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Food

7 Ingredients Nutritionists Always Avoid

If you see these ingredients on a food's label, stay far, far away from it.

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8 Foods That Decrease Inflammation and Help You Lose Weight

Because eating these foods is so much easier than counting calories

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Anti-inflammatory Foods

8 Foods That Decrease Inflammation and Help You Lose Weight

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What 7 Nutritionists Eat for Breakfast Each Morning

Follow their lead to get your day off to a healthy start.

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Daily Meal Plan: Three Meals, Two Snacks, One Dessert—All Under 1,600 Calories

A morning, noon, and night's worth of satisfying eats—all for under 1,600 calories

BREAKFAST

Lisa Shin

Eggs ‘n’ Greens
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups spinach
1 egg
1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce

Add half the olive oil to a heated skillet, saute mushrooms and spinach, and remove to a plate. Add remaining olive oil to the skillet. Crack egg into the pan and cooksunny-side up. Add egg to vegetables. Drizzle with Sriracha sauce.

Total: 230 calories

LUNCH

Lisa Shin

Tuna-Avocado Sandwich
1/3 avocado, mashed
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 oz white albacore tuna, drained
1 thick slice tomato
1 piece butter lettuce
1 slice red onion
1 slice whole-grain bread

Combine avocado with lemon juice and fold in tuna. Stack tomato, lettuce, onion, and avocado and tuna mixture on bread for an open-face sandwich.

Total: 350 calories

SNACK
Mix 1 Tbsp unsweetened dried cherries; 3 strips unsweetened mango slices, chopped; 1 Tbsp almonds; 1 Tbsp pistachios; and 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds.

Total: 280 calories

DINNER

Lisa Shin

Cookout for One
1 organic beef hot dog
1/2 cup organic baked beans
1 whole-wheat hot dog bun
1/2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1/2 Tbsp sweet relish
1 cup sliced honeydew melon

Cook hot dog, and heat baked beans in a saucepan. Serve hot dog in the bun, topped with mustard and relish, with beans and melon on the side.

Total: 490 calories

SNACK
1 cup frozen green grapes and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

Total: 190 calories

Indulge Without Bulge
To stay below 1,600:
Add: Julie’s Organic Sorbet Bar, Mandarin Orange (60 calories)
Subtract: Sunflower seeds from first snack (60 calories)

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Food

8 Foods That Give You an Afternoon Energy Boost That AREN’T a Cup of Coffee

Put down that jittery cup of joe and back away slowly. Here are your new go-to p.m. pick-me-ups.

You know the feeling. Your shoulders sag forward, your eyelids are heavier than paperweights, you’ve read and reread the same sentence seven times in a row…it’s the dreaded 3 p.m. slump, and your options for a quick pick-me-up feel few and far between. Impromptu headstand? You’re frightening your officemates. Car nap? Try not to get fired. Instead, you slug another cup of caffeine, only to find yourself tossing and turning at midnight, the cycle beginning again the following day. (Find out 5 other things that make you tired, here.)

Put down the coffee pot. There are other great options for an instant energy upgrade, says Keri Gans, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet—they just take a bit of know-how and planning ahead.

The key to beating the dreaded afternoon slump, Gans says, is being prepared with healthy snacks on-hand, specifically, foods with carbs for quick energy, and that are high in fiber, protein, and/or healthy fats to provide longer-lasting energy, without the jolt of caffeine. 

“A lot of times, when we’re crashing in the middle of the day, we’re simply hungry,” says Gans. “What you need is carbs, that’s the bottom line. Then, protein and fat keep you satiated longer, so it’s a win-win.”

Clear out some space in your desk drawer or office fridge for these 8 snacks that pack a true energy punch:

A fresh piece of fruit + a serving of almonds. “It’s perfect: healthy, with quick energy, and so portable,” says Gans. And, you’ll be pleased to hear that Gans chuckles at the notion that we should steer clear of certain kinds of fruit. “The carbs and sugar in fruit is natural,” she says. Oranges, bananas, grapes—they’re all delicious and fair game. 

