What Should I Expect After LASIK Surgery?

Corrective LASIK surgery is a highly effective means of improving your vision and ending your reliance on either contact lenses or glasses. LASIK, which is an acronym for “Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis,” is a procedure in which the cornea is reshaped to allow for light coming into the eye to be properly directed into the retina to treat nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and instances of astigmatism.

Advanced Intralase LASIK procedures have the ability to undoubtedly relieve a major portion of the anxiety and emotional stress associated with corrective eye surgery as the process involved uses no blade, or surgical scalpel, in the performance of the procedure. In as little as ten minutes, the procedure is completed and you are on your way to a life with improved, if not near perfect, vision.

Immediately after LASIK surgery: You will be directed to wear sunglasses or darkened eye shields outdoors. Your surgeon will also provide plastic eye protectors to wear, and may prescribe needed medications and a lubricant eye solution. Do not touch or rub your eyes and wear the plastic eye protectors while sleeping. It is also very important that you don’t let any water get into your eyes for the first few days after surgery. Do not shower the first day. Swimming, the use of hot tubs, and all other activities of this nature should not be resumed or at least three weeks upon approval from your surgeon.

It is best to relax and keep your eyes shut during this time to avoid discomfort and to allow healing to begin. After a designated time, usually 3-4 hours, begin utilizing the prescribed lubricating drops to prevent dryness which can impede the healing process. Avoid straining your eyes with computer use, watching television, or reading the first day. Rest and relaxation is key.

Days two and three after surgery: Most activities may be resumed with limitations. No strenuous or overly heavy duties. Prevent eye exposure to dust and debris. You may feel like returning to work, and can resume driving with sunglasses during daylight hours. You will attend your first follow-up with the surgeon to evaluate your initial post-operative response and care.

After one week: A scheduled post-operative appointment after the first week will note how far along you are in the recovery process. Your surgeon will advise you of the specific activities allowed at this time and will likely suggest the continued use of lubricating eye drops. Don’t be surprised if you experience some fluctuation in your visual ability during this time. You may also notice other short-term effects such as glare from lights and trouble with night vision, seeing halos, or other symptoms. Have questions ready for your surgeon pertaining to any experiences, symptoms, or effects that you may notice. If desired, also ask about the ability to use any products around the delicate eye area such as make-up, creams, or lotions.

Three weeks after your surgery: Your surgeon will administer an eye exam to track the improvement in vision. Do not be alarmed if you experience light sensitivity or tearing (which is a sign of dryness). These symptoms are frequently noted during the healing process. The surgeon will likely prescribe the use of lubricant eye drops to mitigate these effects. Normal activities will resume at this point, although some activities such as contact sports, swimming, and lawn mowing may require protective eyewear during this time. Check with your surgeon for any specific recommendations.

Optimum vision should be fully apparent in 3-6 months, and by this time you will have already begun to enjoy the ability to function and lead the lifestyle you want without the need for contact lenses or glasses. It is important to keep all appointments and post-operative exams scheduled in order for your surgeon to properly track your treatment outcome and keep you on the road to healthy vision.

Boost Energy Naturally

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Eating a balanced diet can help ensure your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But if you still find yourself too pooped to pop, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency, Heller says.

In a study done at the Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D., women with magnesium deficiencies had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored. In essence, their bodies were working harder which, over time, says Heller, can leave you feeling depleted.

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. To make sure you’re getting enough, Heller suggests:

  • Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet.
  • Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal.
  • Eat more fish, especially halibut.

Walk Around the Block

While it may seem as if moving about when you feel exhausted is the quickest route to feeling more exhausted, the opposite is true. Experts say that increasing physical activity – particularly walking – increases energy.

Take a Power Nap

Research has shown that both information overload and pushing our brains too hard can zap energy. But studies by the National Institutes of Mental Health found that a 60-minute “power nap” can not only reverse the mind-numbing effects of information overload, it may also help us to better retain what we have learned.

Don’t Skip Breakfast – or Any Other Meal

“Studies show that folks who eat breakfast report being in a better mood, and have more energy throughout the day,” says Heller.

