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

Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

23 Jan

The Tuesday 10

The Top 10 Ways to Beat Stressthis week!

Thanks to all Apples who participated in last week’s how-to-beat-stress contest. Our winner, junior Apple Sandra W., had some excellent suggestions we’re adding to today’s 10 (and a free month’s supply of all-natural stress-busting Proloftin is on the way, Sandra!).

Thanks to the rest of you for the additional good tips! Here they are:

10. Choose your friends wisely.

This is possibly the most important thing you can do to manage stress in your life. It’s often overlooked, too. Choosing your relationships from a proactive, positive mindset is critical to your well-being. We all have people who “drain” us or bring negative situations or thoughts into our lives. And sometimes it’s hard to admit this – and even harder to take action. As much as you can, let these people go. Sometimes it’s not immediately possible to weed them all out, but over time, work to surround yourself with good, kind people who offer you true love, true support, and true reciprocity. Life’s too short to short-change yourself in the joy department. Really.

handshake

9. Get exercise – and get grounded.

Daily exercise regulates the delicate balance of hormones in your body. It’s the best way to relieve stress, tension and anxiety – plus it’s great for your body. Even better, exercise that literally gets you grounded (walking, hiking, or running) gives you an additional mental boost. Exercise doesn’t have to be lengthy or intense. A daily walk is the most natural and effective workout for both your mind and your body.

shoes

8. Listen to uplifting music.

Sound is very important. Think about the sounds you encounter and surround yourself with every day – and take steps to limit stressful sounds and noises like traffic, yelling, negative television news, and jarring music. Listen to music that makes you happy.

note
7. Swim.

Swimming is a wonderful stress-reliever, and it’s gentle on your joints, too.

pool

6. Stretch.

Stretching loosens muscle tension, releases nerve “kinks”, massages your internal organs, helps flush toxins and just makes you feel great! Try to stretch gently for a few minutes every day. Hint: never stretch until it hurts.

Learn about yoga here.

yoga

5. Surround yourself with pleasant objects and belongings.

We’re not talking about expensive items or materialistic pursuits. But surrounding yourself with personal mementos, cherished objects and pleasant things to touch and look at – both at home and at work – does wonders for your sense of well-being. These things needn’t be pricey, just special to you. The same goes for clutter and objects you don’t like – toss them out and make room for things that make you happy.

4. Pray or meditate.

Calm yourself and renew your spirits with 5 to 20 minutes daily spent in quiet introspection. Whether you prefer to think through your day, think about your loved ones, or think about nothing at all, meditative activities literally reset brain waves and restore a sense of peace and serenity. Don’t neglect the need to “chill out” for a few minutes every day. Even better, get consistent about the time of day you spend with yourself; your brain will become accustomed to it and your body will get even more out of the sessions.

3. Express yourself.

Whether through music, singing, dance, art, sports or cooking, find ways to express yourself several times a week. Even sketching daydreams or tackling a minor project can be therapeutic. Whatever gets you in the moment is a wonderful energy booster and tension reliever. Many times, activities that involve your hands or require some movement do a better job of relieving chaotic and pent-up emotions than hours spent thinking about such feelings.

brushes

2. Breathe.

Some people call it heart math. Some call it soul breathing. Whatever you want to call it, try this out: take 5 or 10 deep breaths now and again. Concentrate on filling your entire body with air, then release it slowly. Imagine that you are made of mesh and the breath is entering and exiting gently through the mesh. You’ll be amazed at how good this feels.

Art: Deep Breath by Melanie Weidner.

breatheeeee

1. Find an organization method that works for you.

Successful people often spend an entire day each week simply organizing their tasks, goals and thoughts. Even an hour a week can make a big difference in your stress level and your feeling of control. Whether you like to keep things organized with a notepad or a Blackberry, find a method, a time of the week, and a length of time that works for you. Even if you don’t accomplish everything, you’ll feel better just knowing you’re at the helm. (And remember not to give yourself too many tasks. Most people give themselves about twice as much as they can realistically expect to accomplish. Remember that many tasks actually involve several smaller tasks.)

notepad

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

22 Jan

Sting Operation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

News for the men, news for the women, news for the kidlets…

1) First there was cellulite cream…now this?

