Chest skin is nearly as fragile as face skin, so you have to treat it that way. For best skin care, rub a light exfoliating pad containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids over the entire area twice a week to help promote cell regeneration, reduce fine lines, and boost suppleness (try MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, $78,mdskincare.com). Before bed, slather on a peptide-rich moisturizer to help plump and hydrate your skin while you sleep. (Try Olay Regenerist Regenerating Body Lotion, $10, at drugstores.)
Got a chest full of freckles? Ask your derm to erase them with a Q-Switched YAG laser, a machine that permanently absorbs melanin pigments in the skin in just one session (cost is about $500).
Prevent future damage
“Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day on exposed body parts, even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time outside,” insists Gross. “Research shows that premature aging comes from incidental exposure while we’re out shopping or grabbing lunch.” Choose one with antioxidants to fight free-radical damage. (Try Aveeno Positively Ageless Sunblock Lotion SPF 55, $13, at drugstores.)
Change can be a truly beautiful thing. Think about it: When you change the way you eat, you can change the way you feel, and change the way you look! With bikini season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to invest in positive changes that improve all of the above and result in a sexier you.
Begin by incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. They play an essential role in both physical and mental health, but since your body cannot produce them, you can only receive these essential fatty acids through a healthy diet. Here are my favorite omega-3-rich foods and how they change your body for the better while keeping your brain in tip-top shape:
Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and contain cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory properties that may help aid in weight loss and provide other superb benefits like the promotion of bone health. Serve them mixed into your morning muesli, alongside a cup of green tea, or paired with some peaches and non-fat Greek yogurt for a perfect morning.
Don’t scrunch your nose! Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3s, DHA, and EPA, which can all help lower cholesterol. They are low in saturated fat, packed with protein, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, and can boost metabolism. Feeling eco-friendly? Wild-caught Pacific sardines are one of the most sustainable low-mercury omega-3-rich fish. Throw them into a Caesar salad, put them on a flatbread pizza with Gruyere cheese, or simply eat them with some avocado, thinly sliced red onion, and arugula over toasted pumpernickel.
Flaxseeds are rich in ALA (that’s alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 fat that can promote bone health as well as prevent heart disease and cancer. Plus, flaxseeds give you that ultimate boost of beautiful hair, skin, and nails that every woman deserves. Gorgeous from the inside out! Toss some flax into homemade granola, on top of your favorite cereal, with some unsweetened almond milk, or pulsed up and folded into cookie, muffin, or cake batter. You won’t have a clue they are in there. Getting a lil’ more flax will do us all good.
All eggs are good for you, but some eggs are a better lay for your health. Eggland’s Best eggs, for example, are fortified with more omega-3 fatty acids than regular eggs due to their all-natural vegetarian-based feed. Eggland’s Best eggs contain more than twice the amount of omega-3s, twice the vitamin D, and 10-times the vitamin E of ordinary eggs. With feed that contains ingredients like rice bran, alfalfa, vitamin E, and sea kelp, you can bet these chicks are sexy as can be.
Yes, another fish makes the cut here. Why? Studies show that consuming more salmon can directly enhance the performance of our cells by increasing insulin effectiveness and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent in joint and digestive tissue. The combination of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats in salmon are especially good for the heart. So eat more salmon for a healthy heart, brain, and bod. This stuff is absolutely delicious broiled with a miso glaze, marinated and grilled over an open flame, or pan-seared with shallots and leeks and paired with a quinoa salad.
If you’re like most women, you’ve been struggling to flatten your stomach for about two decades now. Why? Because you think achieving enviable abs is complicated. Don’t be fooled! If you’re smart with your strategy, scoring a flat belly is actually incredibly simple. Follow these three steps and you’ll have a flat belly in no time.
Step 1: Exercise
But not so fast with the crunches! It takes 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat. And working those muscles underneath won’t matter if you still have a layer of fat covering them. Plus, crunches are one of the main culprits of back injuries, according to recent research. You won’t look so good on the beach if you’re bent over with an achy back. Instead, try these core-stabilization exercises to build the strong, sleek, sexy stomach you’re after:
Also use combo exercises, which target more than one muscle group, to get your heart pumping and ramp up your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout.
Step 2: De-Stress
When stress is high, a hormone called cortisol shoots up. And high cortisol levels equal high belly fat. Take at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to decompress and reduce your cortisol levels, and a flat stomach will be one less thing to worry about. Some ideas for de-stressing:
Step 3: Eat Right
Fuel your body with belly-fat burning foods that stabilize your blood sugar. These includes lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good fats. Some rules to follow:
Q: Is it better to work out your upper body or lower body first?
—Elena P., Santa Rosa, CA
A: Unless you’ve already got guns like Madonna, start up top. Most women’s upper-body muscles are weaker than their lower-body ones, so their upper-body workout may require more focus and effort, says fitness expert Karen Joseph, owner of Fountain of Fitness in Valrico, Florida.
