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9 Things You Shouldn't Do in the Loo

Source: 9 Things You Shouldn't Do in the Loo

There are plenty of healthy things you can do in the bathroom like stretch in the shower, lube up on sunscreen while naked to protect every inch of your skin, and floss to prevent gingivitis. There are also plenty of things you shouldn't do in the ladies room:

  1. Drink water from the shower head: Not only have studies found that shower heads are breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria, but the hot water itself is also not safe to drink.The hot water heater is also a place where bacteria thrives.
  2. Keep the shower curtain closed: Mildew and mold love dark, wet surfaces, and breathing them in can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Aside from letting the curtain air out, you can prevent mold and mildew by running a fan or opening a window, allowing air to circulate.
  3. Flush with the lid up: Germs and other particles can become airborne when you flush, so limit the amount misting into the air by lowering the lid before flushing.
  4. Store your toothbrush on the counter: Although toothbrush holders look neat and tidy next to the sink, it's healthier to put your toothbrushes away in the medicine cabinet or vanity drawer. Why? Every time you flush the toilet, your toothbrush gets sprayed with bacteria. Even if you put the lid down as suggested above, microorganisms can still be ejected into the air and land on your toothbrush. So gross. Keep your mouth protected by drying off the bristles after each use and putting your toothbrush away.
  5. Use Q-tips inside your ears: The label clearly states, "Do not insert swab into ear canal. Entering the ear canal could cause injury." Along with potentially rupturing the membrane, the swab is likely to push wax deeper into the ear canal, where it will need to be professionally removed. Using cotton swabs isn't even necessary since earwax naturally moves toward the opening of the ear canal and is sloughed off during daily routines and showers.

More from FitSugar: 8 Germiest Public Places to Avoid

  1. Dry your hands with a hand towel at someone else's house: If several guests use the same hand towel after washing their hands, you're just passing their germs back onto your clean hands. Use paper towels or tissues instead so you know they're germ-free.
  2. Use the same contact lens case for more than three months: Bacteria builds up on the plastic, which can transfer to your contact lenses and cause eye infections. Replace your case every three months(at least). In between replacements, disinfect the case after every use by rinsing it with your sterile contact lens solution. Then leave it open to air dry to prevent bacteria from growing.
  3. Wipe from back to front: Helping to pass bacteria from your rectum to your urethra is a great way to sign yourself up for a UTI or other infection. Keep your lady business healthy by wiping from front to back.
  4. Douche to cure a yeast infection: Cleaning your lady parts seems like it would wash away the yeast, but it actually does the opposite and helps the infection spread by pushing it up through your cervix and into your uterus, making it a million times worse. If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor to confirm, and he'll prescribe medicine to relieve your uncomfortable symptoms.

The Exercises Celebs Love to Hate (Or Just Hate!)

Source: The Exercises Celebs Love to Hate (Or Just Hate!)

Are you a yoga fanatic but can't stand the treadmill? Or maybe you Zumba through the week but wouldn't set foot in a Bar Method class. These celebs are the same: they hate certain types of exercise, and aren't afraid to show it. Check out the exercises these stars just can't stand!

Related Content:
5 Celebrities Who Hang Around on TRX
Surf's Up For These Fit Celebs
To Cheat or Not to Cheat: What's Your Celeb Diet Personality?

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Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad doesn't mince words: she hates the gym. "I'm just not a fan of the gym," Lauren has said. "In fact, I hate it. I understand loving the feeling you get after working out all those endorphins. But going there? It's the worst." So what does she do instead? LA girl Lauren tries to get outside as much as possible to work out; she spends her weekends hiking, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne famously became a fitness fanatic through learning to dance on DWTS, but she still admits to hating certain workouts — especially running. But that doesn't stop Kelly; she still pushes herself on the treadmill with the help of a tip from her trainer, who introduced her to intervals. "I hate running, but my fitness trainer showed me a different way to do it," she recently said. "You run for a minute on and off and before you know it you've done half an hour on the treadmill without even realizing."

