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November 2011 (130 posts)
Every few weeks, we'll be asking one of the Best Life experts for advice on diet and exercise, ways to get better rest and strategies to live a little younger.
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: I hurt my feet, and now I can barely walk, never mind run. How do I stay fit?
This sounds like an impossible challenge, doesn't it? You won't be able to squeeze in your 10,000 steps per day. But it's worth the effort to hobble into the gym, because you have more fitness options than you realize, says Jack Younghans, D.P.T., a Best Life physical therapist who helps injured patients stay in shape at his clinic in Long Island, New York. We asked him what moves were easiest on the feet, and were surprised by how many cardio options he came up with. Regular exercise may even help you heal. Younghans explains that when you increase your blood flow by working out, your body is able to deliver oxygenated blood to the injured foot more efficiently than it would be if you were sedentary.
These exercises are ranked from least impact (for the seriously injured) to most. Younghans says that if you feel pain at any point during exercise, stop immediately and talk to your doctor or physical therapist. Find out if physical therapy is right for you.
1. Rowing with an upper-body ergometer: You may have seen one of these mini-bikes for the arms and thought to yourself, "There's no way you can work up a sweat on that thing." But Younghans swears you can crank up the resistance high enough and row fast enough to get your heart pumping. If you don’t have access to an upper-body ergometer, you can keep build muscle and tone with these weight exercises.
2. Swimming: You probably thought of this one already, but Younghans reminds those with pain in the forefoot to avoid jumping into the pool or doing flip turns between laps (both can add pressure that can make the injury worse). Check out this article for ways to feel comfortable in the water.
Polka-Dot Garland, $18. Crisp circles of paper in alternating shades of green dangling on cotton string can perk up any space: A corner in your bedroom, the bar you set up for your holiday party, that space in the garage right above your car’s windshield....
“Oh No! Not You Again” Doormat, $30. Is your inner Scrooge starting to make his presence known? Let it all hang out with this misanthropic doormat.
Fancy Marshmallows, 9 for $10. These marshmallows have no business acting as an accompaniment to hot chocolate; with flavors like chai spice, roasted pineapple and pumpkin pie, they deserve a bowl of their own.
Moustache Bottle Stopper, $18. On this last day of Movember, punctuate your tabletop with this glossy stoneware stopper.
Frasier Fir All-Purpose Surface Cleaner, $9. Spritz away dirt and get an aromatic lift from the scent of Siberian Fir needles, cedarwood and sandalwood.
Imagine a demeanor like Eeyore's—gray and profoundly mopey—just several hundred times bigger.
You've now got a pretty good picture of Flora, an African elephant. Orphaned as a baby and adopted by circus owner David Balding to be the star of his show, Flora was raised doing tricks in the ring and being cuddled and fed peanuts during her down time.
Nonetheless, as she grew up, she became listless and occasionally ornery, performing under the big top reluctantly and occasionally blowing off steam by chucking stones at people with her trunk. It became clear that she was longing to retire, ideally to somewhere filled with fewer audience members and more elephants.
As she writes: "He was trained to drive a tank in World War II, but his ulcer and bad back got him sent home before he could be deployed overseas. Instead, his heroism took place on quieter grounds." Frangello goes on to describe an incident at a Target dining area, when her father saw some kids who were clearly hungry, and told the person working at the counter to give them all the food they wanted.
In recounting this and many other compulsively readable anecdotes, Frangello has created a tribute to her father that is sensitively nuanced, achingly ambivalent. Her father is a fascinating, difficult character who has suffered from mental illness, and her relationship with him is simultaneously close and distant, loving and exasperated. Her essay on The Nervous Breakdown is really an exploration of the question "What is love?"—and it's a must-read for anyone who has ever had to confront death, to experience grief, to love truly and deeply. In other words for all of us.
Caring for Aging Parents
Home Safety for the Elderly
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Honor Rosa Parks this Thursday, the day she refused to change seats on the bus. How to talk to your kids honesty about civil rights in our own time.
No time to get to the gym? How to do Pilates while you walk.
Anne Hathaway announced her engagement to—hurray!—a nice guy. How to get over toxic relationships—and move onto love.
Relax this Sunday, while still indulging in the joys of National Cookie Day. How make a cookie that only requires 2 ingredients.
At the recent annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, five researchers held a panel on this very topic, discussing the difference in male and female brains, and how superior the female brains actually are. (Kidding!) The actual findings can be read in this terrific summary on Slate, which details who's afraid to be "neurosexist" and which girls are whomping boys in math, but here are a two highlights for those of us dealing with actual little people:
"Anyone who dismisses boy-girl differences as cultural artifacts...isn’t accounting for similar patterns in animals, such as research showing that male monkeys prefer to play more with cars and less with dolls than female monkeys do." That's right. On one hand, any parent can tell you that little boys are magically drawn to wheely things, while girls will, you know, turn a wrench and hammer into dollies. But monkeys? Really?
"Maryjane Wraga, a psychologist at Smith College, presented research on stereotype threat, showing that women perform worse at mental rotation (compared with other women) when they’re told that men are better at it. So if scientists go around saying girls are bad with numbers, tests might appear to validate that prediction, but the prediction itself will be the culprit."
(Let us all now run to the girls in our lives and chant, "Girls are good at math. Girls are good at math.")
Dr Oz on the differences between men and women's health
Why males and females react so differently to emotions
How (and why) to talk to little girls without saying "You're so pretty!"
"I harnessed my complaining energy and used it to create a really good life." How a "venting fast" can lift your spirits.
The mustaches are cute, but this is by far the most moving tribute to "Movember" we've ever seen.
The Life-Lifter: High-school football players, plus orange socks, equals one of several ways to make the world a better place. Thank you, Random Acts of Kindness Club.
A new book suggests that, awfully enough, my husband might be onto something. Can objects tell a story, or even the history of the world? This is the conceit behind the British bestseller called, accurately enough, A History of the World in 100 Objects, now out in the United States. The book's author, Neil MacGregor, is the director of the British Museum (where all the objects in the book currently live), and he recently spoke to Jeffery Brown at PBS News Hour about the selection of objects and what stories they tell, One of the objects they discussed was one of the oldest tools in existence, a 2-million-year-old stone chipped into a sharp edge that MacGregor said is the "kind of tool that lets us all leave Africa and live everywhere, because this lets you strip the meat off the animals to get more protein, break the bones to get the marrow...This is what lets us...become us."
From here, they discuss objects as diverse as the Rosetta Stone and a solar-powered lamp, each of which has implicit in it an entire story about a certain time and place. As MacGregor puts it, "a single object lets you explore a world that you want to know about....a thing lets you journey immediately into another world. And it's a thing made by somebody like you with hands like yours, a mind like yours. And you're on a journey of poetic imagination to a place that you could never reach otherwise."
This got me thinking about the objects with which we surround ourselves. It's that old "alien archaeologists" scenario (that's an old scenario, right?)—essentially, what is the story the aliens would construct about my life based on the objects in my home? It's the toaster oven we use to make our toast; it's the dog bed we picked out and purchased for the mutt that lives in our house. As MacGregor puts it, "if you take one object and go into it in-depth, then you learn a lot about the people that made it, why they made it, the world it was for, and what it is to be a person needing objects and making objects." It could be that my husband has a point, that our things tell the story of our world. (Which is why I'm still throwing out that old dial-up modem.)
For more, including a video of the interview and a photo essay, check out PBS NewsHour's Art Beat blog.
Let go of an object without letting go of memories.
6 everyday objects that can save your life.