The Best Cruiser Bikes for Women

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Bicycling isn¡¯t always about zooming at top speed. Sometimes it¡¯s about enjoying the scenery and making a statement. Whether you¡¯re heading to the beach, a local trail or simply touring the neighborhood pulling your toddler in a child trailer, cruiser bikes are a stylish way to go. Jason Edwards, sales associate at the Richardson Bike Mart in Richardson, Texas, said that riding a cruiser bike is more of a social activity than an athletic one. “The best thing about cruiser bikes is that they are simplistic and old school; typically

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, they have only one speed, so there are no real maintenance issues,” Edwards said.
One of Edwards’ top sellers is the Electra Townie, which not only has most of the best qualities of a good women’s cruiser bike but also has some added touches, including flat foot technology: The pedals are slightly forward so the rider can place her feet on the ground. It also has a step-through, lightweight aluminum frame, a hand-operated linear pull brake plus a rear coaster brake, and platform pedals for most shoes. “It’s modern and comfortable,” Edwards said. Retail: $530.
A classic, uncomplicated cruiser bike for women is the Schwinn Windwood, which has a single speed and a comfortable spring saddle as well as fenders and a rear rack. Retail: $150.
For reliability and sturdiness, there’s the Jamis Taxi, which is not only comfortable but also can withstand rough treatment, especially at the seaside or beach. It has a lightweight aluminum frame and salt water-resistant drivetrain. Retail: $390.
If you’re looking for a little more style, try the Nirve Lahaina. It has a single speed, an aluminum frame, full-length fenders and a front hand brake as well as a rear coaster brake. Most distinctively, it has a colorful embossed saddle seat. Retail: $450.
If you really want to stand out in a crowd, look at sixthreezero’s Dreamcycle Women¡¯s Single Speed. Vibrant colors and classic styling along with swept back handlebars make this bike distinctive, and easy to steer. It also has a gentle bucket saddle and rubber block comfort pedals.Retail: $300.
Another colorful choice is the Schwinn Women’s Lakeshore, with a steel cruiser frame, a large, comfortable spring saddle and handlebars that are within easy reach. It sports a Shimano seven-speed drivetrain, fenders and a rear rack. Retail: $200.
The MacKenzie from Phat Cycles may be just what you need for touring your neighborhood. Available in low maintenance one-, three- or six-speed, it has forward pedal technology, an easy step-through frame and casual shoe-friendly pedals. Retail: $400.

All Dolled Up: The Barbie Quiz

Much more than a simple toy, Barbie is the inspirational career woman who teaches girls they can do anything ¡ª while showing off a figure that’s pure fantasy

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. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of Barbie’s history, triumphs and controversies.

Preventing Fitness Injuries

Unfortunately

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, more than half the people who start an exercise program quit within six months.
Overdoing it early on, getting injured or not seeing quick results can all lead to quitting a new fitness regimen. To help combat these off-ramps on your highway to fitness, there are some simple rules you should remember.

