Simple Self Massage That Helps Release Tight Lower Body Muscles

Simple Self Massage That Helps Release Tight Lower Body Muscles

When it comes to being physically fit, massage may not be the first thing on your list of to do’s. Oftentimes, when one hears the word massage, a luxurious experience in a fancy spa comes to mind. You probably know it’s good for relieving stress levels but may be wondering how it contributes to helping you fit into your jeans.

There are three main components to physical fitness. They are strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. All three are equally important and work together to help your body move more efficiently, prevent injury, and burn calories optimally. Tight muscles can pull on joints which can lead to pain and/or injury. Once a body is suffering from pain or an injury, it can be difficult to follow through with an exercise routine, normal lifestyle activities, and in some cases even work responsibilities.

Over the years, the fitness industry has come to realize that one of the best ways to maintain flexibility and release tight muscles is to learn the practice of self-massage using tools like foam rollers and tennis balls. Massage, also know as release work or trigger point therapy, has proven to be more effective than stretching when it comes to releasing tight muscles and improving the body’s range of motion for the long term.


Since massage is really more of a necessity  than a luxury, I recommend learning self-massage. When you know how to release tight muscles on your own, it allows you to have unlimited access to massage without taxing your schedule or budget. Even a few minutes a day can make a BIG difference when it comes to improving range of motion and relieving stress (which also helps with weight loss).

In today’s video, I demonstrate how to use a foam roller to massage and release some of the most common areas that can get tight in the lower body.  I also demonstrate some stretches for hamstrings and hip flexors at the end so make sure to watch the whole video.  I’ve also included some links below to help you purchase a roller of your own if you don’t already own one and a book that I recommend to all of my private coaching clients. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is inexpensive and walks you through step-by-step self-massage in a way that’s easy to understand. Foam rollers are a low cost investment that are worth every penny.

Enjoy the video and here’s to being fit and feeling good!

Shared with Love,

Click here to see FOAM ROLLERS

Seven Simple Ways To Boost Your Immune System

Seven Simple Ways To Boost Your Immune System - shutterstock_220442575

Nobody likes being sick.  Besides feeling crummy,  being under the weather can interrupt every aspect of your life.

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to boost your immune system.

The words immune boosting have been used so often for mass marketing that it’s hard to know what really works.  While it’s impossible to guarantee that you’ll never catch a cold or the flu, there are some simple steps you can take to boost your immune system and dodge as many bugs that come your way as possible. The tips I’m sharing below are my own personal immune boosting secrets. My clients can vouch for me when I tell you it’s very rare for me to even catch a cold so they’re more than just a theory.  🙂


1) Vitamin D. Researchers believe that one of the reasons we catch colds during the winter months is a lack of Vitamin D. Make sure you are getting outside when the weather allows. Ask your doctor to check your Vitamin D levels. Your doctor may recommend that you take a Vitamin D supplement to help boost your immune system.

2) Eat immune boosting foods. Foods like broccoli, almonds, cabbage, beef, garlic, spinach, sweet potatoes, button mushrooms, chicken soup, shellfish, yoghurt, oats and barley, acai berry, elderberry, and grapefruit are all considered to be immune boosting foods.  Do your best to incorporate immune boosting foods into your daily diet. Look for recipes that include them and get creative with snack choices.

Variety is important when choosing foods for their nutritional value. Each food offers its own unique benefit.  Avoid buying into the marketing hype around one magic food that can do it all.  It simply doesn’t exist.

3) Get enough sleep. Per WebMD, the average adult needs 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds, flu, and other more serious illnesses.

4) Exercise. Moderate exercise is proven to boost the immune system.  However, high intensity exercise can temporarily lower your immune system.  Make sure you are allowing yourself forty eight hours of rest between high intensity routines and if your energy seems a bit low, it’s best to stick to moderate activity and get some rest.

Studies have also shown that thirty minutes of moderate exercise can help improve your sleep as well.  Bonus!

