Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5 Things To Know Before Buying A New Pair Of Sneakers

Image courtesy of Guido Mieth, Getty Images

The perfect running shoe can make you feel invincible when you’re running that morning mile (or even a half-marathon). But wearing shoes that don’t fit can seriously mess with your stride. Conveniently, they’re pretty much the only thing you need to worry about up-front: “One of the wonderful things about running is its simplicity—no need to reserve fields, find a team, or buy equipment,” says Kate Reese, manager of the specialty running store Brooklyn Running Co., and assistant coach of the women’s cross country and track and field teams at Haverford College. “But the repetitive foot-strike and impact of running can take a toll on the body, especially for those of us that are confined to concrete and asphalt for the majority of our mileage.”

Running is a pretty intuitive and simple form of exercise, but “finding a shoe that will work with your individual biomechanics is a critical component of both injury prevention and overall comfort,” says Reese. She recommends heading to a specialty running store, where an associate can analyze your gait (the way you run) to find the best shoe. Whether you’re an experienced runner or just getting into jogging, there are five things you should know before you invest in a new pair of sneaks.

1. Try on a half-size larger than you normally would to give your toes some space.

Even if your casual sneaks fit just right, when it comes to technical running shoes, they should probably be at a half size larger than casual footwear, explains Reese. Wiggle room is a must! You want to have about a thumb’s width between the tip of your big toe and the front of the shoe to avoid blisters and broken toenails, explains Reese. “Pressure on the toe is never okay,” says Reese. “If the fit is so constrictive that the toes can’t move, you will most likely develop a blister during the course of the run. Any friction will certainly result in a blister that even the most technical sock can’t combat.”

2. Make sure the rest of the shoe isn’t too tight, too.

“The collar [opening] of the shoe should fit snugly around the heel without gripping too tightly,” says Reese. You shouldn’t feel pressure under your foot or constriction along the top of your foot, and “the arch of the shoe should align comfortably with the arch of the foot,” she adds.

 3. Consider the support you need.

Speaking of arches, yours will definitely determine the type of shoe that’s best for your foot. “Runners with high, rigid arches typically need a more neutral shoe, with uniform cushion front to back, while those with flatter feet tend to need additional support under the arch,” says Reese. “Most footwear falls within one of these two broad categories, but different models have different amounts and placement of correction. A shoe with too little support can result in excess arch drop, while unnecessary support can push the foot laterally. Over the course of many miles, these slight shifts can contribute to injury.” The best way to make sure your arches are correctly supported is to—you guessed it—ask a store associate to help you out. Here’s a quick primer on how to determine what foot type you have.

Related: Four Workouts That Will Make You A Faster Runner

4. And know that a lightweight shoe isn’t always better.

Even if those sleek, lightweight bad boys in the window had caught your eye, sometimes less isn’t more. “We need to be realistic about the surfaces on which we run,” says Reese. “Many of our customers love the weightlessness of minimal footwear, but find that these shoes simply don’t provide the support and shock absorption needed for urban running.” Minimal footwear typically means the shoe has less cushioning, a more flexible arch, and a heel that’s lower to the ground than a traditional running shoe, she explains. And while it all depends on the person, Reese recommends transitioning to this type of gradually to give your body time to adjust, if running long-distance in a minimal shoe is your goal.

5. Most importantly, consider comfort first. 

At the end of the day, comfort should always come first. “Find a shoe that feels natural, almost like an extension of the foot,” says Reese. Make sure the shoes you choose are comfortable enough that you could run out of the store in them (just don’t forget your bag). If you’re looking for some sneaker inspiration, get started with these SELF favorites.

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Whole-person perspective is needed to assess obesity, researchers suggest

Authors of a new report recommend that physicians use obesity staging models to recognize and manage weight-related health issues that may not be captured by traditional diagnosis criteria.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

One third of children have higher levels of cardiometabolic risk factors due to family history

Children with a strong family history of cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes were found to have cholesterol levels significantly higher than children with no family history of those conditions, new research shows.

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Premature babies may grow up to have weaker bones

Low birth weight babies are at higher risk of osteoporosis later in life, especially if they are born prematurely, say researchers. Targeting these children with the appropriate diet and weight-bearing exercise can help improve the problem.

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A 4-Minute Cardio Workout That Will Leave Your Abs Crying

YekoPhotoStudio / Getty Images

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of SELF.

Commonly referred to as jump training, plyo (think box jumps, jumping lunges, hurdle hops) involves explosive action in short spurts. At New York City’s Fhitting Room, a boutique fitness studio specializing in high-intensity interval training, coaches include plyometrics in 90 percent of their weekly programming. Each 30-second burst leaves clients breathless and quivery—but psyched about their results. “The exercises increase your muscles’ efficiency by training them to contract and relax more quickly,” says Fhitting Room instructor Julia Avery. “This translates into better performance in other movements—you can jump higher or lift more weight.”

For Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas plyo training gives her an Olympic-caliber edge—helping her run faster to the vault, flawlessly execute twists and flips, and stick those landings. She’ll do all of that in Rio, and she’ll also be having a great time. In 2012, “I was the underdog,” she says. “Now it’s different. Still, I’m going to have fun and bring my A game.”

