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We visited the regional chain that beat Trader Joe's for the title of best grocery store in America. Here's what it's like to shop there.

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Wegmans 7

  • Wegmans regularly takes the top spot as customers' favorite grocery store in the United States. 
  • It recently received the highest customer-service ratings of any of America's supermarkets in an annual survey by Market Force Information. 
  • Here's what it's like to visit the grocery chain with a cult following. 

The best grocery chain in the United States is one that most Americans have likely never visited.

In fact, Wegmans, which has fewer than 100 locations, gets thousands of calls per year from people begging for a store to open in their hometown.

For the third year in a row, Wegmans earned the No. 1 spot on Market Force Information's annual survey of Americans' favorite grocery store chains. The regional chain beat out Trader Joe's, Aldi, and H-E-B with a score of 77% on Market Force's Composite Loyalty Index. 

The grocery chain has ranked at the top of the list for several years in a row thanks in large part to its loyal fans. Wegmans also demolished the competition in Temkin's annual customer-experience ratings, as the research, consulting, and training firm announced earlier this year. 

But we, like many other Americans, had never been to a Wegmans. So, on a recent trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, we knew we had to visit one.

Here's what it was like:

SEE ALSO: We compared the food courts at Costco and Sam's Club — and the winner was obvious

Driving up to the Wegmans in Charlottesville, Virginia, it was immediately clear that this wouldn't be a normal shopping trip.



The impressive attributes of the store shouldn't have come as a surprise. Wegmans was voted the best grocery chain in the US in 2018, based on Market Force Information's annual survey of the industry.



It was when we walked into the store, however, that we realized Wegmans isn't just large — it's a behemoth.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 hidden gem movies you should see in theaters, especially if you have MoviePass

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first reformed ethan hawke

It's easy to forget about some great movies while they are in theaters, especially during the summer movie season. Some smaller-budget films go under the radar when up against blockbusters like "Infinity War" or "Solo."

That's why every week Business Insider suggests five potentially overlooked movies currently playing in theaters that you can choose from for the weekend.

Some may be harder to find than others, but these movies are the perfect watch if you are looking for plans, especially if you have MoviePass, which lets you see any movie you want in theaters for $10 a month. It's a great way to get you in the theater for movies you may not have considered otherwise. 

This week's movies include the child-raising drama "Tully" starring Charlize Theron, Ethan Hawke as a priest struggling with his faith in "First Reformed," and a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Below are five movies you can see in theaters this week:

SEE ALSO: The 10 most anticipated movies of the summer, according to IMDb

"First Reformed"

Release date: May 18

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 97%

"First Reformed" is from writer/director Paul Scrader, the writer behind classic Martin Scorsese films "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull." With "First Reformed," he delivers a story packed with questions on the relationship between faith and morality, and Ethan Hawke gives one of his best performances as a priest struggling with those ideas.

Description: "Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. From writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; American Gigolo; Affliction) comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary."



"On Chesil Beach"

Release date: May 18

Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%

Saoirse Ronan follows up her Oscar-nominated performance in "Lady Bird" with "On Chesil Beach." If you're in the mood for a romantic story, and more of Ronan (who is great in everything she does), then this might be the movie for you.

Description: "Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the drama centers on a young couple of drastically different backgrounds in the summer of 1962. Following the pair through their idyllic courtship, the film explores sex and the societal pressure that can accompany physical intimacy, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, and Samuel West."



"Tully"

Release date: May 4

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Charlize Theron delivers another amazing performance as a mother struggling to raise her children. If you liked director Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" and writer Diablo Cody's "Juno," then you might like this. You may even relate to it if you have children of your own.

Description: "A new comedy from Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). Marlo (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis)."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Incredibles 2' is on pace to beat the opening weekend box-office record for an animated movie, currently held by 'Finding Dory' (DIS)

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the incredibles 2

  • "Incredibles 2" took in a record-breaking $18.5 million at its Thursday preview screenings. 
  • It's set to break the record for biggest opening weekend box office for an animated movie, currently held by "Finding Dory" ($135 million).


Expect Disney to rebound nicely this weekend with its first release following the lackluster box-office performance from the "Star Wars" movie, "Solo," a few weeks ago.

Its Pixar shingle will release the long-anticipated "Incredibles 2," and by the numbers coming out of its Thursday night previews, it's looking like Disney will be getting another record-breaking performance from the animated studio by Sunday. 

"Incredibles 2," which is the sequel to the hit 2004 movie about a family with superhero powers in hiding, took in a huge $18.5 million at Thursday previews, according to Deadline. That shatters the previous record held by fellow Pixar release "Finding Dory" in 2016 of $9.2 million. 

"Finding Dory" went on to take in $135 million its opening weekend to set the record for biggest opening ever by an animated movie. The start by "Incredibles 2" makes it look like it will pass "Finding Dory" for the top spot by the end of the weekend.

It should also be helped by good reviews. The movie currently has a 94% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Thursday night performance by "Incredibles 2" also did better that some big name live-action titles. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that its $18.5 million outpaced the live-action "Beauty and the Beast" ($16.3 million), "Spider-Man: Homecoming" ($15.4 million), and "Thor: Ragnarok" ($14.5 million).  All three of those movies went on to not just have over $100 million opening weekends, but easily earned over $800 million worldwide for their box-office runs. 

2004's "The Incredibles" earned over $633 million worldwide at the box office.

SEE ALSO: 5 hidden gems you should see in theaters, especially if you have MoviePass

Join the conversation about this story »

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These are the 20 busiest airports in the world

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Heathrow Airport Virgin Atlantic

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is once again the busiest airport in the world.
  • Nearly 104 million passengers traveled through ATL in 2017.
  • Airports Council International compiled its list of the busiest airports in the world using data from 1,202 airports around the world.

Airports Council International (ACI) released its latest list of the busiest airports in the world. Once again, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport took the top spot with nearly 104 million passengers in 2017. Even though total traffic figures at ATL fell by 0.3%, it was enough to hold off Beijing Capital to retain the crown.

