The Best Kettlebells to Bring Your Workout to the Next Level

By Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN

  • Slide 1 of 7: If you're looking to enhance your workout, be it cardio or strength training, look no further than the kettlebell. This functional piece of equipment provides for a total-body workout, allowing you to work both those larger and smaller muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises require a ton of technique and control, but when done properly can help you build up endurance, stamina, and strength. Kettlebells can be a bit costly, but the investment is worth it since you can perform a wide variety of exercises with just one piece of equipment. Lauren Jenai, CrossFit co-founder and CEO of Manifest, says you want to consider strength, balance, durability, surface, and base when purchasing kettlebells. "It is important that a kettlebell has a clean, void-free surface that is not too rough on your hands," says Jenai. Our top picks for the best kettlebells focused on durability, grip comfort, ease of use through functional workout movements, and overall size.
  • Slide 7 of 7: $27.00Shop NowDesigned by powerlifter Donnie Thompson, this mix between a dumbbell and kettlebell allows for better handling and can help optimize performance in certain movements, such as chest presses and pushups. We like the flat bottom for stability and the fact that design allows more load distribution through the center of the weight. They don't take up a ton of space and even look nice sitting in your home.

If you’re looking to enhance your workout, be it cardio or strength training, look no further than the kettlebell. This functional piece of equipment provides for a total-body workout, allowing you to work both those larger and smaller muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises require a ton of technique and control, but when done properly can help you build up endurance, stamina, and strength. Kettlebells can be a bit costly, but the investment is worth it since you can perform a wide variety of exercises with just one piece of equipment. Lauren Jenai, CrossFit co-founder and CEO of Manifest, says you want to consider strength, balance, durability, surface, and base when purchasing kettlebells. “It is important that a kettlebell has a clean, void-free surface that is not too rough on your hands,” says Jenai. Our top picks for the best kettlebells focused on durability, grip comfort, ease of use through functional workout movements, and overall size. © Melpomenem – Getty Images

Slide 2 of 7: $32.00Shop NowThese Rogue Kettlebells are a staple in CrossFit gyms around the world, and for good reason. They are a single-piece casting kettlebell made from first run iron ore, and have a matte black powder coat finish that makes them quite comfortable. Jenai likes this pick and says, "As far as home use, I particularly like the fact that these kettlebells are made with a wide flat machined base. This base sits flat on the floor and does not wobble, like other raw casted kettlebells, which keep down wear and tear on floors. The attractive finish on these kettlebells is not an eyesore and does not distract from home or home gym decor."
© Rogue

1) Single Piece Casting Kettlebell

$32.00

Shop Now

These Rogue Kettlebells are a staple in CrossFit gyms around the world, and for good reason. They are a single-piece casting kettlebell made from first run iron ore, and have a matte black powder coat finish that makes them quite comfortable. Jenai likes this pick and says, “As far as home use, I particularly like the fact that these kettlebells are made with a wide flat machined base. This base sits flat on the floor and does not wobble, like other raw casted kettlebells, which keep down wear and tear on floors. The attractive finish on these kettlebells is not an eyesore and does not distract from home or home gym decor.”

Slide 3 of 7: $89.99Shop NowThis well-rounded kettlebell pick comes in sizes 7 through 45lbs. We like the sturdy iron construction and comfortable handle. The smooth vinyl coating on the base of the kettlebell makes it a good choice for home gyms as it won't scratch your flooring. The size is relatively compact and appropriate for each weight, not overly cumbersome in any regard, and excellent for ballistic movements like swings. I've owned the 35lb GoFit Kettlebell for over 10 years, and with semi-regular use, it still is in great condition and looks practically new.
© Go Fit

2) Vinyl Coated Kettlebell

$89.99

Shop Now

This well-rounded kettlebell pick comes in sizes 7 through 45lbs. We like the sturdy iron construction and comfortable handle. The smooth vinyl coating on the base of the kettlebell makes it a good choice for home gyms as it won’t scratch your flooring. The size is relatively compact and appropriate for each weight, not overly cumbersome in any regard, and excellent for ballistic movements like swings. I’ve owned the 35lb GoFit Kettlebell for over 10 years, and with semi-regular use, it still is in great condition and looks practically new.

