Get This: Finding a Yoga Class Just Got Easier

Check out the list of links that should be on your radar today:

A new app from Lululemon helps you find different yoga classes near you. [Reuters]

Go ahead and play Text Twist: Word games are better than drugs at preventing cognitive decline. [TIME]

The new anti-street harassment PSAs in Philly are pretty amazing. [The Frisky]

Have high blood pressure while you’ve got a bun in the oven? It could mean you’re at risk for getting diabetes in the future. [EurekAlert]

Sorry, burger-and-fry lovers: People who eat a typically Western diet are more likely to die young. [Daily Mail]

Parents decide whether to give their kids vaccinations based on what their friends do. [Huffington Post]

A new study found that childbirth is just as traumatic for men as it is for women. Really, now… [The Cut]

Recent research finds that 29.8 percent of people crossing the street are too distracted to pay attention. Because, you know, who cares about oncoming traffic? [The Atlantic]

New tests have determined that horse meat is just gross, not unsafe. [AP]

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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The Simple Way to Breathe Easier

One of the best things you can do for your lungs (besides keeping them smoke-free)? Strike a pose. Practicing yoga regularly may help boost your lung function and capacity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers from Texas State University at San Marcos gathered 57 studies from four databases (the Alternative Health Watch, Physical Education Index, Medline, and SPORTdiscus), looking for ones that included the keywords “yoga,” “respiration,” and “pulmonary function.” Of those 57, researchers found nine studies that focused on pulmonary function in 609 individuals with healthy lungs. These studies measured how much a person can exhale in one second (something called forced expiratory volume, or FEV1) to determine lung health. After examining all nine studies, researchers found that all but one experiment indicated yoga was associated with better overall lung function. This was true even if the specific yoga techniques practiced–breathing, meditation, poses, etc.–varied in each study.

You might not realize it, but your lungs are like muscles in that they need to be exercised. Otherwise, they’ll become rigid, which forces you to take shorter breaths and can increase your risk of lung disease. Yoga requires you to breathe deeply to fully expand your lungs, which makes them more flexible and increases their ability to take in more air.

For improved pulmonary functions, researchers suggest practicing yoga for a minimum of two days a week, one hour each day. You should experience improved lung function in about 10 weeks. “It’s important that we inhale and exhale so that we keep our lungs functioning properly,” says lead study author Allison Abel, assistant director of total wellness at from Texas State University at San Marcos. This will help prevent problems such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.

Better breathing isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from practicing yoga–it’s also a great way to fry fat, ease aches and pains, and make you feel more Zen. Whether you’re looking for an easy energy boost or want to build a leaner body, these yoga routines will keep your entire body fit–lungs and all.

Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up

Burn Fat Faster with these Yoga Exercises

Get Rid of Cellulite

Shake Off Tummy Troubles (with yoga)

Yoga for Pain Relief

photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock

More From Women’s Health:
Breathing Techniques: Less Anxiety and More Energy
Improve Your Breathing Techniques
Breathe Away Heartburn

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Eating Clean Is About to Get Easier

Prepare to become a whole different kind of label snob: Whole Foods recently announced that the chain will require labeling on all genetically modified (GM) foods sold in its stores, making it the first U.S. retailer to call out these products. The president of Whole Foods said he plans to roll out this new labeling system within five years, since the process will likely take a while to implement in the chain’s 300-plus stores.

So what exactly are GM foods, and why should you be able to pick them out on a store shelf? They’re essentially foods that have been modified by combining the DNA of two different species. Examples include most soybeans and corn, as well as anything that contains them, like high fructose corn syrup or canola oil. Although the FDA has deemed these products safe, many researchers caution that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may contain more allergens and health risks than naturally grown foods. Jeffrey Smith, best-selling author of Seeds of Deception, notes that animal studies have found an increased risk of tumors, organ damage, gastrointestinal disorders, immune disorders, and more as a result of long-term GMO consumption.