Roasted edamame. Peeking in her own cabinets, Gans spots this favorite energy-boosting food—”it’s very high in fiber and very high in protein.” To make this nutty, chewy snack, simply thaw frozen shelled edamame beans, toss with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, and roast on a baking sheet at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the beans begin to dark and crisp up. Gans recommends a ¼ cup serving.

Baked black bean or lentil chips + The Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedges. “It sounds weird, but cheese and chips is a great combo for energy,” says Gans. “Just smear it on!” The baked chips are packed with protein and fiber, and The Laughing Cow Light spreadable wedges boast 7 flavors and 35 calories each. Try the Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle flavor. “Spicy can wake you up!” says Gans. For more foods packed with fiber, check out this list of 15 healthy high-fiber foods that make you feel full and satisfied.

Low-fat chocolate milk. “You could be dragging because you’re dehydrated,” says Gans. “Sometimes, something cold and refreshing is all you need.” Gans buys Organic Valley’s individual drinks; “I love them as a pick-me-up.” For more help in the hydration department, definitely check out these 10 ways to drink more water.

Greek yogurt + fresh berries. Go for the low-fat, not non-fat, version of this go-to snack, Gans offers. “You want that little bit of fat for energy with staying power.” 

Grapefruit wedges + cottage cheese. Again, opt for the healthy fats from low-fat (2% milkfat) cottage cheese (Gans likes the 90-calorie Breakstone version). Pair a hearty scoop with grapefruit wedges for an instant pick-me-up, courtesy of the protein in the cottage cheese, grapefruit’s natural carbs, and the aroma of citrus that instantly awakens your senses.

KIND bars. “They’re low in sugar, high in fiber, and easy to take along with you,” says Gans. “I love the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, and a new one, the Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond.” You had us at dark chocolate!

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars. You can’t go wrong with a sweet treat that also fights the urge to doze off under your desk. Gans digs the Mint Chocolate Chip Yasso bars—the minty taste wakes up your senses, and you’ll get an energy boost from 13g of sugar (a lot of it coming naturally from the lactose, she says), and staying power from 6g of protein, but all with only 100 calories. Prefer Peanut Butter Cup or 80-calorie Mango? Lucky for you, there are currently 11 flavor choices.

More like this from Women’s Health:
QUIZ: What’s Your Body Trying to Tell You?
7 Things No One Ever Told You About Caffeine
14 Foods Nutritionists Never Eat

 

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Travel

5 Ways Scuba Diving Works Your Body ALL Over

Trend alert: A girl's most memorable workout ever is under the water.

If you think scuba diving is just for guys like Jacques Cousteau and Scuba Steve, think again. With certified celeb divers such as Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Sandra Bullock, Katie Holmes, and Nina Dobrev leading the way, women now make up about 30 percent of all divers, according to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). 

“Diving is becoming more trendy and a popular way to stay active and fit on vacation among women,” says Lauren Schuil, Marketing and Digital Administrator at Aqua Lung, which recently launched Details, a complete dive line designed by women for women.

MORE: 5 Water Sports That Get You Total-Body Toned

But unlike most trends, it’s nearly impossible to tire of diving. And once you’re certified, you’re certified for life. So ditch your sneaks and the hotel gym, and dive in to reap these five body-boosting benefits of scuba:

Head-to-Toe Toning
Quick science lesson: Water is heavier than air. What that means for your muscles: Continuous resistance without the joint-jolting impact of hitting the pavement—or even the beach. “Because diving is a low-impact sport, many divers do not and should not feel the physical exertion under water, but they are in fact using major muscle groups to propel themselves through resistance created by the water,” says Kelly Rockwood, PADI Americas course diver and fitness expert. What’s more, a full air tank weighs about 40 pounds, and the rest of your gear can easily add another 20+ pounds to your frame, making gearing up—and getting to the back of the boat—a strength workout in itself.

