Blog Posts by Healthy SELF, SELF Magazine

  • Could You Be Allergic to Exercise?

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    It's a joke you've probably cracked at one point or another -- "I'm allergic to the elliptical machine!" Sounds like the ultimate excuse to avoid the gym, right? But for some people, it's no joke.

    It's called exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA), and, according to Brian Smart, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at the DuPage Medical Group Asthma and Allergy Center in Glen Ellyn, Ill., it's quite rare, with rates of under one in 1,000 people.

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    "Life-threatening episodes and fatalities have been reported, but are quite uncommon with this condition," he says. "Nonetheless, anaphylaxis is always serious and should be treated as such." EIA can affect anyone, of any age, race or gender, but Dr. Smart says it's seen most often in people in their 20s and 30s.

    Wait -- so people are actually, like, ALLERGIC to exercise? Not exactly, says Dr. Smart. "That's a misnomer -- but exercise can trigger

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  • 3 Surprisingly Slimming Foods

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Memorial Day weekend heralds the official start of bathing suit season -- but it doesn't have to mean the end of delicious meals and snacks! There are tons of yummy foods that will actually help you lose weight, rather than sabotaging your efforts. Here are three stay-slim foods that just might surprise you.

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    1. Curry

    Do you love a great Indian or Thai curry? Good! Because those dishes are prepared with hot chili pepper, which contains a metabolism-revving ingredient called capsaicin. According to SELF contributing editor Janis Jibrin, a registered dietician, capsaicin offers a "double boost" to your weight-loss efforts.

    Research from Aarhus University in Denmark, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that capsaicin consumption was associated with an increase in thermogenesis (the process by which cells convert energy into heat), which boosts body temperature and the metabolism.

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  • How to Avoid Mosquitoes This Memorial Day

    Photo: Courtesy of cutterinsectrepellents.comPhoto: Courtesy of cutterinsectrepellents.comApril Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Picnics, barbecues and other summery soirees -- so much to look forward to this weekend! But as you take the festivities outdoors, make sure that you're not one of the tasty menu items.

    Of course, we're talking about those ultra-annoying party-crashers: mosquitoes! According to Joseph Conlon, a medical entomologist and the technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, mosquito bites, for the most part, are just that -- annoying. But he says, especially in certain parts of the country, they can be more dangerous. "Being infected with a mosquito-borne disease is definitely an issue, even in the United States, as West Nile virus has taught us," he says. Yikes! Here are Conlon's top tips for staying bite-free this weekend:

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    1. Time it right.
    If possible, schedule your activities to avoid the times when mosquitoes are most active, usually dawn and dusk.

    2. Choose your outfit wisely.
    Dress in light

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  • 6 Kissing Dos and Don'ts

    If you wanna know ... if he loves you so, it's in his kiss! Good advice -- but what's the secret to the sexiest smooch?
    We asked sex and relationships counselor Ian Kerner, PhD, founder of and co-author with actress Lisa Rinna of The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book (Gallery Books Hardcover; May, 2012), to give us his top tips for unforgettable kisses. Here are his six "rules" to follow:

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    1. Do ... think about the attitude behind your kiss.
    "The brain is the biggest sex organ, so think about the emotion and the feeling you want to convey," says Kerner. "A kiss can be very tender and loving, it can be passionate, it can be a little naughty or teasing."

    2. Do ... consider the locale in which you're smooching.
    "There's something called the Excitation Transfer Theory that says if you do something exciting in an exciting place, that feeling is transferable," says Kerner. Ergo -- think about giving your honey a kiss in public, a kiss on top of a

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  • Drink Coffee, Live Longer

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine Photo: Courtesy of StarbucksPhoto: Courtesy of Starbucks

    You already know that coffee can help you live through a long morning meeting, but it also might help you live -- period! We have the scoop on why coffee might extend your life -- and some delicious new ways to drink it up.

    The National Cancer Institute (NIH) study, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked over 400,000 older adults for almost 14 years and found that those who drank the most coffee were the least likely to die during the study. Men and women who drank four to five cups a day were, in fact, the least likely to die.

