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9 mind-blowing discoveries that had the archaeological community freaking out in 2015

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stonehenge

When they aren't digging up ancient graves or unearthing the body parts of early human ancestors, archaeologists are combing the Earth for clues about how the people who came before us worked, played, and died.

This year, researchers across the globe have found evidence of everything from the earliest humans to walk the planet to the lavish tomb of an ancient Greek warrior  — and even a set of mysterious, giant earthworks only visible from space.

Here's a look at some of the most monumental findings of 2015:

UP NEXT: Archaeologists are fuming over the alleged discovery of a 'lost city' in the middle of the Honduran rain forest

RELATED: From face transplants to 'female Viagra,' these were the medical innovations that defined 2015

Signs of a new tomb hidden deep inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.

As part of a larger project using drones to analyze the ancient Egyptian pyramids, scientists working in November uncovered surprising "thermal anomalies" along the eastern side of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

While scanning the lower level of the pyramid, researchers noticed a temperature variance that hinted that instead of a solid row of limestone blocks, they were looking at a gap of air (air doesn't hold heat as well as solid rock). The team isn't sure what the gap is yet, but they've theorized that it could be a passage, a tomb, or simply a gash in the rock.



The house where Jesus may have grown up.

Archaeologists working in Nazareth in modern-day Israel uncovered a house dating to the first century that they believe may have belonged to Mary and Joseph, who allegedly raised Jesus.

The structure was first discovered in the 1880s, but wasn't dated or identified as Jesus' potential home until 2006, and a feature story in the Biblical Archaeology Review in March 2015 brought the most recent work on the site to light.



A massive underground ritual arena where the predecessors of Stonehenge likely feasted.

During a cursory underground radar scan of the infamous Stonehenge site, researchers suddenly noticed the signs of huge, rigid, underground features.

Looking more closely, the researchers found that the features — which they now suspect to be the perimeter of a 4,500-year old ritual arena — formed a rough C-shape. The site is 2 miles northeast of Stonehenge, buried beneath the already-famous site Durrington Walls.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 25 most hungover cities in America

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party drunk binge drinking alcohol shots

2016 has officially commenced, and it's time to move forward into the new year — after you recover from your New Year's Eve festivities, that is.

To get an idea of where Americans are most likely to be hungover, we constructed the Business Insider Hangover Index.

Our two main sources were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2011 and 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual survey of Americans' health habits, and the Census Bureau's 2013 County Business Patterns program, which tracks the number and size of businesses in counties and metropolitan areas across the country. A more detailed description of the methodology can be found here.

The Midwest proved to be the most hungover region in America, with cities from Kansas at and near the top of the list. Scroll through to find out whether your city may be partying a bit too hard.

SEE ALSO: Here's why this casual Irish pub was just voted the best bar in North America

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25. Dayton, Ohio

Business Insider Hangover Score: 57.8

9.55% admitted to heavy drinking

18.35% admitted to binge drinking

17.7 bars per 100,000 people

11.6 beer/wine/liquor stores per 100,000 people

0.7 alcoholic-beverage-producing establishments per 100,000 residents

 



23 (tie). Providence, Rhode Island

Business Insider Hangover Score: 57.4

6.37% admitted to heavy drinking

18.12% admitted to binge drinking

20.7 bars per 100,000 people

20.5 beer/wine/liquor stores per 100,000 people

1 alcoholic-beverage-producing establishments per 100,000 residents



23 (tie). Fargo, North Dakota

Business Insider Hangover Score: 57.4

3.86% admitted to heavy drinking

28.14% admitted to binge drinking

28.1 bars per 100,000 people

13 beer/wine/liquor stores per 100,000 people

1.3 alcoholic-beverage-producing establishments per 100,000 residents



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's how we ranked the most hungover cities in America

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hangover

Since it's New Year's Day, we found the 25 American cities where people are most likely to be hungover today, based on a few indicators that suggest heavy drinking activity.

Our two main sources were the CDC's 2011 and 2012 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual survey of Americans' health habits, and the Census Bureau's 2013 County Business Patterns (CBP) program, which tracks the number and size of businesses in counties and metropolitan areas across the country.