According to ACI, global passenger figures increased by 6.6% in 2017 while total aircraft movements went up by 2.4%.

"The surge in cargo volumes and passenger numbers across many of the world’s airports is a testament to heightened business and consumer confidence, at least in the short term," ACI World director general Angela Gittens said in a statement. "The world’s airports continue to be a vital link in the economic multiplier effect that aviation provides and the role it plays as an enabler for global commerce is growing."

The trade group compiled its list using data from 1,202 airports from around the world. 

The top 20 airports accounted for 17% of the 1.5 billion passengers who passed through airports around the world in 2017.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the home of Delta Air Lines and serves as a major transit hub for both domestic and international travel. The airport has been instrumental in Atlanta's growth as an economic power in the Southeastern United States. The capital of the Peach State now boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the US. 

Beijing Capital is the main airport serving China's ever-growing capital. It's a major hub for both Air China and Hainan Airlines. 

Here's a closer look at the 20 busiest airports in the world:

SEE ALSO: The best airports in the world have movie theaters, spas, and mini golf — see the full list

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20: Denver International Airport (DEN): 61,379,396 passengers in 2017.



19. Incheon International Airport (ICN): 62,157,834 passengers in 2017.



18. Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN): 62,220,000 passengers in 2017.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Walmart employees share the 8 worst things they've seen while working at the retail giant

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walmart employee produce

  • Walmart store employees occasionally witness some pretty troubling incidents while at work.
  • Some employees have taken to Reddit to describe particularly exasperating and horrifying situations.
  • Business Insider also spoke with a number of associates to find out what's the worst thing they've ever seen happen in the store.


Walmart employees have seen some things.

Any large retail store witnesses its share of crises and off-putting behavior from customers on a regular basis. Walmart is no different.

Business Insider spoke with a number of Walmart associates and scoured the web for anecdotes from employees to get their top horror stories.

And we definitely heard a few doozies.

"Who knows what crazy even is anymore?" one Walmart employee of 12 years told Business Insider.

Here are some of the worst things that Walmart associates have witnessed while on the job:

SEE ALSO: Walmart employees share 8 insider facts about shopping at the big box store

DON'T MISS: Walmart employees share 7 things they want to tell customers, but can't

SEE ALSO: Employees from Costco, Walmart, and Target share their worst horror stories — and they'll make you rethink how you act when you shop

All sorts of problematic shenanigans in the parking lot

One Walmart employee of 12 years told Business Insider that they have seen quite a number of instances of vehicular damage occur in their store's parking lot. But the culprits weren't drivers.

The employee said people "leave their shopping carts loose in the parking lot, where winds can push them into other vehicles."

And even more serious parking lot-related incidents aren't out of the question, either.

One Walmart employee from Virginia told Business Insider that they had witnessed fights in the store's parking lot.



Tangles with counterfeiters

Sometimes, things get a bit out of hand at Walmart.

One Walmart employee wrote in a Reddit thread about an encounter with one failed counterfeiter in the electronics section. The customer attempted to purchase a game with a scanned $100 bill that had been printed on two pieces of paper and stapled together.

"The edges weren't even cut properly as you could see white along the border," the associate wrote. "I just looked at the guy and said 'Seriously?'"

The shopper proceeded to wander off, according to the associate.



A constant barrage of rudeness

One Wisconsin-based Walmart associate told Business Insider that "customer attitude" was sometimes the worst part of working at the store.

Another Walmart employee took to Reddit in 2016 to complain about the rudeness of people who bring too many items into the express lane due to "some weird sense of entitlement."

The employee went on to describe one customer who "pounded his fist on the counter as hard as he could and screamed, 'Come on, man, hurry the f--- up.' I was trying to unroll a roll of dimes to give him his change. He was buying corn dogs from the deli place."

The same associate also mentioned one customer who hit them with a pack of cigarettes.

"I laid the box on the counter, he picked them up, and threw them at me, hitting me in the chest and said, 'I said Gold, moron.'"

The associate added that these negative encounters were largely "isolated" incidents.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Online reviews tend to be overblown and largely useless, but there's a way to find the most accurate among them

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amazon reviews

  • Many shoppers look to online reviews before buying a product or service.
  • Even if there's a large range of reviews, the extreme ones tend to stick in a person's mind — especially the negative ones.
  • For more accurate, useful reviews, recommends one expert, start by reading the ones that are middle-of-the-road, about three stars.

If you've ever had second thoughts about clicking "buy" online after scrolling into the reviews section and reading about how the meal, bed, or weekend was HORRIBLE and said reviewer will NEVER BUY IT AGAIN because it was a massive WASTE OF MONEY, you're not alone.

"Who are these people?" you might think to yourself. "Who finds the time to write reviews like this?"

And maybe, you wonder: "Should I listen?"

Probably not, writes Caroline Beaton in a fascinating New York Times story about why negative online reviews can't be trusted.

Online reviewers — the non-bot ones who are leaving genuine reviews, anyway — probably aren't representing the typical experience.

For one thing, reviewers are self-selecting. According to a 2014 study by Eric T. Anderson and Duncan I. Simester cited by Beaton, people who take the time to write online reviews are more likely than the average shopper to:

  • Buy things in unusual sizes
  • Return purchases
  • Shop sales
  • Buy more products

That's why, Lauren Dragan told Beaton, the most useful reviews are probably the ones that aren't HORRIBLE or WONDERFUL, but somewhere in the middle: around three stars. Dragan is the audio tech products reviewer at Wirecutter, so she's presumably much better-versed in the accuracy and usefulness than the average reader.

Here's Dragan's advice, in Beaton's words:

"When you're reading reviews, try to find ones that are closer to the median, Ms. Dragan advised. She deliberately looks at three-star reviews first because they tend to be more moderate, detailed, and honest. Unfortunately, research suggests that most of us instinctively do just the opposite: We prefer extreme reviews because they're less ambivalent and therefore easier to process."