Her personal theory, she says, is that breaking the fast soon after rising supplies your body with a jolt of fuel that sets the tone for the whole day.

Moreover, studies published in the journal Nutritional Health found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by day’s end.

Drink More Water and Less Alcohol

You may already know that it’s easy to confuse signals of hunger with thirst (we think we need food when we really need water). But did you know that thirst can also masquerade as fatigue?

“Sometimes, even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic,” says nutritionist Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, an associate professor at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York and author of The Uncle Sam Diet.

The solution is simple: a tall, cool glass of water. This is particularly important to boost energy after exercise, when your body is likely to be craving fluids, Ayoob says. Conversely, Heller says, if you find yourself frequently fatigued even after a good night’s sleep, try cutting down on alcohol during the evening hours.

By cutting down on alcohol before bedtime, you’ll get a better night’s rest, which is bound to result in more energy the next day.

Healthy Snack Ideas

Apple Pie Granola Bar

Ditch the store-bought granola brands (which are often packed with artificial ingredients) for this delicious DIY bar. Made with chunks of dried apple, pecans, toasted oats and cinnamon, each bite will satisfy your apple pie cravings — while serving up only five grams of sugar. Make a batch ahead of time and then stash some in your desk so you’ll always have something to nosh on.

Beet Chips With Curried Yogurt

Mix together 2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt and ⅛ to ¼ teaspooncurry powder. Serve with 1 cup beet chips.

Parmesan Carrot Fries 

Deep fried ‘taters might be tempting, but these carrot fries taste just as good. Roast your carrots and top them with some fresh Parmesan and basil for a sweet and savory treat that packs only 83 calories per serving.

Homemade Larabars 

Sweet dates, nuts and fruit come together to perfectly mimic your favorite grocery store snack bar. Even cooler: You can create your own custom flavor combos by adding a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla or raw cacao powder to your base ingredients. Mix and match to satisfy your cravings!

Crackers With Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread and Banana

Dividing evenly, spread 2 crisp bread crackers with 1 tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread. Top with 1 sliced small banana.

Bagel With Ricotta and Strawberries

Spread ½ toasted whole-grain “flat” bagelwith 2 tablespoons fresh ricotta. Top with ⅓ cup sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar.

 Peanut Butter and Jelly Breakfast Muffin 

One batch of these mini muffins will yield enough to nosh on all week. Mashed bananas and Greek yogurt cut the fat found in regular muffins, and peanut butter adds a satisfying dose of protein to the mix. Feel like going crazy? Drizzle warm peanut butter on top for an extra-decadent twist.

Frozen Yogurt With Blueberries and Cardamom

Top ½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt with ½ cup blueberries and a pinch ofcardamom.

Let’s start eat clean!

Write It Down
“Whether you need to lose five pounds, 50 or more, or if you just want to stop eating junk, the best thing you can do is grab a pen and some paper and write down your goals,” explains Reno. Having set goals provides focus, ensuring that your plans to have a healthier lifestyle will actually happen for long term, not just a week. Pinpoint your reason ‘why.’ Building any new healthy habit will require some effort, and eating clean is no exception. That’s why it’s so important first to determine what’s inspiring you to change. Maybe you signed up for a race or have a reunion coming up and want to look your best. Maybe you’ve been feeling sluggish and want to increase your energy throughout the day. Perhaps you’re thinking about your long-term health and what you can do to stay healthy in the future. These are examples of intrinsically motivated, positive reasons to aim for cleaner eating. And that’s a good thing.

Bye, Bye Sugar
Sugar can be found in some surprising places. When shopping for food, make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully to avoid ingesting hidden sugar,

Keep it Real
When it comes to buying the freshest foods, try to choose items with the fewest ingredients listed on their labels. “If the ingredients contain hard to pronounce words that look like they come from chemistry class, just say no!” she says. When possible, opt for natural foods like green produce, grass-fed meats, wild fish and whole grains. Choose your targets wisely The Pareto Principle states that 20 percent of your efforts are going to lead to 80 percent of your results. This is true in many areas of life, including clean eating. After listing the less-healthy foods you want to reduce or eliminate from your diet as well as the super-healthy foods you want to incorporate, the next step is to make some strategic choices. Setting a few small goals that you can consistently act on is a much more effective approach than trying to take on everything at once. And they can add up fast. Shop with a purpose   Just like eating itself, grocery shopping is based on habits. You likely follow a certain route when you hit the store, so be prepared to forge a new course (hello, produce aisle!). Bring a detailed grocery list, and stick to it. (Pro tip: Avoid those chips and soda aisles altogether.)

