The Best Quotes About Life, Happiness, and Forgiveness

The end of the year always causes me to start reflecting. It is easy in those moments to start to think about the past. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes obsess a little about wishing the past could be different. This is an exercise in futility, because of course there is nothing we can do except to move forward and let go of things that no longer serve us.

I hope these quotes about life, love, gratitude and forgiveness inspire you to focus on and enjoy the present. 

2016 has been a particularly difficult year for so many people that I talk to, so give yourself the kindness that you need to see it through to the end. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it! Remember to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to continue caring for the others who need you.

Give-up-on-a-better-past | The Wellness Scientist

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms

 

It’s been more than six months since the last Whole Living issue hit my mailbox, but MAN do I still miss it 🙁  I SO looked forward to diving into that magazine.  Luckily, the wholeliving.com website is still up and running, and to honor my feelings of nostalgia I decided to pull today’s Meatless Monday recipe from the Whole Living archives.

Courtesy of wholeliving.com PHOTO: MARCUS NILSSON

Courtesy of wholeliving.com PHOTO: MARCUS NILSSON

Today, I’m featuring Grilled Polenta and Balsamic Mushrooms from Whole Living magazine’s website.  The notes actually say this was originally from Martha Stewart Living, October 2007.  It looks delicious!  It cooks up quickly, but give yourself an hour to let the mushrooms marinate.  Here is what you’ll need to make 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), stems and caps separated, halved if very large
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 12 pieces set polenta cut into 1-inch-thick rectangles or triangles
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved

Directions:

Toss portobellos with garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for 1 hour.

Transfer portobellos to a plate. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add stock. Raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon oil, and remove from heat.

Preheat grill to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.) Lightly brush top and bottom of polenta with oil, and place in center of grill. Cook, flipping once, until polenta is marked, crisp, and no longer sticks to grill, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Meanwhile, place portobellos on cooler part of grill, and cook, turning frequently to avoid burning, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Place arugula on a platter, and arrange polenta and portobellos on top. Drizzle about half the sauce over portobellos. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side.

 

 

An Intelligence Gene? High IQ May Be in Our DNA

 

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Always been the smarty pants in your group?  Awww, SNAP!  Chances are, it’s in your DNA.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

A study of Dutch families (Gosso MF et al., 2006) found that Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs363050, located on the SNAP-25 gene is associated with “performance IQ” (i.e. non-verbal IQ).

Each copy of “A” at rs363050 in a person’s genotype increased the subjects’ performance IQ by an average of three points compared to those with no copies of “A”.The authors estimated that rs363050 accounts for 3.4% of the variation in performance IQ between people.

I learned this little tidbit while exploring my Health Traits on the 23andMe website.  A single user-posted question, “Is There Anyone Else with 2 Copies of the Gene for Intelligence?” sparked over 260 replies from users sharing their genotypes, those of their family members, as well as IQ scores, SAT/GRE scores, levels of degrees obtained, and much more to both support AND oppose the findings of this research.

When you get down to brass tacks, no one who fancies him/herself as intelligent wants to look at their own genotype & have it read otherwise … anymore than someone wants their Kindness Gene genotype to tell them they can’t be empathetic.

Of course for this and other similar discussions, there is the nature vs. nurture debate … it can be challenging to study heritability or genetic differences in intelligence due to the fact that it is difficult to rule out other factors such as environment and opportunities (Rowe et al., 1999; Turkheimer et al., 2003).

What are your thoughts re: intelligence and heritability vs. outside influences such as environment?

Have you been tested on 23andMe?  If yes, was your genotype what you expected?

 

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Southwestern Cheddar Steak Fries

Happy 1st of July!  In my opinion, no burger (veggie or otherwise) is complete without a side of fries!  I consider myself a french fry connoisseur — try them wherever I go!  These fabulous fries were featured in the June 2013 issue of Clean Eating magazine.  While you are grilling this 4th of July, try cooking up a batch of these as well (hint: total time is less than 30 minutes!)

