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Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical activity, exercise and rest. It is a set of attributes or characteristics seen in people and which relate to the ability to perform a given set of physical activities.

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11 May 2021

  • Climb Your Way to Better Fitness with the Best Vertical Climbers of 2021

    Vertical climbers are exactly what they sound like: they feature foot pedals and handlebars that mimic climbing vertically. So basically like climbing a ladder (or El Capitan?) but without the fear of falling to your doom.

    These intense cardio machines increase your heart rate, provide a killer full-body workout in record time, and work for almost any fitness level.

    Read on to find our list of the best vertical climbers available on the market, including some picks that come highly recommended by personal trainers.

    Best vertical climbers for 2021

    Our criteria for choosing the best vertical climbers

    We chatted with two NASM-certified personal trainers — David Sautter, also on staff at Top Fitness Magazine, and Justin Meissner — to get some intel on what makes for a good vertical climber. Here’s how we picked the best of the best:

    • Brand. Sautter says that when it comes to vertical climbers, you get what you pay for, so looking at well-established brands is a must. Our experts recommend brands like VersaClimber, Sole, and MaxiClimber — but we also included some cheaper options for beginners or folks with tighter budgets.
    • Smooth movement. A jerky machine will get in the way of developing a consistent climbing rhythm. We made sure our recs had positive customer reviews for a smooth climbing experience.
    • Resistance levels. We made sure to include some options with extra resistance levels to help you diversify your workouts. “Higher resistance workouts can promote gains in strength,” adds Sautner.
    • Stability. To really focus on your workout, you can’t be worried about the machine falling over or wobbling. We looked for machines with wide bases and steel or aluminum frames that can hold up to heavy, regular use.
    • Size. Most vertical climbers can fit under a standard 8-foot ceiling, but watch that square footage. We included machines that can fit in the average home, though we included a few that will probably only fit in a designated home gym.

    Pricing guide

    • $ = under $300
    • $$ = $300–$700
    • $$$ = $700–$1,500
    • $$$$ = over $1,500

    Our top picks for the best vertical climbers

    Best overall vertical climber

    MaxiCimber XL-2000

    • Price: $$
    • Maximum weight capacity: 300 pounds (lbs.)
    • Maximum user height: 6.6 feet (ft.)
    • Dimensions: 25.78 x 41.33 x 55.6 inches (in.)

    Pros

    • 12 resistance levels
    • folds flat
    • mobile device holder
    • connects with Maxi Climber fitness app

    Cons

    • large footprint
    • sometimes arrives without all parts needed for assembly

    MaxiClimber is one of the high quality, well-known brands Sautter recommends — and it’s also not hella expensive. The XL-2000 is designed for smooth gliding at all 12 resistance levels, accommodates people in larger bodies, and can fold down flat for storage under a bed or sofa. It also connects with the MaxiClimber fitness app to track progress and participate in challenges.

    On the downside, this model has been known to arrive without all of the correct parts. But luckily, the manufacturer has a good customer service reputation and seems to quickly resolve most issues.

    Best rated vertical climber

    MaxiClimber Classic

    • Price: $
    • Maximum weight capacity: 240 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 28.3 x 35.82 x 57 in.

    Pros

    • folds flat
    • lightweight
    • adjusts to users of different heights
    • connects to the MaxiClimber app

    Cons

    • no resistance levels
    • low maximum weight capacity

    The MaxiClimber Classic skips the bells and whistles and opts for simple, smooth gliding — for a lower price, too. Like the XL-2000, it connects to the MaxiClimber fitness app and folds down for super easy storage. But this model is more lightweight and reviewers rave about its affordability and how easy it is to assemble and use.

    On the downside, the Classic’s lighter build doesn’t always hold up as well as heavier models. It also doesn’t have any resistance levels, which means the only way to intensify your workout is by picking up the pace.

    Best splurge vertical climber

    VersaClimber LX Model

    • Price: $$$$
    • Maximum weight capacity: 350 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 48 x 48 x 94 in.

    Pros

    • up to 20 inches of step adjustment
    • high maximum weight capacity
    • adjustable resistance
    • steel frame
    • optional heart rate monitor

    Cons

    • pricey
    • high square footage
    • not foldable

    “My preference is for the VersaClimber,” says Meissner. “It’s on the higher end in terms of price, but it’s a quality you won’t need to replace.”

    We can def confirm that this climber costs a pretty penny (and be ready to give up some floor space), but it also has features you won’t find on less expensive models.

    The steel frame, for example, brings extra stability and a higher weight capacity of 350 pounds. It also manages to stay under an 8-foot ceiling while still having 20 inches of step height adjustability. More adjustability means more options — longer length is great for people with longer strides and shorter length is perf for a sprint-style climb.

    Best budget vertical climber

    Doufit Vertical Climber Exercise Machine

    • Price: $
    • Maximum weight capacity: 220 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 31 x 20 x 54-63 in.