Eat Like a Baby to Boost Metabolism
“Have you ever noticed that babies need to eat every few hours? Well, if you want to fire up your metabolism, you should be eating this often as well,” says Reno. Skipping meals may sound like a quick way to get thinner because you’re eating less, but she says that this actually causes your body to cling on to calories.

Tips for Power Napping and Benefits

How to power nap?

Find a good place to nap. In order to get the most out of your nap, you will need to find a place where you will not be disturbed by others.

  • Napping at work. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that about 30% of people are allowed to sleep at work, and some employers even provide a place for employees to nap.[2] If your place of employment isn’t nap-friendly, you can take a power-nap in your car.

Decide how long you want to nap

Strictly speaking, a power nap should be between 10 and 30 minutes. However, shorter and longer naps may also offer different benefits. Thus, you need to decide how long you have to nap, and stick with that amount of time.

Choose a dark room. By blocking out the light, you will fall asleep faster. If you cannot get to a dark room, wear a sleep mask or at least a pair of sunglasses to provide some semblance of darkness.

Turn on soothing music

Relaxing music can put you in the right state of mind. If you find music distracting, you can also try white noise. If you are in your car, you can turn your radio to the static between stations and use that.

Turn off your mobile phone and any other potential distractions

If you are using your phone as your alarm clock, turn on airplane mode so you will not be interrupted by notifications.

. Once you are close to finishing your coffee (or your green tea, or your caffeine jello shot, etc.), set an alarm that will wake you up after the desired amount of time. Setting an alarm will help you relax, as you know you won’t sleep longer than you intend to.

Keep your eyes closed. Even if you are unable to fall asleep during your nap, keep your eyes closed and meditate. Although you may not fall asleep, you can still help your brain recharge a bit. Additionally, incorporating short bouts of sleep into a daily routine (taking a nap every day after lunch, for example) can help you “train” your body to expect a nap during that time and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep.

Benefit of Napping

  • Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
  • Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
  • Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
  • Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.


How to sleep better tip #3: Environment

If you make a consistent effort to relax and unwind before bed, you will sleep easier and more deeply. A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.

Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet

  • Keep noise down

If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from barking dogs, loud neighbors, city traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan, recordings of soothing sounds, or white noise. You can buy a special sound machine or generate your own white noise by setting your radio between stations. Earplugs may also help.

  • Keep your room cool

The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.

  • Make sure your bed is comfortable

Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or a try a different pillow. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam or egg crate toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.

How to sleep better tip #2: light control

Spending long days in an office away from natural light, for example, can impact your daytime wakefulness and make your brain sleepy. While bright lights at night—especially from exposure to energy-efficient LED lights and TV and computer screens—can make your body think that it’s time to wake up. Here’s what you can do to keep your hormones and sleep-wake cycle on track.

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 

The closer to the time you get up, the better. Have your coffee outside, for example, or eat breakfast by a sunny window. Skip the sunglasses! The light on your face will help you wake up and feel more alert.

  • Spend more time outside during daylight

Try to take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.

  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.

  • If necessary, use a light therapy box. A light therapy box simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days when there’s limited daylight.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 2 hours of your bedtime.

All nighttime light can interfere with sleep and your body’s rhythms, but the blue light emitted by electronics is especially disruptive. This includes the screen on your phone, tablet, computer, or TV. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down, or using light-altering software such as f.lux that adjusts the color of your display.

  • Say no to late-night television. Many people use the television to wind down at the end of the day, but this can backfire. Not only does the light suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead. If your favorite TV show is on late at night, record it for viewing earlier in the day.
  • Be smart about nighttime reading. Not all e-readers are created equal. 

