The Best Way To Have The Fittest Body Ever

You may not know it, but what goes into our stomach goes a long way in determining how we look. When you eat the right food with the right amount of nutrients, it puts the body in perfect condition and complements workout routines. On the other hand, working out but maintaining a wrong diet is like taking one step forward and two steps back. Eating a balanced diet and being physically active are two of the most important things you can do to become and remain healthy at any age.

A balanced diet means fueling your body up with the right amount of calories and nutrients. Plus, you need to have a life style that ensures:

[otw_shortcode_unordered_list items=”3″ style=”with-icon list-style-1″ item_1_name=”Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and associated disabilities.” item_2_name=”Prevention of weight gain and/or promotion of weight loss.” item_3_name=”Improvement of overall well-being.”][/otw_shortcode_unordered_list]

Although your diet choices may depend on your fitness goals, eating well overall is essential to having a sound physical health, and without being too strict with yourself, you can make healthy food choices that will enhance your nutrition and physical fitness program. Here are some food choices to help enhance your physical fitness.

Coffee

We have a feeling we won’t need to make much effort to convince you on this one, lol. A lot of people consume coffee several times every day. Coffee can enhance physical endurance and stamina, making a long run or ride feel easier. The longer you work out, the better it is for your body.

Milk

With essential elements like water, muscle-healing protein, refueling sugar, and bone-healthy calcium in every glass, milk is great for the human frame as it contains carbohydrates to give you energy and protein to repair tissues. Milk is a MUST for those who love to work out. Consuming a glass of milk just before you go to bed can result in a peaceful night’s sleep.

 

 

Sweet Potatoes

You can have sweet potatoes in many forms: baked, fried, mashed, boiled and more. They also contain disease-fighting beta-carotene, iron, fiber, and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are a good addition to a carb-loading diet before a long race, as they keep muscle pulls and leg cramps away.

Tomatoes

As well as being loaded with vitamin C, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which can fight and eliminate cancer. Adding them to your weight-loss diet is a great idea since it cuts through fat like butter (ironic, LOL). The fruit has been linked with natural fat burning hormones in the body such as leptin, a type of protein that helps regulate metabolic rate and appetite.

Bananas

Bananas are the perfect fitness food that is compact, unfussy, easy to chew, and packed with nutrients like potassium and mood-boosting serotonin. Bananas are slightly higher in energy than other fruits, but the calories come mainly from carbohydrates, which makes them brilliant for refueling before, during, or after a workout. They’re also packed with potassium, which may help with muscle cramps during exercise.

Cocoa

Cocoa is especially nutritious, being rich in magnesium, antioxidants, and amino acids. To get the full benefit, you need to get as close to the whole bean as possible. Cocoa nibs or powder are best – sprinkle on yogurt and fruits. The good thing is that the most common form in which cocoa is consumed is chocolate, so even when you indulge yourself in that chocolaty treat, there’s a healthy side to it.

Water

Water is the primary element every living being needs to survive and humans are no different. It is also the primary liquid you’ll need to achieve peak physical fitness. There are many health benefits of drinking water. One of the best is to help your skin purify its impurities. You can not have a clean and healthy skin if you don’t drink ample amount of water. Water cleanses the body and eliminates the toxins. Drinking at least 2 liters per day gives the skin a bright, noticeable change in less than a week. It rids your skin of dryness and wrinkles.

Salmon

Salmon is a good source of omega-3, a fatty acid that’s believed to keep your heart healthy. Salmon has proteins for the perfect post-exercise meal. Proteins rebuild and repair muscles, so it’s the nutrient to fill up on after a workout. Protein-packed salmon is a great choice, as well as eggs and lean meats.

You are what you eat, and your physical fitness and health depend largely on what goes into your body. That’s why you need to have a proper diet and know what to eat in order to get the body of your dreams.

