13 Women’s Health Fitness Awards Winners for 2022

If you plan on capitalizing on the momentum of the new year to start your wellness journey, the right tools can help give you an extra burst of motivation when you need it. Focusing on fitness doesn’t just involve picking up workout clothing and dumbbells, though.

Investing in your health means investing in every step of the process, from the moments leading up to your workouts, all the way down to recovery. What is actually worth investing in, though? The winners of the 2022 Women’s Health Fitness Awards might be a good place to start. Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Liz Plosser stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share some of the top picks that can help you reach the goals you’ve set for yourself in the new year.

Whether you want to head out on morning runs or focus more on resistance training, Plosser has something for fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

Girlfriend Collective Compressive Pocket Legging

Plosser says these leggings are squat-proof, ultra-high rise and have pockets. They come in a range of colors like Plum and Ember and in sizes XXS to 6XL, so there’s a pair for almost everyone. Plus, it’s made from recycled water bottles.

Platemates Hex Pair

These 1.25-pound plates are something small that can make a big difference in your workouts. They’re magnetic attachments that stick to the ends of iron dumbbells, Olympic bars and stack weight machine plates to add some intensity in small increments. Plosser says they’re ideal for physical therapy, since the small increases in weight can help build strength without overwhelming muscles and tendons. That doesn’t mean they’re exclusively for beginners, though — they can help advanced lifters thanks to “microloading”; slightly increasing the weight helps break the “plateau” that often occurs when weight training.

Bear Blocks Pushup Bars

If wrist pain prevents you from doing certain activities, like planks, these pushup bars can help. They take pressure off of your wrists, since you prop your hands on them at an angle.

Manduka Align Yoga Strap

Whether you’re stretching or practicing strength moves, this strap is great for low-impact moves. Since it’s small, you can toss it right in your gym bag or keep it with you while traveling for on-the-go workouts.

Bala Beam

The ergonomic design of the Bala Beam makes it great for concentrated and compound movements, according to Plosser. You can use it to row, squat, lunge, curl and more to increase strength, agility, endurance and balance. It comes in two sizes, 15 or 25 pounds, and looks just as pretty as it is useful.

OXB Oro Chain

This women-owned brand makes sweat-proof jewelry that you don’t have to worry about taking off during your workouts. Each piece is handmade in Denver, Colorado, by a team of metalsmiths. You can pick a gold-filled or sterling silver style but will still want to take care of your piece to prolong its life.

Goodr Circle Gs

Plosser says theses are the only sunglasses she’s found that stay put

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Improving Investment in Women’s Health Research, Health Care | Chicago News

Just a fraction of research funds into Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and autoimmune disease goes toward women, even though they disproportionately face those ailments. 

That’s according to a new report from the group Women’s Health Access Matters, which found that a $300 million dollar investment into research focused on women would yield a $13 billion economic return in reduced healthcare costs, better quality of life, and years of productivity returned to the workforce. 

Nicole Woitowich, research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, says that research subjects have historically been male – whether they were humans, or other animals like mice and rats. 

“It wasn’t until 1993 through, literally, an act of Congress – the NIH Revitalization Act – that women were required to be included in National Institutes of Health-funded clinical research studies,” said Woitowich, who holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. “But then it wasn’t again until 2016 when the NIH developed a mandate to require investigators consider sex as a biological variable.” 

Dr. Vineet Arora, dean for medical education at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, says just one recent example was the fact that pregnant and breastfeeding people were excluded from COVID-19 vaccine trials. 

“We have great data now to show that, in fact, the COVID vaccine is very important for pregnant people (and) people who are breastfeeding. It’s actually protective against severe COVID, as well as protective for newborns because you can pass on antibodies. We didn’t know that initially, and that lack of information … gave opportunity for misinformation to arise,” Arora said. 

Woitowich says when investigators don’t analyze data by sex, it’s “leaving knowledge on the table.” She cites a recent study of glioblastoma treatment that broke down how male and female patients were responding.

“They found that males were responding more poorly to treatment than women. That brought up a whole new question: why is this actually happening, and how can we tailor our therapies to be beneficial for both sexes and improve the health of everyone? This is not just a matter of looking at reproductive health or hormonal health. This is analyzing data in all body systems,” Woitowich said. 

In addition to biases and oversights in research and healthcare, there are also gender disparities throughout the medical workforce – persistent salary gaps, lack of maternity leave, expectations that disadvantage women who care for children or elders. 

“Until I started talking to other women, (I didn’t know) that the challenges I faced were not because I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t smart enough, or I wasn’t accomplished enough,” said Dr. Shikha Jain of the University of Illinois Cancer Center. “These women were amazing and way more accomplished than me (and) had very similar experiences to ones I had.” 

Arora says it’s important recognize the way that inequities and biases can contribute to women in healthcare burning out – an issue even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We need to start thinking

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