Devices that are backlit, such as the Kindle Fire or the iPad, are more disruptive than those that are illuminated from the front, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Nook GlowLight. Other smart options include e-ink readers that don’t have their own light source and good old-fashioned books.

  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.

The darker it is, the better you’ll sleep. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask to cover your eyes. Also consider covering up or moving any electronics that emit light. Even the red numbers on a digital clock can disrupt sleep.

  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night. If you need to get up during the night, avoid turning on the lights if possible. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.

How to sleep better #1 natural body rythm

Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. If you keep a regular sleep schedule—going to bed and getting up at the same time each day—you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This holds true even if you alter your sleep schedule by only an hour or two. Consistency is vitally important.

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.

Sticking to a consistent sleep-wake schedule helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Start by setting a realistic bedtime that will work with your lifestyle. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime.

  • Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends or nights you’ve stayed up late.

It can be tempting to sleep in on weekends, but even a couple hour difference in wake time disrupts your internal clock. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.

  • Be smart about napping.

As mentioned above, napping is a good way to recharge and make up for lost sleep hours. But if you tend to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night, napping can make things worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating naps altogether or limiting them to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.

  • Fight after-dinner drowsiness.

If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

Little Habits That Can Change Your Life

The Importance of a Morning Routine

For starters, people are the most productive when they wake up, and setting up a routine ensures that they maintain that level of productivity for longer periods of time. Following a system when you first wake up, means you’ll have more time to reflect in a quiet atmosphere (less hustle and bustle) and it gives you the opportunity to be organized for the rest of the day. More importantly, this daily habit helps you create energy and the right “mindset” to tackle the challenges of a busy day.

Simply look at the following list and choose the habits that make the most sense for your lifestyle.

Fix Your Broken Windows

No, you don’t have any actual broken windows, but you probably have a number of small things that add to your stress levels if you don’t address them early on. Some common broken windows include:

  • Unmade beds

  • Cluttered mail
  • Unsorted laundry
  • Messy kitchen
  • Trash that needs to be taken out

Most of these can be fixed in a matter of minutes, yet we allow ourselves to ignore them and let them sit in the back of our minds for the rest of the day. Take care of your broken windows and then you’ll see a dramatic decrease in your levels of stress.

Weigh Yourself Every Day

I know, this isn’t something that you want to hear. But, weighing yourself on a regular basis can help you establish clear health and fitness goals. Also, it’s important to know that your weight will fluctuate on a daily basis, so you don’t have to be bummed if your weight goes up for a day or two. Finally, be sure you weigh yourself at the same time for the most accurate results.

Have a Glass of Cold Water with Lemon

Start your day by drinking a 16 ounce glass of lemon water. We’re not talking about putting in a whole lemon and juicing it. Instead it’s better to do just a few drops.  This habit helps you:

  • Wake up faster
  • Freshen your breath
  • Get a large amount of vitamins
  • Reduce the feeling of hunger
  • Aid your digestive system

Take Daily Vitamins

Daily vitamins are a must for anyone, and you’ll feel better about your day if you take them on a consistent basis. Vitamins are essential because they:

  • Help build a stronger immune system
  • Increase awareness
  • Ensures your body gets essential nutrients
  • Build stronger bones

Vitamins can give your body the boost it needs to get started and help your mind stay focused throughout the day.

Maintain a Food Journal

This is another aspect of your morning that you probably don’t want to do, but need to do if you want to lose weight. Maintaining a food journal helps you seeexactly what you’re putting into your body and how much you’re eating. You’d be surprised at just how much you consume in a given day. Food journals are effective because they:

  • Make you responsible for what you eat
  • Give you a physical representation of your daily habits
  • Encourage you to avoid little “snacks”
  • Help you meet your health goals

Food journals might seem like a negative thing at first, but you’ll soon be able to take pride in recording what you eat.

Review Your Goals

Everybody has goals. Whether they are big or small, we all have things that we want to accomplish. Sadly, the daily hustle and bustle of life can make us get off track. You need to review your goals so that you can:

  • Create plans to reach those goals
  • Put your day in perspective
  • Know what’s important to accomplish

You can set goals for the day or the year, but you can’t just aimlessly wander around on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you use every minute for what it’s worth and accomplish what you set out for.

