All Entries For fitness magazine

Love Your Lower Body in 4 Moves


Get slim thighs, gorgeous glutes, and legs for days with these 4 simple lower-body exercises.

1. Ice Skater

Targets: Abs, lower back, hips, butt, and outer thighs

  • Stand with feet a little less than shoulder-width apart, arms extended, holding the back of a chair for support.
  • Keeping abs engaged, bend left knee slightly while extending right leg to right side, toes pointing toward floor and rotated outward.
  • Bring right leg behind left leg as far as possible without touching floor, bending left leg; contract inner thigh.
 Do 12 to 15 reps; repeat on opposite side.
Posted 12/8/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   9,194 views
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7 Shocking Facts About Sleep


Yes, we at FITNESS love a great early-morning workout. But we also know about the importance of a good night's sleep, and not just because sleep deprivation is tied to weight gain. Here, the most interesting health facts that warn against burning the candle at both ends. Pace yourself, people.
 
1. Flu-Z's

If you're sleep-deprived before getting your flu shot, it can take three to four weeks for the vaccine to kick in. Those who don't get appropriate rest have a weaker immune system, which hinders the vaccination's effectiveness.

Posted 12/1/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   8,219 views
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Winter-Proof Your Skin: Our Winter Skincare Guide


Winter can do damage to even those with usually great skin. Get soft, smooth skin all winter with this personalized winter skincare plan.
 
Stay Soft All Over
Try these smooth moves to have soft skin all over.
 
  • Buff before bathing. To soothe roughness in winter, apply a creamy scrub to dry, not wet, skin before showering, King says. (A good one: Vickery & Clarke Ginger & Clementine Body Scrub, $8.95, cvs.com.) Or use the pros' secret weapon, a body brush. "The -bristles loosen and remove dead skin cells without any mess," King says. (The Body Shop Cactus Body Brush, $15, thebodyshop-usa.com, is gentle.)
  • Conserve water. Hot H2O ranks high on the moisture-stripping scale, but a long shower is worse. "Pruny skin signals that your natural levels of oil have been washed away," says David Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. His suggested time: ten minutes, tops. (It's a greener choice too.)
  • Slather up. Apply body lotion or cream immediately after a shower. "Like a wet sponge, damp skin absorbs moisture more readily than dry," King says. Intensify your lotion by mixing it with a teaspoon of body oil (try Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil, $10.99, drugstores).   
    Posted 11/24/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   5,586 views
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Get Rid of Job-Related Jiggle


Firm your arms, abs, and butt at the office! This sneaky workout is so quick (just 10 minutes!) your boss will never know you're exercising at your desk.
 
Blade Kiss and Circles
What you'll need: A desk, a chair, and a pen
Targets: Shouldersupper back
  1. Sit straight on chair with feet and legs together, abs engaged, arms extended at shoulder level in front of you, palms down.
  2. Draw shoulder blades together to make them "kiss"; relax shoulders. Do 5 reps.
  3. Keeping arms extended, make 10 apple-size circles with hands. Do combo 8 times.
 
Posted 11/17/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   7,801 views
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10 Ways to Save Money While Staying Healthy and Fit


Fancy home gym equipment, organic food and a wardrobe of the latest fitness apparel can be pricey, but consumer savings expert  Andrea Woroch says that doesn’t have to be the case. “As a young girl, I tagged along with my mom on shopping trips and learned that you don’t have to spend a lot to look good,” she explains.
 
Woroch herself ranks health as one of her top priorities (besides helping others save money), and loves bike riding, hiking, running, swimming and skiing—”anything and everything that gets me moving.”
 
So we asked Woroch to share her insider intel about how we all can keep our wallets happy while staying fit and looking and feeling great.
 
 
1. Subscribe. Group coupon emails offer deals for more than clothes shopping and restaurant meals! “Sites like LivingSocial and Dealeryoften offer discounts for health clubs, fitness studios and outdoor activities at up to 70 percent off,” Woroch says. Another plus? There’s no long-term commitment, so if you like, you can just continue trying new things based on what is offering a coupon!    
Posted 11/10/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   8,726 views
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10 Ways to Sneak In a Workout


In a perfect world, we'd all have at least an hour a day to devote to our fitness. But in the real world, 24 hours a day doesn't seem like nearly enough time to fit in work, school, and family. Stop stressing! Here are 10 ways to sneak a workout into your super busy schedule.
 