Slide 4 of 7: $25.49Shop NowWe tested this kettlebell designed by Tone It Up founders Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn through a series of workouts, and it performed especially well with toning exercises. The material itself is smooth and prevents your hand from slipping, and the grip is very comfortable throughout movements. Some kettlebells we tested that were lightweight had a very large and overly cumbersome shape, but this Tone It Up kettlebell is compact and an appropriate size for 8lbs. The lightweight is perfect for sculpting workouts and also for beginners looking to start kettlebell work.
© Tone It Up

3) Tone It Up Kettlebell

$25.49

Shop Now

We tested this kettlebell designed by Tone It Up founders Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn through a series of workouts, and it performed especially well with toning exercises. The material itself is smooth and prevents your hand from slipping, and the grip is very comfortable throughout movements. Some kettlebells we tested that were lightweight had a very large and overly cumbersome shape, but this Tone It Up kettlebell is compact and an appropriate size for 8lbs. The lightweight is perfect for sculpting workouts and also for beginners looking to start kettlebell work.

Slide 5 of 7: $229.00Shop NowWe were very impressed by this smart kettlebell from JAXJOX given its special features and integration with your smartphone (their app allows you to track reps and workouts, and also connects with Apple Health). Kettlebell Connect is adjustable, and weights range from 12-42 lbs in 6lb increments. For the price, you're essentially getting six kettlebells in one. We also love that instead of getting different size kettlebells, which can take up a lot of space in a home gym, you're able to use this space-efficient product that also has a sleek, modern look. Another plus is that the JAXJOX app features a variety of kettlebell workouts to get you started. The grip is quite comfortable as well, and we found it worked best in strict workout movements.
© JaxJox

4) Kettlebell Connect

$229.00

Shop Now

We were very impressed by this smart kettlebell from JAXJOX given its special features and integration with your smartphone (their app allows you to track reps and workouts, and also connects with Apple Health). Kettlebell Connect is adjustable, and weights range from 12-42 lbs in 6lb increments. For the price, you’re essentially getting six kettlebells in one. We also love that instead of getting different size kettlebells, which can take up a lot of space in a home gym, you’re able to use this space-efficient product that also has a sleek, modern look. Another plus is that the JAXJOX app features a variety of kettlebell workouts to get you started. The grip is quite comfortable as well, and we found it worked best in strict workout movements.

Slide 6 of 7: $84.95Shop NowNot only do these primal kettlebells from Onnit make a statement in your home gym, but they are actually quite functional. With a solid iron build, they hold up very well and have a comfortable, yet sturdy grip. The size is relatively compact given the weight, and the design makes you want to take your workout into beast mode. It's ideal for swings and deadlifts, but it's not the best for movements overhead such as snatches or presses given its asymmetry.
© Onnit

5) Primal Kettlebells

$84.95

Shop Now

Not only do these primal kettlebells from Onnit make a statement in your home gym, but they are actually quite functional. With a solid iron build, they hold up very well and have a comfortable, yet sturdy grip. The size is relatively compact given the weight, and the design makes you want to take your workout into beast mode. It’s ideal for swings and deadlifts, but it’s not the best for movements overhead such as snatches or presses given its asymmetry.

Slide 7 of 7: $27.00Shop NowDesigned by powerlifter Donnie Thompson, this mix between a dumbbell and kettlebell allows for better handling and can help optimize performance in certain movements, such as chest presses and pushups. We like the flat bottom for stability and the fact that design allows more load distribution through the center of the weight. They don't take up a ton of space and even look nice sitting in your home.
© Rogue

6) Thompson Fatbells

$27.00

Shop Now

Designed by powerlifter Donnie Thompson, this mix between a dumbbell and kettlebell allows for better handling and can help optimize performance in certain movements, such as chest presses and pushups. We like the flat bottom for stability and the fact that design allows more load distribution through the center of the weight. They don’t take up a ton of space and even look nice sitting in your home.

Source:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/fitness/the-best-kettlebells-to-bring-your-workout-to-the-next-level/ss-BB14G7ui?ocid=spartanntp#image=1

Why Jigsaw Puzzles Are So Soothing

As people practice social distancing at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many have picked up new hobbies like tie-dyeing, baking banana bread and learning TikTok dances. Another increasingly popular pastime: doing jigsaw puzzles.There are psychological reasons to explain the appeal of jigsaw puzzles amid the pandemic.  © Markus Spiering / EyeEm via Getty Images There are psychological reasons to explain the appeal of jigsaw puzzles amid the pandemic. 

“Our primitive lizard brains are on overdrive in quarantine. We know on a cellular level that there is a threat to our survival, as both individual humans and a species, so we are stuck in a fight-flight-freeze cycle where our brains can’t figure out which one will keep us alive,” psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa told HuffPost.