Studies show that plowing through tough exercises while you’re still fresh helps prevent injury (since you move with more control) and maximizes efficiency (since you won’t slack off on form or speed).
Joseph suggests working large muscle groups, like the chest and back, before smaller ones (triceps, biceps, and forearms) and doing multi-joint moves, such as bench presses or pullups, before isolated movements like biceps curls. Get them all in two or three times a week for a leaner, tighter body.
Chia seeds: Health benefits, tips and recipes
For years, chia seeds were almost exclusively associated with sprouting terracotta pets and heads, but the nutrient-rich seeds are now becoming increasingly popular among healthy eaters.
For runners who used the winter weather as an excuse to retire their shoes for a few months, it’s time to hit the road once again. But getting back into the running groove doesn’t always happen as quickly or easily as you’d like it to, says Jess Cover, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and 18-time marathoner.
Cover, an instructor with RunVermont—the running organization behind the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay on May 27—offers the following tips to help make your spring transition back to regular running safer, easier, and more enjoyable.
1. Check Your Shoes
One of the first steps in resuming your running routine is to check your running shoes. For those who haven’t been running over the winter, putting on your old running shoes can actually be detrimental to your body. With time, the cushioning breaks down, stiffens and hardens, and your shoes will no longer provide the support your body needs.
Those who run regularly should aim to replace their shoes every 300-500 miles, or about every six months. Running outside also speeds the wear and tear on your shoes compared to running on the treadmill. Your old shoes don’t need to go right to the trash; you can save them for shorter runs during messy conditions. (You can also recycle running shoes.)
2. Evaluate Yourself
When you start running again, it’s important to realize that you have had a layoff from running, even if you’ve stayed active throughout the winter. Your first run should be an evaluation—stay relatively close to home on a familiar route, remember to do plenty of stretching before and after your run, and don’t be afraid to walk, stop, or take it slow. Your body needs to adapt to running again—picking up where you left off isn’t going to be immediate, even if you left off at the finish line of a marathon or half-marathon
If you’re transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside, it’s going to feel more difficult and can be especially hard on your knees. Plan your route to avoid big uphills or downhills when starting up again. If your body isn’t accustomed to it, running at a steep decline can cause micro-tears in your quad muscles, and your knees will stiffen up. Try to balance the uphills and downhills, or pick a relatively flat route to begin.
3. Dress the Part
Spring can be a tricky time of year for choosing the appropriate apparel thanks to the unexpected rain, wind, and sun that can lurk around each turn. Since weather can change drastically during the course of a run, research what conditions you should expect and then layer your running gear accordingly. Just choose a wicking fabric as your first layer to draw moisture off your skin.
A good rule of thumb is to dress for 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is, since your body temperature will rise throughout your run. It’s easy to overheat as the weather warms because although you’ll still feel the chill in the air, your body will heat up much faster than it did during the winter. Feeling a little chilly before you begin your run is a good sign that you’re not overdressed. It’s important to remember that you’re still at risk for hypothermia on cooler or rainy days, so a thin pair of gloves, a thin hat, and a vest are all good pieces to layer with. Look for layers that can easily be tied around your waist once you begin to warm up.
4. Stay Hydrated
As you begin running again, it’s common to start sweating more than usual, especially as the weather warms up. To prevent dehydration, it’s important to hydrate both before and after running and it’s smart to have the option to hydrate during your run. Even if you wouldn’t normally bring a drink for a 45-minute run, it’s recommended to bring a handheld bottle—or a few dollars to stop for a drink along the way.
5. Set a Goal
Having a goal is crucial to getting back into your running routine. Picking a race to train for or joining a running club or a relay team are great ways to get motivated. Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or even a marathon in your future, make a running calendar to help plan these goals and stay on track. It’s important to give yourself enough time to train so you don’t feel rushed, but don’t plan too far ahead so you lose sight of what you’re working toward. Many larger races offer a relay option, which is great for people who haven’t run a race before or for those who aren’t ready to tackled the entire distance on their own. Plus, being part of a team will give you running partners and the drive to get moving!
Almonds: Hey, guess what? Almonds are seeds, not nuts, and they’re stuffed with vitamin E, a potent sun blocker. Volunteers who consumed 14 milligrams of the vitamin per day (about 20 almonds) and then were exposed to UV light sunburned less than those who took none. “Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals,” explains Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.
Suitable switch: 2 Tbsp peanut butter; 1/2 cup
#ToneUpTuesday Workout! Take 20 minutes to complete this squat/ plank series.
9 of the world’s most beautiful and unusual cave destinations
Whether you’re in Kentucky, New Zealand or somewhere in between, these underground beauties are worthy additions to any vacation.