Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Month: January 2011

Dear Mark: Seasonal Affective Disorder and Light Box Therapy

With holiday fun come and gone, it’s the time of year when we all truly settle into winter. Spring is a long way off at this point. The cold and darkness aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Most people find their way through the season with a mixture of enjoyment and impatience (and maybe a warm weather vacay), but others have serious reason to dread it each year. Few of us, I think, like giving up our extra hours of daylight. The relative darkness of winter, however, presents a particularly harsh challenge to those who battle SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – a form of depression associated with fall and winter’s more limited sunlight.

Dear Mark,

I’m curious if you’ve done any research into the viability of full spectrum light lamps in combating SAD. I can’t get outside much during the limited daylight hours this winter and I’m noticing a marked dive in my mood – I was diagnosed as clinically depressed in college and while I’ve been able to combat it mostly through living Primally, I’m finding it especially difficult this winter (again, probably due to the fact that I really can’t go out during the day right now.) So have you done any research or know of any studies stating how harmful or beneficial these lights are, especially regarding UV rays? Thank you!

Katie

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17 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Like last week’s stress post, I’m not going to delve deeply into why sleep is so important. I’ve done it before, and doing so again would simply take up valuable space that’s better used for action items – for actual sleep hacks that you can put into effect immediately. Just rest assured that it’s crucial to health, longevity, immunity, recovery from training, cognition, aptitude while operating vehicles and/or machinery, insulin sensitivity and, well, do I need to go on? If you want to enjoy your limited time on the planet, you better get your Zs.

Despite the long list of health benefits, sleep is one of those things that people skimp on, whether by necessity (work, traffic, kids, busy schedules) or because they figure they can simply “power through it”. The supposed ability to lower our sleep requirements through sheer will is pervasive. “Tough it out” is a popular slogan, as are “Sleep is for the weak” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Then there’s Virgil’s “Death’s brother, Sleep” (or, alternately, Nas’ “Sleep is the cousin of death” – thanks, Worker Bee). What we end up with, then, is a nation of overworked, overly fatigued men, women, students, and even children shambling through days dotted with Starbucks Ventis and ridiculous energy drinks. If you count yourself among their numbers, or perhaps you just want better sleep, read on for some tips and tricks:

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Monday Musings: New Grass-Fed Study

A new grass-fed meat study (PDF) has just been brought to my attention, thanks to Aaron Blaisdell. It’s pretty fascinating. Researchers wanted to see two things: whether eating grass-finished animals instead of grain-finished animals would provide a significant influx of dietary omega-3s and whether the potential influx would actually make a difference in lab numbers. They took two groups of people, regular Irish folks, and provided weekly portions of beef and lamb, either grass-finished or grain-finished. The animals were “finished” for a minimum of six weeks. Both groups were told to avoid fatty fish and omega-3-rich oils for the duration of the study. All told, both groups ate roughly 469 grams of red meat a week for four weeks. Oh, and these were all healthy subjects with good cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and without prescriptions to any medications.

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WOW: The Bro Workout

Complete 5 cycles of:

10 Dips
7 Pullups
10 Handstand Pushups
10 Inverted Rows

As with nearly all WOWs, this workout is scalable. Read on for beginner substitutes and variations.

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 124

Are redheads really the redheaded stepchildren of the world-family? Scientists pop the carrot top to find out what makes gingers tick and what makes them sick.

Kevin MD talks facebook, narcisism, and self esteem. What say you readers, would your off-line and on-line selves like each other?

Here’s a fun hack: Steve Maxwell barefootifies his Nikes with a steak knife.

Should women use creatine? Charlotte over at The Great Fitness Experiment gives it a try. Read her personal account and chime in with your own opinion.

More on the D-Wars: The Huffington Post covers vitamin D, and how the IOM may be SOL with their IUs for RDA.

And finally, I’m not a huge fan of treadmills, but this one is novel.

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A Healthy Body and Mind in 2011: Your Plan of Attack

Yesterday’s project: strategic reflection on the year past. Today’s agenda: action plan. It’s where the rubber meets the road, folks. Call it a New Year’s resolution if you will, but this isn’t about some half-assed gesture toward a nebulous pipe dream. I’m talking about crystal clear objectives and an explicit progress plan. Define what you want for your health this year. Outline how you’re going to achieve it, and then get moving! Are you ready to tackle 2011 head-on? Get out your pens, ladies and gentlemen. Today we’re charting the course ahead!

Are you honing an already solid Primal routine? Are you a beginner looking for the pivotal nudge? Are you an evolving Primal type looking to deepen or expand your commitment? Wherever you are in your Primal journey, this is my question for you: what is your vision for the next step? What unfinished business do you have? What terrain will you traverse next? What vision of enhanced well-being beckons you?

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