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3 things for better health: Don’t forget hands and feet in stretching routine

Create a cornstarch or arrowroot powder slurry, using equal parts powder to cold water and combining until smooth. Then, stir the slurry into a soup, stew or sauce to thicken the liquid and give it a creamier mouthfeel. Photo / Metro Creative1 / 2
Stretching the body is an essential part of health and well-being. The back, legs, arms and core all benefit from minutes of dedicated stretching each day, particularly for those who must spend time sitting in the office. Photo / Metro Creative 2 / 2

Need to be motivated to start the week off on a healthy note? Just try one or more of these three things to start the week off on the right path.

  1. In the mood for something creamy, but not desiring all the calories that come with cream? There are other ways to achieve the sensation of creamy foods, without blowing the calorie bank. Create a cornstarch or arrowroot powder slurry, using equal parts powder to cold water and combining until smooth. Then, stir the slurry into a soup, stew or sauce to thicken the liquid and give it a creamier mouthfeel.

Other ways to hack creamy foods include pureeing a cup or two of a soup and adding it back. This works particularly well with potatoes or other root vegetables. Or, use leftover mashed potatoes, turnips, cauliflower or other vegetables to thicken soups or sauces. This approach will also boost vegetable consumption while satisfying the desire for comfort foods.

  1. Stretching the body is an essential part of health and well-being. The back, legs, arms and core all benefit from minutes of dedicated stretching each day, particularly for those who must spend time sitting in the office. Stretching helps the body maintain full range of motion around a joint -- important to preventing altered movement patterns, which can lead to muscle imbalance, distorted posture and injuries, WebMD reports. But don’t forget about stretching the hands and feet, too.

“Think about your feet and hands and how often they are in a flexed position throughout the day – your feet flexed as you walk or stand, your hands flexed while driving or typing. It’s pretty easy to see that we’re not usually moving our hands and feet through their full range of motion,” wrote Gina Harney in a WebMD blog post.

Harney, a fitness blogger, shared some of her favorite stretches. Here are two to try. Visit https://tinyurl.com/WebMDstretches for more ideas.

To stretch the hands:

  • Start seated in a comfortable position. Extend your arms out to your sides. With your index finger and thumb of each hand, make an “O” shape. Tap each finger to your thumb (on the same hand), making the “O” shape as round as possible with your fingers. After you’ve done each finger, tap each finger to your thumb again, trying to keep your fingers as straight as possible.

To stretch the feet:

  • Stand, holding onto something sturdy like a countertop for balance. Bring your weight into your left leg and slightly bend the knee. Lift up your right foot, and put it back down (top of your foot to the floor); press your toenails into the floor and try to get as much of the top of that foot onto the floor as you can. Take a deep breath and slide your right foot forward 2-4 inches. You’ll feel an amazing stretch on the top of the foot, opening up the ankle that’s so often flexed.
  1. Although it’s still white outside, don the green and kick the rust off for one of the first area races of 2019. The Sixth Annual Clover Dash 5K takes place Saturday, March 16, in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Crosslake. Run or walk the 3.1-mile course that begins and ends in Crosslake Town Square and is open to all ages. For those kids not yet ready for a full 5K, kids race around the square is set for Saturday as well, beginning 9 a.m.

The 5K starts at 9:30 a.m., with an awards ceremony at 10:45 a.m. Visit https://cloverdash.itsyourrace.com/register to register for the event.

An extra bonus? All races 21 and over get a coupon for a green beer at Rafferty’s in Crosslake. Runners will have to make up the calories somehow!

For more tips from the weekly Three Things list, check out the Monday Motivator page each week in the Dispatch or e-edition, or go to www.brainerddispatch.com and go to lifestyle to reach the drop-down menu for health or search using the keywords “Monday Motivator.”

Questions or tips to share, contact Renee Richardson, managing editor, at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5852.

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