Easy exercise moves to help you get fit for spring

Working out is a challenge in every single way. First of all, who has the time? And, how are you supposed to know what to do? Finally, who can afford an expensive gym membership?

We get it. You’re basically losing at the fitness game before you even get started. That’s why certified personal trainers Anna Victoria and Will Weber are here to help. They stopped by TODAY to share one simple exercise to do each day of the week. They’re beginner-friendly and they’ll help you work your up to that hour-long spin class.

Easy exercise moves to help you get fit for spring

PLAY VIDEO – 2:45

Easy exercise moves to help you get fit for spring

PLAY VIDEO – 2:45

Are you ready? Watch the video above, and follow along with the descriptions outlined below. One exercise each day — you got this!

Here are more detailed instructions of how to do the moves:

Monday

Box squats: This exercise helps teach you proper squat form by forcing you to squat back onto the platform behind you.

Tuesday

Incline push-ups: This move challenges your upper body and core muscles. It’s a great exercise to improve upper-body strength for everyday life.

Wednesday

Kneeling step-ups: This functional movement strengthens the legs and abs, and allows us to maintain hip mobility.

Thursday

Leg pulses: This small movement produces big results! Keep your back flat on the ground and raise your legs up towards the air.

Friday

Anna Victoria

Lying opposite arm toe reach: This exercise helps engage your core without needing to do a traditional sit up, which can cause back or neck pain.

Saturday

Courtesy of Will Weber

Heavy pants row: This is an upper back movement that strengthens the muscles related to posture and helps us strengthen our lower back in a safe way.

Sunday

The 1 Exercise You Should Do Every Day

PLAY VIDEO – 0:44

The 1 Exercise You Should Do Every Day

PLAY VIDEO – 0:44

Push-up downward dog: Start in a high plank position, do a push-up, then push yourself into downward dog position.

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Malfunctioning immune system may explain chronic Lyme symptoms

Most people with Lyme disease are cured by antibiotics, but a certain percentage go on to have lasting symptoms even though it looks like all bacteria have been wiped out. A new study suggests lingering symptoms may be due to an immune system malfunction triggered by the original infection.

Using a mouse model to explore what could be happening to unlucky patients, researchers discovered that an infection with the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, could spark an aberrant immune reaction in which cells that normally target specific pathogens become activated in a more general way. In other words, the body is attacking itself.

“I grew up in Vermont and Lyme disease affected people all around me,”said the study’s lead author Sarah Whiteside, a graduate student at the University of Utah. “It was far worse for those people that continued to suffer even after antibiotic treatment.”

Of the more than 300,000 Americans who contract Lyme disease each year, about 10 percent continue to suffer from symptoms after treatment with antibiotics, which can include arthritis, fatigue and mental fogginess.

Whiteside was hoping to find an explanation for those prolonged symptoms. The lab research indicates an out-of-whack immune response could be what’s responsible for the persistent symptoms in chronic Lyme disease patients.

In the new study, mice specially designed to explore this kind of question were infected with the Lyme bacteria. The researchers watched to see how the rodents’ T-cells — the scouts of the immune system in both people and mice—would respond to infection in the joints.

“We could not detect the expected T cell response that targets the [Lyme] bacterium,” said coauthor Janis Weis, a professor in the department of pathology in the division of microbiology and immunology at the University of Utah. “Instead, and to our surprise, we found that many T cells were activated but with no specific target. This T cell response was sufficient to eliminate the bacteria from the joint tissue, but the arthritis persisted for 18 weeks, and would probably have gone on much longer if the experiment had continued.”

‘This is a real illness’

The new research may at least give some comfort to those who have been suffering from symptoms long after their Lyme disease was treated.

For many years, patients with persistent symptoms were told it was all in their heads. But these days, scientists are learning that “this is a real illness,” said Dr. John Aucott, a Lyme specialist and an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Science Can’t Agree if Chronic Lyme Disease is Real

PLAY VIDEO – 1:21

Science Can’t Agree if Chronic Lyme Disease is Real

PLAY VIDEO – 1:21

Aucott’s own recent study found that even though people with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) didn’t test differently from healthy people, they still suffered from a panoply of nasty symptoms. “A lot of people in the past said they aren’t sick, but we showed they are,” Aucott said. “And it’s not just aches and pains.”

