Sunday, 22 March 2009

Get Sculpted for Spring

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halle berrySpring has arrived! Well, maybe it doesn't feel like it where you live right now, but warm weather is right around the corner. And that means that the bulky sweaters will be stored under the bed before you know it, and you'll be busting out the tank tops. And that might make you feel a little nervous if you're not quite ready to show some skin!

Most people's concerns immediately go to the arms, but there's another part that you'll soon be showing that could use a little love -- your back! Celebrities like Halle Berry know that, when you're wearing a strappy tank or a strapless dress, a sculpted back is one of the best ways to show how fit you are, and Halle knows exactly how to get her back ready.

Her trainer, Harley Pasternak shared Halle's back-sculpting secret with "Health" magazine -- dumbbell back rows. According to Pasternak, "This exercise strengthens the rhomboids, the muscles in your upper back that connect your shoulder blades to your spine, giving you a toned back and much better posture."

Continue reading Get Sculpted for Spring

Obesity Can Cut 3-10 Years From Your Life

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apple
When it comes to eating a healthy diet and staying fit, what's your biggest motivator? Is it feeling good? Staying active? Fitting into your jeans? Maybe it's all of the above. Those are all good reasons for staying fit, but here's maybe the biggest one of all: Being obese could cut your life by 10 years. I don't know about you, but I'm suddenly feeling very motivated.

This finding comes from an analysis of 57 different studies that included almost 900,000 people. The short story is this:

  • A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
  • Death rates were lowest among people with a BMI of 23 to 24.
  • A BMI of 30 to 35 could potentially take two to four years off life.
  • Being morbidly obese, or having a BMI of 40 to 45, could shorten life by eight to 10 years.
  • Being underweight, with a BMI of less than 22.5, was also associated with a shorter lifespan.

Continue reading Obesity Can Cut 3-10 Years From Your Life

Fat is Your Fault, Lil Kim and Healthy Fast Food - Week in Review - March 16 to March 22

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week in reviewMeghan McCain is a size 8, and she thinks that in the world of politics, size should be irrelevant. What do you think about Laura Ingraham's plus-sized barb?

Cardio: Are you a compensator or a non-compensator? Knowing the difference might just help you lose weight.

Sweaty active wear can cause your skin to break out. Kristen's got tips to help you say bye bye to bacne for good.

In a poor economy, stress levels are higher than ever. Laura knows your life may be changing in ways you don't like, so she's got some ideas to help you weather the storm in a healthy way.

Lil Kim's strutting her stuff on "Dancing with the Stars," and it's inspiring her to live a healthier lifestyle. Find out what changes Kim is making.

Diet-Blog thinks "The Biggest Loser" is overrated, but Bev disagrees. She says the show's positive focus and fitness tips make it a worthwhile watch. What do you think?

Howard Schneider shares some tough talk, and Bev agrees: If you're overweight, it's nobody's fault but your own.

Fitz talked fitness with American Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson and SATC's naked shower guy Gilles Marini, and they dished about their stint on "Dancing with the Stars."

Healthy fast food -- is it an oxymoron? Not quite, but fast food restaurants have not quite yet perfected the healthy meal either.
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Weight Loss In A Bottle

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Liz Neporent is a diet and fitness expert and author of 12 fitness bestsellers. She regularly appears on national TV programs and is the president of Wellness 360, a New-York based wellness provider.

Before I start this post I just want to say: I do not condone excessive drinking. I am not recommending drinking as a health strategy. And I am certainly not telling you to use drinking as a weight loss strategy. I mention the body of research below just to demonstrate, once again, what a complex issue obesity really is.

Some recent studies have been finding some interesting associations between alcohol consumption and body weight. For example, researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated with the number of drinks individuals consumed on the days they drank. In the study, men and women who drank the smallest quantity of alcohol -- one drink per drinking day -- with the greatest frequency -- three to seven days per week -- had the lowest BMI's, while those who infrequently consumed the greatest quantity had the highest BMIs. The authors suggested several possible reasons for the observed associations of both quantity and frequency of alcohol use with BMI.

