Blog Posts by Health.com

  • The 7 best fat-blasters

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Su Reid-St. John

    We all have days when there's no time to get to the gym. So we wondered: Which close-to-home cardio activities blast fat fastest?

    Wonder no more. Here are the top seven fat-and-calorie burners, from Los Angeles based celeb trainer Ramona Braganza, who has helped shape the amazing bodies of stars like Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway.

    Try any one of these, and you'll boost your metabolism for up to a whole day afterward. One small workout, one giant payoff.

    1. Inline skating
    Burns 425 calories in 30 minutes

    Surprised? While skating might be so much fun you forget you're actually working out, it's also numero uno on our list when it comes to blasting fat and calories.

    The big burn stems from the side-to-side movement of your thigh and butt muscles (demanding more from your body than the straightforward motion of our number-two activity -- running). And your core gets involved in a big way to keep you balanced.

    What's more, you get

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  • 5 ways to excuse-proof your workout

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBy Tina Haupert

    It happens every year: Once the summer ends, I struggle to follow a consistent workout plan. The weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and the last thing I want to do is leave my warm, cozy bed to bundle up for an early-morning 3-mile run or a group exercise class at the gym. Most of the time I realize that I just need a little extra motivation, so I try to "excuse-proof" my workout with these ideas.

    Excuse: I can't get motivated in the morning
    Morning workouts are not always fun, especially in the dead of winter. Still, they are a necessary evil when it comes to keeping myself on track. Exercising first thing in the morning guarantees that I get my workout in before my day gets carried away and excuses pop up. When I'm lying in bed debating whether to exercise or not, I count to three in my head and just get up. At first, I commit to doing just 15 minutes of exercise. Once I'm out the door, however, I get into my groove and almost always end up

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  • Is your bottled water safe?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Kate Stinchfield

    Although you may think that bottled water is a safer option than tap, two new reports show that the store-bought stuff is actually less regulated than the water you get out of your faucet for free.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has little authority to regulate bottled brands, according to a U.S. Congressional report.

    While municipal water utilities are required to provide public reports of test results, bottled-water makers are not. (On the other hand, well water, which is found in many rural areas, isn't regulated like water provided by towns and cities.) So although you may fork over a pretty penny for bottled water, that doesn't mean it's any better than what's coming out of your faucet. In fact, it could be worse and you'd never know it.

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  • Best and worst celebrity health habits

    By Susan Hall
    From Health magazine


    Alison Sweeney
    Health habit
    : She works out with the EA Sports Active fitness video-game package for the Nintendo Wii. Sweeney, a mom and host of The Biggest Loser, told People magazine that the game helped her shed pregnancy pounds: "It's just a good example of how you can really get it done at home."

    The skinny: What Sweeney does is right on: The game's 30-day challenge-a month's worth of increasingly difficult strength and cardio exercises-includes a progress tracker to help keep you motivated. The caveat: "You get out of it what you put into it," says Gregory Brown, PhD, associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, so make sure you push yourself.

    Grade: A-

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    Gwyneth Paltrow
    Health habit
    : She likes The Clean Program, a 21-day "detox" regimen that costs $350. The program's shakes and supplements helped the Oscar

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  • How much protein do you really need?

    By Mara Betsch

    With magazines and diets touting the satiating power of protein, it's important to know this essential nutrient does a lot more than fill you up. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, and it is an important building block of muscles and bones. However, 50% of women ages 18-50 don't know if they get enough protein, according to a new survey by Luna.

    So how much protein do women need? According to Tara Dellolacono Thies, a registered dietitian and nutritional spokesperson for Clif Bar, most women need between 50 and 60 grams of protein a day.

    Health.com: The top 10 medical tests women need

    But this isn't an exact science. The Institute of Medicine recommends .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but here's a simpler way to break down you protein needs:

    Activity level Protein needs (grams)
    Sedentary Weight in pounds X .4
    Active Weight in pounds X .6
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  • The ultimate expert tips for staying young

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBy Susannah Felts

    Whoever coined the phrase "You're only as old as you feel" had it so right. If you feel younger than you are, the number on your driver's license (who needs to see that, anyway?) loses much of its sway. And, fortunately, turning back the clock has never been easier. To fend off-even reverse!-the signs of aging, try these decade-by-decade tricks.