We used five total indicators from these data sets to construct our ranking:

  • Binge drinking: The percentage of respondents in a metropolitan area who said they had binge drunk in the last month on the BRFSS survey. The survey defines binge drinking for men as having drunk 5 or more drinks on a single occasion, and for women as having had 4 or more drinks on a single occasion.
  • Heavy drinking: The percentage of respondents who said they were heavy drinkers on the BRFSS survey. The survey defines heavy drinking for men as having, on average, two or more drinks per day and for women as having, on average, one or more drink per day.
  • Number of bars per 100,000 residents: The number of drinking places primarily dedicated to serving alcohol in each metro area, according to the 2013 CBP. This category, and the other establishment-based metrics below, is adjusted by the Census Bureau's estimates of the 2013 population of each metro area to account for the variation in size of America's cities.
  • Number of beer, liquor, or wine stores per 100,000 residents: The population-adjusted number of retail stores selling alcoholic beverages for home consumption, from the 2013 CBP.
  • Number of alcoholic beverage producing establishments per 100,000 residents: The population-adjusted combined number of breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the metro area, from the 2013 CBP.

BRFSS data were available for 183 metropolitan areas and divisions, and so these were the cities we ranked. The metro areas were ranked in each of the five variables listed above, and to get our final Hangover Index, we averaged those ranks together.

SEE ALSO: The 21 best jobs of the future

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14 ways I trick myself into going to the gym

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sneakers exercise gym workout

My gym membership costs $90 a month.

I know.

Really — I know.

Yes, I have tried to negotiate, and yes, I've looked into other gyms, but after joining my Manhattan chain on a corporate discount that was about $20 less than I currently pay, I couldn't bear to leave the gym when I went back to civilian status after changing jobs. I love the teachers! I know the schedule! The locations are so convenient!

That's how they get you.

Anyway, the price of my gym is what it is, and I paid for a year in advance just to get that rate. So I better make it worth my money. Every night that I "don't feel like going" means I'm wasting cash, and as someone who would be naturally well-suited to those hover chairs from Wall-E, there are lots of nights I need to turn "don't feel like" into "can't wait."

How do I force myself to go? Below, I'm confessing the motivation tricks that get me off the couch and onto the spin bike. I can't guarantee they'll work for you — I can't even guarantee they'll continue to work for me — but this is what works right now.

SEE ALSO: 13 ways to pay less for your gym membership

I leave my gym bag at the office.

This is decidedly trickier if you're the type to work out before and after work, but I haven't yet reached that level of lunacy. As someone who exclusively exercises at night, I bring my gym bag home, empty it, refill it, and bring it to work the next day, whether I'm planning to go to the gym or not. On the weekend, I just bring it home and then back on Monday morning. This way, I'm never caught without sneakers … and I get an arm workout during my commute.



I ask my gym buddies if they're going ... every day.

Because you can't ask and then go, "Oh, just wondering. I will not be joining you. I have some important Netflix to watch."



I go to classes.

If someone isn't standing in front of me, barking out reps and making sure I do them, it's not going to get done. That's something I know about myself. As much as I admire those sneakered, self-motivated New Yorkers bounding through Manhattan at a brisk jog all hours of the day and night, I'm just never going to be one.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This hotel is made of 10,500 tons of salt

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Don't lick the walls at this Bolivian hotel. No really, that's a strictly enforced rule at the 30-room Hotel Palacio de Sal, which is made entirely of salt.

The hotel, as well as most of its furniture — tables, chairs, beds — is made of around 10,500 tons of the seasoning.

There's an onsite restaurant too. Their signature dish? Salt chicken.

That's because, located on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, salt is an abundant material to work with.

The hotel's location is remote but stunning: the Salar de Uyuni salt flat is 4,000 square miles of barren, salty crust, that can even be seen from space, and is so white it resembles a snowy glacier.

Salar de Uyuni is thought to have once been a prehistoric lake that dried up, or, according to local legend, a lake of tears cried by a grieving mother.

Either way, for once you should pray for rain on your vacation, because water makes the salt flat even more incredible, turning it into a giant mirror of sorts. 

