POSTS WITH TAG: healthy habits

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    Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get strong, or just want to feel better, there’s one healthy habit most moms are missing. Even when you’re working out consistently and watching what you eat, skimping on sleep can derail all your good intentions.

    Yes, it's true. Sleep is the one thing all humans need to survive, and it can be the answer to lasting good health. Perhaps you remember it from your pre-kids days? It’s that activity that lasted beyond six in the morning on the weekend. 

    In case you need convincing that sleep should be a priority for you, here are four reasons sleep is so vital, as well as practical tips on getting more -- and better -- sleep.

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    Anyone who wears contact lenses knows the fears associated with them. After all, we're touching our eyes every morning. It's kind of gross, when you really think about it. But none of us could have been prepared for the horrifying story out of Taiwan that represents all those nightmares in one: 23-year-old Lian Kao, a student, is now blind after a parasite ate her eyeballs because she left her contacts in for six months.

    OK, so we ALL know you're not supposed to do that. I have been wearing contacts for 25 years and have only slept in them once or twice. But most of us also know people who sleep in their contacts almost every night, right? Maybe not for six months, but for a lot longer than they should.

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    Bad news for those of us who slather on sunscreen and sit under the rays: sunscreen alone might not be enough to protect us. I know, I know. The major buzz kill bad news comes courtesy of the Institute of Cancer Research. They issued a release saying that new research has shown that sunscreen is not enough to prevent melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer.

    Researchers used mice to test their theory and proved that while sunscreen does help a bit, it does not prevent damage completely. Apparently, UV light could still cause problems in the certain gene that typically protects the skin from the impacts of DNA damage caused by UV light.

    The research published in Nature seems pretty damning and awfully depressing the first week summer is officially here. So what can we do instead?

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    I am a competitive person by nature. Give me a race, a contest, a sweepstakes, or a sporting match and I am the first in line, muscles flexed, my timer on. I like to win. I have no shame about that. When I first started running, I always got a small thrill from the fact that I was (mostly) faster than my friends. And while I am never going to win the Boston Marathon, I did take some pride in being fast for an amateur.

    So it was with great excitement that I opened the Fitbit Activity and Sleep Bracelet after requesting one from the company. This little red bracelet was going to be my constant companion and finally prove once and for all whether or not I was a couch potato (like I felt) or an "active person" (the box I often checked on exercise surveys).

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    You know how we should all be drinking lots of water? People say drinking gallons of water makes your skin luminous, but isn't that all theoretical? I rejoice every time I come across a study that says, "Meh, you don't have to drink THAT much water." Because drinking lots of water is kind of a hassle, mainly because what goes in must come back out again. And don't we all have better things to do than run to the restroom 20 times a day? I was holding fast to the "meh" school of water drinking until I saw this: Daily Mail writer Sarah Smith drank 3 liters of water a day for four weeks and showed the results. You guys, it took years off her face. I'm convinced now.

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    We've all experienced the feeling you get after a tough workout, when you can feel your muscles begin to tighten up, and you know that tomorrow -- or even worse, the day after -- you are going to be in a world of hurt. If you have time, what's the first thing you can think of to try to offset the pain? Stretching, right? Well, as it turns out, research shows that static stretching is not the best way to alleviate future soreness. Static stretching, for those who aren't familiar, is the kind where you hold a stretch position for 20 or 30 seconds. Active stretches, on the other hand, work to stretch out your muscles, while you're getting your blood flowing, which is the best way for your body to begin the repair process.

    So guess we'd better get started, right? In that spirit, check out these 8 active stretches that will make you feel fantastic after working out.


    Image via Giacomo Carena/Flickr

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    Every May is Treat. Yo. Self. month for me, thanks to Mother's Day, my birthday, and the sheer relief of winter being over. That means I celebrate! With lots of cheese and macarons and wine and ... toward the end of the month, all my clothes were fitting a little tight. Oops. Party's over! When you start getting seam imprints on your belly from your jeans, you know it's time for a health reboot. I don't do cleanses, but I keep hearing about how magical drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning is supposed to be. So I decided to give it a try for a week.

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    Unfortunately, failure and setback are part of every person's journey through this life. No way around it. Gotta go through it. 

    However, just because you're experiencing a personal setback of sorts -- whether it's a breakup, a divorce, job loss, financial pitfalls, or just hard times in general -- it doesn't mean you are forever doomed to live beneath the pile of tissues and twisted sheets and dirty laundry you've buried yourself under. The setback is just where you are right this minute. It's not where you will always be. 

    So c'mon. Try to straighten your body out of fetal position. Maybe even lift a few of those snotty, tear-soaked tissues and walk them to the wastebasket. There you go. That's it. Baby steps. Baby steps to your very own comeback. Girl, it's gonna get better! And here are 13 inspiring quotes to light your way.

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    In a perfect world, we’d all have lots of free time to work out. Not only would we be getting our sweat on every day, we’d all be loving every minute of it (or loving to hate it, anyway!). In reality, it can be near impossible to find the time to work out, and what makes it even harder is not knowing what to do when you DO have time for exercise. If you find yourself on your way to the gym, still trying to work out what you should be doing there, or forcing yourself to a class you’re not really into because it works with your schedule, you might need to assess your fitness personality

    Maybe it’s not that you haven’t found the workout that suits you ... maybe your personality doesn’t suit your workout of choice. Here are some suggestions for you to try thinking about the way you exercise from a personality point of view:

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    Exercise can easily turn into something you dread, a boring chore somewhere on your to-do list. But it doesn't have to! While it may be hard work at times, working out should be fun and something you enjoy doing. If you dread going to the gym because you know it's going to be boring, or your weight loss has stalled, or you’re looking for ways to distract yourself, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. 

    What’s going on? It could be as simple as being in a workout rut, which is easy enough to fix. Here are tips on getting out of the rut and making exercise fun again!

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