Continue reading Weight Loss In A Bottle

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How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

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You might be confused about just how much time you need to put in at the gym. Do you really have to log a full hour each day? Or will 30 minutes a few times a week cut it? Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the recommendations vary based on your goals: Maybe you simply want to reap the health benefits of activity, or perhaps you're trying to prevent weight gain. Or -- if you're like many Americans -- you're trying to lose weight. The American College of Sports Medicine just released new exercise guidelines, which are a little more intense than the last batch they put out in 2001, but more clearly outline just how much time you should spend working out.

To Protect Your Health and Prevent Disease: The ACSM recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to reduce your risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. That's 30 minutes five days a week. And by moderate intensity, they mean your workout should be hard enough that you're breathing deeply and feeling fatigued. You should still be able to talk, though you'd prefer not to, and although you're tired, you feel like you could complete the entire workout at this pace.

To Peel Off Pounds: At least 250 minutes per week provides the most significant weight loss, according to studies. You can spread that out over five days at 50 minutes a session; or you can plan six workout sessions, each about 42 minutes long.

Continue reading How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

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Tummy Tuck - If Only It Came in a Bottle?

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woman's bellyYou could spend thousands on an abdominoplasty or $130 for a bottle of Rodial tummy tuck cream. "Clinically proven to reduce the abdominal area by up to 2 centimeters in 8 weeks," with no diet and exercise, could this be the product of the century? Or not. Call me jaded, but phrases such as "stomach flattening micro fibers" make me a bit skeptical. "CafeMom" weighs in.

Not willing to shell out $130? Try the tried and true route -- diet and exercise. AOL Health has tips to get you on your way to a flat belly.

Healthy Fast Food - How Easy Is It?

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Welcome to Walking the Walk, a feature that takes a deeper look at commonly shared diet and fitness advice. Every other week, I'll choose one piece of advice and practice it for seven days. Then I'll report back on what I discovered about making it work in real life and how it affected my own personal fitness -- and how it ultimately can affect your own efforts.

In the war on obesity, fast food is usually our biggest target. Cheap and convenient, it's a popular choice. But it's fatty, salty menu choices don't make it a healthy choice.

Some people work hard to never step foot in a fast food restaurant, but I don't think that's a realistic goal for the general population; statistics show that half of Americans' meals aren't cooked at home. Though I think we would all be better off reducing our takeout meals, I think it's also important that we educate ourselves on how to eat fast food without downing 1,000 calories in a sitting.

To their credit, fast food restaurants have started offering healthier options to their customers. Long John Silver's is the latest with their Freshside Grille menu. My goal this week is to eat one healthy meal at a fast food restaurant each day this week, to find out exactly how realistic healthy fast food really is.
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Meghan McCain's Not Fat and Daisy Fuentes Isn't Skinny - March 13 to March 19

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If you're looking for fitness inspiration, why not look to the stars? Each week, we round up some of the best celebrity fitness stories for you. Many will motivate you to hit the gym and eat healthfully, while some ... well, some can be viewed more as cautionary tales. But no matter what, you're going to be entertained!

Jessicas Weighty Rejection and Isla's Poor Trainer

    Jessica Simpson
    Oh, the Jessica Simpson weight-loss stories just won't quit. Even though it seems like half of Hollywood is stepping up to defend her, there are others who are finding a different way to "help." Find out which big weight-loss offer she rejected here.

    Getty Images

    Katy Perry
    She might be active in her shows on stage, and it's got to be hard work getting into some of those costumes, but Katy Perry hates to exercise. However, there is one type of exercise she jumps right into -- Find out what it is here.

    Getty Images

    Sienna Miller
    Sienna Miller looks great now, sure, but will that always be the case? Doesn't really sound like it -- she's nixing exercise because she compares it to plastic surgery.

    Getty Images

    Isla Fisher
    Here's another slim starlet who's not willing to hit the gym -- how do we get those genes? Anyway, Isla reportedly was so bad about her diet and exercise routine that she nearly made her trainer cry.

