Saturday, March 17, 2018

Foods Surprisingly High in Saturated Fat

nutrition label
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What Is Saturated Fat?

It's a type of fat that's typically solid at room temperature, like lard, butter, or coconut oil, and is only good for you in small quantities. Too much can raise your LDL "bad" cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. That's why you shouldn't get more than 10% of your calories from saturated fat. That's 200 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet, or 22 grams of saturated fat.
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ice cream and greek yogurt
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Ice Cream or Greek Yogurt?

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greek yogurt
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Greek Yogurt

That's compared to 4 grams for ice cream. But there's a catch. The serving size for ice cream is smaller -- a half cup. There are "low-fat" and "nonfat" Greek-style yogurts that get rid of all or most of the saturated fat.
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chicken thigh and salmon
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Chicken Thigh or Salmon Filet?

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chicken thigh
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Chicken Thigh

That's three times more than a serving of salmon. And that's without the skin, which adds more saturated fat. To cut back, try chicken breast instead. It has about 1 gram per serving.
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bison and cow
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Bison Patty or Beef Patty?

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Beef Patty

But that doesn't mean you can go wild with bison. It still has 3 or more grams per serving. In both cases, it pays to get patties made with leaner cuts of meat to cut down on saturated fat.
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sirloin and milk
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Beef Sirloin or 2% Milk?

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2% Milk

That's double the saturated fat of a 3-ounce serving of top sirloin that's been trimmed of all visible fat. Even if you leave 1/8 inch of fat on, it only gets up to just over 2 grams. That said, milk is a better source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium. Milk also has fewer calories.
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cheese pizza and potato chips
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Cheese Pizza or Potato Chips?

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cheese pizza
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Cheese Pizza

Per slice? That's right. When was the last time you ate one slice of pizza and stopped? But that doesn't mean it's open season for potato chips. A serving -- which is only about 15 chips -- still has a gram or so of saturated fat.
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glazed doughnut and avocado
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Glazed Doughnut or Avocado?

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glazed doughnut
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A whole avocado, though, has a surprising amount at almost 3 grams. Of course, it's also loaded with vitamins and minerals and has other health benefits. Not so much with the doughnut -- just a whole lot of sugar and simple carbs that spike your blood sugar, which can be bad for your health.
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macadamia nuts and pork loin
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Macadamia Nuts or Pork Tenderloin?

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macadamia nuts
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Macadamia Nuts

Surprised? Yup, nuts can be good for you, but they have lots of fat and sometimes it's the saturated kind. Just a quarter cup of macadamia nuts has 4 times as much as a full dinner serving of pork tenderloin. But not all pork is created equal, and some has a lot more saturated fat, so do your homework before you start cooking.
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bacon and coleslaw
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Bacon or Cole Slaw?

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Cole Slaw

We're talking about the traditional, mayonnaise-based, creamy kind. It's got nearly double the saturated fat that's in a sizzling slice of bacon. It's a reminder that saturated fat hides in many foods that you may not suspect.
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cafe latte and french fries
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Caffe Latte or French Fries?

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cafe latte
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Caffe Latte

A small order of french fries still has 3 grams of saturated fat. It's just that a latte has a lot of saturated fat. And the 16-ounce size is not usually even the largest size on the menu. Want a fat-free alternative? Try coffee with skim milk or green tea.
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butter and olive oil
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Butter or Olive Oil?

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It's got more than three times the saturated fat of olive oil, which has just 2 grams per tablespoon. So try dipping your bread in a little olive oil instead of spreading on butter. Whichever you use, remember that both are loaded with calories, so it's best not to overdo it.
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coconut milk and half and half
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Coconut Milk or Half-and-Half?

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coconut milk
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Coconut Milk

That's about three times the fat in a cup of half-and-half, and it adds up to more than 2 days of the recommended amount. That's why it's a good idea to go easy. Just because coconuts grow on trees doesn't mean they are good for you in any amount.
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almond milk and soy milk
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Almond Milk or Soy Milk?

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soy milk
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Soy Milk

That's more than almond milk, which has almost no saturated fat. Both have far less than you find in full-fat dairy products like milk, cream, and cheese.
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hard boiled egg and blue berry muffin
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Egg or Blueberry Muffin?

