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October Fitness Tips

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011.  Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. 
(SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011. Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. (SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

What is the Piriformis muscle?
The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located deep in the buttocks (behind the gluteus maximus). The piriformis muscle starts at the lower spine and connects to the upper surface of each femur (thighbone). It functions to assist in rotating the hip and turning the leg and foot outward.

What is the piriformis stretch?
Cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle rests on your right knee. Use your hands to grab hold of your left knee and pull it gently toward the opposite shoulder. You should feel the stretch in your buttocks and hips. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax, and then repeat with the other leg.

Benefits of Vitamin C
There are health benefits you could be missing out on by not getting adequate amounts of vitamin C. Here are four areas of health where the vitamin plays a vital role you may not be aware of:

1. Heart Health: Because of vitamin C’s ability to combat oxidative stress, it can have significant benefits for heart health, particularly in maintaining the integrity of the cells that line blood vessels. Cardiovascular problems can develop when these cells become damaged. For example, when the cells dysfunction, blood vessels can become very stiff, weakening their ability to keep blood pressure under control and deliver blood to various parts of the body.

2. Skincare: Oxidative stress from environmental (UV exposure, pollution, toxins) and internal (stress, poor diet, genetics) sources can cause damage to your skin and accelerate skin aging. Because of vitamin C’s antioxidant properties and its ability to stimulate collagen synthesis, it can greatly contribute to the health of your skin. In fact, the skin layers contain high levels of the vitamin, although it tends to decrease with age and exposure to oxidative stress.

3. Respiratory Protection: Vitamin C is present in high concentrations in the respiratory tract. One study found that the amount of vitamin C in the fluid lining the respiratory tract doubled just two hours after supplementation (5). With its high concentration in the respiratory system, vitamin C is your body’s first defense against the harmful chemicals that enter the body through the airway. These toxins can act as free radicals and attack your cells. As an antioxidant, vitamin C reacts with the chemicals and neutralizes them before they can harm cells.

4. Exercise Recovery: Physical activity can be very stressful on the body both metabolically and mechanically. During strenuous activity, the body demands energy to perform, ultimately leading to increased oxidative stress and tissue breakdown. If the body is not supplied with proper nutrients to recover, muscle soreness, fatigue, and decreased physical performance can result.

With the growing body of research illustrating the many roles vitamin C plays in our health, it’s important to make sure that we are supplying the body with adequate amounts. Remember, our bodies can’t make the powerhouse vitamin so be sure to get enough from diet and through supplementation.  

 

EXCELLENT sources of Vitamin C

1) Guava

1 fruit: 377 mg (over 628% DV)

2) Black Currant

1 cup: 203 mg (over 338% DV)

3) Red pepper

1 cup raw: 190 mg (over 317% DV)

4) Kiwi

1 piece: 164 mg (273% DV)

5) Green peppers

1 cup chopped, raw: 120 mg (200% DV)

6) Orange

1 large: 82 mg (over 163% DV)

7) Strawberries

1 cup: 89.4 mg (149% DV)

8) Papaya

1 cup, in pieces: 86.5 mg (over 144% DV)

9) Broccoli

1 cup raw: 81.2 mg (135% DV)

10) Kale

1 cup raw: 80 mg (134% DV)

11) Parsley

1 cup, fresh: 79.8 mg (over 133%)

12) Pineapple

1 cup, fresh: 78.9 mg (over 131%)

13) Brussels sprouts

1 cup raw: 74.8 mg (125% DV)

14) Grapefruit

1 cup: 71.8 mg (120% DV)

15) Peas

1 cup raw: 58 mg (97% DV)

16) Cauliflower

1 cup raw, chopped: 46.4 mg (over 77% DV)

17) Mango

1 cup: 45.7 mg (76% DV)