Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for July, 2008

23 Jul

The Prison Workout

prisonerbwbarsThe Prison Workout. New idea? Nah. It’s been around as long as there has been anyone locked up that is looking to stay in shape. Still compelling? Absolutely. Here is MDA’s take on why we think it is worth another look, along with our own variations on this classic routine.

Why We Can Appreciate the Prison Workout:

1. Unlimited time

You have no excuses. You can’t fall back on the most often used excuse to not get in shape.

2. Limited space

You don’t get to decide whether you should go to the basketball court, to the gym, to the tennis court, to the park, ride your bike, play ultimate Frisbee with friends etc. etc. because you don’t have a choice. Your options are limited. But this is a good thing. You don’t get bogged down with endless decision-making. You’ll be working out while Joe Schmo is still deciding what to do.

23 Jul

Relaxation Response

1247880594 7818ddf408In the last few months we’ve been highlighting new research that illustrates the power of individuals to influence their genetic expression through basic lifestyle choices, whether through diet, exercise, or avoidance of pollution. The message, as always, is that we aren’t passive victims to aging or any propensities in our genetic heritage. How we live determines when and to what extent certain genes will be activated or turned off, genes that control our immune function and inflammatory response, genes that influence our aging process as well as our chances of developing or avoiding disease.

This groundbreaking area of research now includes evidence that invoking the body’s natural relaxation response can substantially direct the expression of genes related to physiological stress response. It’s a premise that’s been at the heart of many traditional medicine philosophies for thousands of years, now illuminated by collaborative research at the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. As Herbert Benson, M.D. and one of the primary co-authors of the study explains, “For hundreds of years Western medicine has looked at mind and body as totally separate entities, to the point where saying something ‘is all in your head’ implied that it was imaginary. Now we’ve found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented.”

22 Jul

10 Delicious DIY Salad Dressings

130717770 b0bef4f2bfLast week we gave you Mark’s 2 Minute Salad recipe and while we learned that many of you are already heartily digging into a big bowl of the good stuff each day (or Kitchen Sink/Really Righteous/Primal salad as various readers have dubbed it) there was still a question as to how to dress your salad to take the taste up a notch without taking a nose dive in nutrition.

So without further ado, we present our top 10 tastiest, most nutritious salad dressings:

21 Jul

Dear Mark: Best Fruit Choices

2645397068 42a30cc9cbDear Mark,

Right now there are so many kinds of fruit in season at the local farmers’ market. I know that we should limit fruit consumption and that some fruits offer more nutrition and higher antioxidants than others. I live alone and can’t afford to fill my small fridge with 20 different kinds of produce, so I need to make choices sometimes and want to buy greater amounts of highly nutritious food and lesser amounts of moderately nutritious food for variety.

21 Jul

High Fat and Healthy: The Maasai Keep on Walking

800px Maasai manReader Peter emailed this new study today after he saw a discussion in which I was participating on Rusty’s site (fitnessblackbook.com) regarding the Maasai diet. Investigators in this new study suggested that one reason that the Maasai (African nomadic cattle farmers) have lower rates of heart disease, despite a high fat diet, is the amount of low-level aerobic activity they do on a daily basis. Many of you will recognize this as rule #2 of the Primal Blueprint, “Move around a lot at a slow pace.” Seems the Maasai take that to the extreme, burning 2500 calories a day in excess of their basal metabolic rate by walking. The fact that they have a fairly low carbohydrate intake simply reaffirms that most of their energy demands are coming from the high amount of animal fat in their diets – and that at low level aerobic activity carbs are simply not necessary. Don’t think that doesn’t mean they can’t sprint occasionally or lift heavy things though (Blueprint’s 3 and 4), because we know they are able to produce enough glycogen each day from this same high-fat, moderate protein diet to fuel those all-out short bursts.

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