Essential Exercises for Women:  Firm Your Booty!

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 11, 2018 4:45:49 PM

Summer will be here before we know it and most of us are looking for ways to firm up our backside. Aside from looking great in a pair of shorts, strong glutes help improve posture, balance, and athletic performance. In addition, strengthening your backside can help to reduce knee and back pain and is a great way to prevent injuries. Adding these four exercises in this addition to our Essential Exercises for Women series to your routine can help you develop glute strength and lift and firm your backside. All you need for this workout is a loop resistance band and a mat. Perform 15 reps of each exercise, completing the entire circuit three times for a complete total booty workout!


BANDED LATERAL WALK: Place the band around ankles and come into a quarter squat position (knees bent with slight hip hinge) Keep the toes pointing forward, step right foot to the side. Perform 15 reps to the right, then reverse direction, performing 15 reps to the left. 

20180330_154617-964794-edited 20180330_154634-163206-edited

                                  Position A                                                         Position B

 

SQUAT WITH HIP EXTENSION: Stand with the band around the ankles with feet hip-width apart. Hinging at the hips and bending the knees (take care not to extend knees in front of toes) sit back into a squat. Squeeze glutes as you straighten your legs and extend the right leg behind you, keeping your spine neutral and core engaged. Repeat with the left leg for one rep. If you want a great way to really target and tone your butt this is a great one!

exercises to tone your buttexercises to firm your butt

                                      Position A                                                                   Position B


BOOTY BURNING BRIDGES:

Lie on back with band around the thighs. Place feet on the floor about hip-distance apart. Press heels into the floor as you squeeze glutes to lift hips, keeping the back in neutral alignment with the lower belly drawing in. Lower hips to hover over the floor. For an additional challenge hold the last rep and perform 10 pulses up, then 10 pulses pressing out against the band. Glute bridges are a must-do, butt lifting exercise!

hip bridge womenHip bridges exrecises

                                     Position A                                                                    Position B

 

BOOTY LIFTERS:  Place the band around your feet, so that it is looped around the sole of your shoes. Position yourself on elbows and knees and engage the core to keep the low back neutral. Flex right foot and extend heel towards the ceiling, keeping the right knee bent.  Perform 15 reps on the right side, then repeat on the left. #Feelthebootyburn

glute workout for womenexercises for your butt

                                 Position A                                                         Position B

 

Put all four of these exercises for women together for a power-packed, butt toning workout that you can do right at home! 

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Topics: exercises for women, exercise while travelling, leg exercises, butt toning, thigh toning, fitness for women, exercise at home

4 Easy Steps to Sticking to a Morning Fitness Routine

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 3, 2018 12:31:32 PM

Let's face it, some days we have every intention of working out, but life somehow gets in the way. Between work deadlines, family obligations, and sick kids even the most dedicated exercisers can get derailed. One way around this is to work out first thing in the morning. Sounds good, but getting out of a warm and cozy bed to exercise is hard! Follow these four steps to get yourself up and moving in the morning.

easy morning workout for women

unsplash-logoPhoto by:Christopher Campbell

 

START SLOWLY: Figure out how much time you will need for your workout and begin to gradually adjust your sleep schedule. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking 15 minutes earlier. Use that extra time in the morning to do a quick yoga or stretching routine, or any other short workout. This will help you get into the habit of doing something good for your body every morning. Continue gradually adjusting your sleep schedule by 15 minutes each week until you have enough time for your full workout.


SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: Create an environment that is conducive to exercise. Start by packing your gym bag or setting out all of your workout gear the night before and placing them by the door so you are ready to go.  If you are having a hard time resisting the snooze button put your alarm clock across the room or set multiple alarms. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to get out the door in the morning! It also helps to have a plan B in place just in case. For example, if you are planning to head out for a run but wake up to a thunderstorm, try an indoor Tabata or strength workout.


