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    Sit at a Desk All Day? We Asked a Physical Therapist What To Do About It

    It’s currently month who-knows-what of working from home. After months of jumping from the couch to the desk to the kitchen table, I finally decided it was time to upgrade my WFH situation to a legit office setup (#adulting). But thanks to the countless hours I’ve logged hunched over a laptop, I’ve noticed my posture has gotten worse, my neck and shoulders are stiffer than ever, and my back is in knots. Sound familiar? I think all of our bodies could use a major mobility tune-up, but who has unlimited funds to have a masseuse on speed dial (a girl can dream)?
    According to JustStand.org, the average person sits for 12 hours a day. If you’re like me and go from sitting at a desk to sitting on the couch after work, those hours are much longer. With endless to-do lists, back-to-back meetings, and unlimited binge-worthy Netflix shows, it’s easy for me to let hours pass without moving. So how do we be more mindful throughout the workday and feel our best? I asked my physical therapist Kayla Hamm, PT, DPT at Myodetox to share her top tips and tricks to giving your body all the TLC it needs. The best part? They won’t cost you a dime. Read on for Hamm’s expert advice and four at-home mobility movements that will have you saying “bye-bye” to your aches and pains and “hello” to a healthy bod. 

    Meet the expert
    Kayla Hamm, PT, DPT
    Physical Therapist for Myodetox
    Kayla Hamm is a licensed physical therapist and personal trainer in West Hollywood, California with a background in sports rehab and performance training. She has worked with a wide range of professional and college athletes as well as patients dealing with chronic pain and neurological dysfunction.

    How to change up your routine for a healthier body

    1. Build movement breaks into your schedule
    We rely on our calendars to keep us on task and make sure we don’t miss a beat. If it’s not scheduled into our busy day, chances are, it won’t get done. Therefore, Hamm suggested adding a minimum of three to four 10-minute movement blocks into your schedule. The idea is to stop what you’re doing when that reminder pops up and get your blood pumping. These movement breaks will allow your mind and body to come up for air and, in turn, prevent burnout (yes, please!). Even just a 10-minute walk on your lunch break or a 10-minute yoga flow in between meetings can make a huge difference.

    2. Switch things up
    I don’t know about you, but I can work for hours straight without even realizing I haven’t moved once all day. As tempting as it might be to power through the workday at your desk, Hamm advised against it. “Changing positions every hour is ideal,” she said. For example, the change can be as simple as alternating between sitting and standing, moving from your desk to a couch so your body can sit in different positions, or heading to a nearby coffee shop to fit in a quick walk and change of scenery. And if you do like standing (we stan a standing desk!), “it’s OK to shift your weight from left to right. You don’t have to stand rigidly and distribute your weight evenly all the time,” Hamm explained. Whether you park it at home or turn your favorite coffee shop into your office, think of changing your position every hour.

    3. Start your day on the right foot
    Picture this: Your alarm goes off and you immediately reach for your phone to scroll through Instagram (after hitting snooze a few times). We all do it, but taking the opportunity to move your body instead of scroll through your phone is crucial. Hamm said to ditch the phone and get yourself moving first thing in the morning. “Whether it’s walking your dog, following a stretch video on YouTube, or jumping on your Peloton, making movement a priority sets the tone for the day,” Hamm said. Bonus points if you get your sweat on, but it doesn’t have to be long or rigorous in order to make a drastic difference in your body. “Do something intentional with your body every morning, even if it’s 15-20 minutes,” Hamm suggested. Your body will thank you.

    Poses to try at home
    Below, Hamm breaks down four easy-to-do mobility movements you can do at your workspace or at home. Spoiler alert: Not only will your posture improve and your stiffness dissipate, but Hamm said that these exercises have also been shown to decrease cortisol and increase work performance. Need I say more?  

    1. Seated Cat-Cow
    [embedded content]
    Take a seat at the edge of your chair with your feet planted hip-width apart. Placing your hands over your chest, inhale and begin lifting your chest and eyes up toward the sky, lengthening through the back of the spine. As you exhale, turn your gaze down and bring your chin toward your chest. Continue to deepen the stretch by rounding the back until you’ve come to your end range. Alternate between these two movements about eight to 10 times as you inhale and exhale. 

    2. Seated Figure Four
    [embedded content]
    Sit up tall in your chair with both feet planted hip-distance apart. Cross your right leg over your left thigh, then place the outside of your right ankle just above your left knee, creating a Figure “4.” Slowly hinge forward without rounding the spine until you feel a mild stretch on the outside of your right hip. Hold this for one to two deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat five times before switching sides. 

    3. Standing Lateral Line Stretch
    [embedded content]
    Stand with the right side of your body next to a wall or chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot over your left and drive your hips away from the wall or chair. Next, raise your left hand up toward the sky and gently reach toward the wall or chair until you feel a stretch along the left side of your body. Return to the starting position and repeat six to eight times before switching sides.

    4. Standing Posterior Chain Stretch 
    [embedded content]
    Stand behind the back of your chair and fully extend your arms forward, placing your hands about shoulder-width apart on the chair. Keeping the arms outstretched, slowly shift your hips back while softening the knees until you feel a light stretch in the back of the legs and arms. Hold this position for one to two deep breaths and then return to a tall standing position. Complete six to eight reps.

    How to Improve Your Posture While Working From Home More

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    7 Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried Yet (We Promise)

    I’ve been writing about health for years and have coached dozens of women through their health journeys. In my experience, I’ve learned that nothing is as clickable or buzzworthy as weight loss tips. However, what makes headlines doesn’t usually pan out in everyday life, and the universal obsession with weight loss is not a sign that we’re prioritizing our health but rather that we don’t feel worthy as we are. If you clicked on this article expecting the usual “Eat less sugar” or “Do a HIIT workout” tips, know that that is not what this is. This is not your typical weight loss article you’ll read through and feel discouraged by at the end or forget to actually apply to your life. 
    And that’s because Dr. Adrienne Youdim is not your typical weight loss specialist. She isn’t telling her patients to count calories or work out more as a solution. Instead, she focuses on the “why” behind both the desire to lose weight and the inability to lose weight to help each patient achieve self-love and lasting healthy habits. Dr. Youdim is an internist who specializes in weight loss and nutrition and served as the medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Loss before opening up her own private practice in Beverly Hills. Read: She’s helped a lot of patients achieve (and maintain) a healthy weight.
    As if her long list of credentials and experience wasn’t enough, she’s also the author of the book Hungry For More, which explains how our emotions or life circumstances affect weight. While she’s a weight loss expert on paper, she’s not like any other weight loss expert. She not only changes her patients’ numbers on the scale but also changes their lives. Struggling with reaching the weight you want to be? Read on for Dr. Youdim’s best tips to achieving your best self. 

