Health

Tess Holliday on Her Anorexia Recovery: 'People Said I Was Lying'

Tess Holliday on Her Anorexia Recovery: 'People Said I Was Lying'

Content note: This story discusses details of disordered eating.Nearly a year after being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, Tess Holliday is sharing the challenges of recovery—a process that is often nonlinear—in a new essay for TODAY. “I feel grateful that I’m tough enough to talk about this, but I’ve since taken a lot of steps backwards in my recovery. I’ve regressed. I haven’t eaten today,” the model wrote. “It’s 11 o’clock and I’ve had two sips of coffee, and I feel sick. This has been extremely hard on my mental and physical health.”Holliday first shared her eating disorder diagnosis in May 2021. “People said I was lying,” Holliday wrote in her essay. “There are people who believe I was saying this to get attention. I’ve had some people say, ‘You’re doing this to stay relevant.’ I laugh because I know it’s untrue, but it’s so indicative of what a large problem this is.”Eating disorders in people with larger bodies are likely severely underdiagnosed. A culture of fat bias and harmful stereotypes about the connection between body weight and health tells us (wrongly) that all larger bodies are unhealthy, that all people struggling with eating disorders are thin. But harmful restrictive eating isn’t exclusively a problem for thin people—eating disorders can’t be generalized to a certain body type. Medical practitioners, even those with good intentions, aren’t immune to anti-fat bias. In a 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found that mental health trainees were more likely to diagnose a client presenting with symptoms of an eating disorder with anorexia when the client was described as “underweight” or “normal weight” vs “overweight.” They also recommended fewer therapy sessions for the clients described as overweight and normal weight than for the underweight group. It’s that exact bias that makes it so hard for people in larger bodies to get the help they need. “So many people who are in larger bodies have messaged me and said, ‘I never thought I restricted until you started talking about this,’” Holliday wrote. “It’s been very empowering, but it’s also made me incredibly sad… It’s tough when you hear the word anorexia and it’s only equated with one kind of image. It’s detrimental to so many people, including myself.”Holliday shared that it was her dietitian who first broached the idea that she might have an eating disorder. “When she said anorexia, I laughed. I thought, ‘Do you see how fat I am? There’s no way that word could ever be attached to someone my size,’” Holliday said. Her dietitian referred her to a psychologist who confirmed the diagnosis. “I still struggle with wrapping my head around, ‘How can I be in a fat body and be starving?’ Then I realized that bodies of all sizes and shapes starve,” Holliday wrote. When someone in a larger body restricts their eating in a harmful way, it may be diagnosed as atypical anorexia. “Despite official clinical recognition, atypical anorexia nervosa is under-recognized and widely perceived to be less severe than anorexia nervosa,” according to the Acute Center for Eating Disorders and Severe Malnutrition. The symptoms are the same as with typical anorexia patients, except “the individual’s presentation weight is within or above the normal range,” according to Acute. “Patients with atypical anorexia nervosa experience the same incidence of binge eating, purging, psychiatric comorbidity, use of psychotropic medications, self-harm, suicidal ideation, severe depressive symptoms, and obsessive/compulsiveness as classic anorexia nervosa.”

