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This month, we offer you this “March Madness-inspired” workout challenge. These exercises are inspired by all the full body moves that basketball players use while on the court. Can you keep up? You will need a cones, a kettle bell and a medicine ball.

 

Down and Back - Place two cones about 12-15 feet apart. Start by standing behind one cone as you face the other. As quickly as possible, sprint to the second cone. Once you’ve reached the second cone, quickly backpedal, returning to starting position. Continue moving as quickly as possible between cones. 2-3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Rotating Power Slams - Stand with feet hip-width apart and rise onto toes, holding medicine ball with both hands overhead, arms fully extended.  Shift hips down and back, bending knees as you explosively slam medicine ball into the ground outside of the left foot, rotating the torso. Allow ball to bounce back into hands and repeat sequence to opposite side. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per side. 

Cross-Body Lunge - Stand holding medicine ball overhead with arms extended. Step out to the left 

foot to perform a lateral lunge, sitting hips back and bending left knee, keeping ball in front of chest. Press off left foot and step it across the body in front of right foot, performing a forward lunge at a 45-degree angle, extending arms and medicine ball out in front of the body at shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat sequence. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per side.

Alternating Single Arm Swings - Stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp handle of kettlebell in right hand using an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips as you draw the kettlebell back between the legs. Thrust hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise the kettlebell to shoulder height. Once at shoulder height, release the kettlebell momentarily mid-air to switch hands, so the kettlebell is now in the left hand. Continue alternating hands. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per arm.

Unstable Mountain Climbers - Position a medicine ball directly below chest and place hands on top of the ball. Extend legs with toes on floor, assuming a plank position. Keeping core engaged, draw right knee into chest. With control, quickly switch sides, stepping back with right foot while drawing left knee into chest. Continue alternating sides. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per leg.

  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.
  • Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, folate and magnesium.
  • Cooked spinach is a great source of iron and is totally fat free.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced
  • 2 to 4 slices bacon
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper 

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

  • 2 egg whites
  • 26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
  • 24 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
  • ¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil 

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9x13 dish. Cook lasagna noodles as directed on the package, then rinse and drain. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes. 

Everyone wants to find the Fountain of Youth and keep their skin looking fresh, healthy, and clear of blemishes. 

Since there is no magical fountain, the best way to keep your skin looking clearer health experts suggest  is by   watching what you eat. What we eat effects our skin more than we realize, so here are a few foods to avoid and/or give up entirely for that youthful glow. 

  • French Fries
  • Fried Chicken
  • Processed pastries
  • White Bread
  • Packaged sweets
  • Pasta

(Masking continued…)

The CDC’s website details the following mask recommendations (which is fluid depending on your local government regulations):

  • Everyone 2 years or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).

Besides masking and using the proper hygiene, getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster is also the best way to help slow the spread of this illness. Everyone over the age of 5 is now eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines available – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – the CDC says that ANY of the vaccines are more effective than NO vaccine. The dosage is altered for children aged 5 to 11, and boosters are currently available to most adults (depending on your location).

With more than 67 million cases to date in the United States, we can only hope that we are soon approaching the end of the pandemic. By using your best judgement when it comes to illness, isolating when necessary, using proper hygiene, wearing a mask, and getting your vaccine, we can help combat COVID-19 together and get back to a normal life sooner rather than later.

(Symptoms continued…)

persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and/or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the more severe symptoms listed above, please seek medical care immediately.

Looking over the signs and symptoms, many people wonder, “How do I know if it’s the cold/flu or COVID/Omicron?” Both the flu and Omicron are highly contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.

According to the CDC, “COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.”

Testing is the most accurate way to determine if you have COVID-19, and there are many ways to test, different types of tests and different regulations regarding testing and their results. So, the best way to figure out who should test, when you should test and what you should do after testing is to check your local government’s website for the appropriate response.

One of the best ways to avoid Omicron and other COVID-19 variants is to use proper hygiene. It seems obvious, sure, but it is still the number one way to avoid illness.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, coughing or sneezing, using the restroom and before handing food – whether you are making something to eat or eating. The CDC says, that “If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. And avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.”

Masking, whether you are vaccinated or not, is also another major way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (cont’d.)