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blueberry muffin
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Blueberry Muffin

The exact amount depends on the size of the muffin and the recipe, but it can have double or more the saturated fat in a boiled or poached egg. A muffin is also loaded with sugar and other simple carbs. An egg, on the other hand, is full of high-quality protein and other important nutrients.
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The Dangers of Nerve Damage

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How Nerve Pain Feels

People with nerve pain feel it in different ways. For some, it's a stabbing pain in the middle of the night. For others, symptoms can include a chronic prickling, tingling, or burning they feel all day.
Uncontrolled nerve pain can be hard to bear. But with treatment, it can often be adequately controlled.

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Understanding Nerve Pain

Pain is supposed to be a warning. When your hand gets too close to a stove, the nerves send a pain signal to the brain -- and you pull back before you burn yourself. But if you have nerve damage, that system isn't working. Damaged nerves may send false signals -- and you feel real pain, often without a cause. Damaged nerves may also result in you not feeling pain when you have an injury.
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Nerve Pain Triggers

Some find that certain body positions or activities -- like standing in line or walking -- become painful. Nerve damage may also make your body overly sensitive. Some people may experience pain from bed sheets draped lightly over the body.
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Loss of Feeling

Nerve damage may cause loss of sensation or numbness in the fingertips, making it harder to do things with your hands. Knitting, typing, and tying your shoes may become difficult. Many people with nerve damage say that their sense of touch feels dulled, as if they are always wearing gloves.
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Nerve Pain and Sleep

Nerve pain is often worse at night. The touch of sheets or the pressure of lying down may be terribly uncomfortable. If you can't sleep because of your nerve pain, make sure to mention it to your doctor. Modifying lifestyle habits or taking medicine could help.
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Losing Balance

In addition to dulling your sense of touch, nerve damage can result in muscle weakness or affect your sense of balance. Either of these could lead to falls. Assistive devices -- like braces, canes or walkers -- may help. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.
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Unseen Injuries

Nerve damage doesn't just cause pain. It may also cause numbness that may prevent you from feeling pain when it matters. People with nerve damage sometimes injure themselves without realizing it. Your doctor may recommend that you check yourself for injuries regularly -- especially your feet.
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Nerve Pain Progression

Left untreated, nerve damage may worsen over time. It usually starts in the nerves farthest from the brain and spinal cord -- like those in the feet and hands. Then it may move up into the legs and arms.
However, if you get treatment for the medical condition causing the nerve damage, you may be able to stop the damage -- and even reverse it.
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Assessing Your Pain

In many cases, nerve pain may be controlled. Start by getting an assessment at the doctor's office. Be ready to answer questions. How long have you had pain? What does it feel like? How does it affect you? The answers will help your doctor figure out what's causing your pain and how to treat it.
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Conditions That Cause Nerve Pain

Many conditions -- such as diabetes, shingles, and cancer -- may cause injury and nerve pain. Some people develop nerve pain for no known reason.
It is important to try to find the underlying cause of your nerve pain, such as uncontrolled diabetes, and seek appropriate treatment for it. It may help ease your pain and stop the progression of damage. But be sure you seek treatment for your pain too.
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OTC Treatments for Nerve Pain

Over-the-counter painkillers may be the first treatment your doctor recommends. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- such as ibuprofen -- or other analgesics, such as acetaminophen or prescription medicines. Other options include painkilling creams, ointments, oils, gels, or sprays that are used on the skin.
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Prescription Drugs for Nerve Pain

There are many prescription medicines that may help with nerve pain. Some are powerful painkillers. Other drug types might help too. Medicines originally used for depression and epilepsy are often prescribed to relieve nerve pain.
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Natural Treatments for Nerve Pain

Complementary or alternative treatments may help. For instance, studies have found that acupuncture may ease nerve pain. In some cases, nerve pain is caused or aggravated by a deficiency of vitamin B-12. Taking supplements -- under your doctor's care -- could help.
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Taking Control of Your Health

In addition to working with your doctor to find treatment that works, you can take other steps to fight chronic pain. Getting regular exercise, keeping a healthy weight, and improving your diet may help.
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Inspirational Quote – March 17, 2018

“Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how BLESSED you are.”

