More Help For Those Who Sit All Day

Another easy exercise I recommend for people who sit for most of the day is the Hamstring Chair Stretch. This stretch helps reduce the tension in your lower back and can be done any time you are seated. In fact, I’m sure if you try it at your next long meeting or conference, there will be others joining you before you can say “cramped legs!”

  • Sit up straight, close to the edge of your chair. Keeping your left leg bent with your foot flat on the floor, and your left knee positioned over your foot, stretch your right leg out so that only your heel is on the floor. Then, “dig in your heel” by pressing it against the floor.
  • Next, hold onto the seat of your chair with both hands and stretch your upper body forward gently until you feel the muscles in the back of your leg stretching.
  • Breathe and stretch for about a minute, then switch legs.

Let me know how many people join you when you try this!

Best of Health


Better Bone Health For Baby Boomers!

winter yoginiHave you noticed that your knees are a little stiff and sometimes scream at you when you try to get up off the couch? As we age we experience normal wear and tear on the joints, but we may experience a loss of bone mass as well. Not to worry though, you can avoid knee and hip replacement surgeries and their long recoveries by starting now to take better care of these joints and bones. Through exercise, diet and supplementation, you can increase bone mass and minimize your risk for osteoporosis and arthritis.

Let's start with diet. Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D are very important for healthy bones.

Vitamin D is currently the most serious Vitamin deficiency in North America. Some studies have recently shown that the mighty vitamin D also protects us against rheumatoid arthritis. Most docs now recommend between 2000 and 3000 mg. a day of vitamin D.

The new studies on calcium indicate that we only need about 500-600 mg from supplementation as we get the rest of our RDA (750-1000 total) of calcium from the foods we eat. More than that can increase you risk of heart attacks, and even increase your chance of a hip fracture!

Magnesium is an important mineral for not only bone health, but our health in general. It can reduce headaches, insomnia, and much more! My friend Dr. Carolyn Dean recommends at least 400 mg of Magnesium each day.

But, vitamins aren't the be all, end all. You should get as much of your vitamins from food as possible and here are a few foods that contain vitamin D - oily fish like Alaskan salmon or sardines, fortified soy milk, orange juice and whole grain cereals.

Calcium is plentiful in dairy, but did you know that sheep cheese has about twice as much calcium as cow's milk cheese?  Also, broccoli, dried figs, kale, collards and healthy nuts like almonds can provide your body with lots of calcium. I knew there was a reason I love Almonds!

Vitamin K helps activate proteins that are involved in the structuring of bone mass. Low intake of vitamin K has been linked to low bone density. You can get your vitamin K in swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran. In addition, avoid eating too much protein - excessive protein can promote calcium loss from bones - and too much caffeine and sodium can promote calcium loss so do be careful of those.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two compounds which strengthen cartilage and improve joint mobility, which then slows osteoarthritis related damage to the joints. They are available anywhere vitamins are sold, and many people have shared that their flexibility has increased with these supplements.

And you all know that Exercise is important for keeping our bones strong. Weight bearing exercises like walking, hiking, and Pilates classes are all good for our bones and our hearts. 

Do You Have FLC Syndrome?

This is a guest post by my friend Dr. Mark Hyman

What is FLC Syndrome? Chances are you have it.

It affects nearly half of our population. It causes gain weight and resistance to weight loss. And it causes a whole list of chronic symptoms and diseases. Yet most people have no idea what causes it or how to fix it. The truth is, most of us have experienced FLC Syndrome at some point in our lives. 

FLC Syndrome is when you Feel Like Crap. Even though most doctors don’t know how to diagnose and treat it, the science of Functional Medicine provides a clear roadmap for your way out of FLC!

How Do You Know If You Have FLC Syndrome?

You have FLC Syndrome if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Excess weight around the middle (belly fat)
  • Crave sugar and refined carbs
  • Binge on sugar or junk food
  • Yo-yo dieting where you keep gaining back the weight
  • Tired and sluggish
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain or muscle aches
  • Bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Congestion, sinus problems, asthma
  • Allergies or autoimmune diseases
  • Skin problems—acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Mood problems like anxiety, depression, or insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Low sex drive or function
  • Just “feel like crap”

The fact is, most of us are only a few days away from feeling well, from ending sugar and carb cravings, from having control over our bodies, only a few days away from getting our body back to its original factory settings.

