Cleaning up the house and exercising are two activities that most people feel are important. Why not free up your schedule a little bit by doing them both at the same time! Here are a few reasons why exercising while cleaning may benefit you; 

  1. Less Laundry: You are in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty (1 pair of dirty clothes as opposed to 2)
  2. More time in the week for other things
  3. Exercising makes cleaning more fun
  4. Cleaning is a good way to kill time during recovery periods
  5. It’s fun to listen to music during cleaning time and exercise time

 Just to name a few. Man, it just seems like exercising and cleaning were made for each other, right! Below is a video demonstrating one of many ways you could incorporate exercising into your cleaning time. Enjoy! =D



Alzheimer’s Rates Expected to Triple by 2050

Alzheimer’s to triple by 2050, so proclaimed a recent newspaper headline. The new estimates published in the journal Neurology suggest that the number of U.S. residents with Alzheimer’s disease will grow from 5 million today to almost 14 million by 2050.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s represents a looming health epidemic as the population ages. They point out that current drugs can treat symptoms however there are no medications that can cure Alzheimer’s or stop the progression of disease.

Jennifer Weuve, assistant professor of medicine at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and co-author of the paper published in Neurology referred to earlier, says, “Our study draws attention to an urgent need for more research, treatments and preventive strategies to reduce this epidemic.” Fortunately, progress continues to be made on the prevention front, with more evidence supporting the relationship between heart health and brain health.

A study published in the March 18th issue of the journal JAMA Neurology found that keeping blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease, under control may reduce the development of brain plaque, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. This is especially true for those who have a genetic predisposition for the disease. According to Karen Rodrigue, lead author and assistant professor of behavioral and brain sciences at the University of Texas in Dallas, “maintaining good vascular health by avoiding or controlling diseases like hypertension has important benefits beyond keeping your heart healthy. It may promote good brain health as we age.”

Finally, researchers at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas have found evidence that being physically fit in mid-life, may lower the risk for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Check out this short video summarizing the results of their study.



Get H3 Inspired: Sue Ellen Sherer

Sue Before


Sue After

Struggling with weight issues has been the norm for most of my life, but I always managed to have good numbers where cholesterol and blood pressure were concerned. Then in October 2009, my father-in-law, for whom I was the primary caretaker, fell and fractured his pelvis and was sent to a nursing home for recovery. Because of his advanced dementia, he was denied routine physical therapy and I knew I needed to be his strongest advocate…he wanted to walk, he wanted to recover, even though he was unable to verbalize it. I moved with him into a handicapped accessible room at a hotel and used the weight room and pool facilities to exercise him and give him back his mobility. After five weeks, he was able to return to assisted living but I was totally unaware of the toll it had taken on me, personally, until I was back at my part-time job as a standardized (professional) patient.

One afternoon I had two different third-year medical students practicing their physical exam techniques tell me that I had high blood pressure. Thinking that they had not used the blood pressure cuff correctly, I went to the doctor in charge of the training and asked him to take my blood pressure. It was 168! Before I even left the building I was on the phone to my own primary care physician making an appointment. In addition to the high blood pressure, I had gained about 20-25 pounds during those five weeks. I have always been a stress eater, or eating that which was convenient and my closet always held at least four different sizes of clothing and I would just grab whatever fit at the time.

I knew I had to do something to take care of me at this point and went online in search of somewhere I could go to get my weight down. With my husband’s support and blessing, I made arrangements to spend a week at Hilton Head Health (H3) in January of 2010, with no idea at all how drastically it was going to change my life.

I had never exercised regularly; not really exercised at all since gym class in high school! The first class I went to at H3, I thought I was going to have to be scraped up off the floor! But through the continual encouragement of the staff and other participants, I began to try all kinds of exercise classes and was actually having fun! I laughed along with others as I stumbled through Zumba with two left feet; I sweated alongside newly made acquaintances as we labored hard on the treadmills. I always tell people that it is as much about the mind and spirit as it is about the physical changes that take place. H3 provides an atmosphere that nourishes all three parts: education for the mind, exercise for the body, food for the soul and time enough to reflect on putting it all together.

As a Christian woman wanting to take better care of the temple wherein God’s Holy Spirit dwells I wanted to be a more fit testimony of His love and care. By taking care of myself, I am better able to take care of my family, be as healthy as I can possibly be so I can ‘run the good race’ and enjoy my children, and someday…my grandchildren!

The educational sessions provided such an excellent foundation and impetus to work towards making life-long changes. I was given exercises that could be done anywhere with minimal equipment. Cooking classes showed me some different ways to cook that would be healthier and use less fat. (May I just say that H3 does a fantastic job of making 1,200 calories look and taste like a gourmet feast!)