    Pros

    • 7 height levels
    • lightweight
    • affordable price
    • digital display
    • good range of motion
    • foldable

    Cons

    • low maximum weight limit
    • not as sturdy as nonfoldable model

    The Doufit isn’t one of the brands recommended by our experts, but it’s got all the specs to give you a high-end workout on a dime store budget. Seven adjustable height levels let you change up your workout or adjust to each member of the fam’s height. It also provides a good range of motion and folds flat for easier storage — all for a low price.

    The Doufit doesn’t have the smoothest movement and doesn’t offer any resistance options, but it’s def a great option for anyone looking for a heart-pumping workout for less cash.

    Best vertical climber and elliptical combo

    Sunny Health & Fitness Performance Cardio Climber

    • Price: $
    • Maximum weight capacity: 220 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 42 x 23 x 60.5 in.

    Pros

    • functions as an elliptical trainer and vertical climber
    • 8 resistance levels
    • smooth vertical function
    • alternative arm motion

    Cons

    • limited 5-inch vertical step height
    • doesn’t fold

    The Sunny Health & Fitness Performance Elliptical Machine combines your fave elements from an elliptical and climber in one machine for a lower impact climb. You can adjust resistance levels to boost your workout intensity and choose from multiple handle positions to focus more on an upper body, lower body, or full body workout. 💪

    Best handle adjustability

    Sole CC81 Cardio Climber

    • Price: $$$$
    • Maximum weight capacity: 400 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 86 x 59 x 31 in.

    Pros

    • high maximum weight capacity
    • adjustable handle height and position
    • smooth functioning
    • large display
    • built-in media holder

    Cons

    • pricey
    • hard to assemble
    • Bluetooth issues

    Sole is another highly recommended brand on Sautter’s list, and the CC81 provides the stability and smooth gliding you’d expect from a machine at this price. It gets top marks for its ultra-adjustable handles, which have four different height options and can be flipped to target different muscles in your upper bod. This model also has a good weight capacity for people in larger bodies.

    There are a few downsides though — it’s expensive, reviewers say the Bluetooth connectivity can be glitchy, and it’s not the easiest to assemble. S#!T.

    Best vertical climber for beginners

    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Vertical Climber

    • Price: $
    • Maximum weight capacity: 260 lbs.
    • Dimensions: 37.5 x 28 x 85 in.

    Pros

    • inclined pedal position
    • 5 heights to adjust difficulty
    • low price
    • foldable
    • vented handle design
    • lightweight

    Cons

    • less sturdy than bigger machines
    • no resistance levels

    If you’re just getting started in the world of vertical climbers, you don’t want to spend a bundle on a big ol’ machine you might not like. This option from RELIFE is super cheap, but still has five height adjustments that give you a way to intensify your workout and find your best fit. The handles have a vented design that’s supposed to let sweat evaporate and help you maintain a tight grip as you learn the ropes. It also folds down, so it doesn’t eat up precious square footage.

    On the downside, there aren’t any resistance levels for an extra challenge, and it’s not as sturdy as heavier-duty models.

    Who should get a vertical climber?

    Vertical climbers are a great option for basically everyone. “It’s really hard to mess up doing it, so it’s great for all levels,” says Meissner. “They can be easily scaled for the high-level athletes or the newbie.”

    They’re also an amazing option for people that want a machine that’s easier on your body than a treadmill. “[They’re] great low impact usage for people with sensitive joints,” Meissner says. They’re even easy on the back

    But just because they’re easy on your joints doesn’t mean the workouts are easy.

    These machines work your entire body in a short amount of time and are effective whether you’re building muscle mass or trying to lose weight. And if you opt for a machine with extra resistance options, you’re in store for an even tougher workout. “[They] allow you to control the intensity and resistance… offering cardio workouts that rival some CrossFit workouts,” says Sautter.

    Don’t let that scare you if you’re just starting your fitness journey. You don’t need to look like the Rock to get your fitness on with a vertical climber. As Sautter puts it, “…it’s a choose your own adventure workout, and the intensity level is up to you.”

    How to choose a vertical climber

    Vertical climbers get your blood pumping, but some are better than others. Here’s how to pick a climber:

    Stability

    Foldable models save a ton of space, but if they’re rickety, you could end up taking a dive mid-climb. A sturdy steel frame (aluminum is a strong but lightweight option) and a wide base will withstand the forces of climbing.

    Smooth gliding

    A sticky climber is a no-go. So are models that grumble like a road grader. Always check customer reviews to make sure the machine glides well and stays quiet with minimal maintenance.

    Usage and storage space

    Heavy nonfoldable models offer the best stability, but we all don’t have the space to use or store them. Measure your space (and ceilings) — most vertical climbers work with 8-foot ceilings but double check the dimensions before committing.

    Price

    The sturdiest models can cost several thousand dollars. These models may also have Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities, which let you compete with other users or track several days’ worth of workouts. But if you’re on a budget, make sure the climbers you’re looking at have sturdy construction with a wide base. Of the more affordable brands, Sautter recommends MaxiClimber for its proven track record.

    Resistance levels

    “Increasing the resistance during your workouts will promote lean muscle growth,” says Sautter. If the machine doesn’t have resistance options, you can intensify the workout through speed, but you may need to do added resistance training to tone your muscles.