There is a solution. It is one of the greatest medical advances of the 21st century. 

It is this: Food is the most powerful drug on the planet.

The wrong food will make you sick (FLC Syndrome) and the right food will transform your body in just a few days. Food is medicine, and what you put at the end of your fork is far more powerful than anything you will find in a prescription bottle.

After nearly three decades of medical practice and research and seeing over 15,000 patients, performing extensive metabolic and nutritional testing, and synthesizing thousands of research papers on the root causes of disease and FLC Syndrome, of weight gain, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, or what I like to call “diabesity,” I created a simple 10-day plan that can quickly reverse FLC Syndrome and help you lose significant amounts of weight quickly, safely, and sustainably. 

The result is The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.  

We did a trial on 600 people, and here are their results:

  • Lost over 4000 pounds in 10 days (average of about 8 pounds each)
  • Blood sugar dropped an average of 20 points
  • Blood pressure dropped an average of 10 points
  • Ended sugar and carb cravings
  • Reduction of all symptoms from all diseases by 62% in 10 days (FLC Syndrome)—there is no drug on the planet that can achieve those results
  • Many went on to lose 50 to 100 pounds and reverse type 2 diabetes and many other health problems as they continued on the program

The Secret of The 10-Day Detox Diet

10-Day Detox-fbtile-300x300The secret of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet is this: we simply swap out processed foods, sugar, flour, and inflammatory foods and add delicious, whole, fresh, real, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying food, and the body does the rest.

The food industry’s dirty little secret is that they have intentionally hooked us on addictive, hyper-processed, hyper-palatable, “food-like” substances that have hijacked our taste buds, hormones, our brain chemistry, and our metabolism. 

The scientific verdict is in: sugar and flour and processed foods are highly biologically addictive. In fact, sugar has proven to be eight times as addictive as cocaine. Think cocaine cookies, morphine muffins, or heroin lollypops.

The 10-Day Detox Diet is a goof-proof, step-by-step, science-based program that resets your hormones and brain chemistry and quickly lets you take ownership back over your body. The truth is, our biology has been held hostage by food terrorism, and The 10-Day Detox Diet is a Navy SEAL raid taking it back. And it doesn’t take long. 

If you are thinking you can’t give up sugar or bread for 10 days, then, for sure, you are an addict. If you start wondering about artificial sweeteners or alternatives to sugars, it is a profound clue that you don’t own your body anymore—the food industry does.

Here’s one participant’s story. It can be yours, too. And it is just 10 days away.

“I was a sugar and carbohydrate addict. I couldn’t go a day without something sugary. I was like a vampire…I had to have it! I sensed, though, that if could go a few days without it, I could get past it.

I started the 10-Day Detox and was surprised that I didn’t crave sugar. But the way the food plan was designed, I didn’t feel hungry or anxious in any way. I was calm, the food was good, and I didn’t miss the bad stuff I was used to eating. 

Every day I was on the program, I felt more in control…that the food wasn’t in control. Before, I used to think, ‘I know eating this food is bad for me, I know I shouldn’t have it, and yet, I can’t NOT have it.’ I couldn’t stop. I didn’t understand that the food literally had physical control over me and that my willpower—even though I had it—wasn’t enough. I didn’t realize that I was so entrenched in the addiction of the processed foods. They’re right with that commercial, you can’t have just one! You’re sitting there eating it, knowing you shouldn’t, yet you cannot stop. I noticed right away that I felt like I was in control over the food, and that was a huge shift.”    —Jackie Woods

A Simple Plan for 10 Days

The program is simple—the daily schedule and theme, the meals and menu plan, set you up for automatic success. You learn what to let go of and what to add into your life. The food, lifestyle practices, journaling, tracking, community support are all scientifically designed to give you a jump start to health and weight loss, to end cravings for sugar and carbs, reverse diabesity, and put an end to FLC Syndrome for good.

You will also learn how to design your life and health for long-term success. And the food rocks—one person called it “Detox for Foodies.” It is not about bland, boring diet food but about abundance, pleasure, and deliciousness. Get your copy HERE!