30 High-Protein Snacks to Power You Through the Day

30 High-Protein Snacks to Power You Through the Day

Snack time is a sacred time—staving off those mid-afternoon stomach rumbles is crucial part of a good day. But fighting off the pangs with high-protein snacks? Well, that’s a genius move. By keeping protein-packed snacks at your desk (or at the ready in your home office), you can make snack time work for you, fueling you up quickly so you can get back to your day ASAP.Along with the many body functions that protein supports (like maintaining muscle mass and helping your immune system function, as SELF reports), eating enough protein helps ensure you aren’t hungry again 45 minutes after your snack. This is because the amino acids in protein take a while for your body to digest, Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, certified exercise physiologist and author of Body Kindness, tells SELF. Another benefit of protein-rich snacks: They can help you overcome “three-thirtyitis,” that pesky wave of lethargy that washes right over you in the late afternoon. This is why Scritchfield recommends eating sources of protein throughout your day—not just in your main meals, though that’s important too—so that your energy levels can remain consistent all day, and that sneaky three-thirtyitis becomes a thing of the past.To really get the most out of your high-protein snack, though, it’s best to have one that includes other major macronutrients as well. According to SELF columnist Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., certified diabetes educator and Food Heaven cofounder, it helps to pair your high-protein snacks with a solid source of fat and/or carbs too—the most satisfying snacks usually have at least two different food groups. (Besides, factoring in more nutrients will only make your snack game more interesting.)Coming up with healthy high-protein snacks that can be kept in your desk drawer can be tough. (Look, we all love a Greek yogurt, but it is not exactly shelf-stable!) Luckily, we’ve done the hard work of thinking up ideas for you. Here are 30 desk-friendly, healthy, filling snacks that will satisfy any kind of snacker—no fridge required.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

When Will Omicron Peak?

When Will Omicron Peak?

With COVID case rates still surging across many parts of the country thanks to the hard and fast rise of the omicron variant, we’re all wondering: When will omicron peak?The highly-contagious omicron surge, has outpaced previous coronavirus waves in the U.S.—the New York Times reported an average of 800,000 new cases per day, over the weekend—and causing record-high hospitalization rates, primarily among unvaccinated people. And according to the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., it’s likely going to get worse before case rates finally start falling. “The next few weeks will be tough,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “We shouldn’t expect a national peak in the next coming days.”Exactly when omicron cases will hit their peak depends on where you live. “The challenge is that…the entire country is not moving at the same pace,” Dr. Murthy said. In some areas, for example, there’s good news: Omicron cases in New York and parts of the Northeast have already begun to drop off. On Saturday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a nearly 47% decline in omicron cases from the previous week, per the Times. That’s not the case across the country, however. Cases in the Midwest and in the South are continuing to climb, according to a New York Times database. As of January 16, cases in Wisconsin were nearly four times what they were during last winter’s surge, and still climbing. Same in South Carolina. Across the country, daily COVID hospitalizations are still growing exponentially, overwhelming hospital systems—again. “We are being absolutely crushed,” Gabor Kelen, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told NPR. “It’s why it’s so important that we all double down on precautions that we’re taking, because one thing that we’re learning during this surge is that our vaccines are still working very well to keep people out of the hospital and to save their lives,” Dr. Murthy told CNN. “It’s why we want everyone to get vaccinated, to get boosted as soon as they can.” The best thing you can do to keep yourself protected against omicron is to get vaccinated—including a booster shot. And wear a respirator mask. “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations,” said CNN medical analyst Leana Wen, M.D., as SELF reported. Look for an N95 or KN95 mask, as experts say they offer the most protection against omicron. If you need help finding options, here’s where you can buy them. Related: 

Curious About Running and Weight? Here’s What You Should Know.

Curious About Running and Weight? Here’s What You Should Know.