Emma Stone

Emma Stone

Emma Stone recently signed up with rumored boyfriend Andrew Garfield's trainer while they both got fit for their upcoming film The Amazing Spider-Man, but there's another trainer that you won't find her busting moves for: celeb favorite Tracy Anderson. Of the trainer's fitness program, Emma recently told Vanity Fair, "It's like: Eat this diet, which is a palm-size piece of chicken and some beans, and work out two hours a day for the rest of your life." Instead, Emma turns to weight training and Pilates to keep fit.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore likes peace and quiet. What she doesn't like? Aggressive gym workouts. She recently told Shape: "My girlfriend was like, "Let's go spinning!" I went and was like, "Oh my God, my head hurts from the yelling and yelling and yelling." It was too much stimulation for me. My friend loved it because it got her energized and excited, but for me I just got overwhelmed." Instead, Julianne does Ashtanga yoga three times a week and runs. "I really like yoga; I enjoy the actual doing of it, so it doesn't feel like the agony of the gym felt like to me," she says.

Marissa Miller

Marissa Miller

Unlike Julianne Moore, Marissa Miller can't get enough of sweaty bouts at a gym. "I've tried Pilates and yoga, but they're a little too meditative for me," she has said. "I go to a down-and-dirty boxing gym. I don't want to worry about how I look or whether I'm wearing the perfect outfit. For me, it's about focusing for an hour and a half on my workout."

Are hypoallergenic dogs just a myth? Bad news for Bo Obama.

First daughters' best friend Bo is definitely cute, but is he allergy-proof? (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

First daughters' best friend Bo is definitely cute, but is he allergy-proof? (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Myth:  Bo Obama, The White House Dog, is hypoallergenic. 

When the Obamas brought the Portuguese Water dog into their family fold in 2009, his so-called "hypoallergenic" breed was a selling point for allergy-prone first daughter Malia. Now Bo may be riding on his cuteness, rather than his breed's allergy-friendly label. 

Reality: "Hypoallergenic" dogs may not be allergy-proof.

A new study published in theAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy suggests that "hypoallergenic" dog breeds don't make a difference forpeople with dog allergies. 

"We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen," says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study in a statement to press. "The idea that you can buy a certain breed of dog and think it will cause less allergy problems for a person already dog-allergic is not borne out by our study."

In what's believed to be the first study of its kind, Henry Ford Hospital researchers collected dust samples from 173 homes with a variety of 60 different dog breeds. Eleven of those breeds fell into the "hypoallergenic" category as specified by breeders. But when researchers analyzed their allergen samples, they found no real statistical difference between the dog breeds. While the study only looked at one type of major dog allergen, and the study faced variables in terms of time spent with each animal, the research suggests the "hypoallergenic dog" may just be another Bigfoot. 

Myth: Dogs who shed more are more likely to cause allergies.
Reality: Pet fur isn't necessarily linked to pet allergens.

Several breeds, including the
 Obamas' Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzers and Poodles, have been given the hypoallergenic stamp because they shed less. Christina Duffney-Carey, spokesperson for American Kennel Club, tells the New York Times, "there are many breeds with consistent and predictable coats that we suggest for allergy sufferers. These breeds have nonshedding coats, which produce less dander."

But fur isn't necessarily the purveyor of pet allergens. This new study conducted by Henry Ford Hospital's team of researchers looked specifically at the allergen Can F1. 

"Can F1, one of the major dog allergens, is found in dogs' saliva," says Ganesa Wegienka and epidemiologist and one of the co-authors of the study.  "I think that people think that allergies have to do with a dog's coat or dander, but I'm not sure how [saliva] relates to shedding and dander."

In fact, a dog's saliva can trigger many of the major symptoms that pet allergy sufferers face, like itchy, watery eyes, stuffy noses, hives or even exacerbation in asthma sufferers.

Myth: All pet-related allergies are caused by pet allergens.
Reality: It's not always your pet's fault.

