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.
“The flu” has turned into quite the buzzword lately with reports of a record high season and shot shortages. A few of our favorite stars even spoke of feeling under the weather last week at the Golden Globes while others were sidelined from the event altogether. “Meryl Streep is not here tonight,” funny gal Amy Poehler announced. “She has the flu—and I hear she’s amazing in it.”
The epidemic is no laughing matter though with new cases of the widespread illness popping up every day across 47 states. We spoke with Dr. Phillip M. Tierno, Jr., New York University’s Director of Clinical Macrobiology and Diagnostic Immunology, about the virus and the most common germ-infested areas. Don’t stock up on soup and tissues just yet! Here’s all you need to know about battling the bug:
- Inject immunity—if you haven’t already. “A flu shot is probably one of the best things you can do to offset getting sick,” said Dr. Tierno, especially since up to 60 million people will get the flu annually, depending on vaccines! Find a vaccine near you with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
- Break the chain of transmission. According to Dr. Tierno, 80% of all infections are spread through contact—both direct (sharing a spoon with a sickie) and indirect (pressing an infected elevator button then rubbing your eye). Since viruses can live on surfaces for months, it is crucial to keep commonly touched spots sanitary. Think outside your typical “wash your hands before you eat” type of cleanliness in terms of personal hygiene. For example, keep clean and dirty clothing in separate baskets. Germs from dirty clothes can transfer onto freshly washed laundry—ew, gross! Read more
As we gear up for a week filled with family, food, catching up with old friends and celebrating the season, times will certainly be jolly but more than likely, they’ll get a little tense too. In fact, past studies done by the American Psychological Association have shown that women get more stressed than men during the holidays due to home responsibilities, and because of this are more likely to fall into bad health habits, like comfort eating.
So if your Aunt Ida has one too many and starts spouting off at the mouth about your silverware choices (yet again) or you don’t know how you’ll possibly be able to finish all of your shopping before Santa’s sleigh rolls into town, take this tip from davidji, apprentice to Deepak Chopra and author of Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation to SODA. And no, we don’t mean the drink!
- S: Stop whatever you are doing.
- O: Observe the moment and take a deep breath to calm yourself down.
- D: Detach yourself from any drama taking place. Literally, take a step back!
- A: Awaken to your best self. Ask yourself, “How would the best version of me respond to this?”
Feel better yet? Happy holidays from the FITNESS team and here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!
More from FITNESS: The 10 Best Resolutions to Make
Looking forward to indulging in some red wine, a few pigs in a blanket and your family’s famous Christmas morning spicy shrimp grits? Not if you are one of the fifty million Americans who suffer from heartburn, says Dr. Su Sachar, a gastroenterologist based in LA. These are just a few of the things that can trigger holiday heartburn, among others like chocolate (the horror!), alcohol, garlic and peppermint. So how exactly is one supposed to make it through the buffet without breathing fire into 2013? Try Dr. Sachar’s tips below:
- Know the triggers: Aside from foods that are tomato-based, fried, spicy, fatty and citrusy, stress can also be a trigger as it often makes someone turn to fatty foods or toss back a few glasses of wine to chill out. But the most surprising trigger is exercise. “Certain exercises put pressure on the abdomen and push the stomach into the esophagus, contributing to heartburn symptoms,” Dr. Sachar says. “For example, cyclists tend to get heartburn from hunching over handlebars. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym! Exercising is good for stress levels and avoiding weight gain, both of which contribute to heartburn. Just go easy on the abs and try yoga or low impact cardio if you feel a flare up coming on.”
- Navigate the dinner table: “Stay away from the fried and cheesy appetizers and focus on protein,” Dr. Sachar says. “Chicken skewers and salads without raw onions or tomatoes are safe bets. Skip buttery mashed potatoes in favor of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and light turkey meat over fatty beef or lamb.” As for dessert, Sachar says angel food cake, sugar and oatmeal cookies and apple pie will hit the spot without feeling the burn later. When it comes to wine, opt for white.
- Be proactive: If you suffer from heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, consider Prilosec OTC. One pill each morning can treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours, so you can enjoy your holiday feast.
More from FITNESS: A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn
Migraines are, well, a headache and as sufferers know, triggers mean trouble. In a recent Excedrin Migraine survey, 93 percent of women said that having a better understanding of their triggers would help with their migraine management yet only 11 percent tracked them regularly. Good news: There’s now an app for that. With the help of a neurologist, Excedrin Migraine developed My Migraine Triggers (now available for free on iTunes) to log pain intensity, severity and location for convenient symptom understanding.
“There are so many triggers patients may not be aware of,” explained Keri Petersen, MD, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital. “[The app] breaks it down into environment, lifestyle and diet. There’s a big list of things that a month down the road you’re not going to remember, but in the moment it’s right in front of you to think of.” With the tough of a finger, triggers like alcohol, odors, chocolate and stress are documented in a personal history chart. Determine the root of the painful problem and facilitate a discussion with your physician for treatment by bringing the generated graph with you to your next doctor’s visit.
After an a cappella treat to celebrate the app’s launch, we sat down with American Idol’s youngest winner and moderate migraine sufferer, Jordin Sparks. We talked triggers, her fit lifestyle change and how the football lover lightens up game day noshing. Here’s what she had to say: Read more
An early—and potentially bad—flu season is already underway, the CDC reported last week. But it’s not too late to get a flu shot, says Kevin Ronneberg, M.D., associate medical director at Target, where he oversees guest care at the company’s clinics and pharmacies. We asked Dr. Ronneberg about the newer, less painful flu shot, how the vaccine affects workouts and more:
FITNESS: The CDC recommends that all Americans older than six months get an annual flu vaccine. Why do you recommend it for fit, healthy young women?
