Healthy Habits
Eat right, and toss those stilettos
Reader’s Digest, May

Some are obvious and others will surprise you, but many habits, or behaviors, can harm your health, according to Reader’s Digest. The magazine focuses on five, from the book “The End of the Illness” by David B. Agus.

Avoiding flu shots because you’re afraid of needles increases your chance of catching the flu, obviously. But the inflammation that comes along with the flu can damage blood vessels and might increase your risk of heart disease. Irregular patterns of sleeping and eating can raise your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Fruits and vegetables can lose many of their disease-fighting compounds during lengthy transport. So while it’s great to eat such foods every day, go for frozen versions if you can’t buy local or in season; they will deliver better nutrition. Hitting the gym daily is great, but remaining sedentary the rest of the day can raise your blood sugar, blood pressure and even cholesterol. Finally, those cute little stilettos you wear? They can cause inflammation and even chronic pain. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Exercise DVDs
If you can’t go to the spa . . .

If you’re looking for a mellow wellness vacation but are stuck in your own living room, give this DVD a try. Instructors from the famous fitness getaway spa focus on healthful-living suggestions rather than simply losing weight or building muscle. So there’s lots here about eating well and living stress-free while you’re getting exercise. Choose from three 25-minute workouts: core, strength training and yoga. The core and strength training routines are similar: You’ll do a lot of squats and lunges with a medicine ball or dumbbells. The yoga practice is subdued and relaxing: There is something very calming about watching the instructors lead you through mountain pose, or tadasana, against a mountainous desert backdrop. This DVD is good if you are looking for a restorative workout, but if you’re a fitness junkie, you’ll probably get bored. And unfortunately, you’re still in your own living room.

Whitney Fetterhoff