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is bmi outdated

How BMI Is Outdated, and Why You Shouldn’t Worry About It

Most of us have heard the term body mass index (BMI) before. (After all, it is a standard health assessment tool that’s often used in healthcare facilities.) And for decades, BMI has used body size to measure people’s overall health. However, it’s recently faced some backlash for oversimplifying the meaning of health.   So, is BMI outdated? Many health experts tend to think so. In today’s article, we’ll illuminate everything you need to know about BMI, its history, and why it’s not (spoiler alert) an accurate picture of health.  What Is BMI?  The BMI scale was developed in 1832 by a Belgian mathematician named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. Essentially, he designed it to quickly estimate the degree of obesity in a population, as the government needed to know how to allocate health resources. But because it only provides a snapshot of a population’s overall health, Quetelet said himself that it would be an inaccurate way of assessing individual health. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by their height. There are different formulas depending on the various measurement systems:  Once BMI is calculated, practitioners will evaluate where it falls on the BMI scale. The higher the BMI, the more likely a person will be classified as being overweight or obese.  The Problems with BMI While research does confirm that a low (below 18.5) and high (above 30) BMI is associated with increased health risks, the measurement has numerous flaws:  BMI Fails to Consider Other Aspects of Health BMI determines whether a person is a ‘normal’ weight without considering factors like sex, age, genetics, lifestyle, or medical history. Therefore, relying solely on BMI causes many people to overlook other important health indicators. (Think: cholesterol levels, blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure, inflammation levels, etc.) In addition, BMI uses the same calculation for men and women. However, the different sexes have different body compositions, and men have more muscle mass and less fat mass than women. Similarly, our body fat increases and our muscle mass decreases as we age. And numerous studies have shown that a higher BMI (23.0 to 29.9) in older adults protects against early death and disease.  BMI Assumes All Weight is Equal Compared to fat, muscle is denser and occupies less space. However, BMI doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for someone who’s incredibly lean (aka has a high muscle mass) to be misclassified as ‘overweight.’ Therefore, it’s important to consider a person’s muscle, fat, and bone mass (in addition to their body weight) when evaluating health.  BMI Fails to Consider Fat Distribution Though a higher BMI is linked to poor health outcomes, the distribution of fat throughout the body also plays a role. BMI does not measure visceral fat, which is the fat stored around vital organs and is a significant risk factor for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. For instance, those who store fat in their stomach area have a greater risk of chronic disease than those who store fat in their hips and lower body.  BMI Might Not Be Relevant for All Populations Despite its popularity, BMI does not accurately reflect the health of specific racial and ethnic populations. In fact, research shows that people of Asian descent with lower BMIs have an increased risk of chronic diseases than their white counterparts. BMI can also be misleading for older adults as they tend to lose muscle mass and bone density, which can result in a lower BMI despite having higher fat mass and associated health risks. BMI Might Cause Weight Bias Historically, some medical professionals have based their recommendations solely on a person’s BMI. And as you can probably imagine, this can lead to weight bias and poor quality healthcare. People with higher BMIs report that their doctors overly emphasize their body weight – even if their appointment is for an unrelated concern. And oftentimes, this causes serious medical issues to be overlooked as weight-related problems.  BMI Doesn’t Consider Gender Differences Men and women have different body compositions, with women generally having higher body fat percentages than men. BMI does not distinguish between these differences, leading to potential misclassification. BMI Doesn’t Define Health Status and Overall Health BMI is a single number that does not consider other critical factors affecting an individual’s health status, such as medical history, lifestyle, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol levels. It oversimplifies the complex nature of overall health. BMI Doesn’t Consider Bone Density Individuals with higher bone density, such as younger adults and athletes, might have a higher BMI that does not accurately reflect their fat mass or health risks. BMI Doesn’t Indicate Chronic Disease Risk Using BMI alone to gauge the risk of chronic diseases can be misleading. It does not account for factors like physical activity levels, dietary habits, and genetic predispositions that significantly impact health. BMI May Contribute to Eating Disorders and Psychological Impact Emphasizing BMI can contribute to body image issues and eating disorders, as individuals strive to meet certain weight categories without considering their overall health and body composition. BMI Screening Tool’s Limitations While BMI is useful for large groups of people and epidemiological studies, its use in individual health assessments is limited. Tools like bioelectrical impedance and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry provide more detailed insights into body composition and health risks. BMI Doesn’t Consider General Health and Individual Health A person’s body weight and BMI should be considered alongside other measures of general health and individual health to provide a comprehensive assessment of their well-being and potential health risks. Better Indicators Of Healthy Weight While it’s true that BMI offers a snapshot of a person’s overall health, it doesn’t consider factors like sex, race, genetics, bone density, fat, and muscle mass. Therefore, there are better indicators of healthy weight:  Waist Circumference Essentially, a larger waist circumference—one greater than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men indicates greater body fat in the abdominal area. And that increases one’s risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. However, it fails to differentiate between different body types.  Waist-to-Hip Ratio Under this