    Step and handle height adjustability

    Step height and handle adjustability aren’t absolutely necessary, but they can make the climber more comfortable to use. You can also use height settings to challenge your body and intensify your workouts.

    The bottom line

    Finding the perfect cardio machine for your home gym can truly be an uphill climb. You’ve got lots of traditional options to consider (hi treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, and stationary bikes) — but the vertical climber might be the perfect high intensity, low impact cardio machine for you.

    When searching for the perfect vertical climber, look for a machine known for being stable and durable — and make sure it’s a good fit for your available space, body size, and fitness goals.

    And remember that when it comes to fitness, “it ain’t about how fast [you] get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the cliiiiimb.” 🎶

  • Hit Your Stride: The 9 Best Ellipticals for a Low Impact Ride

    Looking for a low impact workout that’s still low key really hard? Wave hello to your new BFF: the elliptical.

    Ellipticals offer a full-body cardio workout with smooth, gliding strides that are waaaay easier on your joints than running or even walking.

    Keep scrolling to read some elliptical shopping advice (straight from the pros!) and check out the top nine ellipticals that could be the key to your low impact fitness routine.

    9 best ellipticals for 2021

    Our criteria for choosing the best ellipticals

    To keep from spinning our wheels (er, pedals), we spoke with two personal trainers about what to look for in an elliptical: Holly Roser, owner of Holly Roser Fitness Studios, and Erin James, founder of SQUAY.

    Here are their essential criteria that we took into consideration when making our elliptical picks:

    • Lots of resistance options. “You want something that challenges you before it gets to 100 percent of its resistance, so that you can grow with it,” explains James. “Using the elliptical, it’s very important to have the ability to make each minute harder,” Roser adds. The option to increase resistance throughout the workout helps keep this low impact workout highly effective and challenging.
    • Ease of use. Roser says you should “look for the ability to adjust the incline and resistance with ease” so you’re not spending your whole workout fiddling with controls. James notes that ellipticals all move differently and vary vastly in size, so it’s important to find one that’s comfortable for your body and fits in your space.
    • Movable handlebars. “Being able to change the resistance and use hand grips that move with your motion are two key benefits of ellipticals,” explains James. Moving your arms adds a little something extra to your workout to help you really feel the burn.

    Pricing guide

    • $ = under $1,000
    • $$ = $1,000–$2,000
    • $$$ = over $2,000

    Our picks for the best ellipticals

    Best overall elliptical

    Bowflex Max Trainer M6

    • Price: $$
    • Resistance: 16 levels
    • Hand grips: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 300 pounds (lbs.)
    • Stride length: 13 inch (in.) vertical motion, 6 in. horizontal motion
    • Extra features: Magnetic tablet holder, USB charging port, heart rate monitoring

    James explains best why this is our top pick. She says the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is “for those who can splurge a little but not a lot and care about features.”

    With a USB port and a magnetic tablet holder, it’s equipped to keep you entertained or deliver streaming workouts if you BYO tablet. It also has enough resistance levels to keep you challenged, is relatively compact, and works with Bowflex’s JRNY app.

    Best high end elliptical

    Octane Fitness Q47x Elliptical

    • Price: $$$
    • Resistance: 20 levels
    • Handlebars: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 300 lbs.
    • Stride length: 18–26 in.
    • Extra features: Tablet holder, 10 workout presets

    This elliptical is a significant investment, but it’s Roser’s favorite on the market. “This machine has the ability to change your stride length,” she explains, “which helps your body move in a more natural way.”

    The numerous resistance levels and auto-adjusting stride length make it easy to create personalized and challenging low impact workouts. This also means it’s a solid pick if you’re planning on sharing the machine with your entire fam.

    Best elliptical for streaming workouts

    NordicTrack FS10i

    • Price: $$$
    • Resistance: 24 resistance levels and up to 10% incline
    • Handlebars: Movable
    • Max user weight: 375 lbs.
    • Stride length: 0–32 in.
    • Extra features: 10-in. touch screen, iFit connected with automatic resistance adjustments, Bluetooth speakers, built-in fan

    This elliptical is packed with extra features that are ideal for streaming fitness classes, which is why it comes highly recommended by James. It comes with a free year of iFit membership, which features elliptical classes where trainers automatically adjust your incline and resistance for you. You also get access to other kinds of classes, including yoga, lifting, and running workouts.

    Keep in mind that this kind of machine requires a little more space. “These are FreeStride machines,” James explains, “which means they provide more movement, so you’ll want to make sure there is ample room in front of the machine and behind.”

    Best budget elliptical

    Sunny Health & Fitness Performance Elliptical Cross Trainer

    • Price: $
    • Resistance: 8 levels
    • Handlebars: Movable
    • Max user weight: 220 lbs.
    • Stride length: 7 in. horizontal motion, 5 in. vertical motion
    • Extra features: Tablet holder

    James likes this no-frills elliptical for its ultra-low price point and compact size. “It doesn’t take up much space, as it focuses on the climbing motion,” she explains, “so the legs don’t really go forward and back.”

