Trainer Kira Stokes wants to change your definition of "the gym."
“The gym exists far beyond four walls,” the New York-based fitness instructor and creator of the Kira Stokes Fit app, tells SELF. “The biggest gym and the best gym is often just the great outdoors."
Stokes, whose clients include Ashley Graham, Shay Mitchell, and Candace Cameron Bure, demonstrated that philosophy earlier this week when she shared an Instagram video of her demoing a multipart lower-body move on a beachside bench in Santa Monica, California.
“I’m always about looking at your environment and finding a way to utilize whatever it is you come into contact with in a way that fatigues certain muscle groups in a seamless manner,” says Stokes. And this move—a combination of a step-up, reverse lunge, and jump lunge performed with just your bodyweight and an elevated platform—does exactly that.“It’s such a good move,” says Stokes. And though it combines multiple exercises, she adds that it's not overwhelmingly complex once you learn each part.
You can check out the video, via @kirastokesfit, here:
Photo: Leo Patrizi/GettyImages
It there’s one thing we could all use more of, it’s that bam-zing-POW invigorated feeling you get after a night of perfect sleep or—let’s be honest—an espresso shot. But those aren’t the only ways to put more pep in your step. It may seem counterintuitive, but expending energy with a good sweat can actually rev you up. “Exercise releases the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, as well as histamine, all of which are linked to feeling more energized,” says Patrick O’Connor, PhD, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia.
Not buying it? Tons of research has found that exercise is energizing. In an analysis of 70 studies, 90 percent found that sedentary people who completed a regular exercise routine improved their energy levels, whether they were healthy or had chronic illnesses. In some cases, exercise was a better treatment for fatigue than narcolepsy drugs, and one study found that walking raised energy more quickly than caffeine.
Sweat and a little superpower go hand in hand, clearly, so meet your most revitalizing workout ever.
PHOTO: Getty Images
Over your 20s, peek at your own risk.
Your 20s can spark a rocky journey into self-sufficiency that makes it very easy (tempting, even) to put your health on the backburner. For many of us, it can feel like a hamster wheel of working and socializing and doing Big Things—while things like sleep, nourishment, and exercise fall by the wayside.
It also doesn’t help that we’re often told we’re “so young!” and “have nothing to worry about!” even when it may not feel that way. Your 20s are filled with people telling you that you have your whole life ahead of you, that it’s totally OK to just relax and enjoy yourself. And while that’s all nice and valid, it can also contribute to a pretty lackluster attitude around taking care of yourself, especially if you’re generally considered to be in good health.
The thing is, it’s a whole lot easier to maintain good health than it is to reverse course once something is wrong. So, even though phrases like “preventive health screenings” and “flexible spending accounts” might make your eyes glaze over (same, TBH), it’s worth thinking about this stuff in your 20s and setting good habits as early as possible. It can also just feel good to be more mindful about your health in this often transitional, stressful time of our lives. You’re looking out for Current You and Future You.
“The earlier you start to get into a routine of these healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them in your life when it gets ... more complicated,” Erin Snyder, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and clinician-educator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, tells SELF.
With that in mind, here are nine health habits experts recommend nailing down in your 20s.
Remember when you and your wife were dating? It was really difficult to keep your hands off each other. You wanted her and she wanted you. That felt so good. It was awesome. There’s no better feeling than being desired. After marriage, and particularly after having kids, things have a way of changing. You are still ready to go every night, but she’s not. What happened? You feel like you rarely have sex anymore, and when you do it feels like she’s doing you a favor.
You work out, you look good, but it doesn’t make a difference. You’re lost. This whole married sex thing was supposed to be different. Couples counseling might be something to consider for deeper insight. However, these 5 Reasons Your Wife Doesn’t Want Sex will help you understand and show you what to do.
You may have talked with her about daily logistics or superficial things. She needs more. She wants to be seen, heard, and known. The disconnect causes her loneliness. It’s like she’s trapped in a dungeon alone. You need to free her.
Action: Talk to her about her. Find out how she is feeling, her insecurities, fears, and struggles. Also, share how you are feeling. Look at her–no distractions. Get tunnel vision for her. “Clear the mechanism.”
“The best place your wife can get affirmation from is you.” Her body has changed since having kids. She knows it and she probably thinks about it all the time, constantly comparing herself to other women. Even when she returns to her pre-kid body, I guarantee she’s still comparing–desperate for affirmation. The best place she can get it is from you.