Top 13 Sunscreens of 2024 — By Derms

Sunscreen should be worn year-round, whether it’s summer or winter, sunny or cloudy. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends regular sunscreen use to protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and prevent skin cancer. In general, when selecting a sunscreen, it’s recommended to look for a “broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above,” says Dr. Ali Al-Haseni, MD, a dermatologist at the Dermatology Institute of Boston. “Always look for non-comedogenic (oil-free) sunscreens for the face to prevent acne, as thicker products can cause or worsen acne.” But with so many different skincare and sunscreen brands on the market, choosing one you love and will use daily can be difficult. That’s why we’ve rounded up 13 of the best sunscreens of 2024, approved by dermatologists. From mineral formulas to sprays and sticks, there’s something for everyone. Our first pick is not just sunscreen but also a moisturizer. “It has an SPF 30 sunscreen added,” says Dr. Al-Haseni. “So you will use one product in the morning instead of a moisturizer and separate sunscreen.”  On top of simplifying your skincare routine, this product is well-loved because it contains hyaluronic acid to retain skin moisture, plus niacinamide to help calm skin. It’s fragrance-free and oil-free, and suitable for all skin types. And just like all CeraVe products, it’s formulated with three essential ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. All this plus a micro-fine zinc oxide sunscreen for UV protection, and we have a winning sunscreen moisturizer combo you’ll reach for every morning. Developed with dermatologists, this sunscreen lotion absorbs easily and provides water-resistant, broad-spectrum SPF. It’s a physical sunscreen, also known as a mineral sunscreen. “Mineral sunscreens protect the skin more reliably than chemical ones, and they cause less irritation and allergic reactions than chemical ones,” says Dr. Al-Haseni.  The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is suitable for even the most sensitive skin, as it contains no skin-irritating chemical sunscreen ingredients, parabens, or fragrances. Plus, it’s affordable and contains no Oxybenzone or Octinoxate in order to protect coral reefs. While there are many benefits to using a mineral sunscreen, there is one common complaint about they: they can leave a white cast. For people who prefer a chemical sunscreen, the Banana Boat Light As Air Sunscreen Lotion is a great option that rubs in totally clear and breathable. True to its name, it leaves a light, barely there feeling.  Many chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone, but not this one. This is good news for many families, because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on kids. This face sunscreen is a cult favorite, and for good reason. While it’s a bit pricier, people rave about how lightweight and invisible it is, often saying it feels more like a makeup primer than a sunscreen. It’s great for wearing under makeup or for people looking for absolutely no white cast.  This sunscreen is also chock full of skin-loving ingredients, like red algae, which helps increase skin moisture and protects against all visible light, and frankincense, which can provide a soothing effect. It also contains a complex derived from meadowfoam oil, which helps increase hydration levels and can lead to a more even skin texture. Keep one little bottle in your bathroom and one in your purse to be maximally sun-protected. Owned by the Japanese cosmetics company Kao, Bioré is a popular drugstore skincare brand best known for its beloved pore strips. But this sunscreen deserves just as much attention because it’s seriously lightweight and effective. Like a gel/cream hybrid, it rubs in immediately and leaves your face feeling fresh, dewy, and hydrated. It also has the highest possible protection grade of UVA (PA) rating, which is what the PA++++ refers to. (PA ratings are used in addition to SPF ratings on sunscreens approved for sale places outside of the US). The only downside is that since it is an imported sunscreen, it can be a little trickier to find or you might have to deal with longer shipping times. But for the cool, fresh feeling it leaves and the strong protection, it might be worth it! Another international pick, the UK-based brand Australian Gold, developed a bestselling tinted face sunscreen with mineral SPF and a matte finish.  “This sunscreen is water resistant and comes in 3 different shades of light to dark brown to match your skin tone without leaving a white cast or film. This is very convenient if you have a tan or darker skin type,” says Dr. Al-Haseni. Perfect to use underneath makeup or on its own as a tinted moisturizer, the tint blends seamlessly into your skin and minimizes the appearance of uneven skin tones. Plus it contains kakadu plum, a native Australian fruit that’s high in vitamin C and a great antioxidant. Those looking for an affordable, non-greasy sunscreen need look no further than this Neutrogena product from their Ultra Sheer line. It’s formulated with NeutrogenaMD’s Helioplex® technology, specifically engineered to deliver broad spectrum, superior protection from UV damage. The dry-touch technology means this sunscreen is also super fast-absorbing and ultra-light, leaving an invisible finish that won’t clog your pores or feel heavy throughout the day. Neutrogena claims to be the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand, and it’s easy to understand why—their products are well-researched, tested, and have stood the test of time.  This hypoallergenic sunscreen is perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin. It’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic. Thanks to the niacinamide it contains, it can even help reduce the appearance of discoloration on your skin. In addition to its calming formula, safe for all skin types, this sunscreen provides stellar protection from the sun’s rays by utilizing micronized zinc oxide. The Skin Cancer Foundatio even recommended it for daily use to prevent skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. With this sunscreen in your beach bag, you can enjoy the sun’s rays with some more peace of mind. For those who prefer the convenience of a sunscreen