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP
    An internist who specializes in medical weight loss and nutrition
    Dr. Youdim served as medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center before opening her own practice in Beverly Hills. She wrote the book “Hungry For More,” an empowering memoir and how-to guide for women looking to reach their health goals and love their bodies.

    1. Start with mindset
    When you want to change your weight, what’s the first thing you do? Do you start cutting out sugars or processed carbs or increasing your workouts? Dr. Youdim suggested that before any tangible goal, habit, or action, you must work on mindset first if you want to achieve your goal weight (and then sustain it). “How we approach a habit is so critical to our ability to change in a durable or lasting way,” she said. “Without a proper mindset to address the process, the ups and downs, the waning motivation, the negative self-talk, and all the other mental barriers we create, we will not be able to maintain the necessary changes that result in healthy weight.” 
    First, identify why you want to change your weight. Is it to feel best in your body, to live a long and happy life, or to get more energy? Coming back to this core motivation frequently will help you stay inspired and make changes based on self-love instead of self-consciousness (more on that below). But if your reasons have more to do with not feeling enough as you are, disliking your body, or because someone else told you you have to, you won’t achieve what you’re looking to feel, no matter what pant size you get to. 

    2. Identify the “why” behind your eating patterns
    If you feel disconnected from your eating habits, are unable to control yourself, or eat more than you know you need, the problem is not your “laziness” or “lack of willpower.” The problem is that you’re suppressing an emotional need that you’re subconsciously using food to attempt to soothe. In fact, Dr. Youdim wrote an entire book about the emotional reasons most of us eat a certain way or have certain cravings. “So many of us use food to soothe—this is actually hardwired in our neurobiology,” Dr. Youdim explained. You might think you’re craving a donut or absolutely need a slice of pizza, but your body is actually trying to tell you it needs something else, whether it’s a break, stress relief, emotional comfort, or something deeper. “Know what you are trying to soothe with food. We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?” 

    We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?

    3. Focus on your routine
    Imagine this: You’ve (finally) reached your goal weight, so you become less conscious about keeping up those healthy habits and then are frustrated when your body goes back to its old ways. Or maybe you eat more plants, exercise more, and prioritize sleep for a week, and then you get annoyed and stop because you saw no changes after those seven days. Or you’ve tried diet after diets for years, always hop onto different workouts, and never stick to your meditation practice. Sound familiar? The key you might be missing is routine.
    “Routine is critical. It allows us to show up for ourselves, even when we don’t feel like it. Every practice that helps us achieve a goal weight help us maintain healthy weight as well.” Be patient with your body. Know that physical changes take time, and you should find comfort instead of frustration in the practices you do for your body. Turn practices that make your body feel good into habits, and give your body some consistency. 

    4. Stop restricting
    In the past, you might have restricted calories or food groups in order to lose weight. You might have tracked macronutrients in an app or cut out dairy or sugar, all in the name of a few less pounds. Maybe your doctor or nutritionist even told you to restrict, so you were convinced it was a healthy way to lose weight rather than a detrimental practice that could cause weight gain or disordered eating. In reality, restricting and limiting might be stopping you from achieving your health goals. “Restriction invariably makes us want to do the very thing we are trying to restrict: It focuses attention on scarcity, which makes the body thinks it needs more of that food. Restriction also causes hunger, which is just not sustainable,” Dr. Youdim said.
    So how do you eat for weight loss instead? “I tell my clients and patients to eat in terms of abundance. Eat so much of what serves you, so that you have less room for what doesn’t.” Yes, that means add more plants to every meal, and you’ll be subconsciously crowding out the foods that don’t make you feel good. Most importantly, eat intuitively rather than based on numbers or percentages.

    5. Eat your protein
    Between Keto Diet, low-carb, high-fiber, and everything in between, there’s a lot of confusion over the best type of diet and what percentage of macronutrients is best for reaching a goal weight. While the most important step for actually being healthy is to stop worrying so much about dieting and percentages (see #4), Dr. Youdim said that a common issue she sees with her patients is not enough protein. “Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and also helps preserve muscle mass, which then preserves a healthy metabolism,” she said. But before you pull out your macronutrient-tracking app and load up on protein powders, focus on adding more whole foods and nutrient-rich plants to your diet while also eating a balance of clean protein sources like fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, etc.

    6. Improve your sleep and stress levels
    If the only factors you’ve considered in your weight loss journey are nutrition and fitness, you’re missing out on key players that can make or break reaching (and keeping) your goal weight. Stress levels and sleep are just as important as food and exercise when it comes to being healthy and reaching a healthy weight. But don’t believe me: Ask Dr. Youdim. “Sleep is crucial. Countless studies show that sleep deprivation results in surging hunger hormones, greater appetite for calorie-dense foods, and weight gain. Stress is also a huge contributor, and it affects our hunger too, both physiologic and emotional.” Your health plan and wellness routine need to include a sleep-care routine and stress-relief plan (whether its daily meditation, weekly therapy, or all of the above). 

    You don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals. You can reach health goals because you accept and love your body.

    7. Love yourself as you are now (no, really)
    While this might sound like some fluffy self-help advice your mom used to tell you in middle school, it is actually tangible, concrete advice to reach your goal weight. “We can want to change our bodies and still accept ourselves as we are in this moment,” Dr. Youdim explained. “This is critical because we’ll sabotage ourselves if we don’t accept ourselves. Picture this: You get on a scale and are disappointed at the results. If you accept yourself and hold that disappointment with compassion, you’ll be able to focus your attention on the habits you want to adopt. If you don’t accept yourself (i.e. you get mad at yourself, put yourself down, or feel hopeless), you’re more likely to throw in the towel.” 
    In other words, you don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals; you can reach health goals because you accept and love your body as it is right now. Love yourself first, and then make changes or form habits because you know what your body deserves. For tips on where to start with self-love and body acceptance, click here for expert advice or here for 10 ways to love yourself more. 

