New Sign of Sleep Deprivation: Compulsive Facebook Checking

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It’s no secret that your late-night social media habit can interfere with your rest. But did you ever suspect your daytime Facebook use could be related to the quality of your Z’s?

A new study, to be presented this spring, suggests that browsing your feed a few dozen times a day could be a symptom of sleep deprivation. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, analyzed the activities of a group of 76 undergrads and found that those who weren’t logging enough sleep at night were logging more time on the social-networking site during the day.

RELATED: 30 Sleep Hacks for Your Most Restful Night Ever

Over the course of one week, informatics professor Gloria Mark, PhD, and her team gathered computer and smartphone data from the study participants with special software. The students also completed a sleep survey each morning and night; and throughout the week, the researchers polled them on their moods, how engaged they felt with their work, and how difficult they perceived various tasks to be.

After the researchers accounted for gender, age, work loads, and deadlines, they discovered a direct link between chronic lack of sleep, worsening mood and productivity, and increased web browsing, including Facebook checking.  They also found that the exhausted subjects shifted their attention from one screen to the next more often than the well-rested students.

RELATED: 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” Mark explained in a press release. “If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.” Another finding to note: Sleep-deprived students said they felt that social media helped keep them energized.

If you catch yourself compulsively toggling back and forth to Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat, it can’t hurt to start hitting the hay earlier. Pretty soon you may find you don’t need a social media fix just to stay alert.


This Is the Best Way to Protect Against Mosquitos

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Whether you live in a warm-weather climate, are planning a tropical vacation, or are just stocking up early for the summer, choosing spray-on insect repellent over “wearable” devices will give you the best protection against mosquitos, says a new study. The research tested the effectiveness of 10 commercial products against Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito that carries Zika and other viruses.

Sprays that contain DEET and PMD (the chemical name for the oil of lemon eucalyptus) took top honors, say researchers from New Mexico State University. That was no big surprise, since these ingredients are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as effective at preventing mosquito bites.

Other products—including mosquito bracelets, a wearable sonic repeller, and a citronella candle—were significantly less effective.

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For the study, published this week in the Journal of Insect Science, human volunteers wore or used the products, one at a time, in an enclosed space near a cage containing female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. After 15 minutes, researchers noted the mosquitoes’ locations—either close to or far away from the human subject—to see how attracted they were (or weren’t) to the person.

The five spray-on repellents that were tested all provided some protection, although Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus (30 percent PMD) and Ben's Tick & Insect Repellent (98 percent DEET) were the most effective. Following the two winners, in order of effectiveness, were All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor (a blend of natural oils), Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin (which contains the active ingredient picaridin), and Repel Sportsmen Max Formula (40 percent DEET).

Three bracelets containing geraniol oil—Mosquitavert, Mosquito-NO!, and Invisaband—showed no significant protection against mosquito attraction. Neither did the PIC Personal Sonic Mosquito Repeller, which claims to use inaudible sound waves to repel bugs, or the Cutter Citro Guard, a candle containing citronella oil.

“These products advertise that they protect you for several hours or longer, but they definitely fell short,” says Stacy Rodriguez, laboratory manager at the Molecular Vector Physiology Laboratory at NMSU. (One bracelet advertised protection for up to 10 days!) “It’s something that consumers really need to be aware of, that not all wearable devices are trustworthy.”

Citronella hasn’t proven to provide much protection against mosquitoes, says co-author Immo Hansen, PhD, associate professor of molecular vector biology. “And even if bracelets contain other ingredients, they don’t seem to have the dosage to be effective,” he says.

The only wearable that fared well in the test—better than the sprays, actually—was the OFF! Clip-on, a small disk that weighs about six ounces and contains a tiny fan and nebulizer. The device vaporizes and disperses the chemical metofluthrin, and is marketed as providing head-to-toe protection for up to 12 hours.

Avoiding pesky mosquito bites is always a good thing. But at a time when mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue fever are a serious threat, says Rodriguez, it’s especially important for consumers to use a product that really works.

Make sure you apply bug spray as directed, as well. “A lot of people spray themselves once and think they’re protected for hours,” says Rodriguez. Depending on the product you’re using, she says, that may be true. But some sprays need more frequent application—and activities involving water or sweat can make even the strongest formulas wear off faster.


