Author Archives: Vine Vera Cosmetics

Vitamins in Skin Care Products

Woman buying beauty products

In 1933, a statement was released involving the “study of vitamins” and the “constant development of new and novel methods for their administration.”  The statement went on, “One of these is the application of ointments or creams rich in vitamin containing substances directly to the skin.” It followed that this practice would help to correct, “mild skin morbidities, large pores, lines, wrinkles, sallowness, etc.” Twenty years later, Helena Rubenstein’s released her Lanolin Vitamin Formula with vitamin A.  It would set you back $1.50 for a one month supply and $2.50 for a two month supply. We’ve come a long way since then! Well, whatever your “skin concerns” may look like, there’s probably vitamin for that today.

According to Mary Lupo, MD and professor of dermatology at Tulane University, “the body only delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin, no matter how much you ingest.” Our bodies do their best, but in order to guarantee that we’re hitting the target, we need to make sure that we help out by putting these vitamins there ourselves.  One of the best ways of doing so is by looking out for certain vitamins in your skin care products.

Vitamin E
Otherwise known as tocopheryl, vitamin E works in several ways to provide antioxidant benefits to the skin.  Although both natural and synthetic forms of the vitamin are beneficial, the natural form is more potent and longer lasting.  Vitamin E helps to protect skin from environmental pollutants and is found often in sunscreen because of its ability to defend skin against UV light.  Pair it with Vitamin C for a one-two punch against aging.

Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 is best for reducing redness and boosting hydration. Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 increases productions of fatty acids and ceramides, which are both play major roles in the skin’s protective barrier. Says Leslie S. Baumann, MD and director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, “As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out.”  The results of one study showed that moisturizers containing B3 tempered the redness caused by rosacea.  In addition, the wonder vitamin interferes with the transfer of pigment to cells in the skin, decreasing the appearance of dark spots.

vitamin c

Vitamin C
Also listed as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a superstar for diminishing  the look of dullness, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and fine lines. Vitamin C is a proven preservative of skin’s resiliency and helps to smooth and firm skin, while evening out skin tone, increasing hydration  and making it visibly more radiant. Hema Sundaram, MD, advises looking for moisturizers with this vitamin in the list of ingredients and see the benefits for yourself.

Retinol
Retinol, or Vitamin A, more commonly, is probably the gold standard of ingredients for skin, providing benefits to combat everything from bumps, rough texture, wrinkles, and fine lines  According to Doris Day, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at University Langone Medical center, “There are more than 700 published studies on retinoids.  They’re tried and true ingredients.  Anyone who wants younger looking skin should use one.”

Vitamin K
If you want younger, brighter looking eyes,  you may want vitamin K. One study concluded that daily use of vitamin K in an eye cream over four months lightened under eye circles significantly, but because of the retinol content in the cream, it was unclear which vitamin was responsible. However, Dr. Berman says the retinol may ease Vitamin K’s ability to be absorbed by skin and prevent darkness.

Let us know what vitamins your skin has been taking and how they’re working for you.  We love to get your comments and suggestions.

Pros and Cons of Acidic Foods

Woman buying food

Got milk?  You have probably heard this logo many times.  It is a commercial put out by the American advocating milk, usually it features a lonely stack of cookies or dry cereal clearly in need of company.  Sometimes it features a celebrity wearing a milk mustache.

Most of us have grown up being taught that milk is an essential part of our diet.  Of course, it must be.  It comes from our own mommies.  It’s full of calcium  and protein and Vitamin D.  Good boys and girls drink milk!

Milk and dairy have been getting a bad rap lately.  It seems that milk is an acid.  “An acid?,” you say, “but milk is lovely and creamy, it can’t possibly be an acid!  Acids are bad.”

Here’s how it goes, foods are either acid or alkaline.  Most foods are acidic, but our bodies need to be slightly alkaline.  Although milk has alkaline properties outside the body, inside it is acidic.  When we eat too many acidic foods, they begin to rob the calcium from our bones, and milk, being acidic, is one of the worst perpetrators.  “But, I’m confused,”  you say, ‘If milk is robbing the calcium from our bones, what should I eat to put it back?”

The truth is, we do need some acid in our diet.  Although most people struggle with high acidity levels, but it is important to acknowledge the fact that low acidity can also be a problem and some foods that are on the acid list do have benefits.  To solve this problem, nondairy alternatives to milk can be used, such as unsweetened almond or soy milk and ice cream and yogurt which contain say or almond milk are also available.  You will get the vitamins without the acidic qualities.