    This article is intended to provide inspiration to help you reach your health goals, not as treatment for an eating disorder. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or with disordered thoughts or behaviors regarding food and eating, please seek help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for support, reach out to a qualified medical professional, or, for a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.

    Why Losing Weight Didn’t Make Me Love Myself More
    and what actually did instead More

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    How To Turn a Detox Into a Lifestyle

    Juice cleanses run rampant on our favorite celebrities’ Instagrams, popular headlines promise recipes for three-day detoxes, and the number of retreats dedicated to detoxification has spiked in the past few years, as more and more people are looking for a quick detox after an indulgent weekend or before a big event.
    “Detox” is such a trendy word, but what does it even mean? “Toxins are toxic molecules that can be ingested by the body through external sources,” explained Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD, an LA-based cardiologist, founder, and medical director of the Clean Program and best-selling author (and also commonly known as “the father of detox”). “Fortunately, a majority of these toxins can be converted and expelled, thanks to the ‘detoxification system’ in the body,” Dr. Junger said. That’s right, the body is meant to detoxify all on its own (no pricey juice cleanse required). 

    However, if there’s an overexposure, the body cannot work fast enough to get rid of them all. Plus, the liver, digestive system, and kidneys need some TLC in order to do their job. For more information on what “detoxifying” really means, click here, but the bottom line is that you know your body works best when you treat it well, and that goes for the detoxification system too. In other words, a three-day diet or wellness retreat isn’t how you detoxify. Instead, you treat your body a certain way that helps the body’s detoxification system in the long run. So stop the juice cleanse, cancel your short-term meal prep subscription, and get on with your life already! (In a detoxifying way, of course.) Here’s how.

    Get in your greens daily
    No surprise: What you eat matters. But you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) focus on cutting out food groups or limiting what you can and cannot eat (that can lead to bingeing or an unhealthy relationship with food). Instead, focus on adding in more of the fruits and veggies that support the body’s natural detoxification process. Leafy greens are especially beneficial, so aim to add them into at least two meals a day. For example, add spinach to an omelet, throw kale in a pasta sauce, and order a side salad when you’re eating out, or check out some of these delicious ways to eat your greens.

    Increase your water intake
    “Drink more water and stay hydrated, as water helps the kidneys flush out toxins more easily,” suggested Dr. Chris Airey, MD, the medical director at Optimale and a practicing physician with the NHS. One of the major ways we get rid of those toxins is through—you guessed it—our urine. So not only does hydration assist the kidney’s flush of toxins, but it also makes you urine more frequently, meaning you’re eliminating more toxins (so I guess it’s not a badge of honor that you can hold it through a six-hour flight?). Forget detox teas, powders, or juices. All you need is good ol’ fashioned water to help the body get rid of what it needs to. 

    Opt for organic when available
    Do you ask every restaurant you go to for their list of organic vs. conventional farms and grocers or only eat at a salad bar if every item is certified organic? No, you can enjoy your life and get in those fruits and veggies wherever you can. However, if you’re deciding what type of produce to get when shopping for your home, consider going organic when possible. “By purchasing organic foods, you can avoid many herbicides, pesticides, and other hormones that contribute to toxic waste,” explained Dr. M. Kara, MD, a longtime doctor at The Cleveland Clinic and founder of KaraMD.

    Move the body every day
    Exercise is good for your strength, mood, and well-being—all things that help keep your body working as it should. As if you needed more reasons to exercise, sweating is another form of detox that your body naturally does on its own. “Exercise promotes lymphatic circulation and sweat, both of which are crucial to the body’s detoxification process,” explained Dr. Airey. The lymphatic system is another important part of the body’s detoxification, and one of the ways to move “waste” to the lymph nodes is through moving and working the muscles. Plus, sweat not only expends electrolytes and water, it also rids the body of toxins. Win, win! 

    Make changes to your home
    Besides just helping your body be healthy overall so it can work optimally, you can also make some changes to avoid exposure to toxins to reduce the amount of detoxification the body has to do on a regular basis. Many toxins are unavoidable (especially in our modern world), but be aware of where you can make simple swaps or changes that are not only better because they reduce your body’s exposure to toxins but are also better for the planet. There are lots of different ways to reduce your toxin exposure, so it’s all about identifying which ways are best for your lifestyle. A few examples are filtering your air at home or using non-toxic/clean cosmetics, toiletries, and laundry products.

    How to Detox Your Sleep Routine More

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    6 Things I Learned About Vaginas From This Netflix Show

    I just learned a lot about vaginas from a streaming service, and (thankfully) it’s not porn. Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, her $250 million brand, or the sometimes ridiculous claims (a $3,000 dildo? I don’t even have $5 for daily Starbucks!), but one of the episodes on the Netflix series The Goop Lab shook my world. Episode three, titled “The Pleasure Is Ours,” features Betty Dodson, a PhD sexologist who has been one of the principle leaders in female sexual health and pleasure for decades. Just for reference, her first book, Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Self Love, came out in 1974. It turns out the viewer (and Gwyneth Paltrow) has a lot to learn from this 91-year-old (yeah, you read that right).
    Regardless of what you think of Goop or GP’s acting skills, this episode was profound, and, dare I say, life-changing. Watching the episode and writing this article felt like one big therapy session for me. I would go so far as to say that watching it should be required for everyone, because very few of us (sadly) got this kind of education in school. Read on for key takeaways from the episode and the six life-changing things I learned about vaginas. 

    1. Paltrow doesn’t know what a vagina is—and neither do most people
    First of all, let’s start with the word “vagina:” it’s not what you think it is. Even though she recently launched a candle that smells like it, GP got it wrong when talking about “the vagina” in the episode. Many people, Paltrow and myself included, use the word “vagina” to describe the entire system going on “down there,” especially when referring to what we can see on the outside and the parts that relate to pleasure. Like the badass she is, Dodson gracefully schooled Paltrow with a subtle FYI. “The vagina is the birth canal only,” she said. “You’re talking about the vulva: that’s the clitoris, the inner lips and all that good sh*t around it.” Note to self: We know the difference between the penis and testicles, so it’s about freaking time we all know the correct names of female anatomy as well. 