Wishing you health and happiness,

Mark Hyman, MD

Breaking Bad Habits

sleeping pigeon modified


Do you sometimes skip your morning workout or lower back stretches, telling yourself that you'll take a walk or get some stretches in later, but it doesn’t happen? The next day when your workout is twice as difficult, or you're stiffer than usual, you kick yourself in the butt for skipping the day before?

Throughout recent history, we have been programmed into thinking the energizer bunny is someone we should emulate and that taking care of our body and mind through meditation, time in nature, etc. are "niceties" instead of "necessities." We have been taking care of everything and everyone else for so long that we even sometimes forget who we are. In the US, especially, we see ourselves as our job. We often judge people based upon what they do for a living. When was the last time someone introduced themselves to you at a party or event and then followed up with "do you enjoy swimming or boating?" instead of "and what do you do for a living?"

OK, let’s take a look at a fabulous exercise for programming our subconscious mind with some new paradigms to help us let go of the old habits and patterns that are holding us back.

Evening Review Exercise from Jack Canfield's Breakthrough to Success

At the end of your day, sit comfortably with pen and paper and take a deep breath in and out. Next, close your eyes and ask yourself the following question(s):

Where could I have been more (loving, assertive, productive, kind to myself - fill in the correct phrase for you) today?

As things come up, jot them down and try not to make any judgments or be self-critical. When you feel you have noted all of them, take each incident, one at a time, and rewrite it in your mind the way you would have preferred to have done it. Make sure that you imagine everything: smells, colors, how much you sweat on that workout, any emotions that came up, etc. This simple technique creates a subconscious image that will help produce your desired behavior the next time a similar situation occurs. I find this exercise very powerful, but some have trouble with the rewriting. The good thing is that there are lots of tools so if this one doesn't work for you - try another!

Best of Health,


Back Pain Relief Videos

Here are a couple of videos for your exercise collection.

The first is the relaxation technique from my Amazon international bestselling book STOP Back Pain. I highly recommend taking five minutes every day for this one - It's easy and your back will thank you!

The second is a great stretch for when you have to sit all day. it's simple and helps keep that pesky piriformis muscle from causing you a pain in the butt!

Best of Health,


Walking is Good For You – But Make Sure You Prepare.

Walking is great exercise, especially for those who want to improve their fitness levels, but have back pain. It could, however, leave you feeling tired and even a little stiff if you aren't using correct posture and movements. And if you have a little sciatic nerve pain you don't want to aggravate that pesky piriformis muscle!

So first, make sure you start walking slowly to warm up your muscles. Then complete a few simple stretches:

  • Use a tree or pole to help keep your balance if you need to. Grab your left foot with your left hand and stretch the front of your thigh (quads) for about 30 seconds on each side.
  • Next, place your foot on a bench or rock, gently lean forward and stretch the back of each leg (hamstrings) for 30 seconds.      

Now you are ready for your walk!

Start out slow and gradually pick up the pace. Make sure that your shoulders are squared, head up, and you are starting each step from your hip. It takes a little concentration, but once you get a rhythm going it is easier to keep going longer and longer with proper movements. You'll be surprised how much easier your walk feels when you use good body mechanics.      

Slow down again for a minute or two before stopping your walk, and repeat your stretches to keep your muscles from tightening up on you.

Here is a video of the perfect after walk stretch. Enjoy!

Best of Health,


Shoveling Got Your Back Screaming At You?

If you live in New England and were out there shoveling this week, did you make sure to take care of your back? I did and I'm glad because I'm not walking around crooked today like the two guys I saw at the post office this morning!

It's so important to take care of yourself, yet when a big storm hits, many of us forget things like making sure to switch the direction of your throw every few minutes, taking plenty of breaks and drinking plenty of water. I also don't lift anything that doesn't need to be lifted. I have one of those curved shovels so if it's light snow, like we getting today, you can push it along instead of picking it up. Even when it's as deep as your knees, you can push a layer out of the way and then another, etc. It may take a few extra minutes, but when you're snowed in, you have all day to shovel anyway. Think of how much happier your back will be!

Today's post contains links to a couple of videos that will help those of you who did too much shoveling and didn't take enough breaks!

The first is the relaxation technique from my Amazon international bestselling book STOP Back Pain. I highly recommend taking five minutes every day for this one - It's easy and your back will thank you!