    She says this is a great pick if you’re looking for a major sweat sesh that’s still low impact. The climbing motion is also key for working those booty muscles. 🍑

    Best elliptical for incline workouts

    Precor 576i

    • Price: $$$
    • Resistance: 20 levels with incline of 13–40 degrees
    • Handlebars: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 350 lbs.
    • Stride length: 21–25 in.
    • Extra features: 14 workout presets, heart rate monitoring, tablet holder

    For intense endurance-building workouts, Roser recommends this commercial model. “This is a fantastic elliptical if you enjoy hills,” she says. The adjustable incline means you can add extra intensity to your workout and target different muscles in your lower body.

    However, James says the machine’s one downside is that its handles have only one grip option, which means you’re missing out on being able to pull the handles in either direction and target different muscle groups in your upper bod.

    Best compact elliptical

    Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical

    • Price: $
    • Resistance: 16 levels
    • Handlebars: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 300 lbs.
    • Stride length: 18 in.
    • Extra features: Heart rate sensors, tablet holder

    According to James, this is an excellent choice if you want some of the bells and whistles of a higher-end elliptical — like a tablet holder, moving handlebars, and an 18-in. stride length — without having to spend a grand or more.

    James also reminds us that although this pick is compact, its 18-in. stride length means people living in smaller spaces still need to make sure they have enough room to accommodate it.

    Best under-desk elliptical

    Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine

    • Price: $
    • Resistance: 8 levels
    • Handlebars: N/A (It’s hands-free!)
    • Max user weight: 500 lbs. (while seated)
    • Stride length: 6.125 in.
    • Extra features: Fits under your desk, Bluetooth connectivity, syncs with FitBit and Apple HealthKit

    Sitting at your desk all day just plain isn’t good for you — but if you’ve got work to do, what can ya do?!

    This little under-desk elliptical from Cubii can help you use all that sitting time to your advantage by letting you pedal away right at your desk (just in case standing desks ain’t your thing). Best of all, it can connect to your phone via Bluetooth (and sync with FitBit and Apple HealthKit) so you can track your workout metrics like you would for any other workout.

    Best midrange elliptical

    Horizon EX-59

    • Price: $
    • Resistance:10 levels
    • Handlebars: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 300 lbs.
    • Stride length: 18 in.
    • Extra features: Bluetooth speakers, USB charging port, tablet holder, heart rate tracker

    For its alluring sub-$1,000 price, this elliptical is packed with features that make it ideal for streaming workouts or watching Netflix on your tablet or phone while you get your workout on. It’s even got a charging port, so you and your phone can keep going and going. Reviewers say it’s smooth, quiet, and a great buy for the price.

    Best elliptical for HIIT workouts

    ProForm Carbon HIIT H7

    • Price: $$
    • Resistance: 24 levels
    • Handlebars: Movable and stationary
    • Max user weight: 325 lbs.
    • Stride length: 10 in. vertical motion, 5 in. horizontal motion
    • Extra features: iFit connected with automatic resistance adjustments, 7-in. touch screen display, Bluetooth speakers, built-in fan

    We’ve heard high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the sh*t. If you’re a fan of these fast but effective workouts but wanna take it easy on your knees, this is the workout machine for you.

    It’s compact with little horizontal motion, so it replicates climbing for some serious sweat sessions. You can also stream classes that have automatic resistance adjustments, making interval training easier than ever (OK, maybe not literally easier, but at least you don’t have to mess with the controls 🤷).

    Benefits of using ellipticals

    Ellipticals offer an excellent low impact workout for people with joint pain and arthritis.

    They’re also a great way to ease into working out if you’re trying to shake off your couch-potato ways. Although elliptical-ing is less intense than running, it can still give you a really good workout that engages your upper and lower body.

    If you’re a competitive runner or dedicated athlete, it’s also a good idea to have an elliptical in your home gym for when you need a low impact day. Certain types of ellipticals are also being studied for their potential to help prevent knee injuries and promote recovery after injuries.

    How to choose the perf elliptical for you

    When choosing the elliptical of your dreams, remember our experts’ advice: Look for one in your budget that’s got movable handlebars and plenty of easy-to-use resistance options. Here’s what else you should be mindful of when making your purchase:

    • Size. Does it accommodate your height and weight? If you’re on the taller side, try to find one that’s got at least a 20-in. stride length. Also, double-check that the elliptical you have your eye on will fit in the space you’ve got planned for it.
    • Bonus features. Want fun extras like a touch screen, built-in programs, one-touch resistance adjustments, or Bluetooth speakers? James says if it’s important to you and fits in your budget, you should totally go for it.
    • Warranty and return options. Some ellipticals can be huge financial investments, so make sure the warranty is one you can live with. If you’re buying online with no chance to try before you buy, definitely go for one that offers a full refund within a certain time period after purchase — just in case it doesn’t jibe with you.

    The bottom line

    Ellipticals offer a perf low impact workout if you’re living with joint pain, are new to exercise, or just hate running.

    Our nine picks are an excellent place to start. But make sure the elliptical you choose has plenty of resistance options and movable handlebars so you can really challenge yourself. And don’t forget to consider things like budget, size, and bonus features that’ll keep you from breaking your stride.

