LOOKIN' LOVELY FOR A LIFETIME #491 12/21/11
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10 Tips to Keep Ladies Hot and Healthy

By Sarah Stevenson
"How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?"—Oscar Wilde

According to the latest statistics, beauty is a $32.2 billion industry—so I'm guessing it's a topic of interest for most women (myself included). Luckily, this no longer means slapping on some lipstick and bleaching our hair to make the boys in our lives drool. Women are starting to define beauty on their own terms, not only seeing it as an external goal but also an internal adventure. It's about looking and feeling great.

Woman Touching Her Face

We've all heard how men get better with age, and women, well, not so much. With examples like Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Raquel Welch, it's time to prove that old chestnut wrong. I believe women can stay just as hot and healthy as men. Here's how to do it.

  1. For beautiful skin: Make sure you are protecting your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen before going outside and reapplying every 2 hours. Also, keep away from too much exposure between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Smoking is a no-no when it comes to skin. It causes wrinkles and makes you look older. Be sure to ask your doctor for ways to quit if you're struggling on your own. It's also important to eat a healthy diet. Last but not least, keep your stress levels down to avoid breakouts and other skin problems.
  2. Woman Touching Her HairFor beautiful hair: Beautiful, lustrous hair is a characteristic of health. It's also a characteristic of hotness. (Think Cindy Crawford or Angelina Jolie and you get my point.) As we age our hair tends to get thinner and lose its color and shine. A balanced, healthy diet helps create beautiful hair. Integrate foods high in protein including meats, eggs, beans, and nuts. Look for foods high in essential fatty acids, omega-3s—tuna, salmon, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, sunflower oil, canola oil, olive oil, and safflower oil. Last but not least, eat foods high in iron including dark greens, beans, raisins, red meats, and egg yolks.
  3. For a beautiful smile: A beautiful smile is super hot. If you're looking for a natural, cheap way to whiten your teeth, you can use baking soda. Due to its gritty nature, it's able to erase stains on the teeth. Just dip your toothbrush in water then baking soda and brush away the grime. Peroxide is also a great whitener. Take equal parts water and 3 percent household hydrogen peroxide, swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds (do not swallow) and ta-da! You have whiter teeth in seconds.
  4. Woman with Beautiful EyesFor beautiful eyes: "Baby, your father must be a master thief, cuz he stole all the stars in the sky and put them in your eyes." Our eyes are one (two) of our most precious commodities. One of the most common problems these days is eye strain due to staring at the computer or phone for long periods of time. This can sometimes have long-term damage—take breaks often. It's also important to have UV protective eyewear when exposed to the sun. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is very important for eyes. Carrots and sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene that helps ward off macular degeneration and cataracts, as do foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli, bell peppers, and brussels sprouts. Spinach is also a great food for the eyes; it contains vitamin C, antioxidants, and carotene that can protect your eyes from the sun.
  5. For healthy bones: Judy Stenmark, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia, suggests that the best ways for a woman to maintain healthy bones are: 1.) Eat foods rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, baked beans, oranges, apricots, almonds, walnuts, and salmon. 2.) Exercise to help build and maintain strong bones. Yoga is a very gentle and productive way to strengthen your bones. 3.) Maintain healthy hormone levels, specifically estrogen, which helps women absorb calcium. 4,) Consume vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium. The best way to do this is safe amounts of sun exposure; "about 6 to 15 minutes of incidental sunlight, 4 or 6 times a week, supplies an adequate dose," says Stenmark.
  6. Omega-3 CapsulesFor a healthy heart: Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in women. There are many things that need to be addressed when promoting a healthy heart. According to the American Heart Association, one should avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Foods that will help keep your heart healthy are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies suggest that fatty acids slow down the production of artery plaque. Omega-3s can also ward off inflammation, blood clots, and keep your blood pressure at safe levels. Load up on foods like salmon, tuna, oatmeal, flaxseed, almonds, and walnuts. Many fruits and vegetables also have vitamins and minerals that will keep your arteries free of cholesterol-induced plaque. Include apples, grapes, tomatoes, berries, spinach, chard, and garbanzo beans in your diet to keep your pipes clean.
  7. For a hot body: This is an obvious one, I know. You have 1,440 minutes in every day. Set 30 of those aside for exercise. As a certified yoga instructor, I make it my personal mission to convince the world that you need to integrate exercise into your life, just like you integrate brushing your teeth. I meet a countless number of people each and every week that come to my yoga classes under the supervision of medical doctors. Exercise can keep you young and healthy both on the inside and out. It's important that you enjoy yourself while exercising, so you will be encouraged to continue and get your heart rate up, so that you jump-start your metabolism.
  8. DairyKeep your hormones in check: When a woman's hormones are off, the whole world knows it. But more importantly, she feels it. Hormones are important chemicals in the body that are responsible for transferring information from one cell to another. Hormones affect every part of your being, both internally and externally. You can help regulate your hormones by decreasing stress, increasing exercise, and eating a healthy diet. Eating hormone-free foods that are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help regulate hormones in your system. You can find your omegas in vegetable oils, fish oils, nuts, and seeds. Eating lots of fruits and veggies will keep you stocked up on vitamins and minerals as well. Soy products should be consumed in moderation to avoid an overabundance of estrogen production. Always keep in mind that you may need to work with a doctor in order to get the proper treatment should problems persist.
  9. For intellect: Imagine your brain as a forest. Your brain cells or neurons would be tree trunks, and your dendrites would be the branches growing from the trunks and forming the canopy of the brain. When you begin to age, your brain cells start to lose the tree branches that connect neurons to other neurons. You need these tree branches to help facilitate thoughts. When they deteriorate, you can become forgetful and lose proper functioning skills. Current scientific research suggests that exercise is actually the best combatant against mental decline. Dr. Fred Gage at the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute conducted a scientific research study involving mice running on wheels. He found that the mice that participated in exercise were able to easily find their way through mazes, and scored significantly higher on rodent IQ tests than those who were not able to exercise. So if a few spins on the wheel do that, imagine what a round of P90X® can do!
  10. Woman Meditating on a BeachFor a beautiful soul: Stated beautifully by Audrey Hepburn, "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness. And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." Ladies, beauty is so much more than your physical body. The most beautiful thing about women is our own unique expression of self in this world. Women must cultivate an inner, timeless beauty that will only flourish as we age. It is important that you continually check in internally to make sure you are integrating pleasurable, centering activities. Meditation, exercising, reading, and spending time with friends and family that love you are all amazing soul foods. Begin creating a "Bliss List" today, documenting all the activities that make you happy, and be sure to integrate several of those things in your everyday life.