feeling guilty for not exercising

When Skipping Your Workout is Perfectly Okay, and Why Not To Feel Bad About It

It’s no secret that regular exercise offers numerous physical and mental health benefits. But what happens when you find yourself in an exercise regimen so strict that you start feeling guilty for not exercising one day? As great as working out can make us feel, in the long run there are many valid reasons to take a day off, and you should be able to do so without spiraling into negative self-talk. It’s easier said than done, which is why we’re here to walk you through where some of the unrealistic expectations around exercise come from, plus how to reframe your thinking and develop a healthier relationship with physical activity. With some mindfulness, you’ll be able to discern when taking rest days is exactly what you need, and how to enjoy it without feelings of guilt. Where Does Feeling Guilty for Not Exercising Come From? Exercise guilt is feeling guilty about skipping a workout, doing an “easier” workout than you normally do, not hitting your fitness goals, or any other guilt surrounding doing exercise “wrong”. While guilt can sometimes be a motivating factor, inspiring us to make healthy choices, oftentimes it can spiral into shame and have the opposite effect. Guilt can leave us paralyzed, turning our rest day into something not particularly restful and creating a longer road to feeling better and getting moving again. Where does this guilt come from? Alex Bryson, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and CEO and Founder of Mooh says she believes societal influences play the biggest role.  Diet Culture and the Media “With fitness pages and models on social media constantly advertising “fit” individuals, it can truly impact how we view ourselves and our changed bodies,” Bryson says. “Women posting gym videos only “x” amount of weeks or months after a baby can make you feel like you’re not doing enough.” Fitness culture can breed fertile ground for comparison, making you believe if you’re not constantly exercising and monitoring your body, you’re doing something wrong. Depending on the media you consume and the people you surround yourself with, the pressure to be fit and never miss a workout can feel extremely strong. So when you’re feeling guilty about not exercising, even for a single day, remember the bigger picture. It’s likely your guilt is informed by larger cultural narratives and not necessarily coming from a place of objective truth or wisdom.  Normal Resistance vs. Bigger Issues So, when is it a good idea to skip exercising? Most of us are familiar with feeling resistant to working out, despite all the evidence we have that we’ll feel better afterward. Many times, you go to bed with every intention of going to the gym the next morning, but when your alarm goes off, sleeping in an extra hour sounds extremely enticing. “Normal” exercise resistance is all about where our priorities are placed. Everyone struggles to find balance between work, family, our favorite TV show, etc. but the difference lies with those who are willing to put their physical fitness first,” Bryson says. “The goal is to get yourself moving even when other things might sound more appealing.” Skipping Exercise for Your Physical Health That said, there are many valid reasons to forego exercise that go beyond the standard hump of resistance many of us have to get over. According to Bryson, almost all of these reasons are medical in nature. “If your doctor has told you that exercise should be avoided due to a preexisting condition or some other reason that can be exacerbated by elevating your heart LISTEN,” Bryson says. “He/she might be able to prescribe you something or refer you to a specialist that can help get you moving again.” Dealing with an injury is another issue that can, and often should, keep you from exercising. Additionally, overtraining to the point of severe pain is a sign you may need to take an extra few days off to give your body proper time to recover. “Listening to your body can be very important in the recovery process,” Bryson says. “If you are not allowing your body to heal you won’t be able to maintain your activity level over long periods of time.” Discerning the Issues Next time you find yourself wanting to skip a workout, take a few moments to tune into where this thought is coming from. Is it a familiar sense of resistance, one you often feel better once you push through? Or does it feel like something bigger and out of the ordinary, perhaps a sign from your body to take it easy today? With time, distinguishing the difference will become easier. And remember, you can always end a workout halfway through if you start it and realize your body and mind are not in the right space for exercise.  Consistency, Flexibility, and Fun Working out consistently and the endorphins released by doing so, make us feel better, but within that consistency, there has to be some room for flexibility. When your body is sending you signals to not follow your normal workout routine, listen and make adjustments accordingly. This could mean taking a rest day or finding a more gentle form of movement to engage in, like walking or light yoga. It’s not giving up, it’s keeping a healthy mindset and granting yourself the flexibility to keep going in a way that works for you. Additionally, Bryson suggests finding the forms of fitness you most enjoy, so exercise doesn’t end up being something you have to constantly coerce yourself into doing. “Activity should be fun and not everyone opts for the gym. Maybe you prefer cycling over weight training or joining a group class over swimming. If you love to be outdoors, stick to hiking,” she says. “Learning what makes you excited to get moving is the best place to start. The point is to stay active, not to force yourself into something you’re dreading. Plus, a lot of the time you can meet other like-minded individuals who are in

What Is “Almond Mom Behavior” and How Is It Toxic?

If you’re not on TikTok, you might be clueless about what an ‘almond mom’ is. But if you’re a regular on the app, chances are you’ve stumbled upon one of those viral videos discussing ‘almond mom behavior’ and how it’s making waves. Almond moms are not just moms, they could be dads or caregivers too, who set a shaky example when it comes to food and exercise. So, where did this all start? Well, it dates back to fall 2022 when some triggering clips from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills resurfaced. There’s this scene where supermodel Gigi Hadid tells her mom, Yolanda Hadid, she’s feeling weak from hunger and all she’s had is half an almond. Yolanda’s advice? “Chew a few more almonds really well.” Yikes. These days, the almond mom trend’s blown up big time, thanks to TikTok users dissecting every tiny detail of it. Plus, there’s this whole thing about body image, food groups, and the pressure to look a certain way. It’s got licensed pros like Dr. Karla Lester raising alarm bells about the harmful impact it’s having, especially on young women. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There are voices out there advocating for healthier choices and a balanced approach to eating and exercise. People like Cara Bohon and Tyler Bender are pushing for a more positive relationship with our bodies and food, steering clear of toxic diet talk and fad crazes. So, while the almond mom buzz might seem like just another silly internet narrative, it’s shining a light on some pretty serious stuff. It’s time to ditch the toxic mantras and embrace a healthier, more balanced way of living. After all, our bodies deserve better than half a tiny almond. What Is an Almond Mom? In a nutshell — pun intended — almond moms are parents (usually mothers, but not always!) who perpetuate diet culture and/or disordered eating. Subconsciously or not, they pass unhealthy eating and fitness habits onto their children. And because their behavior is often disguised as general health and wellness advice much of it goes unnoticed. Think not eating enough, overdoing it at the gym, ditching entire food groups, and obsessing over looks. Basically, anyone showing off unhealthy eating habits all tied up with body image issues falls into this almond mom category. It’s important to note that almond moms aren’t inherently cruel or bad parents. In fact, their restrictive eating habits emerge from a complicated web of influences. More often than not, almond moms are products of toxic diet culture and performance pressure. And they’re usually suffering from eating disorders themselves.  Behaviors to Watch For While we want to be empathetic towards almond moms, we can’t deny that their behavior is triggering. (This is especially true for people recovering from an underlying eating disorder.) Therefore, moms should be monitoring their own behaviors to ensure they aren’t passing any harmful mindsets or practices onto their children.  Generally, toxic behaviors associated with almond moms include (but aren’t limited to):  Have you fallen victim to almond mom behavior? As we mentioned, many caregivers are unaware of the impact they’re having on their children. If you’re unsure whether you’re demonstrating disordered habits, ask yourself the following questions: Why Are Almond Mom Behaviors Problematic for Children? Katherine Metzelaar, a registered dietician and founder of BraveSpace Nutrition, says that “When almond moms teach their children to separate foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories, they cause children to believe that they are bad people when they consume ‘bad’ foods.” Consequently, this causes a child to feel deep-rooted shame about their relationship with food, body image, and overall self. Kids who are raised by these so-called “almond moms” might feel like there’s something wrong with them — or that they’ve done something wrong — whenever they eat something that their caregiver has deemed ‘bad.’  Metzelaar says that another reason food restriction is harmful is because it leads children to believe that food is scarce. “Human bodies cannot tell the difference between food being restricted and not having access to food,” says Metzelaar. “In this way, from a biological perspective, your body may experience a need to overeat those restricted foods because you feel as if you may not ever have them again.” Therefore, it’s not uncommon for the children of almond moms to succumb to patterns of restricting, binging, and purging. Unfortunately, those behaviors often continue into adulthood, causing long-term physical and emotional distress.  In addition to modeling unhealthy relationships with food, almond moms teach their children to hyper-fixate on physical appearance. Knowingly or not, they teach their children to value thinness and appearance over health. And as you can probably imagine, this is detrimental to a child’s mental and physical well-being.  Not only does it diminish a child’s confidence, self-esteem, and self-image, but it limits many childhood experiences including:  Healthy Eating Habits to Model Instead The best thing moms can do to avoid perpetuating unhealthy behaviors is to challenge diet culture head-on. Usually, this means unlearning damaging habits and replacing them with their healthier counterparts: Explore Intuitive Eating Intuitive eating is the polar opposite of dieting. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, it’s all about “trusting your inner body wisdom to make choices around food that feel good in your body, without judgment or without influence from diet culture.”  Instead of following strict rules and regulations, intuitive eating relies on your internal hunger, fullness, and satiety cues to determine what (and how much) to eat. And instead of restricting certain foods or entire food groups, no meal is off the table. (Pun intended, again.)  Steer Clear of Food Shaming Food is fuel, as you’ve probably heard. However, food is also connection and culture. Therefore, labeling meals as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ does nothing but create confusion, stress, and shame in what should be an enjoyable experience.  Instead of telling your child to simply ‘eat their veggies,’ try something like: ‘orange foods build immune strength.’ And if your child wants to eat a slice of cake—and you don’t