GIVE YOURSELF AN OUT: Sometimes we wake up and just don’t feel like getting out of bed to exercise! When lack of motivation strikes, promise yourself you can stop after 10 minutes if you are still feeling exhausted. Chances are that once you get up and moving you will want to keep going. Even if you decide to stop, at least you have done something for 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than zero!


ENLIST HELP: An early morning workout buddy can work wonders in helping you stick to a morning workout routine. We are more likely to show up if we know we have someone waiting for us! If you can’t find a friend who is willing to wake up and work out, Try signing up for a class, hiring a trainer, or posting your intentions to social media. All of these things can help create accountability and help you to stick to your plan.

 

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Topics: group exercise classes for women, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, personal training, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, Strength training for women

30-minute No-Gym Body Weight Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 17, 2014 4:38:00 PM

No Gym, No Problem!

Worried about staying on track with your fitness during Spring Break? Well fret no longer! While we firmly believe that there is no substitute for a good, old fashioned gym workout, we understand your concern so we scanned the internet for the perfect workout that needs no gym or equipment and can be done anywhere. Chock-full of body weight exercises, this little marvel will work your total body in just 30-minutes so that you can be on your way to having Spring Break fun in a jiff!

So what are you waiting for? Pull up some sand or push back that hotel room furniture and get started on these 8 fantastic body weight exercises! You will be done before you know it and right back to the fun!

30 minute workout home

Get more  health and fitness tips at Greatist.com.

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Topics: exercises for women, exercise while travelling, Strength training for women, exercise at home

500 Foods Contain the Yoga Mat Compound?!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 10, 2014 10:56:00 AM
    bakery-bread-breakfast-166021-944158-edited
Photo by hermaion from Pexels

Going, going, gone!

You won't find azodicarbonamide (the yoga mat compound) in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

As you may recall, the sandwich chain Subway got a lot of attention a few weeks back when it announced its plans to remove the yoga mat compound — which is used to improve dough and maintain bread texture — from its bread.

And as we reported, the kerfuffle came in response to an online petition posted by the creator of the Food Babe blog. The online petition pointed to a range of possible health concerns linked to the compound — everything from asthma to cancer.

But what is the evidence behind these claims?

Let's start with asthma and other respiratory issues. The concerns about breathing problems stem from factory workers who have been exposed to high levels of azodicarbonamide. But it turns out, outside of this occupational exposure, there's no evidence that there's any risk at all to consumers.

It's good to "remind yourself to be more skeptical," says Justin Pagano, who has written that he'd like to see more scientific inquiry and reasoning used in these what's-really-in-your-food campaigns.

He says there's a "generational zeitgeist" among his fellow millennials to "take back food" from the control of large companies and demand transparency.

And he agrees that it is important to be asking questions about how the food we eat may influence our health. Even if the questions are tough to answer.

Take, for instance, the tricky business of interpreting toxicity. John Coupland, a food science professor at Penn State, has blogged about the complexities involved.

He explains that small amounts of two compounds, semicarbazide, and urethane, are formed as azodicarbonamide breaks down during the baking process. And it's possible that these compounds may pose a risk.

"The real question is whether these tiny concentrations in bread are toxicologically significant," Coupland writes.

Groups such as the Environmental Working Group argue that since it's not essential and it could pose health risks, the yoga mat compound should be removed from the food supply.

"This is an unnecessary chemical that's added to bread," says EWG scientist David Andrews. And there are viable alternatives, such as ascorbic acid, which is a form of vitamin C.

But the FDA considers small amounts of azodicarbonamide to be safe. The agency long ago set an allowable level of 45 parts per million in the dough.

And food scientist Kantha Shelke of Corvus Blue, who works as an independent consultant to the food industry, says this is reasonable. After all, it's the dose that makes the poison. And "45 parts per million is very, very, very small," she says.

But in an era when social media can whip up a frenzy of concern, food companies are becoming quick to respond to get ahead of bad publicity — regardless of the science.

"No [food company or chain] wants to be associated with anything that can be remotely considered harmful," Shelke says.