Story by Sophie-Claire Hoeller and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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SEE ALSO: Wake up on the side of a cliff at this Peruvian resort

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A Harvard scientist says these 3 things could help you lead a longer, healthier life

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Happiness is one of the most important things in life, yet it's also one of the hardest to study.

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest and most complete studies of adult life ever conducted. Waldinger described some of the secrets to happiness revealed by the study in a recent TED talk.

The study followed two cohorts of white men for 75 years, starting in 1938:

  • 268 Harvard sophomores as part of the "Grant Study" led by Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant
  • 456 12- to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner-city Boston as part of the "Glueck Study" led by Harvard Law School professor Sheldon Glueck

The researchers surveyed the men about their lives (including the quality of their marriages, job satisfaction, and social activities) every two years and monitored their physical health (including chest X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and echocardiograms) every five years.

They came away with one major finding: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

In his TED Talk, Waldinger pointed out three key lessons about happiness:

1. Close relationships

The men in both groups of the Harvard study who reported being closer to their family, friends, or community tended to be happier and healthier than their less social counterparts. They also tended to live longer. By comparison, people who said they were lonelier reported feeling less happy. They also had worse physical and mental health, as defined above.

A 2014 review of dozens of studies published in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass suggests that loneliness can get in the way of mental functioning, sleep, and well-being, which in turn increases the risk of illness and death.

2. Quality (not quanity) of relationships

It's not just being in a relationship that matters. Married couples who said they argued constantly and had low affection for one another (which study authors defined as "high-conflict marriages") were actually less happy than people who weren't married at all, the Harvard study found.

However, the effect of relationship quality seems to depend somewhat on age. A 2015 study published in the journal Psychology and Aging that followed people for 30 years found that the number of relationships people had was, in fact, more important for people in their 20s, but the quality of relationships had a bigger effect on social and psychological well being when people were in their 30s.

3. Stable, supportive marriages

Being socially connected to others isn't just good for our physical health. It also helps stave off mental decline. People who were married without having divorced, separating, or having "serious problems" until age 50 performed better on memory tests later in life than those who weren't, the Harvard study found.

And other research backs this up. A 2013 study in the journal PLOS ONE found that marriage, among other factors, was linked to a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

All of this suggests that strong relationships are critical to our health.

Society places a lot of emphasis on wealth and "leaning in" to our work, Waldinger said. "But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community."

You can watch the full TED talk here.

NEXT UP: Scientists say these 25 habits can help you feel happier and healthier

DON'T MISS: 7 science-backed ways to instantly feel more powerful

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The largest happiness study ever reveals a surprising disconnection between health and happiness

You've been fighting morning breath totally wrong

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Man Holding Breath

Take note, Listerine.

In the near future, the cause of our stinky morning breath could be the thing that helps us beat it.

Our body is filled with trillions of microorganisms. Some of those microbes hang out in our mouth, which is nice and humid. While we sleep, our mouths sometimes dry out, which can kill off some good bacteria and cause gas-emitting bacteria to thrive. That's the reason you sometimes wake up with a putrid-smelling mouth.

But there's a solution, and its name is Streptococcus salivarius K12. Researchers think the bacteria strain could soon be put into a lozenge or spray and used as a probiotic, or beneficial mix of bacteria, to knock out the bad bacteria that causes bad breath.

The delicate balance of microbes living inside each of us, collectively called our microbiome, help keep our body running. Unfortunately, things we do — like taking antibiotics, for example — can wipe out many of these beneficial microbes, throwing off the balance.

Susan Perkins, one of the curators of a recent exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History focused on the microbiome, told Business Insider that she wouldn't be surprised if we started using bacteria to treat morning breath within the year.

A 2006 study of 23 people with halitosis, or bad breath, found that those given S. salivarius K12 lozenges had lower levels of smelly breathThe participants started by using an antimicrobial mouthwash followed by either a placebo lozenge or one with Ssalivarius K12. They found that the addition of the bacteria reduced the levels of smelly breath better than the mouthwash on its own.