The Missing Ingredient in Aging Skin: What Derms Want You to Know

Skincare: where beauty meets science, and the pursuit of radiant, healthy skin seems to feel like an art form. Rarely, are there products that will work for everybody out there, but there seems to be one compound dermatologists have long hailed as one of the most powerful ingredients for changing skin. Today we’re going to dive deeper into tretinoin, why derms adore it, and some tips for using it in your skincare regimen. What is Tretinoin? Tretinoin, also known as Altreno, Atralin, Avita, and Retin-A, is a type of prescription retinoid that’s essentially a synthetic version of vitamin A, which is crucial to preventing DNA damage caused by free radicals. It’s a topical medication, serum, or cream that’s been used for decades to treat acne-prone skin. Yet, its anti-aging properties have only gained prominence in recent years. One of the main reasons why dermatologists rave about tretinoin being a great option for anti-aging skin care is its fantastic ability to stimulate cellular regeneration. As we age, our skin’s natural cell turnover process slows down, leading to dull and lackluster-looking skin texture. Tretinoin helps kick-start this regeneration process, allowing new, fresh cells to rise to the surface. AKA bouncy youthful skin! How does tretinoin work? When applied topically, a cream with tretinoin as an active ingredient increases cell turnover and accelerates the skin’s natural exfoliation process. In simple terms, it helps to rejuvenate your skin from the inside out. The serum helps dead skin cells shed more quickly, revealing fresh, new skin underneath. In addition to increasing cell turnover, tretinoin also simultaneously stimulates collagen production. You might know collagen as the protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. But as we age, our collagen levels naturally decrease, leading to sagging and wrinkles. By using tretinoin, you can help promote the production of new collagen, to gain firmer and more supple skin. When applied consistently, tretinoin use is a game changer in the anti-aging skincare world. Benefits of Tretinoin for Anti-Aging Now that we know what tretinoin is and how it works, let’s explore the full benefits it brings to aging skin. According to Cynthia Bailey, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Sebastopol, California, using tretinoin consistently in your skincare routine can: Even though the benefits of tretinoin seem promising, it’s worth noting that it’s not a quick fix for aging skin. If you really want to see results, it requires consistent and long-term use to see these significant results. Tretinoin Precautions While tretinoin is a powerful anti-aging ingredient, it’s not suitable for everyone or every situation. It’s always best to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating tretinoin into your skincare routine. They will be able to assess your skin type, look at what products you’re already using and determine the appropriate frequency of use to avoid any potential negative side effects. Let’s take a look at some considerations when using tretinoin. According to Bailey, there are some things you must keep in mind while using tretinoin: How to Add Tretinoin To Your Skincare Routine Even with its transformative powers, tretinoin has undesirable side effects, so it’s important to use it carefully and with supervision from your dermatologist. Let’s discuss how you can incorporate it into your anti-aging routine with some tips from Bailey’s dermatology blog. First and foremost–start slow. It’s important to give your skin time to adjust to the exfoliating effects of tretinoin. In the early stages of treatment, some individuals may experience skin irritation, dryness, and peeling. In most cases, these side effects subside as the skin adjusts to the medication, usually within two to three months of taking the medication. This is why it’s critical to start with a low amount of tretinoin and gradually increase it as tolerated to minimize any potential discomfort. Get The Most Out Of Your Skin If your skin looks dull, oily, dry, or just plain blah, your dermatologist can help you determine if tretinoin, or any retinol, might be your missing ingredient.  Remember, consistency is key when it comes to tretinoin. It may take several weeks or months to see noticeable improvements, but trust us, the wait will be worth it. Stick with it, and you’ll be rewarded with smoother, firmer, and more youthful-looking skin. Tretinoin FAQ How long does it take for tretinoin to work?  Most people will start to notice improvements in wrinkles and fine lines between three to six months of regular use. How should I store tretinoin? Tretinoin should be stored in a fully closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep in an area where it won’t freeze or overheat. Is it safe to use tretinoin every night? While yes, it’s safe for most people to use tretinoin every night, it’s recommended to start slowly before adding it to your daily regimen. Bailey recommends using it twice a week, or every third night, for the first couple of months. Although, if you notice increased sensitivity or worsening redness, talk to your dermatologist about continuing use or switching products.