This may explain why, in the wake of Subway's announcement, several more manufacturers have also decided to drop azodicarbonamide from their products.

For instance, bread maker Nature's Own noted that it has already phased out the compound from its bread products.

And intuitively, it just feels better to know that a compound used to make yoga mats is being removed from bread.

But maybe I'm just being closed-minded here.

For a different perspective, I reached out to bakery industry consultant Theresa Cogswell. She pointed out that "there are many things used in industrial uses" that cross over into food use as well.

"And the assumption that it's bad for you," she says, is just not accurate.

Take, for instance, sheetrock, or gypsum. It contains calcium sulfate, which is also used as a food additive. In fact, it's used to make tofu.

Hmmm. A vegan favorite contains the same compound that's used to make drywall. Who knew?

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on the NPR health and fitness blog: The Salt
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, healthy eating for women, nutrition

7 Things You Need to Know About Proper Squat Technique

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 28, 2014 12:04:00 PM

You're Doing It Wrong...Maybe

It is no secret that the squat is one of the best lower body exercises around that targets those hips, buns, and thighs that are troublesome spots for many women. While this exercise for women can really help you tone and sculpt those areas, it also very easy to perform this fat burner improperly thereby diminishing the power it packs and risking injury. Fear not friends! We have put together 7 tips on proper squat technique for women to ensure that you get the most out of your squat every time.

1) Proper Squat Technique: Hip Hinge

When most people try to squat, the knees protrude far over the toes, the rear end goes straight down, and the heels come off the floor. This happens because the proper squat technique requires some hip flexibility, proper balance, and a “hip hinge”. Each time you squat you should hinge your hips so that your rear end moves backward during the downward phase of the squat, your knees will no longer protrude well over your toes (if you are tall, this may happen, but make sure it does not put pressure on your knees). Finally, the pressure of the squat will be on your heels instead of your toes and you will be able to get more depth to your squat.

2) Proper Squat Technique: Straight Head Position

One major mistake people make when they squat is rounding their necks, or looking down at the ground. The spinal alignment is automatically thrown off, which makes the squat a very dangerous exercise, especially if you are using a lot of weight. Sometimes we can pick a spot on the wall that’s in line with the eyes as I standing straight, then as you squat down, keep the eyes on that spot. The head is automatically in the correct position.

3) Proper Squat Technique: Chest Out/Shoulders Back

A key theme with the squat is to make sure your spine is in proper alignment. By keeping your shoulder back and your chest out, your lower back will most likely have the correct natural curve. If you instead round your shoulders and sink your chest in, your spinal alignment will be thrown off.

4) Proper Squat Technique: Slightly Arched Lower Back

As you can see in the picture below the bottom of the spine (known as the lumbar spine) has a slight arch. You should keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched as you squat. Hyperextending your lower back by arching too much, or rounding your back can put significant pressure on the intervertebral discs, which are soft gel-like cushions that protect each vertebra. If the disc ruptures because of too much pressure, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary, which is called a herniated disc and may require surgery to repair. Not enough emphasis can be made to make sure your lower back is flat to slightly arched throughout the entire squat movement.

woman doing proper squat                 WebMD.com

5) Proper Squat Technique: Athletic Stance, Toes Pointed Out

Use an athletic stance for the squat so that your knees are slightly bent, feet are firmly planted on the ground, and toes pointed outwards slightly, which helps with stabilization. The wider you put your feet, the more it works your glutes and hamstring (back of the leg), and the easier it will be to stabilize. The closer in you put your feet, the more your quadriceps will be emphasized (the front of the leg). One common mistake when people use too much weight is that one, or both knees will cave in towards their center. Make sure to keep your knees out and choose a weight that is appropriate for your level.

6) Proper Squat Technique: Exhale Up/Inhale Down

Breathing is very important for squatting in particular because it is a challenging exercise. Improper breathing can make you lightheaded, or nauseous, and in extreme cases, some people even blackout. As you are lowering yourself, remember to take a deep breath in, then as you are pushing up, breathe out forcefully. Always keep this breathing pattern. Towards the last few reps, you may consider taking a few extra breaths at the top of the squat position as you are standing for some extra energy.