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The Best And Worst Characteristics Of Pisces

Oh, Pisces with your majestic soul! That inherent pull you feel inside? Well, it’s not just you. It’s everyone born between February 19 and March 20. According to Cosmopolitan, people born under Pisces are ruled by dueling planets, thought-provoking Neptune and fantasy-like Jupiter. As a result, they are both “secretive and expansive, magical and worldly, soulful and joyful.” Pisces bring us back in time to courtesy and whimsy. They are known as old souls, as Spirit Science notes, who are extremely intuitive and hold compassion for others.

Regarded as the most romantic of the zodiac signs, Pisces are easily the biggest dreamers. They can make an every day run to the grocery story feel like a unique adventure or a casual pool day feel like you’re diving into the cenotes in Tulum, Mexico. So where does that magnetic force come from? Well, the symbol for Pisces is two fish facing opposite directions, which reflects the duality of an inner conflict, according to California Psychics. One side of them loves to learn and explore new possibilities, but the other just wants to hide under the blanket. The struggle is real because they feel all the vibes, as noted in Cosmopolitan.

Taking a Pisces for the good and the not-so-good

As Astrology.Care notes, some of the most beloved traits of a Pisces include kindness, spirituality, and awareness. The astrological sign can be taken as the most forgiving or tolerant. Pisces people typically dislike selfishness in others, so watch out Aries. There are some not-so-positive attributes to a Pisces too. We all have our dark sides, after all, some more than others. 

California Psychics says its two sides can make a Pisces quite the escape artist. Pisces tend to see things through rose-colored glasses and can be overly sensitive. Their loose grips on reality can result in dishonesty, isolation, and pessimism. Pisces also experience a great need for helping people and form deep connections with those they love. But this means they will give out all of their strength to better someone else’s life and that could leave them with nothing, as Astrology.Care explains.

So what do you do when you’ve got your hands full with a Pisces? Buckle up, it’s going to be a magically bumpy ride.

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The Best And Worst Characteristics Of Aries

As the zodiac’s confident, reckless ram, Aries represents ambition and impulsivity. An unmistakable fire sign, it’s no wonder Aries is the first sign of the zodiac — they’re always pushing to get ahead, and aren’t scared of a challenge (via Allure). While their confidence is addictive and attractive to those around them, their notorious impatience can be a lot to handle. In essence, like all signs, Aries has its fair share of strengths and weaknesses.

Competitive by nature, Aries are known to be passionate, natural-born leaders, and are quite uncomplicated. A truly positive attribute, this sign dislikes run-arounds and mazes to get to their destination, instead choosing directness and honesty (via Astrology.Care). Aries are self-determined and brave, while staying enthusiastic about their decisions. It is rare to see an Aries doubt their choices, meaning these rams live in spontaneity. Tell an Aries you’re taking them to Paris in an hour, and they’ll have a messy bag packed and ready to go in minutes. 

To add to Aries’ positive traits, this sign is known to be active, either in the physical realm in sports, or always having some place to go. Their competitive nature means they can succeed in anything they set their mind to, and as Astrology-Zodiac-Signs.com explains, they have a call to help others, too. As told in the story of the Golden Fleece, Aries’ symbolic fur must be shorn and put to use by others — if not, they won’t be happy or live in their natural flow.

All about Aries signs

Now for the slight cons — nobody’s perfect after all! While Aries are incredibly bold, working wonders for their career-driven lives, their turbulent nature can make some interpersonal relationships difficult (via Allure). Aries feel the need to come first in everything they do, which can put a competitive strain in friendships and in romantic pairings. An Aries will make a relaxed family board game night akin to an NBA finals game — that’s just who they are. Moreover, they’re also known to have quite the temper, but fights won’t last long.

Being fire signs ruled by Mars, Aries’ impulsivity can be their downfall, or their best trait (depends on the outcome!). Per Allure, this sign is famous for not thinking before acting, sprinting through life and taking a leap before measuring the distance. Aries have strong personalities, too, clashing their horns with anyone who disagrees with them or tries to hold them back from their goals (like a Capricorn might, via Bustle). That being said, this energy can be inspiring, and many are quick to follow their lead.

Directly opposite to Libra’s devotion to partnership, Aries can live in happy, fulfilled solitude, while focusing on their next steps. Naturally youthful and tumbling towards success, there’s a positivity to this sign that makes Aries unforgettable.