Turn Your Commute into a Workout

On days that Monica Vazquez, 27, a master trainer for New York Sports Clubs in New York City, can't do her usual run, she stuffs her essentials -- keys, cash, credit card, phone, and ID -- into a fanny pack and jogs home from work instead. "Running is a great  workout, but it's also great transportation," she says. "Sometimes I get home even earlier than I normally do taking the subway."

Not a runner? Bike to work, get off your bus or train a few stops earlier, or park the car farther away to extend your walking  time. 
Posted 11/3/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   8,412 views
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Sweatiquette: Answers to Common Exercise Etiquette Questions


Have you ever wondered about how to handle sticky situations at the gym, in yoga class, or when exercising outdoors? We got expert advice on questions about how to deal with sticky workout situations.

 

Weighty Talk

Q. "My friend gloats about her recent weight loss. How do I shut her up?"
A. She may be boasting because she feels insecure, but it's annoying to hear about it over and over. Steer the conversation in a new direction: Acknowledge her success, then change the subject by asking "How's your family?" or "What's new at work?" suggests Judith Matz, a clinical social worker and coauthor of The Diet Survivor's Handbook. If she circles back to weight talk, be up-front and tell her it's getting tedious, Matz says. Explain that you're glad she's proud of herself but you would rather talk about other things, like the great yoga class you just took. 
Posted 10/13/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 16 comments   8,305 views
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Live to 100: 10 Diet Tips to Live Longer


Longevity is the new buzzword. You can't walk into a bookstore without tripping over a best seller about extending your life. With good reason: Centenarians are one of the country's fastest-growing demographic groups; in fact, the U.S. Census Bureau projects they'll increase almost sixfold by 2050. So what's the secret to living longer and healthier? "Good nutrition can extend your life by not just years but decades," says Richard Flanigan, MD, assistant clinical professor of cardiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Aurora and author of Longevity Made Simple. We've uncovered 10 strategies to help you tap the culinary fountain of youth.
 
1. Snack on Watermelon

Tomatoes steal the spotlight for being antioxidant powerhouses, but watermelon actually packs more cancer- and heart-disease-fighting lycopene, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Age-Proof Your Body. Eating the juicy fruit also helps increase amounts of arginine, an amino acid that helps keep arteries healthy, a key factor in preventing heart disease, the number one killer of women.

Boost the benefits: Store uncut melons on the counter. "Watermelons produce more lycopene at room temperature than when chilled, probably because they continue to ripen," Somer says. Lycopene levels in unrefrigerated watermelons rose about 20 percent in two weeks (they didn't change at all in melons that were refrigerated) in a recent USDA study. 
Posted 9/29/2011  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 18 comments   14,826 views
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The Metabolism-Boosting Workout


It's one of our most flab-melting routines ever: Eight of the best lab-tested toners mixed together to boost your metabolism, with no sweaty cardio required. You'll get up to three times more firming per rep as you torch a third more calories each minute -- during and after your workout -- compared with typical strength training. The skinny secret? Supersets! Cutting out downtime between sets, as with these alternating pairings of moves that work opposing muscles, "increases your metabolism not only because your heart rate stays higher throughout but also because the body works harder afterward to recover," says Mark Schuenke, PhD, assistant anatomy professor at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. Schuenke's research suggests that the bonus after-burn for a 140-pound woman can be up to 306 calories in the 24 hours postworkout. All you'll need is a set of five- to eight-pound dumbbells and a sturdy chair to net this slimming side benefit. Go on -- turn up the burn! 
Posted 9/22/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 25 comments   22,245 views
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Five Solutions for Serious Sweating


The last few days of summer are rapidly approaching, and we’re all trying to get in as many warm-weather workouts as possible. But with the rare day of scorching temperatures still popping up, outdoor exercisers can experience dehydration and excessive sweating. We spoke with experts from the International Hyperhydrosis Society to find out how to keep cool, stay dry and recognize when sweating becomes serious. 
Posted 9/15/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 15 comments   8,270 views
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Does Your Hair Keep You Out of the Gym?


When it comes to excuses to miss a workout, we’ve heard them all. But here’s a reason every woman has probably used at least once  — skipping the gym so you don’t mess up your hair. According to this CNN article, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin stopped by the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show this past weekend to talk about the belief that ethnic women don’t exercise because it might ruin their hair.
 