Alan Henry supports this approach on Lifehacker. "Too often we perceive a four-or-five star review as 'okay,' and anything less as unacceptable, but some of my favorite restaurants average 2.5 or 3 stars on Yelp," he wrote. "If I'd focused on star reviews only, I may have avoided them, but a scan of their reviews reveals that no one thought there was anything wrong, they just weren't blown away either."

In 2017, search company Bright Local found that about half of those surveyed won't consider using a business with an average of less than four stars.

Perhaps they should be looking for three.

Read the full article at The New York Times »

SEE ALSO: 9 Amazon deals that aren't worth your money

Join the conversation about this story »

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Kanye West just delivered on a promise he made to Obama back in 2016

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kanye obama

  • Kanye West's production of each track on Nas' new album, "Nasir," follows through on a promise West made to President Barack Obama in 2016.
  • "I promised Obama Ima do beats on NAS' next album," West wrote in a now deleted tweet.
  • West and Nas have a history of collaboration dating back to West's early days as a producer.
  • "Nasir" debuted at a listening party in New York on Thursday night, and it's expected to arrive on streaming services at some point Friday. 

Kanye West's stellar production on Nas' 11th studio album, "Nasir," set to be released Friday, follows through on a promise West made to President Barack Obama in 2016.

"I promised Obama Ima do beats on NAS' next album," West wrote in a March 2016 tweet that has since been deleted.

kanye obama

"Nasir," Nas' first album since 2012's "Life Is Good," debuted at a livestreamed listening party underneath the Queensboro Bridge in Queens, New York, on Thursday night. West and Nas both attended.

West produced each of the album's seven tracks, and he's featured on two songs. One track, tentatively titled "Cops," finds West and Nas trading sharp verses on police brutality over a beat that samples the comedian Richard Pryor and the rapper Slick Rick.

West and Nas have a history of collaboration dating back to West's early days as a producer. West has said he was the uncredited producer of Nas' song "Poppa Was a Playa," which appeared on Nas' compilation album "The Lost Tapes" in 2002. The pair would go on to appear together on several other tracks West produced, including 2005's "We Major" and 2006's "Still Dreaming."

"Nasir" was not immediately available on streaming services Friday following the listening party on Thursday night, but the livestream is still available on Mass Appeal's YouTube page.

Listen to the album below, via Mass Appeal:

Join the conversation about this story »

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A mountaintop mansion with an indoor basketball court and parking for 80 cars just went on the market in Los Angeles for a whopping $135 million

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LA mansion

  • A Los Angeles mansion just went on the market for a potentially record-breaking $135 million.
  • The mansion sits on 5-acres and totals 38,000 square feet.
  • The property includes a full indoor basketball court, 155-foot infinity pool, and parking for 80 cars.

Los Angeles real estate is known for over-the-top homes with expensive price tags — and one of the newest listings is no exception.

A 5-acre property in the Beverly Hills-adjacent neighborhood of Beverly Crest just hit the market for a record-breaking $135 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. The home is located on top of a mountain, providing a picturesque canyon view.

The home was purchased for $22 million just two years ago by developer Gala Asher of Dream Properties in LA. He remodeled the home to include a 5,000-square-foot master suite, indoor basketball court, sports lounge and bar, and a 155-foot infinity pool (the biggest in LA). Coldwell Banker's Ginger Glass holds the listing.

If sold for its asking price, the home would shatter LA real estate records by $25 million. The current record holder for highest sale price in Los Angeles County is Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton, who sold his Malibu beach house for $110 million earlier this year.

Scroll down to see the property and all it has to offer.

SEE ALSO: Inside Los Angeles' most expensive apartment rental — a two-story penthouse with a heated rooftop pool and a $100,000-a-month price tag

DON'T MISS: The top 10 cities in America where you're most likely to live next door to a millionaire

The mansion sits on a 5-acre lot and comes with a 155-foot-long heated infinity pool, 10-car garage, two private tennis courts, and a guest house.

Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed



It's located in Beverly Crest's Wallingford Estates and can only be accessed through two private and gated streets.

Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed



Originally, the property was occupied by a home modeled after a French chateau. It was upgraded to include a 5,000-square-foot master suite and seven additional bedrooms.

Source: Coldwell Banker, Curbed



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 things to master before you turn 50

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  • Things to do before you turn 50 include providing mentorship to someone else, learning how to detect a lie, and tempering your expectations around relationships.
  • We put together a list of nine skills you should master by the time you enter your sixth decade of life, based on science, expert opinion, and other sources.
  • Each one will help you become the very best version of yourself.


Approaching midlife can be scary.

One thing that makes it scarier is feeling like you haven't accomplished all the life stuff you set out to in your teens or 20s. We're not talking about climbing Kilimanjaro (though that certainly would be cool) — we're talking about becoming the happiest, healthiest, all-around best person you can be.

To that end, we've put together a list of all the skills you'll want to master by the time your 50th birthday rolls around. Read on and see which ones you've yet to tackle.

SEE ALSO: 11 things to master before you turn 40

Mentoring someone

By this point in your life, you've probably amassed a ton of knowledge about your career. Take the opportunity to share that wisdom with someone else — whether they're younger or whether they work in another field.

It can be a formal mentorship, but doesn't necessarily have to be. Leadership experts recommend finding a peer mentor or a "leadership buddy" with whom you regularly exchange feedback and advice. That way, you both benefit from the relationship.



Apologizing

To err is human. But to apologize is not something that comes naturally to everyone.

According to marketing communications professional Kerry O'Malley, the steps to a successful apology at work include acting quickly, showing up in person, explaining what happened and how you're going to avoid the problem in the future, saying "I'm sorry," and making restitution.

Not only will apologizing help the person who was offended forgive you; it may also help soothe your guilty conscience, Real Simple reports.

