Little Health Skills Every Woman Should Know

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  1. arunthathi

    arunthathi Roots of LW Staff Member Administrator New wings

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    We polled hundreds of experts—from top doctors to restaurant menu planners to sex coaches—for all the essential health tips women need to eat better, feel better, and look better. What we found: fascinating advice and tricks to calm down anywhere, pack any meal with antioxidants, outsmart germs in a public bathroom, squeeze in a 10-minute workout, and much, much more.

    1. Slash your health care bills
    Bite back at dental costs. For routine cleanings, go to a dental hygiene clinic, where students supervised by a dentist and hygienist train on patients. The Montgomery County Community College Dental Hygiene Clinic in Blue Bell, PA, for example, charges $15 for a cleaning and exam. Check colleges for clinics, or visit the American Dental Association's website for a national listing of dental schools.
    Halve drug co-pays. Ask your doctor if she can prescribe a pill at twice the dose, to be cut in half by you or your pharmacist, reducing the cost by 50%. Also, fill your prescription at chain stores that sponsor savings programs for steep discounts. Walmart offers hundreds of $4 prescriptions. The Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens includes over 400 generics for less than $1 a week. (Learn more tricks on saving cash with your meds at Save Thousands On Your Healthcare.)

    2. Breathe away more fat
    Oxygen helps fuel your fat burn, so the more efficiently you breathe, the better your workout results. The trick: breathe in and out through both your mouth and nose.

    3. Spot stealthy salt
    Up to 75% of the salt in our diets comes from packaged foods. This simple trick can keep your sodium intake in check: “Look for a 1-to-1 ratio of calories to sodium or less,” says Prevention advisor David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. If a food has 150 calories per serving, it should have no more than 150 mg of sodium. Keep your intake below 1,500 mg a day. (Our 5 Low-Sodium Dinners make it deliciously easy.)

    4. Get a great workout in 10 minutes
    Too busy for the gym? No problem. Just 10 minutes can burn nearly 100 calories and boost your energy level by up to 18%. Try this compressed routine from Jessica Dart, personal training manager at Equinox Soho in New York City:
    Minutes 0:00-0:59: Climb stairs (walk, run, or sprint)
    Minutes 1:00-1:29: Do reverse lunges with overhead presses (lunge backward, lifting arms overhead with each lunge; alternate sides).
    Minutes 1:30-2:00: Do squats.
    Repeat the circuit 4 more times. Beginners may want to incorporate 30 seconds of rest between each cycle.

    5. Never forget a name
    Focus on the name as you hear it. People who are good at remembering names are interested in them, asking how they’re spelled or pronounced. Then repeat it not once but several times, says Cynthia R. green, PhD, coauthor of Prevention’s Brainpower Game Plan.
    When you meet someone new, you might say, “Eliza? Hi, Eliza, it’s nice to meet you. That’s a pretty name...” Every time you restate the name, you’re more likely to recall it in the future. Bye, Eliza!

    6. Test your posture
    Stand up straight and count how long you can hold the pose at left before you have to put your foot down.
    Repeat on the other side. If you can’t balance on each leg for at least 20 seconds, you aren’t standing as straight as you think you are, or your muscles are too weak to hold you in place.
    Do the exercise 3 times a day on each leg to improve.

    7. Scarproof your skin
    Scars fade faster if you keep cuts covered and moist, says Jeffrey Dover, MD, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. If you tend to develop raised scars, switch to scar-reducing bandages once skin heals; studies show that silicone sheets help by reducing collagen production. Try Scaraway ($20; drugstores).



    8. Find the perfect doctor for you
    The best way to find someone who has experience treating your particular condition is to call the physician referral service at a large university hospital, says Lauren Streicher, MD, an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University.

    9. Learn the art of label reading
    Rule 1: Ignore all front-of-the-box health claims. “They’re about marketing, not health,” says Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. A “low-fat” or “low-carb” claim tells you nothing about what else was added to compensate (think sugar or salt).
    Rule 2: Flip to the nutrition facts and scan the ingredient list. Look for a list that’s not straight out of a science lab.
    Rule 3: Remember that a daily value of 20% or or more for any nutrient is considered high (great for calcium, but a warning sign for saturated fats). (Find out how else you can decode food labels.)


    10. Pick the right sports bra
    Try this dressing room “workout” from LaJean Lawson, PhD, an adjunct exercise science professor at Oregon State University:
    Reach arms overhead and circle them 10 times in each direction. If the bra shifts too much, the straps slip, or you feel chafing, keep looking.
    Bend forward at the hips and stretch. Make sure your breasts don’t peek out over the top or sides.
    Jog or jump in front of a mirror. If your breasts move up and down more than an inch or you feel discomfort, you’re not getting enough support.

    11. Make anyone laugh (including yourself)
    Laughter zaps stress, improves cholesterol, and boosts circulation and immunity. Need fresh material? Steal ideas from top comedy coaches:
    Exaggerate the truth. Instead of complaining that you were stuck at the department of motor vehicles, say, “I just got back after lunch from the DMV. I got in line at 9 am...last Tuesday.” There’s a surprise element, but also recognition of a shared truth that makes people laugh. —Stephen Rosenfield, director of the American Comedy Institute in New York City
    Poke fun at yourself. Self-deprecation helps people let down their guard. (Abraham Lincoln: “If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?”) Just list your faults and exaggerate them. —Mary Scruggs, head of writing and education programs at the Second City Training Center, Chicago
    Be overly enthusiastic. Say yes in a big way, even when you don’t mean it. Your husband wants season tickets at the new football stadium? Offer to move there. ——Will Hines, teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center in New York City

    12. Resist menu words that pack pounds
    Mouthwatering descriptions can suggest that an unhealthy dish is worth the splurge—when it’s the same old grub you’d get anywhere. Some red flags, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating:
    Grandma’s homemade apple pie: We have positive associations with certain means of preparation—think homemade or traditional—that encourage us to order them.
    Kansas City barbecue: We assume regional food tastes better, even if the restaurant isn’t in the referenced locale.
    Velvety chocolate mousse: Sensory words like creamy, juicy, and triple-rich induce cravings, even though items without such labels taste the same.
    Jack Daniels glazed ribs: If you like a specific brand, you think you’ll like menu items featuring its flavor.
    13. Do a proper push-up
    Push-ups are hands down one of the best full-body toners—the basic move works your abs, arms, and chest. (Just ask First Lady Michelle Obama.) To easily master full push-ups, start in a more vertical position, working your way down to doing them on the floor as you master the form.
    1. Start standing up, leaning against a high counter.
    2. Lean against a desk.
    3. Lean against the stationary seat of a stable chair.
    4. Lean against the second step of a staircase.
    5. Do them on the floor.
    When you can do 5 reps with good form (body in line from head to feet), move to the next step.
     
     
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