    Getty Images

    Bar Refaeli
    The Sports Illustrated cover girl has a simply incredible body, no doubt. Want to know how she keeps it looking that way? FitSugar has the scoop.

    Getty Images

    Christina Ricci
    After battling weight gain and anorexia, Christina Ricci is looking better than ever. And, when we chatted with the stunning starlet, she told us how she keeps herself so slender and healthy.

    Getty Images

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NeuroActive Bike - Hop on for a Brainy Body Workout

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Aging is hard enough on memory, let alone your waistline. Suddenly you can't find your car keys, which you so desperately need to get to the gym. But now you can take mind-body training to a new level with NeuroActive's new training bike developed by Brain Centers America (BCA).

Instead of sitting stationary with Sudoku, pedal away while completing up to 22 brain-stimulating exercises that sharpen 16 cognitive functions, more than any brain program on the market. Brain exercises can increase cognitive function by 20 percent and improve processing speed and memory -- rewinding your brain back to its days of peak performance. Right now the bike is only available at select Lady of America health clubs in Florida. Why is a women's health chain the first one to feature this bike? Mommy fog?

Hop on BCA's brain gym and you might stop misplacing your car keys, and build muscle and cardiovascular endurance, too. Beats my brainless treadmill habit of watching "The View." I just wish BCA would develop a NeuroActive spinning bike -- I need that barking spin instructor to get my heart rate sky high.

Travel Active - Staying Fit While On the Go

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hotel fitness roomSpring break, Memorial Day weekend and summer vacation season are all fast approaching. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, it's important to keep active when you're on the road.

Staying active while traveling not only wards off unwanted road-warrior weight gain, it can help manage the stress you might feel from the change in your routine, it will keep you energized so you can see all the sights (or attend all the business meetings ... blech), it will help you get a good night's sleep and it may even help keep your digestive tract regular while it's managing all those away-from-home meals.

Luckily, staying fit while on the go isn't as difficult as it might seem. Some tips:

  • Choose your hotel wisely. Call around and pick a hotel that has adequate fitness facilities. A pool and a well-equipped fitness room will make your workouts convenient and easy.
  • Walk it out. Pack some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking shoes. If the area outside the door of your hotel isn't ideal for walking, just ask the front desk staff for suggestions. They may have great ideas for interesting neighborhoods, parks or rail trails just waiting for you to explore. You can also use "Prevention's" walking tools to map out a route ahead of time.
  • Pack some portable fitness. There are lots of fitness tools you can pack that don't take up too much room in your suitcase. Try a jump rope, resistance bands, yoga pose flash cards, AquaBells(R) or sliding discs.
  • Be a day tripper. If your hotel doesn't have a fitness center, call around to area gyms and see if they have a day pass. And many national chain gyms (such as Gold's Gym and Bally's) let members work out at any of their fitness facilities.
  • Choose active outings. Look for active attractions while you're on the road. Fitz has some great ideas for fit vacations.

What are your tips for staying fit while traveling?

Recession Pounds - Do Men Like Women With a Little Meat?

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couple kissingHey ladies! Are you trying to cut costs at the grocery store by buying low-cost junk like mac and cheese? It's not going to do your health or your hips any favors, but it just might get a date.

A 2005 study found that during times of "resource scarcity," men's preferences for female body types change. So exactly what does that mean? Are recession-weary men drooling over Botticelli-like rounded bellies and ample hips? Nothing quite so drastic. But men in the study did tend to find women who were a few pounds heavier more sexually attractive.

Researchers set up four situations to see what men find hot; two variables made the guys feel financially insecure while the other two variables tested them when they were physically hungry. The men who felt financially insecure chose women who were about two pounds heavier than those chosen by men who felt financially stable. And hungry guys tended to go for women who were about three pounds heavier than those chosen by men who were full.

Continue reading Recession Pounds - Do Men Like Women With a Little Meat?

