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Corrie Pikul (131 posts)
Aston told USA Today that she hopes to share what she learned with others about perseverance. "Keeping going is the important thing, persevering, no matter how messy that gets," she said. That's what we'd expect to hear from a record-breaking athlete (especially one who competes in frigid, punishing conditions), and honestly, we already know that when things get tough, we need to put our head down and charge against the wind. The more surprising and meaningful message that I'm going to take from Aston's Twitter reports is that when we slog through the messiness, we also need to remember to pick up our heads, to look for the sun, and to let ourselves gasp at beauty even as we're panting from exhaustion. (And also maybe to sum up the experience in 140 characters and snap a stunning photo to inspire others).
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: I've started to worry about old-lady bones. What can I do to keep mine strong?
You know Bob Greene loves this question, right? It not only shows that you're proactive (bone density, like height, fertility, and, Jane Fonda reassures us, self-consciousness, decreases with age), but it also gives him a chance to praise the virtues of something he's been passionate about for over 30 years: vigorous exercise. "When you're working out hard the body doesn't say, 'This person is already 50; time to throw in the towel,'" says Bob. "It says, 'Whoa! This is still an active individual whose muscles and bones aren't meeting the challenges that are being imposed on it. Let me make those physiological changes.'" But when it comes to bone-building, not all exercises are created equal. The moves must force you to work different parts of your body against gravity, and muscle pulling on bone will trigger specialized cells to begin building more bone. Bob's favorites include jogging for at least 30 minutes ("Amazing for building more bone in the legs," he says), a weight routine with overhead presses, squats and lunges (you can do these strength-training moves at home) and hiking uphill with a pack ("This strengthens the muscles around the spine," he says). Are none of these working for you? Perhaps you're injured, or you don't live near the mountains, or you're just looking for something you haven't heard before. Well, Bob's got more ideas:
The good news is that the study authors stressed the brain is "plastic" and can snap back from the small changes. The goal should be controlling stress in the present to keep the brain supple and prepared for the future. Here are 7 simple suggestions of how to do this from Dr. Oz (and surprisingly, none involve yoga).
More advice on managing stress:
The Benefits of Friendship
Is the Way You Breathe Bad for Your Health?
LG says the fridge will be available in the US this summer for a suggested retail price of $3,299. This is at the high end (refrigerators range anywhere from $350 for a junior stacked fridge to over $4,000 for gourmet or custom models), and there's no guarantee that the suggested recipes are lip-smackingly delicious. But the thing we appreciate about this fridge is that when you think about it, most futuristic appliances are of the don't-lift-a-finger model (e.g., the industrious, overly helpful robots in WALL-E that turned humans into lazy, squishy blobs). We applaud the idea of a kitchen appliance that can potentially help make our lives not just easier, but less squishy-blob-ish.
Do yoga! Meditate every day! Don't get so worked up! Despite my resolve to chill out this year, my goals are full of stress-inducing action verbs. That's why I've become hooked on this calm-inducing video from Equinox gyms in New York. When it first arrived in my in-box, I was annoyed. Who has time to watch some other woman do yoga, never mind for a full 3 minutes and 28 seconds (she's a pro--can't she whip out poses out in less than a minute)? Won't this make me feel guilty for not having done anything yoga-related since mid-2011? But then I got drawn in by the soothing music, the soft lighting and yoga instructor Briohny Smyth's smooth, flowing movements. She's clearly not phoning in this workout. I'm inspired by the way she keeps her upper body completely still and solid while folding her legs down to the ground (I'm usually flopping all over the place). Even her downward dog poses look strong and active, just the way my instructor is always telling me to get mine (not sure what a downward dog is? Here's how to do them--and why they're so important for full-body fitness). At the end of the video, I'm feeling almost as relaxed as Smyth is--and motivated to sign up for a class after work.
(If you don't have time this week for a full 90-minute yoga session, you can still get stronger and more flexible with a quick morning stretch routine, like this one from Dr. Oz)
Neither Parker-Pope or the Bridges are complaining, but Slate writer L.V. Anderson thinks that they're taking the wrong approach. She believes medical professionals should focus on getting fat people to adopt healthy behaviors, not drop pounds, and she says the food-obsessed, calorie-conscious lifestyles Parker-Pope describes of those who have been able to keep the weight off remind her of anorexic eating disorders. Other readers who believe they're fitter than they look, and resent the idea of measuring each day by bites taken and then burned off, agree. But as we've read many times during this first week of the new year, resolutions need to be specific to work. The trick is finding indicators of health and wellness that are as easy to measure as pounds on a scale, and things we can do to get healthy that are as straightforward as counting calories.
Fortunately, Dr. Oz has come up with a 28-day plan of small changes you can make to live a longer, fuller life that don't have anything to do with traditional diets, starting with drinking green tea and even eating some dark chocolate.
Dr. Oz's on how to renew your mind, body and soul
Study shows what's really causing the weight to come back
Read more: What's the recommended portion size for pasta?
1. Trimming the tree makes your nose run and your eyes itch. While fir tree allergies are relatively rare, many people are hypersensitive to the mold, dust and dead needles on live trees, says Sakina S. Bajowala, MD, an allergist and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Most trees are cut in October or November, leaving them lots of time to accumulate debris," she says. Don't give up on live trees, though: just ask the sellers to put yours through a mechanical shaker that can loosen potential allergens, or hose it down in your yard (let it dry for a week before bringing inside). If you've already festooned your tree with ornaments, Bajowala suggests taking an OTC long-acting non-sedating antihistamine like Claritin. Keep in mind that artificial trees can also be irritating, especially if they've gotten dusty in the attic, and will need a good cleaning before you hang them with garlands.
If I were a man, I'd have thought about sex three times while typing this sentence. That's according to an old stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds--or 8,000 times a day. This seemed discouraging for men (did it mean that those who only thought about sex, say, 4,981 times a day were lacking testosterone?) as well as their partners ("What's on his mind? Wait, I don't want to know."). So we were intrigued by a refreshing study to be published in January's issue of the Journal of Sex Research that found that guys---college students, no less--only reported about 19 erotic thoughts per day. That's really not that much more than the female study participants (you may be surprised at the wide range of times women had sex on the brain). What's more, the men were nearly as preoccupied with food and sleep as with getting it on. Are men more focused on their biological needs than women? Or are they simply more comfortable expressing them? The researchers aren't sure, but at least now we know a man is almost as likely to be thinking about sleeping (or snacking) in the bed as romping in it.