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Inside The Best Airport In The World

Tourists are major contributors to any country’s economy, as most people nowadays prefer to travel and experience the many diverse cultures in the world. Unlike the past, traveling is now more affordable, faster, and more convenient. There is no wonder that the aviation is now a fully-developed industry!

A tally of the best airports is released annually in honor of the countries that take the airport-game seriously. The tally based on the millions of international passenger surveys.

Changi Airport is the world’s best airport for five years in a row now

A ceremony on the 14th of March announced Singapore got the first place, again. For the fifth year in a row, the city-state’s Changi Airport has been named “world’s best airport” at the annual Skytrax World Airport Awards. Maintaining such record only tells that Singapore is nothing but grand.

The Terminal 1 of Changi Airport was recently renovated and opened a new attraction. The Kinetic rain id is the world’s largest kinetic sculpture. It has 1,216 raindrops made of a highly polished copper. Individual motors control each raindrop to create motion.

The Cactus Garden is perfect for a sunny relaxation

Nature lover would surely love Changi Airport due to its massive plantation. Changi Airport’s Cactus Garden features more than 100 species of cacti coming from different places in the world. The Cactus Garden is located at the roof deck of the airport. A bar is open for people who want to relax and have a drink.

The swimming pool is located on the rooftop of Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel. The pool and Jacuzzi area also have a poolside bar and shower facilities for guests not staying at the hotel.

The garden shelters for this garden are designed in the shape of a water lily leaf. The lilies are in a natural aquatic garden environment where they grow as water margins. The garden displays the Amazon Water Lily which is one of the largest aquatic plants in the world.

Beautiful flowers found at the Orchid Garden of Changi Airport

This garden is one of the most colorful corners in Changi Airport. The Orchid Garden features more than 700 orchids of 30 species grouped by their various colors and shapes. Each is representing the 4 elements of nature – Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

Sunflowers used to be an underdog in the flower selection, but now, it becomes one of the most popular ones. Changi Airport’s Sunflower Garden houses different varieties of sunflower, which are all grown at their own nursery. Visiting this garden makes the line “I’m walking on sunshine” so true.

Enchanted Garden is truly enchanting. It is a combination of nature and technology, and the result gives a full magical experience to the travelers. It magically sets of Motion sensors trigger sounds of nature and blooming flowers while fiber-optic and LED lighting, embedded in the undulating pathways, form a fascinating carpet of sparkling lights.

Traveling can mess up our movie schedule, but thanks to this airport, we can now catch the latest movies and avoid spoilers. These screenings are available free-of-charge for your viewing pleasure and these entertainment hubs are open 24 hours daily.

Changi Airport also houses top brands in their shopping center

Shopaholics can have a vacation of a lifetime in Changi’s Double Volume Shopfronts. These aesthetically pleasing shopfronts enhance our shopping experience as we wander through the Departure Transit Lounge.

We have all experienced waiting in a long line just to have our bags checked in. Well, in Changi Airport there is a self-serving kiosk that lets anyone check-in their things. The kiosk is using a biometric technology for an accurate and smooth check-in.

There are still a lot of places and gardens that Changi Airport offers, like the Koi Pond, Butterfly Garden, and a slide that is 12 meters high. Passengers with delayed or canceled flights surely won’t notice the time fly by. The airport shows how Singapore, as a country, is taking a first seat of the tourism industry. They show their impressive workmanship, and they make sure that people will notice and enjoy their hard work.

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With 3 COVID vaccines approved, is there a ‘best’ shot?

With 3 COVID vaccines approved, is there a 'Best' shot?

Americans love to have choices, and now there are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.

But infectious disease experts say that all three protect strongly against severe COVID-19, so there is only one criteria to use in deciding which vaccine is the best.

“There is a single best vaccine. It’s the one that’s available to you today,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious disease with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Roll up your sleeve. Get it.”

The two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were the first to be included in the nation’s vaccine rollout, with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine just approved by federal regulators last weekend.

