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How Velocity-Based Training Works

How Velocity-Based Training Works

Barbell Back Squat

Dustin Snipes

Adding 5 lbs to the bar per week can deliver short-term results, but eventually your progress will come to a screeching halt. So instead of piling on plates, use velocity-based training, an approach that has you focus on the speed at which you lift instead of how much you lift. You’ll produce steady gains, lower injury risk, and sustain proper form during key lifts.

What it is

VBT measures the speed at which the weight moves to tell you the loads you should use, when to stop a set, and how many sets to do.

How it works

A sensor strapped to the bar or person records the velocity at which the weight is lifted. Depending on the working zone (see chart), you can see in real time if the weight needs to be adjusted.

Why it works

Going too heavy typically results in the use of poor form, which ups the risk of injury, stresses your central nervous system, and makes it impossible to become as efficient as possible at your lifts.

SEE ALSO: The Circuit to End Your Leg Day Right

How the working zones work

Training zones:

  • Max strength: Below 0.5 m/s—80-100% of your one-rep max
  • Power: 0.7-1.3 m/s—35-70% of your one-rep max
  • Hypertrophy: 0.1-1.0 m/s—50-90% of your one-rep max
  • Velocity: Above 1.3 m/s—25-45% of your one-rep max

1. Regulate heavy sets. If your velocity measures above the desired zone, increase the weight. If you’re moving the bar slowly, reduce it.

2. Strength is best trained at speeds of 0.3 to 0.5 meters per second, so don’t add weight to the bar until you can do all reps of all sets faster than 0.5 m/s.

3. Autoregulate. Measuring your lifting speed is a foolproof way to know what your body is capable of lifting on that day, rather than grinding it out and risking injury.

4. Keep in mind that producing a greater speed with the same weight means that you’re getting stronger—even if you’re not moving heavier weight.

Unleash your beast

You’ll need a device, like Beast Sensor, to calculate your velocity. It measures each rep and stores the data in an app so you can track your progress over time. $249, thisisbeast.com

SEE ALSO: Five Moves for a Concrete Core

How to Do Good Mornings With Perfect Form

How to Do Good Mornings With Perfect Form

Woman In A Gym Doing A Good Morning

[Photographer: Edgar Artiga]

Underappreciated and often misunderstood, the good morning is a strength move that doesn’t often get the respect it deserves. “This classic exercise is a great way to start building the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back,” explains Rachel Mariotti, a personal trainer at Equinox in New York. That’s important for more than just looking good in some booty shorts. “Having a strong posterior chain can assist with lower-back issues while also helping to balance out the front of the body, which is often worked disproportionately,” she says. Good mornings can also help you progress to doing deadlifts from the ground up.

Because they load the upper back, good mornings are controversial.But with proper mechanics, they can actually improve back health by strengthening weak links, including the lower back and core. Start with very light weight and gradually increase the load over time.

HOW TO DO IT

  1. Start by racking a barbell on your back, specifically the upper traps, as you would for a back squat. Stand straight with feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Hinge forward from hips. Push hips back, knees slightly bent, as if closing a door with your butt. Lower torso until your spine is almost parallel to floor, maintaining a slight arch in lower back.
  3. Keeping your core engaged, lift torso to return to starting position.

Check out the next page for form tips and some great supplementary exercises.

SEE ALSO: Get a Sexy Body with This Quick Circuit Workout

Kettlebell Swing

Photographer: Dustin Snipes

FORM TIPS

  • Keep your spine long and slightly arched with the shoulder blades pinched together.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your knees—too straight and you’ll strain your back; too bent and the move becomes more of a squat than a hamstring exercise.
  • Your shins should stay vertical to the floor.
  • To avoid straining your lower back, lead the movement by pushing your hips back rather than dropping your chest forward.

PAIR UP

The following exercises work well with a workout that includes good mornings:

  • Weighted squats
  • Glute bridges
  • Lunges
  • Squat jumps
  • Kettlebell swings

SEE ALSO: 5 Popular Kettlebell Mistakes

LeBron James Crushes 2017 NBA Playoffs Workout

LeBron James Crushes 2017 NBA Playoffs Workout

UninterruptedLeBron James doesn’t seem to believe in rest days, even during the NBA Playoffs.
Digital sports network Uninterrupted released a video of one of James’ lifting sessions, and it seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers star is keeping the…

Chris Pratt Leads His ‘Family’ in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

Chris Pratt Leads His ‘Family’ in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

Chris Pratt

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back and ready for another adventure—and Chris Pratt is leading the way.

The Guardians team leader takes center stage in this new behind-the-scenes featurette of the sequel, showing off the original team of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), plus new members of the ‘family,’ including Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

As director James Gunn puts it: “The first movie was about becoming a family. This movie is about being a family.” And if the featurette is any indication, that family sometimes can cause headaches for its members.