Protein
Protein is another slightly problematic issue. We need proteins to form enzymes, muscles, hormones and other bodily components.  Without protein in the diet, the body will begin to break down muscle fibers.  So, what’s the problem?  Protein is also, you guessed it, an acid.  Some red meat, in fact, has a pH of 13.  That’s pretty close to battery acid.  What can you do? You need the protein, but you don’t want the acid.   Unfortunately, there is no substitute for protein.  The key solution here is balance.  Researchers suggest that we eat 80% alkaline food and 20% acidic foods to maintain a healthy pH balance.  Of course, everyone’s body is slightly different and some adjustment may be required.

Just so you can get some idea of how you might do that, here are lists of some foods that are mostly acidic and some that are mostly alkaline:

High Acid Foods
Grains, sugar, fish, dairy products, fresh and processed meats, such as turkey and corned beef, processed food, high protein foods and supplements, sodas and other sweetened beverages

Low Acid Foods
Soy, such as miso soy beans, eggs, unsweetened milk and yoghurt, tempeh and tofu, most veggies, including potatoes, raw honey, spices and herbs, excluding mustard, nutmeg and sale, most fruits, whole grains, such as millet, flax, amaranth and quinoa,  and herbal  tea

In looking at this, you will see that it is clear that there are a lot of really nutritional foods  on the acid list.  Well, before you ditch the fish, remember,  the key is balance.  Try and get close to 80/20 and live your healthiest life!

The Effects of UV Light On Your Hands

Woman getting a manicure

We’ve all heard about the harmful effects of UV rays and what it can do to our skin and eyes. But do you know that UV light is now becoming a regular part of the nail salon process? That’s right, ultraviolet radiation is what is used in the lamps that help speed dry nails, and they are actually necessary to set gel manicures. But exactly how harmful are these UV lamps to our skin and what can we do to prevent damaging effects?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these lights do emit UV radiation and it consists predominantly of UVA rays which has been linked to premature skin aging and skin cancer. However, the SCF goes on to say, even the most intense of these devices presents only a moderate UV risk. To put it in perspective, Jessica Wu, MD an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine offers this, based on a recent study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. “The researchers concluded that nail lamps would be safe to use for over 250 years of weekly manicures, and even then there would be a low risk of skin cancer.” Even so, it is best to play it safe, so here are some tips on how to keep your hands protected when under the fast dry lamps.

LED lamps and UV lamps-don’t let the names confuse you. They both emit UV radiation. However, LED lamps can be a bit safer. The amount of time spent under these lamps is directly related to how harmful their effects can be and LED lamps offer a faster dry exposing hands and nails to the light for mere seconds. LED lamps have also been known to treat signs of sun damage and generate new collagen in skin. Amy Sciarretto, fashion and beauty writer at Bustle.com recommends asking your salon what type of lamps they use before booking an appointment.

Other safety measures include making sure your hands are well moisturized and slathering hands in sunscreen 20 minutes prior to UV exposure. If the lamp your salon uses emits UVA rays, make sure your sunscreen has a UVA blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and apply in a thick, even layer.

Of course you can always choose to air dry nails and limit your trips to the salon and/or the frequency of your gel manicures. (This may be safer all around as the removal process for gel manicures has been known to damage nails, making them thinner and brittle.) Another option it to wear dark opaque gloves cut off at the fingertips while having your nails treated under a UV lamp at the salon.

A final warning is that nail lamps used in salons are unregulated and may offer a higher dose of the UV light than what some studies may determine safe. That is why it is always a good idea to do your best to protect hands against worst case scenarios.

Best Bets: Acrylic, Gel or Shellac

Woman applying nail polish

Gel, shellac or acrylic? In this day and age, with so many nail trends emerging, and updated technologies on nail care, that question may be becoming as commonplace as ‘paper or plastic?’ But the answer may not be so easy to come by. To find the nail option that’s right for you, it may be a good idea to explore our choices.

A gel manicure is a type of nail treatment where a nail technician uses a gel to bind synthetic fingernails to natural ones. The gel can also be applied over natural nails like regular polish. Though relatively new, this form of manicure is becoming more and more popular. It is seen as a cure for chipping nail polish with super shiny results that last 2-3 weeks and usually costs around $35. However, there are also downsides to the gel manicure.