Oh, and they are only 154 calories per serving!  Can’t beat that!

Photo by Edward Pond - courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

Photo by Edward Pond – courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb red or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 oz finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place potatoes on baking sheet, drizzle evenly with oil and toss to coat lightly. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin and garlic powder. Sprinkle paprika mixture evenly over both sides of potatoes, then arrange potatoes in a single layer. Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes, then flip and stir, and bake for 7 minutes or until lightly golden and tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with salt, cheese and pepper. Bake for 2 minutes more or until cheese has melted slightly. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately for peak flavor.

Nutrients per serving (2/3 cup serving cheddar steak fries): Calories: 154, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Carbs: 22 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 0.5 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 187 mg, Cholesterol: 5 mg

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Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

 

Trouble losing weight or keeping it off?  Make sure you aren’t making one of these common dieting mistakes.

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Setting Goals That Aren’t Realistic

Setting an unrealistic goal will almost guarantee failure.  Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to weight loss.  Donald Hensrud, M.D., weight loss expert from the Mayo Clinic recommends 1-2 pounds per week.  If you lose weight at this pace, you are more likely to keep it off.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Diet

A diet that doesn’t include any of the foods you like to eat may work in the very short term, but it is unlikely that you’ll achieve you longer-term weight loss goals.  Several studies have found that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or to keep weight off.   Study participants who followed moderate- or high-fat diets lost just as much weight as those who follow low-fat diets.  Successful weight loss depends largely on one thing — burn more calories than you consume.

Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be reaching for the first thing you can get your hands on at lunch or dinner time to satisfy your hunger.  Take the time (maybe on a Sunday morning to plan for the coming week) to make a list of your favorite nutritious meals.  Shop for all of the ingredients and plan your meals for the week at one time.  Bring low-calorie snacks like an apple or a small Greek yogurt to the office to make hitting the vending machines less tempting.

Drink More Water

Drinking water aids weight loss and flushes out toxins from the body.  According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants in a six-month clinical trial both lost weight and reduced waist circumference by drinking water compared to participants who drank caloric beverages.

Skipping Meals

Meal skipping is not a successful way to lose weight.  Frequent meal skipping actually reduces your metabolic rate, making weight loss more challenging.  Eating regular meals keeps you energized throughout the day and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat at night to compensate.

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Other posts you might like:

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Instantly

How To Be Your Best Self

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Looking for some Meatless Main Dishes for dinner tonight or for your upcoming 4th of July festivities?  Look no further than these savory Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Yield: 4 stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • Ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat white cheddar cheese
  • Canola-oil cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 375F.

2)  Remove stems & inside gils of the portobello mushrooms.  Spray inside of a glass/Pyrex dish large enough to hold all four portobellos (a 9 x 9 square pan should work).  Place the mushrooms inside the dish and brush insides of the with olive oil.

3)  Add kale, shredded cheese, and then tomatoes to each of the mushroom caps.  Splash a little extra olive oil on top of each.  Don’t be afraid to pile on the toppings — they will reduce down while cooking.  Splash a little balsamic vinegar on top of each, then season freshly ground black pepper.

4)  Bake in the preheated oven until mushrooms are cooked through and cheese bubbles, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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Do you have a favorite vegetarian recipe? Tell me about it below, and you may be featured on our blog!

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

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Lose Weight in a Week: 4 Easy Ways to Drop Pounds in 7 Days

Lose Weight In A Week

More than likely, if you are reading this post you fall in to one of two categories:

1) You are sick of being overweight, feeling unhealthy, and have no idea where to start

OR

2) You’ve been eating too many desserts lately OR slacked off exercising (or both) and want to lose the 5-10 pounds you gained while you weren’t looking

Whichever of these two buckets you fall into, good news — you’ve come to the right place!  This post will give you 4 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss and Drop Pounds in Just 7 Days.  I’m serious!  Try these tips for just seven days, and comment below and share your results.

