Many brides go on crash diets and intense gym regimens in pursuit of a pre-wedding slimdown, but how many maintain their conditioning after the big day? Caroline Tiger states in the October issue of Fitness that “the average married woman piles on about nine pounds over five years compared to the single woman,” citing a study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A brain chemical shift may be to blame. “When you’re dating, almost everything you do together is new and exciting,” Tiger writes, then quotes a scientist who told her: “Novelty drives up the dopamine system in the brain, and that gives you energy, which makes you more active and keeps your weight down.” The good news is that couples can use health and fitness as a bonding activity. Personal trainer Jennifer Cohen suggests couples take turns picking activities they can do together: “Your husband signs you both up for golf lessons one month; you arrange dance lessons the next.” Most important, make your own wellness a priority, because the happier you are individually, the more successful the relationship.
Who doesn’t love to feel the burn after pumping reps on weight machines? But that machine-induced burn can cause problems. Women’s Health editors Stephen Perrine and Lean Fleckinger took a look at 10 popular pieces of gym equipment and came up with alternate exercises that they say produce results while limiting strain on the body. One example is the seated shoulder press machine, which aims to train the shoulders and triceps. Perrine and Fleckinger explain that “Overhead pressing puts undue stress on the shoulders, and the movement doesn’t let you use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something overhead.” Instead, they suggest medicine ball throws to tone the same muscle groups, rising to throw the ball at a wall and squatting to catch it in one continuous motion. By incorporating these alternate forms of exercise, they say, you can go for the burn and and avoid injury.