You already know that lack of sleep could lead to weight gain, but did you know that Maine, Montana and Idaho are the sleepiest states? They each clocked in at the average person getting over 6.6 hours of sleep a night, according to the study Gender Differences in a Naturalistic Observational Study of Sleep and BMI by BodyMedia, Inc. presented at the Obesity Society annual meeting this past September. States that got less than 6.3 hours of sleep included Maryland and New York. Some other interesting findings:
- Overall, people with higher BMIs had less sleep, but the increase in weight and sleep is more closely related in women than men. We know, life is not fair.
- The days people sleep the most are Saturday and Sunday. The days people sleep the least are Wednesday and Thursday, as they are most likely caught up in the mid-week work shuffle.
- Younger users got more sleep than older users.
- The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7 to 8 hours, yet the average amount of sleep per night never enters that range, it’s always below. Case in point: We’re not getting enough sleep!
To help you start snoozing faster, check out the FITNESS Get-to-Sleep Guide. From foods to help you sleep to pre-sleep workouts and how technology messes up your sleep patterns, you can rest easy tonight knowing that more Zzzs are in your future!
More from FITNESS: Find Out What Your BMI Is
When My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos decided to shed 40 pounds back in 2009, she did it for her health, not to squeeze into a smaller dress size. “I never felt well, I was constantly getting dizzy and because I already had thyroid disease I had a serious blood sugar issue. My choices were to lose weight or go on medication,” she told us when chatting earlier this week about her partnership the new health app from Life…supplemented called WannaBeWell app. Read on to see what simple steps led to Vardalos’ transformation and the tricks she uses everyday to maintain her weight and health.
Losing weight can be a daunting task. How did you get started?
After that visit with my doctor, I knew medication wasn’t an option for me. I’m not a pop a pill person, but I really wanted to find a way to start feeling better. So I started simple, just by walking. After that I cut out food high in starches and sugar and went from there. It was a slow process, but once I started it I looked better, felt better and even slept better!
What made you want to get involved with the WannaBeWell app?
For me it was a natural fit. I started taking supplements when I first started to lose weight, and I’ve kept up with it. My family makes fun of me because I take so many! So to have something to remind you when to take what, it’s really a no brainer for me.
What kind of supplements do you take?
First, every woman is different and we don’t all need the same things. So you should talk to your doctor before starting any type of supplement plan. I take fish oil, biotin and vitamins E, C and D (since I’m a writer and holed up in the dark all day!). If you don’t have time to get to a doctor but want to take something, start with a multivitamin and then discuss a plan at your next office visit. Read more
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Let’s be honest –working out can be a challenge.
Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves why we love to sweat, and we’re all motivated by different things. For some, it’s that feeling you get when you’ve put in hard work or when you notice you’re getting stronger. For others, it might be the desire to get Brooke Burke-style abs or more energy during the day.
According a recent poll conducted by Eventbrite, 30 percent of women that participate in endurance events are motivated by weight loss. Even more (34 percent) do it for charity. But we’re not all saints! A quarter of women believe that training for a marathon would make them better in bed, and 40 percent believe they’d be more attractive. As for mental benefits, over half of respondents think that running is more effective than therapy.
We posed the question to our Twitter followers to see what brings them to the gym or the track, day in day out. What motivates you?
@LinzFredetPtrsn: Setting a good example for my kids and having the energy to keep up with them!
@jellingson: Honoring my mom’s love to run!
@aliciabordonaro: It’s that feeling you get after a workout…a huge sense of #accomplishment and #satisfaction.
@Trishquit: To be healthy and keep my blood pressure in check!
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
With a seal of approval from the FDA yesterday, brand new diet drug Qsymia promises to help people shed unwanted pounds. Right now, it’s only approved for people who are not only overweight, but struggle with an accompanying condition such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Taking a pill sounds like an easy solution, but here at FITNESS, we believe in a prescription of exercise and healthy eating habits. We wanted to know if our Twitter followers felt the same way, so we asked them: Would you take a pill to make weight loss easier?