I’ve given this same advice to my coaching clients, and they have had success.  Read their Testimonials here and see what they had to say for yourself!

Without further delay, here are 4 Easy Ways to Lose Weight … starting TODAY!

Drink Water

Water has zero calories, zero carbs, and no sodium.  It’s great for revving up your metabolism, and it flushes out toxins (and excess water) from your body.  I’ve complained myself that water is boring & tasteless.  If this is how you feel, add a lemon or lime wedge.  Plain sparkling water is ok too as long as the sodium content is very low (aim for 30mg or less).  Avoid juices, energy drinks, soda (yes – even diet soda), etc. this week.  You can drink one cup of coffee or tea per day, but don’t add sweeteners or creamers.  (C’mon … it’s a 7-day commitment, not forever!  You want to lose weight, don’t you?)

Cut Out White Bread, White Rice, and White Pasta

Cutting out white-grain products or simple carbohydrates and replacing them with whole-grain or complex carbs diet will slim you down quickly.  Simple carbs are high in sugar, low in fiber, and while they taste good and give us comfort they have little to no nutritional value and cause belly bloating.  They are digested very quickly and leave you hungry just a short time after eating.  Replace white grains with whole-wheat bread, rice substitutes like quinoa and barley, and vegetables, which are digested more slowly & keep you feeling fuller longer.

Do Some Kind of Cardio Every Day for 30 Minutes

Wait — don’t close out of this post!  I promise, this isn’t a deal breaker!  If you want to burn calories, you have got to move.  Again, this is a 7-day challenge to kickstart your weight loss goal or slim down for that bikini you’re going to be wearing in two weeks.  If you don’t have a solid thirty minutes, you can break it up into two 15-minutes sessions or three 10-minutes sessions.  You MUST have time for that?!  No casual strolling here either.  After a warmup, get that heart rate up for a good 30 minutes by brisk walking, walking uphill, jogging, get your butt to a Zumba or other dance class, or jump on any piece of aerobic equipment such as elliptical machine.  You can even go old-school, low-tech and do 30 minutes of jumping rope, jumping jacks, or anything that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes.  I like to use the FREE Nike Training Club app where there are tons of free workouts just waiting for you & many require NO EQUIPMENT.  No excuses … JUST DO IT!

Get More Sleep

This one isn’t so bad, eh?  Who doesn’t long for more zzz’s?  And guess what?  Your body needs it.  A study published in 2012 found that just a few nights of bad sleep can throw your metabolism into a tailspin.  The study showed that getting four hours of sleep a night for four nights made healthy people’s bodies resistant to insulin — a condition that leads to weight gain, diabetes and other serious health problems.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep per night.  Some need less, some actually need more to function optimally.  You can find out how many hours you need by reading this post I wrote for MindBodyGreen.  For the next 7 days, though, focus on adding just 30 minutes of sleep each night.  You might have to turn off the television a little earlier or wait until tomorrow for your turn at Words With Friends, but your body will thank you.

After you try this, please come back & leave a comment below & let everyone know about your progress!  

Other posts you might like:

How Do You Know If You Need a Life Coach?

Motivation — Where Are You?

What’s Past The Comfort Zone?

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tomato Basil Pizza with Gluten-Free Crust

Someone on Instagram posted a picture of a gluten-free pizza crust yesterday, and it looked so good I couldn’t stop thinking about it!  So, I was off to collect ingredients to make it for dinner last night and so I could share this recipe with you for this week’s Meatless Monday Recipe Idea!

You won’t believe what’s in this pizza crust — it’s cauliflower!  The recipe for the crust comes from SparkPeople.  The prep time on the original crust recipe states 15 minutes.  I can assure you that it takes much longer than that!  I think it took me about an hour to get everything prepped before I baked the crust.  Not a deal-breaker but wanted to give you fair warning! 🙂

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza

If you make this yourself, can you leave a Comment below & let me know how it turned out for you?  I’d like the crust just a little crispier if possible.  If you found something that worked, please share below!