Ideally, this probiotic could be used in addition to mouthwashes like Listerine, which kill all the bacteria — good and bad — in your mouth. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, director of the University of North Carolina's Microbiome Research Core, told Business Insider that antibacterial solutions like mouthwash and hand sanitizer are being overused to the point where they could be doing more harm than good.

"We are just too clean," she said.

But probiotics aren't a perfect solution either — at least not yet. We still don't know everything about the bacteria in our bodies, and not every probiotic works for every person. Plus, probiotics still aren't regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, so it's a little tricky to know if the supplements people are taking are actually doing what they say they are.

Even so, the probiotics industry is expanding. The hope is to eventually use these probiotics to treat everything from cancer to bad body odor, said Perkins.

In the meantime, keep your eye out for Ssalivarius K12.

SEE ALSO: The bacteria in your belly can determine what diet will work best for you

DON'T MISS: 30 mind-blowing facts about the microbes that live inside you

Join the conversation about this story »

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These small hunting cabins in the northernmost part of the US can withstand freezing -30-degree temperatures

The 20 best-selling books of the year

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Jessica Knoll Luckiest Girl Alive

One surefire way to find great books to read is to see which ones top the best-seller charts.

Amazon recently released its list of the 20 best-selling books of 2015, and chances are, if you haven't already read a few of these yourself, you know someone who has.

It's not too late to read — or reread — the best sellers of the year. Keep scrolling to see which books made the list.

SEE ALSO: The 17 best books of the year, according to readers

20. "A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler

"A Spool of Blue Thread" spans four generations of the Whitshank family — a loving group of people who share laughter, tender moments, milestones, and the challenges of growing up — but just like any other family, they also experience disappointments, heartache, jealousy, and deep-rooted secrets.

From Baltimore in the 1920s to the summer in 1959 when Abby Whitshank fell in love with Red, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler paints an intimate picture of a flawed, but close-knit, family.

Buy the book here »



19. "The Stranger" by Harlan Coben

Adam Price is living the American Dream, with a big house, beautiful wife, great job, and two wonderful kids. Then he runs into The Stranger and learns a secret about his wife, Corinne, that could unravel everything.

No one knows who The Stranger is. He appears out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly, but not before leaving people, like Adam, in the dust. "The Stranger" is another dramatic cliffhanger from prolific suspense writer Harlan Coben.

Buy the book here »



18. "The Crossing" by Michael Connelly

Even though Harry Bosch retired from his detective job with the LAPD, the work isn't over. Bosch's half-brother is an attorney who believes his client has been framed for murder, and he need's Bosch's help now more than ever.

Bosch takes the case as a favor to his brother, but when the real killer discovers that Bosch is hot on his trail, a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse ensues.

Buy the book here »



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Turns out exercise might not be a cure for weight gain

People shared their biggest regrets in life, and some of their answers will make you cry

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An elderly man stands in Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro September 13, 2011.  REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and oftentimes it can lead to regret.

Some people have the philosophy that everything happens for a reason, and there is no point in having regrets.

But for so many of us, looking back on our lives can lead us to linger on one poignant moment or period when we wish we had done things differently, and that nagging question, "What if ...?," plays on repeat in our heads.

"This may sound a little melodramatic, but no matter how happy you are, at my age your regrets are countless," writes Quora user Gary Teal in response to the question, "When people look back on their lives, what are common regrets they have?" "You have made decades' worth of little miscalculations you can't completely erase from your memory, as well as a number of big mistakes that made life permanently harder."

Quora user Bradley Voytek points to a national survey about the regrets of a typical American, which found 13 common sources for regret. They are, in order: romance, family, education, career, finance, parenting, health, "other," friends, spirituality, community, leisure, and self.

Vaughn Bell at Mind Hacks notes that there are two ways people frame their regrets: The things they did that they wish they hadn't, and the things they wish they had done but didn't.

"The difference between the two is often a psychological one, because we can frame the same regret either way — as regret about an action: 'If only I had not dropped out of school;' or as a regret about an inaction: 'If only I had stayed in school.'

"Despite the fact that they are practically equivalent, regrets framed as laments about actions were more common and more intense than regrets about inactions, although inaction regrets tended to be longer lasting," Bell writes.