7) Proper Squat Technique: Depth of the Squat

The depth of the squat primarily depends on your hip flexibility. If your hips are very flexible, then you may be able to squat “below parallel” (hamstrings are below parallel with the floor) and if you have poor hip flexibility, then you will be “above parallel”. In general, try to shoot for your hamstrings about parallel with the floor, which deeply engages your thighs, hips, and glutes. If you can go lower than parallel that’s fine, just make sure you don’t experience any pain in your knees or lower back, and always keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched.

A couple of other tips to keep in mind as you are practicing the proper squat technique for women are to look at the profile of the squat as you are standing sideways towards the mirror. You may also consider videotaping your form as well.

 

Need More Help?

Just ask us. We would be delight to answer your exercise questions! Just drop a comment in the box or if you would prefer a more private approach, just click that big orange button.

Ask Fitness Questions Here

 

 

 

 

Adapted from an article which originally appeared on builtlean.com.
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Topics: exercises for women, leg exercises, butt toning, hip toning, Strength training for women

The Simply Delish Weight Loss Trick

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 7, 2014 11:51:00 AM

Add a little spice to your life!

Zesty dish = slimmer waist? Adding herbs and spices to a reduced-fat meal can make it just as appetizing as the real thing, says a new study from the University of Colorado.

People ate same-sized portions of regular (650 calories), reduced-fat (395 calories), and reduced-fat with spices (including onion, oregano, and paprika) meals of meatloaf, vegetables, and pasta. The eaters then rated the dishes for likability. The results: When made with spices, the reduced-fat meatloaf and vegetables scored higher than the regular versions, suggesting that spicing up food could make up for missing fat.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you don't have to suffer through plain skinless chicken or naked nuked broccoli, says Virginia-based registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger, author of Diabetes Weight Loss. Instead, try these three spices and cook up healthy meals with big flavor.

1. Cinnamon:

Known for its blood-sugar-lowering properties, cinnamon doesn’t just spruce up sweet stuff like oatmeal and rice pudding. Try it in savory dishes, too: Sprinkle the spice on baked acorn squash or roasted carrots, or add a half-teaspoon to a stew of chicken, rice, and tomatoes, Weisenberger says.

2. Chipotle pepper:

Stir ¼-teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper into bean dips, guacamole, or mashed cauliflower, suggests Rochelle Sirota, a registered dietitian in New York City.

3. Garlic:

Place four whole cloves in a vegetable steamer basket along with greens like kale, chard, broccoli rabe, or collard greens. As the greens steam, they’ll be infused with delicious garlic-y taste, says Sirota.

spices for weight loss

 

Want more helpful nutrition tips and tricks to help speed your weight loss efforts?

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, January 8, or Saturday, January 18 for a free informational seminar packed with all kinds of things you need to know to fire up your metabolism and get the body that you want now. It's your turn to ask our experts: Dr. Lucky Bennett, creator of our nationally recognized Nutritional Coaching for Women program, and the Director of Fitness at The Women's Club, Natalia Schifini. If you are a woman living in the Northern Virginia area you should miss this opportunity to get help figuring out what works for a woman's body and finally reaching your fitness and weight loss goals! More information...

 

 

 

 

Original article written by Jessica Girdwain
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Topics: nutrition advice for women, healthy eating for women, weight loss for women, fat burning, nutrition

How to Use the Pushup Walkout Exercise to Build Strength

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 19, 2013 12:16:00 PM

Walk It Out!

The pushup walkout is a functional exercise commonly used to challenge the whole body. When equipment is not available, it is a great one to challenge the body without any machines or dumbbells and it can also be done in a fairly small space. The pushup walkout is a great exercise to increase core strength, upper body strength, as well as stretching, and it can be modified depending on the different fitness levels and why we have selected it for this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women.

