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End of Summer Countdown Healthy Living Tips

Run Naked

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If you're a gadgets-and-gizmos-a-plenty kind of runner, try leaving them behind on your next outing. With no watch to track your every pace per mile and calorie burned, you're more likely to discover the simple joys of a run.

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Don’t Fall for the Health Halo

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Read labels. Foods that seem to be good for you—such as granola, energy bars, and smoothies, or anything that is gluten-free, all-natural, or organic—can be packing absurd amounts of sugar and calories.

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Be Ready for a Buffet

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You can still enjoy a satisfying meal without stuffing yourself silly at the weekend brunch buffet. Just avoid items like muffins, fruit juice cocktails, and sweets, and go for eggs, lean meat, salmon, fresh veggies, and fruit.

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Twist Your Running Shoes

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Hold a sneaker at each end and twist. If the shoe easily rotates, the midsole is worn, indicating that you need a replacement.

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Add a Leaf to Beef

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Mix steamed or boiled kale into meatloaf and meatballs to add moisture as well as beta-carotene and lutein to protect your eyes. Squeeze the greens dry, then finely chop and add 1/2 cup to 1 pound ground meat.

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Spike Smoothies with Spinach

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Among the greens, spinach harbors the most folate, and consuming more of this B vitamin may help protect against breast cancer development, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, likely because folate is needed for proper cell division.

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Re-Lax Muscles

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A rubbery lacrosse ball is just hard enough to put pressure on certain trigger points under your feet and on your legs. Stash one in your gym bag for a self-massage on the go.

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Stop Multitasking at Meals

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When you're distracted, you can't really pay attention to the taste and textures of your food, so you rob yourself of the eating experience, which can leave you feeling both overly full and unsatisfied.

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Get a Natural Butt Lift

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Do a set of squats or lunges as you normally would, but before you come out of that last rep, sink into the exercise a little deeper and hold there for five to 10 seconds; then drop even lower, holding for another 10 seconds. But it doesn't end there—sink even lower, and now pulse for a count of 10.

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Do 10 Percent

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Abs exercises are the “finishing moves” to sculpt your belly once you’ve removed excess fat via diet and exercise. Spend the majority of your workout focusing on the rest of your body, and dedicate no more than 10 percent of your time on abs work.

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Compete Against Yourself

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Try to finish your next workout in less time than it took you last time, or sign up for a race or obstacle course challenge to get a little taste of competition, motivation, and incredible community that will drive you.

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Eat More Meals

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Replace morning and afternoon snacks with another full meal, for a total of four 400- to 600-calorie meals a day, about four hours apart. This will keep your blood sugar level and your energy up.

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Think Cool

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Stand as tall as possible throughout the day by pretending that you're getting ice water poured down your back. This position will help strengthen your core muscles and boost your caloric expenditure.

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Spice Up Your Life

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Adding flavorful spices to your foods can help you control portion sizes and lose weight. Research shows that people eat less when their food tastes new and spicy, with more novel tastes providing more benefits.

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Make Sleep a Higher Priority

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Being well-rested not only improves athletic performance, it will also reduce inflammation and joint pain, and speed up healing times when you're injured.

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Exercise Outdoors

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Turn everyday yard work into a workout: Use a push mower, lift heavy bags of mulch, work the wheelbarrow, pull the hose around, and yank weeds or plant flowers. Constantly moving outside can burn 258 calories in 45 minutes

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Put on a Happy Face

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When you’re starting to crash and burn during a workout, smiling can have a profoundly positive impact on you mentally and physically, helping pull you out of your dark place and get you back on track.

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Beet the Competition

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Naturally occurring nitrates in beets help deliver more oxygen to your muscles, thereby reducing fatigue during high-intensity exercise and helping you run faster and kick up the intensity.

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See the Up Side, Down

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Bring your heart above your head regularly. Yoga may reduce fatigue, increase vitality, and even slow aging, as well as boost mental tranquility and spiritual growth.

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Perfect Your Post-Workout Snack

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A combination of 10 to 15 grams of protein and 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout can help to refuel your body, promote muscle recovery, amp up your energy, and build a leaner physique.

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Distinguish Hunger from Thirst

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Sometimes when you’re dehydrated, your stomach would have you believe that you need to eat rather than drink. If you ate recently and shouldn’t be hungry, drink a glass of ice water before you reach for a snack, then wait 15 minutes.

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Keep Cardio in Check

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Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means the more you have, the faster your metabolism is and the more calories you burn all day long. Do two to three total-body strength sessions a week.

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Fatten Up

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Monounsaturated fats—such as those in olives, nuts, and avocados—appear to increase fat oxidation, especially dreaded belly pudge. Plus they can help you stick to your diet, as fat is filling and adds flavor to your meals.

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Drink During a Workout

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Drink 5 to 10 ounces of water or low-calorie sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes of consistent exercise to head off fatigue, perform at your peak, and recover more easily.

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Have PB&B for Breakfast

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Eat a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter before a morning workout for the right mix of energizing carbs and protein.

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Double-Up on Drinks

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When you arrive at a party, start with a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst. Then have a glass of wine, champagne, or cocktail, but always alternate with zero-calorie liquids such as water or club soda. You’ll feel much better for it at the end of the night, and the next day.

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Down Some Vitamin D

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The "sunshine" vitamin’s list of potential powers includes boosting mood, immunity, and muscle. It's also essential for bone growth and strength, and since skeletal muscles need a strong base to build off of, you can't neglect your D.

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Study Internationally

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Find a lowfat meal you enjoy in every type of cuisine—Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Italian—so you can still have fun eating out with friends.

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Treat Yourself Smart at a Carnival

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If you decide to indulge, buy something with at least one healthy ingredient, such as kettle corn, a candy apple, sliced watermelon, or grilled corn. To help keep portions in check, order items that are naturally small, like a single corn dog.

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Get Your Magnesium

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Eat more magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, beans, and nuts. Our bodies require the mineral for more than 300 chemical reactions, and this nutrient may also aid in weight loss and body shaping.

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Change Your Thinking

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Instead of designing goals based purely on weight loss, concentrate on how you feel. If counting calories has you down, think in terms of portions instead. Constantly checking the clock during your workout? Chances are you need to find a sport or activity you actually enjoy.

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