Sometimes an allergic reaction to other environmental factors causes a deceptively pet-provoked attack. "Say for example, your child is allergic to peanuts, and they're visiting with neighbor's dog who just had a peanut biscuit, contact with the dog's saliva could trigger an attack,"  explains Wegienka. "Another example is if the dog is out running in the grass and you have grass allergies it could be the environmental contaminate on the fur, not actually an allergic reaction to a pet allergen." Wegienka suggests getting tested for specific types of allergies to identify the symptom triggers, before you blame your pooch. 

Myth: People with allergies should now ditch their hypoallergenic dog.
Reality: Pet allergies are treatable. 

Wegienka acknowledges that allergies can be very serious, but they're also manageable with the help of a board-certified allergist.  "They'll take a history, identify the allergies, help develop a plan for managing your symptoms, or an avoidant strategy," she says.

For many people, an allergy shot does the trick. "They may take up to 6 months to see an initial symptom change, but they do work for many people." 

Another reason to keep your pet around: They may be good for warding off allergies. Wegienka and her fellow researchers also found that infants who live with dogs and cats may be less likely to develop allergies to those pets later in life.  One theory is that early exposure builds up immunity to that type of pet. 

As for Bo Obama, Malia's best friend and possible allergy agitator, Wegienka isn't suggesting impeachment. "I'm sure they have access to the best healthcare and their children have seen board-certified allergists," says Wegienka. "Dogs are wonderful and I hope the family enjoys him."

Relaxation drinks edge into an amped-up beverage market

By Sarah B. Weir 

(Photo: amanaimagesRF/Getty Images)

(Photo: amanaimagesRF/Getty Images)

More from Green Picks blog

What goes up, must come down. After the multi-billion dollar success of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Rockstar, it was inevitable someone would try to carve out a mellow new corner of the "functional beverage" market (which also includes sports drinks, vitamin supplement waters and juices, and ready-to-drink teas).

Non-alcoholic drinks that supposedly promote relaxation are sometimes called "downer drinks" by fans. Critics say that some of these products are promoted as if they mimic the effects of illegal drugs. With names like "Mary Jane" (a winking reference to marijuana) and "Drank," which is suspiciously close to "Purple Drank," slang for a street mix of codeine cough syrup, hard candies, and soda, it's hard to disagree. Milder brand names include Dream Water and the Canadian brand, Slow Cow (which has consciously positioned itself as an antidote to Red Bull).

Branding aside, do relaxation drinks even take the edge off? And, if so, are the ingredients safe for general consumption?

The main active ingredients in relaxation drinks are herbal supplements, amino acids, and hormones. The U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health offers the following information on the most common ingredients:

Kava root

There is some scientific evidence that kava, a plant that comes from islands in the South Pacific, has an anti-anxiety effect. However, it is banned in a number of countries because it has been linked to serious liver problems and even death.


Some research has shown valerian, an herb, to be a useful and safe sleep aid when taken in the correct dose over the short term. It has not been proven to be an effective anti-anxiety supplement.


Extract of passionflower, a plant originally discovered in Peru, is considered safe taken in small doses over the short term. It is not recommended for long-term use and can have some unpleasant side effects such as dizziness and vomiting. There is some evidence to show it is effective in countering anxiety.


Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and is used in treating sleep disorders and jet lag. While unregulated by the FDA, it is a powerful substance and should only be taken with the guidance of a health care professional.


This amino acid is derived from green tea. Some research shows that it has a calming effect and also shortens the duration it takes to fall asleep. It is considered safe for adult consumption.

Use relaxation drinks with caution

Although most of these substances are considered generally safe for consumption, companies producing relaxation drinks are unregulated and may not be using appropriate doses or standards.

As with energy drinks, by classifying their products as "dietary supplements," relaxation beverage makers avoid the restrictions placed on soda and medicine — both of which are regulated by the FDA. It is nearly impossible to determine if a serving is providing a safe and/or effective amount of an active ingredient that, despite being "natural," can operate like a drug in the body.