Gels can be bad for nail health. Manicures in general can weaken your nails. “The manicure process itself can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail,” says Dr. Chris Adigun, a Chapel Hill based dermatologist. This can be particularly detrimental in the gel manicure process where you won’t be able to see your nail beds for 2-3 weeks at a time, to properly assess nail health.

The removal process in gel manicures can also be dangerous not to mention time consuming, difficult and costly. If you opt to remove the gels at home, this must be done with a 100% acetone remover which can be harsh on nails. A less abrasive choice is a gel remover which tends to be more expensive. It is then necessary to affix a remover soaked cotton to nails with a foil wrap and then a hand towel. This process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Wearers are also warned to not peel polish as this can take off layers of the nail and also cause water to seep in the nail, which can lead to an infection.

Acrylic nails, or artificial nails, are another choice. Donne Geer, co- founder of Hey Nice Nails explains, “Acrylics are applied using a liquid monomer and a powder polymer to create a hard protective layer over your natural nails. Acrylics only harden when exposed to air”. Polish is added later. Like gel polish, acrylics are also a long lasting option for fashion lovers. If done correctly, acrylics can last up to 4 weeks, outlasting a gel manicure. The cost can range from $35 to $50.

Like gel nail polish, the removal process is time consuming and can be damaging to nail health. You must use a similar process of soaking and wrapping your nails in an acetone remover which can also wear down your nail beds and leave them vulnerable to infection. Acrylic nails are also cited as being difficult to get used to and many say they look unnatural.

Shellac nail polish is a brand name for a new patent pending nail product created by CND. It is a hybrid meaning half nail polish, half gel. Shellac and gel are very similar but Lunchtime Beauty Q &A writer Christina Han sites some differences including the shellac polish being slightly less goopy than the gel. Also, CND sell their own acetone wraps which isolate the remover to the nail bed area saving your fingers slightly as acetone dries out nails and skin. Also, the removal is a quicker process but is only available at salons.

So which option will you choose? With so many different factors involved, the choice is not an easy one.   We can only hope that we made the decision making process just a bit easier.

Vitamin E Oil Massage

Woman getting an oil massage

Vitamin E has many health benefits. Your doctor may recommend it for boosting your immune system, preventing stroke induced brain damage, and even curing certain cancers. But vitamin E can also do wonders for your nails and skin. Read on to learn about how vitamin E oil can be beneficial to your nails, hands and feet.

Vitamin E can be taken orally or in liquid form. “Oral vitamin E increases blood circulation, thus improving the amount of blood flowing through the nail-growth structures,” says health writer Kathy Mayse. Nails are created from dead keratin cells which accumulate as a result of cell formation and division in the nail growth structure.  This would not be possible without adequate blood supply. An increase in the blood supply may lead to faster, stronger, healthier growth.

Vitamin E oil can also be applied directly to nails. Bad habits, natural elements, and the manicure process can make nails dry and brittle and ultimately damages cuticles. When cuticles dry out, they lose natural fats which help keep them soft. Vitamin E can be instrumental in keeping them moisturized and healthy.

Vitamin E oil can be extracted directly from vitamin E capsules or bought in oil form. Deblina Biswas at The Fit Indian recommends coating all nails with the oil and massaging gently for five minutes before going to bed for best results. Doing this on a daily basis can result in noticeable changes in nail appearance and condition.

Vitamin E oil can also be used to soften rough patches of skin on your body, and what more common place to find rough patches than the bottom of your feet? The website ‘Dan Likes This’ recommends an effective process involving vitamin E oil to keep your feet from getting dry and rough:

  • Soak feet in Epsom salt and water for 30 minutes
  • Remove loose, dry skin by scrubbing with a toothbrush
  • Rub vitamin E oil on affected areas or all over feet
  • Put socks on to keep oil on your feet
  • Repeat process for at least 5 days

Dan stresses the importance of using a quality Vitamin E oil, and not a cream.

Like your feet, hands can get excessively dry as well and vitamin E oil can help. People looking to relieve problems with dry skin can treat hands by massaging in vitamin E oil. For an effective treatment, apply vitamin E on hands before bedtime, cover with gloves and leave on overnight. Some believe that vitamin E can help reduce the appearance of scars which commonly appear on hands but research as to whether this is true is inconclusive.