 

 



Spending time alone

Close relationships are important for health and happiness. So is solitude. You don't always want to be in the company of other people, real or virtual.

As Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, wrote for Business Insider, alone time allows you to "process and regulate complex emotions." Plus, it affords you the opportunity to do what Newport calls "deep work," the kind that requires deep concentration and focus.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

15 things everyone should splurge on that will last a lifetime

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man with nice watch in suit

Once you're making a steady income — and hopefully putting some money aside, too — buying everything off the high street or shopping only in the sale loses its appeal.

No matter how long it takes to save for them, there are some items you should splurge on so they last you for life — and some may even grow in value, making them a good investment for the future.

We asked four people living luxurious lifestyles — including the Head Personal Shopper at Matches Fashion, the CEO of Joanne Beckham's concierge company, and the head of VIP at Heathrow Airport — for the items everyone should invest in in their lifetime.

Scroll down to see what they said:

SEE ALSO: Heathrow has a secret £3,300 VIP service used by world leaders and A-list celebrities — here's what it offers

An investment watch— around £5,000.

Helen Ridge, Leasing Director at Value Retail — owner of the luxurious Bicester Village shopping areas around the world — said an investment watch is a must. Her pick? "A Cartier yellow gold vintage Tank watch that I was given for my 40th," she said. The watch now retails from around £5,000.

Jay Smith, CEO of WeAreYourCity, a concierge company by Joanne Beckham, agreed — but he'd opt for the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 with a navy dial, which will cost you at least £32,000.

"This is the holy grail of stainless steel sports watches, one of the most sought after timepieces in the world," Smith said. "Waiting lists are five to 10 years long or more and some authorised dealers have even closed their lists. A solid long term investment which can be enjoyed everyday."



A tailored suit — around £3,000.

"When you walk into a business meeting, I believe your suit and presentation plays an important role in how you are viewed," Smith said. "I always say it is better to be over-dressed than to feel under-dressed. First impressions count and a well tailored suit will make a difference." Prices range depending on the designer, but on Savile Row, you'll pay at least £3,000.



A high-quality chunky knit — around £300.

Ridge added that everyone needs a high-quality jumper, such as "a Bamford chunky knit from Bicester Village, which is perfect for cold country walks." Similar designs retail for around £300.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

6 signs your relationship is going to last

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Relationship

  • Relationships built on love, trust, intimacy, and mutual respect are more likely lead to happy and healthy lifelong partnerships.
  • Though no one can predict the future, there are certain relationship qualities that can help determine if your relationship will prosper or fall short.
  • Here are 6 signs, from experts, that your relationship is going to last.

 

No one can predict the future — especially when it comes to relationships— but researchers and other experts have zeroed in on healthy behaviors that lead to romantic longevity.

“The most successful marriages, the ones that don’t suck, are the ones where the partners understand, respect, and appreciate each other,” say the New York Times best-selling authors (and spouses) Amiira Ruotola and Greg Behrendt, who are releasing “How to Keep Your Marriage from Sucking” in July. “It’s harder than it sounds.”

Here are six signs that your relationship is going to last for the long haul.

SEE ALSO: How to know when it's time to break up with your partner, according to dating experts

1. You’re both great at speaking and listening

The old adage that “communication is key” certainly holds true when it comes to healthy relationships. Ruotola says that both individuals in a relationship should feel free to speak openly and feel like they’re being heard. On the flipside, each needs to be able to truly listen.

“Communication feels safe and nurturing when each partner feels empowered and supported in the relationship,” she said.

Signs of good communication include asking follow-up questions, building on what the other says, and taking actions based on what the other says, Behrendt said.

Plus, healthy couples keep the important conversations face-to-face. A study by Brigham Young University found that couples who text too much — especially when it comes to making decisions, apologizing, or working out differences  — often experience “lower relationship quality.”



2. You become more and more intimate — and not just sexually

Most people think of sex when they hear “intimacy,” but the word really means closeness, togetherness, and affinity between two people.

“It is a shared activity. From eye contact and hand-holding to having a baby and going through cancer, it is the vigilant assurance that ‘Hey, I’m right here,’” Behrendt said. “Sex is often mistaken for intimacy and is a result of great intimacy.”

In lasting relationships, there is continual growth in intimacy, Ruotola said. “Intimacy flourishes when your priorities as a couple are your joint needs versus one’s individual needs.” She notes that signs of intimacy are vulnerability, alignment, acceptance, a feeling of safety, and desired closeness.

However, that’s not to knock knocking boots. According to “Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study,” published by The National Bureau of Economic Research, sexual frequency is associated with greater overall happiness. Or, as the study put it, “The more sex, the happier the person.”



3. You have a synergistic connection

The connection between two people — essentially the energy between you that draws you together — is healthiest when it’s synergistic rather than symbiotic, Ruotola said.

“Synergy is when two people’s individual efforts produce an effect greater than the sum of those individual efforts (1 + 1 = 3). Awesome, right?” she said. “Symbiosis is basically codependency, which at first can feel great because being needed feels good, and everyone loves a project! But, ultimately, codependency can be destructive.”

For example, Behrendt said his and Ruotola’s synergistic connection has yielded their children, friends, and shared career.

Signs of a lasting connection are buoyant energy, shared experience, and desired closeness, he said.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Divorce isn't a failure, therapists say. In fact, it could mean the marriage was a success.

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divorce tv show

  • A marriage can still be considered successful even if it ends in divorce.
  • Couples therapists say marriage is designed to help people grow — and sometimes they grow out of the relationship.
  • It's important to embrace change in your relationship, instead of fearing it.


"Your marriage has one goal," Hal Runkel said. "Marriage has evolved into a people-growing machine."

Runkel is a marriage and family therapist based in Atlanta, and he was explaining to me why he's never attached to any one particular outcome in couples therapy. If the couple chooses to divorce after working with him, so be it. To him, that's not a failure on his part or on that of his clients.