How To Keep Your Relationship Vibrant During Empty Nesting

There comes a time in every parent’s life when the last child leaves home, stepping out to start their journey of living independently—be it for university or to start a career. This pivotal moment can spark a range of emotions for parents, from excitement to what is often termed “empty nest syndrome”. This feeling stems from the sense of loss and emptiness one might feel as the hustle and bustle of active parenting winds down. Empty nest syndrome is a complex mix of emotions, including sadness, loneliness, and a sense of purposelessness, which can significantly affect your personal relationships. With your home quieter and your roles changing, you might find yourselves missing the chaos of parenthood while struggling to find new common interests with your partner. However, this new chapter also offers a fantastic opportunity for personal growth and rekindling your relationship. With the right activities, you can inject new energy and joy into your life together. Here are some engaging ways to enrich your relationship and personal life post-parenting. Engaging in volunteer work with your partner can be incredibly rewarding and can strengthen your bond as you work toward a common goal. Choose activities that suit both of your interests, like working at a local shelter or joining environmental efforts. This shared commitment can bring a renewed sense of purpose and togetherness. Now is the perfect time to explore those places you’ve both dreamt of visiting. Without needing to coordinate with your kids’ schedules, you can spontaneously book trips or plan elaborate getaways just for the two of you. Whether it’s a road trip or an international adventure, traveling together can create exciting memories and bring fresh perspectives into your life. If one or both of you stepped back from careers or personal projects to focus on raising your family, now might be the time to re-enter the workforce or start a new venture together. Whether it’s consulting or starting a craft business, pursuing your passions can be both fulfilling and exciting. A quiet house offers the perfect opportunity to declutter and simplify your living space. Take some time to do a big clean out and donate or sell items you no longer need, creating a more peaceful and functional environment. A bonus of decluttering is you may find some forgotten treasures, allowing you to reminisce on some of the memories you shared with your children. Plus, taking the time to declutter brings a sense of order and cleanliness and allows you to more fully let go of the past and embrace the present.  Use your newfound time to nurture your relationships with friends and each other. Regular date nights, social gatherings, or even joint hobbies can help maintain social connections and improve your relational dynamics, making your partnership feel more vibrant and connected. Joining a dance class, starting a garden, or even learning a new sport together can invigorate your lives. Shared hobbies provide fun ways to spend time together while learning new skills and meeting new people. Tackling a new language or skill can be a thrilling challenge for couples. Set goals to learn something new in tandem, and enjoy the journey of growth and discovery as a pair. This can also expand your cultural horizons and add an interesting element to your conversations. Just because you have no children in the home anymore doesn’t mean you have to give up mentoring and teaching others. Having a wealth of knowledge and life experience you can pass on to the next generation can be gratifying. See if your community has a local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter where you can be paired with a child from age 5 to young adulthood, or another community organization that’s looking for adults with expertise in certain areas. Rediscover each other romantically without the interruptions of parenting. Plan regular date nights, intimate getaways, or simple cozy evenings at home to deepen your connection and enjoy each other’s company in new ways. Engage in creative activities like painting, writing, or playing music together. Creative expression is not only therapeutic but also a fantastic way to explore and appreciate each other’s artistic sides. Now that you have fewer people to cook for, why not expand your culinary repertoire? Take some time to experiment with different cuisines, flavors, and cooking techniques. Explore cookbooks, online recipe platforms, or cooking classes to discover exciting dishes that cater to your tastes. Getting creative in the kitchen and trying out exotic ingredients is a great way to (quite literally) spice things up, and once you’ve made something you’re proud of you can also invite friends and neighbors to join you for a delicious meal. 12. Appreciate Relaxing Moments Don’t feel like you need to fill every single moment of your new free time. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to enjoy quiet moments together without a packed schedule. Relaxation can be profoundly satisfying and beneficial for your relationship. Stay Connected Lastly, keep the lines of communication open with each other and with your kids. Regular updates and visits can help ease the transition and enrich your relationship, keeping the family bond strong even as you enjoy your new freedoms. By embracing these activities, you can thrive during the empty nest phase, keeping your relationship vibrant and fulfilling. This time of change is not just an end but a new beginning for both of you to grow together and individually.