Action: Affirm her. She needs to feel your passion for her in your words, body language, and eyes. Tell her she’s sexy and why—particularly when she makes a negative comment about herself. When you get home from work, greet her with a long hug and kiss before you greet the kids. Look into her eyes and don’t be in a hurry to look away. When you’re out, direct your eyes to her rather than other places. Give her a look that communicates, in a room full of people, she’s the only one you want to talk to.
Studies show that over the course of a relationship, a woman’s desire for sex decreases while her desire for tenderness increases. The problem is that our desire for sex stays just as high as always. Even at its highest state, her appetite might not have been as high as yours and probably never will be.
Action: Recognize this reality and be patient with her. Reach out to her with physical and emotional tenderness. That’s what she wants and needs. Try to meet her needs before your own.
Action: Give her some rest. Take the kids out for a day, run some errands for her, or clean the house. If she is stressed or depressed, rub her shoulders without her asking you. Give her a foot or full body massage. Tell her to kick back and relax. Give her music to listen to and light some candles. Take her tension away.
Women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the perfect mom–to have it all together. They beat themselves up for every little mistake or lack of knowledge. They compare and can obsess on eliminating imperfections. Sometimes our relationship as husband and wife gets lost. That’s not good. Your intimate relationship is important and needs her attention too.
Action: You need to talk to her about how you feel. However, make sure you are not prosecuting or pressuring her. Encourage her about how amazing she is as a mom. Let her know though that you miss her, want her, and desire her. It might even be okay to use the word jealous here. Your biggest concern should be for more intimacy–a significant need for each of you.
Content: BJ Foster/allprodad.com
There's no denying that all the muscles in your core are important. You need them all to be strong in order to keep your body stable and supported throughout everyday movements and intense workouts. But many workouts that target the abdominal muscles (and even compound exercises that don't necessarily target the core but engage those muscles indirectly) don't always do a good job of working the muscles responsible for twisting your torso and helping you bend from side to side. Those muscles I'm referring to are the obliques.
The oblique muscles run along the sides of your stomach and are an important piece of the core-stability puzzle. If your obliques are weak or just not working as well as they should, it can cause other areas to compensate (like your lower back) when you're twisting or turning your body. Of course, you should be incorporating some rotational exercises into your overall routine—think: wood chops, medicine ball rotation throws, and even sledgehammer swings—but doing an obliques-focused workout is also a great way to make sure these muscles don't get left out of any of the fun.
This workout focuses on one side of the body at a time, so that you can keep one side of your abdominal wall under tension for an extended period of time and really challenge all the muscles. The workout "helps with rotation to work into obliques, so that you have the ability to rotate with ease," says Stokes. "Oftentimes, lower-back issues come from rotating [the torso] incorrectly. This workout helps improve spinal rotation and stabilization."
The workout is set up so that you start with gentler moves to really warm up your core first, and then you'll add in rotating and pulsing movements, and then eventually, movements that have you fully contracting and extending your abdominal muscles. "This takes out any breaks," says Stokes, "and turns it into a flow of movement, which I truly feel is a great way to make the most of your time. It's super efficient and effective for working into the obliques."
On that note, let's get right to it:
You’re in your 20s, which means you might be focused on working out and feeling good, but you're likely not thinking about the nitty gritty of your physical health. And we get it: Between going out with friends and figuring out exactly how to adult, you've got a lot going on. But if you want to continue feeling great for years to come, you need a strong foundation. To start building that now, we recommend working toward three v. important (but totally do-able) goals and knocking them out of the park before the big 3-0 rolls around.
Here, we break down each one and give you all the intel you need to get the ball rolling. Ready?
Doctor appointments in your 20s are typically pretty uneventful, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get health insurance. For one thing, it’s the law: The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance that meets minimum standards —skip it, and you’ll pay a penalty at tax time. (Eek.)
The payoff: Aside from avoiding the financial penalty, having health insurance allows you to have an annual physical at very little cost to you. Your physical gives you and your doctor a gauge of your overall health, and a heads-up about potential problems you may experience as you head into your 30s, 40s, and beyond, says Dr. Adil Arabbo, MD, a family physician at Detroit Medical Center Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. Think of these annual check-ups in your 20s as a compass pointing toward how you should move forward in terms of your health, says Dr. Arabbo. There’s another big reason it’s good to have health insurance—even if you’re completely healthy: accidents. From breaking an arm to needing stitches, the costs of even a relatively simple appointment at an urgent care facility or the hospital can put a major dent in your budget. With a health insurance card in your wallet, it’s easier—and less expensive—to get treatment.