So, we see how massaging Vitamin E into skin helps to soften and moisturize hands and also help blood circulation. For the ultimate in healing, softening and soothing, ask your massage therapist to add Vitamin E into the massage oils he or she is using for your next session. I can’t think of anything more wonderful.

Avoid These Ingredients That Bugs Love

Family enjoying a picnic

You may have seen people eating bugs on TV.  If you have ever watched the Travel Channel, you may have seen Andrew Zimmerman, self-proclaimed “bug guy”, enthusiastically topping dishes of scallops and onions with sautéed bumblebees from Taiwan or white ants from Uganda  and heartily proclaiming how delicious they are.  In fact, Zimmerman will tell you that not only are these specimen delicious, they are a clean protein source, replenishable and free!  Well, you make a point, Zimmerman, and to each his own, but presuming you (the reader) prefer to keep your food and insects separate, here are some things you should probably leave out of your picnic basket.

If you like to crack the occasional brew while you enjoy your meal, you may be out of luck. Studies show that beer drinkers are likely to bring the bugs. In fact, even the consummation of one 12 oz beer is enough to bring on the swarm. This Bug’s For You?  Maybe not.

While you’re at it, you may want to leave out the bananas, prunes, raisins, lima beans, avocados and spinach.  All of these foods are rich in potassium which increases the lactic acid you release through your skin, and mosquitos are attracted to lactic acid.

And, bad news for salty snackers!  Chips, roasted, peanuts and crackers are high in sodium which also increases your lactic acid output.  “But what’s a picnic without the chips?” you ask.  Well, apparently, a bug-free one.

Also, you can forget about dessert.  Hey, we’re bummed about this one too!  It seems that the sweet smell of candy, cakes and pies can act as a magnet for dogs and mosquitoes, as well as humans.

Now, shall we check in with the bug baiters? According to the Mississippi Entomology Museum, tuna, hot dogs, and peanut butter will bring the ants, and it has been rumored, that these tiny invaders have a predilection for cheddar cheese as well, so you may want to leave that home.  And, I hope your not planning a romantic rendezvous complete with wine and grapes, unless you want to share your date with moths, beetles and flies.  Wines and fermented fruit are also among the foods associated with luring the evil buggers.

Ok, so let’s get this straight, no pb+j, no tuna sandwiches, no chips, no beer, no wine and no sweets.  So what can you bring?  Garlic, anyone?  Mosquitos hate garlic; so if you really want to keep those pests away, you may want to hang a bulb near your picnic site or fortify yourself with some supplements. But proceed with caution.  If you load up on too much of  this malodorous product you may end up repelling most of your picnic guests as well.

Maybe at this point, we should just accept the fact that a  picnic just comes with bugs.   Maybe we should accept the fact that these crafty crawlers are just a natural part of the al fresco experience.  But if you choose to go this way, just remember, Andrew Zimmerman says, for best results,  you should always take the wings off before you eat them.

Facial Sprays & Misting Water

Woman using a facial spray

Ok, so you’re at your favorite makeup store and you’re loading up the little basket you have just gotten from the door attendant who has a pierced lip, black hair and what looks like a pack of ammo around her waist, although, on closer inspection, it seems to be makeup tools.  After you are assured that no violence is about to erupt, you hit the aisles.  You load up your little basket with about $100 worth of merchandise, the whole of which takes up no more than a fraction of your purse.  Then, as you approach the counter, you see it: a bottle of facial spray. Sure, you think you don’t need a $20 bottle of water after you’ve blown your money on everything else.  But think again. With essential oils, herbal extracts and antioxidants, that little addition may be the most valuable thing in your basket.

“But what can this product do for me?” you ask.  Well, more than you might think. Facial sprays can be used in combination with your moisturizer to help lock in hydration and prevent evaporation.  Skin get dry on airplanes?  Just pack your misting spray in your carry on and rejuvenate!  However, if you are using the mists and sprays to retain moisture,  make sure to use a moisturizing face spray with botanical extracts, saccharides or hyaluronic acid, all of which aid in moisture retention. If you  chose to use one  without these ingredients, it may end up having the opposite effect. According to Amanda Matcham, Skin Therapist at the International Dermal Institute, “Don’t let it (facial product without above-mentioned ingredients) dry on your face.  As the water dries on the skin, it evaporates and draws some of the skin’s existing moisture out with it.”