In our busy everyday lives it is very easy to get so caught up in it all that we forget or overlook the many blessings we have. We’re usually more taken up by how stressful our lives are and perhaps also the irritations and problems we encounter daily. Often these constantly occupy our every waking thought, and perhaps, if we’re really unlucky, our dreams offer no escape. It’s just how things are in our busy lives and ever-changing world. However, there may be times when we are reminded of the bigger picture; perhaps an embrace or kiss from a loved one, the unexpected kindness of a stranger, the laughter of a child, the illness suffered by another and not us. That’s when we realize how blessed we really are and therefore should acknowledge and give thanks to whatever Higher Being we personally believe in.

The Butterfly Child

At 14 years old, Jonathan Pitre appears to have a superhuman ability to deal with the constant pain of epidermolysis bullosa, the rare disease that has been a part of his life from infancy. In this moving and inspiring video we get a glimpse of his life and that of his devoted mother, as they face daunting challenges with love, strength, courage and the heroic ability to reach out and inspire others in the process. Jonathan's skin may be extremely fragile like the wings of a butterfly, but his spirit knows no bounds. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Biology of the Modern Political Divide

Robert Sapolsky reveals the biological basis for our most unfortunate traits—and insists change is possible.

A couple of weeks ago, at a speech before a friendly audience, President Donald Trump likened immigrants to poisonous snakes. To biologist and behavioral scientist Robert Sapolsky, it was a revolting but revealing remark.
Robert SapolskyRobert Sapolsky
“That’s a textbook dehumanization of ‘them,’ he said. “If you get to the point where citing ‘thems’ causes your followers to activate neurons in the insular cortex—the part of the brain that responds to viscerally disgusting things—you’ve finished most of your to-do list for your genocide.”
That sort of sharply stated, science-based analysis has made Sapolsky a popular and influential writer and thinker. A MacArthur fellow, he is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and the author of several books, including the 2017 bestseller Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.
Sapolsky has spent much of his career in Kenya, studying baboons (among other primates), and he uses that knowledge to put human behavior into a broader perspective. In a recent telephone interview, he discussed the biological basis of our current political fault lines.
Tom Jacobs: Let’s talk about tribalism. First of all, is that an accurate term for the sorting into opposing camps that’s going on today?
Robert Sapolsky: Absolutely, in a very primate kind of way. The easiest symbols that we grab on to in deciding if someone is an “us” or a “them” are visceral ones. Being disgusted by someone’s personal behavior—the way “they” do stuff—is a much easier entrĂ©e to hating them than disagreeing with their views on the trade deficit.
Primates are hard-wired for us/them dichotomies. Our brains detect them in less than 100 milliseconds. Our views about things are driven by implicit (unconscious) processes. It’s depressing as hell. A hormone like oxytocin makes you nicer to “us” and crappier to “them.” What hormones are good at is magnifying things that are already there. That tells you that “us and them” is a fundamental fault line in our brains.
That’s depressing, but the key thing about us is that we all belong to multiple tribes. Even if we are predisposed into dividing the world into “us” and “them,” it’s incredibly easy to manipulate us as to who is an “us” and who is a “them” at any given moment.
TJ: True, but there’s a lot of research suggesting our various identities are lining up more and more, with liberals and conservatives shopping at different stores, watching different movies and television shows, etc. Isn’t that a dangerous trend?
RS: I agree. The percentage of people who have friends with different political viewpoints is decreasing. The odds of you marrying someone with a different political orientation are also down. I think that reflects the ways in which social media have made this such a polarizing atmosphere.
We do our worst when we’re surrounded by a lot of people who agree with us. For example, devout religious belief is not a predictor of extremism. Devout religious observance isn’t either. But devout religious observance in a group setting is. Studies show that support for terrorism in majority Muslim countries is unrelated to how often you pray, or how devout you are about food prohibitions. But it is related to how often you pray in a mosque. The same is also true of right-wing Jewish extremists in Israel. When sacred values are re-affirmed in groups—that’s when things get scary.
TJ: We’re also seeing the rise of nationalism all around the world, and with that has come an increased tolerance for autocratic leaders. This is often explained as a reaction to globalization: If McDonald’s is everywhere, people feel a threat to their national identity, and they feel a need to affirm it in a strong, even belligerent way. Do you agree?