Getting started: Sure, finding insurance isn’t the most entertaining of activities, but it’s so worth it. And the task isn’t really that complicated—you can tackle it in an afternoon, or a few hours. If your employer provides insurance, review your options during the next open enrollment period. If you have questions, don’t be shy: Talk to your HR representative, call up the insurance company for deets, or do a bit of research online. (This guide may come in handy!)
If you’re buying insurance from your state’s marketplace, browse on the site to see and compare your state's options, and call providers with questions.
Finding a workout that you actually enjoy—whether it’s yoga at home or a weekly Spin class—will reduce the odds that you'll skip your workout when the weather is crummy, you're beyond tired, or you have killer period cramps. (We've all been there. Ugh!)
The payoff: Along with helping to control your weight and reducing the risk of heart disease and some cancers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that regular workouts boost mood (thanks, dopamine!) and help manage stress.
But those benefits can only happen with regular activity. “If you don’t like your exercise routine and find it a chore to do, then you won't stay with it long,” says Daniel Destin, ACSM, the manager of The Shipley Fitness Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
Getting started: What’s the trick to finding an exercise you adore? Destin recommends keeping your personality in mind—introverts and lovers of alone time may prefer solo workouts (think: jogging, swimming laps, and so on), while social butterflies may gravitate toward group fitness.
If you have a tough schedule—early mornings, late nights, or unpredictable hours—try working out at home with a mat, band, and exercise ball, Destin says. Even just 20 minutes will make a big difference!
Learn to cook a few wholesome dishes
Prepared foods at the grocery store along with readily accessible takeout make it easy to offload the responsibility of feeding yourself. However, those easy-to-grab foods are often full of sodium and sugar, and generally, just not so great for you.
The payoff: When you cook for yourself, studies suggest you'll likely eat fewer calories, and you'll also have total control over the quality of the ingredients you’re eating. Plus, it’s significantly cheaper. “You can eat pretty darn healthy for a small amount of money if you eat at home,” says Kelly Springer, RD, CDN, the founder of Kelly’s Choice.
Getting started: If you’re new to cooking, keep things simple. Springer—who admits she doesn't love cooking—follows what she calls the “power of five”. For every meal, include at least three of the following food groups: protein, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, fruits. Here are some examples of easy meals that fit the bill:
Looking to master some more sophisticated dishes? Start by finding a recipe with 10 ingredients or fewer and make it regularly, once a week for a month. By the end of the month, you’ll be able to whip up the meal without consulting the instructions. Think of it as ammunition against the temptation of Seamless after a long day or tough commute.
HEALTHCARE - WORKOUT - COOK - WHOLESOME - ACA - TWENTYSOMETHING - INSURANCE
After 10 years sleeping on my mattress, its divots and sags felt familiar to me; you could almost see the weight disparity between my husband and me just by looking at it. It turns out, those were sure signs my mattress had been used beyond its lifespan.
Experts at the National Sleep Foundation say mattresses typically need replacing after eight years; The Better Sleep Council pegs it at seven years. While the number of years may vary, both groups agree: Visible sagging is a sign your mattress is kaput. So to kick off my sleep makeover, I started with the obvious: a new mattress.
After a few nights sleeping on my new mattress, I noticed that my morning back pain was a thing of the past. My mid-sleep insomnia moments seemed to go away, and I actually woke up feeling rested. The mattress sleeps cool, too. That’s a big deal since my husband is a heat-emitting furnace, and sleep experts recommend cooler temperatures in the bedroom for better sleep.
It’s not just me that sees the difference, either. After a week or so in, my husband compared my sleep to, first, a brick, and then a log, before running out of inert, heavy objects.
Anyone who’s ever indulged in midnight pizza—and suffered through unsettled sleep and distressing dreams afterward—knows all too well that late-night eating can mess with your shut-eye like whoa. I’ve totally been there, and yet, as the witching hour approaches, my cravings for sweets and snacks (kept under tight control all day) heighten.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends avoiding large meals before bedtime and eating a light, healthy snack if you’re hungry. (I’m guessing a peanut butter cup doesn’t count? 🤷🏻♀️) I made a new rule for myself: No eating after 9 p.m. Bedtime for me is typically between 11 and midnight, so that gave me a couple of solid hours of food-free time before lights out.
