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Top 10 most-read (non-covid) wellness stories for 2021

Our most-read wellness story of the year was about ... showering. (iStock)
4 min

Let me admit, right off, that we are cheating. If we listed 2021′s top 10 wellness stories by online readership, most of them would be about the coronavirus.

Covid-19 also dominated last year, when we grouped the top 20 stories of 2020 into 12 subject areas. Only two non-covid topics broke through that year: the effect of high-intensity interval training on belly fat and maintaining muscle as you age.

This year, we thought everyone needed a little mental break from the pandemic. Below you will find the top 10 most-read non-coronavirus wellness stories. Most of them focus on everyday concerns — but there are a few odd phenomena in there.

1. The best way to shower

You can’t find a much more everyday subject than showering. This idea came up when we were talking about the common divide between people who prefer to shower at night (to be squeaky-clean before bed) and those who prefer to shower in the morning (to help them wake up). We wondered: Could experts put this debate to rest by telling us the best time to take a shower, health-wise?

The answer was no — but they had plenty of other advice about showering. “Save your skin: How you shower matters more than when, dermatologists say” was our top-read story of the year, beating all the coronavirus stories, which was a bit of a surprise, because the experts also told us that people were showering less because of the pandemic.

2. The dangers of ibuprofen

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) was hospitalized for a perforated ulcer that probably developed because she was taking too much of an over-the-counter pain reliever commonly found in many people’s medicine cabinets. Read here: “Ibuprofen and ulcers: What Rep. Debbie Dingell’s emergency surgery can teach us.”

3. Curiosity about CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is hardly an everyday procedure. But after model Linda Evangelista sued because of a cosmetic treatment gone wrong, many readers were interested in finding out what, exactly, the procedure entails. Read here: “Linda Evangelista says CoolSculpting ‘disfigured’ her. Here’s what experts say about the procedure.

4. Life in your years

This story focused not on how to live a long time, but on how to do so in a way that will help you enjoy those years. It had tips about diet, exercise and mental outlook that people of any age could appreciate. Read here: “Want to add healthy years to your life? Here’s what new longevity research says.

5. Good veggie, not-so-good veggie

We’ve all heard the advice to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But it turns out that what kinds of fruits or vegetables we eat matter. Some help reduce your risk of death or diseases. Others don’t. Yes, we’re looking at you, french fries. Read here: “Which fruits and vegetables don’t count toward your ‘5 a day’? New study has answers.

6. The Gorilla Glue saga

A hard-to-look-away-from household disaster story. Read here: “She used Gorilla Glue as hair spray. After 15 washes and a trip to the ER, it still won’t budge.

7. A reversal on aspirin

This story was a real shocker for middle-aged and older Americans who have heard the low-dose daily aspirin advice for decades. Read here: “Americans should limit use of daily aspirin meant to prevent heart attack or stroke, task force says.”

8. When workouts go too far

Reading about this unusual condition is the closest most of us will ever get to rhabdomyolysis, which is usually caused by overexertion during extreme workouts. Still, readers were very interested. Read here: “Rhabdo is rare but potentially fatal. Here’s why fitness experts fear a rise in cases this summer.

9. What’s that weird taste?

This, too, seemed like somewhat of a niche story, but it turned out that readers could identify. Read here: “Do you sometimes taste blood when working out? Here’s what might be happening.

10. Back in middle school

A completely relatable story that captivated readers, many of whom took to the comments to pour out their memories of being bullied. Read here: “When the ‘mean girl’ is a woman: How to deal with an adult bully.”