In Europe, grocery stores have almost completely removed GM foods from shelves—a result of a 2003 labeling requirement similar to the one Whole Foods is proposing, says Smith. “Now there are so few products [in Europe] that say they contain GMOs that it’s as if they’re banned.”

Whole Foods already sells many products labeled “Non-GMO Project Verified” (meaning they don’t contain any GM ingredients), and the store has seen a huge increase in the sale of these foods. “These are signs of a tipping point of consumer rejection,” says Smith. “The Whole Foods announcement was both a reflection of that and something that will propel the non-GMO movement more quickly.”

So what can you do until the new label system is up and running? Smith suggests buying organic whenever possible and looking for existing labels noting that a product is Non-GMO Project Verified. You can also try to cut down on processed foods, which typically contain GM ingredients.

photo: Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

More from Women’s Health:
Frankenfish and the World of Genetically Modified Foods
Confused by Organic Foods? Not After This
The 14 Dirtiest Fruits and Veggies

Body Reset Diet Slim down in 15 days! Expert Harley Pasternak offers a proven program to shed pounds without sacrificing health or convenience in The Body Reset. Order now!

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Hate Doing Math? 4 Awesome Apps to Make Your Life Easier

Does the idea of crunching numbers (or splitting a check amongst a group of friends) make you nervous? You may be scared for a good reason. According to new research from the University of Chicago, “mathematics anxiety” can elicit a response in the brain comparable to experiencing physical pain.

Researchers scanned the brains of participants as they solved problems, some involving math. Surprisingly, researchers discovered that the anticipation of having to do math, and not actually the act of doing math, activated the pain sensor regions of the brain.

Study author Ian Lyons, PhD graduate in psychology from the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral scholar at Western University in Ontario, Canada, compares the response to getting a shot from your doctor. “When you see the needle coming, you mentally shrink away,” explain Lyons. “It’s the gut reaction of ‘here’s a thing coming that will hurt me,’ even though rationally you know it’s not true,” he says.

Essentially, if you have high math anxiety (meaning you have a tendency to avoid math-related situations), you only consider the negative aspect of doing math, which can feel very threatening, says Lyons. “These individuals are simulating the worst-case scenarios—they can really only see math going badly—and that can fill them with a feeling of dread, which can be painful to a certain extent,” says Lyons.

So how can you lessen the blow? Lots of math homework probably isn’t the answer, says Lyons. The solution is to treat the anxiety itself, he explains, and reassess your approach to math entirely. Luckily, there’s an app for that.

For downloadable shortcuts to offset the math-related brain pain, we turned to our own smart phones, as well as Veronica Belmont, co-host of web show Tekzilla on, for recommendations. Here, 4 cool number-crunching apps to download today:

$ .99 (iOS)
Not only does this app keep track of who owes what, you can also split items (in case you shared that order of sweet potato fries) and wirelessly enable your dining partners to help figure out the math.

Free (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Palm)
Need to track your expenses remotely? You can scan receipts, log mileage, and consolidate everything into a report once you’re back at your computer. Plus it can do all the calculations for you.

$ 2.99 (iOS)
Converting units, whether it’s inches to centimeters, ounces to cups, fehrenheit to celcius, etc, is a pain in the butt. Convert handles it all seamlessely, and has a built-in calculator so you don’t have to switch back and forth between apps.

Free (iOS, Android)
Stumped at how much to leave your server? This free app isn’t fancy, but it easily allows you to divide up the bill and the tip for your meal separately, so nobody overpays (or accidentally leaves a tiny tip) again.

Top image: iStockphoto/Thinkstock, App images: Courtesy of Apple

More from WH:
Games that Train Your Brain
Sculpt Your Body to Strengthen Your Mind
Sharpen Your Mind, STAT!

The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga Get a Sexy Yoga Body! Discover the power of yoga to tighten, tone, and calm. Buy The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga today!

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