Marriage, he told me, "is perfectly designed to help you grow up. It challenges your blind spots. Marriage will expose your selfishness. It'll expose your immaturity. And that's a good thing. It will continually ask you to grow in ways you couldn't have anticipated."

What sometimes happens is that one or both partners change so drastically that they come to the realization that their marriage isn't helping them live the life they want. "Making a mature decision in that direction may be the best outcome of all," Runkel said.

This is a hard pill to swallow, if for no other reason than that it's completely impractical: It can seem like there's no point in getting married if you anticipate growing so much that you may one day grow out of your spousal identity.

Yet based on the many conversations I had with couples therapists for this story, I got the sense that it's the resistance to the possibility of growth that makes a marriage, and life in general, even more difficult.

As Laura Markham, a psychologist in New York and the founder of Aha! Parenting, put it when I interviewed her (for another story, about parents with different child-rearing styles) every clash is an opportunity to "grow yourself." Markham added, "We don't get married so we can grow, but honestly, it's one of the best laboratories to do that."

Put another way, if you're so afraid of your marriage changing and then ending, you may wind up creating what you fear.

Rachel Zamore, a marriage and family therapist and the founder of InnerWell Integrative Counseling and Couples Therapy, in Vermont, told me that people who accept the inevitability of change tend to do the best in relationships.

"Being able to embrace circumstances and experiences of our lives as an opportunity for growth and development as opposed to something that's either making us unhappy or making us happy," she said, is a key to relationship satisfaction. "We can have more agency than maybe we realize."

A marriage that ends in divorce can still teach you about yourself and how you act in relationships

The internet has lots treatises on how getting divorced doesn't indicate that you failed at love or at life.

On CafeMom, Mary Hawkins likened leaving an unfulfilling marriage to leaving a dead-end job: "It means you had the presence of mind to know that you were not in the right position, so you took the initiative to find something else and make a change." She added: "You know what is a failure? Staying in a marriage that is sucking the life out of you."

And on Scary Mommy, Ella Davis wrote: "The failure in my marriage did not occur on the day I filed those papers. It was in the effort I put in to avoid that at all costs."

The therapists I spoke with seemed to suggest a twist on the idea that divorce doesn't constitute failure because you're making the choice to end suffering. Divorce isn't a failure also because being in any kind of relationship teaches you something — even if that's how to be in another relationship.

Some people don't have the mental energy to address all the troublesome issues in their marriage

unhappy fighting couple

Couples' fear of confronting troublesome issues in their marriage sometimes manifests in waiting too long to seek help.

According to couples therapist John Gottman, cofounder of the Gottman Institute, couples wait an average of six years from the onset of problems before trying couples therapy.

"There can be a point of no return," Michael McNulty said, referring to when couples are displaying too much contempt toward each other or if they feel too hurt. McNulty is a master trainer at the Gottman Institute and the founder of the Chicago Relationship Center.

When couples come to see him, McNulty said, he asks them fill out questionnaires that assess the strength of the relationship — and if he sees that a match is "difficult" he'll be honest about that with the couple.

"We really need to rebuild the relationship from the ground up to make this work, and it will take a lot of work to do that," he'll tell them, he said. "Then they choose whether or not to work on it."

The theme of "work" — and whether partners have the wherewithal to do it — is something I heard more than once from couples therapists.

Zamore also practices a new type of therapy called discernment counseling, in which couples on the brink of divorce have between one and five sessions to decide whether to stay married as they are, seek six months of couples therapy, or start the divorce process. She told me that often after several sessions of discernment counseling, a client will begin to understand how their marriage got to this point and, in particular, how they contributed to their marital problems.

And sometimes they'll say to Zamore, "But I just don't have it in me to work on this marriage." She doesn't judge their choice.

Rarely do therapists explicitly advise couples to separate or divorce — that's a decision the couple has to make on their own. Rachel Sussman, a relationship therapist based in New York City, told me she'll sometimes tell the couple she doesn't think therapy is working and ask, "Would you consider making some sort of a change?"

Some couples, Sussman said, are "floored," protesting that they don't believe in divorce or that it wouldn't be good for the kids.

But some react as though she's just spoken the words they couldn't. "People are kind of relieved," she said.

SEE ALSO: A new type of counseling gives struggling couples 8 hours to decide whether to stay married

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Top investors gambled $12 million on the blockchain equivalent of Beanie Babies. Now, sales are plummeting.

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Beanie baby

  • In March, investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures gave a total of $12 million to CryptoKitties, a blockchain game for digital collectibles.
  • According to data from blockchain analytics sites, the number of CryptoKitties transactions are a fraction of what they were in December.
  • CryptoKitties cofounder Bryce Bladon says the livelihood of CryptoKitties can't simply be measured by the number of transactions that happen in a month, and that people's behaviors have changed as the price of processing a transaction has increased.

When investors gave $12 million to a startup called CryptoKitties in March, many raised their eyebrows at the news.

CryptoKitties, which describes its product as one of the world's first blockchain games, uses blockchain technology to collect and "breed" digital cats. Users can buy colorful, googly-eyed cats, some of which cost thousands of real-world dollars, to trade and "breed" more digital cat offspring.

It's a bit like blockchain-based Beanie Babies.

Like Beanie Babies, CryptoKitties are considered collectibles. Their novelty lies in the fact that owners can prove that they possess sole ownership of the Crypto Kitty they've purchased. In December, it was reported that one particular Crypto Kitty sold for around $155,000.

People had already spent millions buying and trading CryptoKitties by the time top-tier investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures decided to give the company $12 million. Before the deal went through, one investor in the company told Business Insider that the product embodied one of the most important and applicable use-cases of the blockchain: The ability to safely store digital collectibles online.

But it looks like CryptoKitties itself could be in danger of becoming a short-lived novelty.

According to data from blockchain analytics sites Bloxy and Diar, the number of CryptoKitties transactions has fallen drastically in the last 3 months.