“We’re not sleeping well because we’re staying alert enough to jump out of bed if the threat comes close enough to us, which our brains can’t understand is an unhelpful and irrelevant biological response to a virus,” Maenpaa said. “When we don’t get enough restorative sleep, our reaction times are slower, our emotional self-regulation is poorer, and we have trouble performing high-level cognitive functions. Puzzles are a surprising antidote to all of those challenges.”

But why and how exactly do puzzles soothe us during difficult times? HuffPost spoke to Maenpaa and other experts to find out.

They Offer A Sense Of Control

“While COVID-19 is associated with a lack of control and an unknown end, puzzles offer the opposite,” said Michael Vilensky, a psychologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s finished.”

Karen Kavett is YouTube personality with a channel entirely dedicated to jigsaw puzzles. She told HuffPost she agrees that jigsaw puzzles are a great activity when the world feels out of control because the task is entirely within your power. You can do it solo or with a group. You can spend all day putting it together or just work on it for a few minutes at a time whenever you’re in the mood.

With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s finished.Michael Vilensky, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center

“It’s also an activity where you’re simply assembling an item that already exists, rather than needing to expend mental energy to create something new,” she added. “Plus, since there are so many different types of jigsaw puzzles out there these days, anyone can find an image that speaks to them.”

There’s A Clear Purpose

Puzzles can provide a clear goal and sense of purpose in this time when people feel aimless and unable to map out future plans.

You Can Feel Accomplished

“Human beings perform best when we have tasks that we are competent at and can succeed at but that challenge us just enough to feel accomplished when we complete them,” said Maenpaa.

He added that jigsaw puzzles are unique in the way they engage the logical part of the brain (rationally fitting pieces together) and the creative side (envisioning the big picture of the completed work).

It’s A Meditative Experience

For many, doing a jigsaw puzzle almost feels like meditation. That’s how A.J. Jacobs, an author who is working on a book about different types of puzzles, describes the experience.

“Some jigsaw friends of mine talk about how time just melts away,” he said. “You feel like you’ve been working on a puzzle for five minutes, but in reality three hours have passed. That can be helpful when you’re stuck inside for two months.”

Focusing on individual puzzle pieces and one overall image forces people to be present and relax. It’s also a tactile task without external stimulation like screens.

a man sitting at a table with a knife: Puzzles are great as a solo or group activity.  © MoMo Productions via Getty Images Puzzles are great as a solo or group activity. 

You Can Make It About Togetherness

“While puzzles can be satisfying on your own, they can also act as a welcome social activity during quarantine, in that the conversation can be about something other than COVID-19 and can bring about a sense of togetherness and working toward a shared goal,” Vilensky said.

They Provide A Welcome Escape

Jigsaw puzzles offer a way to break up the monotony of the day in quarantine. They also take us back to simpler times before the pandemic.

“Puzzles are a throwback,” said Vilensky. “Like other popular quarantine activities (bread-making, going for a drive), puzzles can help us connect to the past and offer a sense of familiarity that is reassuring during new and chaotic times.”

Kaeppeler noted that certain types of puzzle images are calming and appealing to customers because they provide a sense of escape.

“For example, images that have a first-person view of a setting provide a calm environment for someone to focus and relax,” he said. Travel-related puzzles can also offer a feeling of a getaway.

You might like to try one to see how a puzzle might work for you.

Article by Caroline Bologna

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/why-jigsaw-puzzles-are-so-soothing-and-addicting-right-now/ar-BB14GteM?ocid=spartanntp

Prince Harry Is Having ‘His Toughest Week’ Yet Since Leaving Britain

I posted a story somewhat relating to Prince Harry a week ago.

It seems now he’s again having some mental health issues as described in this article by Diane Clehane for BestLife.

Meghan Markle et al. posing for the camera

As U.S. citizens marked Memorial Day with commemorations of those who served in the military, “it was just another reminder of what Harry has lost,” the insider told me. “While he is enjoying his newfound freedom with Meghan in Los Angeles, he desperately misses his military affiliations and the camaraderie he felt being around fellow soldiers representing the Queen and the U.K. at various events.”

Harry has confided in friends that he “misses the camaraderie” of life in the Armed Forces, where he served for 10 years, including two tours of Afghanistan. Earlier this year, according to The Telegraph, the prince told friends he “cannot believe” what happened during the Megxit negotiations, which forced him to give up his military affiliations when the Sussexes decided to step back as senior royals and leave the U.K.

