Are you wearing red today? February 1, 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight heart disease. Heart disease remains the number one killer of American women, causing one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Symptoms of heart disease differ in women than men, so we chatted with Dr. Malissa J. Wood, MD FACC, Co-Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center Corrigan Women’s Health Program and a a Go Red for Women spokesperson. Here are her tips for keeping your ticker in top condition.
Quit smoking. “Even a small amount of nicotine can be detrimental to your cardio health.”
Exercise, exercise, exercise. “High blood pressure, being overweight, being sedentary, being stressed are all detrimental to you cardio health. Regular exercise is better than something you can take in a bottle because it helps with all of those risk areas. Count your steps. It may be daunting to join a gym, but walking is free and something you can track. That’s a start if you’re sedentary. Aim for 5-7 hours of aerobic exercise per week and do weights twice a week.”
Reassess your nutrition. “Abs are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen. As we age and estrogen levels drop, we will get more weight around our middle, which is associated with a higher diabetes risk. Eating better helps prepare us for when our body starts to metabolize and store fat differently. Even fit women need to think about what you eat. As you age, your body will react differently to the things you’re able to eat in your 20s.” Read more
Sometimes, heading out for a typical run can be, well, boring. When you’re doing the same thing day in and day out, a punch of excitement helps spice things up. And we say there’s no better way to heat up a race than to strip down to your skivvies!
Bear with us, we swear it’s a good idea. If streaking 1.5 miles down the street in your underwear sounds a smidge too extreme for you, maybe the fact that this run helps fight tumors will convince you. Cupid’s Undie Run, the world’s largest organized underwear run, takes place every year to raise funds for The Children’s Tumor Foundation and Neurofibromatosis.
Never heard of neurofibromatosis? It’s a genetic disorder that disrupts cell growth in the nervous system and can lead to deafness, blindness, learning disabilities and chronic pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Most who have the disorder are diagnosed at a young age, but unfortunately there’s still no cure.
If that still isn’t enough to persuade you, maybe the starry-eyed love theme will push you to click “register” on that computer screen. After all, it isn’t called Cupid’s Undie Run for no reason – celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days early, and bring a loved one in on the fun. Single but ready to mingle? We think this could be the perfect fun run - you never know what tumor-fighting hunk you might find there!
Ready to sign up (we are!)? Find a location near you here. And if there isn’t one near you and you still want to strip down and run, we recommend checking out the Santa Speedo Run or Undie Dash later this year!
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Glamorous gowns, toned bodies, and serious accomplishments. No, we’re not talking about Hollywood’s awards season—we’re talking about pageant season, people! Why you should care: Based on the 2,000+ entries we received for our 2012 Face of Fitness Contest that required essays about your accomplishments, some of you married ladies very well could be contenders for a crown someday.
Curious about the Mrs. America pageant, we chatted it up with Raquel Riley Thomas, a stunning military officer turned pageant queen. Not only is she the Executive Producer/Director for the Mrs. DC America pageant, a preliminary qualifier for Mrs. America, but she is also Mrs. Maryland America 2010-11 and Mrs. American (1st RU) 2010-11. Her accolades would take up this entire post, so we’ll have to skip right to her insights about competing.
On the difference between Miss America and Mrs. America:
The Mrs. DC team likes to say, “Marriage has never looked so good,” but just like the unmarried-girls version, this is not a beauty pageant. It’s a whole package deal. The difference is that instead of a med student standing to your left, she’s a doctor now. And on your right is an attorney. Mrs. America is like the Superbowl of married women.
On competing at the state level:
I can’t speak for the other states, but the reputation of the women in Mrs. DC are that they are the crème de la crème. Not only are they very fit, but they are accomplished in their fields and honorable about their causes. We even have a diplomat in this year’s competition!
On her experience of going from military boots to bikinis:
I love the glitz and glamour, but the service to the community is still there. I just get to do it in heels and beautiful outfits now! Running the Mrs. DC pageant gives me the chance to put a spotlight on some amazing women and say, ‘Thank you for all the hard work you do for the community.”
