Sam Kaplan/Fitness MagazineBy Paige Greenfield
Feeling stressed? Consider yourself blessed. Stress is essential to a happy, healthy life. Really! Recent research has shown that there's an "anxiety sweet spot," in which short bursts of stress are actually good for us. "The adrenaline our bodies produce when we feel threatened makes our brain function better, sharpening our focus, improving our mental and physical performance, and making us feel ready for anything," says Bruce McEwen, PhD, a neuroendocrinologist at Rockefeller University. Bonus: Your immune system also gets a boost, which can make you healthier too. So stop fretting and read on to learn how to stay perfectly on point.
Related: Beat Your Blahs: 5 Natural Mood Boosters to Fix a Funk
Turn All Stress into Good Stress
Most of us consider stress a negative, but it actually covers a spectrum from good to bad and is vital to our survival, McEwen says. "The sweet spot is achieved when the kind of anxiety and arousal you experience while giving a speech
Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine
Sam Kaplan/Fitness MagazineBy Paige GreenfieldRead More »from Find Your Stress Sweet Spot
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Karla Walsh and Samantha SheltonRead More »from The 10 Hottest Workout DVDs of 2013
Hit "Play" on any one of these killer routines -- selected after our 100-plus testers sweated through the latest releases. They bring an all-new meaning to the term homebody.
Related: Watch Tons of Free Workout Videos
Melt Your Muffin Top
Denise Austin: Shrink Belly Fat ($9, deniseaustin.com)
What you'll need: A 3- to 8-pound dumbbell, a yoga mat
Calories burned: 198 per 45-minute workout
The skinny: Whether you string together all three 15-minute core workouts -- classic ab exercises, a more advanced routine that includes moving planks and Turkish get-ups, and a cardio calorie blaster -- or do them separately, expect to "feel the burn" and to be "eager to repeat [them] over and over." The "very encouraging" Austin points out modifications being done by the exercisers behind her. Testers said they could easily figure out what level they were on as well as see what goals they could advance toward.
Cinch Your Waist and Shape Your Booty
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Sharon LiaoRead More »from The Truth About Common Nutrition Myths
If the last time you ate fried anything was at the state fair three years ago, we have news for you. No, funnel cake hasn't become the diet food du jour. But fried foods -- as well as burgers and beer -- can have a place in a healthy diet. Surprised? No wonder. "With all the misinformation and exaggerated health headlines out there, it's easy to get fooled," says Robert J. Davis, PhD, an adjunct professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and the author of Coffee Is Good for You. To help you figure out which truths to swallow, we asked the experts to debunk the top 10 food myths. Read on to find out what's standing between you and better health, not to mention that basket of chicken fingers.
Related: Should You Go Gluten-Free? Find Out Here
Myth: Red wine is tops for your ticker.
The real deal: When it comes to heart health, red wine gets all the glory. But that glass of Syrah may not be so superior: University of Texas researchers found that
Courtesy of AppleBy Marianne MagnoRead More »from The Top 10 Timesaving Productivity Apps
Use your smartphone to simplify your life. These 10 apps will help you stay organized to help tackle even your busiest days.
Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes Perfect for Pinterest
Those with an eye for details will love setting up tasks on Wunderlist. Not only can you make tasks with reminders, you can also make subtasks to make sure you don't miss any steps. Plus, the ability to share to-do lists with others makes group work a breeze. Lists sync across multiple devices, like your iPhone, Android, iPad, and on your web browser. (free, 6wunderkinder.com)
Checkmark is just the solution for those pesky things you keep forgetting to do no matter how many times you write them down. This app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad sets up reminders based on time and location. Make a note to pick up your dry cleaning and you'll get a pop-up the next time you're nearby. Perfect! ($4.99, itunes.com)
Whether your goal is to exercise every day, quit
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Hallie Levine SklarRead More »from Wave Goodbye to Colds for Good!
Every 32 seconds someone in the U.S. catches a cold. That means the highly contagious virus is literally everywhere -- from doorknobs to elevator buttons to the handle on your cart in the supermarket, where it can live for hours, says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of the respiratory care department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds & Flu. We know you've heard a million and one tips for avoiding these nasty germs -- the key is figuring out what works and what is a waste of time. Here, straight from the medical lab, healthy advice you can really trust.
Related: 6 Foods That Prevent Colds and the Flu
8 Ways to Beat a Cold
Gargle with water.