This week in quackery: was it the metrosexual trend that got men worrying about things like body wash and, now, testosterone cream? We’re not complaining about the body wash, but who needs one more unhealthy, questionable miracle cure on the market?

Testosterone does diminish with age. But supplementing with hormones is a dicey proposition that we don’t recommend unless there’s a medical need. A better way to keep those hormones pumping naturally (make that several ways):

- Pump some iron, guys!

- For goodness’ sakes, go to bed before midnight once in a while.

- Easy on the beer.

- Overcome vegetable aversion. It’s not like they meow.

- Express yourself. You don’t have to start writing poetry, but find ways to let those feelings out once in a while. Sports count.

- Get plenty of antioxidants in your diet and enhance your intake with a good, potent multivitamin.

- Stick to healthy friendships and relationships as much as humanly possible. It’s good to be responsible and reliable, but don’t overlook the damage that too much stress can do to your body’s regulatory functions. We all age (well, except that guy in sales who thinks he does a great Austin Powers imitation). But stress has a big impact on how you age. Cutting back on stress does a lot more for your mojo than any Rx.

dumbbells

2) No one said it was fun…

Women, especially young women, are avoiding their annual female exam like the plague. Hey, no one loves it. But five minutes now means prevention of potentially fatal STDs and cancer. Yeah, it’s annoying. And?

To learn about the new vaccine for cervical cancer, check this out. Your insurance should cover it, and if not, it’s pretty inexpensive.

3) If you want to live to 100, move here.

Just leave a note for the kids first. Or not.

tropics
Web it out:

For the girls (but we know you’re looking, boys):

How Much Energy Is In a Kiss?

The reason for this clickativity: remember that it doesn’t really take a lot of calories to fuel your body, so choose them wisely. A little food goes a long way. Choose the foods that pack the most nutrition. Which definitely does not include a Hershey’s Kiss. Check out the category “Healthy Tastes Great!” at right for simultaneously delicious and nutritious foods.

Dog People: 1, Cat People: 0.

At any rate, this is cool health news. Remember that good health is a holistic, comprehensive endeavor. Concentrate on improving quality of life at home, at work, and at the dinner table, and you’ll feel great!

puppy
Charity-Challenged Brains?

This is going to be all over the news in about 20 minutes. That’s because drug merchants (ahem) some people might not want this important news about antidepressants to get out. Though depression varies in magnitude and therefore treatment needs vary, there are many natural, safe ways to help improve brain function, mood, emotional health and overall wellbeing. Tomorrow’s Tuesday 10 will help get you started. Until then – stay healthy!

hipbonesconnectedtothe
19 Jan

Fresh Mix

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Not just the latest news – the best!

1) Folic Acid Rocks

A major study on folate is making a splash. Scientists say folic acid appears to help stave cognitive decline and may even be linked to reduced chances of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. What is certain is that folic acid appears to aid in memory, cognition, and information processing speed. Clickativity!

Folic acid is found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and a daily multi.
aintshecute

2) A Must Read!

Wowhere’s an excellent op-ed piece on the psychology of cancer fears. The great tragedy of the cancer situation today – which still kills half a million Americans every year – is that modern advances in both prevention and medicine mean excellent survival rates, but many people wait so long to get standard screenings it’s often too late. It’s the “fear of the known” clinging to our national mindset from days when cancer truly was a death sentence.

3) Common Commode

Drug advances. Scientific knowledge. Nutritional information. Exercise expertise. Lasers. Ingenious surgical procedures. According to the British Medical Journal, none of this compares to…the flusher. When you’re feeling bummed about your day, just remember, before 1840, you could be feeling bummed about your day and have to use an outhouse.
toilet

4) Oh yeah…these things do beat stress!