@KateSchlag: Research proves it–there’s no quick fix for weight loss. Not even in a pill.
@redcurlgurl: No. I like to lose weight the old fashioned way with diet and exercise. I want to earn those “You look great!” compliments.
@Trhi10: We need more whole foods and less pills; it’s another Band-aid.
@xtinamcknight: They also approve of highly processed death trap food like McDonald’s. So thanks, but no thanks.
Now tell us: What do you think about the FDA approving Qsymia?
It’s always been important to get girls involved in sports (thanks, Title IX!) but according to The Women’s Sports Foundation it’s more important now than ever: If a girl doesn’t participate in sports by the time she is 10 years old, there is only a 25 percent chance that she’ll be involved in some sort of physical activity by the time she is 25. In this previous study the foundation also found that girls who do play sports are more likely to go further in their careers, schooling and pursue non-traditional jobs like science, law and medicine. By staying active during adolescence and young adulthood they are 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer later in life.
That’s why Playtex Sport has donated $150,000 to The Women’s Sport Foundation to further their work in getting girls involved in physical activity and sports. And you can help too! By visiting the Playtex Sport Facebook page you can pledge your support of the mission with one click, while also getting tips to improve your own workouts, coupons to Playtex tampons and motivational wisdom from athletes like Jessica Mendoza, softball player and two-time Olympic medalist, Leslie Osborne, World Cup soccer medalist and more. So start clicking! And then take your little sister/cousin/niece outside and get them running around!
It’s not even the official start to summer yet, but if you walk outside it sure feels like it. Humidity, 90-degree days and sudden hazy storms have catapulted us right into summer mode. This week we want to know your favorite way to cool down when just walking to the car can make you break a sweat. Snag one of these tips from our Twitter followers to help you chill out all season.
@netty_lang: I love the feeling of a cold shower! [Editor's note: Taking a cold shower can help boost your metabolism and make your hair healthier! Makes it worth a few moments of yelping in the stall, doesn't it?]
@CourtneyAnne36: Running through sprinklers and playing with the hose, who says they’re just for kids?
@SweetToothCourt: I love a cold creamy spinach smoothie!
@RxBethOnTheRun: Watermelon, a crisp, cold glass of wine and jumping in my parent’s pool after hot, sweaty run (my favorite)!
@HHHealth_H3: We cool off with a little Aqua Zumba on a warm day!
@cupcakekellys: Lots of water, watermelon and swimming.
Now tell us: What’s your favorite way to beat the heat?
More from FITNESS: 8 Healthy and Refreshing Smoothie Recipes
Sunglasses aren’t just for complementing your bikini while you lounge on the beach. They’re a must for protecting your eyes from UV damage. Sunglasses also shield the eyelids and the skin around your eyes, helping to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer. But before you run out and drop a small fortune on a pair, here are some things to consider.
- UV protection is most important: UV rays can damage the eyes causing cataracts, benign growths on the eye’s surface, and snow blindness, a temporary and painful sunburn of the eye. As mentioned above, it can also lead to skin cancer around the eye, so make sure your pair guarantees 100 percent UV protection.
- Polarized lenses have nothing to do with UV protection: Polarized lenses act as a filter to absorb light waves, which helps to reduce glare that bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement or water. While they’re great for offering clearer vision in extreme sun, being labeled “polarized” has nothing to do with how well they protect the eyes.
Keep reading to find out what else to think about when buying sunglasses.
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#140Wednesdays: If You Could Give Your 16-Year-Old Self One Piece of Advice, What Would You Tell Her?
Remember when you colored your hair pink with a highlighter, got into a screaming fight with your sister over lip gloss and declared to never speak to your parents again for making you get a summer job? You probably thought the world would end, and if you’re reading this then you know that it in fact did not. They say everything happens for a reason, but looking back at our younger selves we can’t help but cringe over some of the choices we made in our teen years. Read below to see what our Twitter followers would tell their 16-year-old selves and post your tidbit of advice below. And if you haven’t seen it already, watch this video to ingrain it in your head to wear SPF this summer. (Warning: It’s a tearjerker!)