Benjamin said in her conference that she’s talked to a number of women of all ethnic groups who admit that after spending anywhere from $50 or more on their hair, the last thing they want to do is get sweaty and muss up their ‘do. According to the American Journal of Public Health, less than 30 percent of minority women in the U.S. get the recommended level of exercise. Reasons cited were lack of time, economic constraints, and the hassle of personal care, such as their hair. 
Posted 9/9/2011  9:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 77 comments   19,709 views
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5 Shaving Secrets


Last week we got a chance to chat with Gillette Venus dermatologist Ellen Gendler, M.D., clinical associate professor at New York University School of Medicine who answered our burning questions about shaving. She has seen and treated every hair removal issue under the sun during her 26 years practicing in New York City.

Check out our interview:
  • What type of razor is the best choice for dry skin? If you have dry, sensitive skin, choose a razor with a have pivoting head, rather than a straight head, which has harsh angles that can damage skin. I like the Gillette Venus ProSkin Moisture Rich Razor because the head moves with the contours of your body, plus it has a shave gel bar built right in. It’s easy to travel with because you don’t even need to carry shaving cream.

  • Is shaving before or after a workout better for our skin? I would say that there’s really no difference, as long as you shave in the shower. Never dry shave! 
    Posted 9/1/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   7,741 views
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5 Ways to Dance Your Way Fit


Dance. For some, the word evokes memories of tutus and dreams of being a ballerina as a young girl. For others, it is an expression of self, a way of life or a fun way to get in shape. In fact, it can be all the above! Dance is a great way to have fun while exercising, to learn new things, and to challenge yourself.

 
Not the graceful type?  Not to worry. There are many forms of dance besides ballet, and a lot of the dance fitness classes that are offered at gyms across the country even combine culture and aerobics with dance to provide a unique and interesting approach at fitness! We spoke to Andrea Rogers, creator of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled, and Kimberly Miguel Mullen, star and creator of Dance and Be Fit: Carnaval Workout for more information about five of the most popular methods.
 
 
Belly Dancing
Though the exact origin of belly dancing is unknown, it has been around in Middle Eastern countries for centuries. It’s low-impact, but still will challenge you aerobically. Belly dancing is great for posture, flexibility and your Shakira-style dance game! Plus, “hip exercises aid to relieve PMS and help in preparing for child birth and post-natal rehabilitation for rebuilding abdominal muscles,” adds Miguel Mullen. “Even though the movements are small and isolated, you will work your core muscles differently than you are used to so you will feel it the next day.”
 
Posted 8/25/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 71 comments   16,711 views
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How to Undo Self-Sabotage


Somewhere between the olive bar and the cheese counter at Whole Foods recently, I ran into an acquaintance whom I've always admired. Following a friendly greeting, she raved, "I loved that article you wrote about struggling to get into shape for your wedding! It was hilarious."
 

I waved off the compliment with my hand. "Oh, that? That was just kind of silly." I inflated my cheeks until they were round. "Apparently, it didn't stick."
 

She tried again. "But you always look great."
 

My brain told me to accept the compliment gracefully and move on, but I couldn't control myself. I smiled, leaning in conspiratorially. "That's what a lot of makeup, a professional photographer, and a little airbrushing can do for you. If they can make someone like Larry King look alive, they can do anything, right?"
 

She laughed awkwardly. There was a brief but tangible silence. The exchange culminated in a promise of lunch plans that felt unlikely at best.

 

Posted 8/18/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 29 comments   8,496 views
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Quidditch: Harry Potter and the Wizardly Workout


Being a fitness fan, of course, one of the things that always intrigued me about Harry Potter was the sport Quidditch. The game once reserved for students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (for all you non-Harry Potter fans, this is the school that Harry and his pals attend) has made its way to the muggle (translation: non-magical) world. In fact, it’s quite the trend: More than 2,000 athletes will participate in this year’s Quidditch World Cup, taking place in New York City on November 12 and 13.
 
The Northeast appears to be the hot spot for what the International Quidditch Association (IQA) claims is “the fastest-growing sport in the United States.” According to the IQA, the most registered teams hail from New York (39), Masschusetts (22) and Pennsylvania (20). But “28 states and counting” have Quidditch teams, many of which are connected to colleges.  
Posted 8/11/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 28 comments   9,251 views
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