On her fitness advice for potential competitors:
You have to be really disciplined. Once you have the fitness down, everything else falls into place.
So get to it, readers! We want to throw some roses at you.
Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern
With everything going on this time of year, we can sometimes forget the most important part of the holidays–giving back. That’s what 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski is doing with the help of Bank of America, who will be donating this season to Feeding America, which supports hunger relief in the U.S. Jane made the first donation using the mobile transfer function on Bank of America’s mobile banking app, while chatting with us about her holiday plans and her post-baby fitness secrets!
How do you stay organized during the busy holiday season?
I’m still trying to figure that all out. I do a lot of multitasking and things at odd hours of the day and night. I’ll take a nap then wake up at midnight to write Christmas cards. It’s a lot but it’s also a fun time of the year and we’re looking forward to making Christmas special this year.
We heard that you’re hosting your first Christmas, what are you doing to prepare for it?
I haven’t gotten to the preparing part yet. My fiancé and I are going to be those people at the stores shopping on Christmas Eve because of the 30 Rock finale. We’re shooting around the clock right now. So there will be many last minute preparations, but that’s fine because it’s just family members. He’ll be doing most of the cooking so my relatives are in good hands, they won’t have to eat my cooking. Read more
The holidays are a busy time for everyone, but when you have twin girls who are almost 6 years old and a son under one like retired soccer star Mia Hamm, busy takes on a whole new meaning. To help keep in mind the spirit of the season, Hamm still found the time to team up with Dick’s Sporting Goods Gifts That Matter campaign, to celebrate giving gifts that help inspire future athletes. We chatted with Hamm on her most memorable gifts, her go-to holiday workouts and how she plans to beat stress this month.
Do you have a gift that mattered most in shaping you as an athlete?
When I was 11 years old I got my first pair of real leather cleats, which in my mind made me a real soccer player. It inspired me to keep with the sport and work harder to get to that next level. That’s why I was so excited about this campaign, because sporting gifts like that can make a real difference. It seems like such a little thing, but to a kid something so simple like that makes their world. I also love the idea behind this campaign because in the spirit of giving, Dick’s Sporting Goods will also make a contribution to the Mia Hamm Foundation this month, so we can help out underprivileged children as well.
We just wrapped up our gift guides, and our readers told us the best gifts they’ve ever gotten. What’s a great gift you’ve received recently?
After the birth of our third child, my husband was working and traveling a lot. For two or three months he hired a woman to come in for three to four hours to cook our meals for the week. Everything was healthy and organic and it took a lot of pressure off of me and let me spend quality time with our kids. That was really great. Read more
Despite common misconceptions, lung cancer isn’t just a disease for smokers. One in five American women who contract lung cancer this year will be non-smokers. To raise awareness and funds for this disease, and to honor a friend who lost her battle to lung cancer at only 22, Kelcey Harrison, a 24-year-old Harvard grad, is running across America. We caught up to the runner in the middle of her journey (she is expected to reach San Francisco on December 1st!) to find out more about her quest.
What made you decide to run across the country to raise funding for lung cancer?
I had graduated from college and moved to New York City after my childhood friend, Jill Costello, passed away from lung cancer. She was diagnosed in June 2009 and passed away almost exactly one year later in June 2010 at just 22 years old. She had never smoked and was the picture of health until her diagnosis. She was a college athlete – a coxswain at Cal Berkeley and continued to row with the team even after her diagnosis and as she endured numerous rounds of chemo, radiation, and doctors visits. She also continued to attend classes and graduated from Cal in May 2010. In addition to all of this Jill began working with the San Francisco based Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to raise funds and awareness for lung cancer. The main goal was to begin to erase the stigma that faces lung cancer patients. This stigma has drastically stymied fundraising and research. After Jill passed away a group of us formed Jill’s Legacy to carry out her last wish to “beat lung cancer BIG time.” We aim to motivate the young generation to mobilize and really raise their voices for lung cancer. As a member of the board, but living in New York City, I felt that I was unable to contribute as much to our cause as I would have liked. I was trying to come up with something that I could do for Jill and for our board when I began developing the idea to run across the country in honor of Jill and in order to raise money and awareness for lung cancer.