Aucott, who is not affiliated with the Utah research, suspects that the new model may apply to more than just arthritis. The model is showing that the immune system can become very dysfunctional in some people, he said.

If you think of the immune system as an army, this non-directed attack could be seen as “friendly fire,” Aucott said. “You don’t want a guy who is shooting in every direction because then you can get friendly fire damage.”

Ultimately the research may help scientists find better treatments for PTLDS. It’s possible that short courses of immune suppressing drugs might quiet things down long enough to make a difference, Weis said.

“Patients wouldn’t always be immunosuppressed, Weis said. “Quieting of the inflammation might allow everything to reset.”

Many people do develop one or more of the common signs of Lyme after being infected by a tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these symptoms include:

3 to 30 days after tick bite:

  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash, which begins at the site of the tick bite after a few days. It expands gradually and sometimes resembles the classic bull’s-eye appearance.

Days to months after tick bite:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional rashes on other areas of the body
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints
  • Facial palsy
  • Pain in tendons, muscles
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heart beat
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
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Skin care is nothing new

Skin care is nothing new — so stop shaming women for doing it

Taking a look at history shows us that skin care is in no way “new.”

by Heidi N. Moore /  / Source: TODAY

Getty Images

It’s 2018 and women are still looking for what Virginia Woolf called “a room of one’s own,” a private space with a lock where she can tend to herself. Maybe the bathroom is that room, judging by the billions of dollars women are pouring into skin care.

Spending on prestige beauty in the U.S. has been growing steadily and now comes to $17 billion a year, according to the NPD Group — nearly all of it driven by women. As the skin care industry has boomed, the bathroom has become a place where women take care of their physical bodies and their emotional health. For many, it’s armor against a world that tells women they should put down the cleansers and peels to give their time to someone else: putting their family or their job or their kids or their parents or anyone else ahead of them.

There’s no one right way to be a woman, so let’s stop insisting that there is.

There’s no one right way to be a woman, so let’s stop insisting that there is.

One publication made a splash earlier this week when it called this “New Skincare” as a frivolous, ineffective fad in which women waste their money and punish themselves with “chemical violence” caused by exfoliating acids. The overall implication of the piece is that skin care as it’s currently practiced can only come from self-loathing and brainwashing, and if women really loved themselves they would do nothing to their skin. Let’s just say skin care advocates on social media reacted … strongly.

That’s a double standard as old as human civilization: Women should be beautiful, but shouldn’t reveal how they’ve worked at it, or else they’re a vamp or a Jezebel (or being duped, apparently). Yes, women should have the option to do nothing to their skin. If a woman wants to wash her face with water alone, she should be able to do so. If she wants to put 12 serums on her face, she should also be able to do it. If she swears by mashed tomato face masks, that’s her prerogative. There’s no one right way to be a woman, so let’s stop insisting that there is.

The smartphone created a revolution. Women quickly used online and social media platforms to take people “behind the scenes” of what went into their looks for the first time in history. Early on, there was a trend toward heavy, almost theatrical, makeup, led by Kim Kardashian and her passion for contouring, that launched thousands of YouTube tutorials. Now that confidence manifests in women publicly pampering their skin — talking over YouTube, blogs and text messages about lactic acids and snail-mucin masks.

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We tried a beauty mask made of snail mucus

02:00

It’s a conversation in which women are talking to each other, literally exposed, with clean skin, complete with freckles, pimples, dark spots and all their flaws in the open. In the world of skin care discussion, on blogs or on YouTube or Instagram, women are frank and confessional about their struggles with acne or wrinkles or stress.

The “New Skincare” means women continue to post pictures of themselves with positive captions, a revolutionary public act of self-assertion in a world in which impossible beauty standards could keep women feeling ugly and mostly silent. And they share their tips freely; they’re proud of what they’ve learned and want other women to have good experiences, whether it’s about products or diet or routine. If the “New Skincare” exists, it’s mostly about a sense of community and pride in taking care of oneself.