    2. Genital shame hinders our sexuality
    While this one isn’t necessarily surprising, it is surprising how many people with vaginas feel shame about them. Dodson talks about a disassociation with female genitals; most women think theirs is gross, abnormal (more on that below), or don’t even want to look at them (also more on that below). A lot of this comes from a lack of education (did you learn about the “clitoris” in school? I sure didn’t) and also just from cultural norms. Think about it: Even the nicknames and language commonly used to describe vulvas sound gross at worst and risqué at best. Plus, as Dodson points out, a lot of us grew up thinking that sexuality was something we needed to hide or keep to ourselves (can we all just agree that the rules some parents place on teens around dating and sex is a little outdated and effed up?). Shame around our vulvas directly translates to shame around our sexuality, and shame around sexuality hinders our pleasure (and you wonder why you can’t orgasm?). 

    3. Yes, your vulva is “normal”
    Now for what I think is the saddest part of the episode (but also the most empowering): The show cited a study done by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which found that purely aesthetic labiaplasty surgeries (or surgeries to alter the folds of the skin around the vulva) increased by 45 percent worldwide just between 2015 and 2016. Females as young as 9 years old were asking for the procedure. While we support every woman in making her own decisions about plastic surgery and what’s right for her, the point is that there are many people with vaginas who believe they need to change theirs. A big reason is that our culture teaches us that they’re “gross,” so our default is insecurity, but it’s also because of lack of example.
    Dodson and the president of the Betty Dodson Foundation, Carlin Ross, explained that almost all female genitalia shown in pornography have received surgical altercation. For many people, the only vulvas they see besides their own come from pornography, since there are no other examples in mainstream culture. So The Goop Lab did something revolutionary and showed real vulvas. Yes, up close and personal. They didn’t just show one (because then that one might become the “norm”); they showed multiple in an effort to prove to people with vaginas that theirs is normal, no matter what it looks like. The verdict: Every one is vastly different, and they should be, because we all have different bodies and a different makeup for pleasure. You can stop wondering and worrying—yes, your “down there” is totally normal. 

    4. …And you should know what it looks like
    I’d like to change the saying “know it like the back of my hand” to “know it like every inch of my vulva” after watching this episode. After all, what does the back of the hand do? If it’s worth knowing so well that it becomes a well-known cliché, shouldn’t we also know the most powerful, pleasurable part of ourselves? As Dodson says, “The genitals are your power spot.” Beyond just the pleasure, they are also where the next generation comes from. Regardless of whether birthing children is part of your plan, there’s no denying that the female genitals innately hold so much power and strength (and more capacity for pleasure than a penis, thank you very much).
    But many people don’t even know what theirs (or any—see point #3) look like. In 2016, The Eve Appeal, a Gynecological Cancer Research center in the U.K., asked 1,000 women to identify their own anatomy from medical illustrations (another study cited in the episode. Yes, I took rigorous notes). Only 44 percent were able to identify. A quick PSA on behalf of Betty Dodson: If you are not well aware of what your vulva both looks and feels like, stop what you’re doing, grab a mirror, and get to exploring. 

    5. There are many important systems within the “genitals”
    Dodson and Ross explain how the clitoris is not just one single “spot” as the nickname “the G-spot” makes it sound like. It’s actually a complex system on its own, with multiple parts and more than 8,000 nerve endings in the tip alone. FYI, that’s double the entirety of the penis. Also, the clitoris and vagina (or what we mean as vulva) get all the buzz, but your pelvic floor muscles are crucial for pleasure as well.
    For one reason, tight pelvic muscles and tension are common causes for pain, which obviously hinders pleasure. But also, when you work the pelvic muscles, you bring more blood to the area, which means more orgasms. In other words, your genitals deserve a workout routine too. The most talked about way to engage the pelvic floor is kegels, but Dodson has her own fascinating (and successful!) technique if you want to watch the episode or check out her website. 

    6. Knowing your vulva is important for you, not just for your partner
    I think we can all agree that partnered sex is more pleasurable and fulfilling when everyone involved is, you know, pleasured and fulfilled. But the point of knowing your vulva is not just so you can have a fire sex life in your relationship. Yes, feeling just as entitled to pleasure and just as knowledgeable about your own biology as your partner is crucial for many reasons, but this information is also important for you.
    As Dodson said when Paltrow asked why women being in touch with their sexuality has been seen as dangerous (read: thousands of years of slut-shaming), “When we’re in touch with our sexualities, love our bodies, and know how to orgasm on our own, we are independent. We’re dangerous when we’re knowledgeable.” In essence, your own association with your genitals is not about anyone else around you; it’s about your own pleasure, and the knowledge of how to fully access it is one of your greatest powers.  

    5 Things You’re Doing to Your Vagina That You Shouldn’t Be More

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    How to Actually “Detox,” According to Experts

    When you think about how to detox, what comes to mind? Is it the restrictive diet Gwyneth Paltrow swears by or an intense sauna session? Maybe it’s trendy juice cleanses that became mainstream in 2010 or the detox teas that promised you’d lose a whole pant size after a couple weeks (which, like, how on earth can that possibly be healthy?). There’s no doubt that wellness trends can be confusing AF, especially when the supplement industry is doing more marketing than being a helpful resource. There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to detoxing the body. So, for the betterment of humanity and to prevent another woman from suffering through a juice cleanse, I wanted to set the record straight on what “detoxing” really is and how we do it. 

    In this article

    What does “detox” mean?
    We throw around the words “toxins” and “detox” when it comes to food, wellness routines, and beauty products, but what do they really mean? “Toxins are toxic molecules that can be ingested by the body through external sources,” explained Dr. Alejandro Junger, MD, an LA-based cardiologist, founder, and medical director of the Clean Program and best-selling author (also commonly known as “the father of detox”). “Outside toxins are all human-made chemicals: air pollution, chemicals in water or beauty products, medications, building materials in our houses, and mostly from processed foods or non-organic produce.”
    Before you quit your current life, move out to the country, and live totally toxin-free, rest-assured that your body has a solution. “Fortunately, a majority of these toxins can be converted and expelled, thanks to the ‘detoxification system’ in the body,” Dr. Junger said. There’s also what’s known as internal toxins, like excess cholesterol, bacteria, viruses, etc., that the body fights and removes internally. It turns out that we don’t need products, cleanses, and diets to help us detoxify. The body is a powerful detoxifying machine all on its own. 