This self-imposed guideline was a bigger challenge than I expected. The first hitch came just a few days in: I went out for happy hour drinks, and making dinner once I got back home took longer than I anticipated. I was still eating when my "stop eating" alarm went off.
Water became my biggest support. Now, I sip it whenever I crave something sweet or salty, or just something to nibble on. Let’s just say, I’m profoundly well hydrated.
By now, you're probably well aware: Electronic screens (that includes TVs and smartphones) before bed are a big mistake. According to The National Sleep Foundation, screen time can reduce your production on melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. In turn, your brain feels totally wired. (Turns out, the segue from news and emails to rest is not a smooth one.) So for 30 minutes before bed, I went screen-free. No Netflix binging, no Instagram double-tapping, and absolutely no checking my email.
This wasn't easy. Turns out, I somehow forgot how to go to bed without my phone and time spent roaming around online. I opted to read an old-fashioned paperback instead. I tried to read in the living room until I got sleepy, then go right to bed; I also tried reading in bed before shutting out my bedside light.
Basically, this meant I went into my bedroom and crawled under the covers when I got sleepy (as opposed to using the clock as my cue). The experts are correct: I drifted off easier this way. And, I’m very pleased that my work-related dreams seemed to dial down as well.
Photo: YULIA LISITSAGETTY IMAGES
It’s no surprise that sitting all day does some undesirable things to our bodies. Research has linked excessive sitting with an elevated risk for health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll get heart disease just because you have a desk job—but sitting isn’t doing your body any favors.
Sitting all day can also impact us physically. Sitting for long periods of time, especially with poor posture, makes your hip flexors tight, which causes the glutes (butt muscles) to lengthen to compensate. Over time, this compromises the ability of the gluteal muscles to activate properly, leading to a condition called gluteal amnesia, AKA dead butt syndrome. When your glutes can't do their job, other muscles in your body have to work harder, which ultimately can overwork them, leading to poor body alignment and aches. Tight hip flexors also make it harder for your pelvis to rotate properly—inhibited mobility in this area can cause compression and pain in the lower back, physical therapist Dan Giordano, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., and co-founder of Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy in New York City, tells SELF.
If you spend most of your time sitting, there is some good news. While it is true that sitting for most of the day isn’t healthy, there are some ways you can help undo the damage, Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness in New York City, tells SELF. For starters, Tamir recommends standing up for at least 30 to 40 minutes a day. “A standing desk is also a good option as it will help you become more aware of your posture and engage your core muscles,” he says.
In addition, doing certain exercises when you’re off the clock can also make a huge difference, especially ones that focus on strengthening the posterior (back) part of your body—like your back, glutes, and hamstrings—while stretching the anterior (front) muscles such as your hip flexors, pelvis, and chest. This helps counteract the tightness that ensues when you're in a seated position, plus strengthens the muscles that we need for good posture (read: to be strong enough to simply sit upright and stand up straight).
We asked Tamir to put together a great workout that can help undo some of the negative effects of sitting all day. “These exercises are designed to strengthen the core, work the posterior muscles of the body, engage the legs, and help with proper pelvic and spinal alignment,” he says. “Together, these moves help to offset the imbalances associated with long periods of sitting.”
So what are you waiting for? Hop up off your butt and try this routine STAT.
PHOTO: Amber Venerable
A recent series of tragic deaths has underscored how traumatic events can claim lives years after the fact. Three people affected by mass shootings—the father of a girl killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 and two students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018—have died of apparent suicides. In the wake of these incomprehensible losses, it’s clearer than ever that trauma can lead to years-long suffering. If somebody you love has survived a traumatic event, be it public (like a natural disaster or terrorist attack) or private (such as a sexual assault), you may not be sure how best to be there for them on this journey. While survivors can have very different responses to trauma, interpersonal support is one of the core pieces of recovery, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Here, several trauma counselors and one trauma survivor explain how to help a friend or family member who has been through something horrible. Exactly what they need from you will depend on your relationship and evolve throughout their recovery, but the suggestions below are a good place to start.