The second video is an exercise that I recommend to help stretch all the muscles surrounding your hip and lower back; to take some of the pressure off your sciatic nerve. Try it - you'll like it.

Best of Health,


Do you know what’s causing your back pain?

I know that both Oprah and my sister will be very unhappy with this recommendation, but high heels are not good for our backs, so you should avoid wearing them. There, I said it. Lightning did not strike me down, nor did the roof cave in!  

high heels These may be pretty, but your back will say - OUCH!

For proper posture and alignment, wear heels no higher than one inch. I’m happy with this recommendation because I’ve always been very uncomfortable in three or four inch heels. I know many women who feel naked without their high heels; the problem is that high heels not only throw off your posture and alignment, but they can cause foot injuries as well, which then aggravates back pain. Even the Mayo clinic recommends against high heels. Today, all the doctors I know recommend pumps or a similar shoe with a small heel to avoid these problems.

low heel shoe

Here's a lovely pair with a lower heel...

Now, if you have a special occasion coming up – holiday party or family dinner out, and you feel heels are necessary, wear them and try not to walk very far in them. It’s good not to feel deprived. Just don’t wear high heels to work every day!

Best of Health,


Releive Your Back Pain When Sitting in Long Meetings

Are you having sciatic nerve pain in your lower back that sometimes radiates down your leg and you find it impossible to sit down comfortably? Relief is on the way!

The sciatic nerve is actually three nerve endings that exit the base of your spinal column, travel across your buttocks, then down the backs of your legs, which means there are several thick muscles surrounding it. When these muscles tighten up too much or too fast, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, you’ll be in pain. The hamstrings and the piriformis muscles are the biggest culprits, but don’t worry, there’s an easy fix. It’s called Sitting Pigeon.

Ned sitting pigeon for book


Sitting Pigeon is a modified Sleeping Pigeon that can be done while sitting in a chair or any time that you can’t or don’t want to get down on the floor. It can be done easily while sitting in a meeting or working at your desk.



  • First, sit tall in your chair with both feet flat on the floor and relax your shoulders. You may need to sit forward a little in the chair to have your feet flat.
  • Then rest your right ankle over your left thigh. Make sure you don’t have the ankle resting on your knee.
  • Now, take hold of the seat of your chair with both hands and lean forward with a flat back. You’ll feel the stretch in your right hip, thigh and buttocks.
  • Breathe deeply for one to two minutes, then switch legs. 

This is especially recommended for times when you have to sit in long meetings. It will help keep those muscles stretched so that they don’t tense up on you. Repeat every hour.

Make sure to breathe deeply as well. This helps to send fresh oxygenated blood throughout your body – a welcome treat when you’re sitting for a long while.

Best of Health


A Diet For Strong Bones

Our bones are strong and healthy through childhood and as young adults, but as we hit middle age, they slowly begin to thin out. For us women, menopause usually accelerates this process. There are ways to put on the brakes, however, and one of the best lines of defense is your diet -- eating the right foods can give you maximum bone mass and boost your bone density at any age.

Everyone knows that calcium is essential for bone health, but do you know what foods are good sources of calcium – other than milk? You might be surprised to learn that calcium is plentiful in many vegetables. Go for greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and kale. The traditional soul food favorites, collard and turnip greens, offer a lot of calcium, too. One cup of chopped, cooked turnip greens has about 200 milligrams of calcium. Milk and dairy products are not the only ways to get your calcium. Another excellent source is sardines. All those little fish bones have just what you need to build bone mass. Eating 3 ounces of canned sardines delivers more calcium than a cup of milk. My favorite fish, salmon, is another great source of bone-boosting nutrients. Salmon and other fatty fish contain calcium as well as vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption. And fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis. If sardines and collard greens don’t float your boat, try adding fortified foods to your diet. These are products that do not naturally contain calcium but have been enhanced with this essential mineral. For instance, fortified orange juice has up to 240 milligrams of calcium, and fortified cereals deliver up to 1,000 milligrams per cup. You can use fortified soy mile with fruit and nuts at breakfast. Check the nutritional labels of everything you purchase, and enjoy healthy bones throughout your life!

 Best of Health,