  • Ditch the Bedtime Itch: Stop Eczema Itching at Night

    Eczema, aka dermatitis, is the skin condition that causes itchy, red or purple inflamed, swollen patches of skin.

    Those dealing with eczema may already know it loves to flare up at night, keeping you awake, itchy, and uncomfy AF.

    Why is eczema worse at night?

    It’s possible eczema symptoms feel worse at night because:

    • Your body’s sleep and wake cycles makes your temperature drop at night, making skin feel itchy.
    • Daily moisturizer has worn off by bedtime.
    • You’re more likely to scratch in your sleep, leading to more itchiness.
    • Nighttime clothing and the sheets you sleep in can also sometimes cause itchiness thanks to friction against your skin.

    It’s pretty common for eczema to wreck sleep — research shows about 33 to 87 percent of adults with eczema deal with disrupted Zzz’s in studies.

    Nikita Sursin/Stocksy United

    Why does eczema itch at night and all the dang time?

    Researchers aren’t super sure what causes eczema, but genetics and environmental triggers might be to blame.

    When eczema makes its grand entrance, the affected patches of skin become red and sore, which leads to itching. On top of that, inflammation from eczema increases blood flow, which, you guessed it, also adds to the itch.

    If the skin barrier is broken to due inflammation and scratching, this can lead to transepidermal water loss (TWL), which contributes to the itch-scratch cycle as well.

    How to stop eczema itching at night

    Here are some ideas for preventing nighttime eczema flares at night:

    • Moisturize like crazy before bed. Oil-based moisturizers or medicated creams before bed may help. Your doc can offer stronger versions of these.
    • Bathe before bed. Bathing on the reg can help keep skin hydrated. But remember to slap on that moisturizer within 3 minutes after your bath to lock in hydration. Medicated baths and oatmeal baths may be especially helpful.
    • Try wet wrap therapy. Wrapping a damp cloth around the affected areas after you moisturize (and keeping the wrap on overnight) may help keep your skin hydrated while you snooze.
    • Ditch harsh fabrics. Now’s the time to toss (ahem, recycle) those rough blankets, sheets, or polyester PJs. These can irritate your skin. Go for stuff made from 100 percent cotton, it’s way gentler on your skin.
    • Escape allergens before bed. If allergens like pet dander or pollen are in the air, they may make eczema worse for those with allergies. Try to stay away from these before bed if you can.
    • Pop an antihistamine. OK, so antihistamines may not lessen itching. But, they just may get you drowsy, helping you sleep through that itch. Just talk with your doc before trying any meds.
    • Go for melatonin. A 2016 study suggests that melatonin (a popular sleep supplement) can help kiddos with eczema get to sleep faster.
    • Slide gloves on before bed. Wearing gloves (or socks) make it tougher to scratch yourself in your sleep. Keeping your nails shorter can help too!
    • Keep it cool. Don’t let your bedroom be a swampy, hot nightmare. Sweating and even just feeling hot can make you feel itchier. Think cool linens and a nice breeze with a fan.
    • Get into a good sleep routine. Going to sleep at the same time every night and penciling in time for a chill activity can encourage healthy sleep patterns. Think meditation, stretching, or reading.

    Avoid these triggers before you snooze

    • cosmetics, soaps, lotions with dyes or fragrances
    • mold (well, duh)
    • gasoline
    • cigarette smoke
    • household cleaners
    • dust mites
    • nickel and other metals
    • sweat
    • high-stress situations (We know, we know. Do your best!)

    Baby eczema got your kiddo itching at night?

    Bedtime itching can make a baby uncomfy too (which ruins everyone’s sleep). Eczema can pop up during infancy, typically as a rash on the face and scalp.

    Thankfully symptoms usually go away as your bébé grows up — roughly 95 percent of children don’t have symptoms after 20 years.

    While the itching persists, eczema treatments for kids and babies are often the same as adults. But, there are extra ways to help babies with eczema be more comfortable throughout the night.

    Ways to lessen eczema symptoms in babies include:

    • Learn and avoid their triggers.
    • Keep a daily routine of bathing and moisturizing.
    • Be careful with antibacterial ointments (those with neomycin or bacitracin may aggravate the skin).
    • Stay away from baby wipes that have isothiazolinones, an ingredient that may trigger skin reactions.
    • Ditch baby shampoos and other items that contain cocomidopropyl betaine (this can irritate eczema).

    Bottom line

    Eczema is common, it isn’t contagious, and it can flare up at night.

    Unfortunately, there’s no cure and the itching can hella disturb your sleep. The good news is there are treatments to help stop eczema itching at night.

    Calming oatmeal baths, moisturizing before bed, taking eczema meds, avoiding triggers, and making your bedroom as cool and comfortable as possible may help.

  • Sob Stories: Why Do My Eyes Burn So Bad When I Cry?

    Tearing up after one too many episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” or someone broke your heart? Sometimes, waterworks are inevitable.

    And while you start crying it out, you’ve probably noticed some annoying eye irritation symptoms like burning, stinging, and itchiness.

    Umm, why do my eyes burn when I cry?

    When you cry, the fluid in your eye increases, potentially exacerbating any existing eye probs or effects of irritants.