7 Celebrities on What It's Really Like to Have Endometriosis

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When a woman develops endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines her uterus shows up in places it’s not supposed to be: the cervix, ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and elsewhere in the pelvis. The effects can be excruciating, with heavy bleeding and severe cramps during menstruation. Yet the disorder—which is thought to affect 11% of women in the U.S.—is often misdiagnosed or worse, dismissed as PMS. Fortunately these celebrities are speaking out about their personal experiences, which will hopefully raise awareness and ultimately encourage more research on this debilitating disease.
On the pain
“The stomachaches began quickly and were more severe than the mild-irritant cramps seemed to be for the blonde women in pink-hued Midol commercials. Those might as well have been ads for yogurt or the ocean, that’s how little they conveyed my experience of menstruating.”

—Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter, November 2015
On how it can affect a relationship
“I think, yes, endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed. I don’t think either of us understood it at the time–for as smart and intelligent as Salman is. I think that’s also because I hid it to a certain degree. Not intentionally, but it’s weird to talk about your period all the time. It’s the least sexy thing in the world to do.”

—Padma Lakshmi, Entertainment Weekly, March 2016

RELATED: 10 Ways to Deal With Painful Sex
On finally getting a diagnosis
“I was recently diagnosed after years of suffering and finding myself doubled over backstage in the middle of my sets, or fighting back tears on an airplane, or even being in so much pain I would vomit or faint. With doctors essentially telling me I was being a big baby about my period, or misdiagnosing PCOS, etc etc. Finding out that I had [endometriosis] was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy! I wasn’t a “baby”! I had every right to be feeling like the world was caving in. But it was terrifying to find out.”

—Halsey, Twitter, January 2016
On trying to get pregnant
“Despite my diagnosis I still wanted to try and have a baby, but not being able to have kids was an immediate fear. It made me feel out of control. I knew that I desperately wanted to have children and after speaking with a nutritionist that came recommended by my doctor, I was reassured that with the right eating habits and lifestyle changes (no sugar, no carbs!), I would have a better possibility of getting pregnant.  I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I became extremely health conscious, changed my diet, and I think those changes helped with ultimately getting pregnant.”

—Tia Mowery, Parents, September 2013
On the support a woman needs
“Suffering should not define you as a woman, and just because you’re a man it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you! Help her to remove the taboos and the loneliness surrounding this disease; be understanding, show empathy, and don’t accuse her of being sensitive, delicate, or overly dramatic.”

—Susan Sarandon, at the 2011 Endometriosis Foundation of America Blossom Ball.

RELATED: 15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong
On feeling ashamed
“I thought if I talked about my personal limitations, people would say, ‘How healthy could she be?’ This was my weakness and my bad.”

—Jillian Michaels, Redbook, June 2010
On the importance of speaking out
“If you don’t discuss it, many more women are going to find themselves unable to have children, or find themselves close to dying because it’s led to something else.”

—Whoopi Goldberg, at the 2009 Endometriosis Foundation of America Blossom Ball.


Don't Toss Your Unused Meds—Do This Instead

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TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) — While doing your spring cleaning, don’t just toss out expired or unused prescription medications.

Unwanted drugs need to be properly disposed of to reduce the risk of abuse or accidental use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Follow disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that came with the medicine. Don’t put medicines down the sink or flush them down the toilet unless this information specifically says to do so.

Call local law enforcement agencies to find out if your community has a medication take-back program or event. Or, ask your local trash or recycling services about medication disposal services and guidelines, the FDA suggests.

Another option is to deliver unused medicines to collectors registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These authorized sites may be retail, clinic or hospital pharmacies, and law enforcement offices. Some have mail-back programs or drop boxes. To find an authorized site in your community, go to the DEA website or call 800-882-9539.

If the drug labeling has no disposal instructions and there is no take-back program in your area, you can throw the medicines in the garbage if you take certain precautions, the FDA said.

For starters, remove the medicines from their original containers and mix them with unpleasant materials—such as used coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter—to make the drugs less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to people who may go through your trash looking for drugs.

Then put the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can or other container to prevent the medicine from leaking or spilling out of the garbage bag.

It’s also a good idea to scratch out all identifying information on the drug label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and personal health information, explained the FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein.

If you have any questions about proper disposal, ask your pharmacist.

Bernstein added that the same steps can be taken for getting rid of over-the-counter drugs.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about the disposal of medicines.


Will Teen Botox Prevent Wrinkles Later On?