The number of CryptoKitties transactions decreased in June by 98.4% compared to its peak of 80,500 transactions back in December 2017, according to data from Bloxy. The game is still among the most popular options for ethereum-related gaming, but public interest in buying and selling them seems to have waned significantly in recent months.

cryptokitties ethereum

CryptoKitties cofounder Bryce Bladon told Business Insider in an email that the decrease in CryptoKitties transactions was to be expected, and there were a few factors, one of which was the skyrocketing costs of processing a transaction based on ethereum. 

"Since launching CryptoKitties and running headfirst into the challenge of scaling, we've made numerous product and design decisions to reduce the number of superfluous smart contract interactions," Bladon said in an email. "From our discord community to the KittyVerse — our soon-to-launch program for developers building experiences on top of our [platform] — we're delivering numerous ways to engage with CryptoKitties outside of buying and breeding them.

"In addition, our community has become much more educated on what CryptoKitties is and how it works. Gas fees on the Ethereum network have also increased by 50x what they were when we launched.  The result is much more purposeful transactions, as opposed to people engaging with the smart contract just to see what happens."

Basically, Bladon is saying that the livelihood of CryptoKitties can't simply be measured by the number of transactions that happen in a month, and that people's behaviors have changed as the price of processing a transaction has increased. This has caused people to be more strategic in how often they make one, according to Bladon, and to experiment less with the platform's "smart contracts."

He could be right. But it still looks like there's a significant dropoff in the way people are interacting with the digital cats. In April, Greylock Partners took a closer look at the usage of some of the most popular decentralized apps. Drawing on data from DappRadar, the firm estimated CryptoKitties daily active users at around 907. On Friday, that same metric on DappRadar had fallen to around 300 daily active users. (Bladon said he was unable to confirm any numbers regarding CryptoKitties' daily active users as he was traveling, and wouldn't have access to the company's analytics until the following week.) 

The average price of CryptoKitties seems to have decreased dramatically, as well. Blockchain analytics site Diar pegs the average price around $5 per digital cat, a decline from what Diar suggests was its all-time median high of around $41.

Like any marketplace, a decrease in the number of transactions is seldom good news — which could be one factor as to why CryptoKitties seems eager to find different use-cases for its product. Just last week, the company announced the addition of "KittyBattles" and "KittyHats:" Two new ways of engaging with CryptoKitties beyond a strictly transactional context.

Last month, a cryptocurrency startup founder told Business Insider that she felt that CryptoKitties might be destined for the same fate as their Beanie Babie counterparts:

"People want to spend their crypto on real stuff," she said. "The only way you can justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a cartoon cat is if there aren't enough real world use-cases for cryptocurrencies."

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These bleak photos shows what happens to swimming pools after they've been abandoned for years

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abandoned pool

 

  • Swimming pools get abandoned because of natural disasters, poor management, and other reasons.
  • Years later, images of the pools are often bleak and eerie.


We usually think of swimming pools as places for fun, relaxation, and exercise.

But what happens when those pools are abandoned and left to nature?

A number of factors can lead to a pool's abandonment, from mismanagement to natural disasters to political unrest. But no matter the cause, the resulting images are often eerie and bleak.

Here are 10 photos that show what swimming pools look like once they're abandoned for good.

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This used to be a gleaming upscale resort on the Adriatic island of Krk, Croatia. But today it sits abandoned because of ownership and management issues.

Source: Associated Press



Hosts of the Olympic Games are notorious for abandoning their venues after the festivities have ended. Here's what the Olympic swimming pool in Athens — hosts of the 2004 Olympics — looks like today.

Source: Getty



Nearby, the outdoor pool in the Olympic Village isn't doing much better. Hosting the Games cost Athens an estimated 9 billion euros.

Source: Getty



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The 3 most common languages in every New York City neighborhood

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new york

  • New York City contains dozens of neighborhoods across its five boroughs: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx.
  • Residents of those neighborhoods speak an abundance of languages.
  • Using census data from the Minnesota Population Center, we found the three most commonly spoken languages in each neighborhood.

New York is a city of neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods have a diverse array of people from all over the world.

The Census Bureau's American Community Survey provides a picture of several demographic, economic, and social characteristics of the US population. One of the questions on the survey asks respondents which language they mainly speak at home. Using data from the Minnesota Population Center's 2011-2015 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, we found the top three languages spoken in each New York neighborhood.

For our working definition of neighborhood, we used the Census Bureau's Public Use Microdata Areas, which are designed to allow small-scale geographic analyses of individual-level ACS data. In New York, these areas mostly correspond to the city's community districts (or groups of two for areas with smaller populations), so they're a pretty good proxy for neighborhoods.

Here are the three most common languages spoken at home in each New York City neighborhood.

SEE ALSO: The most and least expensive places to live in America

Manhattan CD 1 & 2: Battery Park City, Greenwich Village & Soho

Most commonly spoken language at home: English

Second most common language: Spanish

Third most common language: Chinese



Manhattan CD 3: Chinatown & Lower East Side

Most commonly spoken language at home: English

Second most common language: Spanish

Third most common language: Chinese



Manhattan CD 4 & 5: Chelsea, Clinton & Midtown Business District

Most commonly spoken language at home: English

Second most common language: Spanish

Third most common language: Chinese



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What North Korean experts don't understand about the country, according to a defector who lived there for 20 years

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north korea

  • After living in North Korea for 20 years, defector Kim Young-il told Business Insider that North Korean experts focus exclusively on misleading North Korean government propaganda. 
  • Kim says that because those experts tend to discount the testimony of defectors like himself, they can't accurately represent what life in North Korea is like.
  • "The official announcements of North Korea is all false," Kim said.

As US president Donald Trump prepares to meet with North Korea's ruler Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday, all eyes are on North Korea.

Little is known about day-to-day life there, even among people who study the country. According to one defector, government propaganda in North Korea is pervasive, and even self-proclaimed North Korean experts often don't realize how much. 

