If you swim – protect your teeth!

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Now that it’s wintertime and we still need to exercise, do you swim at the local YMCA – or spend all your free time in the pool? If you spend more than 6 hours in a pool every week, you could be putting your teeth at risk! Because pool water that contains too much chlorine is dangerously acidic… and when highly-acidic water comes into contact with tooth enamel for extended periods, you can develop so-called “swimmer’s calculus”… a build-up of calcium that can turn your teeth yellow or brown. Excess chlorine can also leave your teeth brittle and sensitive. So, if you swim frequently, brush your teeth when you climb out of the pool. Also, consider using a fluoride rinse to help strengthen your teeth.

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Get healthier, higher self-esteem and be happy!

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So you want to lose weight, drink less, exercise more, and de-clutter your house. What should you tackle first? ALL of it! That’s according to a study at UC Santa Barbara.

When researchers had study participants commit to eating better, exercising more, cutting back on alcohol, getting more sleep, and practicing mindfulness all simultaneouslyit worked! After 6 weeks, the study subjects showed improvement on all fronts. They were stronger, healthier, had higher self-esteem and were happier.

Brain science professor Michael Mrazek led the research and he says each lifestyle change supported the others. Exercising makes it easier to sleepsleeping well makes it easier to eat well… and being mindful makes it easier to make good choices. So, if you have a lot of changes you’d like to make, go for it! Do them all at once.

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Here’s a quick trick for killing a craving:

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Visualize the ingredients in it! For example, if you’re wanting to avoid sugary soda, use your imagination, and visualize 10 sugar cubes stacked in a glass. Or, if a candy bar sounds tempting, picture test tubes filled with chemicals, like the preservatives and emulsifiers you can’t pronounce on candy bar packages. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, when we SEE what we’re actually considering consuming, we’re much less likely to want it.

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Next time you’re worried or stressed…

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swing your arms. Holistic medical expert Dr. Kazuko Hillyer says, when we’re worried or anxious, we tend to tighten up physically. We’ll cross our arms, slouch, or curl up in a ball. It’s a natural reaction, because we’re literally protecting our vital organs. But to break out of that mindset, open up your body and swing your arms. That’s a form of embodied cognition, in which your body movement informs your brain, instead of the other way around. And by forcing yourself to adopt carefree body language, your brain gets the message there’s nothing to fear. As a result, you’ll start pumping out calming alpha brain waves, and it’ll take less than 30 seconds to feel better.

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How to power through that tough workout!

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You can use water to power through a tough workout by sticking it in the freezer first (even though it’s winter). According to exercise physiologist, Dr. Lawrence Armstrong, in a study, people who sipped icy cold water before and during a strenuous workout were able to keep going significantly longer than those who drank room-temperature water. That’s because the ice-cold water cools your core temperature.

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Do you suffer from panic attacks?

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38% of people surveyed say they’ve had a panic attack. So what should you do if you have one? Well, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says most panic attacks are over within 10 minutes. And here’s what to do during that time, according to psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman. She recommends finding a quiet room where you can breathe slowly and calm down. By moving to a new location, your brain will feel like it’s satisfied part of its stress responseby fleeing. It’ll think you’ve escaped danger and that’ll dial down the panic reaction. Then try repeating a calming mantra. Dr. Lieberman suggests something like, “This is harmless. This will be over soon.” If you’re hyperventilating – do the ol’ breathing into a paper bag trick. It rebalances the gases in your bloodstream. You can also try putting your head between your knees to get your blood flowing to your brain. And if panic attacks happen regularly, talk to a therapist who can help you cope.

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Want younger looking skin?

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Here’s something you’ll probably never hear from your dermatologist: Get intimate with your partner. According to dermatologist, Dr. Amy Wechsler, in a study of older couples, those who were intimate 3 times a week had skin that looked approximately 7 years younger. That’s because getting intimate releases human growth hormone, which makes skin firmer and more elastic.

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Did you know that exercise literally makes your brain bigger?

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Here’s how it works…

University of Kentucky researchers had a group of men and women run on a treadmill – then researchers scanned their brains. And they found that, after exercise, there was more blood flow to the brain. That triggers the growth of new cells, particularly in the brain’s memory center… and that can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. And you don’t need to kill yourself running for miles, either.

Research from the University of Pittsburgh shows even going for a brisk walk boosts the size of the brain’s memory center, and other areas, by as much as two percent.

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Do you eat too fast?

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You know you should eat more slowly to lose weight… but if you struggle to pause between bites, use a smaller fork! British researchers say it’ll reduce your calorie intake by as much as 29%. Because by forcing you to take smaller bites, it gives your brain a chance to register fullness. And by taking MORE bites, your brain will also think you’re eating more – so you’ll feel satisfied sooner. And you’ll actually want to eat less than usual.

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Use coconut scents to relax!

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If you find it hard to relax on your day off because you can’t stop worrying about the little things, try this: Rub on a little coconut-scented lotion, or light a coconut candle. Research at Columbia University found the aroma of coconut helps blood pressure return to normal after a stressful task. It also reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 24%. The reason? Because the smell of coconut stimulates the area of the brain that regulates mood.

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