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Roshini Raj, MD, is Health’s medical editor and co-author of What the Yuck?! The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body. Board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, Dr. Raj is an assistant professor of medicine at New York University Medical Center and a contributor on the Today show. In our new book, Dr. Raj fields personal and provocative questions-about your body, sex, even celeb health fads.

Three weeks ago, 18-year-old Filipino singer and soon-to-be Glee star Charice revealed that she had undergone a skin-tightening treatment and a round of Botox injections ‘to look fresh on camera’ (Her publicist later said the Botox injections were not for cosmetic reasons but were instead a treatment for muscle pain in the young singer’s jaws.

This story brings up a question I get asked all the time: Do young Hollywood stars start Botox in their 20s to prevent wrinkles, and does it work? The answer: Some do. But they’re eventually going to get wrinkles anyway.

You see, much like death and taxes, wrinkles are a fact of life. If you smile, frown, or make any facial expression (even squinting at the sun), you will develop laugh lines, brow lines, lines across your forehead, lines around your eyes, etc. There are ways to minimize lines, for sure, but we will all get them eventually.

It is true that if you begin using Botox and fillers in your 20s, creases and wrinkles will be slower to develop. That doesn’t mean they’ll never appear; it just means they’ll take longer to show. And since these fillers are only temporary (lasting three to six months), you’re signing yourself up for a lifetime of repeat treatments, at several hundred dollars a pop.

Don’t want to go under the needle? The good news is you can easily and inexpensively protect yourself from the biggest wrinkle maker of all: sun damage. I can’t stress enough how much sun exposure destroys your skin day in and day out. Wearing a moisturizer with an SPF 30 will help keep the years (and wrinkles) from piling up on your face-no Botox needed.


Big Drop in Heart Attacks After Smoking Banned in Bars, Restaurants

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MONDAY, Sept. 21, 2009 ( — The ban on smoking in public places, such as bars and restaurants, has been one of the greatest public health debates of the early 21st century. Now, two large studies suggest that communities that pass laws to curb secondhand smoke get a big payoff—a drop in heart attacks.

Overall, American, Canadian, and European cities that have implemented smoking bans had an average of 17% fewer heart attacks in the first year, compared with communities who had not taken such measures. Then, each year after implementing smoking bans (at least for the first three years, the longest period studied), smoke-free communities have an average 26% decline in heart attacks, compared with those areas that still allow smokers to light up in public places.

The findings, published independently by two research teams using similar data, are in the medical journals Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The new studies should grab the attention of cities as well as states—such as Tennessee and Virginia—that still permit smoking in (at least certain sections of) bars, casinos, restaurants, and other public places. Overall, 32 states and many cities in the United States have passed some type of law prohibiting smoking in public spots. (You can check out the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation to find out if your local community has a ban.) In addition, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, and Scotland have passed such bans.

In 2005, there were 1.26 million heart attacks in the U.S., and about 445,687 of those people died, according to the American Heart Association. The new research suggests that a nationwide ban on smoking in public and workplaces could prevent 100,000 to 225,000 heart attacks each year in the U.S., says one study author, David Meyers, MD, of the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Next Page: Why secondhand smoke is dangerous [ pagebreak ]How harmful is secondhand smoke? Nonsmokers have a 25% to 30% higher risk of heart attack if they inhale smoke at home or at work, and smoke has been shown to affect heart health within minutes, says Dr. Meyers.

“We can measure chemical changes within 20 minutes,” he says. “The changes that occur primarily involve the clotting system. Basically, exposure to smoke makes your blood sticky and real clot-y and thats what causes heart attacks.”

While this health effect is well established, it has not been clear if banning smoking could help reduce heart attacks, he says.

“We know that if you expose somebody, its bad,” says Dr. Meyers. “How about if you ban the exposure—will that make any difference? So that end of the logic had to be looked at, and now we can say, absolutely.”

With more time, research may also show that bans could lower rates of other smoking-related health problems, such as lung cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition that includes emphysema and is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

“This is only the short-term result; lung cancer takes a lot longer to show up,” says Steven A. Schroeder, MD, the director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

“And there will be a decrease in strokes; theres already literature that shows that,” says Dr. Schroeder, who wrote an editorial accompanying Dr. Meyers’s study.

In the first study, James Lightwood, PhD, and Stanton Glantz, PhD, both of the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed data from 13 studies conducted in five countries. They found at least a 15% decline in heart-attack hospitalizations in the first year after smoke-free legislation was passed, and 36% after three years. The National Cancer Institute funded the study.

