From pink sneakers to Prancercising, take a look back at the year's most buzzed-about health and fitness trends and tidbits that caught our attention.
The Red Sox Show Their Class
Whether you're a Sox fan or not, you couldn't help but show some love for the boys this year. The team crossed the Boston Marathon finish line as part of their World Series championship parade, taking a moment to remember all who were affected during the Boston Marathon bombing. They even left in good standing with Cardinal fans, when they thanked the city for hosting them -- via a full-page ad in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In a world of name-calling and cheap jabs, this was a moment in sports everyone could be proud of.
Lululemon's Yoga Pants Predicament
The yoga apparel giant landed itself in some hot water earlier this year. The brand had to recall 17 percent of its black yoga pants after numerous complaints that the leggings were see-through because the material they were made with was too thin. While women who bought the pants were refunded, CEO Chip Wilson didn't help the situation when he reportedly told the media that the problem wasn't the material, but the size of the women (and their thighs). Yikes.
Since then, the brand is slowly repairing its name by coming out with the "Second Chance Pant," fully equipped with an extra layer of fabric sewn into the back so you can Down Dog without having an anxiety attack.
Citi Bike Rolls into NYC
Bike sharing isn't a new concept, but New York topped the charts this year with its launch of Citi Bike -- the largest bike-share program in the country. Launching with 330 stations, the program plans to eventually have 10,000 bikes on the street, stretching through four boroughs. While the program has reduced traffic congestion, it's also improving New Yorkers' health; The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control found that people who did not bike to work had a 39% higher mortality rate than those who commuted by cycling.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning
Squatting for the Sochi Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics are coming up, and Russia is proactively whipping its locals into shape. Russian state media reported earlier this year that those who can crank out 30 squats in two minutes will be able to ride the subway for free at Vystavochnaya station in western Moscow. Meanwhile, Russian Olympians who bring home gold medals will get free cars. So basically, Russia is all about giving away free rides right now.
Kate Middleton's Post-Labor Body
Women around the world cheered when Kate Middleton gracefully presented her post-baby body that wasn't instantly magazine cover-ready. The pictures sparked a global discussion of what women's bodies actually look like after giving birth, and the difficulties of the postpartum weeks and months. Things are back to the flat and chiseled for Kate, though -- she recently was photographed running around town in her usual svelte shape.
Plan B Goes OTC
Commonly referred to as the morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step moved from behind the pharmacy counter to drugstore shelves, when the FDA approved the switch this summer. The pill could previously only be purchased with proof that the buyer was at least 17 years old. But now that it is considered an over-the-counter drug, there aren't any restrictions to the emergency contraceptive.
Amy Robach's On-Air Breast Cancer Scare
Ever since Katie Couric went on air 12 years ago to have her colonoscopy filmed in order to raise awareness for colon cancer (a disease that took her husband's life), preventative screenings have held a solid place in morning news shows. So when Good Morning America's Amy Robach was asked to film her mammogram in October to raise awareness for breast cancer, she admitted she had been pushing aside her own screening, but certainly didn't expect any bad news. That on-air mammogram led to a startling breast cancer diagnosis, which Robach revealed to viewers shortly after. Since then, she's had a double mastectomy and discovered that the cancer spread to her sentinel lymph node, which will require additional treatment.
Wendy Davis' Pink Sneakers
When Texas State Senator Wendy Davis prepared to block Republican anti-abortion efforts in June, there was a lot of buzz surrounding her 11-hour filibuster. Davis couldn't sit, eat, drink, or take bathroom breaks. But she was more than ready for the battle thanks to her choice footwear: pink Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 16 running shoes. She became an instant media sensation for her well-executed arguments and also because of those sneaks. We can imagine Mizuno was also pretty pleased with Davis' shoe choice. Sales for the sneakers skyrocketed after the filibuster, making the Amazon best-seller list that same week.
The 5K Gets a Makeover
A lot can happen in 3.1 miles -- or so we've discovered this year. The standard race distance got a serious makeover this year, thanks to a variety of themes: zombies, glow sticks, colored powder, running in your underwear (seriously!), and obstacles ranging from fire pits to muddy wall climbs.
When Joanna Rohrback of Prancercising, LLC was discovered on YouTube with her ankle weights and how-to video on Prancercising -- a gallop/walk/dance kind of cardio she invented -- many thought it was a hoax or an undiscovered SNL skit. But it turns out the quirky, horse-inspired routine is actually how the sweet 61-year-old exercises. After creating the rhythmic movement in 1989 and later writing a book called Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence (2012) Rohrback became an overnight sensation, prancercising her way onto many morning news shows. If that's not proof that staying fit is fun at any age, we don't know what is.