While some of these drinks may indeed have a calming or tranquillizing effect, there are a lot of unknowns, and consumers should be aware of possible health risks — especially if combined with medications or other mood altering beverages such as energy drinks or alcohol. The Mayo Clinic recommends that pregnant women and children should not consume them at all.

How to Fat-Proof Your Home

by Karen Asp

Though you may not realize it, your home could be your biggest dieting derailment. And considering all the different temptations we're up against when we leave the house each day, that's the last thing we need. Below, learn how to make your living space a diet-friendly zone, with tips for setting up the dining room table, your closet and more.

In the Kitchen/Dining Room

Nix the tunes: Music may add atmosphere, but research published in the journal Appetite shows that it encourages people to linger longer at the table, which often leads to extra eating, says study author Nanette Stroebele, PhD. Other studies have found that fast and loud music is especially problematic because it makes you chew more quickly.

Keep the extras away: At meals, keep serving dishes several feet away from you (on an island or counter) and you could end up eating about 10 percent less, according to Cornell University research. The reason: If you have to get up for a second helping, you're less likely to bother. At the very least, you'll pause to consider how much you've already eaten.

Hang a mirror: People who chow down with a mirror in view eat smaller amounts of unhealthy foods than those who don't see their reflection, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Seeing yourself makes you more self-aware, so it's harder to ignore that little voice inside your head that's saying you probably shouldn't finish that jumbo plate of pasta, says study coauthor Brad J. Bushman, PhD. Photo: Thinkstock

Make healthy eating easier by stocking your pantry with good-for-you essentials.

In the Bedroom

Rearrange your closet: Hang a piece of form-fitting clothing toward the front of your closet as a visual reminder of why you're being careful with your eating, says psychologist Judith S. Beck, PhD, author of The Beck Diet Solution. As you shed weight, get rid of clothes that become significantly too big. "Keeping your 'fat clothes' around is like telling yourself that you don't know if you'll be able to keep up your progress," which could lead to a backslide, says Dr. Beck.

Cool it: Getting enough sleep is crucial to staying at a healthy weight. In one study, people who slept for just 4 hours a night gained 3 pounds in 11 days. Researchers suspect that because they were up more, they ate more. Not getting enough sleep also disrupts hormones that regulate your hunger signals and metabolism. One easy tip for better rest: Turn down the thermostat. Keeping the room cool helps core body temperature drop. "This signals the release of melatonin, a hormone that's crucial for sleep," says Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet PlanPhoto: Thinkstock

Toss your TV...or at least move it out of the bedroom: Research conducted by Suzanne Phelan, PhD, an associate professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, shows that people who lost weight (and kept it off for five years) had fewer TVs in their home than those who were overweight—probably because more TV sets means more time watching and less time being active. And sleep experts say that watching before bed stimulates your nervous system, making it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Does your sleep routine need a makeover?

In the Family Room

Place exercise equipment in view: You'll be less likely to meld into the sofa cushions if there's some exercise equipment in sight, says Dr. Phelan, so get that treadmill out of the basement. No room (or don't own any big exercise equipment)? Free weights and resistance bands can easily fit into magazine racks or baskets. Squeeze in a set of biceps curls or triceps dips (use your sofa) during commercials. Photo: Thinkstock

Declutter: The tidier your home, the more likely you are to be physically active, according to research from Indiana University. One possible reason: Cleaning up burns calories. Clutter can also make it difficult to think clearly and focus—which means you're more likely to find yourself mindlessly munching in front of the TV, says Stacey Platt, author ofWhat's a Disorganized Person to Do?

Stock up on TV alternatives: Active video games (like the Wii Fit Plus) or even old-fashioned games like Twister encourage everyone to get off the couch more often. And when you do tune in, consider keeping your hands busy (so you're not constantly snacking) by knitting or scrapbooking.

5 Great Reasons to Never Do Another Sit-Up Again

By Paul John Scott, DETAILS

1. Contrary to popular belief, sit-ups don't protect your back. Studies show that building static back strength is the key to preventing injury.