Moves to Shrink Your Belly, Butt and Thighs

More often than not when I ask clients what their fitness goals are, they answer in the form of gesturing at a range on their bodies from about mid-thigh to mid-stomach. Well, I hear ya, girl! This is what I refer to as ¡°The Zone¡± ¡ª that tricky area that has most people puzzling over how to tighten and shrink it. Personally, I have what you call a ¡°pear shape,¡± so my inner and outer thighs, booty and lower abs have always been where I focus my efforts.
Read More: Get Rid of the Bra Bulge With These 5 Pilates Moves
Having curves is beautiful, and I don¡¯t think anyone should ever feel like they have to thin out their body to look sexy. That being said, there are some great exercises that are fan-frickin¡¯-tastic for these particular body parts, so read on to see what I incorporate into my own workouts as well as my clients¡¯ to tighten and tone ¡°The Zone.¡±
Setup: Lie on your back with your legs stretched straight up to the ceiling and hands stacked palm over palm behind your head.
Action: Lower one leg down to a 45-degree angle and reach across your body toward the pinky toe with the opposite arm. Pulse your body up five times. Repeat on the other side.
TIP: Pull your abdominals in and really twist your body to get the lower abs and obliques working.
Setup: Lie flat on your back and extend one leg up and out to 45 degrees. Bend your other leg at a 90-degree angle. Keep your knees together.
Action: Curl head and chest up, reaching arms toward toes. Curl all the way up, coming to a seated position. Round slowly down only to the bottom tip of shoulder blades, then come right back up. Switch legs.
TIP: Consciously engage the abdominals to make sure they are doing all the work. If you feel your lower back taking over, hold on gently behind your thighs instead of reaching for the toes.
Setup: Lie flat on your back and extend your legs up toward the ceiling.
Action: First, curl your head and chest up, with your hands stacked palm over palm behind your head. Then lower your legs to 45 degrees. Tighten your abdominals and lift legs straight back up to 90 degrees. Repeat 10 times.
Read More: 22 New Lunges to Supercharge Leg Day
TIP: Focus on keeping a wrinkle in your shirt right at your sternum or bra strap. That will help you keep your abs engaged and maintain proper form.
Setup: Lie flat on your back, arms long by your sides. Your knees are bent and the feet are hip-distance apart. Your heels should almost touch your fingertips.
Action 1: Curl the hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your pelvis tucked under and your glutes engaged. Extend one leg toward the ceiling. Lower and lift your hips in little pulses and keep the hips even. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.
Action 2: Cross one heel over your thigh, knee out to the side. Lift and lower the hips (engaging the glutes). Repeat 10 times. Switch legs.
TIP: Activate your backside and visualize your glutes doing the work here. Thinking about these muscles working does kick them on. Keep your abdominals engaged as well to prevent the lower back from arching or taking over.
Setup: Lie flat on your stomach, hands stacked palm over palm under your forehead like a pillow.
Action: Separate legs as wide as your mat. Bend knees and bring toes together, keeping your knees apart. Lift your thighs up off the mat, engaging your glutes. Pulse your legs up toward the ceiling, without letting thighs touch the mat. Repeat 10 times. Take a quick breather between sets. Finish in an active rest pose or child¡¯s pose to round out your back

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.
Read More: A 7-Minute Booty Blasting Workout
TIP: It¡¯s not about arching up into this pose, so keep your abdominals pulled in toward your navel and the glutes actively squeezing to lift your legs.
Setup: Lie on your side with the legs slightly extended in front of your body. Your head should be resting in one hand with the other hand anchored in front of the abdominals.
Action 1: Lift the top leg just above hip height. Lift bottom leg up and lower back down. Repeat 20 times.
Action 2: Lift both legs up, keeping them tightly squeezed together. Lower both legs down. Repeat 20 times.
TIP: Try to get your leg up as high as possible, and take your time. It¡¯s not about speed, it¡¯s about form. This will not only tighten the inner thighs, but cinch the waist as well.
Setup: Stand with feet just wider than hip-distance apart with your hands on your hips.
Action 1: Bend the knees and jump high, landing in a deep pli¨¦ squat. Repeat 20 times.
Action 2: Hold deep pli¨¦ squat and pulse down 20 times.
TIP: Stand tall as if your back is against a wall. Engaging the abdominals is key to maintaining this length in the body and spine.
Incorporate these moves into your daily fitness routine at least three times a week

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. Remember, consistency is key! Committing to these moves will make a difference in your physical goals and help tighten this target zone.
Andrea Speir is the founder of the Speir Pilates studio in Santa Monica, California. She fuses classical Pilates with modern cardio and intense circuit training. Connect with Andrea on her website and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Best Running Shoes for Shin Splints

