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Showing posts from September, 2013

Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up

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Studies show that some yoga poses reduce fatigue and adjust the hormone cortisol—too little of which can zap your energy. "This sequence engages your core and energizes your system from the inside out," says Women's Health yoga expert Tara Stiles. The poses also require balance, which sharpens your focus, as well as lots of deep breaths, which increase your oxygen intake to help you feel more alert.

Do each of these moves in order, holding the poses for 10 deep breaths. Repeat the sequence on the other side, and continue alternating until you've done the routine three times on each side. MOVE 1
Modified Down-Dog Split Start in a pushup position, lift your hips, and move into downwardfacing dog. Take five breaths. Raise your right heel toward the ceiling as high as you can, then slowly lower your left forearm to the floor. Keep both palms flat on the floor.  MOVE 2
Warrior 3 Straighten your left arm and put your right foot between your hands. Shift your weight onto your righ…

Have You Tried AcroYoga?

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Tired of your same-old Vinyasa? It might be time to mix up your yoga routine. A new kind of partner-based practice called AcroYoga is trending right now. The restorative yoga practice combines yoga and acrobatics, using gravity and your own body weight to enhance stretching and strengthening poses. Most sequences include “therapeutic flying,” in which you play one of two roles: the base, who lies on the mat and supports a partner in the air, or the flyer, who balances on the base’s legs. The practice can also include Thai massage, which involves assisted stretches, and some kneading.AcroYoga can strengthen the base’s legs and release tension in the flyer’s body, particularly in the back. Certain poses can also build muscle, says Jason Nemer, cofounder of AcroYoga. But the practice doesn’t just benefit your body. Working with a partner to lift one of you into the air helps you learn a lot about your fears and limitations—and how to move past them, says Nemer. What’s more, AcroYoga is mo…

The Best Way to Reduce Post-Workout Soreness

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When you add an extra mile onto your run or decide to lift the heavier weights, you expect to feel the burn the next day—but your post-workout recovery doesn’t have to be so painful: Drinking watermelon juice can help minimize soreness after a workout, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. For the study, researchers recruited seven men and had them complete a cycling routine on three different days. On two of the days, they were instructed to drink watermelon juice an hour before working out. On the third day, they had a pink-colored placebo drink prior to hitting the gym.Twenty-four hours after the exercises, many of the participants reported having sore muscles—but they said they felt significantly less achy on the days after they had consumed the watermelon juice.How does watermelon juice reduce soreness? It contains an amino acid called L-citrulline, which boosts blood flow—so drinking it may help your muscles get more oxygen, which m…

The Real Reason You Can’t Shed Pounds

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Hitting the gym five days a week, watching your diet, and still not seeing the results you want? New research might explain why: A certain gene can mess with your hunger levels, causing you to pack on pounds, according theJournal of Clinical Investigation. Previous research has linked something called the FTO gene to obesity, but researchers didn’t know how exactly the gene caused people to gain weight. So for this study, researchers tested 359 people for the FTO gene and then measured their levels of ghrelin—an appetite-stimulating hormone—both before and after a test meal.Pre-meal, everyone’s ghrelin levels were about the same. But after the meal, the people without the FTO gene saw a much bigger dip in their ghrelin levels. What’s more, ghrelin levels rose back to their pre-meal level much more quickly for people who had the FTO gene.When your body functions normally, it stops making ghrelin after you eat because there’s no longer any reason for you to feel hungry. But this research…

The Easiest Way to Slash Your Fat Intake

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There’s a reason fried food tastes amazing: It’s chock-full of fat. But new research suggests there’s a way to boost flavor without fat—and save a whole lot of calories in the process.Low-fat meals flavored with spices taste just as good as their full-fat counterparts, according to a study presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo earlier this month. For the study, researchers from the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center served 150 people three different versions of the same meatloaf meal. The first time, it was full-fat, the second it was reduced-fat, and the third it was reduced-fat but seasoned with onion powder, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder. Although the third meal contained about 35 percent fewer calories than the first, the participants said they liked it just as much as the full-fat version.While we’ve evolved to prefer the taste of high-fat foods (in prehistoric times when food was scarce, we needed all th…

Action Hero Hot-Body Yoga

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Build a slim, trim body like screen siren Kate Beckinsale with these muscle-sculpting mat moves. Strange as it sounds, Kate Beckinsale prepares for the physically demanding job of playing futuristic fighters and werewolf hunters with a yoga-based routine.She also practices qigong, a discipline involving controlled breathing and fluid movements that's similar to tai chi. In addition to making her physically strong, yoga and qigong help Kate relax.Want an action-star body like Kate's? Her instructor, Mandy Ingber, let us in on her body-sculpting moves. Do two or three sets of each four or five days a week. MOVE 1Down-Dog Split with Knee Drives Begin in downward facing dog, then raise your left leg to move into down-dog split (a). Bend your left knee and pull it toward your forehead (b). Straighten the leg back, then bring the knee outside your left elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your right elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat. MOVE 2Lunge S…

How to Burn More Calories While You Sleep

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If only you could work off the calories from that froyo you had earlier while passed out on the couch. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it may not be that far off: Turning down the thermostat while you sleep could help rev up your metabolism, according to a new study conducted by the National Institute of Health Clinical Center. For the study, 31 healthy people slept in either a 75-degree room or a 66-degree room. Researchers found that the colder sleepers burned more than 7 percent more calories than the warm sleepers—likely because their bodies were working to raise their core body temperature to a stable 98.6 degrees, says study author Francesco Saverio Celi, MD, MHSc, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.If you lowered the thermostat to 66 degrees at bedtime, you could burn an extra 100 calories over the course of 24 sleeping hours, according to study results. That might not sound like much, but it adds up—in theory at least.See, researcher…