In the second study, Dr. Meyers and his colleagues analyzed data from 10 studies in 11 regions in the U.S. (including Montana, New York, Ohio, and Indiana), Canada, and Europe. The results were similar to those in Lightwood and Glantz’s study. (Both research teams looked at similar data.)

For example, in the 18 months after smoking was banned in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and other businesses in Pueblo, Colo., there was a 27% decline in heart attacks—down from 257 to 187 cases per 100,000 people per year. There was no drop in the surrounding communities.

Next Page: Women, younger people may benefit most from bans [ pagebreak ]Overall, women, nonsmokers, and people under age 60 seem to benefit the most in regard to heart-attack-risk reduction, Dr. Meyers says. Many of those affected are employees in places where smoking is still allowed, he says.

“I feel very sorry for the hospitality and entertainment industry workers, because thats exactly who those folks are,” Dr. Meyers explains. “They are really getting exposed.”

Opponents have argued that smoking bans drive away customers. Study results have been mixed, with most indicating that the impact on bars and restaurants is neutral or may actually improve business, says Dr. Schroeder. However, some businesses, particularly casinos, are still concerned that smoking bans may cause their customers to choose locations that will allow them to light up freely.

“The New Jersey state legislature recently revoked a ban because business was down in casinos—but business is down everywhere,” Dr. Schroeder says.

Such arguments suggest that a nationwide ban on smoking in public places and workplaces—similar to those enacted in countries like France and Italy—could help level the playing field, says Dr. Meyers.

Either way, both experts agree that the studies seem to show there are real health benefits of smoking bans, and that secondhand smoke may be curtailed even further as time goes on.

“I used to fly on airplanes where anyone could smoke, then it was only certain sections, says Dr. Schroeder. Now if smokers were allowed to light up on a plane, “people would be shocked,” says Dr. Schroeder. “Certainly airplane travel hasnt decreased; this is the same type of situation.”


10 Health Trends That Will Be Huge in 2016, According to Pinterest

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We may be just two weeks into January, but some of the biggest health trends of the year are already starting to emerge.

Pinterest recently released a list of the top healthy topics that have spiked since Christmas Eve, and the results may surprise you: Instead of extreme ab workouts and crash diets (what we might’ve expected in the middle of resolution season), Pinterest users are embracing meditation, minimalism, and other subjects that represent a more balanced approach to wellness. Here, 10 trends that are captivating interest right now.

RELATED: 9 Foods That Boost Your Metabolism Naturally
1. Bullet journals
As people get organized for the year ahead, pins for “bullet journals” have increased by 67%. This customizable journaling system uses daily and monthly to-do lists that are structured in short, bulleted sentences. For more on how to create your own, check out this video or visit

2. Going minimal
In 2015, Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ($10, inspired millions to keep only the possessions that bring them joy—and this year, the less-is-more trend is still hot. Pins that celebrated a minimalist lifestyle increased by 19% since late December, while those about decluttering rose by 35%.

3. Meditation space
With boutique studios (such as New York City’s new MNDFL) opening across the country, meditation seems poised to become one of the year’s biggest health trends. So we weren’t surprised to learn that pins about creating your own meditation space have jumped 49% in the past few weeks. Here’s the really good news: While having a dedicated meditation room would certainly be nice, the only thing you actually need is a comfy place to sit. (To get started, try this guided meditation.)

4. 21 Day Fix
Pins about the 21 Day Fix ($73, program have increased by a whopping 190% in the past few weeks. But this trend isn’t new; it was one of Google’s top search terms in 2015. The program, which was created by celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese, uses a system of color-coded containers that make it easier to measure food portions. People on Pinterest are saving clean eating recipes and meal planning ideas that align with the diet.

RELATED: 31 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Burning Meals
5. Hourglass workout
Pins for this type of workout—which is designed to tone your waist while simultaneously strengthening your glutes—are up by 83% since late last month. Got an athletic body type and looking to sculpt your middle? Our fitness expert Jennifer Cohen has tailored a workout to do just that.

6. Cloud bread
Well, this is a new one. A grain-free, low-carb bread alternative, “cloud bread” is made with eggs, softened cream cheese, cream of tartar, and sometimes a little honey for sweetness. Bloggers say it has a crispy texture straight out of the oven, but becomes soft and chewy (in other words, more like real bread) when stored overnight in a plastic container.