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Running is great but can result in shin splints, a painful injury along the inside border of the tibia, or shin bone. There are many causes for shin splints, but the right shoe can help and a professional can help you find the right fit. ¡°Eight out of every 10 Americans overpronate, so they shouldn¡¯t be in a soft, cushiony shoe, but rather a stability shoe,¡± said Dr. Keith Jeffers, a San Diego, California-based chiropractor known as The Running Doctor who has treated shin splints and other running ailments for 25 years. ¡°Stability helps keep the foot from rolling in and (putting) pressure on shins¡±. There is no single type or brand of shoe to prevent shin splints, but here are some recommendations from coaches, runners and sporting goods corporate buyers.
This high-end model ($150) uses plenty of midsole and outsole material that provides enhanced shock absorption, dispersing impact as each foot lands while providing a fair amount of responsiveness. ¡°From what I understand about shin splints, to help combat it one adds more cushioning to their shoe — and there¡¯s a lot of product for that — or you change the way you run,” said Robert Follett, running shoe buyer for Sport Chalet, a sporting goods chain based in La Canada, California. “Instead of landing on your heel, you focus more on your midfoot striking. There are shoes geared toward that. I¡¯d recommend Brooks Glycerin.”
The New Balance 810v2 ($89.95) is geared toward multisurface duties. A more anatomical heel, an improved arch and a closer fit in the toe box help its wearers better transition from a heel strike to midfoot strike, thus cutting down on potential shin-splint issues. ¡°I do a lot of trail and road running. This shoe works for both. Less pad than I’m used to, but I think I’ll grow to like that,¡± said John Grogan of Woodland Hills, California.
Asics engineers Cirrus33 running shoes to promote a more natural foot movement. You’ll pay around $150 for this model, but that’s a small price for avoiding shin splints. ¡°Asics has one of the best solutions out there with the Cirrus,¡± Follett said. Named for the number of bones in the foot, the Cirrus33 is lightweight yet plush, providing excellent shock absorption. The two-layer midsole and gel cushioning systems absorb heavy impacts. The sole uses Asics¡¯ Guidance Line technology, which decouples the heel, midfoot and forefoot from each other to provide the user a more natural motion and feel.
Professional runners and amateur marathoners appreciate the unique aspects of the Distance U. Melody Fairchild of Boulder, Colorado, a coach and former NCAA middle-distance champion, describes it as ¡°light, with a wide forefoot, and super responsive. A fabulous training shoe and has the high-performance feel of a racing shoe.¡± Added Chris Kim, a Los Angeles, California, resident and 16-time marathoner: ¡°Thankfully, (I¡¯ve) never had shin splints. Best to run midfoot so you won’t get them. Therefore I wear the Distance U. A little pricey ($155) but good on the feet and legs.¡±
The Terrex ($135) has a proprietary outer sole that offers 30 percent more traction on dry and damp surfaces to help with stability regardless of the workout environment. ¡°Since returning to the trails after a bout with shin splints, I discovered and am really happy with the X Low GTX,” said runner Jim Davis of Alameda, California. “The stability and grip it provides me on different terrain … and weather conditions I attribute to a great rubber soul. At the same time it is light yet supportive

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This model reflects the growing popularity of lightweight running shoes, but the 890v3 ($110) also pays keen attention to function. It weighs less than 10 ounces and still offers solid stability. “They’re lightweight, with a thin sole, but still have plenty of cushion for the heel,” said Matthew Wieland, an avid runner from Los Angeles. “I really appreciate a shoe that is so light you forget you’re wearing it but that still has plenty of cushion, too, for a smooth run.”
A lot of science went into this $120 pair, which includes a Nav Band, a flexible, stretching band that wraps over the midfoot to help keep the foot secure. ¡°Brooks, with their Pure Cadence 2, like Asics, is going for shorter strides midfoot. From my understanding, that helps against shin splints,¡± Follett said. The Pure Cadence 2 includes BioMoGo, a distinctive midsole technology offering cushioning to create a springy return and custom comfort. Speaking of returns, the inverted heel helps align the runner¡¯s center of gravity to promote optimal energy return.
Unfortunately, shin splints affect trail runners, too. This $150 all-terrain model has an outsole that features a protected stretch membrane and increased traction. The closed mesh of the upper keeps out debris. The Momentum¡¯s midsole offers a mid-to-rear-foot support chassis for added stability and accommodates orthotics. After miles of varied terrain, you¡¯ll appreciate that the medial and lateral webbing provides increased upper stability.
This model, at $145, uses a patented gel cushioning system designed to help protect the foot from the punishing forces of surface contact by absorbing impact. ¡°Many of us are taught the heel-first strike, so it takes a lot of mental discipline and requires a sort for retraining of the mind on how to alter your stride and be less injury prone and susceptible to shin splints,” Follett said. “The Nimbus will help, as it has max cushioning offerings.¡±

How to Increase the Muscular Endurance in Your Arms

Muscle endurance is a parameter of fitness that indicates your ability to do repetitive motions for an extended period of time. It is an important skill to have when playing sports like tennis, basketball, soccer and hockey. If you want to increase the muscular endurance in your arms, you can achieve this by doing specific exercises with higher rep ranges