Crazy Calorie Burns
Just 30 minutes of mermaiding around can burn about 400 calories, thanks to the water’s constant resistance—and your constant swimming. Most diving excursions last about 30 to 45 minutes, so depending on your weight, fitness level, the current, and the intensity of your dive, zapping 500-plus calories during a single dive is totally possible, says Brad Johnson, Ph.D., fitness and wellness expert and author of Scared Skinny No More. If you are doing multiple dives in a day (depending on your depth and time of each dive, you could do four or more in one outing), remember to eat a small snack and hydrate between dives, he advises.  

MORE: What It’s Like to Go Scuba Diving for the First Time  

Better Breathing
The first rule of Scuba Club: Never hold your breath. Why? Breathing deeply and slowly during a dive reduces the risk of a lung-expansion injury. But this breathing technique also has lung-boosting benefits. It increases lung capacity, strengthens the respiratory system, and can cut your risk of developing diseases of the lungs, according to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The study focused on deep breathing in general, but during scuba you have to practice deep belly breathing—the same as in the study—for an hour at a time for each dive, which is more than people generally do during deep-breathing exercises. Plus, by allowing the body to take in more oxygen and release more carbon dioxide, deep breathing can lower blood pressure and quell depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders, according to Harvard Medical School.

Slashed Stress
Combine endorphins, deep breathing, and pretty fish, and it’s understandable that a good scuba session could result in a less stressed-out you. While that’s not hard to put together, one study from the Human Performance Laboratory at Karlstad University Sven-Åke Bood shows that scuba’s stress-fighting benefits may also have to do with the peace and quiet of being immersed in the ocean. Scuba diving reduces sensory input (think: sounds are quieter, motions are slower, etc.) to a minimum, which can provide major stress relief, according to the study’s researchers. They found that regular flotation tank sessions relieve chronic stress-related ailments in more than half of patients. 

Higher Self-Esteem
Scuba diving is physically demanding and seriously takes you out of your comfort zone. “The fact is that scuba requires you to swim, handle conditions on the surface, monitor your equipment, and navigate underwater life,” says Alfred Bove, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the Temple University School of Medicine and a certified diver. “The better you feel you can handle these stressors under the water, the more prepared you feel to face challenges above the surface.”  And that feeling of preparation equals confidence and fulfillment.

MORE: 4 Ways to Stick to Your Fitness Routine This Summer 

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Travel

How Blake Lively Stays Fit Without a Gym

Really, she doesn't go! But she does have another trick…

Hate going to the gym? So does Blake Lively. And she doesn’t make herself go, either.

So how does Blake stay in such amazing shape? Before you turn totally green with envy, consider what she recently told Extra: “I’ve said before, ‘Oh I hate the gym, and I eat chocolate,’ but the part that they don’t print—they make me look like a jerk!—is that I hate the gym so I find other ways to be active. I dance, I ride bicycles, I hike. I go out and exercise in nature. I find ways to be physical where you’re also having an experience because I’m very experience-oriented.”

If that sounds seriously fun to you, know it’s seriously healthy, too: Research shows that spending time in the great outdoors is a guaranteed health-booster—and that exercising outside burns more calories and is more satisfying than working out behind closed doors. So whether you enjoy regular gym trips or not, take a tip from Blake and treat yourself to some vitamin N with these pointers and ideas: 

25 Gorgeous Hikes You Have to Do in Your Lifetime

5 Things You Need for Outdoor Workouts

Steal Lea Michele’s Hiking Playlist

4 Fabulous Outdoor Workouts to Fall in Love With ASAP

6 Ways to Work Out Safely in the Heat

3 Tips for Buying Your First Bike

MORE: Blake Lively’s Secret Ingredient For Luscious Locks 

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Travel

6 Nature-Themed Clothes and Accessories You’re Gonna LOVE

Wear nature on your sleeve (or feet, or legs)

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25 Gorgeous Hikes You Have to Do in Your Lifetime

Allow us to introduce you to your hiking bucket list

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3 Tips for Decorating with Indoor Plants

Living décor can lift your mood and productivity—here's how to bring the plant life inside

Go ahead, track some dirt inside. Indoor foliage, including crazy-cool plant walls, can purify air, reduce anxiety, and hike up happiness. Follow these three uber-smart pointers to decorate your home with green things (and reap the benefits)!

