When you're powering through a tough workout, sometimes one song on your playlist can make all the difference. The year is coming to a close, and now it's time to cast your vote. We need to know which pop song made you move the most in 2012. Not seeing your favorite workout song released in 2012 on the list? Be sure to add it in the comments below!
We've already highlighted the best diet tips of the year, but we've learned just as much about how we exert our bodies. Here are a few of the biggest fitness news items of the year.
- Instant metabolism boost: Want to increase your body's fat-burning potential? It only takes an hour of exercise to change your body's DNA to increase your metabolism, a new study said. In fact, the effects can be seen in as little as 20 minutes — good to remember the next time you're slogging away on the treadmill.
- One-minute intervals: Here's another reason to love those high-intensity intervals: a study found that just one minute of high-intensity intervals followed by one minute of rest, for a total of 20 minutes, can increase your energy, regulate your blood sugar, and increase your body's oxygen production. It doesn't take much to keep your body healthy, so take a minute to sprint, up the resistance on your indoor bike, or just stop and do jumping jacks!
- 2.5 minutes, 200 calories: Is 20 minutes too long? Well then here's even better news: another study found that just 2.5 minutes of high intensity can boost your metabolism to spur an afterburn of up to 200 more calories a day.
- Sitting is worse than smoking: You probably heard the news this year — sitting too much can be deadly. In fact, a report earlier this year said that 10 percent of all deaths are caused by a sedentary lifestyle. That's higher than the amount of deaths from smoking, so even if you exercise for just 30 minutes a day, the news is a good reminder to keep doing what you're doing and stay active throughout the day.
- Jog to live longer: What's the secret to a long life? It may just be taking time to enjoy a nice leisurely jog. Researchers found that people who jogged at a slow or average pace lived longer than nonjoggers. So even if you consider yourself not a runner, adding a slow jog to your weekend can help your life expectancy.
- Yoga injury: Think of yoga as a healing practice? For many, it's just the opposite, said The New York Times earlier this year. Many experienced yogis suffer injuries ranging from strokes to broken bones to permanent disabilities, which they say were the result of their practice. The takeaway? Yoga can be just what your body needs, but just make sure you don't push yourself past your limit.
Use your smartphone to take your ski trip to new heights (literally) this Winter. Perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, we found six apps that cover everything from tracking trail conditions to perfecting the basic powder turn. When all is said and done, you can further review your entire day: speed, vertical, and calories included. Click through and start downloading with these apps, and you'll never be left in the cold again!
No matter what the occasion, there are staples that are necessary for anyone following a Paleo diet. Olives, tomato paste, and beef jerky might surprise you when they end up as snack cravings on this process-free diet; scroll down to see the other top staples for your hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
- Nuts: Say hello to your new best friend. Nuts are the best on-the-go protein source for any follower of Paleo. Make sure you buy them raw without any added seasonings. Nut butter can be safe on this diet as long as you watch the added oils that may be added. Almond and sunflower butter are pretty safe bets.
- Meats and fish: This duo should be the main attraction on your meal plate. When buying them, check for added ingredients. Your protein should be free of any artificial flavors and seasonings, which is hard to tell in the deli section. If there isn't a visible label, then just make sure to ask for full disclosure on your poultry, cold cuts, and other meats. Canned fish is still on the menu for the Paleo diet and can be a quick time-saver to your salads.
- Produce: Lucky for Paleo eaters, this section is pretty stress-free. Almost anything in the produce section is on limits for the caveman diet, just steer clear of anything that could be processed or pasteurized, like bottled fruit or vegetable juice. Kombucha, which is a naturally fermented black tea, is a good drink to buy in place of your Odwalla.
- Frozen veggies: These can be huge time-savers when you're in a rush. Keep a selection of veggies like green beans and spinach in your freezer to quickly heat up next time you're crunched for time.
- Oil: Coconut and olive oils are the best types of oil for even non-Paleo eaters to keep on hand. Olive oil is great for homemade salad dressings, while coconut is excellent to cook with. Keep one of each for variety.