Yerba Mate - Be Wary of This 'Cleaner' Buzz

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yerba mate gourdI first saw yerba mate tea in 2005 when my South American friends from The University of Florida's married/student graduate housing sipped the tea from tiny straws (bombillas) out of a gourd at poolside. I'd wonder what in the heck they were drinking, it looked more like an exotic drink from a smooth coconut than a favorite tea concoction popular in their native Brazil.

Available in tea bags, loose leaf and even cold, bottled blends, yerba mate tea is becoming more mainstream, touted for its all-natural, jitter-free buzz and high antioxidant content. Yerba mate may be sold as an all-natural stimulant alternative to famed Red Bull, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily any healthier. Researchers caution yerba mate may better be enjoyed in moderation than by the multiple daily gourd-full. Studies are inconclusive as to the health benefits of this tea, which contains twice the caffeine as black tea, but only half that of coffee. In fact, one human study even showed heavy yerba mate tea drinkers had a significantly higher risk of some cancers.

Cleaner buzz? I tried a yerba mate energy drink last year that delivered The Super Jitters, but I'm caffeine-sensitive.

Anyone out there tried yerba mate? Tell us what you think.

Giveaway Reminder - Core Rhythms DVD Set

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core rhythms DVD packThe right workout video can make a huge difference in how you spend time in front of your TV. Will you spend this evening mindlessly watching reruns of "Law & Order" while snacking, or will you be working up a sweat?

The Core Rhythms Dance Exercise Program Starter Pack is sure to get you up and moving. Probably laughing, too. And now, you have a chance to win it. You only have until Friday at 5 p.m. ET to enter, so don't waste time. Head on over to the original post now to leave a comment and get a chance to win a set for yourself. We'll be selecting four winners, so your chances of winning are pretty darn good.
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Maximizing Weight Loss and Muscle Gain - The Power of Accountability

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That's Fit: What are some toning exercises you think people don't capitalize on nearly enough?

Venuto: It's a misconception that weight training is only for body builders -- it's actually the most important type of training while you're restricting calories for fat loss. The weight training helps you maintain the lean muscle you already have, while stripping off the fat, burning calories and keeping your metabolism elevated.

Some of the best free weight exercises include squats with dumbbells or barbells, lunges or split squats, deadlifts, bench presses, shoulder presses and rows. There are also body weight exercises that can work as the equivalents of the free weight exercises such as chin ups and push ups, but I'd encourage everyone who wants to get leaner to get more serious about weight training.

You can join a gym if you choose, but all it takes to get started is a set of dumbbells and some space in your home. The training program in my book "The Body Fat Solution" can be done without any fancy or expensive equipment at all.

Continue reading Maximizing Weight Loss and Muscle Gain - The Power of Accountability

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Bailing on Workouts - Everyone Does It

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dumbbellsDo you ever bail on your workouts? Come on, you know you do. Even exercise specialist and nutritionist Mark Mancino skips an exercise session now and then. And he says anyone who claims to never ditch is lying. Love and Blueberries tells the whole story.

The Biggest Loser - Half Marathon Homecoming

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The-Biggest-Loser

The Biggest Loser
Week 11 over at "The Biggest Loser Couples" was full of pizza n' sugar cookie temptations tempered by family love and an at-home challenge to remember. Contestants who could barely walk two miles per hour on a treadmill nearly three months ago are now jogging multiple miles as the fat continued to melt away for all but one. Read on about an episode that had me researching Spring 5K runs in my area.

Biggest Losers Head Home -- Screaming homecomings awaited contestants from Boise to Phoenix to Detroit to Long Island to Miami. Initially excited to see their families, contestants worried their week away from the ranch would ultimately damage their progress on the scale. The numbers were kind for some, but not all. In one unforgettable moment, Ron's morbidly obese son Max was overcome with raw emotion upon seeing his thinner dad and brother standing before him. Makes me wish he could have gone to the ranch, too. But his former eating allies will be home for good in a few weeks, modeling just the behaviors Max will need to join a healthier world.

