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fitness

Health, fitness expert Stephanie Mansour shares tips on how to lose weight over the holiday

The holidays can be a great time to spice up your workout routine, according to health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour.

Spice up your at home workout this holiday season

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Mansour suggested investing in a few things to switch up your at home workout including a vibrating foam roller and a pilates ring.

The pilates ring can be used to tone multiple areas of your body and the roller can help massage your muscles before and after a workout to increase blood flow.

If you’re trying to be mindful about what you eat, Mansour also suggested a few easy swaps.

Skip some of the calories for an extra serving of vegetables by swapping pasta noodles for zucchini noodles.

Try some alternative flours such as almond or coconut in your holiday baking, Mansour suggested.

Or, to cut down on sugar, you can sub out sugar for apple sauce or honey, she said.

And if you are looking to treat yourself to some new athleisure wear this holiday season, Mansour shared some fashion trends.

Opt for leggings with cropped look or cut-outs as well as workout shirts with back cut-outs, she said. All the pieces are great for running laps and running errands.

Mansour has a whole host of other health and fitness tips available on her website.

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Holiday health, weigh loss advice from Stephanie Mansour

CHICAGO (WLS) — The holidays can be a great time to spice up your workout routine, according to health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour.

Mansour suggested investing in a few things to switch up your at home workout including a vibrating foam roller and a pilates ring.

The pilates ring can be used to tone multiple areas of your body and the roller can help massage your muscles before and after a workout to increase blood flow.

If you’re trying to be mindful about what you eat, Mansour also suggested a few easy swaps.

Skip some of the calories for an extra serving of vegetables by swapping pasta noodles for zucchini noodles.

Try some alternative flours such as almond or coconut in your holiday baking, Mansour suggested.

Or, to cut down on sugar, you can sub out sugar for apple sauce or honey, she said.

And if you are looking to treat yourself to some new athleisure wear this holiday season, Mansour shared some fashion trends.

Opt for leggings with cropped look or cut-outs ass well as workout shirts with back cut-outs, she said. All the pieces are great for running laps and running errands.

Mansour has a whole host of other health and fitness tips available on her website.

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Inspired by Her Cancer Struggle, Kan. Teacher’s Class Brings Holiday Cheer to Pediatric Patients

Inspired by Her Cancer Struggle, Kan. Teacher’s Class Brings Holiday Cheer to Pediatric Patients

Angela Holtgraves’ special education students began the Stocking Project in 2017 upon learning of Holtgraves’ own cancer battle

When the holiday season rolls around, hundreds of pediatric cancer patients in Kansas will receive stockings stuffed with toys — and it’s all thanks to teacher Angela Holtgraves and her students.

Holtgraves, 34, is a special education teacher, and for the last three years, has spearheaded a special initiative called Stocking Project with her students to spread goodwill and holiday cheer to those who need it most.

“It’s a nice way for us to help others,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “This is their way of being able to show the world, ‘I might have a disability, but I can still do some pretty incredible things.’”

For Holtgraves, a mom of two based in Olathe, cheering up young oncology patients at Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital is personal; she overcame a breast cancer diagnosis at 28, and one of her students was a leukemia survivor. Sharon Houser, the teacher with whom she started the Stocking Project, also has a daughter who is a young breast cancer survivor.

Holtgraves’ students at Shawnee Mission North High School had previously done projects to give back — including making hygiene bags for homeless people — but when they learned of her history with cancer in 2017, switched gears to refocus their efforts.

Courtesy Angela Holtgraves Angela Holtgraves

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Together, they came up with the Stocking Project, which went with Holtgraves when she began teaching at Olathe West High School in 2018.

The group’s initial goal that first year was to create 20 stockings. Instead, they filled 75 in just two weeks, a number that has continued to grow each year for a total of nearly 600.