And who among us hasn’t been here?  You  go to the restroom in the middle of your day only to find you have just attended a meeting with your boss or had  a hot date with lipstick on your teeth or mascara under your eyes.  Well, assuming that is not your desired effect, it  can be avoided with just a little spritz of facial spray.  It will help to set your makeup and make sure you look relaxed, fresh and confident. For this, a regular water spray is best, according to Eddie Malter, official L’Oreal Paris makeup artist. It will help to set your makeup and make sure you look relaxed, fresh and confident all day.

So, what else should you know about facial sprays? A thermal water spray, rich in calcium and antioxidants, is the best for anti-irritation and sensitive skin.  Distilled water is good for basic hydration,  but those that contain botanical extracts and essential oils like aloe and lavender will do a better job.  Hydrosal, a.k.a. herbal water, is best for softening skin and will make you smell yummy too!  For mature skin, fruit based mists are best.  Look for products infused with orange and apple slices.

So, the takeaway?  Next time you’re in your makeup store, splurge.  That little bottle may be the best investment you make. And maybe you should smile at the door attendant on the way out.

Avoid the Itch With These Scents

Woman scratching her neck

Oh, the itch. That not quite defined feeling, somewhere between pain and annoyance amounting in a torture that we just can’t seem to ignore. And, aaah, the scratch. That exquisite infliction of pain that seems to momentarily quell the itch. But we have been warned against scratching, haven’t we? According to dermatologists, scratching often makes the itch worse, warning that the temporary relief it provides only make the symptoms exacerbate upon return. But what can we do? Well, if the source of our itching is a mosquito, a flea, or tick, well, bring on the bug repellant. Bug repellent is not only a cure for itching, but can also lessen the chances of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses.

But many of these bug repellents are toxic. Do we really want to spray these chemicals on ourselves and our families, and take responsibility for the possible poisoning of the environment and destroying of the ozone layer? Most insect repellents contain DEET, which, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, is a chemical capable of melting plastics or a fishing line and causing impairments such as memory loss, seizures, nausea and vomiting. No something we want to apply liberally. However, the good doctor says,”…it is dangerously wrong…”( to assume)…”that insect repellents with DEET are the only ones that work”, so, take heart, suffering Greenies!

It seems that mosquitoes have a very keen sense of smell ( Do they have noses?) and are very attracted to the carbon dioxide we emit, but, luckily, there are some natural scents which they actually hate. So let’s clue you in.

Citronella Oil: Comes from the lemongrass plant, used in bug sprays and candles, smells lemony/ citrusy.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint: Crush the leaves on your skin or apply peppermint oil to relieve itching, minty scent.

Rosemary and Basil: Place a few sprigs around to keep the pests away or infuse it into a lotion or spray, also can be used as food seasoning!

Eucalyptus: Can be planted in your yard and the oil can be applied to your skin.

Marigold and Lavender: Attractive and useful. Plant them in your garden for a color
explosion and pest free peace of mind.

Garlic: Not just for vampires! Cut the cloves into slivers and scatter them. You can also make a repellent spray, but, be warned, you may repel people humans as well.

Catnip

Catnip: Sorry, Snowball. Have to borrow some of yours! Sprinkling catnip is a very powerful way of repelling pests.

Another great thing about these natural repellants: you can make your own!

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (DO), you can make repellent by mixing cinnamon leaf oil, clear vanilla oil mixed with olive oil, or catnip oil and there are tons of other recipes available on social media. Why scratch when you can go match? Keep yourself pest free and applaud yourself for being smart and helping the environment and keeping yourself and your family healthy and comfortable.

Foods That Promote Memory and Longevity

In 1935, Woody Allen  said, “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be one hundred.”  This is true to some extent.  We have all heard stories of octogenarians who claim to have smoked a cigarette every day of their lives or have engaged in some kind of dangerous taboo and have beaten the odds.  However, nowadays we find that there is an alternative.  More modern studies reveal that we can eat  foods that are enjoyable and will also promote longevity and  boost our memories.

Dark chocolate

A favorite among these is dark chocolate.  According to recent studies, this awful temptress that our mothers warned us about, is really quite good for us.  You may already be aware  that dark chocolate can lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and prevent cardiovascular disease, but did you know it may also  protect your skin against the sun?   And, take heart if you are struggling with your weight.  The fats in dark chocolate are mostly saturated and unsaturated, giving it an excellent fatty acid profile, although it still is best consumed in small amounts because of its high-calorie content and sugar.  But, keep in mind, if you do indulge, the higher the cocoa content, the more beneficial to your health.