Part of Pratt’s routine for getting in shape for Guardians 2—and other upcoming films on his slate, like Jurassic World 2 and Avengers: Infinity War—has been to crack down on any junk food, ensuring he stays lean with some healthy snacks. Pratt’s been detailing that process in an Instagram video series “What’s My Snack?”, and he has some new entries.

Pratt shows off his latest snack, some green juice, made with “swamp water” and vegetables:

This video doesn’t have a snack for Pratt, but he does offer some advice for people who need to concentrate on two things at once as he signs some Guardians posters:

#gotgvol2 #starlord #WHATSMYSNACK

A post shared by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on Apr 19, 2017 at 1:11pm PDT

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5.

Ronda Rousey Engaged to Travis Browne

Ronda Rousey Engaged to Travis Browne

Ronda Rousey

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Ronda Rousey is engaged to boyfriend and fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne as of last week, according to TMZ.

The pair was on vacation in New Zealand when he decided to propose. He popped the question underneath a waterfall where “it felt like the right place to do it,” he told TMZ. They don’t have a date set yet, but Rousey said she hopes it will be soon. 

Rousey, the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, hasn’t been in the Octagon since her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, but she hasn’t confirmed that she’s done for good. Even before the Nunes bout, she expressed her desire to move on to the next phase in her life, and it seems like that’s exactly what she’s doing. She’s already dabbling in acting, and even Dana White has said that he thinks she’s likely to retire

Although her MMA future is still uncertain, it’s clear that Rousey is in a positive mindset and we’re glad to see her happy. 

SEE ALSO: UFC Fighter Paige VanZant’s Workout

 

Study Finds Birth Control Lowers Women’s Quality of Life

Study Finds Birth Control Lowers Women’s Quality of Life

Birth Control Pills

Shutterstock

If you’ve been on at least one type of birth control pill, you can probably attest to the fact that it messes with you—emotionally, mentally, and physically. And now, new research backs up this long-known surmise, finding that the pill does, in fact, have a negative impact on women’s quality of life.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, analyzed 340 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35 over the course of three months. The women were randomly given placebos or contraceptive pills that contained a combination of ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (estrogen and progesterone), which is the most common form of combined pills in Sweden, as well as in other countries like the U.S. During the trial period, neither the leaders running the experiment nor the subjects knew which treatment they were given.

SEE ALSO: Four Ways to Get Healthy Skin

After the three months, the women who’d been given the contraceptive pills containing the hormones reported experiencing a significantly lower quality of life—in addition to mood swings, poor sense of well-being and self-control, as well as low energy levels—than those who’d been given the placebo pill. The only silver lining was that the women who were taking the contraceptive pill did not report a significant increase in depressive symptoms. This news was especially important, considering previous studies have linked birth control to an increased risk of depression.

While the study’s findings were published in the current issue of the scientific journal Fertility and Sterility, women’s health experts say the study is very limited in its scope. “Most O.B./G.Y.N.s consider the first three months of oral contraceptive use as an adjustment period, since it can take up to three months for women to adjust to the hormones in birth control pills,” says G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D., O.B./G.Y.N. at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “We often find the most common side effects disappear after this period of time.”

SEE ALSO: How Your Hormones Affect Hunger Levels

Other side effects that are common during the first three months of being on the pill include irregular bleeding, nausea, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, and headaches. However, if these symptoms don’t go away after three months, changing to another type of pill is an option that’s encouraged by O.B./G.Y.N.s. Sherry Ross, M.D., O.B./G.Y.N., women’s health expert and author of She-ology, says this is fairly common. “There are many different brands of OCPs, each varying in their types and doses of these two key hormones, so it may take some women two or three tries before they find the birth control pill that’s best-suited for them.”

If you think your birth control may be to blame for your low quality of life, whether for you that’s in the form of emotional, mental, or physical symptoms, Ross recommends making an appointment with your healthcare provider. “During this visit, you can learn the common benefits and risks for each option of birth control available.”

In this day in age, there are many amazing birth control options available even for the most challenging situations, so keep trying and you’ll find the right match.

SEE ALSO: The Best (and Worst) Workouts to Do Before Sex

5 Healthy Muffin Tin Recipes That Save Time and Calories

5 Healthy Muffin Tin Recipes That Save Time and Calories


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Fast and Healthy Meals

Moya McAllister

Fast food is a no-no—all Hers readers know that. But what about fast, healthy food? With a little prep and one humble muffin pan, you can make breakfast, lunch, and snack foods in a portable size that are easy to take with you anywhere. Plus, you banish between-meal mishaps with this savory solution.