    If you feel burning, it may be due to sweat, environmental irritants like soap, dry eyes, allergies, or a medical condition.

    As long as your symptoms are mild and short-lived, these unpleasant teary effects are pretty normal. If you experience something more severe or prolonged, though, it could indicate an underlying health condition. So, if you feel like your eyes are on fire 🔥, def call a doc.

    Here are the deets on why your eyes might burn when you cry.

    Nilserk Vasquez/EyeEm/Getty Images

    For crying out loud: Why do tears even exist?

    According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the average person produces about 15 to 30 gallons of tears every year. (Not quite a river, JT.)

    Tears are essential to eye health even without breaking out the tissue box. They lube up your eyes and protect your vision 👀.

    Basal tears (the ones that lubricate, protect, and nourish your cornea) and reflex tears (the ones that fend off irritants) help wash away:

    • dirt
    • debris
    • irritants

    Emotional tears are a different thing. You know, the ones that call for tubs of ice cream or a celebratory toast.

    Even if you swear you were just cutting onions, these tears tend to flow out in larger quantities in response to emotional stimuli such as:

    What’s *in* my tears?

    No matter the type, all tears contain:

    But some research from 2018 suggests that emotional tears might have additional hormones and proteins.

    Cry me a river: Environmental reasons your eyes sting

    There are a few reasons your eyes might sting when you cry that signal a typical bodily response.

    Foreign irritants

    Things like soap, fragrances, or dust may cause your eye’s lacrimal glands (those glands just below the tail of your brow) to produce reflex tears to try to fight off these invaders. Like true MVPs, these tears also include antibodies that fight bad bacteria.

    You might experience some burning when the reflex tears fall. Since your eyes are trying to flush the irritant out, you may also experience prolonged crying.

    After your eyes successfully wash away the substance, the burning and stinging should stop.

    Chemicals via sweat

    Breaking a major sweat to that workout vid? Your eyes might sting from reflex tears from sweating it out.

    The perspiration itself doesn’t cause the tears — instead, your sweat may move irritants like moisturizer, makeup, or sunscreen into your eyes. Once the reflex tears get the job done, the burning should take a hike.

    When doves (and you) cry: Medical reasons your eyes burn

    Some eye burning might happen due to an underlying medical condition beyond typical irritants.

    Dry eye

    Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears to stay lubed up. A lot of peeps deal with dry eye, which can cause symptoms like:

    • burning
    • redness
    • blurriness
    • a dry, scratchy feeling

    Potential causes of the condition include:

    Dry eye tends to be more common in older folks since tear production from the lacrimal glands decrease with age.

    Blepharitis

    Blepharitis is a condition that causes red, swollen eyelids that feel irritated and itchy. It can also cause crusty flakes on the eyelashes. Usually bacteria or clogged oil glands are to blame.

    When you’re feeling teary-eyed and have blepharitis, you might notice some uncomfy symptoms like:

    • burning
    • blurriness
    • eye watering
    • itchiness
    • dryness
    • crusty lids
    • light sensitivity

    Eye allergies

    If your eyes burn when you have a good cry, eye allergies may be to blame. Some common allergens that could trigger this reaction include: 

    Just like blepharitis and dry eye, symptoms of eye allergies might come with:

    • burning
    • itchiness
    • wateriness
    • redness

    Other allergy symptoms like sneezing, a stuffy nose, or migraine often come with eye allergies. When you touch your eyes or cry, you can make eye allergies worse.

    Pink eye

    Pink eye (aka conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the clear membrane around your eyeball that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies. It can also lead to infection.

    Pink eye symptoms can include:

    • redness or pinkness
    • wateriness
    • itchiness
    • burning sensation
    • discharge or buildup

    Since pink eye *can be* super contagious, def figure out whether it’s your itchy-eye culprit. It’s best treated by a doc.

    So, how can I treat my burning eyes?

    Home remedies

    If your burning eyes are making you want to cry some more, stop right there. These at-home options may lend the relief you need:

    • Keeping it cool (or hot): A warm or cool compress placed over your closed lids may soothe your eyes.
    • Flush it out: Flushing out the eyes with a saline solution or artificial tear eyedrops may help. Best not to use tap water as it can contain bacteria and other nasties you don’t want in your eyes.
    • Clean up: Gently cleaning the area around your eyes with a warm washcloth can lend immediate relief.
    • Indoor humidifiers: Dryness in the area can make probs worse. A humidifier can add moisture to the air and lend your eyes some relief.

    OTC meds

    If those don’t do the trick, you may need some over-the-counter (OTC) assistance from one of the following:

    • Antihistamines: OTC antihistamines may work for mild to moderate eye allergies. (Proceed with caution: the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says oral antihistamines could make dry eye worse.)
    • Artificial tears: No, these aren’t for when you want someone to feel sorry for you. Artificial tears can be picked up at any drugstore and work best for dry eye, blepharitis, and eye allergies.
    • Eye drops: OTC eye drops can also work well for eye allergies.
    • Ointments or gels: Sometimes moisturizing the fragile skin around the eyes can help lessen symptoms. Look for ointments or gels specially formulated for the eye area.

