There's a lot of temptation during the holiday season, but that doesn't mean lunch can't be healthy. For our latest Instagram challenge, we asked readers to snap pictures of their healthy lunches. Salads definitely stole the show, but there was still a large variety of meals inspiring us to stay healthy all month.
Straps are one of the most underutilized props in a yoga studio; since many students are fearful of not looking flexible, they won't grab one. If you're serious about deepening your practice, it's time to get serious about trying a strap.
Extend your limbs: Trying to reach for your foot in a pose like Standing Hand to Big Toe or Dancer can be frustrating for yoga newbies or those who are less flexible. Instead of placing all the emphasis on the final expression of the shape, wrap the strap around your foot, and hold on tight. This way you'll get a feel for the pose and focus on the version that suits your body.
Twist deep: Tight backs of legs can make getting comfortable in twisting postures a pain. In any reclining spinal twist, the strap can make a huge difference. Wrap the strap around your foot, hold one end of the strap with each hand, and enjoy the lower back release.
Begin to bind: If you can't fully lock yourself into a bind, grab a strap for help. Instead of overextending your body or pulling a muscle that will force you off your mat, a strap will help you open up. They're absolutely wonderful for big shoulder openers like Cow Face Pose or Intense Side Stretch.
How do you use a yoga strap in class?
Despite what you might think, pull-ups are not impossible and can be adjusted for any fitness level. This infamous exercise offers a great upper-body workout that quickly tones the back, arms, and chest. Not only will it make you stronger, but conquering this move will also give an extra boost of confidence and help you feel like you can tackle anything — because let's face it, you can!
- Assisted Pull-Up Machine: The pull-up machine is a great way to try your first go at pull-ups. The machine uses counterbalance weights, which means the higher the weight you set the machine, the easier the exercise becomes. Start by setting the weight to 20 pounds less than your weight, complete three to five reps, and then adjust the weight accordingly. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use the assisted pull-up machine at your gym.
- Band Pull-Up: With the help of a superband — a giant, two-inch-thick rubber band — you can tackle consecutive pull-ups. All you have to do is wrap the rubber band securely around the pull-up bar, put it under one knee (or one foot for even more assistance), grab onto the bar (stepping off a stool if needed to reach), and begin your pull-up. Superbands are the same length, but the wider the band, the more assistance. Eventually, you will no longer be a "groupie" to the band and will be able to use your body weight!
- Jump Pull-Ups: Consider jump pull-ups (pull-ups with a jump start) the next level after the assisted pull-up machine. Standing under the bar, jump up to grab the bar, harnessing the momentum of the jump to pull your body and chin to the bar. If your chin doesn't come close to the bar, don't give up — this move often takes practice.
- Want to drop body fat? Here's the best workout to make it happen — Shape
- Six classically salty dishes get a healthy makeover — HuffPost Healthy Living
- Warming soup recipes to enjoy Meatless Monday — Blisstreee
- Celeb trainer Jackie Warner whips you into shape with this at-home workout — Fitness
- Go ahead and cry, it's good for your health — Mind Body Green
- Your guide to transforming the holidays into a healthy affair — Real Simple
Many young professionals spend half of their day sitting at a desk, and while meeting goals in the work space, the body's health can often get neglected. To help keep you moving and give your mind a rest, start incorporating yoga into the workday. These stretches are straight from Darrin Zeer's book Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People, designed to release weekday stress, and are conservative enough to do anywhere.
December is a busy, fun-filled month, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take time to work out or de-stress with a cup of tea. Here are a few items that will help keep you fit and healthy for the entire month while you embark on everything from holiday shopping to New Year's Eve partying. Who knows? Maybe these picks will end up on your holiday wish list.
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