should I take a multivitamin

Should You Take A Multivitamin? Here’s What We Know

An estimated 49% of adults in the United States take dietary supplements, with the most common type of supplement being a multivitamin. There’s tons of information out there about multivitamins, which can make it difficult to determine if they’re really effective or necessary for good health, and more importantly, if taking one is right for you. On top of that, there are loads of different multivitamin brands all boasting different ingredient formulations.  There are no magic answers, but in this article, we’ll walk you through what a multivitamin is, some of the populations who might benefit from taking one, and things to look out for when choosing a particular one. Armed with this information, you’ll be much better equipped to make a decision on multivitamins that works for you and your body.  Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate.  What Is a Multivitamin?  A multivitamin is a dietary supplement that has a variety of vitamins and minerals, and sometimes other ingredients like herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids. “Multivitamin” usually refers to a nutritional supplement that contains lots of different vitamins and minerals, as opposed to a supplement that only contains one (i.e. an iron supplement). All of the ingredients are packed together into one form, such as a tablet, capsule, chewable gummy, powder, or liquid.  While the best way to get these nutrients is from real foods, the benefit of multivitamins is they can help fill in any gaps you have in your diet. Some of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs include vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more.  There is no single standard multivitamin. Instead, there are many different types of multivitamins out there, as each brand decides which and how many vitamins and minerals to include in their specific product. The amount of nutrients you need depends on several individual factors—which is why, searching the supplements aisle at the grocery store, you’ll likely find multivitamins formulated for many specific populations, such as men, women, children, older adults, pregnant women, and more.  “Multivitamins can be very beneficial when used appropriately, as they provide essential nutrients to help fill in nutrient gaps and address specific nutritional needs,” says Valerie Agyeman, R.D., dietitian and host of women’s health podcast, Flourish Heights. Who Might Benefit From a Multivitamin or Supplement Healthy adults who eat a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense food may have little need for multivitamins. However, specific populations are at greater risk of not getting all the vitamins and minerals they need from their food, or might be in a stage of life where it makes more sense to introduce supplements. Some groups of people who might benefit from taking a multivitamin include: How Often To Take a Multivitamin Most multivitamins are formulated to be taken once or twice per day. When starting multivitamin use, you should read the packaging carefully and follow its instructions regarding how often to take it. Set a reminder on your phone that you check off each time you take it, or consider a weekly pills organizer. This can help you avoid forgetting whether you’ve already taken the pill on any given day, leading to an accidental double dosage.  Choosing the Right Multivitamin  Before choosing a multivitamin, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your reasons for wanting to take one. They can help determine if there’s a bigger issue to address, run blood tests if necessary, and possibly determine if you are deficient in any specific vitamins or minerals. They can also help you determine if any medications you’re currently taking could interfere with a multivitamin. Once you’ve done so, look for a multivitamin targeted towards your specific population (men, women, pregnant women, etc.) Don’t worry about expensive brand names, as generic brands that have the USP seal of approval (more on that below) will still deliver results. And be wary of multivitamins that advertise promises such as increased brain health or healthier skin and hair, as these are generally statements not backed by research specific to the supplement.  “Check for high-quality ingredients without unnecessary additives, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors,” says Agyeman. “If you have known allergies or sensitivities, choose a multivitamin that is free from common allergens, such as gluten, dairy, or soy.” Precautions To Taking a Multivitamin While taking a multivitamin is generally low risk, there are still several things you should look out for when starting to take a new one.  So, Should You Take a Multivitamin? Ultimately, when it comes to getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to optimally function, prioritizing whole, nutrient-rich foods will always pay dividends. That said, a multivitamin can be an option to supplement your diet and is generally low-risk when chosen carefully and taken as directed. Remember to talk to your doctor before trying a new multivitamin, and to keep them updated if you experience any new symptoms. 

We Did The Research — Here’s the Best Athleta Joggers for All Women, Ranked

We love joggers, and we bet you do too–they strike the perfect balance between comfort and style, and there are so many different types, from work-appropriate pants to something closer to sweatpants. Whether you’re chasing after your little ones, conquering your daily to-do list, or squeezing in some well-deserved me time, the right pair of joggers can make all the difference. In our quest to find the perfect blend of comfort, functionality, and fashion, we dove into the world of Athleta joggers, a brand known for its commitment to empowering women through activewear.  While you may be familiar with the workout clothes from Athleta, the jogger selection is for all sorts of activities. With an array of options catering to diverse body types and lifestyles, we’ve sifted through the options to bring you the ultimate guide to the best Athleta joggers for all women. Join us as we break down our top picks of Athlehta athleisure, considering everything from fabric and fit to versatility and on-trend designs. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a supermom on the go, or someone who simply values the intersection of style and comfort, this ranking is your roadmap to find your next favorite pair of joggers. When it comes to conquering the great outdoors or simply conquering your daily to-dos, the Trekkie North Jogger, our favorite joggers on the list, emerge as the ultimate versatile companion. Designed with a focus on functionality, these joggers are a game-changer for anyone with an active lifestyle, be it hiking, long-distance treks, short sprints, or trail running. Crafted from a sleek, lightweight Ripstop fabric, the Trekkie North Joggers offer a remarkable 2-way stretch, ensuring you enjoy unrestricted mobility no matter the activity. The high-rise fit, combined with a Powervita waistband, provides gentle compression for a secure and comfortable feel. They’re also super stylish, with sleek zipper details and a tapered hem.  The thoughtful inclusion of front zip pockets and a side cargo pocket on these joggers ensure you have ample space for all your essentials. Whether it’s your keys, phone, or a small snack, these pockets have you covered. They’re crafted from a blend of 69% recycled nylon, 26% nylon, and 5% spandex, making them not only functional but also environmentally conscious. The wicking technology pulls sweat away from your body, promoting a quick-drying process that keeps you comfortable throughout your adventures, and with a UPF 50+ rating, these joggers provide excellent protection against the sun’s rays. The Trekkie North Jogger comes in a variety of colors like classic black, nature-inspired Aspen Olive, vibrant Berry Rose, and earthy Big Sur Brown, They’re available in sizes 0-26, offered in regular, tall, and petite lengths, and run slightly big. Review: “I purchased the pink pair this summer and after traveling wearing those, I knew I needed a black pair! Placement of the side pocket is genius for airplane travel. Having easy access to my phone eased travel. The weight of the fabric was great from cooler temps in the NW to the 100+ temp in AZ. Waistband is super comfortable!” – Anonymous (reviewed on athleta.gap.com)  Next up is the Venice Mid Rise Jogger, also offering ultimate comfort while helping you look fashionable. They’re made from SCULPTEK Light fabric, offering full coverage and an all-way stretch that adapts seamlessly to your every move. Best for commuting, work, or travel, these joggers can keep up with your dynamic lifestyle.  As part of the Venice collection, these joggers embody a contemporary aesthetic that seamlessly transitions from work to play. The semi-fitted design skims easily over the body, and the mid-rise waistband is flattering and comfortable. Like the Trekkie Norths, these joggers have easy-access secure pockets, providing a stylish solution to stash your essentials on the go. No more fumbling for keys or digging through your bag—these joggers keep everything you need within arm’s reach.  Crafted from a blend of nylon and spandex, these joggers offer wicking technology that pulls sweat away from your body, ensuring you stay fresh and comfortable throughout your busy day. The breathable fabric allows airflow to move easily through the garment, while the quick-drying feature ensures ultimate comfort, even during unexpected sweat sessions. The Venice Mid Rise Joggers come in seven beautiful colors: Seaweed Snack (green), Chrome Blue, Hematite Grey, Toasted Brown, Navy, Abalone Grey, and Black. The size chart for these joggers is XXS-3XL, offered in regular, petite, and tall lengths, and runs true to size.  Review: “These fit me great ! I am 5’0 and was concerned about the length being too long. The XS/P is perfect. They also were featured on GMA as a cut above other brands of jogger, and after how flattering they are on me, agree! Love the back pockets!” – Anonymous (reviewed on athleta.gap.com) Introducing the Salutation Jogger, which, according to Athleta, is for “life both on and off the mat”. If you’re a mom who’s constantly transitioning between yoga sessions, errands, and family time, these joggers are about to become your new best friend. Crafted with precision and comfort in mind, the Salutation Joggers are some of the softest pants out there.  At the heart of these joggers is the luxurious Powervita™ fabric, offering a buttery-soft feel that envelops you like a second skin. The support it provides is akin to a gentle hug, making it the perfect choice for your yoga practice or those days when you need a little extra comfort. The curved seam on the bottom is a thoughtful touch that flatters your form, adding some style to your athleisure wardrobe. Made from a blend of nylon and Lycra, the Salutation Jogger boasts wicking, breathable fabric that allows sweat to move through easily, and a UPF 50+ rating for protection against the sun’s rays when you take your activities outside.  Plus, the semi-fitted design, coupled with a high-rise waistband, provides not only a flattering silhouette but also the support you need during your various activities. Available in sizes XXS-3XL and offered in regular, petite, and tall lengths, the