But some have questioned whether the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is a “second-best” vaccine, comparing how it performed in clinical trials versus the two-dose messenger RNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.

Two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were about 95% effective against cases of symptomatic COVID-19. A single shot of the J&J vaccine had a total effectiveness of about 66% against moderate to severe COVID-19 cases.

However, all three vaccines offer strong protection against the most serious and life-threatening effects of COVID-19, the symptoms that cause people to die or require mechanical ventilation and treatment in an intensive care unit, said Dr. Greg Poland, founder of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

“If we take death and hospitalization [into account], all three vaccines are essentially equal and as close to 100% as we can measure,” Poland said.

“If you say to me, “Doc, what I really care about is I do not want my wife to die of this, I don’t want her to have a severe illness, I don’t want her hospitalized, I do not want her on a ventilator’—I would say you are in luck,” Poland continued. “Pick any one of the three and it’s basically 100%.”

Schaffner added, “If you’re trying to distinguish between these vaccines, it’s like asking was Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig the better ball player. You want to compare their batting averages? Give me a break. They’re all great.”

J&J vaccine not ‘next-best’ choice

Further, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is proven effective against the new South African COVID-19 variant, since part of its clinical trial was conducted in that country and in Latin America, Poland noted.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines only were tested against the original strain of COVID-19, and the new variants are posing some limited challenge to the protection those vaccines confer.

“I’m not sympathetic with the idea that it’s a next-best vaccine,” Poland said of the J&J vaccine.

Even the 66% clinical trial effectiveness of the J&J vaccine against all symptomatic COVID-19 is nothing to sneeze at, said Dr. Abhijit Duggal, a critical care specialist at Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.

“Those numbers are much, much better than anything you would usually see with the influenza vaccine,” Duggal noted.

Flu vaccines typically provide 40% to 60% effectiveness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infectious disease experts have good reason to want to beat down any notion that the J&J vaccine is second-rate.

The vaccine has advantages that will make it much easier to distribute to places in the United States that are more remote or are not as well-served by health care.

Want a choice of vaccines? Not happening anytime soon

All three vaccines work by using genetics to trick human immune cells into producing incomplete replicas of the spike protein that the COVID-19 coronavirus uses to invade the body and cause illness. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do this by directly delivering messenger RNA (mRNA) into the cells, which then pass on the order to produce the COVID-19 spike protein.

But mRNA is very fragile, so the vaccine must be kept frozen until right before it’s administered, explained Rick Kennedy, co-director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

The J&J vaccine is much more hardy because it’s delivered via a common cold virus that’s been genetically altered to deliver the spike protein DNA into human cells, Kennedy said. This type of vaccine only needs to be kept refrigerated, not frozen, and so is much easier to transport and store.

“All these viral particles act like Trojan horses. Each viral particle will be able to get into one cell, and it’s got the viral DNA. That gets changed into RNA, and then the RNA tells the cell to produce spike protein,” Kennedy said of the J&J vaccine. “So at the very end you get the same effect. Those cells are producing virus spike protein and your immune system’s learning to recognize it.”

The J&J vaccine also only requires a single dose for effective protection, making it much easier to vaccinate larger numbers of people.

It’s going to be rare for some weeks to come that a person will have a choice between the three vaccines, Schaffner said. Health care providers will get a supply of one of the three, and that’s what will be available to their patients.

“Certainly in the beginning and for quite a while, some providers will have Moderna, some will have Pfizer and others will have Johnson & Johnson,” Schaffner said. “There may come a time where in two or three weeks some people will figure out who’s got which vaccine and they will go to those locations in order to get the vaccine. But I don’t think very many providers will offer a choice.”

People living in medically underserved areas should get whatever COVID-19 vaccine comes their way, experts said, because it’s impossible to know when another chance will roll around.

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Here Are The Best Things You Can Do For Heartburn While Pregnant

Ah, the joys of being pregnant. Sure, you’re carrying life and hopefully being showered with extra attention, but let’s be honest – physically, being pregnant is no picnic. From the early stages of morning sickness and the endless “fat days” you encounter before actually growing a noticeable baby bump to the false contractions, it makes for a pretty uncomfortable nine months. Especially if you experience a symptom that at least half of all pregnant women endure, which is heartburn (via WebMD).