Here are some of the most common regrets as chronicled by Quora users (answers have been edited for clarity): 

SEE ALSO: 13 bad habits you should break in 2016 to be more productive

Romance

"I regret that I never fell in love with someone who was in love with me, when that would have been easy for me to do.

"I regret being like an old song sung by Buffy Sainte-Marie: 'Must I go bound and you so free, Must I love one who doesn't love me, Must I be born with so little art, As to love the one who would break my heart?'" —David Kahana



Children

"For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to have kids. But in my younger years, I foolishly assumed that unlike certain accomplishments like a career, the marriage and kids thing would just happen.

"Well, they didn't. I dated plenty of people but never even thought about making family a priority. Then, in my late 30s, a bout with ovarian cancer left me permanently infertile.

"I think about the kids I never had every day, several times a day. I have a great relationship with my nieces and nephews, and volunteer at a children's hospital on a regular basis, but it's just not the same to be around other people's kids. I would love to adopt or be a foster mother, and hopefully be in a financial and domestic situation that would make this feasible one day.

"But again, not the same. And it pisses me off when people say, "You're lucky you don't have kids, they're so much work, blah blah blah." Yes, but a lot of things in life that are worthwhile are also so much work.

"I think the mothering instinct is so strong in some women that the knowledge that one will never get a chance to give birth and raise their own child goes beyond regret. One that a bar chart cannot capture. I can deal with most of my other regrets in life but am having a hard time dealing with this one." —Caroline Zelonka



Parents

"I regret not choosing to spend more time with my parents in my twenties. I lost my mother in 2000, and I feel the loss of the friendship we never had.

"She was very demanding, very strict, and from the perspective of a young man, very unreasonable. It turned out, as I live through middle age, that most of the ideals I have today ended up being the ones she put on me.

"Sometimes, after a setback, I feel the impulse to call her, and in the second or so that it takes for me to realize she isn't alive to speak to any longer, I realize how much I still need her.

"You cannot negotiate with death. It is final, often sudden, and personal. The last night I had with her, at a hospice in Chicago, I was exhausted and asked her if she minded if I went home. She immediately whispered that absolutely, I should rest, and to be careful driving home. I curled her fingers around the nurses call button, and kissed her on the forehead. I remember I felt some relief that I was leaving.

"I know it didn't make a difference, leaving at that time, or leaving a few hours later. She was going to die either way. But reflecting on that moment today I know then that I didn't understand how precious those minutes were, and how a door was being closed that would never open again." —Jim Wagner



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10 years ago, I made a simple change that improved my life dramatically

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gym class

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.

But 10 years ago today, I changed something. And that change turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done.

I started exercising regularly.

At the time, I didn't think of myself as particularly lazy or out of shape. I was never a jock, but I was a competitive swimmer until my junior year of high school. I skied in the winter and played a lot of pickup games in the neighborhood where I grew up, mostly street football and basketball.

As I got older, most of that went away, and I started spending a lot more time sitting at a desk. But I still did a lot of hiking, learned to scuba dive, and bought a bike, and used it from time to time ... that kind of thing. I thought I was in OK shape.

But on New Year's Day, 2006, I woke up feeling fat and bloated and gross.

So my wife suggested I go join a gym.

Resistance

A gym? I was never a gym person. I didn't like the whole culture, the weird nutritional additives, the crash diets, the mirrors everywhere. And what were all those machines? I didn't know how to use them and thought I'd hurt myself or look like an idiot.

But it was New Year's Day — a day for changes — so I sucked up my pride and went down to one of the big chain gyms in downtown Seattle and signed up. I even got a few sessions with a personal trainer.

At first, it sucked. I was in horrible shape! I couldn't lift any weight at all. My chest burned after five minutes on the cross-trainer. I sweated a ton, which was uncomfortable. I didn't have the right clothes. My feet hurt. I hated the way I looked in the mirror. It was really hard waking up in the morning and driving downtown when it was still dark outside.

But I kept at it. Day after day after day. It took a full six months before I felt comfortable and over a year before it became a truly consistent habit.