I lost several pounds while at H3, but more importantly, I came home with a new vision and goal towards my own health. I began to check out different exercise videos from the public library and tried several until I found ones that I liked. Now I have pretty much settled on two groups of videos: one for strength training and the other for cardio exercise. I do them in my own home and keep track on a goals chart. I began to use a free online calorie and fitness program to track my daily eating and exercise, and most importantly, gathered a few close friends to join in my endeavors and we daily encourage one another with comments.

The weight did not come off quickly, but over time I have managed to take off 43 pounds and 23 inches by eating sensibly, exercising six days a week, and gathering a supportive group of friends to encourage one another. I feel better now than when I was much younger and I am still amazed when I shop for clothing that I am buying smaller and smaller sizes. Is that really my size now?!

As a primary caregiver for someone else (my mother, now that my father-in-law has passed away), we can often tend to take care of everyone else’s needs and health concerns before we take care of ourselves. By making healthy lifestyle changes and exercising regularly, I have found that the stress and tension that at times weighed so heavily on my shoulders, have been reduced exponentially. When I feel better, I am better able to tend to the needs of the ones under my care. It’s a Win-Win solution.

Thank you H3 for inspiring me to ‘run the good race!’

Sue Ellen Sherer; Rochester, NY



The Importance of Balanced Fitness

In January, I shared some insight on my personal journey back into fitness. Over the past couple of years, between pregnancies, my consistency has been… well, it just hasn’t. I committed to a gym membership back in January and also signed up to run a 1/2 marathon in March. Since moving to Hilton Head in 2005, running has become one of my favorite hobbies. During my training for the race I participated in a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but wonder how hard I would be on myself the day of the race. With a pace about 2 minutes slower than my race pace was a few years ago (you runners know that is a significant difference) I was sure I wasn’t going to be proud of my performance.

But you know what? That’s not what happened. Instead of spending those 13 miles comparing where I was the last time I ran a 1/2 marathon, I began to truly acknowledge the change I’ve made over the past couple of months. At mile 10 I realized that my arms and upper body weren’t tired. A couple of years ago when I took up running again without a strength training program, my back and arms would always fatigue before my legs or stamina. This was just the “ah-ha” experience I needed. When it comes to weight loss, I’m like everyone else – I initially gravitated to just focusing on cardio workouts. This race demonstrated on a more personal level how crucial it is to also focus on strength training, core strength, and even balance and flexibility for overall success. The running portion of my training played a significant role in my preparation, but now I see that my strength training and core routine was just, if not more significant.

If you are new to strength training, try this Body Sculpting routine. There are even more free fitness routines available right here on H3Daily.



Healthy Recipes: Egg Rolls and Sweet & Sour Sauce


 3 cups Cabbage, sliced

½ cup Mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup Green onions, sliced

1 tablesoon Chinese five spice

2 tablespoons Mirin

1 tablespoon Soy sauce

1 teaspoon Sesame oil

4 Spring roll wrappers                                                                                            


  • Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  • Cut all vegetables.
  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients except for the spring roll wrapper.
  • In a large, hot sauté pan add sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add vegetable mixture. Sauté until softened. Taste vegetable mixture to ensure seasoned to taste.
  • Once ingredients are well mixed, place a 1/4 cup of the mixture at one corner of wrapper.
  • Fold the corner where you placed ingredients over, holding ingredients in wrapper.
  • Then bring both in sides over the folded corner and continue to roll.
  • Seal end of wrapper with egg beaters or non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bake until crispy for about 15-20 minutes.

 How to wrap into egg rolls:

Step 1: lay out wrapper       

Step 2: place ingredients in corner           

Step 3: fold corner over food

Step 4: bring in both sides of wrapper

Step 5: Continue to roll


Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 egg roll

Calories: 90

Fat Grams: 2



1/3 cup Rice vinegar

4 Tablespoons Brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Ketchup

1 teaspoon Soy sauce (low sodium)

2 teaspoons Cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp. cold water


  • Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce and bring to a boil in a small pot. 
  • After sauce comes to a boil, add the cornstarch and water mixture.
  • Stir constantly and sauce will thicken as it continues to boil. 
  • Once sauce is thickened, pull off heat and serve with your favorite dish!


Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 ounce

Calories: 25

Fat grams: 0



Laughter is Good for your Health

Have you ever met someone who laughed at something childish and afterwards said, “I may be (fill in the blank) years old, but I will always be a child at heart!” Heck, maybe you are that person! Well, it turns out that this person is likely to live longer and experience a higher quality of life than the average adult. On average, the older we become the more serious we become about life. As a result, the average adult laughs only 15 times a day while children laugh an average of 400 times/day.