7. Holistic
From essential oils to natural cold remedies, pinners seem to be excited about holistic health in 2016. Pins that contain the word “holistic” have increased by 55%. PSA: While there are many inspiring ideas on Pinterest, be sure to consult your doc before trying a new treatment. Some natural cures can actually be dangerous for your health.

8. Detox teas
So-called “detox teas” gained popularity in 2015, with celebs like Kourtney Kardashian promoting them as a way to lose weight. The trend seems destined to continue in 2016, with pins about homemade detox teas spiking by 60% in the past few weeks. However, as Health’s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD, has pointed out, research on detox teas is scant. And some brands contain ingredients that could trigger some really unpleasant side effects, such as insomnia, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Yikes.

Instead, pour yourself a big cup of green tea, a beverage that offers real, science-backed health benefits. Studies have suggested that drinking green tea could help you shed pounds, lower your blood pressure, even prevent Alzheimer’s.

RELATED: 17 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have No Time
9. Dry brushing
Many people swear by dry brushing, which involves rubbing dry skin with a body brush before showering. (Pins about it have increased by 41%.) While some claim the practice helps boost circulation and clear toxins, there’s not a lot of research on the subject, so take the health claims you see on Pinterest with a grain of salt. But there’s no denying that using a body brush can be invigorating, as well as an excellent way to exfoliate.

10. Jiu jitsu
Pins about the Brazilian sport Jiu jitsu, a form of mixed martial arts, have increased by 39% in the past few weeks. Pinners seem to be drawn to both the workout’s calorie-burning benefits and empowering self-defense moves.



3 Proven Treatments That Can Ease Your PMS Symptoms

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About 85% of women experience at least one nagging symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) every month. Experts don’t fully understand why PMS happens (or why some women are lucky enough to skip things like bloating, mood swings and food cravings), but it seems to be related to both the normal hormonal shifts that happen during the menstrual cycle as well as chemical changes in your brain.

Thankfully, as scientists continue to look for the cause of your monthly woes, much time has also been spent figuring out what might help. Below, check out three treatments with research to back them up.

RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Bloating

Illustration: Kagan McLeod

RELATED: 10 Things That Mess With Your Period


Drug Company Announces They'll Offer a $1 Alternative to That $750 Pill

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Back in September, news broke that a CEO by the name of Martin Shrkeli had raised the price of a 62-year-old generic drug, Daraprim, from $13.50 to a whopping $750 a capsule overnight, leading to widespread shock and outrage. (The drug is often prescribed to AIDS and cancer patients.) Well now, it seems this devilish tale has a hero: A San Diego-based biomedical company announced yesterday that they will offer a comparable drug for around $1 per pill.

The company, Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, plans to supply pills containing Daraprim’s active ingredients, pyrimethamine and leucovorin, in 100-capsule bottles on their website for as low as $99.

They are able to do this because Imprimis is a drug compounder, meaning the company makes specific formulations of drugs tailored to individual needs of patients. The company’s CEO, Mark Baum, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that this formulation isn’t FDA-approved, only the ingredients are, so it can only be sold through a doctor’s prescription and made for a specific individual. This work-around is what allows the company to keep the costs low.

Imprimis also announced they won’t limit their efforts to an affordable Daraprim, they also plan to compete with other manufacturers who have significantly spiked the cost of their drug prices, Baum told The Associated Press.

RELATED: 6 Insane Examples of Prescription Drug Price Increases

“In response to this recent case and others that we will soon identify, Imprimis is forming a new program called Imprimis Cares which is aligned to our corporate mission of making novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients today at accessible prices,” Baum said in a press release about the announcement.

“We are looking at all of these cases where the sole-source generic companies are jacking the price way up,” Baum explained to the AP. He predicts there will be a surge of these compounded drugs in the near future as a way to rein in drug prices.

After all, Turing Pharmaceuticals isn’t the only company to drastically spike the cost of generic drugs in the past year. As Health and other outlets have reported, other companies have become well known for similar practices. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, for example, bought the rights to two heart drugs Isuprel and Nitropress back in February and then immediately hiked the list prices by 500% and  200% respectively.

But Turing Pharmeceuticals continues to demonstrate one of the most obscene price-spikes ever seen in the industry at a whopping 5,000%. So it’s not surprising that the CEO of the company, Martin Shkreli, has received a lot of backlash in the past few months.