    Prescription meds

    Prescription drugs can also help, especially if a medical condition is to blame for your burning peepers.

    If your eye probs call for a visit to the doc, they might prescribe:

    • Prescription antihistamine: If you have a severe allergic reaction, your doctor can prescribe a prescription antihistamine to treat your eyes.
    • Decongestants: Decongestants are sometimes prescribed to reduce redness.
    • Steroid eye drops: These will help control inflammation in certain eye conditions.
    • Prescription eye drops: Options like cyclosporine (Restasis) can help the eyes produce more tears.
    • Allergen immunotherapy: Severe allergies can also be treated with allergy shots.

    Burning issues: Should I call the doc?

    A little eye burning when you cry from time to time is pretty normal. But if it’s an ongoing prob or causes serious discomfort, talk to a doctor.

    Chronic tearing up or burning could mean you have an undiagnosed eye condition. If you already have meds for an underlying eye condition, keeping up on your treatment plan will help prevent issues.

    Call your doc if you have new or worsening symptoms that don’t let up with home remedies or OTC treatments.

    Bottom line 

    Burning while crying will often stop when the tears stop flowing. If you experience severe burning, though, or intense burning every time you shed a tear, it could signal an underlying eye condition.

    If your symptoms keep on coming despite trying home remedies and OTC options, talk with a healthcare pro ASAP.

  • When Two Tides Go to War: Purified vs. Distilled Water

    Yep, you can indeed drink distilled water! And it’s a popular choice for people who are super-conscious about drinking the best, most beneficial type of water they can. But in the eternal battle of distilled water versus purified water, who’s the winner?

    Distilled water vs. purified water: A quick breakdown

    Even though distilled and purified water might seem pretty similar on the (watery) surface, they have a few differences you might want to consider.

    Distilled water

    It’s:

    • free of contaminants
    • great for people with reduced immunity like those with HIV or cancer ✅
    • free of additions such as chlorine ✅

    But it’s also:

    Purified water

    It’s:

    • great for people living in areas with poor public water quality ✅
    • free of heavy metals, which can lead to stomach issues or even brain damage
    • super tasty ✅

    But it’s also:

    • devoid of that handy fluoride ❌
    • pretty expensive to make, with a constant need to buy filters ❌
    • wasteful, whether you’re buying it in plastic bottles or disposing of used filters ❌

    On the surface, they’re pretty similar.

    • Purified water has had chemicals and contaminants removed but may contain minerals.
    • Distilled watertakes it one step further, with both contaminants and minerals removed.

    But which is better? In the blue corner, it’s distilled! And in the other blue corner, it’s purified! They’ll be facing each other in a battle of facts! Seconds out. Round one!

    Elenathewise/Getty Images

    What is distilled water?

    Basically, distilled water is purified water that has taken a further step into purity, like when a monk becomes the Pope.

    Purifying water gets rid of all the stuff you probably don’t want to be drinking: heavy metal traces, chlorine, and chemicals that make your tap water taste vaguely like that time you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of the swimming pool. But it keeps the minerals that help you stay healthy.

    Distilled water says, “Hold up. I don’t want any of this!” and gets rid of pretty much everything. No chemicals, no nasty tastes — but no good stuff, either. It’s basically drinkable air.

    How is distilled water made?

    Distilled water is made through the process of (surprise!) distillation.

    As you may remember from high school science projects, that’s the one where you boil water and collect the steam, which then cools and turns back into water. If you distill water that has already been purified, the result is a distilled water purer than a basket of week-old kittens.

    As a result, distilled is the water of choice for medical facilities and labs — the gold standard for good clean liquid. It’s purer than a nunnery. But does that mean you should make a habit of drinking it?

    Can you drink distilled water?

    Because it’s used in medical settings and labs, you might assume distilled water is undrinkable. Wait — they use it in labs? Is this safe? Am I going to grow a second head?

    No need to buy extra hats and sunglasses, though: Distilled water is completely drinkable. It’s not as common a beverage as purified water, but the option is absolutely there!

    However, there are pros and cons, which we’ll dive into below.

    Pros and cons

    Distilled water being ultra-pure certainly sounds cool. But surely there’s some kind of catch? Yup. Nothing in life is that simple, is it?

    ProsCons
    It can be better for you than tap water if you live in an area with contaminated water.It’s pure, clean water, but it can be a little too pure, with absolutely no healthy minerals.
    There’s zero chance of chugging down any contaminants in your water.Distilled water tends to draw minerals from whatever it touches — and that can include plastic containers and your teeth.
    It may be beneficial for people with HIV or cancer whose immune systems don’t fight infections effectively.You need to give extra care to your teeth, because you won’t be getting fluoride from tap water.
    Distillation gets rid of that nasty chlorine taste. Boo, chlorine!Distillation also gets rid of other minerals that are actually good for you.

    FYI: If distilled water is your main source of hydration, you’ll need to eat plenty of mineral-rich foods or take supplements to make sure you’re meeting your daily mineral needs. Drinking a lot of distilled water isn’t a good option unless you can make up for the minerals removed from the water.