Many expectant mothers experience heartburn because pregnancy hormones cause the valve that is located at the entrance of their stomachs to relax and not close as it would normally do. This allows for the acidity in the stomach to creep up into the esophagus to result in noticeable acid reflux symptoms (via Kids Health). If you’ve got a baby on board and are feeling the burn, it’s ok. There are a few ways to find relief.

Are you actually experiencing heartburn?

We know it can be hard to tell if the pain you are experiencing is heartburn. A bun in the oven tends to induce a lot of irritations you previously didn’t know existed. Pregnancy-related heartburn can bring on symptoms such as a burning feeling in the chest, burning in the throat, belching, chronic coughing, and wheezing (via WebMD).

To ease the pain of acid reflux, try avoiding foods like citrus, spicy, or greasy food. For drinks, caffeine and carbonated liquids are not your friends. All of these items may bring on or increase ongoing heartburn (via Kids Health). It is also recommended to eat your food slowly, and snack on smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid tight-fitting clothing and try to not eat right before bed. If it’s too late and you’re already feeling the hungry, consider sucking on a ginger candy or taking an antacid (via Health).

Simply put, heartburn is zero fun and is one of many less than glamorous parts of pregnancy for many. But hopefully, the symptoms will subside after a few months or after the delivery. Until then, kick off your shoes, elevate those swollen feet and catch up on as much sleep as possible.

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Supernaturally Sweet! See Jensen and Danneel Ackles' Best Pics With 3 Kids

Supernatural siblings! Jensen Ackles and Danneel Ackles have a sweet bond with their three children — daughter Justice and twins Arrow and Zeppelin.

The couple wed in 2010 in Dallas after a three-year engagement and became parents three years later. “We are happy to announce the birth of our precious baby girl,” the One Tree Hill alum tweeted in June 2013. “She was born happy and healthy on May 30.”

In August 2016, Us Weekly confirmed that Justice was going to be a big sister. Her parents were “thrilled” to be expecting twins, their rep told Us at the time.

Arrow and Zeppelin arrived in December of that same year, and the Supernatural alum announced the news via Instagram with a picture of Cat in the Hat’s Thing 1 and Thing 2. “Danneel, JJ and I are excited to announce the birth of our twins Zeppelin Bram and Arrow Rhodes,” the Texas native captioned his reveal. “They were born early yesterday afternoon. Everyone is doing great! #twinning.”

The actor proudly showed off his bottle-feeding skills four months later. “When the remote control is right between your legs and you can’t change the channel,” the Smallville alum captioned an April 2017 Instagram photo of himself feeding both his son and daughter on the couch.

Jensen starred on Supernatural alongside Jared Padalecki from 2005 to 2020, joking in May 2019 that Daneel was like a single parent during filming.

“I often joke with my wife that she’s a single mom of three with a sugar daddy that lives in a different country,” the Daytime Emmy nominee exclusively told Us at the time. “It’d be nice to actually be her partner and give her a little help and be a dad and see my family. [I want to] just do some things that I don’t get to do and I’m OK with that; I’ve loved the last 15 years of my life, it’s been an incredible journey and ride and roller coaster, but it’ll be nice to switch gears and see where that leads.”

The Days of Our Lives alum teared up two months later while discussing the show’s end at Comic-Con, and his wife hilariously tweeted, “This is a testament to how much this show means to us all. I can sincerely say, I cannot recall the last time I saw @JensenAckles cry. He didn’t even cry at the birth [sic] of our children. The man is a rock!”

Keep scrolling to see the couple’s cutest photos with their three kids, from Halloween costumes to lake trips:

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Carrie Underwood's Best Motherhood Quotes Over the Years

Something to sing about! Carrie Underwood shares two sons with her husband, Mike Fisher, and loves gushing about her little guys.