“Just because you haven’t lost weight doesn’t mean you’re not reaping the benefits of exercise in some way,” says exercise physiologist Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D.N., adjunct professor of nutrition and health at the University of Bridgeport, and senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health. “There’s no downside to getting out the door and exercising on a regular basis,” she tells SELF.Health benefits aside, running can be just plain fun. After all, any runner can attest to the feelings of freedom and excitement you experience when you really hit your stride. So try not to let the discussion of whether or not running is “good” or “bad” for your weight slow you down.   Now, let’s dig into some more science.Here’s why some people may lose weight from running. This can happen in a few different ways, but they each largely come down to calorie intake vs. expenditure as Rachel Pojednic, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of exercise science at Norwich University in Vermont, and former research fellow at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School, tells SELF. (Remember, that’s not the whole story when it comes to weight, but it’s a big part of it.)If taking up running increases a person’s overall physical activity, and they don’t make any other changes to the way they eat, then they may start to lose weight from now expending more calories than they’re taking in. It’s also possible to lose weight from the combination of running and other simultaneous changes. “Oftentimes what you see is that people are combining some kind of positive health behaviors around [running],” Dr. Pojednic says. For instance, someone who has fallen in love with a running practice may start sleeping more, drinking less alcohol and more water, and loading up on nutrient-rich foods to have enough energy for chasing those endorphins. All of these factors can combine in a way that causes weight loss, at least while these behaviors are maintained. Most of this weight loss will come from adipose tissue (otherwise known as body fat), but some of it may also come from lean mass (otherwise known as muscle tissue). One way to hang on to this muscle mass during any new workout plan is to make sure you’re getting enough protein, “so your body has the building blocks to rebuild that muscle tissue that you are naturally breaking down from exercising,” Dr. Pojednic says. Another strategy is to add some resistance training to your workout plan too, which is a great way to maintain or add muscle.  Here’s why some people may gain or maintain weight from running. Similar to the above, a lot of this comes down to calorie intake vs. expenditure. A 2019 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people often increase their calorie intake when they exercise. It’s certainly not uncommon to start a running plan and realize that you’re suddenly way more famished than usual. And, what’s more, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, even though weight gain tends to be demonized. Bodies need fuel, especially for increased exercise! 

20 Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Lovers and Loved Ones Alike

20 Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Lovers and Loved Ones Alike

You don’t need a date (on the calendar or IRL) to celebrate the special person in your life. Finding the best Valentine’s Day gifts for that someone is appreciated any time of the year. Though, if you’re preparing for February 14, we’re rolling out Valentine’s gift guides for all types of people and relationships. Whether it’s a gift for your boyfriend, a gift for your girlfriend, a friend, a family member, or even a self-care gift for yourself, don’t forget to share the love this year, especially when it may be tougher to see them due to omicron.Shopping for the perfect gift, however, isn’t always easy. Sure, there are the usual Valentine’s gift ideas like flower delivery services and boxes of gourmet chocolates (which are classics for a reason). But there are also a world of creative, thoughtful gifts out there, including relaxing gifts for the stressed-out partner, parent, or pal in your life or delicious gifts like wine and waffle makers for the foodie in your life. Perhaps they’re into meaningful, one-of-a-kind gifts like personalized keepsakes or useful gifts like sunrise clocks. No matter the case, we’re here to steer you in the right direction this Valentine’s Day.Continue to come back to this page as we sort out the best gifts to shop such as the best sexy gifts like special Valentine’s Day lingerie, expert-approved sex toys for couples, sweeter long-distance gifts for your BFFs, or subscription gifts that keep on giving.Love & Relationship Gifts For HimThese V-day gifts for guys run the gamut. Here are a few standouts that you can give your boyfriend, husband, friend, or father, including everything from skin-care gift sets to whiskey decanters to Apple AirPods to date-night essentials.Read More: Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for HimAmazonNekteck Shiatsu Neck and Back MassagerThis kneading massage pillow comes equipped with eight massage nodes and a relaxing heating function to help soothe your neck, shoulders, and back. Love & Relationship Gifts For HerHere are some thoughtful Valentine’s gift ideas (read: not a heart-shaped necklace or teddy bear) for the woman in your life, whether she’s your wife, girlfriend, BFF, or mom. Read More: Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for HerLunyaLunya Washable Silk SetTatchaTatcha Calming + Soothing TrioBearabyBearaby The Napper (15 lbs.)Love & Relationship Gifts for YouRomantic relationship or no, take Valentine’s as an opportunity to spoil the person with whom you spend the most time: you. After all, what is this holiday but an excuse to celebrate and pamper yourself too?NordstromSlip Pink Marble Pure Silk PillowcaseTushyTUSHY Classic 3.0 BidetNordstromSerene House Ultrasonic Cool Mist Aromatherapy DiffuserOlive & JuneOlive & June Mani SystemThis toolkit includes everything you need to take on a spa-level manicure at home.Sexy GiftsOf course, for all the sweetness of Valentine’s, let’s not overlook its sexy side. Intimacy goes hand in hand with romance, and there are many sexy gifts out there that can heat up the night. Whether you’re playing with a partner or flying solo, fun, flirty lingerie and warm, aromatic massage oils can amp up the foreplay, while excellent sex toys can increase your pleasurable sensation play. And whether you’re in the market for the best vibrator you can find (of which there are many, including G-spot vibrators, finger vibrators, and remote-controlled vibrators for those in a long-distance relationship) or looking to go further (with strap-ons, butt plugs, cock rings, or prostate massagers, say), we’ve got you covered with lust-worthy Valentine’s gift ideas.MaudeMaude Burn No. 1 Massage CandleNordstromIn Bloom by Jonquil Plunge Neck Lace Thong TeddyValentine’s Day Subscription GiftsFor picky people who prefer choosing their own gifts to some degree or gifts that last longer than a day, top-notch subscription gifts are a creative idea (and easy-to-send, since many come in the form of gift cards you can email). Plus, there is a smorgasbord of subscription services you can choose from—so many that we’ve dug in to find the best. Whether you’re searching for the best subscription boxes for men or women, you’ll find wine subscription boxes, cocktail subscription boxes, snack subscription boxes, meal delivery kits, and coffee subscription boxes for the foodie in your life. There are beauty subscription boxes and self-care subscription for those in need of pampering, clothing subscription boxes, grooming subscription boxes, and lingerie subscription boxes for the stylish set.Here are a few of our favorite services for Valentine’s—all of which deliver on a monthly basis, so your boo (or you) can extend the love for months.Related:

These Neurological Conditions Can Be the Culprit Behind Muscle Spasms

These Neurological Conditions Can Be the Culprit Behind Muscle Spasms

Anyone who has had tight muscles or a muscle spasm knows how uncomfortable and limiting these experiences can be. But when you have spasticity, which causes tight muscles and uncontrollable contractions, your pain is more than a temporary annoyance. Spasticity happens when all of your muscles contract at once, and is generally caused by injuries or neurological conditions, according to the Cleveland Clinic.Interested in learning more about what causes spasticity, as well as how it affects people with neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, stroke, and cerebral palsy? Here’s what you need to know:What causes spasticity and why does it affect people with neurological conditions?First, a primer on your nervous system: Your brain and spinal cord have nerve pathways that your brain uses to send and receive signals via neurons, or nerve cells, in order to communicate with the rest of your body, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This messaging allows you to do things like wave hello to someone or kick a ball. When everything runs as it should, your muscle movements are controlled, meaning some of your muscles tighten or contract, while other muscles relax, all of which plays a role in your range of motion and mobility.Spasticity usually occurs when the nerve pathways in your brain or spinal cord that help control muscle movement are damaged, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This malfunction can happen due to physical trauma, neurological conditions, or other forms of disease that can damage this area of the body, causing multiple muscles to contract at the same time, making them very tight.That’s because there’s a delicate balance of neurotransmitters, or chemical signals, in your body, and they work together to make sure your muscles are contracting and relaxing in tandem to produce smooth, steady muscle movements, Natalie Diaz, M.D., a neurologist at the Pacific Movements Disorder Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells SELF. If the parts of your nervous system that are responsible for movement become damaged, that balance is thrown off. The result: A bunch of muscles that shouldn’t contract when you go to do something actually do contract, causing spasticity, or disrupted muscle movement patterns.Usually, damage in the cerebral cortex or in the brainstem (the part of the brain that connects the brain and the spinal cord) causes spasticity, but researchers still don’t fully understand why spasticity occurs.Some experts theorize that spasticity happens because your body is attempting to recover function previously controlled by damaged areas by making new nerve connections—but these new connections don’t work well, Robin Cohen, M.D., physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Northwestern Medicine Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, tells SELF.Spasticity isn’t the same as a muscle twitch, medically known as myoclonus. A twitch happens when your muscles unexpectedly contract or relax, causing them to jerk. Most muscle twitches are nothing to worry about and happen when your body suddenly releases motor neurons (the ones responsible for movement) to a specific muscle, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. This can be set off by stress, anxiety, and fatigue, though it’s not totally clear why a twitch happens in the first place.What neurological conditions cause spasticity?As we mentioned, spasticity happens because of nerve damage, which is commonly associated with a number of health conditions. Some common neurological disorders that can lead to spasticity include: 