2. Sit-ups and crunches actually compress your spine more than is allowed by occupational-safety standards.

3. You risk even more damage if you do the move of the moment: a sit-up on a physio ball. Hyperextending your back below its midline is a no-no.

4. Flexing forward at the waist is also a bad idea. Your abs were designed to be a rigid hoop to support your spine.

5. Sit-ups are a far less effective abs exercise than planks, which work your six-pack and obliques up to 25 percent more efficiently than sit-ups or crunches.

Read more: How To Get Six-Pack Abs (Without A Single Sit-Up)

10 Workout Secrets from Industry Experts

Skipping breakfast? Bad idea.

Skipping breakfast? Bad idea.

Bari Lieberman, SELF magazine

Nobody is perfect. And neither are our workouts. From the fitness hangover solution to what not to wear at the gym and how to avoid being "that" girl at the gym, 10 fitness pros (and me) give us their "I wish I'd known sooner" secrets for having a better, more effective and enjoyable workout. So you don't have to learn the hard way!

1. Keep It Simple
Tip from Brynn Jinnett, Founder of the Refine Method
I was working out in a hotel gym and a man was trying to perform some strange acrobatics that involved a kettle bell and a wobble board. A guy walked by and said "KISS, man!" Keep It Simple, Stupid. Eat clean, work out hard. Rinse, repeat.

2. Take Off the Makeup
Tip from Tara Stiles, Founder of Strala Yoga and personal yoga instructor to Deepak Chopra
Leave the makeup in your makeup bag. Go to the gym and do yoga with a clean face! Your pores will thank you. I used to be one of those girls who wore "just enough make up to think I looked like I didn't have makeup on" at the gym and at yoga. I did it for years, concealer, powder, light blush, and mascara, and one day, simply because I was running late, I actually washed my face, put moisturizer on, and left for yoga. And it felt great! My pores could sweat and I felt great. I could use a towel and not worry about getting makeup all over it, or my clothes. Let's make it a revolution! Most guys I know like girls looking natural, and it is a whole lot better for your body to sweat sans makeup. Plus, it is simply liberating to not wear a drop of makeup and enjoy a sweaty yoga class.

Related: 12 Ways to Think Yourself Slim

3. But if You Feel Like You Have to Wear It... At Least Use Vaseline
Tip from Kristin McGee, Yoga and Fitness Expert
I usually never wear makeup if I work out at the gym, especially first thing in the morning, but I had my makeup on for a meeting at one of the gyms I teach at and stayed to do the moving stairs after for a quick session. I jumped off and ran to teach my next private yoga client and realized she kept staring at me funny the whole way through.

After our private, I used her restroom and noticed I had total racoon eyes! My mascara had run all down below my eyelids and I looked horrible! I told my makeup artist friend about this and here's the tip he gave me, "To avoid make up meltdown mascara under the eye, rub a little Vaseline under your eyes when you go for a run or do a heavy workout then use a q-tip to gently glide it off and reapply some concealer and you're good to go." It totally works and I realize many woman have to sneak in their workouts midday or after work and this does the trick.

4. Muscle's Don't Need "Recovery Days"

Tip from Kate Albarelli, Founder of Figure 4 at Pure Yoga

It is not true that you have to change up muscle groups every day. A truly effective workout is one that uses the body in its entirety with every muscle group every day. The muscles don't need a "recovery day." In fact, the muscles need to be reworked the next day in order to rid the lactic acid build up and keep the musclefibers firing, thus getting stronger and not atrophying (atrophy sets in 36 hours of not using a muscle).

5. Eat a Big Breakfast

Tip from Keisa Parrish, Instructor at YogaWorks
Eat breakfast...a real one! If you don't eat breakfast all your efforts at the gym are for nothing. I had been working out frequently elliptical-ing and doing yoga, Pilates, but then I hit a plateau. I couldn't drop the last couple of pounds and talked with my mentor and she told me what I just told you. Boy did I see a difference!