Ladies, life is short and we only get one ride around the world in this body of ours. You are beyond blessed for having been given the honor of being a woman. Be the best you can be, and always honor your body, mind, and soul in order to stay "hot and healthy." Age does not define your worth, YOU DO!

Sources:

  • Beauty Retailing USA 2004. Kline & Company, Inc. August 1, 2005. Pub ID: BJDQ1262878 http://dashdiet.org/
  • Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (Eds.), Body Image: A handbook of theory, research, and clinical practice. New York: Guilford Press.
  • "The World's Best-Kept Beauty Secrets: What Really Works in Beauty, Diet, and Fashion." Diane Irons, 2005
  • "Every Woman's Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age: Learn What Can Be Done to Keep a Beautiful Head of Hair for a Lifetime." Lisa Akbari, 2007.
  • Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • "The effects of exercise on spatial learning and anxiety-like behavior are mediated by an IGF-I-dependent mechanism related to hippocampal neurogenesis."
  • Trejo JL, Llorens-Martín MV, Torres-Alemán I. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2008 Feb; 37(2):402-11. Epub 2007 Nov 5.
  • Gobeske KT, Das S, Bonaguidi MA, et al. "BMP signaling mediates effects of exercise on hippocampal neurogenesis and cognition in mice." PLoS One. 2009 4(10):e7506
  • American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
  • © 1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

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And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Foam Rolling: Your Tight Muscles' Best Friend

By Dr. Mark Cheng, L.Ac., Ph.D., Sr RKC, FMS faculty

One of the biggest obstacles for a new fitness enthusiast to overcome is the soreness that comes with using muscles that haven't been used in decades. During infancy, we're learning to fire muscles all over the place. As we grow, spend increasingly more hours in flexion, and use less and less of our God-given ranges of motion, our bodies devolve from the machines of movement they were designed to be into blobs of tension, immobility, and sometimes pain.

Person Massaging Their Shoulder

Since you're a part of the Beachbody® family, you know that spending the majority of your day on your duff isn't doing your body any favors. Being able to move well is a key component of the success that you decided on and committed to!

Oh, those aching muscles! 

Man Rubbing BackIf you're feeling a little bit stiff and sore after your first few days of working out again, don't despair. It's totally natural. If you haven't exercised in a while, then the several dozen squats, kicks, push-ups, or gingas that you did over the past day or two certainly placed a demand on your body that it hasn't been used to. That means your muscles got a pump like they haven't had in quite a while, unless you've been doing similar movements in your prior exercises or your daily life. Even if you already work out with some regularity, a significant change in your routine can be enough to leave your body nice and achy. Don't believe me? Just ask any athlete how he or she feels when the strength and conditioning coach throws a new program into the mix. 

While some will tell you that the discomfort of soreness is nothing to concern yourself with, others might use those aching muscles as an excuse to skip a day or two or three, derailing a solid start to a successful workout program. While pain is nothing to trifle with, as it can clearly lead to or indicate injury, don't use it as justification to bail out on training. I might have a solution for you that's simple enough to use and seriously effective when properly used!

Enter the foam roller.

