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Health (209 posts)
ArLynn Presser was having severe, debilitating panic attacks several times a week and finally stopped leaving her house. Then she decided to reclaim her life by facing her fears. Luckily for us, her filmmaker son came along to document her journey. Watch this ABC News clip to see how Presser went from being panicky and scared to joyfully slicing open a champagne bottle with a saber and learning to box and sing opera. Presser acknowledges that this was a crazy thing to do. And while she can't cure her agoraphobia and still suffers social anxiety, she says this experience has helped her to gain control over condition. Let's hear it for Facebook!—and for a woman brave enough to reimagine her life.
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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)
Behold: The Daily Beast's 31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012. Click through the slide show for some encouraging, invigorating tips. Eating dark chocolate and drinking coffee? Yes, please. Also recommended are checking out iTunes U and Shakespeare plays, learning a new language, and playing violent video games (really!). Some of the suggestions we've all heard before, like playing word games to increase your mind's agility, and some (writing reviews online!) are unexpected. Take a sip of coffee and click on over. That's right. We're getting smarter already.
Boost Your Brain By:
Now we're all our own parents, and there are so many things we don't want to do. Like wake up at 6 in the morning and pay the bills we ignored the night before (whoops, slept in) or get to the gym as we publicly vowed to do in 2012 while tipsy on New Year Eve. Luckily, A new service called Gym Pact, which appeared in the New York Times this week has come to our aid, using an app that mimics my dad's old fashioned method. Basically you sign up on your smart phone and register how many days you want to commit to working out. The gym's computers are linked to the app, so if you don't go, you get fined $5. If you do go, you get paid—that's right, paid!—an amount that's determined each week by pooling and dividing all the money collected from no-goers. Right now that's about $1.50 a week, or $6 a month—an amount that I will try to spend on organic kale or carrots, but will probably spend on...jelly beans.
7 things not to wear to the gym
4 workout mistakes and how to fix them
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
Not so, says Tony Schwartz, writing for the 99 Percent. Apparently, the way to accomplish more is to “pulse and pause,” taking breaks throughout the day to rest or refuel (some of his suggestions include going to the gym, taking an actual lunch break, and, my personal favorite, taking a quick nap). Schwartz writes, “Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy – physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually – requires refueling it intermittently.” Read the article for a run-down of the “law of diminishing returns” and how it effects the desk-bound work day, and as you blast through your holiday preparations, cooking, and all the rest, remember to “pause” now and then.
I love a good story about an older person staying young by
doing amazing things (that I myself am too cowardly for) – and Lloyd Kahn is
just such a man. As he told ABC News, "I started skating when I was 65,
but the first ride I took I fell and screwed up my wrist, but I kept at it.” Kahn, who thinks that too many people give up
as they get older, said, “Every day, I really do want to have some kind of fun.”
Well, Mr, Kahn, I’ve been taught to listen to my elders, and this is some wise
advice I am super into. With the proper padding and a helmet, of course.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* A handy outline of everything you need to know about quarterback Tim Tebow. (Washington Post)
* Dr. Oz, the first man to appear on the cover of O, talks to Oprah about food, family, and what it really means to be healthy. (O Magazine)
* How Carlton Banks became an NBA style icon. (Grantland)
* "At first I was sad I wasn’t a solider, but as the role grew it became pretty important. Not to brag or anything."—Justin Souriau-Levine, who plays the littlest mouse in American Ballet Theater's production of The Nutcracker. (NYTimes.com)
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