Some would argue that laughter is the best medicine. There is research suggesting that those who laugh more frequently typically:

  • attract more friends,
  • have healthier resting vitals,
  • and feel happiness more often.

I think it is fair to say that quality of life could be measured based on how often one experiences happiness. When people laugh or smile, even when they do not feel especially happy, epinephrine and serotonin (feel good hormones) are released into the body and result in happy feelings.  Not only that, but when we laugh our breathing quickens. This exercises the diaphragm, neck, abdominals, face and shoulder muscles which causes increased oxygen consumption and has been shown to improve blood circulation and healing in the body. And if that is not enough, laughing also burns calories. Awesome! Professor William Fry at Stanford University reported that one hundred laughs burn approximately just as many calories as a ten minute session on a rowing machine.

One of the most incredible case studies on the healing effects of laughter is about a man named Norman Cousins. This man had a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis is an arthritic condition that causes the vertebrae to fuse together causing a rigid and completely inflexible spine. Many doctors told him they could no longer help him and that he would live in excruciating pain before he died. Cousins then decided to rent every funny movie he could find, laughing as hard and loud as he could in order to live the rest of his life as happily as possible. After six months of inflicting constant laughter on himself, Norman amazed the doctors when they saw his condition had declined and eventually, disappeared. Norman Cousins had cured his life threatening disease with what seemed to only be using laughter therapy. This led to more research on laughter and the hormones associated with it. It was found that those who laugh more have an increased immune system. This is why, on average, happy people seem to rarely get sick and those who complain and are miserable seem to be ill more frequently.

So next time you hear something and are unsure if it is appropriate to laugh at, give yourself permission to laugh at it. After all, it can only help you live longer and healthier!

Please enjoy this video of true laughter! =D



What Did an Irish girl do on St. Patrick’s Day?

“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night”


So now that ST. Patrick’s day is behind us I am proud to say that I did not succumb to temptation and drink green beer with friends like we were still in college – in fact I had decided weeks earlier that I would find a way to celebrate the holiday with a more grownup twist.

So with this rule firmly in place, I started searching for wines produced in Ireland, and low and behold YES Ireland does make wine.  Most of the vineyards are located around Cork in the southwest corner; unfortunately, the big brass did not want me travelling to Ireland to explore their viticulture so instead I called a friend.  Jason is from Ireland and he had his family send us some honey mead from Bunratty Castle.  This ancient Celtic beverage is simply honey wine and is simply delicious, also a perfect mood setter: think Celtic parties, pagan rituals, or wenches in taverns.

Next, I went to Spain. The northwest corner of the country is the autonomous region know as Galicia and there you will indeed find some lovely wines; including one of my FAVORITES, Albarino from the Rias-Biaxas region.  The land, the forests and even some of the houses are evocative of Ireland and Scotland in this region of Spain.  Until of course you see Roman ruins and lemon trees growing everywhere.  But when all your friends are sipping warm green beer on Sunday treat yourself to a crisp cool glass of Albarino, you may never drink Pinot Gringo again.

Next, a little closer to home there are a couple dozen wineries in the good ole USA that have strong Celtic ties – Firesteed vineyards in Washington, and Concannon and Plumpjack in California are among my favorites. The reds from all of them would be a dreamy pair with a traditional Shepherd’s pie or corn beef and cabbage.

But sometimes it has to be said that you can’t beat ‘em so you need to join them – in that case drink a beer – but don’t settle for the cheap keg stuff. Treat yourself to a beautiful handcrafted beer. If you like a crisp white wine try a wheat beer; if a fruity pinot noir is more your style then you’ll enjoy a lambec infused with fruit; and if you love sipping a big syrah try a smoky porter.  Ask questions; break out of your rut, try something new.

Oh so what did I actually end up imbibing for this most famous of all drinking holiday’s?  Green milk with my six year old daughter – but it felt very grown up.

Cheers and may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.



Friday Fun: Healthy Harmonies

Ever feel like you need a “pick me up” on Friday afternoons? With the addition of new team members Hilton Head Health is proud to announce the formation of a new musical group. Every Friday before our guests “Put it All Together” with nutrition guru Bob Wright, the Healthy Harmonies can be found busting jingles in the Calibogue room. It seemed to all start with the “Unwise, Better, Best” Diet Jingle and from there our guests wanted more. Ask and you shall receive the latest jingle from H3 Wellness Coach David Chesworth and Program Intern Brianna Friedt.



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