These Women Are Posing in Nothing but Glitter for a Surprisingly Powerful Reason + MORE


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Your Ultimate Guide to Healthy Ears


If a typical day finds you blasting your headphones, shouting over the din at dinner, and blaring the TV, this will come as no surprise: "Hearing loss is now a growing epidemic among women in their 30s and 40s," says Douglas Backous, MD, medical director of the Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. Even in the quietest places, we can face unrelated issues, like infection, vertigo, and congestion. All ears now? Follow our guide to caring for and protecting this key organ.

RELATED: Famous Celebrities with Hearing Loss

Problem No. 1: Hearing loss

The lowdown: This isn't a concern just for drummers and construction workers. "Even having earbuds at full blast while you're running every day can cause permanent damage over time," says Eric Smouha, MD, director of otology and neurology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Intense exposure to sound causes wear and tear on the hair cells in your cochlea."

What it feels like: Conversations are muffled; you may notice that you're asking people to speak more slowly or repeat themselves. "If you turn the TV volume up so high that others complain about the noise, that's a red flag," says Barry Hirsch, MD, director of the division of neurotology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Rx: See your doctor. The first step is to check your ears–—wax may simply be blocking sound waves from entering your ear canal. Otherwise, you'll be referred to an audiologist for a hearing test. "If you have trouble hearing sounds above 25 decibels [dB], it's considered hearing loss and needs to be thoroughly evaluated," says Sarah Sydlowski, PhD, an audiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. While there's no way to reverse noise-induced hearing loss, mild forms can be treated with an assistive listening device. If your loss is more pronounced, you'll need a hearing aid.

For people who are not a candidate for hearing aids, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) have improved challenging situations like hearing conversations in noisy places. You might want to consider a product like Bose Hearphones, conversation-enhancing headphones that can help take the edge off background noise.

To keep your hearing healthy, use earplugs whenever you're in a noisy situation—–say, a concert or football game. "And when you're listening to tunes, keep the volume at the halfway point," Sydlowski says.

RELATED: Is Loud Music in Workout Classes Bad for Your Ears?

Problem No. 2: Pressure changes

The lowdown: You know that awful ear pop (the one your kids shriek about) as the plane you're in starts to descend? It has a fancy name—–barotrauma. "The air pressure in your middle ear is usually the same as the air pressure outside your body," Dr. Hirsch explains. But when you're landing, the cabin pressure increases…

These Women Are Posing in Nothing but Glitter for a Surprisingly Powerful Reason


These Women Are Posing in Nothing but Glitter for a Surprisingly Powerful Reason

Your body is uniquely yours, and that’s what makes it beautiful. One Instagram account, Positively Glittered (@positivelyglittered), has found a creative (and sparkly) way to showcase that. The page features naked women of all shapes and sizes covered in the colors of the rainbow with glitter.

If we’re being honest, most of us have dreamed of painting ourselves in shimmer from head to toe, and this account makes that dream a reality. It emphasizes the beauty of women with all body types, skin colors, and backgrounds and promotes the powerful message that all of us are beautiful, no matter what.

Positively Glittered is the brainchild of three Australian women, Penny (@nipnipss), Bonnie (@busty_diaries), and Hannah (@roseanna.mae). Their first photo shoot two years ago took place in Penny’s backyard in Brisbane, and it consisted of nothing more than a few good friends and some homemade glitter, Bonnie tells Health.

RELATED: These Glitter Capsules Promise to Give You a 'Sparkly, Flavored Orgasm.' Here's What a Gynecologist Thinks

Feeling empowered by the experience, they decided to make it an ongoing thing. Now, the trio organizes photo shoots with professional photographers that are open to the public, and everyone is welcome to join. They also do private photo session bookings for individuals, couples, or small groups. The one thing all of their shoots have in common: glitter. Lots of it.

“It has been an incredible process to watch. Unbelievable really,” Bonnie says. “What began as us and our friends creating something beautiful in a backyard has now led to worldwide attention.” Their photos have been featured by countless news outlets, and they receive fan submissions from all over the world.

The project has also enabled them to connect with some pretty incredible people. “We have worked with famous models, bloggers, business professionals, housewives, teachers, students, eating disorder survivors, confident burlesque performers, and self-conscious people who prefer to hide in the shadows,” Bonnie says. “Seeing them all strip bare and come together is really something beautiful. No egos, no competition, just there together to celebrate who they are.”

Positively Glittered has touched the lives of people from all walks of life, but it’s had perhaps the greatest impact on the ones who founded it. “For me, when I find myself being critical of my own body, I say to myself, ‘Would I say that to one of our participants?’ Most of the time the answer is a definite no,” Bonnie says. “We need to talk to ourselves as we would a friend.”

She has a point. Why do we see ourselves through such a critical lens but others through a loving one? Positively Glittered is doing its part to change that for women everywhere, just like it has for Bonnie.

The website states, “Positively Glittered is all about self love, body positivity, and celebrating our differences…

10 Exercises You Should Never Do Again, According to Trainers


Take a look around your gym: You'll probably see some fellow gym-goers hammering out these exercises. But that doesn't mean you should too. These crazy common moves are, at best, ineffective—at worst, dangerous. Here, the moves—and exercise machines—you should ditch from your workout routine, according to trainers.

Smith Machine Squats

Squatting on a Smith machine might look like a safe alternative to the squat rack. In reality, it's anything but. When you lower into a squat using a Smith machine, your back stays straight and almost perfectly perpendicular to the ground, which compresses and stresses the vertebrae, says Lou Schuler, C.S.C.S., coauthor of The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged. Also, since using the Smith machine requires leaning back into the bar, you overly stress your knees, never fully contract your glutes or hamstrings, and don't train your core.

RELATED: 4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do in Front of Your TV

Try Instead: Weighted squats
Save yourself the risk and learn how to do a barbell squat without the machine. Both bodyweight and weighted squats (e.g., goblet, barbell, and dumbbell variations) train your entire lower body functionally, effectively, and without overstressing your joints, Schuler says. Plus, since you're not relying on the stability of a machine, these exercises also work your core. (Related: How to Do Bodyweight Squats Correctly Once and for All)

Machine Leg Extensions

How often do you just sit around and kick out your legs? Probably not often—if ever. So why do so in the gym? "There's no functional benefit to leg extensions," says strength coach and personal trainer Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., C.P.T. (Functional exercises use your body's natural movement in ways that apply to real-world motions.) Plus, your knees aren't designed to carry weight from that angle, which could cause injury. While your injury risk is low if you have otherwise healthy knees, why take the risk if the exercise isn't even functional to begin with?

Try Instead: Squats, deadlifts, step-ups, and lunges
All of these moves are great for training your quads. Not to mention, they simultaneously strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and smaller stabilizing muscles. Since these are all functional exercises, tapping your body's natural movement patterns, your knees are designed to take their weight, he says.

Ab Machines

Sure, ab machines are a lot more comfortable than arms-behind-the-head sit-ups, but they can make it awkward to activate your ab muscles correctly, says Jessica Fox, a certified Starting Strength coach at CrossFit South Brooklyn.

RELATED: How to Get a Flat Stomach at Any Age

Try Instead: Planks
Most people can—and should—just do full sit-ups. Even better? Drop into a plank: It's more effective for toning your abdominals than an assisted crunch (or any machine), and typically safe for people who can't do sit-ups because of neck pain…

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These Women Are Posing in Nothing but Glitter for a Surprisingly Powerful
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