“Acknowledge that what has happened to them is terrible,” Daniel A. Nelson, M.D., advisory board member of the USC National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB) and medical director of the Child Psychiatry Unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. You can do this by saying something like, “This is a truly horrible thing that has happened. I can see you’re in an incredible amount of pain.” It might feel like you’re saying something obvious, but this affirmation can be reassuring. “It’s about articulating that you see they are in pain and that you are OK with holding that pain,” Katherine Marshall Woods, Psy.D., a Washington, D.C.–based psychotherapist in private practice and adjunct professor of clinical psychology at George Washington University. This was helpful for Manya C., 53, who was sitting in the bleachers across the street from where the first of two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon in 2013. She appreciated when people confirmed that it really was a devastating event. “Just letting me know that they [understood] that ... was validating,” Manya, who advocates for and speaks about those who are psychologically impacted by trauma.
You might feel a natural urge to fill the silence when you want to help but don’t know what to say, says Dr. Nelson, who has counseled survivors of traumatic events including the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, the September 11 terror attacks, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. This typically comes out of wanting to “fix” the situation, Dr. Nelson says. But you can’t “fix” someone’s trauma, especially not by talking nonstop. It’s better to be present as they work through their feelings. “It’s really hard to mess up if you’re just intent on listening,” Dr. Nelson says. Manya remembers breaking down sobbing, seemingly out of nowhere, while at dinner with a friend a few weeks after the bombing. Her friend remained calm and stayed with her until she was done crying before asking Manya where her tears were coming from. “She didn't tell me, ‘Don’t cry,’ or offer me advice. She just listened and was present,” Manya recalls.
Survivors are often reluctant to open up because they’re afraid a loved one will not have the emotional capacity to understand, says Marshall Woods, who has counseled active military personnel and their families in the Middle East and natural disaster survivors through the American Red Cross. Unless you’ve been through very similar trauma, you don’t get it. And that’s fine. What matters most is that you’ll be there anyway. Say something like, “I cannot begin to imagine what you’re going through right now, but I am here for you whenever you are having a hard time.” This kind of statement acknowledges the reality—that you don’t understand—while reinforcing your willingness to be there. “It’s a piece of security that can really help them feel safe,” Marshall Woods says. Manya remembers how helpful it was when a friend expressed this. “Hearing her honestly say, ‘I don’t know what to do to help you, but I’m here’ was huge for me,” Manya says. “I didn’t know what I needed either. But I knew she was there to listen, and that started a really great conversation.”
It’s not unusual for survivors to prefer not to talk about their feelings, even with some of the people closest to them. Discussing trauma with someone who doesn’t understand can be draining. “There are things I don't have to say to a survivor, for example, because they get it—things I would have to explain to a friend,” Manya explains. While it’s OK (and encouraged) to ask if your loved one feels like speaking, respect that they may not want to, Dr. Nelson says. Part of being a good support system is being there for them regardless of how much they will or won’t share. If your loved one is still navigating how much they’re comfortable sharing, Marshall Woods recommends figuring out a verbal or nonverbal cue they can give you to back off when they need space, no questions asked.
Survivors often get a lot of support immediately after the traumatic event, but attention from the media, the public, and loved ones tend to dwindle soon after. “It feels like other people have gone on living their lives normally as if the trauma has not even happened, when it’s still very much alive for them,” Marshall Woods explains. Let the person you love know that you’re still continuing to think of them by checking in accordingly. “Knowing that someone has their eyes on them can be a real source of support and security,” Marshall Woods says. She also suggests offering to sit in silence with the person if they don’t feel like talking but don’t want to be alone. Manya’s family members called her every day for longer than she expected after the attack. The conversations weren’t long, but the constant reminder of their presence and concern was comforting. “It meant a lot to me just to get those calls,” she says.
If your loved one has been through a highly publicized trauma, such as a mass shooting, the early deluge of media coverage may continually retraumatize them. If you think they’re having this problem, you can ask if they want help limiting their media exposure. You can do this by changing their news alerts and muting certain hashtags or words on Twitter, for instance. This helps some people feel safer throughout the recovery process, Marshall Woods says. But it’s possible your friend may want to stay up with the news coverage because it helps them feel less alone. “They [may be] grateful that people are taking notice of the pain they're experiencing and that people are grieving with them,” Marshall Woods explains. So, even if your friend is visibly upset by news stories about what happened, keep in mind that this may be a part of their healing process.
