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Apr 29, 2011 | By Kevin Rail

Photo Credit woman stretching image by Leticia Wilson from

Weightlifting, running and long periods of sitting can lead to shortened and tight muscles. This can in turn reduce flexibility and
increase the chances of suffering a muscle pull or tear. To keep your muscles lengthened and flexible, perform stretches that target
your whole body. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, properly performed stretching exercises can aid in
improving and maintaining range of motion in a joint or a series of joints. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and perform four to
five repetitions.

The chest muscles are known as the pectorals. Any time your upper arms moves across the front of your body, your pecs contract. To stretch
these muscles, the exact opposite motion needs to be performed. From a seated position on the end of a weight bench, sit up straight, clasp your
hands behind your lower back and push your shoulder blades together. This same stretch can be done from a standing position.

Another way to stretch your chest is inside an open doorway. Bend your right elbow 90 degrees, place your forearm against the door jamb and
apply forward pressure with your right shoulder. Hold and repeat with your other side. When doing this stretch, make sure your upper arm
parallels the floor.
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The deltoids are the muscles on the outsides of the shoulders. To stretch these muscles, move your right arm across your chest, hook the elbow
of your left arm around the elbow of your right arm and pull in. Hold for your desired time frame and switch sides.
The latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius and erector spinae are back muscles that can be stretched with four different movements--flexion,
extension, rotation and lateral flexion. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides, bend forward, try to touch your toes
and hold. This is flexion. To do extension, stand in the same position as flexion, place your hands on your hips and slowly bend backwards
while keeping your lower body still. To do rotation, stand in the same starting position as extension and rotate your upper body as far to each
side as possible, holding each position for your desired length of time. To do lateral flexion, place your arms at your sides and bend laterally as
far as possible to each side. One final way to stretch your back muscles is to hang from a pull-up bar with your arms fully extended.
Tris and Bis
The triceps are the large muscles on the back of the upper arms and the biceps are the muscles on the front. To stretch the triceps, place your
right hand flat on your upper back as if you were patting yourself, grab your elbow with your left hand and pull your arm toward your left side.
After holding for your desired time frame, release the pressure and repeat with the other side.

To stretch the biceps, stand with your back to a wall, reach back and place your hands shoulder-width apart on it and turn your fingers in at an
angle and hold. When doing this, bend forward slightly at the hips and keep your arms straight.
Quadricep Stretch
The quadriceps are the muscles on the front of the thighs and you can stretch them with a standing stretch. Lift your right foot off the floor and
bend your knee so your lower leg is behind your body. Carefully grasp your right ankle with your right hand and pull straight up until your heel
is by your butt. Hold for your desired time frame and switch sides.
Lunge Stretch
The high lunge is a yoga pose that stretches the groins, calves and hamstrings in one fell swoop. Step your right foot forward, lower your chest
down on your thigh and place your hands on the floor, outside of your right foot. Keeping a straight line from your shoulders to your left heel,
lean forward slightly and feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Hold for your desired time frame and switch sides. When doing this stretch,
make sure your front knee does not go past your toes.
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Few things will

influence how good or bad you feel as much as your diet. That’s why we think it’s so powerful that so many of you (4.5 million
people and counting) have taken your destiny into your own hands by signing up for our LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Calorie
Counter. The tool keeps a record what you eat throughout the day, giving you a powerful advantage over the dietary guesswork
most people do. We recently took a look at all of the foods MyPlate users tracked. Here are the 20 that they reported eating the
most frequently
20. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been correlated with reduced incidence of cancer and heart disease.
Maybe that’s why LIVESTRONG.COM reported eating tomatoes on more than 84,000 occasions in a single month.

19. Spinach
Who says spinach is boring? In one month alone, LIVESTRONG.COM members ate spinach in 14,921 different recipes. Data
shows that spinach, which is loaded with vitamin A and fiber, was most likely to be eaten at dinner by females between the ages of
25 and 34.

18. Oranges
Maybe it’s their bright color. Or maybe it’s all of that vitamin C. Or maybe it’s because oranges are just so portable. Whatever the
reason, people love ‘em. In a single month, MyPlate users consumed nearly 8 million calories worth of oranges – and keep in mind
that there’s only 85 calories in a single piece of the fruit.

17. Bacon
Either women love bacon more than men, or guys just won’t own up to eating this indulgent meat. More women than men report
eating bacon on a month-to-month basis. Not surprisingly, most of the time that bacon gets eaten at breakfast. It’s most common
accompaniment? Hash browns.
16. Strawberries
LIVESTRONG.COM members ate strawberries on nearly 75,000 occasions in a month. The top 5 items eaten at the same time:
blackberries, blueberries, mango, raspberries and plain Greek yogurt. The group consuming strawberries the most are men and
women between the ages of 25 and 34 who are of normal weight. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and are only 45 calories
per 8 berries.