    How does the body detoxify?
    Spoiler alert: a lot of ways. Many major systems in the body are part of the detoxification process. “The body detoxifies in a few ways: the liver and kidneys play the biggest roles, but the digestive tract and skin play important roles as well,” explained Dr. Chris Airey, MD, the medical director at Optimale and a practicing physician with the NHS. “The liver removes toxins and breaks them down so that the kidneys can pass them out. The kidneys filter out waste, the digestive tract passes harmful substances out of the body through bowel movements, and the skin detoxes through sweating.”
    “Your liver does the heavy lifting when it comes to detoxifying the body of substances it sees as waste or harmful,” agreed Dr. M. Kara, MD, a longtime doctor at The Cleveland Clinic and founder of KaraMD. “It does this by metabolizing these harmful substances into less harmful ‘metabolites’ that are then eliminated via the digestive tract (bowel movements), kidneys (urine), and skin (sweat).”
    If this is all getting a little too “biology class” for you and anatomy is not your thing, the bottom line is that a healthy body is built to identify, process, and eliminate substances that are either unnecessary or harmful all on its own (no juice cleanse required). 
    Though the liver, digestive tract, kidneys, and skin are known as the MVPs in detoxification, the body gets rid of toxins in many other ways too. Dr. Junger cited the way we breathe as a form of detox as well: We breathe out CO2, which is a toxic waste product. Even with something as mindless and simple as breathing, the body knows to breathe in something useful and good for the body (oxygen) and breathe out the bad (CO2). 

    When do toxins become harmful?
    I know what you’re thinking: If the body gets rid of all the bad stuff on its own, why do we need to be aware of consuming toxins? Does that mean that clean beauty is a scam or that we can eat Taco Bell for every meal without consequences? The answer: obviously not.
    Yes, the body has an amazing detoxification system, but there’s only so much it can detox. Think of your body like a river: If a branch or boulder fall into the river, it’s no big deal. The flow of the river pushes the branch or boulder and carries it out to sea, right? But if there’s an overflow of branches and boulders, the river can no longer push through, and it creates a dam. Toxins are like branches and boulders: Your body is made to detoxify, but if there’s an overexposure, the body cannot work fast enough to get rid of them all. Plus, the liver, digestive system, and kidneys need some TLC in order to do their job. You know your body works best when you treat it well, and that goes for the detoxification system too. 

    Ways to assist the body’s natural detoxification process

    1. Get enough sleep
    As if you needed another reason to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and get to bed early tonight. “Sleep gives the body a chance to essentially reset itself,” Dr. Kara said. “By having the opportunity to slow down and refresh, the body can eliminate any toxic waste that has built up during the day.” That’s right, there’s more purpose to precious shut-eye than dreaming about Regé-Jean Page. When you’re not spending energy on digesting food, moving around, or focusing on work tasks, the energy in your body can go into detoxifying. Make sure you’re getting a full 7-9 hours of deep, restful sleep to keep your body working its best. 

    2. Be aware of what you eat
    You knew this was coming. Yes, what you eat matters. Not only do processed foods contribute to the toxins put into your body, but foods that are good for you are also good for keeping the organs in the detoxification system healthy. For example, the digestive tract eliminates through bowel movements, but it needs fiber in order to make consistent bowel movements. Dr. Kara suggested limiting excess sugar or processed foods and eating antioxidant-rich foods (fruits and veggies!) and foods high in fiber. Also, shop organic whenever you can. “By purchasing organic foods, you can avoid many herbicides, pesticides, and other hormones that contribute to toxic waste,” he said.
    “Plants are filled with nutrients that are used by the liver to make enzymes that help it detox,” agreed Dr. Junger. “The more species of plants you eat in a variety of colors, the more chances you will have of getting these nutrients as well as feeding the good bacteria that do 30-40 percent of the work of detoxification needed.”

    3. Drink more water
    You already know that drinking water is the secret to great skin thanks to Gabrielle Union, but it’s also a key player in detoxification. “Drink more water and stay hydrated, as water helps the kidneys flush out toxins more easily,” Dr. Airey suggested. One of the major ways we get rid of those toxins is through—you guessed it—our urine. So not only does hydration assist the kidney’s flush of toxins, but it also makes you urine more frequently, meaning you’re eliminating more toxins (so I guess it’s not a badge of honor that you can hold it through a six-hour flight?). Forget detox teas, powders, or juices. All you need is good ol’ fashioned water to help the body get rid of what it needs to. 
     
    4. Exercise
    Exercise can help you get stronger, improve heart health, and even boost mood, so it’s no surprise that the one-stop-shop for optimal health is also good for getting rid of toxins. Dr. Airey explained that exercise promotes lymphatic circulation and sweat, both of which are crucial to the body’s detoxification process. The lymphatic system is another important part of the body’s detoxification, and one of the ways to move “waste” to the lymph nodes is through moving and working the muscles. Plus, sweat not only expends electrolytes and water, it also rids the body of toxins. BRB, going to sign up for hot yoga! 

    5. Reduce your exposure to toxins
    Besides just helping your body be healthy overall so it can work optimally, you can also make some changes to avoid exposure to toxins to reduce the amount of detoxification the body has to do on a regular basis. Many toxins are unavoidable (especially in our modern world), but be aware of where you can make simple swaps or changes that are not only better because they reduce your body’s exposure to toxins but are also better for the planet. “The simplest way to assist the body’s detox system is to reduce exposure,” Dr. Junger recommended. “Filter your water, filter your air at home, and spend time in nature breathing fresh air. Use green materials when building your home and use non-toxic/clean cosmetics, toiletries, and laundry products.” Think of these little updates as your way of telling your body, “Thanks for all you do, and I got your back!” 

    Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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    The Unexpected Workout That I Actually Enjoy (and You Might Too)

    I’m ready to sing it from the rooftops: I finally found a form of exercise that I’ve stuck with and that I truly enjoy. It’s not too strenuous—but it burns enough calories for me, makes me feel good, and is easy to fit into my routine. So, what is it? Walking. Yes, that’s it: just going for a nice long walk. I have long heard about the benefits of walking (and obviously have gone for walks here and there in the past), but I hadn’t really gotten into a regular routine until recently.
    I’ve always been someone who reaaaaally struggles to find the motivation to workout, and I’ve also struggled with finding a type of workout that I truly enjoy. I’ve had little bursts of getting into a routine and doing one specific workout multiple times a week, but I always end up becoming bored of it and then losing motivation to work out altogether. 
    Then, a few months ago, I was inspired by the “Hot Girl Walk” trend on TikTok (if you haven’t seen it, it’s basically just putting on music that makes you feel confident, using the time to manifest for yourself, and walking a few miles) to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and a fanny pack and really commit. Now, every time I go for a walk, I come back to my apartment feeling so much better and like I did something great not only for my physical health but for my mental health as well. 

