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August Fitness Tips

  • Published
  • By Michelle Walker
  • 169th Force Support Squadron

Mediterranean Herb Quinoa Salad Recipe

The high nutrient content and anti-inflammatory properties of each ingredient will help boost your immune system and decrease inflammation in your body.

I usually make a large batch and eat from it for a few days for lunch. Refrigerate it in the original mixing bowl (covered), or portion it out into individual glass containers for a grab-and-go lunch or dinner. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Prep time: about 15 minutes, serves 4-6


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well

2 cloves garlic, crushed, grated, or pressed

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup cucumber, chopped into small cubes

1/2 cup radish, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped parsley

1 handful arugula, finely chopped

2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, finely chopped

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

1/4 cup organic crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~1-2 lemons)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch of sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce to medium heat. Let simmer about 20 minutes until all of water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature. You can put it in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly. (You can prepare the quinoa up to 4 days early and keep it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator.)

While the quinoa cooks:
- First, mix the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and let sit while you chop the veggies to allow the garlic to infuse the dressing.
- Second, chop/prepare and reserve the rest of the ingredients to be mixed into the salad.

Add all ingredients and dressing to the bowl of quinoa and toss until well combined.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop together.

Super yummy, easy to make and very good for you!


5 Strengthening Exercises for your Lower Back

Try these simple, no equipment exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Gaining strength can lead to less pain and dysfunction.

1. Bridges

The gluteus maximus is the large muscle of the buttocks. It’s one of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s responsible for movement at the hip, including hip extension activities like squats.

Weakness in the gluteus muscles can contribute to back pain. This is because they’re important stabilizers of the hip joints and of the lower back during movements like walking and running.  

Equipment needed: none

Muscles worked: gluteus maximus

Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.

With your hands by your sides, press your feet into the floor as you slowly lift your buttocks off the ground until your body is in one straight line. Keep your shoulders on the floor.

Lower back down. Rest for 1 minute.

Repeat 15 times.

Perform 3 sets.


2. Drawing in maneuver

The transverse abdominis is the muscle that wraps around the midline. It helps support the spine and abdomen. It’s important for stabilizing the spinal joints and preventing injury during movement.

Equipment needed: none

Muscles worked: transverse abdominis

Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.

Relax your hands by your sides.

Take a deep breath in. Breathe out and pull your bellybutton into your spine, engaging your abdominal muscles without tilting your hips.

Hold the contact for 5 seconds.

Repeat 5 times.


3. Lying lateral leg raises

The hip abductor muscles help to raise the leg to the side, away from the body. They also help support the pelvis when standing on one leg. When these muscles are weak, it can affect balance and mobility. It can also cause low back pain due to instability.

Equipment needed: none

Muscles worked: gluteus medius

Lie on one side, keeping your lower leg slightly bent on the ground.

Engage your core by drawing your bellybutton into your spine.

Raise the top leg without moving the rest of your body.

Hold for 2 seconds at the top. Repeat 10 times.

Repeat on other side. Perform 3 sets on each side.


4. Partial curls

The abdominal muscles play a significant role in supporting the spine. Strong abdominal muscles can help maintain proper hip alignment. This can contribute to overall core strength and stability.

Equipment needed: none

Muscles worked: rectus abdominus, transverse abdominis

Lie on the ground with your feet flat on the floor, keeping your knees bent.

Cross your hands over your chest.

Take a deep breath. While you breathe out, brace your abdominals by pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine.

Slowly lift your shoulders off the ground a couple of inches. Try to keep your neck in line with your spine instead of rounding, to avoid pulling up with your neck.

Return to starting position.

Repeat 10 times. Perform 3 sets.