How did you prepare for this journey?
The prep work for this journey was mostly in the planning–figuring out the exact route and where I would sleep, creating a website, and working with Jill’s Legacy to determine how to publicize the run. I played soccer throughout my childhood and on the Women’s Varsity team at Harvard University as well as have run several marathons and a number of half marathons, so I have always been an athlete. In terms of training for this run I simply began running longer distances and once I was able to do 30 miles in one day I knew that I would be able to do that distance for consecutive days. I settled on a goal of covering 30 miles a day from New York City to San Francisco and determined that it would take about 4 months. Read more
The ultimate feast-off is one week away so what better way to start the season of giving than giving back? Work off that slice (or two!) of pie and help raise money for the New York Cares Hurricane Sandy relief effort at the New York Sports Clubs’ “Work Out to Help Out” fundraiser. Every NYSC location will be selling three-day guest passes for $20 from Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25. 100 percent of the fundraiser proceeds will be donated to New York Cares, as well as a portion of every new member’s initiation fees. Special program classes, like NYSC’s new UXF Burn and UXF Ripped, will also be offered at each location.
Interested in lending a hand post-sweat? Gym goers can find out more information on local New York Cares volunteer opportunities and coat-drive drop off locations. Learn more about the “Work Out to Help Out” initiative on NYSC’s website.
Tired of tackling marathons and ready to take on a bigger fitness challenge? If you consider yourself an ultrarunner (as in, running 20 miles a day doesn’t make you woozy just thinking about it!), then you could be the perfect fit for The MS Run the US 2013 Relay, taking place April 16 through September 17, 2013.
But don’t worry; you don’t have to tag along for the whole thing! The relay will cover approximately 140 miles per runner over the course of six days to raise funds and benefit The National MS Society for MS research, a disease that affects 400,000 Americans. The course, starting in Los Angeles, CA and ending in NYC will mimic the 2010 trans-continental run the event’s founder, Ashley Kumlien, ran on behalf of her mother’s 30th anniversary of her fight against MS.
There are currently 14 Running Partner spots still open for various cities, so if you’re interested, visit msruntheus.com for more information and an application. Not quite up for the challenge? Check out the page to see how you can donate or volunteer when the relay comes to your town.
Now tell us: Have you ever done a run for charity? Which one?
500,000 worldwide participants. 12 miles. 22 death-defying obstacles designed by British Special Forces to test your physical strength, stamina and mental toughness. Fun or just darn crazy? After tackling my biggest fears in this year’s Tri-Sate Tough Mudder, I would have to say a little of both. I’m claustrophobic, afraid of heights and, like most people, don’t do well in the cold but I pledged to overcome these anxieties with my three fellow AeroShot teammates so I did—10,000 volts of electricity, mud, ice water and all.
I’m officially a proud survivor and even considering signing up for another adventure race—preferably during a summer in the future—now that I’ve scrubbed off all traces of mud. It’s funny how your perception can change for the better after a hot shower and rest! Is a Tough Mudder a fit feat you have had your eye on? Save up for the hefty entrance fee (it’s worth it!), sign that waiver and vow to conquer your fears in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. Here are a few tips to completing the course so you, too, will be on your way to earning that orange headband and beer at the finish line.
1. Endurance-Ready. Team Aero was fortunate enough to have recruited former champion boxer and fitness expert, Michael Olajide, Jr., as their trainer. In between his toning sessions with some of our favorite Victoria’s Secret models, Michael had us sparring, jump roping and overall strengthening our way to Tough Mudder-status. Check out his at-home training regimen here or give the Tough Mudder Boot Camp Training a try. Thanks to AeroShot Energy, we were also outfitted with the new air-based caffeine supplements, which gave us the boost we needed during our training and event. New to adventure races? Take your training to the trails and incorporate hill work into your cardio routine.
2. Rally a team. Although fellow participants are more than willing to lend a hand, banding together a hardcore team that has your back helps. Plus, boosting your besties over 12-foot walls makes things all the more fun! Our small group of four was ideal, in terms of sticking together and facing the grueling challenges head on. Camaraderie plays an integral part in the race so be sure to bring your positive, “give it your best shot” attitude and strive to be a team player.
