December 29, 2011

Healthy Living, Jesus Style: Same Old Blog; New Name & Design!!!

Hi to all my faithful readers!
Please don't let the new background & name fool you: this is the blog formerly known as "Healthy Living, Jesus Style".  I had never revamped this blog, and I was very tired of the old, boring design as it made me say "blah!"  So, I picked a different template.  So please believe me when I say that this is still the same blog you've been reading for the past 3 years, I promise!!!!
And, the URL (web address) is still exactly the same:!

Ugg or Yuck?

I recently bought myself a pair of these super-cute, on-the-nose trendy "Ugg"-like brown boots with an amazingly soft sheepskin lining.  They were on a ridiculously-good discount, but that's beside the point.  These boots, just like the uber-popular Ugg boots that first revolutionized cold weather fashion back when I was in college in Ohio, (and are even more popular here in the Pacific Northwest, if that's even possible), could likely be the cause of millions of young ladies' foot and even back painThis article here from explains that these types of extremely popular boots (and insanely expensive; I mean come on peeps, do Uggs do the walking for you, or do you still have to actually step forward when walking, putting one foot in front of the other?  I thought so.  So then, why are you willing to spend so much of your hard-earned money on them?)  Derailed.  Sorry.  Back to this interesting article. 
These types of boots offer no arch support for your beautiful little footsies.  None.  You are in effect, walking on a totally flat surface with no support, which may be perfectly fine if you're simply wearing them around the house, or to & from the mailbox, but that's not typically the case, now is it?  Usually, girls wear these all day at school, or carousing around the mall for hours on end.  This is not an ideal situation for your poor feet.  Need more proof?

Here's an experiment.  Take a shoe off (if you're wearing one), and look at the bottom of your bare foot. You see that area stretching from the ball of your foot to your heel?  That's your arch.  And look closer.  Unless you are severely, abnormally flat-footed, you'll see that your arch is in fact a graceful curved slope.  This means that you want to wear shoes whose shape mimics that of your feet.  Shoes with a slight slope, or what us "experts" like to call arch support.  Arch support in your shoes is a very, very good thing.  If you don't have it, you're feet can ache, your arches can fall (which hurts; trust me I know from experience from horrible Junior High Homecoming shoes), and can cause your hips and back to hurt as well from the inadequate support. 
That is the other reason why I had refused the tantalizing call of boots like these for so long:  because I've heard for years about how they could wreak havoc on your feet.  And since I'm a sometimes, when-it's-not-too-cold-or-hot-or-wet-outside runner, I know that protecting my feet from injury is paramount. 
So, I suppose the bottom line is this:  you can love these boots, but do not wear them too often, or you may regret it.  And not just because you may realize how ridiculous you look wearing these with a pair of shorts.  Uggs and shorts do not mix, people, please hear me:  there is no logical reason to wear an outfit consisting of Uggs and shorts.  It needs to be one or the other.  Either it's too hot outside for Uggs and you should wear shorts with sandals, or it's too cold for shorts and you should wear pants with those Uggs.  *Sigh*

*image credits:,

December 12, 2011

Herniated Disks & My Favorite Back Exercises

"The Plank" is probably my favorite exercise, especially because I, like many woman, seem to be on a never-ending quest to firm up my core.  When I say the word "core", I'm not just talking about my abs, but the term also applies to muscles in the back, shoulders, and all throughout the torso.  These muscles help stabilize the spine, prevent injuries, and help improve posture.  Having strong core muscles also makes performing everyday duties easier, like household chores, lifting children or items, and bending over.
My mother has a lower back problem known as "herniated disks", which is where a fluid-filled sac surrounding the vertebrae is torn and the spine vertebrae rubs against another, causing pinched nerves, sciatica, and intense pain in the back and along the buttocks and backs of legs.  She has already had one back surgery to relieve the pain and pressure, and is going in for another surgery soon. 
Spinal disks degenerate naturally as we age, but the process speeds up for some people for various reasons:  a spinal injury earlier in life can possibly cause disks to degenerate faster, and also carrying excess weight on your body frame for years can also cause degenerative disks. 
Since my mother has back issues and the exact cause is still somewhat unknown, I have been trying to take precautions to protect myself against such back problems, in case I have a hereditary risk for developing this. 
So this exercise called "The Plank" (see picture above) is my favorite core muscle builder (among others) because it is a static exercise, which means you just hold it steady and do not have to do any tightening of loosening of muscles; you simply tense the muscle and hold it for as long as you can.  So, in my mind, the Plank is fairly easy to learn how to do and to perform it.  The real trick, of course, is making your muscles stronger so you can hold it for longer and longer!
I also like performing another exercise that I call the "Superman" because I lay on my stomach (face down on the ground) and use my lower back muscles to lift my shoulders up off  the ground, and hold that for as long as I can.  This puts the focus on my lower back muscles, to target them and strengthen them. 
What about you?  Are there any back exercises that you swear by?  What are your favorite back exercises?  Do you have any tips or advice for preventing herniated disks or back strain?  Let me know your thoughts and advice!  My tips and thoughts here are in no way meant to be exhaustive, and I only mentioned the exercises that I most prefer, and please speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen! 

Image Credits:,