According to the terms of the agreement, Harry was made to relinquish his roles as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving.

“In some ways, watching ceremonies commemorating Memorial Day from his new home in Los Angeles must have made Harry feel like a man without a country. He could not participate in ceremonies in America but he also knows, when this pandemic is over, he cannot put on a uniform and return to Britain to represent the Queen under the terms of his exit agreement,” said my source. “An important part of his identity has been muted and he is struggling with that.”

I can relate to Harry’s situation as I was not able to march in my city’s Memorial Day parade due to the virus in America. But I know in a few short months it will be the 4th of July and us vets will be out marching…but not Harry, ever again. It must be crushing him. I hope he can resolve his pain and once again proudly wear his uniform with his military buddies.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/royals/why-prince-harry-is-having-his-toughest-week-yet-since-leaving-britain/ar-BB14Czfy?ocid=spartanntp

Zero-Sugar Whipped Dalgona Coffee

This looks pretty tasty, and for those who are on a sugar restricted diet, this can work for you.

Dalgona Coffee, a trendy fluffy creamy whipped coffee

Opting for a low-carb sweetener can nix the need for sugar in your recipe. Image Credit: Ana Rocio Garcia Franco/Moment/GettyImages

If you’re cutting back on sugar and coffee is part of your routine, good news: You can still enjoy Dalgona coffee.

You need not be a kitchen master, after all, as making dalgona coffee is possible with just instant coffee, sugar, milk and hot water ” and a lot of arm power.

All you need to do is mix two tablespoons of coffee, sugar, and hot water together in a bowl, and beat the mixture for about three to five minutes (or count to 400!). You’ll know it’s ready when it has changed into a golden brown color and has become thick, creamy and frothy in texture. Then pour milk in a glass with a few ice cubes, and top it with your golden brown mixture using a spatula.

Also, if you’re converting a regular Dalgona coffee recipe into a zero-sugar version, you may need to adjust the amount of sweetener, notes New York City-based bartender Chelan Finney.

Though many low-carb sweeteners (such as erythritol and stevia) say you can use them in a 1:1 ratio to sugar, you may find some of them are more or less sweet than you’re used to. Simply start with less than the recipe calls for and add as needed.

No matter what drink you prefer, two principles apply:

  • For one, be sure to keep whipping until you get the fluffiest texture.

    “What I tell people is to whisk until your arm goes numb and don’t stop,” Mussi says. “I’ve been using a metal whisk coated with silicone, but any whisk should work. You can also use an electric mixer if you aren’t up for a workout.”
  • And whether you opt for dairy or coconut cream, be sure it’s well-chilled. Use a metal bowl, which retains the cold, and put it and the whisk in the freezer for a few minutes before you whisk — this will help the cream whip up faster and give you more volume, Mussi says.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/13726878-whipped-drink-recipes/

https://www.msn.com/zh-hk/lifestyle/lifestyleinenglish/what-is-dalgona-coffee-how-do-i-make-it-and-why-did-it-become-a-social-media-craze-and-the-coronavirus-quarantine-drink-of-choice/ar-BB14tPr8

J.K. Rowling releases first chapters of new children’s story The Ickabog

J.K. Rowling has a new story to share with its own kind of magic. It’s titled The Ickabog, and to be clear, it has nothing to do with Harry Potter. You can see for yourself by checking out the first two chapters here.

J. K. Rowling wearing a white shirt: 'The Ickabog,' J.K. Rowling's latest fantasy story for children, will release new chapters each weekday until July 10. Check out the first two now. © Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images ‘The Ickabog,’ J.K. Rowling’s latest fantasy story for children, will release new chapters each weekday until July 10. Check out the first two now.

“This is not a Harry Potter spin-off,” Rowling wrote with all-caps and extra emphasis at the start of a 13-tweet thread. Though The Ickabog was written “in fits and starts between Potter books,” Rowling declined to publish it after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, focusing instead on The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling (the latter the first of her Cormoran Strike novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith).

Like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, The Ickabog originally served as a bedtime story for Rowling’s children. However, something about the coronavirus lockdown inspired the author to publish it for a general audience.

“A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown,” Rowling wrote in a blog post introducing the story. “My now teenagers were touchingly enthusiastic, so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again. As I worked to finish the book, I started reading chapters nightly to the family again. This was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my writing life, as The Ickabog’s first two readers told me what they remember from when they were tiny, and demanded the reinstatement of bits they’d particularly liked (I obeyed).”