Mediterranean diet

But what about memory loss?  Over 5.2 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.  Is it preventable?  While scientists are still not certain about the complete workings of the memory, a John Hopkins Health Alert reported two studies giving evidence to the theory that a Mediterranean diet may be the answer.  The Mediterranean diet is  a plant-based diet with limited red meat, limited animal fat,  and  low-fat dairy.  One study, printed in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry evaluated two groups of people in their 70s over a period of six years.    One group was given a low-fat diet and the other  followed a Mediterranean diet. At the conclusion of the test, it was discovered that the group who followed the Mediterranean diet scored higher on cognitive tests and were less likely to develop dementia.  So, bottom line, losing the fat may be consistent with losing the marbles. (Take that froyo!!)

Olive oil

However, we must be aware that it is not about loading the fats on, but  rather choosing our fats wisely.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the reason the Mediterranean diet is so effective is because olive oil is its primary source of fat.  Olive oil provides monosaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol levels and provide antioxidants.

So, do not surrender to  complete abandonment when it comes to mealtimes.  We all need to be aware that everything should be done in moderation and this article is not suggesting that you go to your local Greek or Southern Italian place and order a highly caloric dish followed by a dark chocolate bar.  Overeating can also be very dangerous and is a leading cause of death in America, but, isn’t it nice to know that, in some instances, we can have our cake and eat it too, even if it portion controlled?

Brains, Bones & Brawn

Boxing

Why do so many people hate doing cardio?  It has been called monotonous; actor Stephen Moyer even said, “Cardiovascular is the devil.”  So what’s the deal with cardiovascular exercise?  If so many people hate doing it, why should we?  Maybe we should stick to toning.  Well, before you throw your Nikes in the trash, read this article.  Cardiovascular exercise is one of the most powerful ways of beating the clock and keeping your brain sharp.

Need proof? According to the Journals of Gerontology, a study was conducted in 2006 involving 59 participants between the ages of 60 and 79.  The group was split in half.  For six months, one-half of the group did cardiovascular exercise while the others did stretching and toning and guess what they found out?  The half that did the cardiovascular showed a significant increase in brain volume in both gray and white matter, while the half that did the toning and stretching showed no increase.  Shocking, isn’t it?  Although toning is not without its rewards, it was concluded from the study that cardiovascular exercise actually spares brain tissue and improves cognitive functioning.

Still not convinced? Physical therapist and fitness expert Maureen Hagan says, “Fitness is a youth serum.” U.S. guidelines suggest the average person get 150 minutes of cardio per week, but Hagan’s research suggests that 240 minutes is best for optimal heart health.

(Yeah, that’s 4 hrs. – sorry)  But, just think, aerobic exercise increases the mitochondrial function, associated with energy production, which can decrease with age.(No kidding!)

So, now that you have resigned yourself to the fact that cardio is necessary, you will need to pick your poison. According to Hagan, memorizing choreographed dance steps involves working your brain as well as your body. Consider kickboxing, dancing, or rumba for those.  And be sure to keep those arms and legs in motion.  Hagan says that crossing your legs and arms over the middle of your body actually increases communication between the right and left brain hemispheres and  prevents lapses in short term memory!

“But”, you say in a final attempt at denial, “I heard that high impact workouts can be harmful.”  Well, you are not wrong.  Cardio can be dangerous to muscles, ligaments and cartilage, whereas toning will  actually protect bones from impact and increase bone density, while reducing the risk of osteoporosis.  Toning will also preserve muscle mass as you age and improve flexibility, stability and balance and strong bones. An added bonus:  by  improving your balance, you reduce your risk of falling.  Imagine that: not only will you decrease your chance of falling, but you also increase your chance of coming out of the fall in one piece!  No wonder toning is also credited with building confidence! Good examples of toning exercises include dumbbell reps, squats and pilates.

In conclusion, to lose body fat, it takes three things : cardio, strength training, and a low-calorie diet. So, get that heart pumping and keep that back straight and keep those muscles toned, and, the next time you are running on your treadmill or doing those reps and wishing you were doing anything else but, just remember,  you are doing yourself a world of good, so keep it up and we salute you!