30 Healthy Instant Pot Dinners That Make Perfect Weeknight Meals

30 Healthy Instant Pot Dinners That Make Perfect Weeknight Meals

Sometimes you’re up for getting cheffy in the kitchen. Other times, not so much. That’s why Instant Pot dinners are such a lifesaver. At the end of a busy day, the last thing you want is to spend hours in the kitchen before you can actually sit down to eat. The Instant Pot gets rid of that problem in one of two ways, both of which are genius. You can either pop everything into the pot in the morning and let it slow-cook all day while you’re taking care of business, so everything’s ready when you walk in the door (or uh, close your laptop and head into the kitchen) after a hectic day. Other times, if you can spare 15 or 30 minutes, you can prep everything right then and use the pressure cooker feature to get food ready fast. Either way, you win.Whether you’re an experienced Instant Pot pro or you just got one as a gift and have no idea what to do with it, don’t worry. These healthy Instant Pot dinner recipes are pretty hard to mess up—as long as you can follow the directions, which are intended to be low-lift, you’ll likely end up with a delicious result. And maybe you’ll even find yourself getting inspired to come up with some Instant Pot recipes of your own.One more thing though: A note about the word healthy here: We know that healthy is a complicated concept. Not only can it mean different things to different people, but it’s a word that’s pretty loaded (and sometimes fraught), thanks to the diet industry’s influence on the way we think about food. At SELF, when we talk about food being healthy, sure, we’re talking about foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying. But we’re also talking about foods that help you connect with your culture, promote joy, and simply taste delicious. Some of those foods might fall into conventional ideas of what “healthy” is. And some might not. We selected these recipes with all of that in mind while also trying to appeal to a wide variety of nutritional needs and taste buds.Alright, are we ready to dive into the tasty goodness? Great. Here are 30 mouthwatering and healthy Instant Pot dinners worth trying tonight (or anytime). Add ’em to your cook-it list!