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 1 cup raw, chopped cauliflower* (chop in a food processor for quickest & best result)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

For pizza toppings

  • 2 sliced roma tomatoes
  • 6 fresh chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pizza sauce (optional)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

*1 cup chopped cauliflower is about 2 1/4 cups florets

Directions

Makes 4, 1-slice servings. Can be doubled for a larger pizza

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped cauliflower, egg, mozzarella and all desired spices. Press evenly on baking pan.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes (up to 20 minutes if you double the recipe).

Remove the pan from the oven. To the crust, pour olive oil and use a pastry or baking brush to spread the oil over the crust evenly.  Add sauce (if using) then toppings and cheese.

Place under broiler, on high heat, until cheese is melted.  Keep a close eye on it so the crust doesn’t burn!  Enjoy!

Did you make this?  Did you change it up at all by adding different toppings or other ingredients to the dough?  Don’t forget to tell us how it turned out in the Comments below!

 

5 Foam Roller Stretches to Ease Sore Muscles

 

I was very gung-ho to start some at-home weight training this week, and jumped full steam ahead into the Better Butt Workout courtesy of Nike Training Club app for iPhone.

The fifteen-minute workout was a good one with three sets of five killer moves.  Given that I used muscles that have been on a break for WAY TOO LONG, two days later I am still suffering from muscle soreness.

I know how well my trusty foam roller helped me stay loose and pain-free during my half-marathon training, so it made sense to turn to the foam roller to stretches to ease my sore hamstrings and glutes from the Better Butt Workout!

Here are 5 Foam Roller Stretches to Ease Sore Muscles in your legs and glutes!

(Note: all stretches to be performed with a full standard-size (3′ x 6″) foam roller)

Need a foam roller? The Magic Roller from Balanced Body is a great one!

1) The Quadricep Massage –  to relax muscles and increase circulation to the front of the thigh muscles.

How to do it: Kneel on floor.  Place the roller on the floor horizontal to your body.  Lie face down (prone position) with the roller just above your knees.  Your elbows should be bent & forearms touching the floor.  With your arms, gently roll your body forward towards your upper thighs.  Push body back and return to starting position.  Repeat for 30 seconds – one minute.

2) The Gluteus Maximus Massage – to improve circulation to the muscles in your butt!

How to do it: Sit on the foam roller placed horizontally on the floor with feet and hands on floor in front of the roller.  Push roller backward with your butt.  Allow roller to glide back and forth under your butt muscles for about 30 seconds.

3) Piriformis Stretch – another good butt stretch!

piriformis-stretch-foam-roller

How to do it: Kneel down.  Place both palms on roller horizontal on the floor in front of your body.  Stretch arms out straight.  Extend one leg back.  Lean forward as roller is pushed forward.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat with opposite leg & hold.  Do this twice.

4) Sitting Hamstring Stretch – this one is my favorite!!  I always have sore hamstrings because mine are super tight!  This will S-T-R-E-T-C-H the back of your thigh muscles.

seated hamstring stretch

How to do it: Sit on the floor with both legs straight out.  Bend one knee in bringing the sole of your foot in towards the opposite thigh.  Straighten out the other leg and place heel on the roller.  Flex your toes towards your body.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat on opposite side.  Do this twice.

5) Supine Hamstring Stretch – A supine stretch is one that is done lying face up.  This one will also stretch the back of the thigh muscles.

How to do it: Lie on your back and bend your knees.  Place the roller lengthwise between your knees and ankles.

supine-hamstring-stretch-1

Press knees and ankles into the roller.  Extend your legs up towards the ceiling and flex your toes.

supine-hamstring-stretch-2

Hold as long as it is comfortable and return to starting.  Do this 3 times.These stretches are all ones that I learned from a book by Caroline Corning Creager, P.T. called Therapeutic Exercises Using Foam Rollers

All of the photos in this post were also taken from the book!

Other posts you might like:

What’s Past the Comfort Zone?

How Do You Know If You Need a Life Coach?