Dr. Ronneberg: Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. Getting vaccinated reduces your chance of becoming infected with the flu virus—it can also help to protect the people you love who may not be able to get vaccinated.
All Target pharmacies (find one) now offer the “micro-needle” flu shot. Is it actually less painful?
The intradermal needle is 90 percent smaller than a standard flu shot needle and it is also preservative-free. Because the intradermal needle is smaller in size, it is inserted directly under the skin rather than into the muscle. This results in less muscle ache immediately following injection. Essentially, it’s as ouch-free as a shot can be.
We offer various options for flu shots—including the traditional flu vaccine. Our pharmacists are also available to help determine which type of vaccine is right for you. Read more
Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern
We know health is important to you, but is there someone else who could use a couple rounds on the treadmill or yoga mat? Someone who has four feet and is furry, perhaps? And would you spend as much (or more) on your pet’s workout as your own?
CNN recently reported on a new “retreat” in Florida that helps transform your pudgy pup back into the sleek BFF (Best Fit Friend) you first brought into a loving home. Opened in 2011 by certified canine massage therapists, Rocky’s Retreat Canine Health and Fitness Center in Orlando has a variety of services to bring your dog’s fitness level up to snuff, including Aqua Therapy and a 12-week weight loss program. The appointments, however, come with a hefty price tag – the 12-week service starts at nearly $500 under special introductory pricing.
Rocky’s isn’t the only center helping pups break a sweat, either. Pet fitness centers have popped up across the country, and manufacturers have begun marketing at-home equipment. A quick search on Amazon brings up a variety of at-home doggy treadmills with prices starting between $400 and $500. That’s a lot more than a running leash and a pair of sneakers.
Now, we all love our pets and want them to live long, healthy lives. In October, though, Reuters reported a troubling statistic: Approximately 53 percent of adult dogs are obese in this country. So the question isn’t about how much we love our furry friends, but how much are we willing to spend to get their weight down? And is an expensive regimen at a pet spa worth the time and money?
Now you tell us: Would you put your pet on a diet or take them to a retreat if your vet recommended they lose weight? If you aren’t willing to cough up the dough, but still want to get your pet back on the right, er, paw, check out our guide to running with your dog!
All it takes is a looming deadline or spat with your roommate to get your heart pumping, but when it comes to the beat, which places have a higher heart rate? Azumio, mobile health app developer of programs like Cardio Buddy, Fitness Buddy and Sleep Time pulled some data from their heart monitor app Instant Heart Rate across 159 countries, 6 million data points and 500,000 users. Take a look below to see which countries and states are really the most frazzled, plus some other interesting findings:
- Too much on our plate? According to Azmuio’s data, the average global heart rate for women is 79.83 beats per minute (bpm). For men, it’s 74.02 bpm.
- When it comes to countries, India had the highest average heart rate at 80.5 bpm with the U.K. clocking in as the lowest at 71.9 bpm. The U.S. has an average heart rate of 77.3 bpm.
- The U.S. cities with the highest heart rate are Dallas (81.4 bpm), Atlanta (81.2 bpm), Houston (80.8 bpm) and Los Angeles (80.5 bpm).
But don’t be fooled–stress isn’t the only factor that can spike your heart rate. Factors like smoking, caffeine and some health issues like thyroid disease all play a part. Find your resting heart rate by using your index and middle finger to find your pulse on your inner wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six. If you’re between 60 to 80 bpm, that’s considered normal.
More from FITNESS Magazine: How Healthy Are You? 10 Easy Self-Checks
Throughout the years, there has been a stigma in the U.S. about HIV – it’s one of those diseases that most people hesitate to discuss, even though 1.2 million Americans have been diagnosed, and 50,000 new infections arise each year. That all changed in the 90s, when basketball star Magic Johnson publicly announced that he had contracted the life-threatening virus. For a while, people began publicly discussing the subject and learning about safe sex and prevention methods.
Unfortunately, 20 years later, many people still don’t get tested for fear of judgment in a public setting. But Johnson wouldn’t be, well, magical, if he didn’t step into the spotlight and fight for more awareness and alternate early detection methods. “If there’s a rally or someone needs my help in the fight against HIV and AIDS, I’m going to be there,” Johnson said at a recent press event. And that’s exactly what he did. Now on the market nationwide from OraSure Technologies is OraQuick, the first in-home HIV test. In the comfort of your own home, you can use an oral swab and know in 20 minutes whether or not strands of HIV-1 and -2 are detected.
“The reason I’m standing here, 21 years after I found out I have HIV, is because of early detection,” says Johnson. “A lot of people don’t want to go to their doctors or an HIV/AIDS clinic. Now we’ve taken that excuse away from them. I think it’s going to help drive more people to know their status and ultimately, that’s what we want.”
While we think this could definitely impact the number of people who are getting tested in a positive way, we have to wonder what happens if the test comes back positive? Without a doctor sitting next to them, will they have the comfort and education they need when hit with life-altering news?
Fortunately, an information packet and 24/7 hotline number is included in every test kit, which includes what next steps people should take if they found out they’re positive.
Johnson also notes that consistently taking his medication and having a stable fitness routine is his “secret sauce” for living out a long, healthy life despite his diagnosis. And since we’re big basketball fans over at FITNESS, we grabbed a few minutes of his time to find out more about his daily routine.
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