Cooking your favorite meals in a muffin pan is a quick, easy way to add variety to your menu while making portion control a cinch. To eat confidently, just whip up these savory recipes from some of our favorite food bloggers in a muffin tin, bake, and in fewer than 40 minutes you’ll have perfect portions for the road.

SEE ALSO: Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes for Athletes


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1. BBQ Turkey Meat Loaf Cups with Mashed Cauliflower

BBQ Turkey Meat Loaf Cups with Mashed Cauliflower

Courtesy of Skinnymom

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Meat loaf

 

  • 1 1⁄2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1⁄2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄2 cup diced onion
  • 1⁄2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup diced carrot
  • 1⁄2 cup low-sugar tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup low-sugar BBQ sauce

Mashed cauliflower

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1⁄4–1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all meat loaf ingredients except BBQ sauce with your hands. Once mixture is thoroughly combined, fill each cup with 2 oz meat loaf mixture. Brush 2 tbsp BBQ sauce onto the tops of each cup.
  3. Lightly coat a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover muffin tin. Bake cups for 15 minutes.
  4. Once meat loaf cups are in oven, make cauliflower mash: Cut cauliflower head into small florets. Place florets in a microwave-safe bowl with water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  5. Place cauliflower in a food processor. Add broth, sour cream, and seasonings and puree until creamy.
  6. Remove meat loaf cups from oven and remove foil cover; set aside.
  7. Scoop mashed cauliflower into a piping bag and then pipe onto each meat loaf cup.
  8. Place meat loaf cups back into the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. 9. Garnish with parsley and/or chives and drizzle 2 tbsp BBQ sauce onto the tops. Serve hot along with extra mashed cauliflower.

Per serving (2 muffins): Calories: 285, Fat: 12g, Carbs: 17g, Protein: 27g

Recipe by Brooke Griffin, director of Womanista Wellness, creator of skinnymom.com, and best-selling author of Skinny Suppers: 125 Lightened-Up, Healthier Meals for Your Family (skinnymom.com)

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Diet


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2. Southwest Quinoa Cakes

Southwest Quinoa Cakes

Brad Jones

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 3⁄4 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced green onions
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Salsa

  • 1 14-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
  3. Add beans, cottage cheese, and green onions and toss to combine. Gently whisk eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir into quinoa mixture.
  4. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and divide quinoa mixture among the cups. Top each with 1 tbsp pepper jack cheese.
  5. Bake until cakes are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  7. Serve cakes with salsa on the side.

Per serving (2 muffins): Calories: 157, Fat: 6g, Carbs: 17, Protein: 10g

Recipe by Maggie Jones, creator of Home Sweet Jones (homesweetjones.com)


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3. Lemon-Coconut Baked Oatmeal Cups

Courtesy of Alexis Joseph

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed plus 6 tbsp water (or 2 eggs)
  • 3 overripe medium bananas
  • 1⁄4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 3⁄4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup (optional)
  • Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (1⁄4 cup lemon juice)
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1⁄3 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flax and water (or eggs) in a small bowl.
  3. Place bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork. Add almond butter, almond milk, maple syrup, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, and flax mixture. Stir until combined.
  4. Add oats, coconut, baking powder, and salt, stirring to combine.
  5. Spoon batter into tin.
  6. Bake 25 to 28 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Cool for 20 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from tin.
  7. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Per serving (1 muffin, without syrup): Calories: 196, Fat: 9g, Carbs: 34g, Protein: 6g

Recipe by Alexis Joseph, R.D., creator of Hummusapien blog (hummusapien.com)


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4. Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Egg Muffin

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Egg Muffins

Courtesy of Slender Kitchen

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup skim milk (leave out for Paleo/Whole30)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or use liners.
  2. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, skim milk, and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add sweet potato and onion. Cook for 8 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add spinach, garlic, and nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes or until wilted.
  5. Let cool for 2 minutes and then mix into eggs. Pour into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Per serving (1 muffin): Calories: 104, Fat: 4g, Carbs: 7g, Protein: 9g

Recipe by Kristen McCaffery, creator of Slender Kitchen (slenderkitchen.com)


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5. Skinny Lasagna Cupcakes

Skinny Lasagna Cupcakes

Alex Thom

Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Optional: 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz mushrooms, washed and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 48 wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 tbsp mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 9 leaves fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 1⁄4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup your favorite marinara sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. If using ground beef, sauté until cooked through in a skillet while you cut veggies. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a skillet, heat butter on medium heat; add mushrooms, zucchini, onion, and Italian seasoning and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Drain cooked vegetables and let cool in strainer. Then line each muffin cup with one wonton wrapper.
  5. Place ricotta in a mixing bowl and add 3 tbsp mozzarella, 2 tbsp Parmesan, 6 leaves chopped basil, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and mix together.
  6. Scoop 1 tbsp vegetable mixture into each muffin cup and top with 1⁄2 tbsp ricotta mixture. Then add another wonton to each muffin cup, pressing down mixture and making sure that wonton corners are staggered.
  7. Next add 1⁄2 tbsp veggies and 1 tbsp marinara sauce, and top with 1 tsp shredded mozzarella.
  8. Bake for about 16 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Let cupcakes cool for 3 minutes, then remove from tins. Top with basil shreds if desired.