The Dumb Little Man is not dumb at all (but that cheesy line sure was – our bad). While he does invent statistics (and gleefully admits this), his implementation/identification point is right on the money. And his list of ways to beat stress is so wonderful and so obvious, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do this stuff sooner. If you already have, well, good for you. Bees are slower.

dog

Web it out:

What Mark and the Bees read. Translation (whew): Lifestyle changes slash your diabetes risk in half!

“Lifestyle changes”. Kinda nebulous, right?

Here’s how, in 5 quick steps:

1. Stop eating so much sugar! Cut out as much sugar, refined grain, starch, and other pale pathetic excuses for food as you can.

2. No more sugary drinks, either.

3. Daily exercise of some sort. Walking is just fine and dandy!

4. Stop with the self-destructive stuff: smoking, drinking, too much food, not enough sleep.

5. Reduce inflammation in three easy steps: switch from bad fats to good fats, reduce stress, and flood your body with antioxidants from food and a good, sturdy multi.

16 Jan

The Tuesday 10

The Top 10 Tips for: Getting Fit

Wanna get fit? If you’re just starting out, keep in mind it’s not going to happen overnight…but you can be lookin’ pretty good by next month with these tips. The reason most get-ripped regimens fail is because we simply expect way too much, way too soon. Big changes in your body require big changes in your lifestyle. Period. It took your whole life to be the way you are now, right? It’s going to take more than two days to start making changes to that. But these 10 pointers will get you started – and you’ll notice some very pleasant effects if you stick with them. You’ll be surprised that very few of them have anything to do with lifting so much as a finger. Fitness is many factors coming together – it’s a lot more than just hitting the gym (thank goodness).

1. Cut calories the lazy way.

To shape up, you must reduce your fat so your muscles can start doing their thing. This is actually very, very easy to do: every time you go to put something in your mouth, don’t. No, no, just kidding! You have to eat.

Here’s what to do:

- in restaurants, eat half the plate and get the rest to go. Don’t eat it when you get home – let the dog or the neighbor kid with hollow legs enjoy it.

- immediately run out and get yourself some 7″ plates. Those are now your dinner plates. Preso, portion sizes reduced.

- Don’t eat anything crunchy, creamy, pale or fried. This pretty much takes care of all high-calorie, unhealthy foods. Examples: chips, ranch dressing, bread sticks, chicken nuggets. We know, veggies are crunchy. It’s not an absolute rule. Just a guide.

- Switch all snacks to cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks or broccoli florets. Depending on how much you snack, you’ll save 200 to 600 calories a day doing this.

koshernosh

2. Don’t drink your calories.

A little coffee or tea is one thing. But soda, shakes, iced coffee drinks, juices and energy drinks are overflowing with calories, which you don’t want, right? Don’t waste precious caloric intake on liquids that don’t fill you up.

3. Absolutely no drive-through or delivery food.

McDonald’s likes to run those “Mommy and me” ads that show slender young Mommy eating salad while her ringlet-bedecked tutu-wearing darling is busy dipping apples into some sweet sap. Please. This stuff is generally more marketing than meaningful, so read the ingredients and avoid anything sweet or fried. Best to stick to fresher fare.

tutu

4. Move it!

You don’t have to become a gym rat. You don’t have to sign up for the local 10K. But you need to move. Simply put, any movement that is more than you currently do is going to be effective. If you don’t ever work out, walking around the neighborhood for 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week is going to start having an impact after just two weeks. If you work out once in a while, step it up with a weekly weight session, a longer run, or some quality time with the treadmill. Do whatever you like – maybe you have a real problem with the layer of dust that’s accumulated on all the baseboards and you want to scrub them clean. That’s a workout. Maybe you like to dance for the mailman. That’s questionable, but it’s a workout just the same. No one’s judging – just move, Apples! Every day. Whether it’s a little or a lot, just do it.

5. Get addicted to feeling good.

Things that are healthy are going to make you feel good – it just takes a little longer. Instant gratification is just that – instant. Nachos are great until the heartburn hits, right?