RS: Globalization has meant people living in places they didn’t used to live in—which means people are living around people they didn’t used to have to live around. In principle, that can be great and heartbreaking—contact with others leads us to realize we’re all siblings under the skin. But we know it does anything but that.
<a href=“”><em>Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst</em></a> (Penguin Press, 2017, 800 pages)Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, 2017, 800 pages)
For the book, I looked at the literature on what circumstances set people up for making intergroup tensions worse. It turns out having some of “them” move in down the block is not a great recipe for everyone learning that they’re more similar than different. Rather, it’s a great circumstance for rubbing elbows and getting visceral senses of threat going.
What globalization has done is allowed all sorts of places that are feeling economically and culturally precarious to have local scapegoats—people that look a whole lot different. It would take a lot more work to figure out it’s their fault if they happened to look and eat and pray the same way you do. If all of those things are different, you’re three-quarters of the way home toward getting a scapegoat.
TJ: So if you’re looking for someone to blame, you’ve got somebody right down the street! That wouldn’t have been true in the past.
RS: Scapegoating is an incredibly mammalian thing to do. Why is that? Because it makes you feel better! It’s a horrifyingly effective stress-reduction mechanism.
If you have a rat that has just gotten a shock, one of the best ways to decrease its stress hormones is to make it easy for it to turn around and bite another rat. Roughly 50 percent of baboon aggression is “displacement aggression”—somebody taking out their bad day on somebody smaller. It’s a defining feature of social organisms in pain.
TJ: We write a lot about economic and social inequality, but until I read Behave, it never occurred to me to compare humans with other animals in this respect. You argue that humans have far more inequality than any other species. Any idea why that is?
RS: Because of our psychological sophistication. A low-ranking non-human primate may get beat up when somebody is in a bad mood, or get the crummiest place to sit when it’s raining. Or they’ll find something good to eat, and someone (of a higher rank) will take it away from them. But that’s basically it. They don’t have societal constructs that lead them to think it’s their own damn fault.
Humans can be driving down the freeway, and the driver in front of you can signal your lack of socioeconomic success (via their more expensive automobile). Humans can sit at home, watch an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and feel diminished. And all of that plays out in terms of whether your kid gets a decent education, or whether they’ll make it home from school safely.
“'Us and them' is a fundamental fault line in our brains”
―Robert Sapolsky
When you look at the links between low socioeconomic status and poor health in Westernized humans, it has nothing to do with access to health care, and only a tiny amount to do with lifestyle risk factors. It’s the psychological impact of being poor. A person’s subjective socioeconomic status is the best predictor of their health.
In other words, it’s not being poor (that puts your health at risk)—it’s feeling poor. The most reliable way to make somebody feel poor is to rub their nose in it, which can entail everything from not making eye contact to not having the police believe them.
TJ: You write that you don’t really believe in free will, but we nevertheless have an obligation to try to understand our behavior and make things better. Isn’t that something of a contradiction?
RS: I’m realizing how incredibly hard it is to articulate how an absence of free will is compatible with change.
Gaining new knowledge, having new experiences, being inspired by someone’s example—these are biological phenomena. They leave biological traces.
There are all sorts of neuro-pathways that analyze the world in terms of cause and effect. The knowledge that one person—or a bunch of high school students—really can make a difference can be inspiring. That means certain pathways have been facilitated, and, as a result of that, certain behaviors become more likely. Pathways to efficacy can also be weakened if you find out you have no control in a certain domain. Learning to be helpless is also biological.
TJ: So the fact free will is largely illusory does not mean the way we react to the world is static and unchanging.
RS: Absolutely not. There’s a vast difference between a biologically determined universe and fatalism.
This story originally appeared as “Why We Engage in Tribalism, Nationalism, and Scapegoating” on Pacific Standard, an editorial partner site. Subscribe to the magazine in print and follow Pacific Standard on Twitter to support journalism in the public interest.