Continue reading The Biggest Loser - Half Marathon Homecoming

Warm Weather Gets You Moving

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your turn
Gyms are open all year and there's never a weather-related excuse that will keep you from workout DVDs, but there's just something motivating about being outdoors. I know spring fever has hit me hard and I'm enjoying being outside more (although I could do without all the raking, thank you very much). Recently, I wondered how the warmer weather affects your workout. Here's what you had to say:

  • 59 percent of you are more active when you can be outdoors. It's important to be active during those bitter, cold months, but it's understandable why the warm weather inspires more activity. You can be outside running, walking, biking and participating in team sports, like softball or volleyball. Enjoy the warmer weather, but be sure to have a fitness plan next year when the snow starts to fly again.
  • 28 percent of you are active all year long, but enjoy different activities in warmer weather. Changing your activity from season to season is a great idea; it keeps things interesting and throws your muscles a curve ball. Want some ideas? Check out these great warm-weather workouts on AOL Health.
  • 10 percent of you can be found in the gym whether it's warm or cold. Well, there's certainly something to be said for consistency. But get outside and enjoy some of the nice weather, too!
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BMI or Body Fat Scale?

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I don't really trust BMI. Convenient, I know, since mine is always high -- I'm tall, I'm big-boned (no, really, I am), and I have more muscle than most women, so even at my absolute fittest, I weigh more than I should by BMI standards. I'm far more interested in how much body fat I have, and I know I'm not the only one. But, like many of you, I don't want to go to my local health club and be poked and prodded so someone can determine my body fat percentage. Fortunately, that's not necessary.

scaleLongLifeClub reviewed the Tanita Body Fat Scale, which sounds like a great gadget to have around the house. Body fat scales measure the amount of fat in your body by sending an electrical current through your body (you don't even feel it, but it's not for use by those with any type of surgically-implanted medical device, like a pacemaker). It takes into account your height, weight, age and gender as well.

The one reviewed was just $79.95, but you can spend up to almost $300 on a Tanita scale if you opt for the Tanita Ironman Segmental and Full Body Composition Monitor. But, once you get the scale, how do you know what your body fat percentage should be?

Continue reading BMI or Body Fat Scale?

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Get Sculpted for Spring

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halle berrySpring has arrived! Well, maybe it doesn't feel like it where you live right now, but warm weather is right around the corner. And that means that the bulky sweaters will be stored under the bed before you know it, and you'll be busting out the tank tops. And that might make you feel a little nervous if you're not quite ready to show some skin!

Most people's concerns immediately go to the arms, but there's another part that you'll soon be showing that could use a little love -- your back! Celebrities like Halle Berry know that, when you're wearing a strappy tank or a strapless dress, a sculpted back is one of the best ways to show how fit you are, and Halle knows exactly how to get her back ready.

Her trainer, Harley Pasternak shared Halle's back-sculpting secret with "Health" magazine -- dumbbell back rows. According to Pasternak, "This exercise strengthens the rhomboids, the muscles in your upper back that connect your shoulder blades to your spine, giving you a toned back and much better posture."

Continue reading Get Sculpted for Spring

Obesity Can Cut 3-10 Years From Your Life

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apple
When it comes to eating a healthy diet and staying fit, what's your biggest motivator? Is it feeling good? Staying active? Fitting into your jeans? Maybe it's all of the above. Those are all good reasons for staying fit, but here's maybe the biggest one of all: Being obese could cut your life by 10 years. I don't know about you, but I'm suddenly feeling very motivated.

This finding comes from an analysis of 57 different studies that included almost 900,000 people. The short story is this:

  • A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
  • Death rates were lowest among people with a BMI of 23 to 24.
  • A BMI of 30 to 35 could potentially take two to four years off life.
  • Being morbidly obese, or having a BMI of 40 to 45, could shorten life by eight to 10 years.
  • Being underweight, with a BMI of less than 22.5, was also associated with a shorter lifespan.