6. Put the Magazine and Phone Away

Tip from Alycia Stevenin, Barry's Bootcamp instructor and manager

Here is the best cardio advice that was given to me by my best friend years ago: If you are on a treadmilland you're able to read a magazine or talk on the phone, you are NOT working out hard enough. The key to burning fat on the treadmill is interval training, a mixture of high intensity bursts with low to moderate intensity recoveries. I was able to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks by incorporating this style workout into my daily routine. If you put down that cell phone and crank up the speed you'll be bathing suit ready all year long.

See Also: The Truth About Coconut Water

7. Hungover? Try Cycling

Tip from Ruth Zukerman, Co-Founder of Flywheel

If you partied too much the night before, don't skip the indoor cycling class [or any next day workout] you reserved for the following morning. It's the best hangover cure around! One night I went out to dinner with two friends and as the evening went on it became very apparent that we were all drinking a bit too much. We vowed that we all had to show up for class the next morning. (I was teaching.) We arrived dragging our feet, forced ourselves through it and felt as if we got it out of our systems at the end of class! It was the best plan we could have had!

8. Check Your Deodorant

Tip from Sadie Lincoln, Founder of barre3

Always check underarms after wearing natural deodorant like Tom's. As much as I love it, it is like super glue. I'll never forget raising my arms during a warm up I was teaching (on camera!) and seeing black fluffy balls from my sweatshirt under my arms.

9. Yoga!
Tip from Kristi McNeil, Managing Teacher at Pure Yoga West

One thing I wish I would someone would have told me a long time ago is that a steady yoga practice makes me a stronger athlete. My yoga practice has made my core stronger than it has ever been. The awareness of breathing techniques and how to utilize them has increased my overall endurance and the mind/body connection that yoga encourages helps me to stay on track with my diet and day to day choices.

Tip from Elena Brower, Founder and Co-Owner of Virayoga

I have a promise to myself to practice 15 minutes of yoga every day, so my body stays connected to the movements, my muscles stay lean, and my brain has that time to rest. I wish I would've made this promise to myself sooner. I crafted it when I realized how hypocritical I felt trying to teach my classes having practiced a week ago, or even more. Those 15 minutes keep me strong and long, yes - but they are a way for me to feel proud of myself because I'm keeping my word."

10. Leave a Sports Bra in Your Desk

Tip from Elena Brower, Founder and Co-Owner of Virayoga

My piece of advice- always, always remember to pack a sports bra! There's nothing worse than lugging your workout clothes to work, being pumped for that evening boot camp class and realizing you left your sports bra at home. Leave a clean one as backup at your desk if necessary. And, if all else fails and you find yourself sports bra-less at the gym, skip the bounce-inducing classes and workout on the stair stepper instead.

Photo Credit: Conde Nast Digital Studio

10 Surprising Exercises to Do With a Stability Ball

Conde Nast Digital Studio

Conde Nast Digital Studio

Bari Lieberman, Fit Like Us, SELF Magazine

Did you know that crunches on a stability ball are 38% more effective? Hello summer six-pack! While you've probably seen the stability ball lurking in the corners of the gym, chances are you haven't used it for more than ab crunches.

But the fitness gadget can strengthen more than just your core! New York City-based trainer and owner of TS Fitness Noam Tamir, CSCS, shares 10 stability ball exercises that will tone the entire body, while keeping workouts fun.

"Other then looking like dodge balls for giants the stability ball is a great way to improve proprioception, the sense of your own body relative to outside stimuli and provide a large variety of exercises to challenge both the most physically conditioned and those who are novices to fitness," Noam says. "Along with being fun, research has shown that many exercises performed on a stability ball create a significant increase in muscle activation versus exercises performed on a stable surface."

Related: 12 Ways to Think Yourself Slim

Incorporate these 10 exercises ranging from beginner to advanced for a total-body toner:

1. Plank
The plank is an exercise Noam considers to be one of the "must do" exercises in a fitness program. Its main purpose is to strengthen the core but it challenges the full body as well.
Level: Beginner/intermediate
1. In a kneeling position place your forearms on the ball and extend your legs straight back, balancing on your toes.
2. Make sure your shoulders and elbows are stacked one above the other and keep your back flat.
3. Do 2-3 sets of 30-60 second holds.