The first two chapters of The Ickabog available to read now on a specially-designed website, with subsequent chapters to follow on a weekday basis until July 10. They introduce readers to the bountiful land of Cornucopia, ruled by King Fred the Fearless. Though most of Cornucopia is overflowing with delicious food, there’s a more barren area called the Marshlands where people speak of a child-eating monster called the Ickabog. The monster doesn’t officially appear in these first two chapters, but anyone familiar with Rowling’s writing should expect plenty of twists and turns to come.

On top of everything else, Rowling is also soliciting children to create illustrated art for The Ickabog, which will be published in printed edition in November. With each new chapter, Rowling will be releasing suggestions for illustrations tied to that chapter, though she also wants kids to “let your imaginations run wild!”

By Christian Holub for Entertainment ©

https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/books/jk-rowling-releases-first-chapters-of-new-childrens-story-the-ickabog/ar-BB14CuJe?ocid=spartanntp

If You Want to Grow Cilantro, You Should Wait Until Summer’s Over

Article written by Amanda Garrity for Good Housekeeping

When growing cilantro, you get two appetizing herbs for the price of one: the plant itself is coriander (you may think of it as a spice or seed), and the green leaves and stems are considered cilantro. The leaves, also referred to as Chinese Parsley, are by far the most versatile part of the plant. Many dressings, soups, dips, sides, and meat dishes incorporate this green herb for an instant flavor lift. If you find yourself cooking recipes that call for cilantro or simply like to keep fresh herbs on hand, growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment. a green plant in a garden: Growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment. Find out how to grow and maintain cilantro plants outdoors, starting from seed. © Wanwisa Hernandez / EyeEm – Getty Images Growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment.

Unfortunately, Plants will bolt as soon as the days get longer and the temperatures rise, so make sure they’re in a spot with full sun or partial shade, if you live in a particularly hot climate. If there is any danger of frost, protect your cilantro plants with row covers. After about 50 to 55 days, the plant should be at least 6 inches tall and you can start picking the leaves. When harvesting, pick leaves one by one or cut 1/3 of the way down with kitchen or pruning shears, so that the remaining plant can continue to produce cilantro. Cilantro is a short-lived herb, so harvest the leaves once a week to avoid bolting a.k.a. developing seed. Once seeds develop, they’ll self-sow, causing little plants to pop up during the current or following season.

Bonus: If you plant cilantro in pots, you can move them indoors when the weather cools down to harvest more fresh herbs (if you time it right, of course).

Follow these tips to ensure that you properly care for your cilantro plant:

  • Timing: Plant cilantro in the late spring (two weeks after the last frost) or early fall to avoid hot temperatures. Cilantro planted during the summer heat will have a bitter flavor, and last for a shorter period of time. Check your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to find out the optimal time for cilantro planting — gardeners in USDA Zones 8, 9, and 10 should opt for fall sowing, for example.
  • Soil and Watering: Cilantro grows best in a neutral soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8, but it’s fairly tolerant and will grow in just about any rich soil. You can find out your soil’s pH levels by completing an at-home soil test. Once your cilantro is planted, make sure the soil is moist yet well-drained.
  • Weeds: Mulch around the cilantro plants as soon as they are visible above the soil to prevent weeds.
  • Pests and Diseases: The most common problems for cilantro are fungal wilt, leaf hoppers, aphids, whiteflies, and mildew. Control insects by using antibacterial soap, and clean up debris or dead leaves to combat wilt and mildew.
  • Bolting: If you don’t time it right, cilantro can bolt before you have a chance to harvest. To prevent bolting, harvest leaves often, and keep the plant shaded and watered. For a season’s worth of cilantro, stagger plantings every three to four weeks.

How to Store and Use Harvested Cilantro

After your plant bolts, collect any visible coriander seeds and crush them for cooking or baking. If you’d rather save the seeds for another planting, gently crush the coriander seeds to crack the shell and soak them in water overnight. Let the seeds dry completely and plant next season.

Your bounty of cilantro leaves, however, are best when fresh, and should be used at the end of cooking for full flavor. Wrap damp paper towels around fresh cilantro and store in the refrigerator to lengthen it’s shelf-life. If you can’t eat all the cilantro before it turns, trim the individual leaves and stick ’em in a freezer-safe bag before storing in the freezer. For specific measurements, cut the cilantro and store them in an ice cube tray in the freezer. The rest is up to you: Throw it in vinaigrettes, make your own guac, or dress up a basic chicken dish.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/if-you-want-to-grow-cilantro-you-should-wait-until-summers-over/ar-BB14CJv0?ocid=spartanntp

Die Bitches. Just Die !

