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Health (209 posts)
There's nothing wrong with that, but for variety's sake, you might want to try tuning in to a different kind of audio during your next workout--like your breathing, and the sound of your feet hitting the ground, and the swish of your arms. Sakyong Mipham, the Tibetan lama and leader of the Shambhala Buddhism community, is (naturally) a strong advocate of this kind of in-the-moment workout. The Sakyong (his title means "the king" in Tibetan) may spend a fair amount of time on a prayer mat, but he's also an athlete who has completed nine and a half marathons, and his recently-published book, Running With the Mind of Meditation, serves as a guide for integrating elements of meditation into the physical act of running.
Basically, the Sakyong advocates tuning into how the run makes us feel (even if the answer is, "pretty crappy"), and claims this will help strengthen powers of concentration, bring clarity and calm to our day, and might even bring us a little closer to enlightenment. Considering the Sakyong's fitness level and appearance (he's nearing 50, but looks much younger, as you can see in the photo to the left), he's definitely on to something, whether it be running, meditation, or doing both at once.
We figured that it might be kind of tricky to skim the Sakyong's book while pounding the pavement, so we asked him to create a mini-meditation that you can listen to on your computer while stretching, on your iPhone while you're on the road. As the Sakyong says, "Let's go for a meditative run."
Meditate while you work out
More mini meditations you can incorporate into your day
The rest of us will be delighted to hear about a new long-term study showing that berries don't only play a role in the creation of happy memories, but they can also help us hold on to them. Research published in the journal Annals of Neurology explains that women who ate strawberries and blueberries more frequently over a period of time showed slower decline in memory and attention as they got older than those who at them less often. This welcome research suggests that the tasty fruits may play a role in keeping aging brains healthy.
Based on this study, the sooner you start eating berries, the better it will be for your brain. Fortunately, this year's early spring means that strawberries already growing in the South. Pop them plain, or try one of these berry-centric recipes:
Start your day with a Blueberry Brain Boost Smoothie
Make Arugula with Berries and Feta for lunch
Mix Balsamic Strawberries into a dinner salad, or serve on top of chicken
Surprise someone with a dessert of Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
More ways to keep your brain young
These nuggets are from a compelling series of infographics from the makers of a food-tracking iPhone app called The Eatery (see them all here, and learn more about the app at www.massivehealth.com). There are lots of interesting facts about what, when, where and how we eat, compiled using crowd-sourced data that included 7.68 million food ratings by Eatery users from over 50 countries, but what we found most interesting had to do with perception. Not only do we think we eat better than others think we do, but we tend to have some interesting ideas about good and bad foods: half of the Eatery users considered coffee to be "unhealthy" (they must not have had a chance to read the latest pro-joe research) and 1 in 5 think diet soda is "healthy" (it has fewer calories that regular soda, but since when is artificial sweetener "healthy"?!).
Maybe because the weather is getting warmer and you're thinking about the pleasures (and, evidently, the vexations) of sleevelessness, I've recently received a slew of e-mails about underarm discoloration. This problem is very common among black and Hispanic women, says Brooke Jackson, MD, medical director of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. It can be caused by frequent shaving, friction (if, say, your workout clothes rub against your underarms), irritation from your deodorant, or, more rarely, a hormonal condition. To solve the problem, Jackson suggests considering laser hair removal and switching to a gentle deodorant. (Try Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant for Sensitive Skin, $10, drugstores.)
Q: The women on TV talk shows have such gorgeous bare legs; how can I get them, too?
A: Once, as a guest on a morning television show, I was seated on the couch, nervously chatting up the hosts pre-airtime, when suddenly there was a man crouched in front of me, vigorously rubbing something on my shins. (In my experience, all kinds of freakish things that never happen in real life are likely to happen 30 seconds before you go on live TV.) My legs did look better, but I never found out what that stuff was. So I e-mailed your question to makeup artist Emily Kate Warren, and she offered this terrific advice. After you shave your legs (which helps smooth them), if you're fair, apply self-tanner to cover small imperfections like spider veins. Warren likes St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($40, sttropeztan.com) because it's easy to apply and delivers a good, golden color. Once your fake tan has completely developed, apply a bit of dry oil, which gives a natural-looking sheen but doesn't look greasy. Warren recommends Nuxe Golden Dry Oil Splash ($41, b-glowing.com). When you're feeling ambitious, you could also apply a bit of highlighter cream on your shins from below the knee to just above the ankle, which will make your legs look longer. If there's no time for a self-tanner, try Givenchy Mister Radiant Body ($49, sephora.com), a gel that gives you a hint of slightly pearly color and washes off in the shower.
The whole story just makes me want to weep and smile at the same time. I'm reminded me of something a friend told me her 3-year-old son said. When faced with the idea of death, when he asked if everyone had to die and was told that yes, everyone died, the boy thought about this for a long, quiet moment and then responded, "Chocolate is a vegetable!"
Personally, I can't think of a better response to the huge scariness of illness, of death. Chocolate is a vegetable. Lemonade will make someone's cancer feel better. Yes....Yes, yes, yes.
The Sound of One Hand Playing
A Rising Star's Inspirational Sister
Collecting Jokes for Kids With Cancer
Pelvic floor training, or doing regular exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles, can be effective in curing urinary incontinence--and has far less side effects than the other popular treatment of estrogen therapy, concludes a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Best of all, you don't need a gym membership or a set of weights to do these exercises, although you might benefit from a session with a women's health physical therapist who can help you develop a regimen. With approximately a quarter of young women and up to 57 percent of middle-aged and postmenopausal women having these kinds of problems, it's never too early add pelvic workouts into your fitness routine. To start, make sure you're practicing Kegels correctly, and then challenge yourself with these more advanced pelvic clocks.
Physical therapy for your lady parts
The two exercises every woman should be doing
We've been hearing for years that negative emotional states, like depression, anger, anxiety, and hostility, can have negative health effects, but less was known about positive moods--until now. The researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently decided to take a glass-half-full view of the connection between moods and health, and they've concluded that positive psychological well-being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events. After reviewing more than 200 studies published in two scientific databases, the authors found the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50 percent reduced risk of experiencing heart problems. The researchers stressed that it's not enough to be merely not-depressed or on an even keel; it's important to actually make yourself feel good.
Did you wake up on the meh side of the bed this Wednesday? Fortunately, we have just the thing to boost your mood and help your heart.
I know some people who walk through a doorway only to completely forget what they were doing and blame it on old age or being tired or sheer airheadedness. Turns out -- thanks, science! -- there is an actual explanation for this phenomenon. According to University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky, passing through doorways makes our brains hit reset.
As Radvansky told The University of Notre Dame School of Arts and Letters news blog, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away...Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.” Read the whole article for descriptions of the experiments that led to this analysis. Aren't brains interesting? I wonder if this is why sometimes, when blocked at work, taking a walk even just to the other room can help rev your brain again. But also, I'm just relieved to discover that I'm not completely losing my mind. At least, not because of this.
15 Ways to Remember Everything
The Surprising Reason You May Be Losing Your Memory