10 Fitness Bucket List Goals to Start Training For


It’s not just fun to ponder a bucket list, hone it and then eventually — hopefully — check things off of it. The process also forces you to focus on what you want to do with the time you have on earth, making it more likely you’ll actually climb that mountain, jump out of that airplane or swim with the dolphins. Why not prioritize your exercise goals in the same way by creating a fitness bucket list? We’ve put together a collection of physical feats that are incredibly tough yet totally doable with training and practice. See how many you can check off your list.

pull up

1. Conquer the Pull-Up

This challenging upper-body exercise involves pulling yourself up while hanging from a stationary bar. (Often confused with chin-ups, your palms face away from you in pull-ups, whereas in chin-ups you grasp the bar with palms facing toward you.) Pull-ups primarily work the muscles of the back and biceps. “They are an amazing exercise for total-body strength,” says Lisa Kinder, star of the 10-Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training DVD. “Pull-ups are one of the most effective ways to increase size and strengthen your back muscles and core.” Start by focusing on the grip first, says Kinder. Using a pull-up bar, work on holding the hang for as long as you can, then work on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Use a bungee or assisted pull-up machine (common in most gyms) to help get you to your goal. Women should strive for four to eight repetitions and men for six to 12.

2. Finish a 10K

Striving to run a marathon may be overwhelming, especially for new runners. But a 10K (6.2 miles) seems universally doable. They’re very popular with beginner runners, especially those who have done a 5K race but don’t feel they’re quite ready to take on the half-marathon, says Lisa Kinder. “There’s nothing like having the goal of competing in a race to focus the mind. It gives you a target. And doing three running/training sessions a week is enough to help you get fit.” At a minimum, Kinder recommends running three times a week to prepare for a 10K. Do two 30-minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday and a long run on the weekend. When possible, add an additional 20-minute easy run to your schedule to increase total time.


3. Hold a Forearm Plank for Three Minutes

One of the best exercises for increasing core strength, a perfect plank means you’re not hiking up your hips or allowing them to sag. Holding it for 30 to 60 seconds is challenging enough for most people, so three minutes ups the ante considerably. “Holding a stationary plank involves stability of the whole body. When we have sufficient stability we are less likely to be injured, can move more efficiently and are likely stronger overall,” says Jacque Crockford, exercise physiologist and education specialist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). If you’re totally new to a forearm plank, work up to it by holding a plank on the elbows and knees for 10 to 15 seconds. Rest and repeat for two to three sets. Add seconds each time you perform a plank, and once you are able to hold a plank on the knees for 30 seconds, lift the knees and hold the plank on the elbows and feet for 20 seconds. Repeat for two to three sets and continue to add more time during your workout.

4. Do 20 Perfect Push-Ups

Push-ups require upper-body strength and full-body stability, making them a great fitness component. “When performing a push-up correctly (with a straight line from head to heels, elbows bending to 90 degrees) you engage the major upper-body muscle groups like the pectorals and deltoids,” says Jacque Crockford, exercise physiologist and education specialist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “You’re also engaging your trunk and leg musculature to maintain proper body position.” Those are the same muscles we use in everyday life for toting groceries or carrying children. Work up to your goal by doing two to three sets of eight to 12 reps every two to three days as part of your strength-training routine. “If you’re not able to do one full push-up yet, start by doing push-ups on the wall, against a low bench or with the knees on the ground,” says Crockford. “Then progress to five full-body push-ups at a time.”

5. Master an Olympic Lift

Popularized by CrossFit, Olympic lifts include complex, full-body exercises designed to increase power and strength and are often used to train for sports. The clean and jerk, for example, is a composite of power, strength, speed, coordination and stabilization of nearly every joint, says Irv Rubenstein, Ph.D., founder of S.T.E.P.S., a science-based fitness facility in Nashville, Tennessee. “For athletes, the clean and jerk is a fundamental power-training exercise demanding vertical power production of the lower extremities and upper body, with substantial core (abs, hips, low back) strength and stability requirements, to transfer energy from the ground up.” Though it’s similar to lifting an object from the ground or a slight elevation and putting it overhead onto a shelf, you may want to consult a strength coach for proper instruction.