    Common uses

    Distilled water ain’t just for drinking and lab work — it actually has a whole bunch of uses. You can use it:

    • in a steam iron
    • in aquariums (though your fishy friends will need a mineral supplement, same as you)
    • in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which help with sleep apnea
    • in car cooling systems
    • for watering plants

    Can you make distilled water at home?

    You can indeed!

    Distillation kits are available online. If you’re feeling really smart, you can even do it yourself using:

    • a large pot of boiling water
    • a bowl
    • some ice cubes

    Which method you go with really depends on what you’re going to use the water for. Just using it for some ironing or cleaning? You can probably use a pot. But if you’re going to be drinking it or filling an aquarium, you’re going to need quite a lot of water.

    It might be best to go with the distillation kit instead.

    Is distilled water good for babies?

    Mixing distilled water with baby formula is a pretty good idea: You’re giving your little one pure, uncontaminated water with no risk of nasty chemicals, and they’ll get all the minerals they need from the formula itself.

    Just remember to give them regular water once they’re off the baby formula, because Junior needs those nutrients that the distillation process takes out.

    What is purified water?

    Purified water is usually made with groundwater or tap water. It goes through filtering to get rid of impurities like:

    Purification techniques

    There are a few different ways to make purified water:

    • Reverse osmosis. Water gets filtered through a spiffy material that lets the water through but blocks salt and impurities like that bouncer at the club.
    • Deionization. This is the method most likely to appear in a spelling bee. It removes the molecules of salt and impurities from the water.
    • UV radiation. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
    • Good old-fashioned boiling. It turns out impurities don’t like being boiled. Who knew?

    How to purify water at home

    At entry level, it’s super easy to purify your water at home. All you’ve got to do is go out and buy a Brita water filter, and it’ll do the hard work for you!

    The problem is that you can only really use the pitcher for smaller amounts. What if you want all your water to be purified?

    Well, good news again! If you’re willing to spend the coin, you can have a home filtration system set up. This means the very water coming out of your faucet will be lovingly purified for you.

    These systems can get pricey but might be worth your while. Make sure any system you have installed comes with certification from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or NSF International.

    Pros and cons

    What are the ups and downs of purified water? Check it out!

    ProsCons
    Purification improves your tap water, especially if you live in a state with lower water standards.Purification removes the fluoride from tap water, and you need fluoride to prevent tooth decay.
    It tastes pretty darn good.Sometimes, purification doesn’t get all the contaminants out, especially compared with distillation.
    It can be relatively simple to make.Water filtration systems need a lot of upkeep to make sure they work properly.

    Water quality and health: Why it matters

    Remember all those fun science books you had as a kid that told you your body is mostly water? Welp, it’s completely true: You’re 75 percent water. Taking in a constant flow of water is essential for living.

    That means you want to make sure the water you’re taking in is of good quality. Good water flushes out toxins, keeps you hydrated and perky, and helps with digestion and weight loss. Bad water can make you feel sluggish, dry out your skin and hair, and make you sick. Boo.

    Good water quality is essential if you want to live your best life. Plus, it means a lot less limescale buildup on your humidifier!

    Distilled vs. purified water: Which is better for you?

    We’ve reached the final battle between distilled and purified water. Who will emerge victorious?

    Well, it comes down to personal choice, really. But take a look below to see which one might work best for you.

    DistilledPurified
    Distillation is super effective at getting rid of any additional junk in your water.Purification gets rid of impurities and bacteria in your water but keeps the healthy minerals.
    It’s brilliant for immunocompromised people.It tastes fresh and pure.
    It has a ton of uses around the house.It’s pretty simple to make at home.
    You can mix it with baby formula.It’s awesome for hair, skin, and digestion.

    Distilled vs. the world: Comparing with other types

    So the battle of purified versus distilled water has ended in a draw… but what’s this? Distilled water is coming back out of the blue corner and demanding to take on some other challengers!

    Here come mineral water and spring water. And purified water still wants some of this action! How do they all measure up?

    Spring water vs. distilled water

    Spring water generally comes from an underground source and doesn’t pass through any treatment facilities. It’s just bottled right there and then. So it’s just as pure as distilled water but has a ton of nutrients in it.

    Make sure you check labels carefully, though — some bottles are labeled as spring water but are actually just treated tap water. Sneaky!

    Mineral water vs. distilled vs. purified

    Just like spring water, mineral water comes from an underground source and is protected from any potential pollution.

    The difference is that it has minerals added. This means it’s slightly more artificial than spring water while still being darn good-quality stuff. It’s most similar to purified water because of those minerals — once again, distilled water lacks in that department.

    Takeaway

    The battle of purified versus distilled water will probably rage on forever. But if you’re jonesing for that extra-pure refreshment and wondering which you should choose, it just comes down to personal choice.

    Yeah, yeah — nobody likes a draw in a fight. We get it. But distilled and purified really are suited to different situations. For example, distilled water can be perfect for mixing with baby formula. But as soon as your kiddo is on solids, it’s no longer a good choice.

    Consider your needs or consult a medical professional to see which type of water would be best for you. Choose the right one and you’ll be the winner.