I've now gone to the gym at least three times a week, for at least 45 minutes, almost every single week for the past 10 years. The only exceptions have been when I was sick, hurt, or moving.

Here are some things that have changed:

  • I can sprint for a bus or train without my chest burning like a furnace. I'm back to normal breathing in seconds, not minutes.
  • I can walk up multiple flights of stairs or a steep hill without having to stop and rest.
  • The random back and neck and sciatic nerve pains that I used to get every couple of weeks have almost completely disappeared. (Though I've occasionally strained or pulled muscles through stupid use of machines. Stretch! If something feels wrong, stop!)
  • I used to have horrible insomnia. Now I fall asleep easily (except on the first night in a hotel, for some reason), and if I wake up early, I just go work out.
  • I'm a lot less embarrassed to go swimming, or look at myself in pictures.
  • My digestion is better — no heartburn, no stomach pain, no other stuff.
  • I almost never get sick. Maybe once a year. I used to get colds at least three or four times every winter.

More subtly, my outlook has changed. When things go wrong — as they inevitably do — I look to fix them rather than fretting about them. I whine less. I talk less, and listen more. I look more to the future and less to the past.

Some of this might just be a byproduct of growing older. But I think that feeling good and comfortable in my own body has helped.

exercise workout gym yoga

That's not to say I'm in perfect shape. I still eat too much. My stomach still sticks out a little, though it's not as big as it used to be. I know I should work out for longer, more often. But overall, I feel a lot better now, physically and mentally, at the age of 46, than I did in my late 20s and early 30s.

What to do if you join a gym

Everybody has a preferred way to exercise — the point is to do it.

I like going to a gym because it's a separate location away from my home and because it forces me to devote a short period of time to real, intensive exercise. I can tell myself I'm going to do a big hike this weekend, or walk up the mountain behind my house every few days, but in reality I'll probably loaf it or find reasons to skip it.

So — if you decide you want to join a gym, here's my advice. (Note: I'm not a fitness expert, and some people will probably disagree with some of this, but it's what I've learned from experience, reading, and talking to trainers.)

  • You're there to exercise — so get to it! If you're not exercising, you're not getting in shape, no matter how much time you spend at the gym. It's easy to waste time in the locker room, in the pool (swimming is low-impact exercise unless you're racing or training to race), in the steam room, sitting on the stationary bike, watching CNN or ESPN, looking at your phone as you sit on one of the weight machines, resting between sets, and on and on. Be moving all the time. Rest after you're home.
  • Stretch, but don't waste too much time on it. You need to stretch a little bit, especially if you're about to work a muscle group you've been neglecting — you don't want to pull a groin muscle, for instance. (I've done it; it's awful.) But a couple of minutes is fine. Don't stretch for 15 minutes as a way to procrastinate.
  • Forget the bike. It's fun to ride the stationary bike and catch up on your magazine reading, but it's not a workout. If you're using a machine, the cross-trainers and StairMasters give the best workout, as long as you're actually moving on them and pushing yourself, not just going in slo-mo. You can do 15 minutes on them with productivity equal to an hour on the bike. Intensive classes are also great, if you're into them. (I'm not.)
  • More weights, less cardio. Cardio is important when you're first getting in shape and vital if you're starting to train for a big event like climbing Mount Rainier or running a marathon (so I've heard — I've never done either). But once you're in decent shape, a 15- to-20-minute burst of high-impact cardio is all you really need. Spend the rest of your time on the weight machines or, better, using free weights. Pushing against resistance builds strength, and building muscle increases your metabolism so you burn more calories at rest — even when you're not at the gym.
  • Mix up the weights. You can balance between lots of reps with little weight (which builds stamina) and fewer reps with as much weight as you can handle (which builds strength). Mix it up. Work different muscle groups, in a different order, each day. If one muscle group starts to burn a little, you're doing it right — but take a break the next day to let the muscles heal and build up.
  • Try classes. A lot of people find that joining a class — Pilates, yoga, step, whatever — or signing up with a personal trainer is the most reliable way to get out of the house and to the gym. Once you're there, you can do other things when the class or session is over.
  • Leave your phone in your pocket. You might use it to listen to music, but resist the temptation to check email, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever your vice is. (Full disclosure: I fail at this way too often.)
  • Anything is better than nothing. Woke up late? Had to work late? Only time for 30 minutes instead of the usual hour? Go anyway. Don't let zero exercise replace an imperfect workout.
  • Don't quit. That's the hardest and most important thing. If you're in crummy shape, the way I was when I started, the first six months will be brutal. You'll wonder why you're bothering. It will seem hopeless. Just get out of bed and keep going. At a certain point, it will become a habit and you'll wonder what you did with that time before. After that, you'll start looking forward to it.