    Your 30s

    Defend your face
    Take decades of environmental exposure, add a quickening rate of collagen breakdown, and behold: In your 30s your face may show more sagging, fine lines, and early wrinkles than you'd like, says Bobby Buka, MD, a New York City dermatologist.

    His turn-back-the-clock recommendations: Use a strong sunblock every day eat lots of vitamin C-rich citrus (the vitamin helps prevent collagen loss), and apply cream with a retinol or retinoid (a vitamin A derivative) every night to promote skin-cell growth.

    Dr. Buka often prescribes tretinoin 0.25% (also known as Retin-A, about $20 for a month's use). Or try

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  • Lose 10 pounds eating fast food!

    Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

    No time to cook or buy groceries? No worries: Our plan is as grab-and-go as it gets.

    Chances are your summer days are more crazy than lazy, with zero time to create portion-controlled meals and tally up calories. But just because you're in fast-food mode doesn't mean you have to kiss your get-slim plans good-bye.

    We've created a 1,350-calorie-a-day mix-and-match weight-loss plan using healthy choices you can pick up at the drive-through (and a few you can zap at home). Choose one item from each list each day, and enjoy it with water, seltzer, or another superlight drink like black coffee-you won't have to count a single calorie. Add a fun, quick workout from our "Get Fit Faster!" activities five days a week, and this could be the least stressful 10 pounds you've ever lost.

    Health.com: Eat (yes, eat!) to lose weight

    Breakfast
    (About 300 calories)

    • Starbucks Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Feta, and Egg Wrap
      Calories 270; Fat 11g (sat 4g); Protein 14g;
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  • Do natural cold remedies really work?

    By Amanda Gardner

    IstockphotoIstockphotoBob Martin says he hasn't caught a cold in years, not since he discovered echinacea and goldenseal. For the past decade, the 60-year-old teacher from Placitas, N.M., has taken the herbal supplements in megadoses three times a day at the first sign of a sniffle. Now he only gets sick if he doesn't dose himself in time, he says.

    "It's been years since I've had a cold," says Martin. "I take the herbs, climb under the blanket, and I'm fine the next day. They nip it in the bud."

    Health.com: 5 common myths about the common cold

    Martin is not alone in his faith in herbal remedies, which he also takes for toothaches, earaches, and other ailments. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, Americans spent $1.5 billion on cold and flu supplements and other "immunity boosters" in 2007, and the market is growing at twice the rate as that of the standard, over-the-counter, cough-and-cold-remedy market.

    But do these alternative treatments actually work?

    Martin and plenty of

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  • Scary symptoms that are (really!) no big deal

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Norine Dworkin-McDaniel

    Our bodies have an amazing capacity to freak us out.

    Maybe it's a twitch that you're sure means multiple sclerosis. Or a little mark that must be cancer. You could Google symptoms for days -- and now your pulse is racing, so you can look that up, too. Unless you have a heart attack first... Whoa! Step away from the keyboard.

    Most twitches, bumps, and pops are actually harmless. Here's when to see a doctor -- and when to just relax.

    Skin tags

    What's up with that? These floppy little nodules, which are usually flesh-toned but occasionally darker, typically develop in spots where skin rubs against skin or clothing, like under the arms, around the neck, under the breasts, or even on the eyelids.

    It's not entirely clear why some people are more prone to them than others, although they may run in families. The good news is, they're virtually never cancerous and can be easily removed by a dermatologist.

    See your doctor if... you find a growth

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  • 8 reasons sex is better after 50

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Amanda Gardner

    Sex after menopause? Some experts will tell you it's a downhill ride of waning sex drive and dried up hormones.

    Sorry, we're not buying it. We happen to think there are plenty of 50-plus babes who are rocking it just as much as in their younger days. (See Madonna.) And there's no reason the rest of us shouldn't too.

    "You're not bothered by menses. You're not bothered by kids in the house. You can have sex in any room in the house," says Irwin Goldstein, MD, the director of San Diego Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital. "You can have the greatest sex life on earth."

    1. No pregnancy worries
    Sex in your 40s can be great, but you may still be making school lunches, wiping noses, juggling a career, and trying to avoid pregnancy.

    "Forty to fifty is still an anxiety point for many women because you can still get pregnant," says Margaret E. Wierman, MD, a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at the University of Colorado Health

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