11 Things to Know Before Your First Vinyasa Yoga Class

11 Things to Know Before Your First Vinyasa Yoga Class

If it isn’t obvious (or you aren’t sure) what a class level is, call the studio and ask questions like: I’m new—is this class good for beginners? What teacher would you recommend for new students? Is it okay to ask questions during this class? Will we be walking through the poses one by one to get a handle of what they are? Does the teacher spend time in the poses themselves explaining what I should be feeling?“Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions ahead of time,” encourages Parikh, “because, ultimately, that will give you a better experience.”3. Finding the right fit with your instructor can enhance your experience.When it comes to finding a good teacher, keep an eye out for certain credentials. Ask the studio if their teachers have taken extra hours (and if so, how many) of anatomy, kinesiology, or movement science classes, says Parikh. Someone who has 200 or 300 hours of training in those areas will likely be better at teaching beginners than someone without that training, says Parikh. Folks trained in yoga therapy may also be well suited for beginners, Parikh adds.If accessibility is a concern for you, it might be worth looking for a yoga teacher who emphasizes that in their practice and has either lived experience or training around yoga for various body types and ability levels. “If the teacher is really able-bodied and has been athletic their whole life, they may have a little bit of trouble relating to a beginner”—versus somebody who has had a major injury or doesn’t come from an athletic background—says Parikh.Lastly, Briggs suggests finding an instructor you like and relate to in some way—someone who makes class an enjoyable experience for you, whether that’s because they have the same sense of humor, energy level, or taste in music. It may take a few tries to find a teacher you click with. That’s why if you have a less-than-stellar first-time experience, Briggs suggests trying out at least one more vinyasa class before deciding whether vinyasa is right for you.4. Classes typically range from 45 to 60 minutes.There’s no one set time period for a vinyasa class. But in general, classes are close to an hour, says Parikh. That said, some classes may be longer (up to 90 minutes) and others may be shorter (say, 30 minutes). Most often, the class length will be obvious when you sign up; if it’s not clear, call the studio and ask.5. You’ll flow through a variety of poses, some of which may be new to you.Like we mentioned, there’s no standard format for a vinyasa class. But there are some common poses you can probably expect, including downward facing dog, upward facing dog, plank, chaturanga (a “yogi push-up,” says Parikh) and lunge variations. You may also encounter balance-focused poses, like tree pose and warrior three, as well as squats and twists, Parikh adds. Most classes will end with a resting pose like savasana (corpse pose), says Parikh.6. The pace may feel more intense than other styles of yoga.The tempo of a vinyasa class really depends on the specific instructor and the style they are teaching that day, says Briggs. That said, in a typical class, you’re moving from one pose to another “usually pretty quickly” with a pace that can be described as “one breath, one movement,” explains Parikh. That means when you inhale, you’ll be in one pose, and as you exhale, you move into another pose. Because of this faster pace—which again, is not the standard in every vinyasa class—vinyasa may feel a little more intense than other styles of yoga.7. Comfortable, breathable clothing is best.First things first: You probably don’t need to buy a new outfit for vinyasa, says Briggs. Chances are you already have clothing in your closet that will work just fine for class. Also important: There’s not a specific uniform you need to wear to vinyasa, nor do you have to don the same exact clothing as other class goers. “You’re welcome to try different things out and do what works for you,” encourages Parikh.

The 11 Best Sex Positions to Bring You Closer to Your Partner

The 11 Best Sex Positions to Bring You Closer to Your Partner

Meanwhile, White notes that this is a position that can really center pleasure for people with a vagina. Not only does it have the potential to stimulate the G-spot, but it allows you to have more control over speed, movements, and rhythm. “This position is also great to explore other erogenous zones, including the neck and breasts, to increase pleasure,” White adds.4. SidewaysHere we have the face-to-face version of spooning—so you get the physical closeness plus the added benefit of being able to gaze into each other’s eyes, which spooning lacks. With the touching and the eye contact, experts agree that this is one of the best sex positions for closeness.If you’re looking to upgrade this position for help in climaxing, White recommends overlapping one another’s legs. Being closely intertwined like this will help you feel even more connected and let you experience each other’s sexual release in a really intimate, almost interconnected, way.5. StraddlingStraddling is a sex position where one partner sits down, legs straight, and the other faces them and settles down on top of them, wrapping their legs around their hips. The person on top can also straddle their partner in a squatted position to allow for more controlled movement, White says. You’ll both benefit from the eye contact, as well as the myriad opportunities for kissing this position presents.“The position also allows partners to go chest to chest and really lean into each other’s bodies, creating a closer connection, literally,” White explains. “This closeness allows you to melt into your partner and feel your bodies move as one and get in rhythm.” For penis-and-vagina sex in particular, this position also emphasizes the pleasure for the person with the vagina (they should be on top) as they are able to take control and guide their partner to enhance pleasure.6. Flatiron (Modified Doggy)Most people don’t immediately think of romance when they think of doggy style—it’s usually more associated with satisfying that down-and-dirty desire—but trust us when we say it can totally feel intimate. Just one simple variation to this popular sex position is all it takes to make you feel closer and more connected to your partner.Start by lying flat on your stomach. (So, nix the arguably not-super-romantic all-fours setup.) Then, have your partner position themselves between your legs to enter from behind, whether that’s using their hand, a strap-on or sex toy, their penis, etc. “Doggy style positions generally feel less personal and intimate, but flatiron/modified doggy is a bit of an exception because there is a lot of skin-to-skin contact and opportunity for the partner on top to kiss the back and neck of the partner on the bottom,” White says. “Again, doing it in front of a mirror can make it even hotter and more intimate.”7. LotusAn upgraded version of straddling, the lotus has one partner sitting cross-legged while the other sits on top, wrapping their legs around. “This is a great way to bring couples closer, as it is a classic tantric position for meditation and for pleasure,” White says. “With both partners face to face, this romantic position is a great way for intimate eye contact.” It hits all the right spots—in all kinds of ways.8. ButterflyFor penis-and-vagina sex, White recommends the Kama Sutra sex position known as butterfly. It requires the receiving partner to lie down face-up with their butt at the edge of the bed while the other stands pressed up against them. “It’s a passionate position that involves the vulva owner’s legs resting against the front of the penis owner’s body,” White explains. “While it does require core strength, this position makes it easy to access and stimulate the G-spot.”