5 Shocking Health Benefits of Cold Exposure [Plus How You Can Start]

It feels like we live by social media trends lately, but this latest one has us all intrigued (and chilly). When you think about the purported benefits of cold exposure, it actually seems pretty impressive. Early research supports the notion that exposure to cold water (even for 30 seconds) might even ease stress, diminish pain, and mellow out signs of depression. Despite this, the research remains inconclusive. Here, we break down the early science of cold exposure, and what it can do for you. You’ll also get a deep dive (pun-intended) into its top benefits, how to begin yourself, and some tips for best practices.  What is Cold Exposure Therapy? According to UCLA Health, cold therapy–also known as cryotherapy–is a practice that uses exposure to cold temperatures to cool the body’s tissues for various therapeutic reasons. In fact, this practice has been used for health purposes dating as far back as 3500 BC. It’s been found in records from the Ancient Greeks, Hippocrates, the Romans, and many other civilizations over thousands of years. Cold exposure methods The easiest way to practice cold therapy is with a cold shower, notes Dave Asprey, host of The Human Upgrade Podcast, 4X New York Times national bestselling author, founder of Upgrade Labs, and most well-known in the health industry as the father of biohacking. Asprey also mentioned two other popular ways people practice cold exposure therapy. Common cold exposure methods: 5 Health Benefits of Cold Exposure Even if embracing almost freezing water may seem unpleasant at first, the health benefits of cold exposure seem promising. From increasing energy to reducing pain, here are some of the most common reasons people practice cold exposure therapy. 1. May boost energy Temporary stressors, such as extreme cold, send a powerful signal to your body’s operating system that it must become stronger, explains Asprey. Looking at it on a deeper level, the American Physiological Society notes that exposure to cold weather activates a compound called PGC1-alpha. This compound tells your body to create more mitochondria and remodel new healthy muscle tissue. It’s known that mitochondria generate most of the chemical energy needed to power your cells. So essentially, this means healthier cells, stronger muscles, and more energy for you. 2. May reduce stress and boost mental health Your vagus nerve is part of your body’s nervous system–running from your brain to your large intestine. One of its jobs is to balance your fight or flight system by triggering a relaxation response in your body when stressed. One way to stress or stimulate the vagus nerve is by immersing your face in cold water. This wakes up the vagus nerve, and it goes to work decreasing your heart rate–giving you a relaxed feeling and peaceful mind. 3. Can help pain Asprey also told us people who practice cold exposure often benefit from reduced pain. In terms of body physiology, cold water restricts blood vessels on your skin, then signals your brain to release endorphins–or hormones that help relieve pain. Basically, exposure to cold releases pain relieving hormones, which in turn soothe your body. To prove it, one cold water immersion study found that a group of fishermen with hand pain reported less pain after cold water hand therapy sessions. 4. Aids in fat loss “[Cold therapy] stimulates your body to create more ‘brown fat,’ which is a type of fat that burns a lot of calories,” says Asprey. But first, let’s take a step back. When it comes to losing weight, there’s a term you should be familiar with–brown fat. It’s a type of body fat that helps keep you warm when cold. As Asprey mentioned, brown fat is also great at helping you burn the extra calories stored in your body. And guess what? It’s activated by exposure to cold. 5. Supports athletic endurance Asprey suggests athletes can also benefit from cold exposure because it helps increase endurance and strength output. While more research still needs to be done, previous studies show that within rodent models, cold exposure proved to enhance muscle capacity and endurance. This is why many athletes practice cold exposure therapy right after exercise.  How to Do Cold Exposure Therapy at Home Great news–the most common and easiest way to practice cold exposure therapy at home is in the privacy of your shower. And it’s actually quite simple. Asprey lists the following steps.  Cold Exposure Best Practices If you’re new to cold exposure therapy, you’ll want to know a few tips before starting. And as with anything new in your health routine, it’s best to know all the information before beginning to avoid adverse health complications. Cold Therapy and Exercise Research on cold plunging has primarily focused on its potential benefits for performance and muscle recovery. And while research is still inconclusive on the benefits for athletes, experts at The Ohio State University Medical Center note that ice baths used as a muscle recovery method may be worth trying due to their ability to reduce swelling, minimize tissue breakdown, and move lactic acid away from the muscles. Moreover, studies also show that cold therapy may help reduce adipose tissue–a type of body fat that can aid in excessive weight gain. Because many athletes wish to reduce their fat mass and increase their muscle mass instead, it’s common for people who exercise to add cold water therapy to their workout routine. A Note on Cold Exposure Safety While it seems there are many health benefits of cold exposure, there are some instances where you should skip the intentional cold shock. If your immune system is feeling run-down or you’re sick, Asprey recommends avoiding cold exposure until you’re feeling back to normal again. And of course, if you have a medical condition, always talk to your doctor first before trying anything new with your health routine.