Start Small
Newbies should first practice just keeping a houseplant or two alive for a few months, says Eliza Blank, founder of plant delivery site TheSill.com. Try hardy, water-once-a-week varietals such as philodendrons, snake plants, or ZZ plants.

Get Vertical
Graduate to a plant (or “living”) wall. These vertical gardens can double as artsy installations and aren’t that tough to set up, says Blank. Buy three or more wall-mountable planters with built-in mini water tanks (try Woolly Pocket Living Wall Planter, $27, woollypocket.com). Pot your flora in planters, then mount them—one on top of the other, in a row, however you like!—on a wall directly opposite or close to a window. Blank suggests starting with full, flourishing pothos; their leaves will camouflage the planters and make it look as if the greenery is floating.

Add Oomph
For an even bigger setup, large wall-pocket frames can hold dozens of plants in individual cells; the overall trompe l’oeil effect makes it appear as if an entire garden is growing directly out of a wall (try Williams-Sonoma Free Standing Vertical Garden, $400, williams-sonoma.com). Fill the various plant cells with different types of vegetation or edible herbs. Or create a mini forest out of ferns or succulents. Research from NASA suggests that indoor plants remove significant amounts of harmful contaminants from the air.

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Travel

10 Things to Pack for a Fabulous Outdoor Picnic

The weather outside is phenomenal—so why not grab a blanket and these essentials and go dine al fresco?

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10 Things to Pack for a Fabulous Outdoor Picnic

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5 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Biking

Find out why now is the perfect time to dust off your bike.

If you haven’t gotten on a bike since you were in middle school, you’re seriously missing out. Biking’s low-impact and burns serious calories, but it also comes with loads of other health benefits. Check them out:

It Helps You Stay at a Healthy Weight
According to a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, biking can help with long-term weight maintenance: Women who rode a bike for four hours a week were less likely to gain weight over the course of 16 years than women who didn’t.

MORE: 7 Research-Backed Breakfast Tips for Faster Weight Loss  

It May Reduce Heart-Disease Risk
Getting on a bicycle can drastically improve heart health: According to the British Medical Association, women who ride 20 miles a week may slash their risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 50 percent. 

It Improves Your Mood
In a survey conducted by Portland State University, respondents who biked to work reported the highest levels of wellbeing—even higher than those who walked to work.

MORE: 7 Essential Lessons to Feel More Happiness in Your Life 

It May Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
According to a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, women who walked or biked more than 30 minutes to work had a slightly lower risk of breast cancer than those who worked from home or took a vehicle.

It Can Prevent Illness
One study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that people who bike to work typically take fewer sick days. What’s more, the bikers in the study also experienced significantly fewer chronic health complaints—even though the average bike commute lasted just 20 minutes one way (on average).

MORE: 3 Tips for Buying Your First Bike
 

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3 Tips for Buying Your First Bike

Where to start when you want to start riding

As the weather gets warmer, you might be looking for excuses to spend more time outside. Biking is a great way to get active outdoors, mix up your usual exercise routine, or commute to work while burning calories in the process. (Check out five great health benefits of biking.) But if the last bike you picked up had streamers coming out of the handlebars, you might not know what to look for in a new one. Here are four expert tips for buying your first adult bike:

Ask Yourself How You’ll Be Using Your Bike
Will you be casually riding your bike to work, or are you looking for a workout every time you take your wheels for a spin? “The first thing is to ask yourself what kind of riding you’ll be doing,” says Carolyn Szczepanski, director of communications for Women Bike, a program of The League of American Bicyclists. “If you’ll be riding in professional attire, you will probably want a city or commuter bike.” This has nice, straight handlebars and allows you to be upright. For longer rides or workouts, Szczepanski suggests looking into a lighter road bike or sturdy touring bike.
 