Happy new year!

SEE ALSO: The 6 most popular New Year's resolutions at work

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why everyone is addicted to CrossFit

A New York Times reporter took a one-second video every day last year, and the results are fascinating

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New York Times reporter Daniel Victor undertook an interesting experiment last year: He recorded a little bit of video every day, then used an app called 1 Second Everyday to stitch the videos together into a six-minute video.

It's a fascinating slice of life — a lot of the snippets were mundane scenes at work, barbecues, and drinks with friends, and playing video games. But there were also peak experiences like sporting events, concerts (including Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, which happened to be the best show I saw last year), and a trip to South Africa. Watching it, I resolved to try to have more of those peak experiences this year. We'll see how that works out.

Victor writes that the experience didn't force him to go out and do more things, but it did change how he preserved memories: "I often found myself forgoing quick-hit posts to Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook in favor of the delayed gratification of one big video, a year in the making."

Watch the video below. If you want to do the same in 2016, now's the time to download the app. It costs $2.99.

SEE ALSO: 10 years ago, I made a simple change that improved my life dramatically

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LaGuardia airport's American Express Lounge is incredibly stylish

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American Express Centurion Lounge New York's LaGuardia Airport gets a bad rap. It regularly appears on "America's worst airport" lists, and Vice President Joe Biden once claimed it belonged in a "third-world country."

But things are looking up for the beleaguered airport  at least for a certain group of customers. In late 2014, American Express opened its Centurion Lounge, a drastic departure from the often drab domestic lounges that populate most major airports around the country. 

Located inside Terminal B (home to American, United, Southwest, Jet Blue, Air Canada, Spirit, and Frontier Airlines), the Centurion signaled a major upgrade in culinary fare for LaGuardia's domestic rest stops. Visitors are treated to a variety of fine dining options, specially paired wines, and signature cocktails. 

Like most airport lounges, access to the Centurion comes at a price. All American Express card holders may drop in by buying a $50 day pass. If you hold a Platinum or Centurion cards, however, membership is included. 

The Centurion Lounge is on Level 3 of Terminal B. It's located before the security checkpoints, so passengers from other terminals can drop in.



The LaGuardia location was the third Centurion Lounge in the U.S., joining lounges at Las Vegas McCarran International and Dallas/Ft. Worth International.



Instead of over-the-top opulent, the lounge is stylish and comfortable. The design is chic, modern, and tastefully restrained.



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Here's how much it costs for a family to live in 20 major US cities

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San Francisco

It will only cost you about $49,114 a year to raise a family in Morristown, Tennessee, but if you move to Washington, DC, that expense more that doubles, to $106,493.

That's according to the Economic Policy Institute's 2015 Family Budget Calculator, which measures the annual cost of necessities for a family to live a secure yet modest lifestyle by estimating the costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, other necessities, and taxes.

(Read the EPI's full methodology for the budget calculator here.)

The EPI gathered data in 618 metro areas throughout the US for several different family types. Here, we've highlighted the cost of living for a four-person family (two adults, two children) in 20 major US cities.

If you're looking to start a family in an urban area, consider the annual and monthly cost of necessities, and remember, these numbers do not include savings or discretionary spending:

SEE ALSO: How much you have to save per day to put a down payment on a house in 19 major US cities

20. Houston, Texas

Estimated cost of annual necessities: $60,608

Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,051



19. Cleveland, Ohio

Estimated cost of annual necessities: $60,900

Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,075



18. Dallas, Texas

Estimated cost of annual necessities: $61,150

Estimated cost of monthly necessities: $5,096



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How to make pizza grilled cheese

These people are attempting to sail around the world in a 62-foot canoe, using only the sun and stars for navigation

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Life aboard the Hōkūle'a, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe on a mission to sail around the world, sounds like paradise. Crew members take shifts steering and caring for the 40-year-old vessel, swapping stories over plates of line-caught fish, and sleeping under the stars.