The Safest, Smartest Workouts

pilates class
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Go for It: Pilates

It's a low-impact workout that focuses on your core -- your hips, back, and abs. It uses your own body as resistance and taps into the mind-body connection. Pilates builds strength, makes you more flexible, and helps your joints move the way they should.
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people working out with kettlebells
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Use Caution: CrossFit

This exercise program can be an effective calorie burner -- when done right. But take on this intense workout with care, or you could get injured. Moves are meant to push you out of your comfort zone to your limit. It can be great for some, but CrossFit definitely isn’t for everyone.
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senior couple doing tai chi in park
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Go for It: Tai Chi

Studies have shown meditation is a big booster of mood and health. Tai chi takes meditation to the next level by putting it into motion. Its series of slow movements helps with balance and stress relief. It's good for all ages, too.
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man doing crunches outside
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Use Caution: Crunches

They aren’t all bad, but crunches aren't great if you’ve got a bad back. They put pressure on your lower spine. They can tighten the muscles you use to sit, too. That can pull at your spine even further. If it’s a six-pack you're after, ask a fitness expert for other moves you can use that won’t wreck your back.
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couple walking dog
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Go for It: Walking

This oldie but goodie is top-notch for both your body and your brain. You can do it just about anywhere. It’s easy on your joints, boosts your mood, and helps you stay heart healthy.
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man measuring stomach
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Use Caution: Spot Reduction

If you want to target tummy fat, you should hit the mat for some sit-ups, right? Wrong. You can’t zero in on any one area of fat when you work out. That’s a myth. A better approach, experts say, is training your whole body. It’s overall fitness, not focusing on specific areas, that burns fat best.
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traditional yoga class
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Go for It: Yoga

When it comes to your muscles, if you don’t use them, you lose them. Yoga’s gentle stretches keep you limber so you can enjoy an active life. It can also relieve stress, improve your breathing, tone your muscles, and give you more energy.
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woman swimming
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Go for It: Swimming

When it comes to workouts, swimming checks all the boxes: It’s kind to your joints, boosts heart health, improves your mood, and burns calories. It’s especially good if you’re dealing with an injury. The water takes the weight off your frame so you can get your heart pumping without pain.
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group of people running
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Go for It: Running

If it’s calories you’re looking to burn, running will give you the most bang for your buck. An hour of it burns twice as many calories as biking or walking for the same amount of time.
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man lifting weights in gym
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Go for It: Weight Training

Also called strength training or resistance training, exercises with weights build your muscles, burn calories, and strengthen your bones. Weight training can also help your brain as you age.
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woman doing squats in gym
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Use Caution: Weight Training

However, good technique is crucial when you pump iron. Bad form can hurt you in a hurry. Especially risky moves include:
  • Loading up with weights that are too heavy
  • Bad posture
  • Skipping a warmup
  • Lifting without a spotter
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woman using elliptical trainer
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Go for It: Elliptical

Not only can you get all the great benefits of walking with an elliptical machine, you can do it with less joint jarring. The moving handles it has add in arm exercises, too. You can also use it in reverse. That helps strengthen leg muscles beyond what a forward workout can do.
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woman skipping rope
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Go for it: Jumping Rope

It’s not just for playgrounds. It's a powerhouse workout you can do almost anywhere, and you only need a rope to do it. It can build lower leg muscles, improve your coordination, and create more pathways in your brain. That helps you stay sharp as you get older.
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man doing jump box exercise
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Use Caution: Plyometrics

Speaking of jumping, plyometrics is a form of exercise (also called jump training), that works on your muscle power and explosiveness with a series of jumps. When done right, it makes for strong leg muscles. But it’s easy to do it wrong, especially if you’re going it alone. Landing badly can cause injuries, including problems in your joints. Before you start, talk to a trainer to see if it’s the right choice for you.
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young people dancing
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Go for It: Dancing

Your heart is happiest when it gets exercise that moves both your legs and your arms. The rhythm and constant movement of dance can do that. And it’s fun, which will have you coming back for more.
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