The American Idol season 4 winner gave birth to the couple’s eldest, Isaiah, in February 2015. “Tiny hands and tiny feet. God has blessed us with an amazing gift!” the country singer captioned her March 2015 Instagram reveal. “Isaiah Michael Fisher — born on February 27. Welcome to the world, sweet angel!”

The Oklahoma native’s news came six months after she announced that she and the professional ice hockey player, who wed in 2010, were starting a family together.

The pair welcomed their second child, Jacob, in January 2019. Fisher posted a picture of the newborn at the time, writing via Instagram: “You are a gift from our Lord! The last few years has had its challenges and it makes this moment even more sweet! We didn’t know if Izzy would ever have another sibling but we learned through it all that God is in control and His timing is perfect! He is good all the time even in the difficult times that are hard to understand.”

He and the “Before He Cheats” singer “have always wanted a little girl,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively in May 2019, but Underwood is loving life with her sons for now. “She attends school functions and sports games,” the insider went on to tell Us. “She’s a regular PTA mom.”

When it comes to raising the boys, Underwood and Fisher are a great team. “They balance each other out,” the source revealed at the time. “Carrie tells her friends how lucky she is.”

A second source gushed to Us the previous year: “Carrie and Mike have a great life and a very strong marriage — one that their friends envy. They are completely committed to each other and in it for the long run.”

Keep scrolling to see the sweet things Underwood has said about motherhood over the years, from her post-baby body to her rookie parenting mistake.

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You Want to Date Your Best Friend. But Should You?

There are plenty of reasons why dating your best friend seems like a good idea, particularly if you’re feeling burnt out on dating apps and sick of meeting strangers you don’t end up clicking with. With your best friend, you already have some necessary building blocks for a romantic relationship: You get along swimmingly; you know how best to communicate with one another; you likely share similar values and interests; you know what infuriates them and how to cheer them up when they’re having a rough day. You also have insight into their past sexual and romantic history—assuming you share that stuff with each other, because you’re best friends.

But of course, there’s one huge risk when it comes to dating your best friend: What if things don’t work out? If you break up on bad terms, you won’t just be heartbroken; you’ll also have lost your best friend—the person you’d typically turn to when you’re going through relationship problems.

That risk shouldn’t necessarily stop you from dating your BFF if it feels right. But before you take that next step or not, there are some things you need to consider. To learn how to take a more calculated risk when thinking about dating your best friend, we spoke to two relationship experts: sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, MA, and Kevin A. Patterson, M.Ed., author of Love’s Not Color Blind.

Don’t just do it out of convenience.

After the hellscape of 2020, it’s normal to feel lonely, sad, and in desperate need of physical intimacy and human connection—but those things alone aren’t valid reasons to date your best friend. If you’re going to date your BFF, it has to be because you want them, specifically, and not just because you’re trying to fix a you problem. “Dating someone out of convenience is not fair to them, and if it’s your best friend, you want to make sure that you come at them in an ethical and compatible way,” Stewart says.

Patterson adds, “The world is in a strange place due to the pandemic, and we’re not all in our normal frames of mind.” So he suggests evaluating “where the change from ‘friend’ to ‘partner’ is coming from.”

Think about whether they’re friends with their exes.

If they are friends with at least some of their exes, this is a good sign, Stewart explains. If you were to break up, “There is hope that you two could resume your friendship again after a period of healing,” she says. However, if they are not used to being friends with their exes, “Then you can probably expect to not return to a place of friendship once you move into the dating category.”

You need to do some self-examination, too. Think about whether you’re friends with your exes. If you aren’t friends with any of them, then be skeptical of whether you’ll be able to return to a place of friendship if things go south with your bestie. Could you live without this person in your life?

If you are friends with your exes, think about the type of friendships you have. Are you super close, or is it more of a “we’re cordial in a group setting” dynamic? The thing is, even if you can return to a place of friendship after you date, it’s unlikely that your friendship will be the same as it was before. Be prepared for that change.

Casually gauge your friend’s feelings about the idea of dating friends.

If your crush on your friend is real (as opposed to a matter of convenience), and it seems like you’d both be open to staying friends should things go south, then your next step is having a casual talk about sleeping and dating friends—especially if this is something you haven’t spoken about before.