Continue reading Obesity Can Cut 3-10 Years From Your Life

Fat is Your Fault, Lil Kim and Healthy Fast Food - Week in Review - March 16 to March 22

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week in reviewMeghan McCain is a size 8, and she thinks that in the world of politics, size should be irrelevant. What do you think about Laura Ingraham's plus-sized barb?

Cardio: Are you a compensator or a non-compensator? Knowing the difference might just help you lose weight.

Sweaty active wear can cause your skin to break out. Kristen's got tips to help you say bye bye to bacne for good.

In a poor economy, stress levels are higher than ever. Laura knows your life may be changing in ways you don't like, so she's got some ideas to help you weather the storm in a healthy way.

Lil Kim's strutting her stuff on "Dancing with the Stars," and it's inspiring her to live a healthier lifestyle. Find out what changes Kim is making.

Diet-Blog thinks "The Biggest Loser" is overrated, but Bev disagrees. She says the show's positive focus and fitness tips make it a worthwhile watch. What do you think?

Howard Schneider shares some tough talk, and Bev agrees: If you're overweight, it's nobody's fault but your own.

Fitz talked fitness with American Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson and SATC's naked shower guy Gilles Marini, and they dished about their stint on "Dancing with the Stars."

Healthy fast food -- is it an oxymoron? Not quite, but fast food restaurants have not quite yet perfected the healthy meal either.
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Weight Loss In A Bottle

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Liz Neporent is a diet and fitness expert and author of 12 fitness bestsellers. She regularly appears on national TV programs and is the president of Wellness 360, a New-York based wellness provider.

Before I start this post I just want to say: I do not condone excessive drinking. I am not recommending drinking as a health strategy. And I am certainly not telling you to use drinking as a weight loss strategy. I mention the body of research below just to demonstrate, once again, what a complex issue obesity really is.

Some recent studies have been finding some interesting associations between alcohol consumption and body weight. For example, researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated with the number of drinks individuals consumed on the days they drank. In the study, men and women who drank the smallest quantity of alcohol -- one drink per drinking day -- with the greatest frequency -- three to seven days per week -- had the lowest BMI's, while those who infrequently consumed the greatest quantity had the highest BMIs. The authors suggested several possible reasons for the observed associations of both quantity and frequency of alcohol use with BMI.

Continue reading Weight Loss In A Bottle

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How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

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You might be confused about just how much time you need to put in at the gym. Do you really have to log a full hour each day? Or will 30 minutes a few times a week cut it? Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the recommendations vary based on your goals: Maybe you simply want to reap the health benefits of activity, or perhaps you're trying to prevent weight gain. Or -- if you're like many Americans -- you're trying to lose weight. The American College of Sports Medicine just released new exercise guidelines, which are a little more intense than the last batch they put out in 2001, but more clearly outline just how much time you should spend working out.

To Protect Your Health and Prevent Disease: The ACSM recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to reduce your risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. That's 30 minutes five days a week. And by moderate intensity, they mean your workout should be hard enough that you're breathing deeply and feeling fatigued. You should still be able to talk, though you'd prefer not to, and although you're tired, you feel like you could complete the entire workout at this pace.

To Peel Off Pounds: At least 250 minutes per week provides the most significant weight loss, according to studies. You can spread that out over five days at 50 minutes a session; or you can plan six workout sessions, each about 42 minutes long.

Continue reading How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Tummy Tuck - If Only It Came in a Bottle?

Filed under: ,

woman's bellyYou could spend thousands on an abdominoplasty or $130 for a bottle of Rodial tummy tuck cream. "Clinically proven to reduce the abdominal area by up to 2 centimeters in 8 weeks," with no diet and exercise, could this be the product of the century? Or not. Call me jaded, but phrases such as "stomach flattening micro fibers" make me a bit skeptical. "CafeMom" weighs in.

Not willing to shell out $130? Try the tried and true route -- diet and exercise. AOL Health has tips to get you on your way to a flat belly.

Healthy Fast Food - How Easy Is It?

