Take a look at any fitness magazine or peek at any celebrity's "how I whipped my body into shape" secrets and you will probably find information about why it's time to add core strength training to your workout. Before you hit the mat for a few grueling sets of planks, bridges, and maybe even crunches, you may want to consider new research that questions whether the time, energy, and effort put into building your core is really worth it.
Related: Are you at risk for "diabesity"?
Core strength programs target the muscles in the torso, among them major muscles most of us simply refer to as the abs and obliques, and minor muscles such as glutes, traps and lats. Strong core muscles provide stability from the neck down through the hips. The muscles in the lower back, abdomen, pelvis, and hips work in sync and give support to the spine. If the core muscles are weak, there is an increased possibility of poor posture, injury, and back pain. Some people might hammer out exercises specifically
Blog Posts by Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor
Take a look at any fitness magazine or peek at any celebrity's "how I whipped my body into shape" secrets and you will probably find information about why it's time to add core strength training to your workout. Before you hit the mat for a few grueling sets of planks, bridges, and maybe even crunches, you may want to consider new research that questions whether the time, energy, and effort put into building your core is really worth it.Read More »from Do you really need to build your core strength?
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Healthy Living – Wed, Aug 17, 2011 1:09 AM EDT
There's a debate rumbling in medical publications and newspapers and magazines, between psychiatrists and health journalists and researchers, about how we talk about antidepressants.Read More »from Have you ever been shamed for using antidepressants?
Their debate falls mostly around whether "psychoactive drugs are useless" or necessary, or maybe even a little bit of both. The arguments and studies and opinions of these professionals are all fascinating and necessary.
One study reported earlier this year that nearly 20% of Americans who are taking antidepressants have never been diagnosed with the conditions their medication treats and that only half of those on antidepressants ever got a psychiatric diagnosis at all. Meanwhile, sales of these drugs rang up to nearly $10 billion in 2009, with some patients paying out as much as $100 to be treated with them.
If that seems like a lot of doling out of meds, it is. But there are also quite a few people in the U.S. who may really need the help. The National Institute of Mental Health accounts for nearly
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Healthy Living – Tue, Aug 16, 2011 12:35 AM EDT
I heard the radio ad in my city announcing the open call for another season of "The Biggest Loser" and wondered if I would be able to scan the line of potential cast members and recognize anyone from my church or neighborhood or high school. Of the thousands of people hopeful to be selected for the ultimate diet and fitness bootcamp, surely I would know someone.Read More »from Have you secretly wanted to audition for "The Biggest Loser"?
Read more: Weight-loss tips from "The Biggest Loser" graduates
Or would I? "The Biggest Loser" is a tricky show -- not just because it is full- and sudden-immersion into counting calories and spending hours and hours a day being screamed at while wielding kettlebells and sweating profusely on the treadmill -- but because it puts your body out there for the nation to see. If someone is a viable candidate, which the show cites as being at least 85 pounds overweight, then weight issues are clearly not being hidden. But it is one thing to be recognized as a bigger person and another to stand on a scale in a jog bra and shorts and
To begin, let me be clear: Weight Watchers has nothing to do with this post. They didn't pay me or the site or even lure us with promises of a one-on-one sesh with the divine Jennifer Hudson. This is in no way sponsored. What it is, however, is a chance for you to be the experts and tell us exactly how you are making this one weight-loss program work for you.Read More »from What are your Weight Watchers secrets?
Nearly a year since their new Points Plus program was launched, I have so many friends on Weight Watchers that they could form some kind of svelte tribe, all wielding weapons of plastic measuring cups and little white scales and screaming war cries of devouring 2-point bags of Pop Chips and giant bowls of raw carrots. While none of them are publicizing their goal weights or how many pounds they've gone down (or up) on Facebook, I do see a few Weight Watchers "likes" pop up there every week. That tells me that that they are out there, tallying points and estimating grilled chicken servings with their open palms, and hopefully,
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Vitality – Mon, Aug 8, 2011 10:13 PM EDT
Is earning a black belt on your life list? Then this elderly woman in San Francisco just might be your ultimate hero.Read More »from 98-year-old woman becomes first woman ever to earn Judo's highest-degree black belt
Just two years before her 100th birthday, Sensei Keiko Fukuda has become the first woman to achieve a tenth-degree black belt-the highest rank in the martial art and combat sport Judo. Fukuda is now one of only four living people who've earned the tenth-degree (or dan) black belt. To put the accomplishment into better perspective, throughout history, only sixteen people have ever achieved this honor.