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. This will cause you to tap into your slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are pivotal for muscle endurance.
Lie on your stomach to do pushups. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and curl your toes under your feet. Push your body up in the air and contract your core to get your back straight. Lower your chest down to a fist’s width from the ground and push back up. Stop just short of locking out your arms and repeat.
Grab the edge of a bench to do triceps dips. Place your heels on the floor with your legs straight. Lower your body down toward the floor until your elbows bend to 90 degrees. Push back up just short of locking out your arms and repeat.
Perform overhead medicine ball throws. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the ball behind your head with your elbows bent 90 degrees. Throw the ball ahead forcefully to a partner by straightening your arms. Catch the ball back from her, lift it back behind your head and repeat.
Grab hold of a pullup bar to do chinups. Place your hands shoulder-width apart in an underhand grip on the bar. Bend your knees and cross your legs behind your body. Lift yourself up until your chest is at the height of the bar, lower yourself back down and repeat.
Perform barbell curls with light weight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bar in front of your thighs with a shoulder-width, underhand grip. Lift it up toward your chest by bending your elbows. Squeeze, lower it back down and repeat.
Execute a set of chest passes with the medicine ball. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the ball against your chest with both hands. Step forward with your right foot and throw the ball to a partner by extending your arms. Catch it back as you bring your feet together. Step and throw again, this time leading with your left foot. Keep throwing and alternating your lead foot.

Treadmill Exercise Leading to Ankle Pain

Exercising on a treadmill can be a convenient and safe way to engage in cardio exercise and strengthen the muscles of the lower body and core. Treadmills are not without their caveats, however, and those with ankle pain after treadmill use may be running toward an injury rather than a healthier body.
Many treadmills have incline settings that move the belt at an angle to mimic climbing a hill. While this is a good way to add challenge to your workout, it’s possible to hurt yourself if the incline is steep and your speed is too high. According to Weight Watchers, an incline may overtax the dorsiflexor muscles, the muscles on the front of the shin that attach to the front of the ankle. Stretching your calf muscles, taking more time to warm up, and lowering the speed and incline may help solve this problem.
If you recently lost your balance on the treadmill or stepped off it awkwardly, you may have overstretched the ligaments in your ankle, causing a sprained ankle. A mild sprain may not be immediately noticeable, resulting in subtle symptoms such as swelling and tenderness. Put ice on your ankle, wrap it with a bandage to reduce swelling and elevate it above your heart

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. If discomfort doesn’t go away, visit a doctor or physical therapist.
Because the surface of a treadmill belt never changes, treadmills lend themselves well to overuse injuries. Repetitive motions can cause wear and tear to the peroneal tendon of the ankle, especially if you have high arches

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. According to OrthoGate, pain is often on the outer edge of the ankle and worsens with activity. You may need to visit a physical therapist, who may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, give you exercises or stretches to do or recommend that you wear support for your feet.
Running and walking on varied terrain helps prevent overuse injuries, as each step is different. You may find it helpful to replace some of your treadmill workouts with a walk or hike outdoors, as this will prevent falling into an identical movement pattern. Wear shoes that support your feet and are not worn out. You may need insoles or a supportive brace. Always warm up before you work out to give your muscles time to adapt to a faster speed.

What to Wear With Large Prints

One trend that never seems to go out of style is the print. But that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. The size of the print and the size of the person determine what’s going to look good and what will look lame.
First, who can wear a large print? Most women can if they understand their shape. Petite women, instead of a rule of thumb, should use the rule of fist

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. If the print pattern is the same size or smaller than your fist, you can pull it off

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. If it’s larger, leave the item on the rack and let a taller woman have at it. Women with fuller figures need to be careful as well. Large prints can make you look larger than you are. Who wants to look like a floral sofa? A good guideline is to stay under the span of your hand. A print that’s larger probably won’t flatter you.
So how do you wear a large print?
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but fashion is fair game for critique. Use these tips for a fabulous look!

Are there any tricks to prevent vomiting?