Filed under: ,


Welcome to Walking the Walk, a feature that takes a deeper look at commonly shared diet and fitness advice. Every other week, I'll choose one piece of advice and practice it for seven days. Then I'll report back on what I discovered about making it work in real life and how it affected my own personal fitness -- and how it ultimately can affect your own efforts.

In the war on obesity, fast food is usually our biggest target. Cheap and convenient, it's a popular choice. But it's fatty, salty menu choices don't make it a healthy choice.

Some people work hard to never step foot in a fast food restaurant, but I don't think that's a realistic goal for the general population; statistics show that half of Americans' meals aren't cooked at home. Though I think we would all be better off reducing our takeout meals, I think it's also important that we educate ourselves on how to eat fast food without downing 1,000 calories in a sitting.

To their credit, fast food restaurants have started offering healthier options to their customers. Long John Silver's is the latest with their Freshside Grille menu. My goal this week is to eat one healthy meal at a fast food restaurant each day this week, to find out exactly how realistic healthy fast food really is.
Permalink | Email this | Comments

Meghan McCain's Not Fat and Daisy Fuentes Isn't Skinny - March 13 to March 19

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If you're looking for fitness inspiration, why not look to the stars? Each week, we round up some of the best celebrity fitness stories for you. Many will motivate you to hit the gym and eat healthfully, while some ... well, some can be viewed more as cautionary tales. But no matter what, you're going to be entertained!

Jessicas Weighty Rejection and Isla's Poor Trainer

    Jessica Simpson
    Oh, the Jessica Simpson weight-loss stories just won't quit. Even though it seems like half of Hollywood is stepping up to defend her, there are others who are finding a different way to "help." Find out which big weight-loss offer she rejected here.

    Getty Images

    Katy Perry
    She might be active in her shows on stage, and it's got to be hard work getting into some of those costumes, but Katy Perry hates to exercise. However, there is one type of exercise she jumps right into -- Find out what it is here.

    Getty Images

    Sienna Miller
    Sienna Miller looks great now, sure, but will that always be the case? Doesn't really sound like it -- she's nixing exercise because she compares it to plastic surgery.

    Getty Images

    Isla Fisher
    Here's another slim starlet who's not willing to hit the gym -- how do we get those genes? Anyway, Isla reportedly was so bad about her diet and exercise routine that she nearly made her trainer cry.

    Getty Images

    Bar Refaeli
    The Sports Illustrated cover girl has a simply incredible body, no doubt. Want to know how she keeps it looking that way? FitSugar has the scoop.

    Getty Images

    Christina Ricci
    After battling weight gain and anorexia, Christina Ricci is looking better than ever. And, when we chatted with the stunning starlet, she told us how she keeps herself so slender and healthy.

    Getty Images

Permalink | Email this | Comments

NeuroActive Bike - Hop on for a Brainy Body Workout

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Aging is hard enough on memory, let alone your waistline. Suddenly you can't find your car keys, which you so desperately need to get to the gym. But now you can take mind-body training to a new level with NeuroActive's new training bike developed by Brain Centers America (BCA).

Instead of sitting stationary with Sudoku, pedal away while completing up to 22 brain-stimulating exercises that sharpen 16 cognitive functions, more than any brain program on the market. Brain exercises can increase cognitive function by 20 percent and improve processing speed and memory -- rewinding your brain back to its days of peak performance. Right now the bike is only available at select Lady of America health clubs in Florida. Why is a women's health chain the first one to feature this bike? Mommy fog?

Hop on BCA's brain gym and you might stop misplacing your car keys, and build muscle and cardiovascular endurance, too. Beats my brainless treadmill habit of watching "The View." I just wish BCA would develop a NeuroActive spinning bike -- I need that barking spin instructor to get my heart rate sky high.

Travel Active - Staying Fit While On the Go

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hotel fitness roomSpring break, Memorial Day weekend and summer vacation season are all fast approaching. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, it's important to keep active when you're on the road.