PEOPLE’s second annual Kindness Issue is dedicated to highlighting the ways, big and small, that kindness can make a difference and change lives. Click here and pick up the issue, on stands Friday, Oct. 30, for more stories on the impact of kindness from Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sterling K. Brown, Heather Locklear and other stars, as well as everyday people practicing kindness in their communities. To share the story of someone who’s done something exceptionally kind, email [email protected]

Holtgraves estimates that she and her students have raised more than $50,000 in donated goods, helped along with gifts from companies like Russell Stover and Sephora, as well as local businesses.

“The sense of pride they get is everything,” she says.

Angela Holtgraves’ students

RELATED: Ava Sambora Praises Mom Heather Locklear for Helping Her Cope with Anxiety: ‘She is Selfless’

Each year, Holtgraves typically dedicates a day in December to filling the stockings, which are broken down by age group and sex, including male, female and gender-neutral patients, with about 20 items each.

Because of COVID-19, however, this year’s plan

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health

What’s A ‘Holiday Bubble Checklist’? Baylor College Releases COVID-19 Advice For Christmas

Doctors fear that the most wonderful time of the year may become the most dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, creating a “holiday bubble checklist” may be the answer to saving the 2020 holiday season.

Dr. James McDeavitt, the senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has created a “holiday bubble checklist” that will lower the chance of family gatherings turning into superspreader events, NBC News reports.

For families to have a safe holiday season, experts are advising them to choose a “bubble commissioner” that will responsible for making sure the family members who plan to attend the holiday gathering follow whatever guidelines are put in place.

However, the person must take the role seriously and cannot do it halfway. “There is harm in that. It gives a false sense of security,” McDeavitt explained.

The checklist recommends that each member of the family gets a flu shot as soon as possible. “This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans,” he stated.

Attendees should also self-quarantine 14 days before the holiday if possible. McDeavitt provided a solid template on what should be included in every holiday bubble checklist. He even added that travelers should wear goggles or face shields in addition to regular masks. 

He suggested that the more detailed a list is, the higher the chance families will feel comfortable “co-mingling, singing songs, laughing — all the things you like to do during the holidays.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, recommended hosting the holiday gathering outdoors. Wen noted that logical thinking tends to go out the window when it comes to seeing loved ones as threats to another’s health. 

“We know that up to 50 percent of people who are spreading coronavirus may not have symptoms,” she said.

“There is this magical thinking that occurs with our loved ones, but we need to be aware that our family and friends are just as likely to have coronavirus as strangers.”

Christian Gaza resident Hanadi Missak adjusts the ornaments on her Christmas tree at her home in Gaza City, but she could not travel to Bethlehem this year as Israeli authorities did not grant a permit in time Christian Gaza resident Hanadi Missak adjusts the ornaments on her Christmas tree at her home in Gaza City, but she could not travel to Bethlehem this year as Israeli authorities did not grant a permit in time Photo: AFP / MAHMUD HAMS

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‘Holiday bubble checklist’ offers tips to lower Covid-19 risk this winter

During Thursday’s debate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had an ominous warning about the coming months.

“We are about to go into a dark winter,” he said.

The former vice president’s comments echoed concerns voiced by experts about the looming combination of colder weather and holiday gatherings, which have the potential to contribute to a massive rise in coronavirus infections.

Covid-19 cases are rising across nearly 75 percent of the country — a “distressing trend,” Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday.

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“I am really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said last week during a “Doc to Doc” interview with NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres.

“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s,” del Rio predicted, “I see potentially six weeks of superspreader events.” A superspreader event refers to a situation in which a gathering of people results in a large number of infections.

It’s a distressing outlook for the millions of Americans who are trying to figure out whether it’s safe to gather with friends and family for the holidays.

And it’s why Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, developed a “holiday bubble checklist” for families to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread this winter.

His plan was inspired in part by physician colleagues who are around Covid-19 patients “all day, every day” but remain healthy, as well as the success of the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, in which the league’s players were sequestered throughout the basketball season. All players followed strict rules. As a result, not a single player became infected.