MORE: Best Bikes for Women 

Don’t Skimp on Accessories
While most states have laws that require accessories like lights, they don’t always come standard with your bike. Really consider your needs before purchasing a bike; that basket or mirror might seem like a non-essential at first, but a small extra charge might save you a lot of extra grief. “When I first started to ride, I carried a backpack,” says Szczepanski. “But when I invested in a few bucks for a basket, it was so much more comfortable.” It’s worth it if it means fewer safety concerns and a more enjoyable ride.

MORE: 8 Things You Need for a Safe Bike Commute 

Seek Out an Expert
Szczepanski recommends seeking out a local bike shop for additional help choosing your first bike. Small shops (as opposed to big-box dealers) tend to be owned by experts who know all about riding. They can answer any newbie questions, direct you to additional resources for riders in your community, and, most importantly, fit you to a bike and saddle that’s just right for your body. “There’s a well-earned stereotype that these bike shops can be intimidating to some women,” says Szczepanski. “So search around and find one where you feel comfortable. It will be one of your best resources for riding.”

MORE: 5 Ways to Get an Awesome Outdoor Workout  

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Travel

Why You Need to Get Outside—ASAP

Read the editor's letter from the May 2014 issue of <em>Women's Health</em>

If I told you that there were a cost- and side effect-free way to help lower your blood pressure, elevate your mood, mitigate stress, and improve your sleep—essentially, be happier and healthier almost instantly—you’d be game to try it, right? Well, this miracle-working panacea is yours for the taking…all you have to do is get outside.

It sounds easy enough, but many of us have let our relationship with nature atrophy in order to connect with people…over the Internet. By sequestering ourselves inside, we increase our risk for a modern malady called nature deficit disorder, the repercussions of which go beyond having a perennially pale complexion. Limited exposure to nature has been linked to a higher risk for obesity, heart disease, and depression. Not good.

Growing up, I lived in a grassy New Jersey suburb where I chased lightning bugs and rode my bike through wooded trails. After college I moved to New York City, and the asphalt jungle has been home ever since. I don’t think I realized just how nature-deprived I was until I bought a place down the shore (from Jersey, remember) about a decade ago. When I started spending weekends there digging my feet into the sand, listening to seagulls call, and paddling around on the bay, I began to feel more peaceful and, I don’t know, more alive.

I am still a passionate city lover, but one who deeply craves nature. I deal with the dichotomy by scoring nature fixes wherever and whenever I can. For example, I’ve taken to a practice called “earthing,” which basically means I go barefoot in the park. Some naturalists believe that grounding yourself to the earth has anti-inflammatory health benefits. I just think it feels nice. Later this month, I’m heading to California to spend a couple of days in Yosemite National Park hiking among the giant sequoia trees, after which I’ll head up to Napa Valley for some wine tasting. (Sort of the grown-up version of tree climbing followed by a grape juicebox.) I’m giddy with anticipation. For more inspirational ideas about how to reestablish your bond with Mother Earth, turn to page 139. Then join our #GetOutside Twitter campaign to share your wild experiences.

MICHELE PROMAULAYKO
Editor-in-Chief

Follow me on Twitter!
@michprom

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Health

4 Fabulous Outdoor Workouts to Fall in Love With ASAP

Give these four sports a whirl and get a vital dose of Vitamin N (that would be Nature) while you're getting your sweat on

Research shows that exercising outdoors is more satisfying and can burn more calories. These effective nature-based workouts will seriously tone your bod—but they’re so fun, they feel more like play. So… what are you waiting for?