It’s a terrible moment of realization when you feel nausea start to build. Saliva floods your mouth, sweat beads on your brow and your heart races. You take a few deep breaths — a physical reflex designed to protect the lungs from accidentally inhaling vomit — and calculate how quickly you can travel to the nearest restroom or if necessary, a trashcan.
You’re not sure if it was the sushi you ate for lunch or the virus that’s been making the rounds at work. Whatever the cause of your impending puke fit, the chemoreceptor triggers zone (CTZ) located in the fourth ventricle of your brain has taken over. This vomit control center contains a concentrated number of serotonin, dopamine, opioid and acetylcholine receptors, along with “P,” an occasionally prolific neurotransmitter substance that signals your body to blow chunks.
The receptors in the CTZ may be in the brain, but they lie outside the blood-brain barrier. Because of their location, they can be penetrated and stimulated by drugs

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, medication or other provocations, such as the inner ear, vagus nerve (gag reflex), the enteric nervous system (digestive nerves) and the central nervous system. As a result, the contents of your stomach revolt [source: Mandal].
One way to squelch the urge to upchuck is by taking over-the-counter medications (dimenhydrinate or meclizine hydrochloride) designed to prevent motion sickness, as well as prescribed medications (promethazine or prochlorperazine) that directly impact and calm receptors in the CTZ [source: Terrie]. But that requires you to have them handy, and OTC medications for motion sickness usually take 30 to 60 minutes before they kick in.
For a quick and all-natural approach to vomit prevention, try acupressure. Press on the inside of your wrist with your thumb or fingers. Find the Pericardium (P6) point, located in the groove between the tendons that run from the elbow to the palm. When the P6 is stimulated, it activates the nerve system and signals the brain’s release of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters — serotonin, dopamine and endorphins — overpower other chemicals (such as “P”) and may help quell vomiting [source: Center for Advancing Health].
Many people swear by ginger’s nausea-relieving properties, but studies have been inconclusive about the effects. A 2012 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 80 women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer found those who took powdered ginger experienced less nausea and vomiting. For some, it also works to suck on ginger in hard candy form [source: Yekta]. So keeping ginger candy on hand might also be useful.
The urge to vomit may be a physical response, but you can try taming it with your mind. Just use your imagination. Instead of embarrassing yourself by vomiting on your shoes (maybe even their shoes), picture yourself chillin’ on a beach. Your mind’s eye could take you anywhere, as long as it helps you escape your current nausea [source: Serani]. If all else fails, continue to calculate those steps to the nearest bathroom. Odds are you’ll need to get there in a hurry.

Things to Do After Prom in Chicago

If you’re looking for something different to do after prom in Chicago, instead of a slumber party or a late-night dinner, try something that will keep you moving. The Windy City has outdoor attractions, a bustling lakefront, parks and plenty of places to show off your athletic skills.
Once the prom festivities end, take a trip down the Chicago River or Lake Michigan on one of Chitown¡¯s cruise lines. Mystic Blue Cruises offers a post-prom boat trip along the lakefront. The two-hour cruise features a DJ, hors d’ouevres and a luxury skyline deck with a sound system for dancing. The Escapade Deck has a full dance floor and a buffet set-up. There¡¯s a special school Moonlight Menu with a selection of salads and snacks. Unlimited juice

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, the cost of table linens and an adult chaperone for each group of 20 students is included in the package price.
Many bowling alleys in Chicagoland stay open late, so lace up the bowling shoes and throw a few strikes. Girls in prom dresses and guys in tuxes knocking down pins might look a bit odd, but you’ll remember the unusual game with your classmates. The Diversey River Bowl on the North Side has 34 lanes, a light show and rock music playing in the background. It¡¯s open til 2 a.m daily and 3 a.m. on Saturdays.
Instead of riding around town in a crowded limo, stroll along the lakefront or Michigan Avenue. Admire the Chicago skyline under the stars, window shop or visit Millennium Park and check out the ¡°Bean¡±, a 110-ton steel sculpture on the AT&T Plaza along Lake Michigan.
Arrange for a post-prom outing at a local miniature golf course. Ride go-karts, swing at a few baseballs in the batting cage or test your skills in the game arcade. Ride on the bumper cars or merry-go-round. Novelty Golf and Games in Lincolnwood on the far north side, has an 18-hole miniature golf course (complete with Frankenstein, the Statue of Liberty and a dinosaur overlooking the festivities). Its game room features old-fashioned pinball games, a photo booth, video games and air hockey table.
Visit Navy Pier for your after-prom celebration. Walk off all that excess energy by visiting shops and souvenir stands, then enjoy a romantic view from the top of the ferris wheel with your date. Stick around for fireworks, or check out the Amazing Funhouse Maze, a real-life labyrinth with plenty of twists and turns. Turn the lakefront on Segways (a two-wheeled personal vehicle), or view the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. Take a ride on the AeroBalloon and float 35 stories above the Pier. Check in advance for group rates or buy tickets online

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