Looking for a silver lining can be great in many situations. The aftermath of trauma usually isn’t one of them. “When someone is feeling this pain, you need to meet them there,” Marshall Woods says. “You want them to feel better now, but that is not the reality of where they are.” Urging your friend to be optimistic or not “dwell” on the tragedy communicates that you’re not accepting how they’re feeling. What you mean as an expression of hope (“Things will get better!”) can come off as a dismissal of their suffering and make them feel misunderstood. “Usually when the individual hears something like that, they think ‘You're trying to fix me, and you don’t know the first thing about what’s wrong,’” Dr. Nelson explains.
If you’re concerned for your loved one’s well-being—like if they are struggling to eat, get out of bed, go to work, or otherwise function months after the event—you can offer to help connect them with some professional resources like a therapist or support group, Dr. Nelson says. (Even if they are currently receiving mental health treatment, if it doesn’t seem effective, you may be able to help them find a better option.) This is also a good idea if you begin to feel overwhelmed with the level of support they need from you. “Sometimes it's really hard to hear these stories,” Dr. Nelson says, “and it’s important to have the proper tools to metabolize it.” Friends and family of survivors can even experience secondary trauma, according to SAMHSA. It’s OK to be mindful of your limits and communicate those needs in a compassionate way. In that situation, Dr. Nelson suggests saying something like, “What you're telling me sounds like it really deserves the appropriate level of support, and it may be more than I know what to do with. I would love to know you're with somebody who really knows what they’re doing. Can we hit pause and work on finding you that help?”
The aftermath of trauma is complex, evolving, and inscrutable at times—not just to outsiders, but also to the people who are in it. “Trauma generally is an experience of something that is so chaotic that our brains really struggle to…make meaning out of what has happened,” Marshall Woods explains. Be prepared for emotions to be intense and fluctuating, Dr. Nelson says. Also keep in mind that your loved one may struggle to understand why they are feeling the way they are, or to even know what it is they’re feeling. This was Manya’s experience in the first few months after the bombing before she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “At the time, ‘I was thinking I should be better, I shouldn't feel like this,’” she says. You can’t speed up the recovery process for your loved one, but you can remain a steady, patient, and adaptable source of love throughout. “It can be a roller coaster,” says Manya. “But people should understand it’s normal to feel this way and that they can heal.”
PHOTO: Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection
Ben Bruno, who trains Handler and other celebrities like Kate Upton, has a unique philosophy on fitness. He's not a fan of burpees (me either) and he's been known to whip up a challenging combo move when a client needs a little more challenge. And when his existing roster of abs moves isn't quite doing the trick? He invents a brand new one. This week, Bruno took to Instagram to demonstrate a core move he made up. "I have no idea what to call it, but it’s awesome," he captioned his video. The exercise is a combination lying leg raise and an isometric band-apart, using a resistance band and medicine ball to amp up a traditional leg lift.
You can check it out, via @benbrunotraining, below:
Removing pubic hair is a cosmetic choice that may have health consequences for some women.
Before we get started we need to get one fact straight — pubic hair is on your vulva (the outside, where your clothes touch your skin), not your vagina, which is internal or at the vaginal opening (think of the places you touch when reaching inside for a rogue tampon).
Pubic hair serves several biological purposes. It is a physical barrier protecting the skin; it traps discharge, dirt, and debris; it also traps moisture, helping the vulvar skin maintain a higher moisture content relative to skin elsewhere on your body. As each pubic hair is attached to a nerve, tugging during sex may also increase sexual stimulation. Pubic hair may also have a role in the dispersal of normal odors.
Pubic hair removal is common — approximately 80 percent of women ages 18 to 65 report they remove some or all of their pubic hair. Pubic hair removal is associated with medical risks — in one study, 27 percent of women who reported removing their pubic hair had sustained an injury at some point and 2.5 percent reported needing surgical intervention (think draining an abscess or stitches). Infections related to pubic hair removal can be very serious.
There is also emerging data that links pubic hair removal with an increased risk of some sexually transmitted infections (S.T.I.s), such as herpes and the human papillomavirus (HPV). The microtrauma of hair removal may facilitate transmission or change the environment of the area in other ways that facilitate infection.
Trends regarding pubic hair removal wax and wane (sorry about the pun), much like eyebrow shape. Removing pubic hair is not right or wrong, it is a cosmetic choice that has medical risks. Adults make decisions about their bodies every day; ideally, those decisions are informed and reached after you have balanced your personal risk-benefit ratio.
Whatever you decide is right for your body, please do not remove your pubic hair for a visit to the gynecologist. It is not necessary and we would not want you to incur any risk of injury or infection on our behalf.