“The NBA did not say, ‘OK, guys, be real careful.’ They had a very deliberative process that was monitored carefully. Everybody was fully committed to it,” McDeavitt said.

That level of commitment is where his holiday bubble checklist begins. He advises designating one person as the “bubble commissioner” — an organized person to take responsibility for encouraging the entire family to get on board with mitigation efforts well in advance of any significant holiday gathering.

Every single person to be included in the gathering should be aware of the guidance, and pledge to adhere to it. This cannot be done halfway, McDeavitt said. “There is harm in that,” he said. “It gives a false sense of security.”

The checklist also advises getting a flu shot as soon as possible. “This will decrease the likelihood of developing a flu-related illness around holiday time, which could disrupt your plans,” he wrote in a blog post detailing the checklist.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The guidance also advises self-quarantining as much as possible for 14 days ahead of any family gathering.

But

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fitness

Cool Fitness Gadgets & Gear Holiday Giftees Will Actually Use

With quarantine measures still firmly in place, going the fitness-gift route this holiday season isn’t something that only workout nuts will appreciate. When gyms and studios shut down across the country, 2020 became the year to really lean into an at-home fitness regime — which created a new universality to sharing everything from the resistance bands helping tone-up our booties to spinning together on that more-affordable Peloton-bike alternative.

Until we can figure out how to bottle sunshine, post-workout endorphins are about as close as it gets to an instant mood boost (we won’t argue with Elle Woods). And, what better what to spread that energized joy than with a little fitness-minded holiday shopping? Ahead, discover 13 cool ideas your giftees will actually use — from powder-pink Bala Bangles to Manduka yoga mats and Theragun’s newest massage-gun device.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. 

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COVID cases likely to surge during holiday season due to ‘superspreader events’

Thanksgiving kicks off the annual season of celebration, but it will be no holiday for the coronavirus.

With the United States climbing toward what epidemiologists are calling a third peak of pandemic infections, public health experts fear gatherings of families and friends could make an already bad situation worse.

“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we’re having what I see as potentially six weeks of superspreader events, right, in which we’re going to be getting together with family and friends,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious diseases expert at the Emory University School of Medicine, warned. “And we can see a lot of disease happening.”

Del Rio sounded the alarm during an NBC News Facebook Live interview with Dr. John Torres, NBC News contributor, as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surged past 8 million and deaths due to the coronavirus climbed to a world-leading 218,097.

“So, I’m really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” del Rio said.

He said President Donald Trump was sending the wrong message to Americans with his cavalier attitude toward COVID-19, his repeated boasts about being “immune” since he was released from the hospital and his refusal to consistently wear a mask at public events and campaign rallies.

“The president got infected and did remarkably well for his age,” del Rio said of Trump, who is 74. “He was treated with everything but the kitchen sink, but he’s recovered. He’s done well. So the president at this point in time is saying, ‘Hey, this is no big deal. If you get infected, nothing happens.’”

In other coronavirus news:

  • Trump made the inaccurate claim that “85 percent of the people wearing masks” still catch the coronavirus, during an interview Thursday on the Fox Business Network. He cited as evidence a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. But a day earlier, the CDC tweeted that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”

  • While the White House has been pushing for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day, the drugmaker Pfizer said it will not apply for emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate until at least the third week of November. “We are operating at the speed of science,” Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said.

  • The federal budget deficit under Trump hit an all-time high of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 budget year as the pandemic shrank tax revenues and government spending soared. That’s more than double the previous record set in 2009 when the Obama administration shored-up the banking system to limit damage from the recession that began on President George W. Bush’s watch.

  • Eight million Americans have slipped into poverty as a result of the pandemic, according to a new study.

  • Hawaii is saying aloha to tourists again, but only if they test negative before they get on the plane.

  • The Navajo Nation in Arizona is using the sun and the wind to

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