@thinmydreams: That cheeseburger and poutine are going to catch up with you when your metabolism slows.
@wishandwhimsy: Life gets better. High school doesn’t define you. Keep being you.
@AbigailLimHo: Love yourself. Believe that you’re beautiful. Don’t let other people destroy your self-esteem.
@enthusiasticrun: Don’t take life too seriously, be nice to everyone, and watch what you post on the Internet!
@she_is_geeky: Drink more water, wear sunblock, join a sport, exercise more!
@angeladecenzo: Keep up that jogging habit, it’s great stress relief!
@sensibleflutist: Life gets better and the world doesn’t revolve around you.
@theamotinada: Break up with him.
Now tell us: What piece of advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
It’s only Monday, but if you’re like us, you are already thinking about Memorial Day. To kick off the long weekend, Banana Boat spokesperson and natural living expert Sara Snow want you to make a pledge to get outside more. In a recent visit with Snow to the FITNESS offices, we were shocked to hear that kids spend an average of seven hours watching TV or on the computer and only seven minutes playing outside. To help get kids unplug, Snow and Banana Boat are launching a 101 Days of Summer Pledge. Here’s the scoop:
- Visit the Banana Boat Facebook page and click on the 101 Days of Summer Pledge. For every pledge made, Banana Boat will donate one bottle of its latest Natural Reflect Lotion to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summer camp organization for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
- Each week, starting from Memorial Day through Labor Day you can visit the 101 Days of Summer Pledge tab for a week of activities you and your kids can do outside. All of the ideas are inexpensive and range for every age so everyone can be included. Check out some of the sample ideas below:
Every dog has its day: Take the dogs on a walk or play fetch to give them some much needed outdoor time. The kids will get a kick out of playing with a new furry friend!
Local tourist: Discover new places in your town with the kids. A park, reservoir or garden could all be great, natural places to learning something new while enjoying a day in the sun.
Popsicle social: Squeeze ripe oranges for fresh orange juice and freeze in popsicle trays. Once they are ready, enjoy this ice cold treat outside in the warm sun.
- Upload pictures of your family doing the recommended outdoor activities through the tab and enter to win some sweet summertime loot! Weekly winners will be selected to win a basket of sun safe goodies from Banana Boat and one lucky winner will win a trip to the Grand Tetons!
So toss the video games and start tossing the ball this weekend. Your family vacation depends on it!
Working a nine-to-fiver is mandatory for most people, and unfortunately, a long commute often comes with the territory. According to a study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who travel 16 or more miles each way weigh more and have higher blood pressures than those with less than 10-mile commutes.
Of the almost 4,300 residents from Dallas and Austin involved in the study, researchers discovered that for every 10-mile increase in driving distance, the commuter’s BMI (body mass index) rose .17 units. People with lengthy commutes are nine percent more likely to be obese, either because they didn’t exercise as much, are eating fast food while driving, or they’re not getting enough sleep because their long commute forces them to wake up early.
Weight isn’t the only thing affected by a long drive to work. Spending that much time in the car, especially stuck in traffic, also makes a person tired, moody, and stressed out, which is one reason 52 percent of those in the study with a longer commute suffered from high blood pressure.
So what’s a commuter to do? Quitting your job is obviously not an option, and if working at home part-time isn’t feasible and neither is finding a job closer to where you live, here are some things commuters can do to avoid weight gain and other health issues.
- Make time to move: With an extra hour or two stuck in the car, it may be tough to exercise before or after work, so set aside 30 to 60 minutes during your day to hit the gym. Make it a priority just as you would any other scheduled appointment. Follow our time-saving tips for a lunchtime workout.
- Get enough Zs: Not getting enough sleep is linked to weight gain, so if you know you have to get up early to hop in the car, be sure to hit the hay early enough to get at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye. Here are some tips on how to get quality sleep.
Keep reading to learn what else commuters can do to avoid weight gain.
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