Dr. Jen Gunter, Twitter’s resident gynecologist, is teaming up with our editors to answer your questions about all things women's health. From what's normal for your anatomy, to healthy sex, to clearing up the truth behind strange wellness claims, Dr. Gunter, who also writes a column called, The Cycle, promises to handle your questions with respect, forthright, ss and honesty.
If you’ve ever sprawled on the couch post-meal and felt the urge to burp or fart more than usual, you might wonder if lying down after eating causes gas production to skyrocket. While there are a lot of medical mysteries out there, this thankfully isn’t one of them. You definitely might feel gassier if you lie down after eating, but interestingly enough, it’s not because being in this position directly increases how much gas you make.
Instead, there are a few other very real reasons why you feel all gassed up when you lie down after eating. As with many of the body’s less delightful (but still entirely normal) functions, the processes involved are pretty fascinating.
Let’s talk about how and why you burp. Having gas is one of those shared experiences that unite human beings. “All living people produce gas,” Christine Lee, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. In general, most people create an almost impressive one to three pints of gas per day, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You produce a lot of this gas when you naturally swallow air as you breathe, Dr. Lee explains. That air often exits your body the same way it entered: through your mouth. According to the Cleveland Clinic, burping is the more common way to expel gas from the body. In fact, it can be normal to burp up to 20 times a day, says the Mayo Clinic. You might be more likely to burp a lot if you drink a lot of carbonated beverages too.
However, as you and your butt both know, gas can also make a journey from your mouth to your anus. Here’s how the food you eat sometimes leads to farts. Some of the air you swallow will stick around in your stomach before you eventually let it out as a fart, the Cleveland Clinic explains. (Or produce flatus, if you’re into medical terms.) But the normal digestive processes in the colon (large intestine) play an even bigger role in farting than swallowed air does. Your stomach and small intestine digest much of the food you consume, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). When your body has difficulty digesting carbohydrates including sugar, starches, and fiber—as well as any nutrients you may not tolerate well, like lactose—that food passes undigested into your colon.
Normal, healthy bacteria in the colon work to break down that food, and this naturally creates gases including hydrogen and carbon dioxide, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Some of this gas remains in the GI tract, where it can cause symptoms like uncomfortable abdominal bloating and pain. Some jostle through your GI tract due to peristalsis (the muscle contractions in your digestive tract after you consume food), then exits the body as flatulence. If the bacteria in your colon creates enough sulfur while producing those gases, that unmistakable fragrance may blow your cover even if your fart was totally silent.
Some different medical bodies have different takes on normal farting frequency, but usually not by much. For instance, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s perfectly normal to fart anywhere from 14 to 23 times a day. The Merck Manual puts this number at 13 to 21 times a day. Either way, that’s a lot of farting.
What you eat may influence your farting frequency. According to the NIDDK, certain foods including beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts tend to produce more gas than others during digestion. Surprisingly, that catchy song about beans being musical is scientifically accurate for some people.
No matter your physical position, it’s normal to feel gassier after a meal because you swallow more air when you eat and drink, especially if you’re talking. Since swallowed air most often comes back up through your mouth, if you do expel this gas, it will frequently manifest as a burp. (Eating won’t produce an uptick in flatulence right away since it typically takes between six and eight hours for food to make it to the colon where bacteria can work its magic.)
Beyond that, the phenomenon of feeling gassier when lying down post-meal may be based in part on perception, Dr. Lee explains. Going about your busy life can distract you from how your body feels, she says. If you’re lying down and not as active, you can become more aware of your body—and your gas.
Then there’s the actual physics of being horizontal. It may be easier for gas to accumulate into larger, more noticeable pockets when you’re lying down, Dr. Lee says. When you’re upright or moving around, the gravitational pull from your vertical orientation and your constant jostling keep little gas bubbles scattered throughout the GI tract, Dr. Lee says. Those influences aren’t as potent when you’re still and lying down, so those bubbles can become consolidated into larger masses, Dr. Lee explains, making your gas feel more noticeable.
While lying down can make you super in-tune with your gas, it can also make it harder to expel that air. Lying down puts pressure on the anal opening in a way that can make it a little tougher to naturally pass gas, Dr. Lee explains. “It is also harder to burp lying down, as gravity hinders gas traveling up from the stomach to the esophagus,” she says.