Improve your health and save thousands by taking a walk!

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How would you like to improve your health AND save $2,500 a year? Well, you don’t have to scrimp and save. All you have to do is take your dog for a walk every day. Or walk your kid to school. Or even walk around the mall for half an hour. Because a 30-minute walk, at least 5 days a week, is all it takes to reduce your annual medical expenses by $2,500. You’ll cut down on sick days, doctor visits, insurance claims and medicines. So take a daily walk and save yourself a bunch of money!

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Are you taking antibiotics?

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Then be careful when you pop your calcium supplements. Rutgers University says calcium can prevent your body from absorbing the antibiotic. You can still take your calcium, just make sure it’s at least 3 hours before or after you take your antibiotic.

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When it’s pizza night…

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…does ordering a super-thin, crispy crust make it healthier? Yes and no. On the plus side, choosing thin crust over regular can save you about 40 calories per slice. But unless thin and crispy is your favorite, you might go overboard on the toppings. It’s the “licensing effect” at work. That’s when we pat ourselves on the back for being so virtuous that we give ourselves permission – or license – to indulge in another way. So if ordering the thin crust feels like a sacrifice, you might be tempted to go for fatty toppings like sausage and pepperoni, and eliminate the health benefits.

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Here’s a 10-second fix for anxiety.

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Clinical psychologist Vaile Wright says try thinking of, or writing down, as many ice cream flavors as you can in 10-seconds. The technique, called “grounding,” takes your mind off your worries, and grounds you in the present. Dr. Wright says it frees your mind from overwhelming and unhealthy thoughts. And by using ice cream, instead of, say, foreign countries, it produces positive feelings of comfort and nostalgia.

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Which is better for our health: Dogs or cats?

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Sorry, cat-people, but DOGS win! Dr. Lori Kogan, clinical science professor at Colorado State, says dogs need to be walked, making us more physically active. Walking our dogs also means meeting other dog owners, or dog-lovers that just want to say “hi,” which triggers production of feel-good hormones. Plus: Growing up with a dog lowers a person’s risk of allergies and asthma. But before cat lovers get their claws out, ALL pets improve our health. Because they provide stress relief and a mood-boosting dose of oxytocin every time we snuggle, play with, or even just look at them.

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Low-fat or full-fat?

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Just because it’s wintertime that doesn’t mean we can’t have ice cream. When you have a craving, which is better – low-fat or full-fat? The answer is full-fat! A Cornell study found when people served themselves snacks labeled “low-fat,” they ate up to 50% more than when they thought they were eating the full-fat version. That’s because people often assume any reduced-fat item is much healthier – so, it’s okay to eat a bigger portion. But since high-fat ice cream has better flavor and texture, we’re satisfied with less.

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Ladies, have you ever cried at a commercial…

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…and wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” Well, nothing. But you are more likely than men to tear up for random reasons. According to the book Why Only Humans Weep, emotional tears are triggered by prolactin. And women naturally have more prolactin than men, because it triggers milk production after a baby is born. But even if you’re not pregnant or a mom, you still have higher levels of prolactin, making you more prone to crying.

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If you’re focused on your weight…

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…forget the scale or how your jeans are fitting, just measure your neck! Because your stomach can get bigger or smaller depending on when you last ate or hit the bathroom, and how much sodium you’ve ingested. Your neck circumference isn’t affected by those things, so it’s a more accurate indicator of everything from heart disease to diabetes. So what’s a healthy neck size? For guys, anything under 16-and-a-half inches. A woman’s neck should be less than 14 point 2 inches around. If it’s larger, talk to your doctor, because it’s now seen as a health risk factor.

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Motivate yourself to exercise more!

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Even if you hate to exercise, and avoid it like the plague, you can still get motivated to get moving. How? By finding something, anything about it that interests you. For example, think about the conversation you might get into with the person on the treadmill next to you. Or the new move you’ll learn in cardio dance class.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that when people in a study group were told they could take the elevator or the stairs but that there was a rare painting on the landing two floors up, 10% more people took the stairs instead of the elevator. The reason? The researchers believe it’s because we don’t like unresolved mysteries. So our curiosity pushes us to follow through on actions that require willpower. And they believe that knowing this, we can use it on ourselves to boost our willpower, and get more exercise. They suggest that while you’re deciding whether or not to go to the gym, think about the interesting things you might learn, or what might happen, while you’re at the gym. That could be all the motivation you need to get there.

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Here’s why we all could benefit from more head massages!

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One of the best parts about a haircut is the head massage in the shampoo bowl, right? Well, you might want to get MORE head massages, because it could help your hair grow thicker! Hair-restoration specialist Dr. Robert Dorin says a vigorous head rub can boost blood flow to the scalp and nourish follicles. It can also counteract stress, and Mayo Clinic studies show chronic stress can shut follicles down. But reducing stress can start it growing again. Even better, you can get all the benefits by giving yourself regular scalp massages.

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