“The fact is, some of us like to have sex with [and date] our friends and some of us don’t,” Stewart says. “So it’s worth investigating what kind of person your best friend is.”

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Of course, you need to have a tact when bringing up these topics. You can’t ask them out of the blue, “So, theoretically, would you date your best friend?” If you do that, they’re gonna know you’re into them. Perhaps you can frame the conversation by talking about previous friends with benefits you had. Or you can say you were reading something about COVID cuffs and heard people were settling down with friends to have a romantic partner during the pandemic.

Have they attempted to date a friend in the past? How did it go? Do they have a policy of never hooking up with friends because it gets too messy? If you don’t like what you hear, then you probably shouldn’t attempt to date them.

Consider that your friendship might already be in danger.

While the biggest concern with dating a BFF is that you’ll damage your friendship, Patterson notes that your relationship “is likely already in danger” if you really like your best friend romantically. In that case, “better to shoot your shot and chance making it a bit awkward than to not shoot your shot and spend the rest of your life wondering ‘What if?’” he says.

Patterson adds that friendships break down all the time. “I’d rather it be because we tried for more rather than some other collapse that might be outside our control.”

At the end of the day, we can’t make this decision for you. Only you can do your research and make this choice for yourself. Good luck.

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Massive dataset reveals which governments have best responded to COVID-19 pandemic

Are our political institutions up for the task of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and any possible future similar threats? A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has compiled an extensive dataset tracking public health government responses to COVID-19 at national and subnational levels of government throughout the world.

The coronavirus pandemic provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the response of different types of government to a global crisis, according to Binghamton University Professor of Political Science Olga Shvetsova. Other types of catastrophic events, such as war and national disasters, affect select countries or regions and do not allow one to draw global comparisons.

“We are motivated by events to figure out what happened and is happening, and develop new understandings of how government works and politicians function and respond to crises,” Shvetsova said of the collaborative lab.

As the pandemic unfolded over the spring and summer, Shvetsova’s lab compiled a massive database comparing pandemic-related governmental policies in 64 countries on both the national and subnational levels, as part of the COVID-19 Protective Policy Index (PPI) project. The data runs from January through May 2020, and is publically available for researchers’ use, while data collection is underway for the period between May and November.

The lab began collecting data on March 12. Policies tracked by the database fall into multiple categories, including: international and domestic border closures, school closures, social gathering and social distance restrictions, lockdowns and curfews, medical isolation and quarantine, the restriction of nonessential businesses and services, states of emergency, and mandates requiring personal protective equipment.

In addition to political science professors and doctoral students with the department, the project has drawn colleagues from around the country and even around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia. Undergraduate students joined the effort, too, as research assistants. The lab is collaborative, with members pitching in on data collection, brainstorming, writing and responding to requests during the peer review process.

“Pandemic policy-making is a truly global experiment in how different types of government work. It is a check on how resilient we are, and what the constitutional sources of that resilience are,” Shvetsova said of the ongoing pandemic research.

The data has already sparked two papers, with more in the pipeline. “Institutional Origins of Protective COVID-19 Public Health Policy Responses” will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, and takes a global look at the advent of pandemic-related policies. Published in September by Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, “COVID-19 Policy Response and the Rise of the Sub-National Governments” compares the advent of policies in Canada and the United States, on both the federal and state/province levels.

The lab will continue to collect data on the pandemic for as long as it remains feasible. The team hopes to make another round of data, from May through July, available by the end of the year. Additional variables as well as more countries will also be added to the database.

Currently, the lab is writing and publishing work on incentives and disincentives for pandemic response in democracies, looking at the impact of governmental structure, political parties and the way governments are held accountable for the health of their populations. Other projects will likely emerge as data continues to accumulate.

Long-term, the coronavirus may offer a metric with which to judge the efficacy of different styles of government in responding to crisis. That would require reliable statistics that other disciplines are gathering: of the number of cases and deaths, along with strong mathematical epidemiological models of factors determining spread and mortality.

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