This is a message to all covid-19 coronavirus spores that are starting to melt under our late spring’s heat and humidity. For all of the millions of innocent people around the world who have suffered, died and experienced extreme misery due to you, I have just one thing to say as you scream out, “Help me, help me. I’M meltingggggg”. Just one thing to say to you :

Die Bitches, Just Die !

7 Signs You Shouldn’t Step Foot into a Store

By Sarah Crow for BestLife

Life is slowly returning to something resembling “normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many states gradually reopening businesses to the delight of workers and patrons alike. However, just because some of your favorite places are open again doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to go inside. If you want to protect yourself on your next outing, you have to check for certain markers that indicate the business is following guidelines. To help you know what to avoid in a store, look out for these surefire signs that you should head for the door.

Slide 1 of 8: Life is slowly returning to something resembling "normal" amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many states gradually reopening businesses to the delight of workers and patrons alike. However, just because some of your favorite places are open again doesn't necessarily mean it's safe to go inside. If you want to protect yourself on your next outing, you have to check for certain markers that indicate the business is following guidelines. To help you know what to avoid in a store, look out for these surefire signs that you should head for the door. And for more insight into how shopping is changing, check out these 7 Things You Won't See at Retail Stores Ever Again After Coronavirus.

1. They are accepting returns of personal items.

Since the onset of the pandemic, many stores have been more discerning about what items they’ll accept as returns. While some big box stores, like Walmart, aren’t taking returns of items like food, clothing, paper goods, cleaning supplies, pharmacy products, and health and beauty items, other stores haven’t adopted such strict policies yet.

In particular, Enchanta Jenkins, MD, MHA, says that if personal products that could have come into contact with other shoppers’ bodies—like clothing or cosmetics—are being returned, that could be putting shoppers in peril. She suggests that you avoid any store with overly flexible return policies until those guidelines are updated.

2. They’re not offering disinfectant wipes at the entrance.

One of the clearest signs a store is prioritizing its customers’ well-being can be found right at the entrance. If a store offers shopping carts and baskets to those browsing its aisles but doesn’t have disinfecting wipes available, it’s likely to be a hotbed of germs.

In stores that don’t offer these to shoppers, “germs [and] coronavirus are being transferred on carts and other objects, especially plastic items that can store COVID-19 for up to 72 hours,” says Jenkins.

3. They’re not enforcing capacity limits.

If a store looks packed to the gills and nobody seems to be limiting the number of people entering, you should probably head home instead of heading inside. “By having too many people in the store, physical distancing cannot be enforced and thus increases the risk of transmitting germs and viruses,” explains Jenkins.

4. They’re not putting down social distancing markers.

While you may think you’re capable of eyeballing your distance from other shoppers, stores that are taking coronavirus safety seriously should have markers down to encourage social distancing at checkout counters and in other high-traffic areas. The common notion has been that six feet is a long enough distance to make it difficult for airborne respiratory droplets with traces of the virus to land on other shoppers. As Jenkins notes, “markers are a visual reminder to clients to stay two arms’ lengths, or six feet, from others.”

5. Employees aren’t wearing masks.

While wearing masks may not necessarily prevent the wearer from getting sick, they will keep employees’ potentially-contaminated respiratory droplets off merchandise, displays, and shoppers, meaning you’re less likely to pick something up while shopping. So, “if you see employees in a store have face masks hanging down past their face or they don’t have masks at all, it’s not a good sign,” says Seema Sarin, MD, director of lifestyle medicine at EHE Health.

6. They’re still offering samples.

It may have once been fun to get a free sample of a snack at the supermarket, but today, seeing any kind of communal food in a store should have you walking the other way. Food sample displays mean “germs are easily transferred due to multiple hands in one dish or bowl,” explains Jenkins. She says that providing samples during and shortly after the pandemic is “definitely a bad idea.”

7. They have an open salad bar.

If a grocery store is actually working hard to keep its customers safe, their salad bar should be shut down—at least for the time being. “Avoid eating from open food containers, as they can easily accumulate germs from people passing around [them],” says Sarin, who deems open areas like salad bars “dangerous” during the pandemic.

Stay well my friends.

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