Douglas isn’t just catching air with the plyo routine below—she’s also improving her explosive power and coordination. Her trainer, Christian Gallardo, recommends doing this circuit without rest between moves. (It will take you about four minutes to complete.) Add it to the end of your regular workout up to four days per week.

1. High Knees
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Run in place, pumping arms and bringing knees as close to chest as possible, for 30 seconds.

2. Tuck Jump
Stand with feet together, knees soft, arms reaching overhead. Lean forward slightly and lift heels off floor. Jump as high as possible, bringing knees to chest and landing softly on balls of feet. Continue for 30 seconds.

3. V-Up
Lie on back, arms and legs extended. Contract abs, then reach arms and legs to ceiling, forming a V shape. Lower slowly for 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

4. Squat Jump
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Jump, fully extending arms, then land in a squat, keeping chest up, as you tap the ground with hands. Continue for 30 seconds.

5. Windshield Wiper
Lie on back with legs straight, feet pointed to ceiling, arms out to sides. Slowly lower feet to left, keeping a 90-degree bend at waist. Lift feet back to ceiling and repeat on opposite side for 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Sports bra, $23, shorts, $25, and shoes, $150; Nike.com.

Styled by Michaela Dosamantes Hair, Dana Boyer for Oribe Hair Care; makeup, Laura Stiassni for Dior Addict.

For more, pick up the June issue of SELF on newsstands, subscribe, or download the digital edition.

Be sure to tune in: the Olympics begin August 5th on NBC. To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org.

You may also like: Try this 10-minute plyo workout you can do at home:

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Can we extend healthspan by altering the perception of food?

Researchers have shown a new effect on aging via a small drug-like molecule that alters the perception of food in C. elegans. Scientists 'tricked' the worm's metabolism into a state of caloric restriction, extending the animal's lifespan by 50 percent. The study provides a new avenue of inquiry for researchers who are attempting to develop human drugs that mimic the positive effects of a Spartan diet.

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11 Little Ways To Exercise Without Actually Working Out


Edward Berthelot / Getty

When it comes to finding time to work out, the struggle is very real. Because after an extremely long day at work, getting your booty to the gym is damn-near impossible. It’s not that you don’t want to exercise, it’s just that you’re super pooped and you need some time to decompress.

We hear that. These simple tricks will turn your day into a sort of workout, without actually requiring you to work out. While trainers have some pretty great advice about what to do when you’re at the gym, they also have some genius tips for adding more calorie-burning, muscle-strengthening minutes of exercise throughout your non-gym, spandex-free hours. Get ready to fire up those muscles.

1. Work while you prepare for your day.

Brushing your teeth or your hair? Putting makeup on? It’s so easy to turn these daily rituals into low-key workouts. Becky Hempel, head trainer at DavidBartonGym, suggests simply standing on one leg while you do them. If you’re feeling adventurous (and awake), maybe even try some squats. Because two minutes of teeth brushing + two minutes of squats = 11 calories burned*. 

*Note: All of the calorie calculations apply to a woman who weighs 135 pounds. If you’re looking for something more specific to your body type, you can adjust those calculations here.

2. Power walk to and from everywhere.

Businesswoman talking on cell phone in city

Paul Bradbury / Getty

Simply picking up the pace while walking can do a lot. Five minutes at a slow pace will burn about 13 calories, while the same amount of time at a brisk pace will burn 20 calories. So speed it up wherever you go, even if it’s just to the bathroom. Bonus: It’ll make you look super important.

3. Get off the bus or train a stop early.

Danielle Devine-Baum, Flywheel master instructor and creative director, loves this trick. If your morning commute relies heavily on public transportation, this is a great way to amp things up early in your day. Obviously, you’ll want to give yourself a little extra time to get to and from places (no matter how quickly you walk, it won’t be as fast as a bus or train). Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk at a brisk pace that’s 41 more calories than you would have been burning—and it’s good for your overall health, too.

Related: 12 Easy Ways To Burn More Calories In A Day

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Do This Workout 3 Days Per Week To See Results


Hero Images, Getty Images; Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

Whether you’re just starting a fitness regimen or trying to keep up with one, finding the time to work out is half the battle. In a perfect world, we’d all be able to hit the gym five days a week so we could split up our sessions between strength training and cardio (and have more time to spend on both). But life happens, and sometimes, fitting a five-day plan into your schedule just isn’t going to happen. 

The good news? You can still make great progress by working out three days per week, if you’re smart about each training session. Full-body workouts with a combination of both cardio and strength training make sense for this approach, says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness.

And don’t forget about the time you don’t spend working out. “Results have a lot to do with what you’re doing outside of your workout as far as your nutrition and your rest, but we’ve seen some really great results from our clients who do three-days-a-week programs,” he says.