A recent Japanese study found that people who gargled with water three times a day had 36 percent fewer colds than those who didn't gargle at all and had fewer colds than those who used an antiseptic mouth rinse. "Gargling can help remove mucus that drains from
Brian Bowen Smith/Fitness MagazineWorkout by Steve LeeRead More »from Alison Sweeney's Flat-Abs Workout
The key to Alison Sweeney's crazy-toned midsection? This sneaky crunch-free circuit. "In each workout, we string together movements -- push and pull, up and down, left and right -- that always work her center," says Sweeney's trainer, Steve Lee. Try a couple of rounds of his five-pack below to help carve your six-pack as you sculpt all over. Alison uses 12-pound dumbbells, but newbies can start with five-pounders.
Related: Try Alison Sweeney's Couch Workout
You can either do this circuit straight through or pair some of the exercises to create killer combo moves like these from Lee:
Squat Military Press + Sprawl to Overhead Lock
Sumo High Row + Push-Up to Plank Row
Jump Lunge and Curl + Sprawl to Overhead Lock
Jump Lunge and Curl
Targets shoulders, biceps, abs, butt, and legs
• Stand holding dumbbells, arms by sides.
• Lunge or jump back with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees, as you curl dumbbells to shoulders, palms facing each other.
• Step right
Jay Sullivan/Fitness MagazineBy Caroline HwangRead More »from You Will Lose the Last 10 Pounds
About to throw in the towel? Don't! You may be closer to your goal weight than you think.
When Weight-Loss Wanes
If the meaning of insanity is doing the same thing again and again but always expecting a different outcome, I must be certifiable. Why am I running an hour almost every day, thinking the scale might finally tip to within 10 pounds of my goal? I have this thought each morning while programming (read: punching) my weight into the treadmill console. Though the first 8 pounds came off relatively quickly, and I've been good about eating light and exercising, I am the same lousy weight I was five months ago.
Related: The Best Way to Beat Belly Flab
Is Your Scale Stuck?
Turns out there's a good reason so many of us hit the "final 10" wall. In a word: biology. "All of us have a built-in mechanism that protects against starvation. When caloric intake falls below caloric expenditure, a series of metabolic and physiological responses kick in to preserve and
Michael David Adams/Fitness MagazineBy Lauren Tumas SchumacherRead More »from The Worst 7 Health Habits Ever
It may surprise you that one of the worst health crimes you're committing is as small as forgetting to take your contacts out at night. Here, tips to bounce back fast from long days in high heels, fast food, and more.
Related: The Best Natural Remedies to Treat PMS
Falling Asleep with Your Makeup On
What's the big deal? If you're lucky, sleeping in a face full of makeup will only leave behind a pimple or two. But make it an all-the-time thing and you're asking for clogged pores and a breeding ground for bacteria to run wild on. The worst culprit? Foundation, according to Elissa Lunder, MD, FITNESS advisory board member and owner of Dermatology Partners, Inc. in Massachusetts. In some cases, Dr. Lunder has even seen people develop milia -- small, hard bumps that form on the skin. And while she says sleeping in eye makeup won't cause your lashes to fall out or give you pinkeye (whew!), dozing in mascara can cause eye swelling. But don't stop the suds at your
Blaine Moats/Fitness MagazineBy the editors of FITNESS MagazineRead More »from 9 Spices and Herbs that Can Keep You Healthy
Keep these spices handy in your spice rack to not only improve the taste of your meals but to keep you healthy, too. These spices have health benefits like lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer.
Related: The Spice Is Right: 8 Healthy Recipes That Turn Up the Heat
Dried Red Pepper
The compound capsaicin puts the heat in chilies. It may lower the risk of skin and colon cancers; studies show it also helps people eat fewer calories. Try hot pepper on pizza or in pasta.
Nutmeg contains antibacterial compounds that may help fight listeria, E. coli, and salmonella, according to research. Try nutmeg in soups or chicken dishes or on sweet potatoes.
Cumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help stop tumor growth. Try cumin in tacos, or use it as a rub on meats.
Related: Top 10 Antioxidant-Packed Foods
Turmeric contains an active component called curcumin, which may stop cancer from spreading and help prevent
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Dana WhiteRead More »from What Your Gut Says About Your Health
Going with your gut feelings is a good practice. Too bad I don't always like what mine are saying. When I'm stressed, nervous, or feeling down, my stomach pings and my insides churn. It's as if there's an E-ZPass lane connecting my brain and bowels, its sign flashing "Go, go, go." And I suddenly have to. Badly.
See, when it comes to mood, it's not all in your head -- it's in your gut, too. "The brain influences the digestive tract and vice versa," says Rebekah Gross, MD, a clinical gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. In fact, new research has found that our esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon have a big say in how our minds and bodies function and how happy we feel. "The gut is a critical group of organs that we need to start paying more attention to," says Steven Lamm, MD, the author of No Guts, No Glory. "Doing so may be the secret to improving our overall wellness."
Related: The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs
Inside Your Other Brain
If it seems