Q: I heard that snacking during the day can cause weight gain. Is this true?
A: We tend to associate snacking with negative impacts on our weight and overall health, as snack foods have a reputation for providing unwanted, empty calories and fat. However, recent reports suggest quite the opposite is true. People following healthier diets snack twice as much those with less healthy diets. That being said, these snacks consist of nutrient-dense foods such as low-fat yogurt, fruit and nuts, which provide a variety of nutrients and fewer calories. So — snack often and snack wisely.
Q: Short of taking pills, powders, and potions, what else can I do to detox my digestive tract?
A: We’re coming up on that time of year when want to have a rocking bod, but everything is working against us — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. What do all these things have in common? They all focus on food (and most times, too much food). Luckily there are a handful of yoga postures that can health-ify your gut in no time without the hunger pangs of a juice cleanse. These poses include:
• Paschimottanasana (Seated forward fold): In a seated position with legs long, gently extend arms overhead and reach for toes. Focus on lengthening the chest on inhales and pulling the chest towards thighs on exhales.
• Ushtrasana (Camel pose): Come to your knees with your feet hips-width distance apart. Place hands on lower back as if placing into back pockets. Extend gaze towards the ceiling while gently beginning to lean back.
• Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated spinal twist): Come to a seated position with your left leg extended long and right knee bent over left. Gently twist to the left, placing the left arm at the base of the spine, and your right arm on the right knee. Repeat on other side.
• Supine Spinal Twist: In a supine position, hug your right knee into your chest. Gently pull the right knee over the extended left leg, reaching the right arm out to form a “T,” and gazing right. Repeat on other side.
Most of the postures focus on one of two movements to the stomach and small intestine: twisting/rinsing, or stretching/ lengthening. When performed together, these movements encourage the body to eliminate toxins. Our digestive tracts go through a lot —that’s why it’s important to take a second and show our bodies some love. Incorporating some of these yoga poses into your daily routine may aid in digestion, improve acid reflux, relieve pain and combat gastrointestinal disturbances.
Shannon Jungman is the club manager and trainer at Anytime Fitness in Johnston. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at Johnston@anytimefitness.com.