How It's Done:

The walkout exercise begins by having the individual standing with feet shoulder-width apart (a). Bend over so that your hands hit the floor (b), bend at the knees if needed. Then walk your hands out as far as possible keeping a stable back and not hyper-extending (c). Walk the hands back toward the feet and return to standing position (e and f)). Progress the exercise by walking hands out further as well as walking hands side to side, adding a bit more challenge to both your core and upper body. *See below for figure d modification.

Pushup Walkout                 Photo via  Women's Health Magazine

 

Things to remember:

The pushup walkout exercise can also be done as a warm-up, always making sure that the knees are slightly bent, as you go down the first few times (at least). Straighten the knees only if your level of flexibility allows you to do so, and once you have done a few repetitions to loosen up the lower back and hamstring muscles. 

Make sure you continue breathing through the exercise and move at a pace that is comfortable to your body, increasing the number of repetitions to increase the challenge level. You will usually “feel the exercise” with at least 10 repetitions, or even less depending on your level of overall fitness and stretching.

*Challenge:  The walkout exercise can also be finished with a push-up at the end (d), either with straight legs and toes on the floor or by placing your knees down on the floor to have more core support and less challenge.

Watch the video...

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What You Don't Know About Your Shades Could Hurt You

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 30, 2013 5:08:00 PM

As we roll into fall, the last thing on your mind might be wearing your sunglasses. Even when the sun's strength fades as far as the air temperature is concerned, you still need to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of its rays. 

Any health-savvy person knows by now that one of the best ways to protect your body from harmful UV rays is to slather on the SPF -- but you might be forgetting one important part: your eyes.

"Obviously you can't put sunscreen on them," says Anne Sumers, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology who is in private practice in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "[Sunglasses are] the only way to protect your eyes."

Exposing your peepers to the sun could trigger a host of serious health problems, including painful sunburns and cataracts. What's worse, buying sunglasses can be a complicated, cryptic process (what do those labels mean, anyhow?). So we asked Sumers and William Brown, O.D., Ph.D., of the department of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic, to help us break down what's happening to the naked eye when it's exposed to the sun -- and exactly how to choose the right sunglasses to protect it.

 

2013 08 EyeSunglasses 3 resized 600

Infographic by Jan Diehm for the Huffington Post.

Both experts caution that wearing sunglasses is particularly important for kids, who still have a whole lifetime of UV exposure ahead of them. Plus, even more UV light reaches children's retinas compared to older people, according to Brown.

It's also important to note that this graphic looks at how the sun affects eye health, not indoor tanning booths -- these beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times that of the sun. They're best avoided (for reasons beyond eye health), but if you're going to use them it's imperative to sport protective goggles (closing your eyes won't do the trick).

And no matter how good your eye protection, never look directly into the sun, especially during an eclipse. "It's much the same effect as taking a magnifying lens and focusing the sun onto a piece of paper," Brown says. "You can actually set the paper on fire."

Article by Laura Schoker, "What You Don't Know About Your Sunglasses May Hurt You," originally appeared in The Huffington Post

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Topics: Women's Wellness, health tips

Elevate Your Shoulder Workout!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 8, 2013 11:39:00 AM

Raising the Bar on Shoulder Exercises for Women

Nothing makes a tank top or little black dress look better than having a great set of sculpted shoulders. In this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women, we chose this terrific shoulder-shaper which uses the body bar to help you get those toned, sexy deltoids rockin'!

Rotator Curl with the Body Bar

Target: Shoulders

1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, gripping center of bar with left hand, arms

by sides, palms facing in. Posture counts, be sure that you are standing tall, lifting

through your ribcage!

2. Bend left elbow 90 degrees so that forearm is at waist level and bar isrotator curl with bar

perpendicular to floor.

3. Keeping elbow bent by ribs, rotate left forearm out to left side.

4. Return forearm to forward position to complete 1 rep.

5. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.

