Six fitness fads that need to go away
1) Napping Classes. Going to the gym and sleeping, in a group, for 45 minutes. ‘Nappecise’ is a thing, but shouldn’t be.
2) Cat Yoga. A cat in the studio is supposed to be a calming, centering presence. Beware, though, of the Downward-Facing Dog.
3) Goat Yoga. Doesn’t really help the workout, but great for the local goat-rental economy.
4) Kangoo Jumps. These specialty shoes add some bounce to your aerobics class – the session you can’t afford anymore after paying $300 for the fancy footware.
5) Electric Shock Suits. A full-body electric muscle stimulation machines are supposed to make your muscles contract up to 85 times a second. And that’s a good thing?
Five proven ways to reduce stress
Stress is bad for you. The American Psychological Association has compiled the research on how to deal with it, and the consensus is:
Avoid the cause. When pressures build, give yourself guilt-free permssion to to step away from the immediate problem. If you let yourself have time to do something else — or, blessedly, nothing at all — you can gain new perspective. Even a 20-minute break can make a big difference.
Exercise. Even simple, low-impact exercise benefits both mind and body. A 20-minute walk, dance or gardening session at a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Smile. Better yet, laugh. The human brain is connected with emotions and facial expressions; giggles and smiles can help relieve tension.
Get social support. Reach out to someone – a good listener — you trust.
Meditate. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can provide immediate benefits.
The three nutritional tips everyone agrees on
Eggs, coffee, paleo, low-fat, cleansing, water consumption… there’s not much agreement when it comes to nutrition. But while trendy diets may try to their own new spin on eating, there are three points on which most experts – and all common sense — agree.
Eat less sugar
This includes regular table sugar (sucrose) as well as fructose, corn syrup and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. The World Health Organization, for one, says the evidence linking sugar to obesity and tooth decay is strong enough to support a strict limit: no more than 10% of your calories should come from added sugar.
Avoid artificial Trans Fats
The process that makes partially hydrogenated oils creates “trans” fats that aren’t found in nature. The resulting oil works (alas, wonderfully) fully in donuts and pie crusts, for frying oil, and to make margarine. Read labels; it’s everywhere.
Eat more vegetables
Restating the painfully obvious, veggies have unquestioned health benefits: they’re full of vitamins and fiber, and, if you can hold the butter and the cheese sauce, have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Two more universal truths: smoking, bad; exercise, good.
Things you thought were healthy but probably aren’t