The 62-foot-long, double-hulled canoe set out from the Hawaiian shores in 2013. It will cover more than 60,000 nautical miles by the end of its journey, which is scheduled to finish in 2017.

There's just one catch: You can't use modern navigation instruments aboard the Hōkūle'a. Crew members must use only the sun and the stars to get themselves from point A to B.

Tech Insider spoke with Captain Kalepa Baybayan to learn more about this daring and unusual life at sea.

This is the Hōkūle'a, a working replica of a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe.



The first Hawaiians used the same style of canoe to arrive at the island chain more than 1,000 years ago. The last one like it was built over 600 years ago.

Source: Hokulea.com



Hōkūle'a set out from the Hawaiian Islands in 2013 on a mission to circumnavigate the globe without the use of modern navigation instruments.



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This wearable tent makes sure that bikers never get wet

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Nothing ruins a bike commute more than a rain shower.

To solve this problem, the Amsterdam-based bike design company Vanmoof designed a poncho that keeps riders dry, even in snow or a downpour. Called the Boncho, it's like a wearable tent that repels water. 

"Just have the Boncho inside your bag, and don’t worry about the weather," Vanmoof's CEO and co-founder Ties Carlier tells Tech Insider.

In less than a week, the $99 Boncho Kickstarter nearly doubled its funding goal. 

Here's how it works.

 

The Boncho unfolds just like a pop-up tent. It's made from a polyester and spandex material, with a waterproof layer inside and a water-repellent layer outside.

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Designed to fit every type of bike, the poncho has two fabric strips that attach to the handlebar. Helmets fit either under or above the hood.



The front of the poncho curves and extends outward, protecting legs and feet from rain. A metal structure underneath helps keep its shape.



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December was a bizarre month for weather — and January might not be much different

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Unseasonable weather NYC

The US has certainly had its share of wacky December weather this year. 

With people on the East Coast basking in warm temperatures, severe storms tearing up the South, and blizzards dumping snow on southwest states, it's no doubt that thanks to El Niño, this month is one for the books.

El Niño, a weather pattern that's characterized by warmer-than average water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, can often lead to unexpected weather events around the world like the ones that happened in the past few weeks.

Here are some snapshots of the US (and elsewhere) experiencing unseasonably warm weather:

CHECK OUT: Why the East Coast is warmer than the West Coast right now

NEXT: Something strange is happening to US temperatures right now

In keeping with the mild beginning of December, New Yorkers spent Christmas Day in minimal outerwear doing warm-weather activities like row-boating. On December 25, the temperature in New York hit 66 degrees, 26 degrees above the historic average temperature. Here are a few enjoying Central Park:

Source



Unusually warm air over the Pacific Ocean, a weather pattern called El Niño, is messing up the jet stream that keeps the northern part of the US cool in the winter. That's why those wanting to work off Christmas cookies with a run could do so without bundling up. This Christmas jogger ran through New York's Central Park clad in only a pair of shorts on Dec. 25.



Here's what's going on: Instead of going directly over the country, the jet stream is currently blowing cold air down to the southwest before scooting far north. That way, it's missing most of the East Coast and messing up the temperatures farther south.



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How Times Square became the nutty and inspiring mega-tourist attraction it is today

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There's no place quite like Times Square.

Taking its name from the world's most famous newspaper, Times Square has long been one of the US's primary gathering places. Its name has, at various points in history, evoked everything from Mickey Mouse to porn shops.

So, on New Year's Eve — Times Square's biggest moment of the year — let's take a look back at the intersection New Yorkers avoid like the plague and tourists can't get enough of.

Times Square gets its name from the old New York Times building, pictured here in a 1921 photo.



It's long been a gathering place. In this 1918 photo, these guys are celebrating the end of World War I.



Here's the presidential election night in 1928. Herbert Hoover won the day.



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