Woman on Foam RollerWhen I first saw the foam roller in different exercise routines in the gym, I admit it . . . I wasn't exactly impressed. The trainers who I saw back then were focused on using the foam roller as an instability device, training their clients to position the roller across or along the spine to perform different crunch-like exercises. Now while I absolutely recognize the worth of some core engagement exercises that rely on instability training, some of what I saw looked like little more than very poorly taught stupid human tricks.

Fast forward a few years to the Russian Kettlebell Challenge Level 2 certification workshop with former world-class gymnast, powerlifting record holder, and ultra-marathoner Mark "Rif" Reifkind. Rif was teaching a section of the workshop that centered on the foam roller, and his SMFR approach to the roller was completely different from what I'd seen before.

SMFR . . . No, it's not what you're thinking!

SMFR stands for Self-Myofascial Release, a rather long and fancy word for self-massage. As muscles work, they generate metabolic wastes, such as lactic acid. As those wastes build up in the muscles, they create a balloon effect, making the muscles swell up. While a larger muscle certainly might look cosmetically appealing, the congestion in the muscle tends to make its fascial envelope stretch taut, unable to contract more fully or relax more freely until the extra fluid is moved out. Light massage techniques, such as Swedish, serve to help push these metabolites out of the muscle bed, allowing for a quicker recovery and return to training.

Person Rubbing KneeMuscles that "knot up" have trigger points. Trigger points tend to be indicative of more chronic problems, either in movement or posture or exertion. These trigger points can occur at different depths, depending on which section of the muscle is being engaged most with the movements or exercises that are being performed. The fascial membrane that surrounds muscles or the muscle fibers themselves can contract. When the body senses that the level of exertion is above the contractile strength or endurance of the myo (muscular) or fascial tissues involved, the body knots up those fibers as a survival strategy. The only problem with that strategy is that those knots inhibit movement and cause pain.

Not all created equal?

Foam rolling helps address the problems of muscle congestion and trigger points by mechanically pressing into the muscle. That said, there are different types of rollers that best address the different problems you might face. A smooth, soft roller is generally more effective for the more superficial trigger points and for moving the metabolites out of congested muscles. A roller with uneven surfaces, such as the RumbleRoller, is ideal for getting into the deeper trigger points and more deep tissue approaches.

Woman on the Foam RollerIf you're someone who tends to like deep pressure in a massage, go for the RumbleRoller. If deeper pressure tends to be too uncomfortable for you, go for the smoother roller. The important thing to remember in self-myofascial release is that rolling can feel uncomfortable at the outset. When you find the muscles that are congested or triggered up, the pressure of the roller may cause a bit of discomfort. Roll your body just to the edge of the discomfort. Focus on relaxing the muscles on the roller and breathe. As your nervous system responds to the pressure, it will learn to relax the trigger points on the roller and restore the contractile ability of the muscle.

Ready, aim, fire!

Woman StretchingThe first thing I did when I started rolling was to look for every place on my body that was sore and try to roll them out . . . Bad decision. The muscles that are the most chronically uncomfortable are usually those that are paying the price for other muscles that either aren't firing enough or are so knotted up that they're not allowing proper movement. The trick to using your foam roller in the most effective manner is really to look for the places in your body that aren't obviously hurting but are restricting your movement.

In one of my earliest video clips for Beachbody, I spoke about plantar fasciitis, pain along the underside of the foot. One of the key areas to roll when first trying to deal with plantar fasciitis should be the calf muscles. Using the roller, slowly go back and forth along the muscle, consciously trying to relax as much as possible and going as slowly as possible. When you find the "hot spots," stay on them, relax some more, and go back and forth a few times until the trigger point releases. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that the chronic pain in your foot actually had its roots in your calf!

Foam rolling is a prime feature in the upcoming Beachbody Tai Cheng program developed by Dr. Cheng and due out in early 2012! Keep your eyes peeled!

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in The Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards' views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Foxy at 48!

Check out Pam's incredible transformation using ChaLEAN Extreme®. She's smaller, leaner, and tighter than she's ever been.

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Recipe: Banana Mousse

Banana Mousse

'Tis the season for desserts, so this week we have a creamy concoction for you that's not only delicious, but also loaded with calcium and electrolytes. And here's a little secret: With its 4 to1 carb to protein ratio, it'll even make a great recovery snack after blasting through those P90X2® workouts that Santa left under the tree.

  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat milk
  • 4 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 medium banana, quartered
  • 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 4 slices banana (1/4 inch each)

In a blender, blend milk, sugar, vanilla, and the quartered banana together at high speed until mixture is smooth. Pour into a bowl and fold in yogurt. Chill mixture for at least 45 minutes in refrigerator; when chilled, spoon mousse into 4 dessert dishes. Cut 4 1/4-inch slices from banana, and stand 1 banana slice on its side in each bowl. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
89 4 g 1 g 16 g 1 g 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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