Staying active while traveling not only wards off unwanted road-warrior weight gain, it can help manage the stress you might feel from the change in your routine, it will keep you energized so you can see all the sights (or attend all the business meetings ... blech), it will help you get a good night's sleep and it may even help keep your digestive tract regular while it's managing all those away-from-home meals.

Luckily, staying fit while on the go isn't as difficult as it might seem. Some tips:

  • Choose your hotel wisely. Call around and pick a hotel that has adequate fitness facilities. A pool and a well-equipped fitness room will make your workouts convenient and easy.
  • Walk it out. Pack some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking shoes. If the area outside the door of your hotel isn't ideal for walking, just ask the front desk staff for suggestions. They may have great ideas for interesting neighborhoods, parks or rail trails just waiting for you to explore. You can also use "Prevention's" walking tools to map out a route ahead of time.
  • Pack some portable fitness. There are lots of fitness tools you can pack that don't take up too much room in your suitcase. Try a jump rope, resistance bands, yoga pose flash cards, AquaBells(R) or sliding discs.
  • Be a day tripper. If your hotel doesn't have a fitness center, call around to area gyms and see if they have a day pass. And many national chain gyms (such as Gold's Gym and Bally's) let members work out at any of their fitness facilities.
  • Choose active outings. Look for active attractions while you're on the road. Fitz has some great ideas for fit vacations.

What are your tips for staying fit while traveling?

Recession Pounds - Do Men Like Women With a Little Meat?

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couple kissingHey ladies! Are you trying to cut costs at the grocery store by buying low-cost junk like mac and cheese? It's not going to do your health or your hips any favors, but it just might get a date.

A 2005 study found that during times of "resource scarcity," men's preferences for female body types change. So exactly what does that mean? Are recession-weary men drooling over Botticelli-like rounded bellies and ample hips? Nothing quite so drastic. But men in the study did tend to find women who were a few pounds heavier more sexually attractive.

Researchers set up four situations to see what men find hot; two variables made the guys feel financially insecure while the other two variables tested them when they were physically hungry. The men who felt financially insecure chose women who were about two pounds heavier than those chosen by men who felt financially stable. And hungry guys tended to go for women who were about three pounds heavier than those chosen by men who were full.

Continue reading Recession Pounds - Do Men Like Women With a Little Meat?

Yerba Mate - Be Wary of This 'Cleaner' Buzz

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yerba mate gourdI first saw yerba mate tea in 2005 when my South American friends from The University of Florida's married/student graduate housing sipped the tea from tiny straws (bombillas) out of a gourd at poolside. I'd wonder what in the heck they were drinking, it looked more like an exotic drink from a smooth coconut than a favorite tea concoction popular in their native Brazil.

Available in tea bags, loose leaf and even cold, bottled blends, yerba mate tea is becoming more mainstream, touted for its all-natural, jitter-free buzz and high antioxidant content. Yerba mate may be sold as an all-natural stimulant alternative to famed Red Bull, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily any healthier. Researchers caution yerba mate may better be enjoyed in moderation than by the multiple daily gourd-full. Studies are inconclusive as to the health benefits of this tea, which contains twice the caffeine as black tea, but only half that of coffee. In fact, one human study even showed heavy yerba mate tea drinkers had a significantly higher risk of some cancers.

Cleaner buzz? I tried a yerba mate energy drink last year that delivered The Super Jitters, but I'm caffeine-sensitive.

Anyone out there tried yerba mate? Tell us what you think.

Giveaway Reminder - Core Rhythms DVD Set

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core rhythms DVD packThe right workout video can make a huge difference in how you spend time in front of your TV. Will you spend this evening mindlessly watching reruns of "Law & Order" while snacking, or will you be working up a sweat?

The Core Rhythms Dance Exercise Program Starter Pack is sure to get you up and moving. Probably laughing, too. And now, you have a chance to win it. You only have until Friday at 5 p.m. ET to enter, so don't waste time. Head on over to the original post now to leave a comment and get a chance to win a set for yourself. We'll be selecting four winners, so your chances of winning are pretty darn good.
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