    So, what are the benefits of walking?
    According to Mayo Clinic, daily walking may help your general physical health because it can improve cardiovascular fitness, assist in maintaining a healthy weight, and strengthen your bones, muscles, and endurance.
    Regular walking has numerous mental health benefits as well: It can increase your energy levels, improve coordination, strengthen your immune system, and reduce stress. It can also improve your mood, cognition, memory, and sleep. I mean seriously, what’s not to love?
    Experts at the Mayo Clinic also say you should walk at least 30 minutes per day to truly enjoy all of the benefits of walking. You could also take it up a notch by adding weights or using the interval or incline features on a treadmill.

    Here’s how I do it:

    What’s in my headphones?
    When I first decided that I was really going to commit to getting the most out of my walks, I settled on either following the rules of the Hot Girl Walk and listening to music that helped boost my confidence or listening to a podcast. A podcast works really well because it motivates me to listen to at least one whole episode, ensuring that I walk for well over the 30-minute daily goal. 
    I haven’t tried a guided walking workout yet, but I’m very intrigued by them and definitely want to try it out. A lot of your favorite fitness apps offer them, and Apple Fitness+ even offers walking workouts narrated by celebrities (including Dolly Parton, Nick Jonas, Misty Copeland, and many more). 
    My favorite playlists and podcasts:

    Time and distance
    I don’t focus strictly on numbers; instead, I try to walk for as long as what makes me feel the best. I would say that I normally walk at least two or three miles, mostly because I genuinely enjoy it. If I’m listening to a podcast, my walks tend to be at least 45 minutes to an hour.
    At first, I just didn’t think I had enough time in the day to walk for very long, but the more I did it, the longer my walks became. I began to love walking new routes, finding new playlists, and catching up on my favorite podcasts while I walked. 

    How I fit it into my routine
    Incorporating regular exercise works best for me when I don’t force myself to stick to a particular schedule. I know that having a set routine works really well for some people, but I personally need the flexibility of just fitting it in whenever I can depending on the day. I often find that if I do try to stick to something specific (for example, getting up before work every day and working out), I tire myself out and feel defeated and less motivated when I miss a day. 
    Instead, I do whatever my day allows. Sometimes I do get up early and fit in a walk before work, sometimes I take a break from working from home and go for a walk during the day, and sometimes I don’t walk until dusk (I think sunset walks are underrated). I listen to my body, and because walking really does reduce my stress and anxiety levels, I take a walk when I feel like it’ll benefit me most. 
    It’s also important to note that I started walking regularly in early spring and live in Chicago, so the weather was unpredictable. If it’s raining or too cold, walking indoors on a treadmill is great too! I use those times to challenge myself with different incline levels and interval workouts.

    Why it works for me
    Although walking as a workout might give off old-lady-in-a-walking-club vibes, I genuinely think it has benefitted me more than any other exercise I’ve tried. Taking a long walk makes me feel less stressed, it boosts my energy and mood, clears my mind, and it actually burns a fair number of calories.
    I sometimes find it hard to actually get out the door (as I do with any workout), but once I return to my apartment, I feel 10 times better than when I left. I also enjoy the time to myself to think through big decisions or stress points in my life, practice gratitude, manifest positive changes for myself, and disconnect for a bit. Oh, and the people-and-dog-watching is always enjoyable. 
    I try to supplement my walks with other workouts as well when I can—such as strength training, pilates, or yoga—but as I mentioned, I don’t force myself to do anything in particular. I think the flexibility in this routine and my commitment to truly listen to my body has helped me actually enjoy exercising.
    So if you’re like me and have been struggling to find a workout that you enjoy, I challenge you to lace up those sneakers, put your headphones in, strap on a fanny pack, and start walking for at least 30 minutes per day. The benefits go far beyond just physical, so you might just find your new favorite activity. 

    Here are all of the products that have elevated my walking routine:

    Everywhere Belt Bag 1L
    This belt bag is so popular and for good reason. It fits everything you would need for a long walk, but it isn’t too bulky—plus it adds a little element of chic-ness to your walking outfit.
    14 colors available

    Dagne Dover
    Mara Phone Sling
    I love this bag for when I really don’t need to take much on my walk. It’s designed to fit your cell phone, and then it has card slots so you can carry just the essentials. It even has a chapstick loop, which I really appreciate.
    4 colors available

    Hoka One One
    Bondi 7 Sneaker
    After much deliberation, I decided to purchase these shoes a few months ago. They were an investment for me, but it has definitely paid off. Hoka One One sneakers are designed for running and walking, and this particular pair is ultra-cushioned and so comfortable. Is it crazy to say these literally motivate me to workout?
    10 colors available

    Myriad Walking Shoe
    If you need a more budget-friendly pair of walking sneakers, these are a great option. I’ve owned Ryka shoes in the past, and they treated me well. Plus, how cute is this colorway?

    New Balance
    Athletic Cushion Comfort Quarter Socks
    This might seem weird, but trust me on this: You need the right pair of socks for a long walk. I love these because they’re cushioned but don’t make my feet sweat, and the quarter-length prevents any rubbing from the back of a shoe.
    7 styles available

    Obé x Bala Bangles
    Ankle/Wrist Weighted Bangles
    If you really want to get the most out of a walking workout, ankle weights add that little extra something that takes it to the next level. Plus, I seriously can’t get over how cute these Obé x Bala Bangles are!

    Quay Australia
    PSA Square Sunglasses
    I bought these sunglasses at the beginning of the summer, and they’re seriously the only ones I’ve been wearing. They’re perfect for walks for two reasons: 1) They don’t get stuck in you hair when you put them on your head and 2) Nobody can see your eyes through them (meaning they’re perfect for people-watching).