In 1997, North Korean defector Kim Young-il escaped while the country was experiencing a four-year-long famine and economic crisis that some estimates suggest claimed the lives of between 240,000 and 3.5 million North Koreans, out of a population of 22 million — despite the government claiming it was a prosperous time with plenty of food.

Now 39, Kim is the founder of a nonprofit, People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE), to help raise awareness about human rights issues in North Korea, promote reunification, and help defectors adjust to life in South Korea. 

Even though Kim escaped the dictatorship, he told Business Insider in a recent interview that life remains the same in North Korea: Citizens are lied to and have to accept it. Within Korea, people major in North Korean studies in school, which Kim finds "silly." He says these experts research North Korea and send information to the South Korean government, like reports that several factions are competing for power in North Korea, which could lead to the country's downfall. 

But Kim says this is false. "There is no difference between factions. There is only the family and the people. Kim Jong Un has total power. None of these factions are important. They just have a name. They have no power." Kim continued: "Experts say there are two different factions that control North Korea, but it is only the dictator and his family that controls everything."

Powerful people in South Korea are able to employ people who are loyal to them, but that's not an option in North Korea because the highest levels of government choose who works where, said Kim. 

"People in North Korea have no idea if the person working underneath them is a spy who is checking up on him or her. They have no idea who is trustworthy. People can't form factions because everyone is spying on everyone else. Everyone distrusts each other," Kim said.

And as a defector, Kim said experts discount his experience. "These experts don't see any value in the testimony of defectors," he said. "They want to focus on the official documents of the North Korean government." But Kim says these documents and official announcements "are not true. It's propaganda." 

"The official announcements of North Korea is all false," Kim said. "I experienced 20 years of North Korea and whenever there was a season of drought, the news would say there is a season of prosperity. What they officially say is all lies."

SEE ALSO: North Koreans understand their government lies, but there's one thing they don't know, according to a defector

SEE ALSO: A North Korean defector says Trump understands Kim Jong Un better than South Korea does, but the summit won't solve anything

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I've been to 25 countries and I can tell you there are only 11 phrases you need to get by anywhere

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mark abadi

  • Learning a few key phrases in another language can help you in your travels.
  • They include basics like "excuse me" and "thank you" as well as ways to help you navigate around busy cities.


There are more than 6,000 languages in the world, but the vast majority of people won't learn more than two or three.

Language barriers can cause frustration and inconvenience if you're traveling to a country where English isn't commonly spoken. I experienced the difficulties firsthand throughout my travels, which have taken me to 25 countries across Southeast Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Although most of us would love to have fluent conversations in every local language we come across, it simply isn't a realistic option. Still, I managed to get by in places like Thailand, Sri Lanka, and France by studying up on just a few key phrases in the local languages.

Here are the 11 words and phrases I recommend anyone learns in a new language before they travel to a foreign country.

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"Thank you"

If I could only pick one phrase for foreign travelers to learn in a new language, it would be "thank you."

Travelers often find themselves relying on the kindness of strangers to navigate unfamiliar cities, plan their trips, and get home safely. Learning how to say "thank you" goes a long way to showing your appreciation, and most people will respect the effort you took to acknowledge in their own language.



"Hello" and "goodbye"

Learning how to open and close a conversation is another polite thing you can do to show your appreciation for the people you're speaking with. Even if you have to revert to English for the rest of the conversation, a simple "hello" and "goodbye" in your speaking partner's local language can show you care.



"Excuse me"

"Excuse me" comes in handy on countless occasions, from asking someone for directions to squeezing your way through a crowded subway car. 



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Inside the eerily quiet streets of Kazakhstan's 20-year-old capital city, where futuristic skyscrapers tower over the grasslands of a former prison camp

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astana

  • Astana was named the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997, and has undergone a massive transformation since then.
  • The city is filled with futuristic skyscrapers that resemble a science-fiction movie.
  • But Astana's streets are suspiciously clean and quiet, leading some to comment on its eerie atmosphere.


Twenty years ago, Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev made a radical move by moving his country's capital to a little-known town in the middle of barren grassland.

He renamed the town "Astana," meaning "capital," and hired a world-famous Japanese architect to plan every aspect of the city, from its eye-popping skyline to its grandiose government buildings. Today, the city is compared to other planned capitals like Canberra, Brasilia, and Washington, DC.

Yet between Astana's architectural marvels are streets that are perfectly manicured and eerily quiet, contributing to a surreal atmosphere that permeates the city. CNN called Astana "the world's weirdest capital city," while the Guardian called it "the space station in the steppes."

Israeli photographer Tomer Ifrah recently documented life in Astana, from its nearly empty and suspiciously clean streets to its futuristic skyscrapers that look like something out of a science fiction movie.

Read on to see what life is like in Astana, a planned city like no other.

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Astana was declared Kazakhstan's capital city in 1997. Before that, it was a small provincial town named Aqmola, best known for being a former gulag prison camp for wives and children of enemies of the Soviet government.

Source: CNN,Dark Tourism



"Astana" simply means "capital" in the Kazakh language. President Nursultan Nazarbayev moved the capital there from Almaty to breathe life into northern Kazakhstan and move the heart of the country farther away from China.

Source: Science Direct



Astana's master plan was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, who detailed the construction of skyscrapers, roads, housing units, government buildings, and man-made forests.

Source: Kisho



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tiger Woods is staying on his $20 million yacht in the Hamptons during the US Open — here's where his boat ranks among the biggest celebrity yachts

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Privacy yacht

  • Tiger Woods' $20 million luxury yacht, Privacy, was seen docked in the Hamptons, where it's staying during the US Open golf tournament.
  • At 155 feet, Privacy is slightly longer than the 151-foot tall Statue of Liberty.
  • While Privacy is bigger than the luxury yachts owned by other celebrities, it has nothing on Steve Jobs' or Paul Allen's yachts.