2. Plank Pike-Up
A plank pike-up is a progression of the plank requiring the addition of some dynamic movement from the hips. This places even more force on your upper body, challenging your chest, shoulders and triceps along with working all the muscles of your core including the lower back. 
Level: Advanced
1. With your forearms on the ground and your feet on the ball drive your hips straight up as high as you can.
2. Slowly lower them making sure not to hyper extend your back and then repeat.
3. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

3. Push-up with stability ball at your thighs/feet
This push-up requires upper body strength and stability.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
1. In a push-up position with your hands on the ground shoulder width apart, place your thighs/feet on the ball.
2. Lift your body off the ground and keep your core engaged without rounding your back.
3. Slowly lower your chest to the ground by bending your elbows to 90 degrees.
4. Once at the bottom return to the top of the movement and repeat. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.

4. Seated Unilateral Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Weight training exercises can also be performed on the stability ball. A seated unilateral shoulder press focuses on working the deltoids, triceps and core.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
1. Sitting on the stability ball with your core engaged, take one dumbbell hold it at 90 degrees (arm at shoulder height) with your thumb facing inward and your elbow bent 90 degrees.
2. Extend your elbow straight upward your elbow at the top.
3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Do 2-3 sets each side of 10-12 reps.

5. Unilateral Dumbbell Chest Press
The same idea can be used to perform a unilateral chest press, which focuses on the pectorals, anterior deltoids, triceps and core.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
1. With a dumbbell in one hand lie with your back on the stability ball, neck supported by reseting on the ball, and hips forward, with your elbow bent 90 degrees and in line with your chest.
2. With the thumb facing upward, push the dumbbell straight up fully extending the elbow and shoulder.
3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Do 2-3 sets on each side of 10-12 reps.

See Also: The Truth About Coconut Water

6. T, Y and I's
T, Y and I's are an excellent exercise for the muscles of your upper back and core. These three different positions each work different areas of you back. The "T" position is with your arms out to your sides, the "Y" position is with your arms in the shape of a "Y" in front of you, and the "I" position is with your arms straight forward in front of you. You can choose one arm position or circuit through them all.
Level: Beginner/intermediate
1. Lie face down on the ball with your arms stretched forward. (Just the torso will be on the ball.) Keep toes down and knees bent, but lift your knees slightly off the floor.
2. Tighten your abdominal muscles and try to lift your arms out to the sides of your body (into a T position).
3. Then slowly move your arms forward (into a Y position) and then straight out overhead (into an I position).
4. Maintain a neutral spine with strong abdominals and shoulders out of the ears. Do 2-3 sets of 3-4 circuits of each exercise or 10-12 reps of each exercise.

7. 1.5 Wall Squats
Wall squats are a great and basic exercise to work your lower body including the quads, glutes and core.
Level: Beginner/intermediate
1. Place a stability ball against the wall and the small of your back.
2. Make sure your feet are hip distance from each other and slightly in front or your body so you are leaning against the ball.
3. Slowly bend your knees making sure they do not go past the toes and slide your body down the ball.
Your thighs should be parallel to the floor before you return to your starting position.
4. Now here's the kicker: once you get up half way return to the bottom and then do the full movement to the top. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

8. Single Leg Wall Squat
A more advanced version of the wall squat is a single leg wall squat.
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
1. Lean against the ball against the wall and extend one foot out and make sure it doesn't touch the ground while balancing on the standing leg.
2. Slowly bend the knee you are standing on, making sure it does not go past your toes and slide your body down the ball.
3. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor before you return to your starting position. Do 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps.
9. Leg curls
Used to strengthen the hamstrings, glutes and core.
Level: Beginner/Intermediate
1. Lie with your back on the floor and your legs bent with feet on top of the ball.
2. Lift your hips off the ground, pushing down on the ball.
3. Slowly roll the ball out by straightening your legs.
4. Once the legs are straight return the starting position. Keep the hips off the ground until the set has been completed. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.