Beach Volleyball
The bikini body–building sport is all about quick sprints, lunges, and squats on nature’s best fitness foundation: sand. Studies reveal that running on the stuff uses significantly more energy than running on a firm surface, meaning beach volleyball torches far more cals then the indoor kind.

The secret to good passing: Keep it simple. Use as little arm motion as possible and make your legs your main power source. This will get you a stronger, more forceful pass.

Don’t wait until the ball is in the air to start chasing it; the key to beach volleyball is interception. As soon as your teammate touches the ball and you see her body positioning, jump into action.

Key Move: The Platform
Cup one hand under the other and bring thumbs together, but do not interlock your fingers. Keep your hands, wrists, and forearms in a steady, straight line (elbows unbent) when bumping the ball.

Pro tips from Anna Biller Collier, University of Southern California volleyball coach

Stand-Up Paddleboarding
To keep from falling over on a floating board, every muscle from your shoulders to your calves has to get involved.

First-timers can kneel on the board to practice staying steady.

If you’re paddling on your right side, your left hand should be on top of the paddle, and vice versa.

Key Move: The Basic Paddle
A. With your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips, placing the paddle in the water in front of you.

B. Drive your arms back toward your waist; keep them straight and brace your core as you pull through the water.

Pro tips from Jon Ham, creator of Stand Up Paddle Fitness: A Conditioning Guide

Tennis
Playing on the regular can improve bone health, metabolism, and agility—and reduce stress and anxiety, per a new study. Not enough for ya? The anaerobic capacity of tennis players is similar to that of sprinters (read: swinging a racket blasts serious calories).

Get actual tennis shoes. Average running sneaks aren’t made for the quick side-to-side changes of direction that tennis requires.

Keep a loose grip. When you hit the ball, your hand automatically tightens; squeezing too hard beforehand can mess up your swing.

Key Move: The Forehand
A. Make a C-shaped loop in the air as you bring your racket back.

B. As you swing, transfer your weight to your other foot.

C. Try to hit the ball upward, from the six o’clock to the 12 o’clock position.

D. Keep your eyes on the ball as you. . .

E. . . .sweep the racket across your body, elbow pointing toward the ball.

Pro tips from Howard Waldstreicher, professional tennis coach

Trail Running
It’s way more mentally, physically, and visually stimulating than slogging on a treadmill. Plus, it makes you a more efficient runner: Research shows that people shaved significant time off of their race results after six weeks of hill practice.

There’s no need to go the distance—a 5-K will cut it. Elevation changes and uneven terrain add plenty of difficulty. (A tough trail run can take twice as long to complete as a road-based one!)

Focus on keeping your effort steady rather than your pace. In terms of exertion, you want your charge downhill to feel comparable to your crawl uphill.

Pro tips from running coach Ian Sharman, founder of Sharman Ultra Coaching

Key Move: The Short Stride
A. For better stability on rugged ground, take shorter, quicker steps, landing on your mid-or forefoot.

B. Keep your eyes on the path three to five feet in front of you. It’s okay to alter your arm movement for balance.

Kayaking
It’s a fierce (and scenic!) upper-body activity: Each time you pull your paddle through the water, you’re working your arms, shoulders, back, chest, and entire core. Pick up the pace for an intense cardio sesh.

Shoulder strength kayaking speed. Adding pushups to your regular fitness routine will help you go faster and longer in the water.

Before you dress, check the water—not the air—temperature on nodc.noaa.gov. If it’s under 60°F, you’ll want to wear a wet suit or dry suit.

Key Move: The Forward Stroke
A. With hands shoulder-width apart, hold the paddle out in front of you, perpendicular to your body.

B. Rotate your core and shoulders to one side as you dig the blade into the water.

C. Push with your upper hand, pull with your lower hand. Switch sides every other stroke.

Pro tips from Leigh Jackson-Magennis, REI kayak expert

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