Your Three-Day Game Plan

Ideally, you should have one day of rest in between these workouts, according to Tamir (although two days in a row is fine if you must, he adds—just don’t string all three together). Rest is a crucial part of the plan, too. “When you’re working out, you’re damaging the muscle tissue, so that rest and recovery helps them repair,” says Tamir. In other words, your rest days are where the magic happens.

If you want to sub in a fitness class, like kickboxing or indoor cycling, feel free, says Tamir. But try to swap out your middle day—while muscles need rest, they should ideally be stimulated every 48 hours, he says. To keep up your progress, try not to take more than a few days of rest.

If you can at least fit in a few 45- to 60-minute gym sessions, you’re golden. “If you’re going to do three workouts per week, use a full-body and well-balanced combination of mobility, plyometric exercises, strength training, and interval training,” says Tamir. This combination is optimal for both improving your overall fitness performance and changing your body composition, he explains.

Tamir came up with the ultimate workout plan to do three days a week for SELF—and, hey, any other workouts your schedule can manage are a bonus. Here’s how each of your workouts should work:

Start warming up for five minutes.

Start with a solid warm-up, which Tamir says should be a part of every fitness routine. This is when you prep your body for a tough workout—a good warm-up will help prevent injury and increase your range of motion and mobility so you can get the most out of every move. Mobility exercises (like neck nods and shoulder circles) help “move around the joints to create more space so that it can move freely without restriction,” he adds.

You can also foam roll, if you want—Tamir says it also assists in mobility and helps you mentally prepare for your workout. Plus, it feels good, and there’s nothing wrong with starting a workout that way.

Here’s how to do it:

Then it’s time to do some plyo moves and core exercises.

Now it’s time for the real work. Before he gets into true strength training, Tamir likes to have clients alternate between an explosive plyometric exercise, like a jump squat, and a core exercise, like a plank variation. “[This routine has] good muscle recruitment, and it’s going to get your heart rate up,” says Tamir. “When you’re doing those plyometric exercises, you’re using a lot of power.”

Here’s how to do it:

  • Do 15 seconds of jump squats.
  • Hold a tight forearm plank for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat those two moves back-to-back a total of three to four times.
  • Bonus: if you want an active recovery between each set, add a third exercise that focuses on mobility such as reverse lunges. Do six to eight reps for side, about 30 to 45 seconds total.

You can also mix up the exercises you feature in this section to keep it spicy. Try one of these 10 fat-burning plyometric exercises and one of these six core exercises. This section should take you about eight to ten minutes, says Tamir.

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9 Hysterical But Cringe-Worthy Gym Mistakes Top Trainers Have Made

Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

While gyms and other fitness spaces are great places to challenge your body, they’re also prime places for mistakes to happen. Endless equipment plus unfamiliar movements can be a formula for success and hilariously epic fails. And even trainers aren’t immune: They may be gym pros, but they’ve definitely experienced some America’s Funniest Home Videos-worthy moments themselves. 

In fact, since they do spend so much time training clients, teaching classes, and working out, they have even more opportunities for miscalculations—it’s just statistics, y’know? Plus, they’re testing out new moves, pushing their own boundaries, and getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t. As they’ve learned, you win some, you lose some.

I can relate: One time in high school, I decided to see if I could keep up my running pace on the rec center treadmill with my eyes closed. Spoiler alert: I cannot. One second you think you’re keeping up your stride like a champ, and the next, your back is against the wall. (I have never seen anyone laugh harder than the guy on the treadmill next to me. Mortifying, but other than that, I was fine.) Don’t try this at home, people.

Trainers totally get it (and hey, you might have a story or two in mind, too). These mistakes are relatable, ridiculous, and sometimes painful, but one thing’s for sure: We can definitely learn a thing or two from their experiences. Here are nine trainer’s biggest workout blunders—and how to avoid them yourself.

Related: 5 Things Insanely Productive And Healthy People Do Before 8 A.M.

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Vitamin nicotinamide riboside protects mice from diabetes complications

A naturally occurring vitamin, nicotinamide riboside, can improve metabolic symptoms and prevent peripheral nerve damage in mouse models of diabetes, according to a new study.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fasting-like diet reduces multiple sclerosis symptoms

A mouse study, followed by a human study, indicates that the fasting-mimicking diet holds promise as a treatment for autoimmune diseases. A fasting-like diet switches on a process in which body kills bad cells, begins to generate new healthy ones, report scientists.

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Why malnutrition is an immune disorder

Malnourished children are most likely to die from common infections, not starvation. New experimental evidence indicates that even with a healthy diet, defects in immune system function from birth could contribute to a malnourished state throughout life. Researchers speculate that targeting immune pathways could be a new approach to reduce the poor health and mortality caused by under- and overnutrition.

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Prepackaged portion-controlled meals can lead to greater weight loss than self-selected portions, research says

Increased portion sizes in Americans’ diets is widely recognized as a contributor to the obesity epidemic, and now new research examines the effect of prepackaged, portion-controlled meals on weight loss. The researchers found that when combined with behavioral counseling as part of a complete weight-loss intervention, a meal plan incorporating portion-controlled, prepackaged, frozen lunch and dinner entrĂ©es can promote greater weight loss than a self-selected diet.

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