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    "Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes,'' said lead researcher Neal Freedman, PhD, of the NIH. "Although we cannot infer a

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  • Why Your Sunglasses Could Be Harming Your Eyes

    CN Digital StudioMelinda Carstensen, SELF magazine

    With bikini season unofficially launching next week (Memorial Day weekend!) and skin cancer among young women on the rise, you're probably stocking up on swimsuits and sunscreen. One summer essential you might be forgetting? A sweet pair of sunglasses -- that actually protect your eyes.

    For example, those tinted shades you snagged on sale might look fashionable, but if they don't have enough UV protection, wearing them could be worse than wearing nothing at all, according to a new report from the Vision Council, a group of optical manufacturers and suppliers. That's because dark lenses without adequate UV protection cause the pupil to dilate, increasing your exposure to the unfiltered UV.

    Related: Lose 10 Pounds

    So how can you find shades that are chic AND effective? Most designer sunglasses from reputable stores should protect your eyes from the two types of harmful UV rays: UVA and UVB rays, says Ed Greene, CEO of the Vision Council (a good pair

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  • Is Boxing the Right Workout for You?

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    This summer in London, along with 250 men, there will be 36 women competing for the boxing gold -- for the first time ever at the Olympic games!

    "This is a very exciting time for women's boxing," Teresa Scott, registered USA boxing coach and the founder of Women's World of Boxing in New York City, tells HealthySELF. "The world's most important sporting body including women in the games gives legitimacy to and validates women's boxing and the participating athletes."

    And here where your bikini body comes into the picture. According to Scott, "There is no comparison to the total-body rewards of boxing."

    Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Boxing burns between 500 and 1,000 calories an hour, depending upon the intensity, Scott explains. "It promotes weight loss, improves balance, coordination, reflexes, strength and flexibility," she says -- but the benefits aren't just physical. "Along with being the ultimate stress reliever,

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  • Get Healthier by Friday

    April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

    Happy National Women's Health Week, ladies! This week is all about YOU -- and we have all the advice you need to make the most of it and end the work week healthier than when you started.

    National Women's Health Week, now in its 13th year, is a week-long health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. Dedicated to empowering women to make health a top priority, this year's theme is, "It's Your Time."

    Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

    "Healthy, strong women are essential to having healthy strong children and communities, but too often women place the needs of others before their own needs," says U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    Here are 5 ways to put YOURSELF first this week by improving your physical and mental health and lowering your risks of certain diseases:

    1. Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and

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  • Bike to Work like a Pro

    Photo: Courtesy of giro.comPhoto: Courtesy of giro.comBari Lieberman, SELF magazine

    It's National Bike Month! To get our gears in motion, we talked to JJ Jameson, Senior Instructor for REI Outdoor School. Jameson shared his simple bike to work commuting tips that'll have you feeling like a pro. Bonus: It's basically a free morning workout every time you ride!

    Jameson's Must-Know Bike Commuting Tips


    The minimal essentials for a bike commuter are a bike and a helmet.

    Related: Lose Weight and Win Prizes


    - Road bike: All about performance. They have skinny tires, move really quickly and are slightly more difficult to control.
    - Mountain bike: Better for rough surfaces. They have robust frames, wider tires, are very strong, are typically much heavier.
    - Hybrid bike: Most commuting bikes fall under this category, which is a blend of the two above. It has a strong frame, handling of the bike is predictable and typically you're in a more upright riding position so it's comfortable. Tires are wider

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  • 5 Ways to Get Back on Track at the Gym

    Dana Meltzer Zepeda, SELF magazine

    It's happened to the best of us. We spend months establishing a regular gym routine, choosing salad over fries and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Then, suddenly, all of our hard work goes up in flames thanks to a bout with the flu, a hectic work schedule or plain, old-fashioned laziness.

    Related: Lose 2 Pounds a Week

    Whatever the reason, it's never too late to get back in shape. I recently chatted with The American Council on Exercise (ACE) fitness expert, firefighter and weekend warrior Ryan Sutter about his top five tips to get back on the fitness bandwagon. Yes, the same Ryan Sutter who won The Bachelorette in 2003!

    1. Set a Goal: This is something short-term that will get you working out. For me, this means scheduling a race I have to be ready for. My wife [Trista, the first Bachelorette], on the other hand, is better motivated by a vacation to the beach. Do whatever works for you but it has to have a defined timeline.

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