Do you have five minutes? Tony Horton, personal trainer and founder of the P90X home fitness program, says that’s all you need to get a great workout using only your body weight
With your hands and feet on the floor, your arms parallel and shoulder-width apart, and your legs straight behind you, lower your body toward the floor (keeping your arms at your sides), then push up to return to a plank position. Repeat. Modification: Hold a plank position with your arms straight and shoulder-width apart. Focus: Chest, shoulders, triceps and abs. Reps: Do as many as you can with good technique. Tip: If you do pushups on your knees, you won’t engage your core. If you can’t lower your body all the way down in standard pushup form, Horton recommends doing a half or mini pushup instead.
Modification: Marching on the spot, jumping jacks and boxing moves such as cross hooks or uppercuts Focus: Raising your heart rate Reps: Go as fast and as furiously as you can handle for one minute. Tip: There are no rules—just move your body as much and as fast as you can.
Lie on your back with your hands clasped behind your head, your knees bent and your feet lifted off the floor. Extend your right leg and reach your right elbow toward your left knee. Change to the opposite side, extending your left leg and reaching your left elbow toward your right knee. Continue changing sides, cycling your legs as if you’re on a stationary bike and always reaching your elbow toward the opposite knee. Modification: Any lie-down ab exercises, such as scissors or ticktocks (lift your legs straight toward the ceiling and move them in a circular motion, keeping your torso stable). Focus: Abdominal muscles Reps: Start with 20 reps and work up to 30. Tip: Every time you exhale during a move, contract your abs as much as possible. Always protect your lower back—if it hurts, try a different position.
From standing with your legs together, step your right leg forward until both legs are bent at 90-degree angles, making sure your front knee doesn’t extend past your ankle and keeping the weight on the right leg. Push off your right leg to return to starting position. Repeat on your left side. Modification: Squats, plie? squats, step-back lunges, or squats and lunges holding dumbbells Focus: Leg muscles Reps: Start with 20 reps and work up to 30. Tip: For a more advanced workout, perform the exercise plyometrically by incorporating jumps into the lunges.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Crumble<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Gluten-Free Strawberry Crumble<br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
Herb-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Fresh Sage Gravy<br>Photography by James Tse Credits: Herb-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Fresh Sage Gravy<br>Photography by James Tse
Between 3 and 8% of women have PMDD, a severe form of PMS with depression-like symptoms.
"For the three days leading up to my period, I was suicidal, anxious and irritable. I'd have fits of rage; I felt unglued. Then, I'd get my period and I'd be fine," says Jennifer, who asked us not to use her last name. Her psychotherapist suggested PMDD two years ago as a possible cause for her mood swings.
PMDD is like PMS's bigger, badder sister. It's another way of saying very severe PMS, says Dr. Samantha Saffy, a psychiatrist in Vancouver. In order to get a PMDD diagnosis, you need to experience the disorder's depression-like symptoms—mood swings, irritability, anger, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a decreased interest in usual activities—more months than not. They should occur in the week leading up to menses, then improve after your period starts.
It can be difficult to get a diagnosis. Jennifer had been to three physicians with no luck. But just knowing PMDD exists might be helpful. "Often, being aware of your condition through education can help ease symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Tulipan, a psychiatrist specializing in reproductive mental health in Halifax. "If you know that certain days of the month will be more challenging for you, you can plan around them to minimize stress. Healthy habits such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating healthily are known to ease symptoms, too." Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can also help, but "if none of these strategies works, your family doctor can suggest an antidepressant that you can take continuously or even just for the week that you have your symptoms," says Dr. Tulipan.