Our editors share their best health tips.
The magic number
You already know skimping on sleep is bad for you, but were you aware sleeping too much is no good, either? According to Harvard University's Nurses Health Study, women who slept too little (five hours or less) or too much (nine hours or more) scored lower on brain and memory tests and, by researchers' estimates, were mentally two years older than those who slept for seven to eight hours a night.
If you have a serious sweet tooth that's always getting you into (dietary) trouble, try to follow this very simple healthy-eating rule: Save the calories for the really good stuff. It's worth indulging in a favourite dessert or a special treat, but if you're feeling tempted to snack on something just because it's there, skip it.
To replenish your sodium levels after an intense workout—think hot yoga or a long run—add a pinch of salt to a glass of water.
Tools of the trade
Three must-have items for your healthiest year yet.
1. Skipping rope Even a short skipping session can deliver major cardio benefits. Plus, a jump rope is inexpensive, easy to use and—dare we say it—kinda fun.
2. Mini blender Prep a smoothie the night before, give it a quick whirl in the morning and dash out the door, healthy breakfast in hand. Single-serve blender, $27, hamiltonbeach.ca.
3. Sports bra No one wants to exercise without the right support. A good sports bra will feel snugger than your regular bra, but it shouldn't cause chafing. If you're big-busted, look for one that comes in actual bra sizes.
The hardest part of exercising is getting started. So when you don't want to head to the gym, make a 10-minute commitment to being active. If you want to stop after your time is up, that's fine—at least you'll have done something. But it's more likely you'll end up finishing your workout! — Kathleen Trotter, personal trainer
Research shows deep breathing reduces your heart rate and blood pressure, relieves stress and can even boost productivity. But those studies say we're all really bad at breathing properly. To do it right, try a free app like Breathing Zone (iOS) or Paced Breathing (Android). Or go the wearable route; new Fitbits and Apple Watches have built-in apps.
This reversible cowl will keep you super warm on those cold, winter days.
The Whistler Cowl is a stunning accessory that looks beautiful on everyone. The cowl has a cabled stitch pattern and is completely reversible. It is knit in Mezcla de Lujo yarn – a luxurious worsted weight yarn made of 70% merino wool and 30% cashmere. This cowl was originally created as a gift, and it is an extra-special way to show someone you care.
The Whistler Cowl is of intermediate difficulty, and it is a great opportunity to learn a new stitch pattern. The reversible cable stitch is created by alternating knit and purl stitches (as you do to create the rib stitch) and then crossing the stitches over one another (as you do to create one-sided cable stitches). While you may find the stitch pattern tricky at first, the remarkable results are more than worth the effort.
Note: We used a modified 3 needle bind off technique for the finishing on our sample. If you prefer an easier version, simply cast-on right away with your working yarn and end by seaming the cast on edge to the cast off edge.
Note about the yarn: Mezcla De Lujo is available through Americo Original online and at select yarn stores. You can substitute with Americo’s Superwash Merino, Pluma, Alpaca Worsted, Worsted Merino or with any suitable heavy DK or Worsted weight yarns in your stash.
Measurements: Circumference: 52" (132 cm) x Depth: 8" (20 cm)
22 stitches and rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in pattern using 5.5 mm (US 9) size needles or size needed to achieve gauge.
K, k: Knit
P, p: Purl
//M// Denotes a stitch marker on the needle
RS Right Side of work or right side of fabric
WS Wrong side of work
CN Cable needle
LC Left cross cable; slip stitches to a cable needle and hold in front
RC Right cross cable; slip stitches to a cable needle and hold in back
Reversible Ribbed Cable Stitch Pattern: (multiples of 24)
12-st LC: slip 6 stitches from left needle to a cable needle and hold in FRONT, (k1, p1) 3 times, work sts from cn as follows; (k1, p1) 3 times.
12-st RC: slip 6 stitches from left needle to a cable needle and hold in BACK, (k1, p1) 3 times, work sts from cn as follows; (k1, p1) 3 times
Before you begin:
NOTE: We used a modified 3 needle bind off technique for the finishing on our sample. If you prefer an easier version, simply cast-on right away with your working yarn and end by seaming the cast on edge to the cast off edge.
For the modified 3-needle bind off technique: using a scrap piece of yarn in a contrasting colour and 5.5 mm (US 9) size needles, cast on 72 stitches. Change to your main colour and work to the end but leave your stitches on the needle.
Unpick the provisional scrap yarn from the cast on edge, placing the stitches on a spare needle. Join the cast on edge to the cast off edge using a 3-needle bind off: www.knittinghelp.com/videos/binding-off
Using 5.5 mm (US 9) needles, cast on 72 stitches.
Rows 1-2: *k1, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 3: *12-st LC, (k1, p1) 6 times; rep from * to end
Rows 4-8: *k1, p1; repeat from * to end.
Row 9: *(k1, p1) 6 times, 12-st RC; rep from * to end
Rows 10-12: *(k1, p1); repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat rows 1-12 for 25 repeats.
Cast off depending on your chosen cast on method. Sew in ends and enjoy your beautiful new cowl!
Americo Original is a Canadian yarn company and online knitting shop with its own line of quality yarns, knitwear patterns and accessories. Americo’s yarns are made exclusively in the Andean highlands of South America, using only natural fibres, including luxurious wool, llama, alpaca, cotton, linen, silk and cashmere. Americo and its in-house design lab are based in Toronto, offering international shipping from its online store: americo.ca/shop.
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