5) Hit the coffee shop. Coffee and tea are both rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown that they can fight off illnesses when consumed in moderation.  Too much caffeine can interrupt sleep and cause your body more harm than good. It seems that some people metabolize caffeine quicker than others. If you know it keeps you up at night, you may want to limit consumption to the morning hours.

6)  Laugh more.  Researchers have found that laughter is good medicine.  Studies show that it can actually decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells while activating others.  In a study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, healthy adults who watched a funny video for an hour showed significant increases in immune system activity.

Watch funny movies, take a moment to watch silly videos on social media, spend time with people that like to laugh with you, and do your best to see the comedy in life’s day to day activities.

7)  Look on the bright side.  Studies show that optimists who look to the brighter side of life have less stress which results in better health.   A classic UCLA study found that law students who began their first semester optimistic about the experience had more helper T cells mid semester, which can amplify the immune response, and more powerful natural killer cells, than students who had a more pessimistic perspective.

Start each day with an attitude of gratitude.  No matter what we are facing in life, we can all find at least one thing to be grateful for each day.  Even if it is simply waking up to a new day.

Boosting your immune system doesn’t have to be a chore.  Focus on the things you can incorporate into your day.  A little bit goes a long way!

Here’s to avoiding the cold and flu aisle this year!

With love,

Straight Talk About The Fitness Industry

iStock_Womanstanding on onefoot

I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 26 years.  Coaching people on how to stay fit and healthy is my passion and extremely rewarding.  I really love seeing people thrive in every area of their lives.  Can you tell that I love my job?  I hope so, because I do!

However, there is a very superficial and at times even judgmental side to the fitness industry that can frustrate me as a professional and often times cause more harm than good to the public.  Lofty unrealistic goals, low-calorie restrictive diets, before and after pictures, and peer pressure can result in physical and emotional injury.

The fitness industry has a tendency to base a healthy lifestyle on how your body looks on the outside. Oftentimes, they show you images of air-brushed professionals that workout for a living.  I’m not knocking their hard work and dedication, but how you look on the outside is only one piece of the puzzle.

When I was a size one and ripped, my body was completely broken down from over training and I went into a depressed state.  Fortunately, God used this time in my life to help me figure out what a healthy lifestyle was really all about, and I figured out it is VERY personal.  I’m now a size six and much healthier than I was back when I was a size one.  I’ve got more curves and I’ve learned to embrace them and enjoy my life to the fullest.

A happy and healthy lifestyle is SO much more than how you look on the outside. It’s a total package that includes things like having healthy relationships, working with purpose, exercising or participating in physical activity you enjoy, having enough energy, eating well and dining with the ones you love, having fun, loving yourself and the people around you, eliminating unnecessary stress and in some cases people in your life that may be causing it, getting good rest, drinking lots of water, getting good check ups at the doctor’s office, growing spiritually and emotionally, and having self-confidence in who you were designed to be.

Please understand there is plenty of good in the fitness world.  My hope for you is that you will pick and choose what’s right for you during each season of your life.  Just because your neighbor is getting strong and lean at the local bootcamp class doesn’t mean you are a slacker if you choose walking in the park with your dog to stay fit.  You could be raising four small children and she is an empty-nester that has a completely different schedule.

Avoid copying someone else’s life.  It’s like borrowing shoes that are too tight.  Figure out what works for you and stick to it.  Don’t allow the marketing of the fitness industry to steal your identity, push you into something you may not be ready for, or make you miserable.

I’m not saying you will love every minute of your exercise routine.  It’s okay to suck it up and do your abdominal exercises when you know spending those few minutes working hard will keep your back healthy.  That’s called pushing through your comfort zone to keep your body strong enough to do the things you are most interested in.

However, for the most part, a fit and healthy lifestyle needs to be sustainable and enjoyable.  Suffering is not natural.  You were designed to enjoy your life.  And that should include your exercise and meal plan!  When your fitness and health goals are obtainable and match the type of life you want to live, success will follow.

With love,
Jennifer Ledford

P.S.  Have a question or story you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below.  I love to hear from you!