- Flavorings: Natural herbs, vinegar, unsweetened applesauce, and certain broths from concentrate can definitely liven up your food a bit. Make sure you recognize all the ingredients on the foods list to watch for added sugars and colorings.
- Kiss-friendly New Year's Eve date ideas
- Workouts for your every mood
- How to go on a digital diet
- The lowdown on Champagnes and sparkling wines
- Adorable pictures of celebs with their furry friends
- Editors share their fashion resolutions for 2013
- Video: The most shocking celebrity couple moments of the year
- How to organize your home, room by room
- Runway hair and makeup looks perfect for New Year's Eve
- Tips for hiring a New Year's Eve babysitter
- Designer Jon Call shares his favorite things
- Work Rihanna's all-black courtside style for day or night
- The biggest movie headlines of 2012
- Eric and Maxwell Johnson hit the beach with the Simpson clan
- A tasty recipe for chicken with olives, oranges, and new potatoes
As a team, we tried our hands at a lot of health and fitness items this year. While some of these goods didn't make the cut, there were more than a few products that we'll be using well into 2013. From gear to food — and everything in between — these healthy items were the ones we absolutely loved this year for keeping us healthy, happy, and fit!
Indulged too much? Get back on track with a workout that doubles as detox. Julie Erickson, founder of Endurance Pilates and Yoga, created this workout to help. "Sometimes we lose sight of our physical bodies over the holidays while we partake in the abundance of food and beverage choices," said Julie. "Yoga and Pilates hold us accountable and bring our focus right back into our physical selves."
Julie recommended the following 10-minute workout to boost metabolism and "move the remnants of our 'less healthy choices' out of the body a little more quickly." Keep reading to learn how to do the workout, and get the printable version here!
Looking back at 2012, The London Games is definitely one of the biggest highlights of the year. And months later, we're still beyond proud of Team USA! Our amazing athletes won a hefty 104 medals, with 46 of those being gold. The race to the podium wasn't easy: we saw nail-biting finishes, tears of joy, and solid determination. Here are our favorite moments from Team USA's road to glory.
'Tis the season to indulge! Don't feel guilty about it — just work it off with one of these 200-calorie-burning workouts. They're as effective as they are seasonal and fun to partake in at the same time! Forget about watching the clock for class to end, these fat burners are likely to clear your mind as well.
- Swimming vigorously: At thee mph for 20 minutes, you can burn 198 calories, about the amount that your morning bagel can contain. Just make sure you don't swim too soon after eating it.
- Running with intervals: Running at six mph (which is about a 10-minute mile) almost hits that 200-calorie mark after 20 minutes. To reach it sooner, let your last two minutes be a sprint. For the same results, start with a slower jog, if needed, then increase your speed to sprint for your last five minutes once you have momentum.
- Power yoga: Most classes are an hour and 15 minutes, but you can sign up for a shorter class and still burn 200 calories. In just 45 minutes, you burn that much with time for Savasana and stretching. Take a one-hour class or follow a DVD at home.
- Skiing downhill: If you're lucky enough to hit some fresh powder this Winter, calculate your runs into your total caloric intake. After 40 minutes, the typical time it takes to go on two long runs or three short ones, over 200 calories are already slashed. The average downhill speed of a skier or snowboarder is 13 mph.
- Cycling: This is one form of exercise that's dynamic at the finest. Ride a stationary bike or take it to the concrete outdoors. In 40 minutes, you can burn over 200 calories on your bike. Check your speed to make sure that you and your bike are going 10 to 12 mph so that you get the maximum burn.
- Speed walking: For a no-fuss way to get rid of the cals, choose to walk to a restaurant that takes 75 minutes to get there. If you walk at 2.5 mph, you'll have burned 200 calories before you even bite into an appetizer. For a more heel-friendly route, walk somewhere closer and split up the 75 minutes.
* Calories burned calculations based on a 130-pound woman