Ellie Kemper will live with adult acne (if she can still eat ice cream)

01:34

That’s why I believe the debate that popped up about skin care isn’t really about the virtues of protecting the skin’s barrier in an optimal way. It’s about judging women’s choices, and shaming women for them. It’s one of the oldest cultural sports in the world.

HISTORY OF SKIN CARE

Taking a look at history shows us that skin care is in no way “new.” Personal appearance has long been considered a public responsibility, and existed well before “Korean skin care” became buzzy or the first Sephora store opened.

 This cosmetic spoon, carved in the form of a young woman in a papyrus thicket supporting a vessel, was used in ancient Egypt, circa 1375 B.C. Getty Images

Ancient Egyptians, who lived under a punishing sun that required good skin care, valued personal care so highly that they combined it with religion: They forbade anyone from speaking magical or religious spells unless the person was fully clean and oiled; fashionable Egyptians made sure their favorite serums were in their tombs to ease their path into the afterlife.

More than 5,000 years ago, an Indian form of alternative medicine called Ayurveda advised not only using plants for good health, but to prevent skin from aging. Eight centuries before Christ, Babylonians carved seashells and used them as containers to mix and hold skin care ointments and makeup.

 This Tridacna shell with carved decorations served as a container for cosmetics.The British Museum

The Bible makes ample mention of ointments and perfumes, including the famous story of Mary showing Jesus respect by oiling his feet with expensive perfume. Roman baths were communal places, compared to modern country clubs, where the men and women of an entire town might bathe and discuss politics and gossip all in one place. (Icelandic geothermal pools and Finnish saunas, in which business deals can be negotiated in the nude, still function similarly.)

The societies of Western Europe during and after the Renaissance always prized good skin, and often drank arsenic or tea-grounds to achieve it.

Not surprisingly, satirists throughout history often made a target of women’s elaborate skin care and grooming rituals, from the Roman writer Juvenal to Jonathan Swift, who bawdily satirized women’s beauty routines as the backbreaking work of five hours a day.

More than a century later, the famous Irish beauty and courtesan Lola Montez provided some advice on the importance of skin care: “Nor is it any wonder that woman should exhaust all her resources in this pursuit (of a beautiful complexion) because her face is such a public thing that there is no hiding the least deformity in it.” (Montez also praised Parisian women for wrapping their faces with slices of beef to avoid wrinkles, and cites the invention, in 1857, of ready-made face masks cut from cloth and saturated with moisturizers and oils — a forerunner of today’s sheet-mask trend.)

From rubber to lace, these facial masks will work wonders on your skin

03:41

And let’s be sensible: Skin care for women can also be a form of economic survival. Many women have been taught to fear aging, and to expect to be sidelined or invisible after a certain age. Daniel S. Hamermesh’s book “Beauty Pays” shows that better-looking people get paid more and do better at work. When women look aged, in particular, they are not assumed to be wiser; instead, they may face greater discrimination and financial penalties at work than men.

Still, it has also long been a group sport to make fun of anything women take an interest in.

Fashion was once an interest shared by both men and women — check out King Louis XIV’s chic red high heels. Then Beau Brummell, a 19th century style icon, convinced men that dressing simply was more elegant, which left fashion to women for nearly a hundred years while men wore simple suits. Once men took up a role as tastemakers of fashion again as designers — from Charles Worth to Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent to Karl Lagerfeld — then fashion became the artistic stuff of elaborate museum exhibits, deep cultural commentary and expensive coffee table books.

 Louis XIV of France, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King poses in 1701. Quite fashionable, indeed. Getty Images

The skin care industry is also one of the few that centers around women as its customers and primary revenue source. Skin care is one of the few industries that responds to women and asks them what they want. That could mean different ingredients, like eliminating sulfates from shampoos or formaldehyde from nail polish.

Does that mean skin care, as it currently exists, is perfect? Far from it. We could use better regulation of skin care products. Magical claims and quasi-science abound. Addressing those concerns is important, pressing and would improve skin care immensely.

But to get better products, that means first taking skin care seriously. And that, in turn, means taking women seriously. Now that would be new.

How to read beauty product labels: Ingredients and symbols to look for

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