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Stress is Contagious. Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself

For the most part, we know what causes our own stress: work, family, friends, the usual culprits. But what happens when your stress isn’t caused by a direct influence on your life? Then, unfortunately, you’re suffering from secondhand stress.

stressed

It can happen to anyone. For example, if your close friend is going through a rough situation and shares it with you, you may experience stress symptoms even though nothing has changed in your life. Sadly, this is a real thing. Stress is actually contagious.

Alicia Clark, Psy.D. told Shape Magazine this happens because empathy for others is hard-wired into our system. It’s thought that when others around us feel stress, our brain picks up their cues and mimics them, creating stress in us, even without an actual cause.

This is unfortunate news for those who already suffer from stress. Stress can be damaging to your health, including affecting arteries in such a way that may cause heart attacks and strokes.
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5 Yoga Poses Sure to Flatten Your Tummy

Yes, yoga brings about amazing mental and emotional benefits, but if we’re being honest, we all just want long, lean muscles and a super flat midsection. Ditch the crunches and let your yoga poses help you get there! Inspired by the recent Shape magazine video, these five moves target all the muscles in your abdomen and include a bit of cardio to burn fat and showcase your hard-earned, rock-solid core.

1. The Plank Slide

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We all know a plank is the ultimate total body toner that blasts every muscle in your core, but have you tried the plank slide? Hold your plank like normal, except your hands are on your sticky mat and your feet rest on a blanket (*note: this must be done on a hardwood or slippery floor!). Then, use your core to keep your legs straight while sliding them up toward your hands like a forward fold. Slide your legs back to your starting plank position. It’s like cleaning your floor while working your core!

Bonus super challenge: try the plank slide with one leg up in the air at a time!
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Why It’s OK to Ignore your Yoga Teacher (sometimes)

Consider the phrase, “How you do anything on the mat is how you do everything in life.”

This is a quote I heard recently from one of my fellow yoga teachers that has really struck a chord with me. Ask yourself: How do you show up on your mat? How do you show up in your life? How do you deal with challenging postures in class? Do you just give in or quit? Do you stress out, compare yourself, or push too hard?

yoga teacher

Chances are, how you approach and practice your yoga is probably a good reflection of your approach and practice of life.


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The Cheapskates Guide To Joining a Gym

We all know that there are many ways that you can get in shape for free. Riding your bike outside, going for a run, or even doing a bodyweight workout at home don’t cost a thing. But these are all at-home workouts and lets face it—exercising at home doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of us who need to actually go someplace to work out.

cheap gyms

Visiting a gym allows me to add variety to my workouts  by using different equipment and attending different classes. In a single week I might try indoor cycling, Bodypump, yoga and Zumba. But a major downside to joining a gym or going to an exercise studio is the cost. Health club and exercise studio memberships certainly aren’t cheap, but there are definitely ways to make them more affordable (and even free!).

Here are five ways to trim some of the cost off of gym memberships and exercises classes:

Take Advantage of Trial Memberships at Gyms and Health Clubs
Many national health club chains like 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym and and Anytime Fitness offer free passes with no obligation and some can be used for an entire week! This is a great way to check out a gym before actually signing a contract (or go turbo for a week right before or after vacation). Additionally, most exercise studios  that specialize in yoga, cycling, and more will comp your first class or give you a deeply discounted trial period. For example, Core Power yoga studios offer unlimited yoga for one week for new students! Also, be sure to check out the schedule at your local yoga studios: most offer at least one donation-based or free class each week.


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Work it Off: 3 Ways to Burn of the 230 Calories in 1/4 Cup of Chocolate-Covered Almonds

I’m not usually a big chocolate fan. Except for when I am. And then… look out! But let’s put this in context: I usually get a sugar craving in early afternoon. (I’m more of a lunch dessert person than a dinner dessert person.) Lately I’ve been buying dark chocolate covered almonds as my sweet treat. When the craving strikes I get up, grab a few, then get back to work. However, the other day I accidentally brought the whole container back to my desk. And, before I knew what had happened, I’d gone ahead and eaten about 3 times as many as usual.

almods chocolate

If I usually eat 4 chocolate-almonds, this time I ate 12. It was definitely a case of distracted eating—I was working at my computer paying a lot more attention to typing than to what and how much I was eating. I checked the back of the package and 1/4 cup weighs in at 230 calories. Oops.

How can a person burn off the 230 calories from around 12 chocolate covered almonds?
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