Note: Start with a light bar, perhaps a 4 lb. bar. This shoulder exercise for women can also be done with a dumbbell. If the bar is too heavy, try a lighter dumbbell.

 

10 more shoulder exercises for women

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Fitness Magazine

 

The Trust Report

 

 

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Topics: strength training, arm exercises, exercise programs for women

Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 20, 2013 3:28:00 PM

Mom On-the-Go = Mom In the Know

Emily Stone knows a ton about being a busy mom with lots of challenges to maintaining her fitness and wellness routine. Since so many of our readers find themselves in the same boat with plenty of things pulling them in all different directions, we have invited her to share some personal advice with you on how she keeps herself going throughout the day and how you can boost your metabolism. Enjoy!

Boosting Metabolism and Energy Throughout the Day


When I get to the afternoon, sometimes I want to get the license plate of the Mack truck that ran over me. Often it’s just burnout from the day. But when I’m struggling to get myself going from the morning onward, there are a few things I like to do that help me out. These tips boost my metabolism and energy so that I’m still kicking when school’s out.

Sleep

beautiful-beauty-bed-914910-658632-edited

Did you know that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep each night do not do as well on complex mental tasks? We need more sleep. But as a mom, it’s so hard for me to get a good night’s sleep. There’s the repeated begging for an extra story or song in the evening and the 3 a.m. nightmare. I’ve had to prioritize my life around getting enough sleep. I usually get 9-10 hours from the time the last kid goes to bed and the first one waking up. I aim to spend 8-9 of that time sleeping, and 30-60 minutes getting ready. If I can’t get quality sleep, at least I can usually get quantity sleep. And I’ve found that the more I sleep, the more active I am and the more I can accomplish during the day.

Exercise

My metabolism is slower than a tortoise. My best defense against this is to exercise. The cool part is that it stretches me out and gives me a ton of energy, too. Sometimes I sneak in a run after walking the kids to school. Otherwise, I work out at home. I can wake up 10-15 minutes early and do some interval training for a high-powered workout in hardly any time at all.

Breakfast

cottage cheese

Skipping breakfast is a terrible idea. Better to make it quick and healthy. If I plan ahead, eating before I’m out the door can be pretty easy. And no, I’m not talking about donuts and pastries. If I have five minutes to sit and eat, cottage cheese is my go-to. I get a healthy amount of fat, decent calcium, and tons of protein. If I don’t have five minutes, I love smoothies and protein shakes. I find that protein is the best source of continued energy for me throughout the day. Instead of starting the day with a coffee, I actually start my day with a whey protein shake. I personally buy my protein from Beachbody, but you can find whey protein everywhere, even at the grocery store!

Natural Energy Boost

I also try to stay away from coffee in general—too much caffeine (particularly on an empty stomach) can make me feel crazy, so I try to take other routes. Most natural supplements that are touted as alternatives to caffeine actually have caffeine in them. If I’m looking to avoid caffeine or cut it down, I load up on B vitamins and amino acids like taurine, which are both known to boost energy and metabolism. I really love the liquid B complex from GNC, you just add a few drops to a bottle of water and you’ll feel continuous energy throughout the day!

Relax

Above all, I think it’s important to periodically pull myself off the canvas and look at what I can do to feel happier. This can be as simple as getting up from my desk for a few minutes to stretch and walk around every hour. l set up some music playlists on my computer and phone that I can listen to when I’m home cleaning, out running errands, or working. This makes work and chores less exhausting.

learn to relax


In my busy day, I could get exhausted and overwhelmed easily. But when I try to get enough sleep and exercise, eat well and relax, I find that I end the day happier and excited for what’s to come.

 

The article above was written by Emily Stone.

Ms. Stone is a full-time mom, health freak, fitness enthusiast, and wannabe chef. She is the proud momma of two girls and a loving wife. Emily is in the process of starting up her own blog, but in the meantime, you can follow her at @FitMommaEm.

The opinions and advice expressed by  Ms. Stone are not necessarily that of The Women's Club or it's agents.

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, healthy eating for women

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