Health & Fitness
Health Body 360: Total Fitness Guide

Health Body 360: Total Fitness Guide

Health Body 360: Total Fitness Guide

Living well and staying fit is so much more than hitting the gym or seeing how many reps you can get in at once. This special edition of Health, Body 360: A Fitness Guide, explores the 360 approach to fitness and holistic well-being, including nurturing the four pillars of health, the impact of group workouts, the obsession with tracking technology and how to get around it, emerging workouts, how to hydrate and fuel your metabolism, fitness foods to get you in shape, and workouts that can be done anywhere, anytime.

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Meredith Corporation
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in this issue

4 min.
360 degrees of fitness

FITNESS AND LIVING WELL are so much more than just hitting the gym. They’re about embracing “body 360,” or the belief that to be truly fit, you have to nourish all aspects of your health, including your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. “Health and wellness is more than the number of steps that you take or how much weight you can lift every day,” advises Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and the author of The Hunger Fix. While these do play a role, research shows that eating a healthy diet, maintaining meaningful connections and relationships with other people, getting enough sleep, and doing activities that give you joy—whether it’s volunteering or cooking—also reap substantial health benefits. Ready for a full 360 makeover?…

9 min.
the four pillars of health

HEALTH FADS COME and (thankfully) go. Despite the shiny promises that one particular superfood/workout/biohack will get you in the best shape of your life, the truth is, you don’t need to overthink (or overpay) to get healthy. It really boils down to four fundamentals, says Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, Health’s contributing medical editor (a.k.a. Dr. Raj). Eat well, exercise regularly, manage your stress, and get enough sleep—and you’ll be better able to avoid illness and even live longer. “When I was in med school, everyone was focused on treating diseases,” says Dr. Raj. “Now, we’re embracing the idea that health is more than taking medicine or getting an X-ray. It’s about making holistic choices that set you up for success.” For a little help getting back to basics, we asked renowned experts…

6 min.
fat facts, muscle myths

LAST FALL, talk-show hosts Bill Maher and James Corden got into a late-night fat fight. Maher started it, with a seven-minute diatribe on the health care system, the national diet, and personal responsibility. “In August, 53 Americans died from mass shootings. Terrible, right?” said Maher, who appears to be relatively slim. “Do you know how many died from obesity? Forty thousand.…Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end. It needs to make a comeback.…Being fat isn’t a birth defect.” A week later, Corden replied with a monologue of his own. In it, he chronicled his long struggle with dieting (“I suck at it”) and his reaction to Maher’s opinion piece (“I walked to the freezer and got a pint of ice cream”). While acknowledging that Maher probably meant well with a bit of tough…

6 min.
in it together

WHEN RESEARCHERS AT the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine set out to study medical students participating in an exercise program, the researchers were dealing with a stressed-out bunch. Medical students are exposed to compounding stressors, including mountains of debt, high-pressure course loads, and in many cases anxiety and depression. In 2017, the researchers found that when these medical students worked out in a group, the students saw significant improvements in mental health. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, looked at 69 medical students participating in a fitness program over a 12-week period. The students worked out within a group or as individuals and were evaluated every four weeks through self-reported stress levels and overall quality of life, including physical, mental, and…

7 min.
going the distance

MAYBE THIS SCENE SOUNDS FAMILIAR: You’re cycling a giant hill in spin class or holding a super-challenging pose in yoga and the only thing you want to do is quit. Your muscles are screaming, and the little voice in your head is telling you how great it will feel to slow down or untwist. But you don’t—you keep going for just a little longer and come out the other side in awe of what your body can do. Moments like this illustrate what it means to give it your all. “Pushing yourself is hitting a point of discomfort but choosing to continue beyond it—and being able to do that with some consistency,” says Chelsi Day, a sport psychologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The discomfort can be…

5 min.
get your head in the game

WE TEND TO DO anything to distract ourselves during a workout. Maybe you watch reality TV on the treadmill, hike with your headphones on, or rehash your to-do list as you cycle. Hey, no shame—you deserve a round of applause just for breaking a sweat! But according to experts, dropping the diversions and adopting a more mindful approach to fitness can pay off big-time—for your body and your brain. No, we’re not talking about sitting cross-legged and om-ing in the middle of the weight room (though if you’re so inclined, go for it). That’s more of a straight-up meditation practice. Mindfulness while working out is about cultivating present-moment awareness. And when we become fully engaged in the act of exercising, we not only improve our physical results but, research has found,…