3. It’s not a “race.” Yes, you read that right—time doesn’t matter. As the event’s official website says, “We sincerely believe that worrying too much about your time takes away from some of the most important parts of Tough Mudder. Namely, camaraderie and teamwork.” Since time is on your side, be sure to stay fueled and hydrated along the course, taking advantage of the water/First Aid stations. It’s an arduous three hours of non-stop action so tucking an energy pick-me-up like GU in a pocket is a great idea. Also, there’s no shame in skipping an obstacle you don’t feel comfortable with. Your personal safety is the number one priority! The point is to feel accomplished at the end and if that means walking around the terrifying “Trench Warfare,” like I did, so be it.
4. Don’t dress to impress. Weather conditions may vary but one thing is for sure, comfort can make or break you wading through water and trekking through muck. In other words, save showing off that 6-pack for another time, unless you want to go home with a scraped up belly. As I learned the hard way with my heavy hoodie, less is more. If chilly temps are in the forecast, layer tight-fitted cold gear that will dry and wick away sweat quickly. Long sleeves, sweatbands (to pull over your elbows), weight-training gloves and leggings will prevent injuries while crawling, climbing, etc. You will most likely toss your shoes after crossing the finish line so sport a pair of older sneaks that sill have tread for grip and tie them extra tight or the mud will swallow them up! To avoid losing any diamonds in the roughage, leave your valuables at home.
5. Mudder Must-Haves: All races have a bag drop so be sure to pack post-race essentials alongside your adventure gear, photo ID and confirmation email for registration. Combat the elements event day with Chapstick and moisturizer with SPF. Extra water, nutrition, towel, a change of clothing/shoes and a hat—to hide muddy, tangled hair—are all highly recommended, too. Soothe any stinging wounds with Band Aids, Neosporin and retail therapy (after-party food, drinks and swag).
Now tell us: Have you competed in a Tough Mudder or other obstacle event? What tips do you have to share?
What would you do if two minutes from now, you raised $25,000 for your favorite charity? We’d be pretty impressed! And that’s exactly how we felt earlier this month when former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal did just that for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Shaq teamed up with Tupperware’s CEO Rick Goings and the two sparred in a “kitchen faceoff” to find out who could nail a better shot. But Shaq wasn’t the one shooting hoops! A self-claimed “expert at making cereal and turkey sandwiches,” the super tall basketball star was in the kitchen using Tupperware’s latest cooking gadgets to expand his skills and whip up fresh-fruit smoothies, while Goings shot free throws. At the end of two minutes, their numbers were tallied (smoothies and baskets made), three zeroes were tacked on and a check was written to Boys & Girls Club, a charity that Shaq was a part of himself while growing up in a rough area of New Jersey.
Before Goings started draining free throws though, Shaq gave him a few lessons on how to shoot that perfect shot (despite Shaq’s own troubles at the line, we’d say he’s got more insider knowledge than us!). Here’s the tips we nabbed so you can be a superstar next time you hit the courts, too:
- Toe the line. Step up to the free throw line and place your lead foot directly in line with the center of the rim, which will make it easier to nail a straight shot.
- Hand position is key. If you’re a righty, place your left hand on the side of the ball, and center your right directly in the middle. Keep your palms flat and wrists relaxed.
- Bend your knees. As you prep to let the ball fly, make sure there’s a good bend in your knee and keep your body centered toward the hoop. Tuck your elbow in so that it’s directly above your knee.
- Put a spin on it. Every shot needs some backspin to help it accurately get over to the net and through the hoop. When you shoot, let the ball roll off your hand all the way through your fingertips. As it’s leaving the fingertips, snap your wrist forward (toward the hoop) to give it that much-needed push.
And a bonus tip from us: visualize the ball. Before you let go, imagine that ball floating smoothly through the air and effortlessly sinking into the net. Positive thinking never hurts, and you never know what could happen! Happy shooting!
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