Related: The good news about aging
Fukuda began practicing Judo in 1935 and is the sole surviving student of its founder, Kano Jiguro. At her teacher's urging, she learned English to help spread Judo internationally.
During a time when getting married, building a family, and becoming a housewife was the norm, Fukudo bucked tradition, opting out of marriage to pursue the martial art.
"All I did was Judo...this was my marriage," Fukudo reflected tearfully to the San
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Parenting – Wed, Aug 3, 2011 5:54 AM EDT
So you think propping yourself on a hospital bed or spooned by your partner or midwife and pushing out a human being was miracle enough? Mehhh.Read More »from Pregnant woman goes into labor, finishes bar exam, has baby, rules world
You could have taken a major professional qualifying exam like a woman in Illinois last week.
A pregnant Northwestern law school student reportedly went into active labor while taking the bar exam. Aware that she might begin laboring, she asked proctors before the test if she would be allowed early if it happened. She was right, but powered through, finished the exam and left early -- to go across the street to the hospital and deliver her son only two hours later.
According to sources, the new mother was a "top-ranked" student in Northwestern's Advanced J.D. track that enables select participants to complete the program in two years, one full year less than traditional programs. She also served in the school's Supreme Court clinic and on the law review board, oversaw the Chicago Bar's Young Lawyers Section. Oh, and she passed the bar.
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Healthy Living – Mon, Aug 1, 2011 11:18 PM EDT
Don't you just love it when one of these awards is given out to someone unexpected, someone so not cookie cutter, someone above a size zero, relatively un-Botoxed, and admittedly over the age of 30? The time has come.
OK, so this particular honor -- "Body of the Year", deemed by LA Fitness -- could be one of the most inconsequential accolades out there. But the win is so big for the non-Brooklyn Deckers of the world that we will cheer like the Grand Prix has just been given out at the Cannes Film Festival or this lady's just crossed the finish line of the Tour de France or there's a Nobel prize for lady bad-assedness.
Meet the winner...and the otherwise-predictables she beat out.
Who gets your vote for Body of the Year?
More on Shine:
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Healthy Living – Mon, Aug 1, 2011 8:43 PM EDT
Many of America's favorite places where diners can indulge in high-fat, calorie-loaded, sodium-stacked, multiple-ingredient fare seem to be cleaning up their menus. The latest on the list to go lighter is Cheesecake Factory.Read More »from Will Cheesecake Factory's "SkinnyLicious" menu live up to its name?
Related: The healthiest and unhealthiest fast-food kids' menus
The restaurant chain, which already has a book-like menu full of foods from over-sized salads to a large variety of cheesecakes and other desserts, will soon offer customers a new "SkinnyLicious" menu with lower-calorie selections.
Will the SkinnyLicious foods live up to their new title? The items, which will roll out at each franchise over the next two months, will include 12 appetizers under 490 calories and 15 entrees under 590 calories. Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton said the menu has incorporated simple changes, like subbing fresh vegetables for potatoes on some entrees, reducing the amount of cheese sprinkled on tacos, and replacing regular mayonnaise with light mayo.
The switches add up
Some cities are known for their complex public transportation systems, others for their traffic congestion. But what about the destinations where the best way to get around is on foot?Related: The secret to walking off belly fat
- Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor | Work + Money – Fri, Jul 29, 2011 8:14 PM EDT
I never really got why some people are so emotional about baseball -- until the moment I saw my father explain the game to my then-5-year old boy. They were both intent and serious about the whole thing. Me? My lip quivered and tears rolled down my face.
This summer when my son and his friend yelled wildly while one of the White Sox players threw balls to both of them during warm-up, I was the one who cried.
So when I saw this sweet video of a boy so overtaken by emotion when Josh Beckett of the Red Sox handed him a ball, I really got it. And I like to think that, behind those sunglasses, his dad has some tears welling up, too.
Who in your family has teared up during a wonderful baseball moment?
More on Shine:
- 5 things to learn from Little League
- The best things to eat from a concession stand
- Best jumbotron proposal ever
Read More »from Awesome kid moment: Player gives boy ball, tears follow