    Silicone AirPods Case with Rosegold Keychain
    Not only is this AirPods case cute, I’ve found it extremely functional (and it helps you not mix up your AirPods with your roommate or partner’s). I previously owned a case without a keychain, but I found that I was wanting to be able to hook it to things. This is perfect for hooking to my belt bag.
    30+ colors available More

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    8 Easy Swaps I Made This Year To Become My Healthiest Self

    For a long time, I viewed “healthy living” as unapproachable and intimidating, mostly because I felt so unbelievably far from achieving it. Up until a few months ago, I ate too much salt, went to bed super late, watched way too much TV, drank a lot of wine, and ordered McDonald’s chicken nuggets more times than I’d like to admit. Before I discovered attainable health swaps for my life, I felt like a bit of a failure in the wellness department.
    This year, I’ve put more focus on the small day-to-day choices that I make instead of becoming consumed and overwhelmed with drastic, unsustainable changes that derail me from even trying in the first place. For me, making healthy swaps for things I was already doing and eating was a great, welcoming approach for living my best life, and now, I swear by it. These eight healthier choices helped me transform the way I look at healthy living and have fueled my fire to keep this lifestyle going:

    1. Matcha instead of coffee
    Don’t get me wrong—I love my coffee and still drink it occasionally. But instead of viewing espresso as a vital necessity to life, I view it as more of a treat instead of a three-cups-a-day routine. After years of drinking almost a pot of coffee a day, I realized that it didn’t even keep me awake anymore, and I felt close to ill when I’d skip a cup. This is when I knew I needed a change. Now, I drink a teaspoon of matcha with vanilla oat milk almost every day, and I’m hooked. Not only does it give me a little bit of a caffeine buzz, but it’s also packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that actually make me feel good about drinking it. 

    2. Reading before bed instead of scrolling on my phone
    Before the last month, falling into a bottomless, deep, dark hole on TikTok or Instagram before bed was one of my most fatal flaws, and unfortunately, my most closely practiced ritual. While I didn’t completely give up scrolling through my phone, I do opt to read before bed instead of being sucked into the blue light blob. I find that reading three pages helps me wind down more quickly than I would spending an hour (or more) on TikTok and allows me to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

    3. Banza noodles instead of traditional pasta
    This is one of the easiest swaps I’ve incorporated into my meal prepping routine. If you aren’t already on the chickpea noodle train, this is your sign to hop aboard. I’ve been a pasta junkie my entire life (perks of growing up with an Italian grandmother), and while I never felt guilty for consuming it in mass amounts, I found that chickpea noodles (low carb, gluten-free, and high in protein) are just as good and so worth the healthy substitute. If I’m going to be eating pasta anyway, I might as well swap it with something that tastes just as great and is a bit healthier, right?

    4. Eating in instead of eating out
    OK, I’ll admit this is probably one of the more difficult “easy swaps” on this list. But I can finally say, now that I’m on the other side, it’s so much easier than I thought it would be. For years, I relied heavily on eating out and ordering on DoorDash, which typically left me feeling bloated, guilty, and—quite frankly—broke. 
    Two things that really helped me gain control over eating out were 1) finding a grocery schedule that worked for me and 2) recreating the meals I was craving in my own kitchen. That included mastering my favorite vodka pasta recipe, figuring out how to make my own Chick-fil-A sauce, and recreating my go-to Sweetgreen salad. From there, I realized that I can in fact cook, and beyond that, I could take the liberty of making healthier versions of some of my favorite meals to eat out. While I still do dine out, I now do it a lot less frequently, which has given me back some financial freedom, helps me make healthier choices at home, and allows me to cherish the times I eat out a bit more.

    Source: Colorjoy Stock

    5. Walks instead of binge-watching TV after dinner
    For a while, I was gridlocked into the routine of plopping down on the couch after cooking, eating, and cleaning up the disaster in my kitchen. Enter four-hour-long Netflix binge-watching sessions with intermittent naps that messed with my sleep schedule and took precedence over any night routine that would set me up for success the next day.
    Now, instead of giving in to the food coma, I engage in a light walk after dinner, which helps me beat the post-meal slump and allows me get some steps in toward the end of the day. Whether I walk and catch up with a friend or enjoy the solitude of a favorite-playlist-filled sunset walk, my post-dinner stroll has become one of my favorite self-care acts of the day.

    6. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
    All of my life, I looked at dark chocolate with disdain because of its bitterness—I didn’t quite get the hype. But now that I’m older, wiser, and more aware of dark chocolate’s health benefits (antioxidant-packed, flavanol-filled, and more heart-healthy than milk chocolate), I gave it another go, hoping my taste buds had changed. To my surprise, I loved it. Now, I opt for dark over milk chocolate whenever I have the chance, and like my matcha vs. coffee switch, it’s an easy swap that makes me feel a lot better.

    7. A flexible activity schedule instead of a rigid workout schedule
    Before, I’d try to hop back on the workout train—lifting five days a week, sustaining injuries, losing motivation quickly—only to fall right back off of the boat. While I kept up with this yo-yo workout situation for quite some time, it’s not until this year that I finally took a step back to reevaluate my relationship with physical activity.
    I still lift weights here and there, but if I’m not able to go to the gym four to five days a week like I used to strive for, I don’t beat myself up over it. The reality is this: Life is busy. We get tired, we don’t have time, or we can’t coordinate our strict hair-washing schedule with a day of dripping sweat at the squat rack. And that’s OK. My new fitness goals focus on moving in any capacity, and I’ve found that taking a more flexible approach has made me more motivated and excited to get moving. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a yoga class, a HIIT session at the gym, or a 10-minute affair with my weighted hula hoop, I’ve found that listening to my body and keeping activity simple and fun has been a game-changer in keeping my activity levels more consistent.
     
    8. Hydrating before reaching for caffeine 
    The number of times in my lifetime that I’ve chugged two cups of coffee before even thinking about water is an absolute tragedy. This year, I’ve really prioritized hydrating, especially in the morning after a night of sleeping and hours of not taking sips of water. Starting my day off hydrated AF helps set the tone for the day and sets me up for success before reaching for my morning caffeine choice. 
    On the days where I focus on my water intake, I find that I have more energy to power through the mid-afternoon slump, have more stamina during my workouts, and am less prone to suffer from that late-afternoon headache and/or annoying right eye twitching. It’s not groundbreaking but, now that I’ve finally hopped on board, I totally get the hype.