RELATED: 14 Smart Ways Seniors Can Cut Medical Costs

On Twitter, Shreki refuted criticism by saying “We spend more than 50% of our revenue on R&D. Please get your facts straight before lumping us in with others.”

Fortunately, other companies like Imprimis are trying to make necessary drugs like Daraprim more affordable for the public.

“While we respect Turing’s right to charge patients and insurance companies whatever it believes is appropriate, there may be more cost-effective compounded options for medications, such as Daraprim, for patients, physicians, insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to consider,” Imprimis CEO Mark Baum added said in the press release.

Shkreli mentioned last month that he plans to lower the cost of Daraprim. But the new price remains unknown.

RELATED: 6 Key Medical Scans and What They Should Cost


4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do in Front of Your TV

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Drop it like it’s hot? How about drop it like a squat? If you usually shy away from lower body exercises in favor of above the belt training, it’s time to wise up. Whether or not weight loss is your goal, you’ll get serious pay-off by training your lower half. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes are home to some of the biggest muscles in your body, and those muscles will torch calories both during and after your workout, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the process by which your body replenishes its oxygen stores.

Plus, working your lower body will pay off in about a million different ways. “Lower body strength, much like your core, is a foundation for all fitness,” says Justin Rubin, Daily Burn trainer for True Beginner. Challenging your legs and glutes will translate to better balance, strength and agility — all of which are important for day-to-day activities like racing up the stairs (without burning thighs) or even getting low on the dance floor.

Best of all, you don’t even need a pimped-out gym to get started. We asked Rubin to demonstrate four beginner-friendly moves that can be done pretty much anywhere. (Translation: No equipment required!) For a solid workout, repeat each exercise for one minute, doing as many reps as possible. Then recover for 30 seconds. Complete five rounds and you’ll start to feel the burn! If you want an extra challenge, try the optional towel modifications listed below each description to engage your upper body as well.

RELATED: 15-Minute Leg Workout to Tone Up Fast

4 No-Equipment Lower Body Exercises

 Back Lunges
1. Reverse Lunges

Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

How to: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight onto your left leg and step your right leg straight behind you (b). Lower directly downwards until your front and back knees are at 90-degree angles. Hold for one second (c). Next, engage your left thigh and push off your right leg, coming back to a neutral, standing position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. When you step back for a lunge, twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your back leg. (Example: Twist to the left when you step back with your right leg.)

RELATED: Hate Squats? 7 Glute Exercises for an Instant Butt Lift

2. Squats

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings

How to: Begin with your feet under your hips, legs no wider than your shoulders. Your bodyweight should be in your heels and your arms should be relaxed by your sides (a). Keeping your chest upright and your shoulder blades pulled back, bend your knees and sink down, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Your arms should extend straight in front of you. Imagine you are touching your butt to a chair (b). Now, drive through your legs and squeeze your glutes to stand back up, letting your arms come down to your sides again (c). Repeat for one minute.

Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. As you squat down, bring your arms overhead, so your face is in between your biceps. When you drive upwards to stand back up, slowly let your arms come back to your sides.

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

 Side Lunge
3. Side Lunges

Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Take a wide step to the left, letting your left foot point diagonally away from you and keeping your right foot planted (b). Keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted upwards, turn your left foot and knee out slightly as you sink down into a lunge. Make sure your knees do not come over your toes (c). Next, push off with your left leg, engaging your inner thighs and glutes, and bring the leg back to the neutral starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

Extra credit: Want to engage the muscles in your arms? Hold a towel taut between your hands, with your arms extended straight upwards. When you step to one side for a lunge, bring your arms down so the towel touches your outer thigh. Bring your arms upwards as you step in.

RELATED: 3 No-Equipment CrossFit Workouts You Can Do at Home

 Curtsy Lunge
4. Curtsy Lunges

Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight to your right side and step your left leg behind your right leg so your legs are crossed. If you imagine a clock underneath you, your left toes should be at roughly 4 o’clock (b). Bend both knees, not letting them come over your toes, and sink into the lunge, keeping your chest upright (c). Engage your quads and squeeze your glutes as you drive off your left leg, standing up and bringing it back to the starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for one minute.

Extra credit: When standing upright, hold the towel taut in front of your chest. As you step to each side for the curtsy lunge, extend your arms and bring them down so the towel is in front of your shin. Be sure to maintain good upper body posture. Once you drive off your back leg, bring your arms and towel back to your chest.

12 No-Bake Energy Bites Recipes 


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