7 Stretches to Do After a Cardio Workout for Better Flexibility

7 Stretches to Do After a Cardio Workout for Better Flexibility

You started with a dynamic warm-up, crushed a treadmill run, and are ready to hit the shower. Before you do, spend a few minutes doing these stretches for flexibility. Stretching may not be the most exciting part of your workout, but it’s an important tenant of a well-rounded fitness routine. Taking time to stretch after a cardio workout will help your body cool down, improve your flexibility, and keep your body working like a well-oiled machine.Why should you stretch after a cardio workout?As SELF has previously reported, stretching post-workout gives your body a chance to cool down properly. It’s important to make time for that—versus just abruptly stopping your workout—so that your body has a chance to slowly recalibrate. Otherwise, you might feel lightheaded or dizzy if your heart rate and breathing rate are trying to go from one extreme (intense!) to the next (less intense!). Stretching after a workout may also help you recover more quickly, thanks to the way it increases blood flow to muscles and soft tissues that need all those good nutrients and oxygen to repair themselves, Jennifer Morgan, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S., a sports physical therapist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, previously told SELF.Focusing on stretches for flexibility post-workout is typically recommended over doing them beforehand. Dynamic stretches, which are more active and focused on moving your body through similar motions that you’ll do in your workout, are great for warming up. But static stretches, which are the classic hold-a-stretch moves you think about when you think about flexibility training, are best to save until the end of the workout. As SELF has previously reported, research suggests static stretching can potentially reduce strength, power, and explosiveness if done right before a workout—all things you might need to crush your cardio routine.It’s also best to stretch when your body is already warmed up (to reduce the risk of pulling or straining anything). There’s no better time for warm muscles and tendons than right after a sweaty cardio workout.What are the best stretches to do after a cardio workout?In general, you want to focus on stretching the muscles you just used in your workout. After a cardio workout, that probably means your lower-body muscles. But remember that your core—including your abdominal muscles and back muscles—also do some serious work when you run, bike, or spend time on your favorite cardio machine. Even your upper back and shoulders might feel fatigued. They just worked hard, too, helping you to maintain correct upright posture.So, there’s no reason not to take advantage of your whole body being warm and primed for flexibility. Feel free to stretch anything that feels tight, or any problem areas you have—like, say, the lower back or neck and shoulders.The Best Stretches for Flexibility After CardioTry these moves after your cardio workouts to improve your flexibility and range of motion. Hold each one for at least 30 seconds to get the best benefits. If you don’t have time for all of them, pick the ones that target the areas you feel tightest, or the areas that feel the hardest hit from your workout.

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