10. Single Leg Bridge
This exercise focused on the hamstring, glutes and core.
Level: Advanced
1. Lie with your back on the floor and one leg bent with the foot on top of the ball while the other leg is straight in the air.
2. Push down with the leg on the ball lifting your hips into the air. The hip should be parallel with the thigh.
3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Do 1-2 sets of 10-12 reps.

How many calories do you really burn when you exercise? You'd be surprised

By Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.

A lot of people seem surprised by how few calories they actually burn when they exercise compared to how quickly they can eat the same number of calories. In one recent study, participants overestimated their calorie burn by three to four times what they actually burned! What's more, because they thought they burned more than they did, they ate more—as much as three times what they actually burned.

That's why I don't use my my three-mile walk or run, which burns about 300 calories, as an excuse to reach for a 300-calorie snack (for example, two small, 1-ounce squares of dark chocolate and 1 ounce (about 23) salted almonds) when I arrive home.

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To stick to my calorie goals, I think of my daily calorie allotment like a checkbook. The calories I burn in a day are my balance (and how active I am dictates how many calories I can eat). During the day I mentally subtract estimates of the calories I eat. If I end the day with a zero balance, I maintain my weight. If I give in to one of my weaknesses (like a larger bowl of ice cream) or I don't get my exercise, I'll likely overdraw my balance.

When that happens, I do two things the following days to avoid gaining weight: eat a little less and exercise more. It's a strategy that works, too: in a study of over 5,000 people who lost weight and kept it off, 94 percent of them were physically active—and most for about an hour each day.

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So how can you calculate your daily calorie balance? Here's a simple formula to estimate the number of calories you need—without taking into account the extra calories you can burn while exercising—to maintain your weight: Multiply your weight in pounds times 12.

(This may vary depending on a few things like the amount of muscle mass you have—muscle burns more calories than fat—and your age; as most people's calorie needs decline with age because they lose muscle over time. Still it's a good starting point.)

Now estimate how many calories you burn while exercising: I like to use a rough guide of 100 calories per mile you walk or run.

Calories Burned in 10 Minutes (values are based on a 150-pound person):

  • Bicycling, leisurely 10mph: 45 calories
  • Bicycling, 10-12 mph (light): 68 calories
  • Bicycling, mountain (strenuous): 97 calories
  • Canoeing/rowing for pleasure: 40 calories
  • Football or baseball, playing catch: 28 calories
  • Gardening: 57 calories
  • Golf, pulling clubs: 57 calories
  • Golf, power cart: 40 calories
  • Health Club stair machine/treadmill: 102 calories
  • Household chores, light: 28 calories
  • Household chores, moderate: 45 calories
  • Jog/walk combination: 68 calories
  • Jogging, general: 80 calories
  • Running, 5 mph, 12-minute mile: 91 calories
  • Soccer, casual: 80 calories
  • Stretching or yoga: 28 calories
  • Swimming leisurely (not laps): 68 calories
  • Swimming laps, freestyle: 80 calories
  • Tennis, doubles: 68 calories
  • Walking, 3 mph, moderate pace: 37 calories
  • Walking, very brisk pace: 57 calories
  • Water aerobics: 45 calories
  • Weight lifting, moderate: 34 calories

If you're trying to lose weight, you should aim to burn 1,000 calories a week. But more is even better. Those 5,000 successful losers I mentioned above reported burning an average of 2,800 calories per week. Other experts recommend exercising at least 45 to 60 minutes per day—to both lose weight and to keep it off.

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One more way to increase the calories you burn is with lifestyle changes. The goal is to move as much as you can every day. Most of us have sedentary jobs and a recent study found that this translates to about 120 to 140 fewer calories burned each day. You can boost that number with a few tricks:

• Walk down the hall instead of e-mailing a colleague.
• Use the restroom on another floor in your office building and take the stairs to get there.
• Walk with friends at lunch.

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How do you keep your calories in balance?

By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., for EatingWell Magazine