To keep sore, stiff muscles at bay, take a cue from your cat and enjoy a good stretch. Our muscles are surrounded by a thin sheath of connective tissue called fascia, and when that tissue becomes tight or inflamed, it can lead to aches. Luckily, spending just 10 minutes reaching for the sky and bending toward your toes five times a week thwarts discomfort. The key: Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds. It takes time for tissues to release, and holding a stretch a little longer releases more fascia, so you feel even better!
Happy news: Getting out and about for a stroll in this beautiful weather can whittle your middle. The trick that speeds results? Enjoying a walk before breakfast instead of after. Investigators reporting in the British Journal of Nutrition found that this simple timing shift supercharges your body’s ability to burn belly fat. That’s because when you exercise before a meal on an empty stomach, your body burns off stored fats for fuel (which powers off pounds) instead of tapping into energy stored in muscle cells. Bye-bye, belly fat!