Spotted: Tiger Woods' $20 million, 155-foot yacht, Privacy, docked in the Hamptons. And it plans to stay there during the US Open, one of the biggest golf tournaments, Woods told press at a pre-tournament USGA event. 

According to Woods, staying on board during the competition provides a respite from the "tournament scene" and reduces traffic chaos en route to the competition.

This luxury yacht may be impressive in both its price tag and its size, but when it's stacked up against other things, it doesn't even begin to compare — especially when it comes to other luxury yachts owned by celebrities.

Privacy — which is roughly the same size of the 151-foot tall Statue of Liberty — is around a hundred feet smaller than the yacht Apple cofounder Steve Jobs commissioned, the 256-foot Venus. If you think that's a disparity, dock Privacy next to Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's 416-foot yacht, Octopus.

Take a look below to see how Privacy stacks up compared to other things around the world and luxury yachts owned by celebrities.

how big famous yachts tiger woods really are graphic

Privacy is 200 feet smaller than the Hollywood sign. At 352 feet, the Hollywood sign is bigger than the luxury yacht Venus but not as big as the luxury yacht Octopus.

And if you lay the Leaning Tower of Pisa on its side, it has 20 feet on Privacy.

But that's not to say the size of Privacy isn't a force to be reckoned with. After all, it's bigger than comedian Jerry Seinfeld's yacht Moka, which is 138 feet and actress Nicole Kidman's yacht, a 74-foot Sunseeker Manhattan.

Privacy is also bigger than another frequenter of the ocean, the blue whale, which can get as big as 105 feet, as well as another means of transportation — a 116-foot Boeing 737.

SEE ALSO: Tiger Woods has reportedly docked his $20 million, 155-foot yacht in the Hamptons — and he apparently plans to stay there during the US Open

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NASA astronauts must sculpt freakishly strong arms to work in space — here's how former space station commander Peggy Whitson trained

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peggy whitson


 

NASA astronauts readily admit that being able to float in space is a pretty cool job perk.

But being weightless isn’t always fun. Without gravity's pull on their bodies, astronauts can lose as much as 15% of their muscle mass in space. Some of that may never come back, according to NASA

So when the space agency’s most experienced astronaut, biochemist Peggy Whitson, embarked on her final mission off Earth from November 2016 to September 2017, she made a grueling, two-hour-per-day exercise regimen part of her life on the International Space Station (ISS). 

Few astronauts understand the challenges of zero gravity better than Whitson. The former ISS commander, who retired from NASA on Friday, has spent a total of 665 days with her body weightlessly suspended over the Earth —  that's more time off this planet than any other American can boast. She told Business Insider that there's one body part that has to be stronger than the rest to survive in the orbiting office-slash-campsite that is the ISS.

"We go everywhere on that space station with our hands," Whitson said. "Usually, we're traveling at least half a football field's length."

peggy whitson 200th space walk

She said astronauts' arms become as essential as Earth-bound humans' feet for getting around in space.

Holding on in the void

Hand and arm strength becomes even more crucial when astronauts venture outside the ISS.

"Everything's very hand intensive, so your hands do have a tendency to get very tired," Whitson said.

She should know: Whitson has spent a mind-boggling 60 hours and 21 minutes outside the ISS on spacewalks, looking into the black void beyond from inside a space suit that would weigh hundreds of pounds on Earth. 

“You're in basically your little spaceship built for one,” she said.

Staying in the big white suit for hours requires a lot of forearm strength and a super-fit upper body.

"Because the suit's pressurized, it's putting pressure on you," Whitson said. "Even just grabbing your hand together requires more strength than it does here on the ground."

To prepare for these challenges, NASA astronauts do a lot of exercising and training before and during their missions.

Peggy_Whitson_and_Thomas_Pesquet_of_ESA_underwater_during_a_suited_run_for_ISS_EVA_Maintenance_7__Battery__training__PHOTOGRAPHER _Bill_Brassard__NBL_

How to work out like Whitson

On board the space station, Whitson often strapped herself into a zero-gravity-friendly exercise machine. The device can load up to 600 pounds of resistance for various kinds of arm and leg exercises, and it even has a built-in vibration-isolation system so that the pumping, curling, lifting, and squatting does not disturb the delicate science experiments and equipment on the ISS. 

Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, exercises on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station

The machine, along with a treadmill and an exercise bike, help the astronauts maintain bone and muscle mass while they're away from gravity's pull and ensure their arms are primed for space walks. 

Whitson's go-to moves on the resistance machine include:

  • Dead lifts and Romanian dead lifts (full-body weightlifting exercises that promote good posture and help make muscles stronger)
  • Seated bench presses and standing military presses (arm-, shoulder-, and chest-strengthening moves)
  • Tricep and forearm extensions (to promote arm strength, since well developed forearm muscles are critical for moving around in space)

NASA has also published an adapted, scaled-down guide for training like an astronaut on your own. Here are a couple of other DIY strengthening moves you can try out. You know, just in case NASA comes calling.

Pilot planks

Lie down on the floor, resting on your stomach and forearms. Make a fist with each hand and keep your fists shoulder width apart.

Using only your arm muscles, push your body off the floor, supporting your weight on your forearms and your toes. Your body should be one straight line, from your head to your feet.

Try to hold the pose for one minute at a time.

Push-ups

Push-ups are still a favorite move of many fitness trainers because they can shape your arms and your shoulders while also working the abs and core. 

To try one, lie down on your stomach and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, shoulder width apart. Using only your arms to lift your body, rise up just a few inches, until your lower body is off the ground. Only your toes and hands should be touching the floor. (You can modify this posture by keeping your knees and shins down on the floor.) 

Then straighten your arms almost all the way up, keeping a micro-bend at the elbows. Finally, lower your body back down into the starting position.

Aim for 15-20 repetitions to start.

SEE ALSO: A NASA astronaut who spent 665 days circling the planet reveals the misery of going to the bathroom in space

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