What should we eat more of?
Many foods, especially those high in omega-3 fats and antioxidants, have been shown to help fight inflammation. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, anchovies, and sardines, are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammatory proteins in the body. Another source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats is nuts. Add almonds or walnuts to your yogurt or oatmeal in the mornings and to salads and wraps at lunch or dinner. Nuts are also great sources of antioxidants, which can help prevent and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
All fruits help fight inflammation because they are naturally low in fat and calories and high in antioxidants, but pigment compounds called anthocyanins in berries and tart cherries make them particularly effective. Many other plant compounds, such as the quercetin and sulfur compounds in garlic and onions, curcumin in turmeric, and phenolic compounds in herbs, have been shown to alter pathways that lead to inflammation.
What should we eat less of?
Try to minimize foods high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and trans fats; over time, these increase inflammation and the risks of chronic diseases. Dairy products and members of the nightshade family (including white potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers) may have bad reputations, but most scientific evidence does not support the anecdotal reports that these foods promote inflammation. In fact, most research suggests tomatoes help fight inflammation. Overall, rather than focusing too much on specific foods, the best way to prevent chronic inflammation is to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.
EVENT: Climb Out Of The Darkness 2016
EVENT DATE: JUNE 18, 2016
LOCATION: LADY BIRD LAKE
THE STORY: Postpartum Progress’ Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, bipolar/peripartum onset, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. Climb Out of the Darkness is held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. We can’t wait for Climb Out of the Darkness 2016, to be held Saturday, June 18th at Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake). Mark your calendars! Help us shine the light of hope with our words and our advocacy efforts so that our fellow mothers will receive better information and better treatment, and their new families will get off to the healthy and strong start they deserve. If you have questions or would like to lead or join a Climb or become a Climb sponsor, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, know the purpose of the exercise you're performing, and how to execute it correctly. Focus on the target muscles throughout the entire movement, and strive to achieve balance by using a variety of exercises that work every major muscle group each week. If you're uncertain about the purpose of an exercise, how to target a particular muscle group, or whether or not you're performing an exercise correctly, check in with a trainer or fitness professional. They're happy to offer guidance!
Be sure you're lifting an appropriate amount of weight (see last week's blog post for some guidelines on how much is too much, or too little.) Attempting to lift too much, too soon is one of the more common reasons that people struggle to maintain proper form, alignment, and control. If you find it difficult to complete the full range of motion, you're probably lifting a little bit too heavy.
Remember to breathe! It's very tempting to hold your breath while lifting weight, especially as you begin lifting heavier. But holding your breath not only makes the lift more difficult, it can be dangerous. Practice your breathing pattern with a smaller load as you warm up, exhaling during the "work" phase, and inhaling as you return to the start. (As an example, when performing a biceps curl, exhale while curling up, as this is the "work phase, or the phase during which your muscles are working to move the weight against gravity. Inhale as you lower the weight back down, resisting gravity to maintain a steady, controlled pace.)
Resist the urge to rush. Taking your time allows you to focus on your technique and breathing, helps you to isolate the muscles you're wanting to work, and avoid using momentum (which reduces the workload, and therefore benefit, of the exercises.) In addition, working at a controlled pace ensures that you can work within your proper range to reduce the risk of injury. Take special care when lowering weights back to their starting position, especially when using machines. In the gym, you may hear loud slamming and clanking as plates crash together on neighboring machines, but know that this technique is not as beneficial or as safe as a executing both phases of the movement with control.
Know that quality is worth more than quantity. Performing a full set of well-executed reps at full range of motion will result in more muscular benefit than performing the same number of slouched, half-reps with a weight that is too heavy (and as previously mentioned, the latter isn't safe!) Likewise, a high volume of exercises performed incorrectly or for the wrong reason will reap fewer benefits than a handful of correct ones. (You can perform hundreds of improper crunches that do not target your abs!)
Image credit: http://www.denverpost.com/2007/09/15/practice-good-form-when-lifting-weights/