Per serving (3 cupcakes): Calories: 334, Fat: 14g, Carbs: 28g, Protein: 23g (Without ground beef: Calories: 233, Fat: 8g, Carbs: 28g, Protein: 11g)

Recipe by Chris Freytag, founder of Get Healthy U and Get Healthy U TV (gethealthyu.com)

How to Choose the Right Pan for Your Recipe

How to Choose the Right Pan for Your Recipe

Woman With Pots and Pans

A. J. O’Brien/Fox Photos/Getty

Depending on your recipe, aluminum, silicone, carbon steel, or nonstick may be best, says Chris Freytag (see her Skinny Lasagna Cupcakes featured among our 5 muffin tin recipes that will save you time and keep your diet on track). Here’s how to pick the right pan.

Silicone

“The flexible, rubbery material used for silicone bakeware is trendy right now for a reason: versatility. It’s oven-safe, microwave-safe, goes in the fridge and freezer, and will not be damaged by the dishwasher,” Freytag says. Plus, it’s a cinch to remove the muffins from the pan by bending it. “I like them for muffins and desserts, but they work for everything.”

Nonstick

This pan is popular due to the obvious: nothing sticks. “They are easier to clean up, and you don’t need to use paper cups with them. I still oil them a little for flavor and to ensure clean removal of food.”

Aluminum or steel

“Old-fashioned metal tins are the cheapest, and they last forever. I have one of my grandma’s really old tins, and it’s browned but still works amazingly well.”

Cast iron

“It creates slow, even heating, but you have to be a watchful cook to use cast iron. It’s a little trickier, and the bottoms of your food will get a little crispier—they can burn if you’re not careful.”

SEE ALSO: The Five Best Slim-Down Diets

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Phone During a Workout

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Phone During a Workout

Man Exercising Outdoors On Phone

Shutterstock

Researchers at Hiram College in Ohio analyzed 45 college students as they worked out while texting or talking. A separate control group did calisthenics and/or cardio without phones. Unsurprisingly, swiping right mid-workout makes it harder to focus on your pushups and burpees. Texting also reduces “postural stability”—how well you can stay balanced—by 45%, the researchers found, and talking on the phone mid-exercise hurts balance by 19%. The one thing that didn’t have any negative effects was listening to music. 

Texting also negatively affects posture throughout the day, the study found. 

“If you’re talking or texting on your cell phone while you’re putting in your daily steps, your attention is divided by the two tasks, and that can disrupt your postural stability and, therefore, possibly predispose individuals to other greater inherent risks such as falls and musculoskeletal injuries,” said Michael Rebold, Ph.D., assistant professor of integrative exercise science.

SEE ALSO: The Resistance Row Workout Finisher

 

Paralyzed Former NWHL Player Completes Boston Marathon

Paralyzed Former NWHL Player Completes Boston Marathon

Congratulations to former NHL star Bobby Carpenter and NWHL player Denna Laing on completing this year’s race in 4:32:30! pic.twitter.com/jXlSvQGhu9

— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 17, 2017

Denna Laing, a former National Women’s Hockey League player who was paralyzed as a result of an on-ice spinal cord injury, crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday with some help from a racing wheelchair and U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Carpenter.

Laing was paralyzed while playing for the Boston Pride during the 2016 Outdoor Women’s Classic, which was the first outdoor women’s game in professional hockey. Carpenter approached her family last June about teaming up for the marathon in support of Journey Forward, according to Boston.com. The nonprofit aims to better the lives of those affected by spinal cord injuries through exercise programs. Their goal was to raise $53,000, but they’ve far surpassed it—raising over $80,000 for their cause. 

SEE ALSO: The Benefits of Mindful Meditation

“It’s really nice to see someone being so unselfish and just really reaching out to help me and to support an organization that is so important to my life and to the people who go there as well,” Laing told Boston.com.

After running his first Boston Marathon last year, Carpenter hadn’t planned on running another, according to the team’s Journey Forward fundraising page. However, he decided that doing it for a good cause would be worth it. He and Laing completed the race in 4 hours, 32 minutes, and 30 seconds, and received an overwhelming amount of support from the crowd from start to finish.

“My voice is gone because I said hello to everybody in the crowd. I felt like everybody was screaming my name. It was so awesome,” Laing told WBZ-TV.

SEE ALSO: How a Positive Outlook Can Benefit Long-Term Health