|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Corrie Pikul (131 posts)
You know how it goes: the book club meeting gets raucous, or you realize you and your out-of-town friend have a lot to catch up on, or your partner decides to celebrate the unseasonably nice weather by throwing an impromptu party on the front porch (guest list: him, you, Monsieur Muscadet). Regardless of how it happened, you wake up with a pounding head, a dry mouth and a stomach that feels like it just came out of the laundry spin-cycle. Yoga instructor Tara Stiles says she has just the cure, and swears that yoga can clear your head. Stiles, who is known for her laid-back, asanas-for-the-masses approach, says that her Saturday mid-morning classes in NYC are usually packed with bleary-eyed people who overdid it the night before, and they leave her studio looking a lot happier and healthier than they did when they walked in. She shares three of her favorite morning-after poses with us, below. These are adapated from Stiles' new book, Yoga Cures, which includes her favorite yoga "remedies" for everything from office body to traveler's anxiety.
Singapore has one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world (84.96 for women and 79.53 for men), and this video from the Singapore Sports Council shows how some of the country's older citizens are spending their twilight years (keep watching: this tea tête-a-tête is just the beginning).
We love these guys--we're calling them the Singapore Globeshufflers--for reminding us that's it's not about how many miles you can travel throughout your life, but how many three-point shots you can sink along the way.
Find out Singapore's other secret to staying in shape...as well as fitness advice you can steal from four other countries.
You'd think so, considering sea salt, which is harvested from evaporated seawater, is more natural and less processed than table salt, which comes from underground mines and is refined and fortified with iodine and anti-caking agents before it reaches us. But we found out that when it comes to sodium, which can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and strokes, the two are identical. The maximum recommended daily sodium allowance is 2,300 milligrams (1,500 milligrams if you're over 50, if you're black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease), and it sounds like the only way to cut back on sodium is to cut back on salt, period. The good news? In our un-scientific experience, we've noticed that when sprinkling on salt at home, the intense flavor of sea salt does cause us to use less of it.
More surprising health facts
In her new book, The First 20 Minutes: The Myth-Busting Science that Shows How We Can Walk Farther, Run Faster, and Live Longer, Reynolds pulls together tons of health and fitness studies, correcting misconceptions and turning new research into useful advice (she shares some her favorite ideas in this month's O magazine). Among the many insights in this book, one relatively small factoid especially intrigued me. Reynolds writes about Danish experiments that showed that after both men and women reduced or stopped their workouts, the women didn't lose their training benefits as quickly as the men. The explanation has to do with hormones (doesn't it always, especially when it comes to gender differences?). The study author told Reynolds that estrogen was protecting the women "against fast muscle and collagen loss when she is inactive"--like during pregnancy.
I now have a secret weapon that may help me outrun my husband (once we're both back in race shape): I'm going to challenge him to a sprint after we go on vacation together. Perhaps the R&R will cause him to peter out just a tiny bit--which will be enough to give me the competitive advantage I've been looking for. And honestly, even if he still zooms by me, my new understanding about the female ability to bounce back will ease my guilt about taking a break from exercise.
More surprising ways that women have an edge
The United States Preventive Services Task Force determined that there isn't any evidence to support that more frequent screenings help catch cervical cancer. The government isn't the first group to change its recommendations--in fact, it's one of the last: Cancer groups and others have been urging for less frequent screenings for the past few years. But this basically means the annual Pap will be RIP (of course, these recommendations apply only to healthy women, not those who have puzzling symptoms, an unusual Pap test result or a history of dysplasia, cervical cancer, H.I.V. or other issues).
Just because you no longer need a Pap smear every year doesn't mean you should schedule your next ob/gyn appointment for 2015. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) gave us four more great reasons to keep up the yearly visits:
1. To assess your lady parts (and other parts). At a typical exam, ob/gyns perform abdominal exams (to make sure the ovaries and uterus feel normal), breast exams and pelvic exams. Beyond your reproductive organs, they also usually check your blood pressure, weight, BMI and pulse. Good ob/gyns have been known to help women with weight problems, bloating, acne and skin discoloration related to hormonal fluctuations.
They found that regular walking can change the way our genes work--specifically, our fat genes, reports Time magazine. The researchers observed people who had the type of genes that had been linked to high body mass index, and found that this type of daily exercise was able to tamper the effect of the genes by 50 percent. You'll have to put in some effort: the participants walked briskly for an hour a day. But isn't that worth it to change your obesity destiny? As an added motivation to get up and get outside--like we need one--the researchers noted that sitting in front of the TV can actually trigger those sneaky fat genes to promote weight gain.
We'd just like to thank the good people at the Harvard School of Public Health for sharing this news now, when we can enjoy the delights of spring, instead of telling us to get outside in the middle of a cold, dreary winter.
How your gait can predict how long you'll live
Walking uphill: 7 common hiking mistakes to avoid
So imagine my delight when we discovered a free app for caffeine addicts that's less of a monitor, and more of an enabler—in a fun, functional way. With Caffeine Zone 2 Lite, you input the size of your beverage, the time you drank it, and how fast you sipped it. The simple-looking app, which was designed by two Penn State University professors (a cognitive scientist and a computer scientist), uses predictive modeling to figure out how much caffeine your body has absorbed and how much more you need to remain in your optimal alertness zone. You can also fill in details like your weight and bedtime to find out when the effects will wear off, when another cup will push you into the jitter zone, and whether that afternoon espresso will be likely to keep you up all night. You can even set alarms that will suggest when you need another dose. One of the app's designers told BusinessWeek that they hadn't received any funding from coffee- or soda-makers (although they wouldn't turn it down), so for now, he's just helping the caffeine-lovers of the world find their perfect happy place, one cup at a time.
How your lattes affect your health
If you have a question, send it to us!
You know your gym is germy, and that's why you always bring your own water bottle, towel, yoga mat and shower shoes. You haven’t let your bare skin touch the stretching mats since you first joined, and no one needs to tell you to wipe down the treadmill control panel before you press "GO." But you may not realize where else viruses and bacteria may be hiding, says Michelle Kennedy, MS, a Best Life fitness expert. Take these extra precautions, especially with the CDC's recent announcement that flu season, significantly delayed this year, is just getting started.
Disinfect the disinfectant containers: Think about it: you see people spraying and wiping everything in the gym—except for the spray bottles and wet wipe receptacles. Wipe them off before you put them down for the next germaphobe to use.
Store your gear high: Even fastidious gyms don't get around to cleaning every single locker every single night. The bottoms of the lockers tend to be the dirtiest because that's where people tuck away their outside shoes, says Kennedy. She always hangs her clothes and gear from hooks so that they come in contact with as few grimy surfaces as possible.
Don't co-mingle your clothing: Kennedy points out that most people don't think twice about taking off the shorts that just spent an hour on the stationery bike (one microbiologist found the fungus Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections, on exercise bike seats all over New York City) and tossing them into a bag with clean clothes, books and other items. She suggests a sports duffel with separate pockets for shoes and sweaty gear, like this one.
A primer for good gym hygiene
Foods that can boost your immunity to colds
How healthy is your gym?