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Health (209 posts)
But then, years later, came that epic night that started with flirtatious banter with the hotel bartender and ended with us playing "We Are the World" from memory on the Steinway grand while the entire lobby sang along. Then there was the "LOST" viewing party where we impressed fellow fans by plinking out the show's "sad theme" on the host's keyboard.
Now science is providing yet another reason for us to appreciate our early education in the musical arts: it may help us fend off age-related hearing loss. An interesting NPR story yesterday explained that hearing difficulty as we get older is usually due to our inability to tune out background noise (listen to the story for more info about the physiological reasons behind this). Musicians, studies have found, are not only better at deciphering different notes and tones, but also at remembering sentences they heard earlier, making it easier for them to follow a line of conversation.
There's still no conclusive evidence that picking up an instrument for the first time later in life can stop hearing loss. However, it's not a bad idea for us lapsed pianists and marching band alumni to refresh our skills...and thank our parents for helping us to develop--and hopefully maintain--an ear for music and other sounds.
Do you play any musical instruments? What unexpected benefits has that brought to your life?
A new study about personality and weight confirms what anyone who has tried to balance eating well and living well knows: the people who are most likely to get invited to a last-minute luau are the same people who will have the hardest time resisting the pineapple upside-down cake.
Researchers from the National Institute on Aging analyzed data from a study of 1,988 people using the assessment tool of the "Big Five" personality traits, which include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. [Curious about your personality profile? You can learn more about the Big Five personality test at the Berkeley Personality Lab site, and then take an online version of the test.]
The strongest predictor of who would be overweight was impulsivity, they reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. We could have guessed that, but the numbers are still bracing: Participants who scored in the top 10 percent on this trait weighed an average of 22 pounds more than those in the bottom 10 percent. Compared to participants of normal weight, the overweight and obese participants were more impulsive—and warm, and assertive. They were also more likely to seek out excitement and prefer to be around others. Alternatively, those people who scored high on conscientiousness (aka, the task-focused, efficient, dutiful and organized) tended to be leaner.
Now who would you invite to your party? The study highlights a conundrum familiar to any weight-conscious social butterfly: It's hard to pass up fun events just because Temptation might also be on the guest list. [Find out how to be a spontaneously savvy party-goer, after the jump]
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #9: A fast and free mini-massage for instant relaxation.
30 days of makeovers
The hidden health benefits of massage
4 easy ways to incorporate touch into your day
After salmonella linked to ground turkey became a stealth health threat earlier this month, sickening 107 people in 31 states, we've been unable to bring ourselves to grill up one of our favorite summer dinners: turkey burgers. But there are fears....and then there's reality. Here's what you can do right now to protect yourself, enjoy dinner and put an end to hysterical turkey terror:
1. Go check your freezer right now. On August 3, the Arkansas-based food producer Cargill recalled 35 million pounds of turkey that could be tainted with a rare form of salmonella Heidelberg. Turkey can last in the freezer for up to four months, so there's a chance that some of the recalled meat (with "sell by" or "freeze by" dates from February to late August) may be lurking in your home. The USDA web site lists all of the products that you should be looking for, with their identifying names and markings.
The best advice I've ever received on dealing with a break-up was to write a long, emotional letter to my ex, seal it up, and put it under my pillow. After sleeping on the envelope for a few days, I not only felt better about expressing my feelings (if only to myself), but I wanted to rip up the letter into a million soggy pieces and flush them down the toilet. I couldn't even bear to look my own hysterical, mortifyingly honest words.
Who writes letters these days? We let the world know how we're feeling through blogs, Facebook, Twitter feeds—and perhaps that's not always the best idea. The New York Times Magazine recently covered a conference that the Boston Public Health Commission sponsored on "healthy breakups" which helped over 200 teenagers deal with tricky issues like changing a relationship status and tagging photos of exes.
But teens aren't the only ones who need need pointers. When I heard about the conference, I immediately thought of a friend's friend who changed her last name on Facebook before she'd even filed for divorce, and another guy who had posted photos of himself on vacation with his new girlfriend while still married to his wife. So I asked Casey Corcoran, director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong Initiative (which organized the conference) for advice on adapting my old-fashioned break-up rule to the digital age.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #1: New fruits to try.
Apple, banana, pear, yawn. These exotic alternatives are packed with vitamins and fabulous new flavor.
Peel off the spiky red covering of this iron-rich Southeast Asian treat to reveal a translucent white orb with a taste that marries grape and watermelon.
Keep Reading: 3 more exotic fruits to try
When I first heard these personal stories about private parts, the most I could offer my friends was a sympathetic ear (and I know they appreciated that). But after researching a burgeoning area of physical therapy, I now know where to refer these women--and others like them.
Read more about physical therapy for issues like incontinence, pelvic pain and post-partum complications, and find out the two exercises every woman should think about doing to help with problems like these.
A 2007 study of more than 23,000 Greek adults may have revealed a surprising key to their legendary vigor—the siesta. Compared with those who power through the day, adults who nap for a minimum of 30 minutes at least three times a week have a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease.
If your work schedule doesn't allow you to pencil in a snooze, nap on weekends—every little bit helps.
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: How should I handle a midmorning snack attack?
Tracy Gensler, MS, RD, Best Life nutritionist, told us that the best offense is a good defense. We also got her in-the-moment advice for the next time you're going mano-a-mano with the vending machine. After the jump, get Gensler's six-step snack plan.
Many things cause people to make a radical change--a new job, marriage or moving to a new city just to name a few. But for O's creative director Adam Glassman it was a yearly physical with his doctor and the discovery of high blood pressure that caused him to re-evaluate his relationship with food. A self-described skinny kid, he says, "I never had to diet in my entire life."
After doing a search online, he found one major cause of high blood pressure was salt. He didn't often add it to meals, but he found it was in everything--especially processed and canned foods. (And the heavy, rich business dinners and fast food he ate during late nights at the office didn't help either). In addition to eliminating sodium from his diet, he put his gym membership to use, doing 45-minute cardio sessions every morning while he caught up on the news. "The first 45 days are the toughest, but it took me that long to break bad habits," says Adam. He quickly noticed that he didn't just lose weight and lower his blood pressure, but he had more energy, his mood and skin improved, and he slept better. Compliments didn't hurt either. "Every person told me I looked younger," he says, "I never realized that I had gotten big or looked like a hag."
It wasn't until a visit to dermatologist David Colbert, M.D., that Adam found a more detailed regimen for him to follow in the doctor's book, The High School Reunion Diet. He cut out red meat, coffee, white foods (like bread and pasta), alcohol, and soda and replaced with healthier options, reminding him that dieting doesn't mean you have to feel deprived or unsatisfied. After sticking to Colbert's plan for three months, he started to slowly integrate things back into his life--like the occasional glass of champagne at a party--but found he no longer had the same cravings. "My palate had completely changed," he says.