July 29, Wednesday, and today’s wisdom is that moving our bodies is good for our health and our ultimate thriving! For today’s tabata choose between a tabata of squats or a tabata of kettlebell Russian Swings. Both moves are incredible all over body toners and great functional movements. When we utilize basic functional movements that strengthen our core, everything becomes easier. For me, a strong core actually positively affects my mentally well-being, and increases my sense of inner strength. Try doing your tabata first thing in the morning: it will wake you up and prepare you for your day. A tabata is a 4 minute high intensity workout with 8 rounds where each round is 20 seconds of hard work and 10 seconds of rest (8 x 30 seconds= 4 minutes). You will complete as many squats or swings in the 20 second round as you can keeping proper form. To keep proper form for our squats, we want to focus on a neutral spine and braced core, pulling our belly button back towards the spine and imaging we were wearing a corset. Our flat backs are acting like a lever, and our hips are creating the power and momentum. Initiate the movement with your hips; trying to keep your chest open & shoulders back throughout move, and keeping your knees behind your toes during the whole movement by letting your bottom go back. When we initiate with our hips, then the hips take the maximum load of the movement which in turn protects our back and knees. Before you start the squats, imagine that you are screwing your feet into the ground without actually moving your feet, but feeling the torque of the slight twist out. You are rotating externally; the imaginary movement is like spreading the ground. This screwing your feet into the ground will stabilize your hips, knees and ankles. As you get to the bottom of the move make sure your knees are still behind your toes, and try to get your bottom as low as possible without turning your bottom under. Make sure to pinch your shoulders back and engage your gluts at the top of the move. It is better to do less squats but do them well. For the swings, use these same tips for stabilizing the joints by externally screwing your feet into the ground and keeping your back flat and spine neutral throughout the whole move. Let the hip snap power the move, and keep your arms loose. Imagine that your arms are like a rope and your hands a hook: let them guide the kettlebell but not lift it. The hips and core do all the work. Breath in as you swing back or lower down and breath out as you swing out or come up out of squat. If you want a real challenge do the tabata of squats first and then do the tabata of kettlebell swings. Remember that flexion and extension should occur only in the hips and shoulders and not the spine. Self care tip of the day, is to use a dry brush to brush your skin. Brush towards the heart and on your stomach follow the direction of the colon which is clockwise. Brush your skin vigorously right before your shower or putting on oil or lotion. I recommend coconut oil or other pleasant edible oil. The skin is highly absorbing and it is best to only put things on our skin that we would be happy to have inside our mouth.