Showing posts from May, 2013

Sneaky Sources of Sugar

In scary news, a recent report from the CDC found that women consume an average of 13.2 percent of their total daily calories from added sugars. Just how bad is that really? Well, the American Heart Association recommends that women limit their sugar intake to no more than 100 calories per day, or less than six percent of your total calories. That’s just 25 grams of sugar. So yeah, you should probably cut back on all those sweets. This study specifically looked at added sugar, which includes any sugar used as an ingredient in processed foods (like white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, etc). Unfortunately, nutrition labels don’t distinguish between this and the naturally occurring stuff—like that in fruit or lactose (found in milk). That said, it’s safe to assume that a soda or muffin that doesn’t contain any fruit or lactose gets all of it’s sweetness from added sugar, says Shanthy Bowman, PhD, nutritionist at the USDA Food Services Research Group.To play…

Do You Work Out Enough?

Sure, you belong to a gym. But do you use it enough? If you’re like most women, the answer is no: Fewer than 20 percent of American women meet the government’s exercise recommendations, according to data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey that was just released by the Centers For Disease Control. Surveyors asked 453,721 participants from a nationally-representative sample about the frequency, intensity, and duration of the aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities they’d spent the most time doing in the past week or month. The results: A measly 17.9 percent of women met the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s physical activity guidelines, which call for two strength-training sessions per week, plus 75 to 150 minutes of high- to moderate-intensity aerobic activity. The men did better—but not by much: About 23 percent of them moved enough.The thing is, it’s not tough to meet the government’s exercise guidelines—especially because you can (and shou…

4 Yoga Moves for a Better Butt

There are some seriously cute yoga pants out there that can take you from mat to cocktails, but here’s the catch: They’re all pretty tight. The good news is that you don’t need to hit up Google for the best butt workout ever to keep your buns looking great. Instead, use these four moves, all earmarked fromThe Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga. You can do the poses on their own or as a sequence. If you have extra time, throw in a few Sun Salutations to warm up and do some hip stretches afterward to keep muscles loose.Chair pose Begin standing with your feet together. Bend your knees and drop your hips, brining your weight into your heels. Drop your tailbone, firm your front ribs in and lift your arms up shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders relaxed in their sockets, and rotate the outer edges of your arms inward to broaden your upper back. Gaze upwards. Hold for eight breaths. Warrior III Standing on one straight leg, lean forward with your chest until it is in line with your lifted bac…

How to Work Out When You Totally Don’t Want To

As awesome as a great workout can feel, it’s hard to magic up the motivation to make it happen some days. But new research suggests you should power through, even if you’re not 100 percent feeling it. Even “forced” exercise can help protect against anxiety and stress, according to a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder. So essentially, dragging yourself to the gym is just as beneficial to your Zen levels as going voluntarily. “Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and push yourself to work out, even if you’re feeling less than inspired,” says Wendy Larkin, master trainer at Crunch San Francisco. “I have to force myself to go on a run every Sunday, but after I do, I feel better, my mood is better and I sleep better.”Need a little help getting off the couch? These tactics can keep you strong the next time you get the urge to bail.Schedule sessions with a trainer If this seems like a duh, that’s because it is. Think about it: You commit a) weeks in advance to b) actual ap…

Rev Your Metabolism in Eight Minutes

This superfast strength-training plan created by trainer Craig Ballantyne, author of Turbulence Training, enhances endurance, builds muscle, and blasts fat.Do it: Starting with the first exercise, repeat the intervals for four minutes, then immediately repeat the pattern with the second move.Move 1: Full-Extension SquatSquat with your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes turned out slightly, and your arms down (a). In one move, straighten your legs and lift onto the balls of your feet, swinging your arms up to shoulder height (b). Lower your heels, hips, and arms to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s one set. Do eight sets.Move 2: Switch LungeStep your right leg forward into a lunge, bending your right knee over your right ankle and your left knee toward the floor (a). Step your right leg back to center, keeping your foot lifted. Immediately step your right foot back into a lunge, bending your right knee toward the f…

The Five-Minute Flat-Abs Workout

Not only do traditional crunches target just one of your main core muscles, but after a few minutes of the repetitive motion, that muscle fatigues and other areas (like your hip flexors and neck) take over to compensate. “The exercises below are better–they activate your abdominal wall from all angles, targeting your entire core in fewer moves,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery.Do it: Starting with the first exercise, complete the given number of reps, then immediately continue to the next move. Repeat until you’ve finished the entire workout.Move 1: Stability-Ball RolloutKneel in front of a stability ball with your knees hip-width apart and your forearms on the ball (a). With a flat back, brace your core and slowly roll the ball forward as far as you can without dropping your hips (b). Pause, then bend your elbows to roll the ball back to start. That’s one rep. Do 10.Move 2: Stability-Ball PikeStart with your shins on top o…

The Best Yoga Style for You

Yoga is kind of like sex. (And not just because of the interesting positions.)

For a practice rooted in simplicity, it has become a tad bit complicated...and intimidating. There are a jillion types of yoga, ranging from specific (like Bikram and Jivamukti) to general (like flow and restorative). "With the increasing number of choices in the yoga world, new students could definitely be overwhelmed," admits Desiree Rumbaugh, a yoga instructor in California.

But also like sex, the endless options mean you never have to settle for a lackluster session or the same variety every week. After all, sometimes you want it fast, other times slow, sometimes you want a lot of talking, sometimes you want silence. Here, we help you find the right practice for your mood so you walk away satisfied.

Fast Flows
In the yoga world, classes abound for women (and men) looking to move quickly, slim down, and maybe fast-forward through most of the chants and meditations. Classes in this group—which t…

5 Ways to Ease Sore Muscles

The day after a brutal workout, exercising more might be the last thing you want to do—but here’s why you should: Light activity can help ease soreness just as well as a massage, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

For the study, Danish researchers asked 20 women to perform shoulder exercises. Two days later, the women received a 10-minute massage on one shoulder and performed 10 minutes of exercise (a lighter intensity version of the original moves) on the other. Turns out, participants felt equal amounts of relief in both shoulders.

While the study didn’t explore why exactly exercise can help ease muscle soreness, researchers believe that, since it increases circulation to muscles, physical activity may help speed up the body’s drainage of the metabolic waste and chemicals linked with muscle aches, says lead study author Lars Andersen, PhD, a professor at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.