How-To Guide on Zinc Sunscreen, Explained by A Derm (2023)

Most of us know how important sun protection is, but finding the right sunscreen can be a struggle. In my quest to find the perfect go-to sunscreen for my face, I tried countless chemical sunscreens that made my eyes sting when I went swimming or at the end of the day when I washed my face. It wasn’t until I tried a zinc sunscreen that I realized life didn’t have to be this way!  I’m here to walk you through what makes zinc sunscreen different, with the help of Dr. Faiyaaz Kalimullah, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and cofounder of the Center for Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine in Chicago. We’ll cover what exactly zinc oxide is and the pros and cons of using a sunscreen with this special ingredient, plus what to look out for when comparing products. Let’s dive in and help you stay protected from the sun’s powerful rays!  Why Wearing Sunscreen is Important Before we get into the specifics of zinc oxide, a quick recap on why sunscreen use in general is so important to our well-being and how often we should be applying it.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender, or skin tone–and it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. To reduce your risk of skin cancer, you can protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by wearing sunscreen.  “I generally recommend that people of all ages, from infants to adults, should wear sunscreen daily,” says Kalimullah. “This is because even relatively short exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause DNA damage in your skin–leading to an increased risk of precancerous growths, skin cancers, and even premature aging of the skin. During the summertime, this process can start to occur within as little as 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.”  Do you need to wear sunscreen in the winter, too? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you do, as does Kalimullah.  “UV radiation can penetrate through clouds and windows, which is why I also recommend using daily sunscreen even during the wintertime, and for people who spend most of their days indoors,” says Kalimullah. “That being said, if you are going to be spending extended periods of time in direct sunlight, it’s always a good idea to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.” What is Zinc Oxide?  “Zinc oxide is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used medicinally for thousands of years,” says Kalimullah. “As a sunscreen, it primarily works by absorbing harmful UV radiation from the sun and converting into a very small amount of heat, which then gets dissipated from the surface of your skin. To a lesser extent, zinc oxide also provides a physical barrier, reflecting and scattering UV radiation away from your skin as well.” Zinc oxide is one of the primary ingredients found in physical sunscreens (the other being titanium dioxide). While physical sunscreens work like a shield, sitting on the surface of your skin and reflecting the sun’s rays, chemical sunscreens work like a sponge–they absorb the sun’s rays via active ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Pros and Cons of Zinc Sunscreens Some people love zinc sunscreen, and others prefer to stick with a chemical option. There are pros and cons to each approach–let’s start with the good stuff zinc offers.  “Zinc oxide has many benefits as a sunscreen product–it is one of the most broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredients available, providing protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, and it does not break down with prolonged exposure to sunlight,” says Kalimullah. “Unlike chemical sunscreens (which need to be applied 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure), it also works immediately upon application.”  Kalimullah has also seen the advantages of zinc oxide sunscreens especially impact specific user groups and people with various skin conditions: “I find that many of my patients with more sensitive, or eczema-prone skin often find zinc oxide sunscreens much less irritating than chemical sunscreens–which also makes them ideal for infants and kids,” says Kalimullah. “It’s also non comedogenic, and is unlikely to cause acne flares. Clinically, I also find that patients with melasma and hyperpigmentation often get better results with zinc oxide sunscreens than with chemical sunscreens.” Another advantage of using a zinc, mineral sunscreen is that they are reef-safe, unlike chemical sunscreens. Zinc sunscreens that are purely mineral-based don’t contain any of the chemicals that have been linked to coral reef deterioration, so if you plan to do any ocean swimming after applying sunscreen and want to help keep marine life thriving, zinc is the preferred option.  With so many pros, what are the cons of using a zinc sunscreen? A lot of it comes down to personal preference, with some people liking the feel of chemical sunscreen on their face more or the way it absorbs. Plus, there’s one primary drawback people who use zinc sunscreen often report:  “The main disadvantage of zinc oxide is that it can sometimes leave a white or grey cast on the skin, especially on people with darker skin tones,” says Kalimullah. “There are newer, tinted zinc formulas that help alleviate this issue and look much more natural.” How to Choose a Zinc Sunscreen Not all zinc sunscreens are created equal, so there are some things you should look out for when choosing one. A few recommendations from Kalimullah: “I generally recommend looking for a water-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 for daily wear,” he says. “If you are purchasing a pure zinc oxide sunscreen, try to make sure the ingredients contain at least 10% zinc oxide.” When it comes to looking for a sunscreen with higher SPF than 30, it may not have as much of a difference as you think. Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 because it blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. Sunscreens with higher SPFs block slightly more