6. Do a Long-Distance Bike Tour

Combine a travel bucket list item with a fitness one and plan a bike trip through a beautiful area like Napa Valley. A fitness endeavor combined with wine includes both work and play, which isn’t a bad thing. “Fine wine and food is always a pleasant reward for those so inclined to consume it,” says Rubenstein. “Plus, a bike tour — even interspersed by visits to local wineries and vineyards — is an aerobic event, made more challenging by taking the gentle slopes faster or simply going longer distances throughout the day.” Be sure to buy a good bike and get it fitted to your body properly. Don’t skimp on the appropriate cycling equipment, and learn basic skills to repair your bike should you get a flat or mess up the chain, says Rubenstein.

7. Complete a Strenuous Hike

Hiking down the Grand Canyon, for instance, requires physical strength as well as mental toughness, making it a good bucket list item, says Rubenstein. Plus, it will be a truly memorable experience. “You’re not only going to see some amazing vistas and natural formations, but you’re going to have to be physically very strong — heart and legs and core. And, yes, you carry your own water and backpack,” he says. “It’s a total-body event with amazing rewards along the way.” Train for it by doing basic cardio, such as walking on hills, running and stair climbing, preferably on real stairs. The elliptical machine also works, as does squats, lunges and step-ups using weights in your hand or on your body (like a weighted vest, which develops the legs). “Vary the height of the stairs,” suggests Rubenstein, and focus on core work.


8. Balance on One Leg With Eyes Closed for 15 Seconds

Balance keeps you stable as you age, so setting a goal to keep your balance makes it less likely you’ll have problems later in life. “Balancing on one leg correlates with fewer falls,” says Rubenstein. If you’ve never done balance training, start slowly. Rubenstein recommends facing the doorjamb with both hands out in front of you on each side of the jamb. Practice balancing on both feet with your eyes closed before gradually progressing to doing so without holding on. When you are comfortable with that, practice balancing with eyes open on one foot until you can keep your hips level and not wobble. Maintain balance without touching the jamb. Then try it with your eyes closed on one leg, but keep the hands close to the jamb.

9. Master an Advanced Yoga Pose

An advanced yoga pose like crow (bakasana) isn’t all about upper-body strength; it requires balance and core strength along with hip flexibility, says Jennifer Galardi, certified yoga instructor and star of Flowetry DVD, which incorporates yoga with dance moves. “Down dog, plank and chataranga are all excellent preps for crow pose.” Start in down dog, lift the heels and begin to walk the feet toward the hands. Your shoulders may be behind your wrists a bit here, but continue to pull up through your core into a pike-type position. Bend your knees in a deep squat and walk the feet closer to the wrists. Continue to press the hands into the earth, keeping your shoulders drawn away from the ears. Slowly begin to bend your elbows, moving them into the body and back as you come down into a squat position. Then pull in your core as you shift your weight over your hands, sending your hips up and potentially placing one thigh on the upper back of one arm that is creating a “shelf” for the leg. Put the toes down and try the other leg, keeping the opposite foot on the floor. You can play with alternating legs to gain strength, eventually lifting both legs onto the arms.

10. Perform a Handstand

Another yoga move, handstands require a great deal of core and back strength to execute properly, says Galardi. “Crow can be an excellent pose to prep for a handstand.” You can also do a handstand “walking up the wall.” With a wall behind you, come into down dog position. Begin to walk your hands back as you walk your feet up the wall until your body is at a 90-degree angle. Pull your navel up and back, and avoid “dumping” into the shoulders. Hold here for up to one minute. Eventually press one leg off the wall straight into the air as you flex the foot and press the heel of the lifted leg to the ceiling. Switch legs. This is a good way to start, however, “I would not perform this pose without the guidance of a qualified teacher because there is too much room for error, misalignment and possible injury,” says Galardi.