Spending time with your dance team or castmates can make you a happier, more relaxed person. According to a new study from the University of Michigan, bonding activities that bring girls physically closer increase levels of the hormone progesterone. This hormone makes you feel cheerful and relaxed. High levels of progesterone also reduce anxiety. So the next time you’re perfecting a routine with your gal pals, remember that you’re helping each other feel better—even if you’ve gone over the same steps ten times! —Aminta Iriarte
What’s the secret to making it through back-to-back dance classes? In addition to endurance-building cardio, drinking beetroot juice might be one key to success. A new study done in the UK found that drinking beetroot juice helped participants exercise 16 percent longer. Beetroot juice contains nitrates, which reduce the amount of oxygen you need—so you’re less tired and have more stamina. Order a beetroot blended juice at your local juice bar, and ask your server to mix it with carrots and apples for a sweeter drink. —Lauren Levinson
Swap It Out! Holiday Edition!
Hot, seasonal drinks are delicious, but they can be high in fat and calories. Switch a few ingredients to warm up without tipping the scale!
- Make your pumpkin spice or gingerbread latte lighter by using skim milk and requesting only 1–2 pumps of the syrups (instead of the usual 4). Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg powder into the drink to add flavor.
- Substitute chai tea for your soy chai latte. The chai latte mix contains sugar, but a tea bag has none. Add a bit of steamed soymilk. You’ll get the creamy taste, but less milk means fewer calories. Finish with a teaspoon of honey, which is a natural sugar substitute.
- Whip up your own healthy hot chocolate by mixing boiling water and dark chocolate powder. Make sure the cacao is at least 60 percent dark for antioxidant benefits. A bit of skim milk and few mini marshmallows make the mixture sweet.
Toe Troubles: How to Deal with Ingrown Nails
What it is: An ingrown toenail develops when the skin grows over the edge of the nail. You might have one if the area around your toenail is pinkish, swollen and sore. If it starts to pus, it may be infected, and you should see your doctor immediately.
Why it happens: Keeping your toenails trimmed when you dance is important, but cutting them too short can cause ingrown toenails. Poorly fitting shoes can also play a role, so make sure all of your dance ones fit properly!
How to treat it:
- Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt three times a day, then keep them dry for the rest of the day. Make sure to wear tights or socks in your dance shoes to absorb excess moisture caused by sweat.
- Gently lift the toenail and place a piece of dry cotton under the ingrown part. This will help it grow out.
Did You Know?
The average cough comes out of your mouth at 60 miles (96.5 km) per hour. It’s cold and flu season, so make sure to get extra vitamin C! And cover your mouth!
You use an average of 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile. Just another reason to show off those pearly whites!
Photo by Erin Baiano