You know your particular weaknesses. However, this isn’t about being perfect or beating yourself up. Everyone likes an instant payoff – we’re humans. But try the ten-minute trick (easy: just wait 10) next time a craving or a lazy mood hits – and push through those ten minutes. Think about what will make you feel good long term, not short term. Give yourself an extra moment or ten to start a new craving – health. Just wait ten minutes.

clock

6. Drink More Water.

We don’t necessarily buy into the whole 10-glasses-a-day rule. We’re just not that militant. Hey, if you’re thirsty, drink something. If you’re not, don’t worry about it! You know that myth that goes something like: “By the time you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated”? Yeah, well, it’s a myth. Dogs and cats only drink when they are thirsty. Are they perpetually dehydrated? And as long as you replenish yourself as soon as you do start to get dehydrated, what’s the big disaster?

But the title of point 6 is Drink More Water. We digress. If you have trouble with controlling your portions, or if you tend to crave high-calorie, salty snacks, try drinking a big glass of water whenever a craving hits. This can help you shed a pound a week, easy!

7. Join a sport or group activity.

There is literally something for everyone in almost every community – whether you’re young and active or golden and gracious. And if there isn’t a physical activity to suit your tastes, why not start one in the community? Even one session a week of a sport or activity can go a long way to get you fit over the course of several months – and when you’re having fun, you’ll forget all about the workout part. One of our Worker Bees joined a hiking class and was amazed that just two weekly hikes whipped her into great shape after only three months. The social interaction is also healthy for your brain, which contributes to general fitness far more than you might realize.

hoops

8. Focus your activities around activities and games, not just food or drinking.

A lot of social gatherings revolve around food, beer, and hanging out. That’s great, and it’s an important part of being emotionally healthy, but try to mix it up a little. Maintain a variety of relationships so some activities are physical, some are food-based (edible sounds a little…strange…), and so on. This is really healthy for your emotional well-being and your body. And that produces a nice little synergistic effect: when you are less stressed out and enjoying variety, guess what? Your body chemistry hits a better balance, cortisol drops, and your system stops clinging to fat for dear life. So bust that stress, Apples!

9. Find a Way to Unhook.

This might mean literally taking the phone off the hook. A lot of us are on-the-go from the time we get up until we hit the pillow at night. This is stressful, unhealthy and a great way to be fat and unhappy (it’s true!). Be a little bit selfish and find some time to pray, meditate, take a hike, or soak in the tub. Find a little time every day to unwind – just 20 minutes will make a huge difference in your health over the long-term. Just stop. Breathe. Relax. Feel how strong your body is? A relaxed body is a happy, strong body. You’ll get more out of your workout now (because we know you are moving it as instructed in step 4).

bath

10. Report Back!

Tell us what your goals are. We will help you! We’ll check in on you. We’ll even nag you. So keep us in the loop (just click on Ask Anything up there to the right of Mark’s big blond head).

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

15 Jan

Get Your Buzz On

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

1) Why aren’t there teenage carrots?

Oh yeah, because they’d be unwashed, spoiled rotten and absolutely refuse to participate in any recipe.

carrots

2) Um, gross.

Thanks again, FDA. You guys continue to inspire. Who needs strict slaughterhouse standards when you can just spray your meat clean?

spraycan

3) Skinny Fat

It’s what we’ve been saying all along. Skinny can still be fat. This study reveals that being thin but having a high percentage of body fat causes inflammation and all the problems that go with it. It’s actually better to be a little bigger, but really fit, than it is to be stick-thin but as strong as a noodle. There’s an actual medical term for it: “normal-weight obese”. Check out the article for all the details, and check out tomorrow’s Tuesday 10 for ways to get super-fit in no time.

4) Med McNugget?

We’re bothered, disturbed, and just generally in a big hot fuss over the ethical and health implications of using chickens to manufacture drugs. Doesn’t anyone stop and ask: wait, are we supposed to be doing this? Why don’t we just prevent health problems before they start and let the chickens stick to their own egg-laying pursuits? When you’re living in a world where people are so unhealthy even the chickens have to get involved, it’s time to change. Besides, the whole “Which Came First?” chicken-or-the-egg riddle was so fun. Chicken-or-the-pill, on the other hand, is just stupid.
chickenfactory

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