15. Honey
People like to start their morning off with something sweet. At least that’s what our data shows. Of the tens of thousands of times
people reported consuming honey on LIVESTRONG.COM, nearly half of those incidences came at breakfast. And 20 percent of all
of that honey was consumed with tea. Good thing honey is a great immunity system booster, weighing in at only 64 calories per

14. Romaine Lettuce

Caesar salad is a lunchtime favorite with our audience. Caesar dressing is the most commonly tracked food paired with romaine
lettuce, and 49 percent of the time when romaine is eaten, it happens at lunch. Romaine lettuce is 8 calories per cup and is loaded
with vitamin A.
13. Almonds
While spinach (#19) is notable for how many different ways people use it, almonds are remarkably popular given how few recipes
include them. To date, members have recorded only 185 different ways to eat almonds, despite eating more than 14 million
calories worth of the nut per month. But why over complicate a great protein source that’s so delicious on its lonesome? The age
group tracking the most almonds per month are persons from 45 to 54 years old, who are most likely to pair them with walnut
halves or dried cranberries – if they pair them with anything at all.
12. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and jelly are like an old married couple. They’re together so much, it’s hard not to think of them as the same item.
LIVESTRONG.COM members’ menus are no exception. Eighteen of the top 25 foods eaten with peanut butter are different types
of jelly. The other seven? They’re all breads.

11. Olive Oil

How many ways can you use olive oil? 83,453 and counting, according to our database. Most of those recipes are salad dressings,
which often involve balsamic vinegar. But you also see olive oil popping up with pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, and quinoa
10. Quaker Oatmeal
In a single month, Quaker oats were tracked more than 93,771 times. Want to guess what the number one item tracked with
Quaker oats is? If you said brown sugar, you win. There are approximately 100 calories per packet Quaker oats, but be aware that
some flavors have extra sugar added. A better approach: Choose the plain variety and sweeten things up with berries.

9. Blueberries
Full of anti-oxidants and delicious in just about everything, no wonder LIVESTRONG.COM members ate more than 6.5 million
calories worth of blueberries in a month. More than half of the time, they’re eating blueberries at breakfast (53 percent of all
recorded incidents), often pairing them with raspberries or ground flax seeds.
8. Baby Carrots

A healthy addition to most every meal and chock full of beta carotene, baby carrots are a favorite of more than 14,600
LIVESTRONG.COM members. Most often, people have those carrots with their lunch or as a snack. Loaded with vitamin A, baby
carrots are only 35 calories per 4 ounce serving.
7. Butter
Butter is about equally as likely to show up at breakfast as it is at dinner, so the chances that a LIVESTRONG.COM user would
have their pat with a pancake or a steak are about even. We know our members strive to eat healthy meals, but with butter
weighing in at 36 calories per serving, it’s okay to loosen up every once in a while.

6. Apples
Certainly not the forbidden fruit for LIVESTRONG.COM members, apples are tracked more than 190,000 times per month. Of all
the different varieties, Fuji apples are the most popular. And very often (48 percent of the time), the person eating one of those
apples has peanut butter with it.
5. Chicken Breast
One of the healthiest protein sources around. LIVESTRONG.COM members eat chicken more than 100,000 times per month. The
meat seems to be a favorite of weight room goers – one in every 10 people who ate chicken also reported pumping iron.

4. Coffee
Q: Who needs a pick-me-up? A: Everyone, apparently. LIVESTRONG.COM members report drinking a cup of coffee on nearly
300,000 occasions in a single month, with 70 percent of those drinks coming at breakfast. Popular accoutrements include half and
half, Sweet ‘n Low, and Splenda.
3. Banana
During a month-long span, LIVESTRONG.COM users ate 138,347 bananas – that’s enough to give one to every person in
Pasadena, California (population 137,122), and still have leftovers. Popular banana combos include smoothies, on oatmeal, or with
peanut butter. Bananas also make a great pre- or post-workout snack.

2. Milk
Feeling thirsty? LIVESTRONG.COM trackers sure are. They recorded drinking 363,914 cups of milk in one month – that’s enough
milk to fill 45 hot tubs. More than 56 percent of that milk was consumed at breakfast, often with cereals like Raisin Bran Crunch,
Honey Nut Cheerios, and Frosted Flakes
1. Eggs
With more than 103,000 different recipes in our calorie tracker, eggs may be the most versatile food ever. The food is a breakfast
stalwart: Nearly 60 percent of people who do eat eggs choose to start their day with them. And they report eating the eggs sunny-
side up, scrambled, or straight out of a glass (Rocky Balboa would be proud).


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