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    Start Today: Everything You Need to Know About Weight Training

    Wellness comes in many iterations with endless interpretations, and that makes the possibility of discovering a fitness regimen that works specifically for you and your lifestyle all the more possible! In the interest of examining every possible option to improve physical health, I would like to make the case for weight training as the perfect exercise for all of you busy, powerful women out there that are interested in factoring a new workout into your lives.
    Full disclosure: I don’t mean bodyweight strength training. I mean building up to use a barbell, free weights, and kettlebells. That’s right, I’m talking about dominating that section of the gym where all the dudes stand in front of mirrors acting like they know what they’re doing, busting out biceps curls. Strength training is one of the most rewarding skills one can master with just a few simple and extremely functional movements. If you would like to get started with weightlifting or have already started working on some movements, keep these tips in mind throughout every stage of your journey:

    You Won’t Bulk Up (Unless You Want To)
    One of the great things about strength training is its choose-your-own-adventure methodology. It’s a very common belief that you’ll start bulking up the minute you so much as look at a set of dumbbells. But here’s the thing: that’s simply not true. It requires a massive amount of time, effort, and intention to bulk up. If you don’t want to take my word for it, we polled a handful of experts and the common thread between all of their replies was this: most women don’t have anywhere near enough testosterone to bulk up the way men do.
    The benefits of strength training are so much more than this myth. Shelley Armstrong, Ph.D., MAT, MCHES, laid it all out for us: “Lifting weights two to three times per week is extremely beneficial for women to reduce their risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone health. Between the ages of 30 and 70, muscle mass and strength decrease by an average of 30%, mostly due to inactivity. Weight training can prevent or even reverse this process and, in turn, provides the following benefits: improved performance of physical activities, prevention and management of chronic diseases, improved joint health, prevention and treatment of low-back pain, injury prevention, relief of aches and pains from stress or after prolonged sitting, improved posture, and improved quality of sleep.”

    Repetition is Key
    If you have never tried any basic strength training movements, odds are your first attempt at even the most basic movement will not be perfect — and that’s OK! In fact, it’s wonderful because your muscle memory will only build relative to the frequency of your training. The more you pick up a weight, the more familiar with the movement your muscles will become. Think about your favorite beauty tool. When you first bought it, there was a period of time in which you probably weren’t using it as seamlessly as you did after you conducted a little bit of research and practiced with it each morning. Before you knew it, that practice turned that tool into an integral part of your beauty regimen.
    Practicing weightlifting movements is very similar. At first, it will feel foreign and strange. But after a few weeks of repeating movements consistently, the muscle memory will develop. Trying using a PVC pipe or a training barbell to begin and practice in the mirror until the movement feels like second nature and a seasoned eye confirms that the movements look correct. Practicing with a PVC pipe or a light barbell will simulate the real thing for your muscles and teach you the correct way to grip and move around the bar. All it takes is 5 or 10 minutes of repetitive, concentrated work and before you know it, those movements that felt so foreign to you will start to make sense and you’ll see significant jumps in your strength when the time comes to load up the bar.

    Source: @pure_barre

    Go for the Real Thing
    Don’t be afraid to skip weight machines with cables and tracks. While a lot of these machines are very useful for isolated exercises, it can be difficult to get a full-body workout and genuinely build strength. Not to mention, working with free weights or the barbell will allow you to apply your strength training directly to your everyday life, almost immediately, and teach you to lift heavy objects without running a risk of injuring yourself.
    Free weights, like dumbbells or a barbell, work more than one muscle at a time. For example, using a Smith Machine for bench press will not activate your core and lats like dumbbells or a barbell will due to the fact that the barbell in a Smith Machine is on a guided track. You can work up to a heavy press with a Smith Machine, of course, but the barbell is so isolated that you lose the benefits of having to stabilize the weight on your own with additional muscles. So when in doubt, reach for free weights. If you concentrate and are conscious about the muscles you’re working on, you’ll be sore in places you didn’t even know were there!

    It Requires a Full Effort
    Approaching weight training with an open mindset and conviction is key to achieving strength training greatness. Weight lifting is a skill that requires genuine time and patience to build correctly. It also requires you to pay attention to what your body is telling you, like when to back off and when to push yourself. In weeks when you need to take it slow (or even add more rest days), lower your weights and focus on technique. When your energy levels are up, don’t be afraid to push yourself and break personal records.
    Full effort not only pertains to the approach—but also applies to consistency. The American Heart Association recommends incorporating strength training into a workout regimen at least twice a week, and this is great as a starting point. If strength training is something you want to work on, keep a consistent schedule and get into the gym (or pick up your at-home weights) a couple of times a week. This will work wonders for gaining knowledge, developing the skill, and seeing results.

    You’ll Feel the Benefits Beyond the Gym
    At a certain point, when you’ve been training consistently and mindfully, the benefits of weightlifting will start to become apparent to you beyond what you’re able to accomplish in the gym. You’ll find you’re less winded after climbing a flight of never-ending stairs and heavy luggage will be no match for your strong back and shoulders. Not to mention, an arduous task like moving into a new place will not seem as strenuous once you’re able to apply your functional movement knowledge to that dreaded of all dreaded tasks: lifting boxes. It’s also extremely important to note that strength training is great for cardiovascular health and strengthening muscles to help prevent injury, and can also improve your mental health!

    Source: @hannahbronfman

    Start With These 3 Basic Movements
    There are three simple movements anyone can start with to build an understanding of weightlifting and strength training: deadlift, squat, and push press. These three movements cover the core, functional movements of strength training and will be a great way to establish a foundation to eventually introduce more complex movements into your repertoire.

    Deadlift

    A deadlift is a very simple, functional movement in which the barbell is lifted from the ground at the lifter’s shins, up to hip height, and then returned to the ground. This movement is great for building strength and athleticism and introduces the lifter to the essential motion of hinging at the hip. Deadlift will strengthen your core, hamstrings, and back and can be mastered with either the barbell or dumbbells. It’s a very simple movement without many complex components and will give any beginning lifter a great introduction to strength training.

    Squat

    The squat is fantastic for building core and leg strength. With feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turned slightly outward, place the bar at the top of your back and narrow your grip to sit slightly outside of your shoulders to engage your back. Once you’ve adjusted the placement of the bar, engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and lower slowly and controlled until your quads are parallel with the floor. Then raise up in a controlled way, squeezing your glutes at the top.

    Push Press

    The push press is another great movement for beginners to learn because like the deadlift, it incorporates another fundamental motion to weightlifting: explosive hips. With feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell or dumbells at your chest with your elbows pointing forward, bend your knees slightly and drop into a quarter squat. As you press into your heels and drive up through your legs, push the bar over your head and lock your elbows. This movement will introduce you to the explosive hip movement that is key to mastering more complex lifts and will build your shoulder and core strength.

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