Core strength – everyone is talking about it. Core is just a buzz word for your midsection, and it’s very important to maximize your core health. A healthy, strong core is the “core” of good health.
A few key steps:
- You must shed that spare tire to naturally improve core health (cut out that sugar, folks).
- Get both resistance and aerobic activity several times a week.
- Do one or two torso-focused exercise sessions a week. The midsection doesn’t need much time: 10 or 15 minutes is enough.
- Maintain good posture.
- Implement some stretching and balance exercises into your workouts.
Trainer Russ Suchala and I were discussing this “core” topic the other day – here’s why you must take care of your core if you want good health:
“Training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, and gives you a great-looking lean midsection.
Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.
Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute drive to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute drive home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.
The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.
Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement. A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.
Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.
Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?
Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash?”
Thanks, Russ. Apples, stick around for more fitness tips in future posts. It doesn’t take much to improve your health and physique – just commitment to action. As I always say, putting on the sneakers is 90% of the battle.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
You won’t want to miss today’s health news, Apples – the world of health just got more interesting! There’s plenty of fascinating controversy in the works…
1) Big Puff Ain’t Happy
Which makes the gang here at Mark’s Daily Apple absolutely…elated!
After hanging out for years in cigar-smoke-filled rooms (okay, maybe not), a bipartisan bill that would allow the government to step in when Big Puff hurts people may finally make it to the presidential desk. Even tobacco-growing states have put their support behind the bill, which would stop the tobacco industry from marketing to children, making misleading claims about “low-tar” and “light” tobacco products, and adding harmful chemicals. Lawmakers tried to get a similar bill passed back in 2004, but you can guess what happened there. We’ll keep you posted on this bill’s progress.
Stick around the orchard, kids, because next Tuesday’s 10 will feature ways to quit smoking. If you’re curious and just. can’t. wait. till then, head on over to Ririan Project in the meantime for ways to quit the sticks.
Photo courtesy Audrey Jacometti.
2) What’s Best for Your Little Guppy?
A big study says mothers ought to consume fish during pregnancy to optimize baby’s development (all those beneficial fats in fish are excellent for fetal brain development). But Uncle Sam says the opposite, citing concerns about mercury’s impact on ‘nates.
In fact, there’s a growing movement questioning the relationship between mercury and autism (you no doubt remember the news from last week that rates of autism have skyrocketed from virtually…well, none…before 1940, to 1 in 150 kids today). We’ll bring you more news as it develops. In the meantime, the wise thing for expecting moms to do: supplement with purified fish oil, or choose cold-water fish – it’s far safer than warm-water fishes, which are more likely to be contaminated with metals and pollutants.
Thanks to Tiffany Johnson for the photo!
3) The Dumbest Idea, Possibly Ever
Scientists are trying to create cows that can’t get mad cow. Here’s an idea: clean up the poop and stop feeding cows – cud-chewing ruminants – animal protein! This is a real-world example of digging a hole to put in a ladder to wash the basement windows. Who’s paying these genii? We’re gonna find out.
Web It Out:
The Health Ranger rides again. Er, writes. This time, a disturbingly logical argument for eating cow brains (the entire point of the article ultimately advocates avoiding the consumption of flesh). Whether you’re for vegetarianism, love steak, or have settled on some place in between, this is the kind of highly provocative and interesting writing that is important to read if you’re someone who wants to think, not follow. Think you can trust mainstream health wisdom? Think again.
Mark is totally comfortable with animal protein, provided it’s organic, lean and unprocessed (check out his new page on vegetarians way up yonder). But we think it’s important for everyone to arrive at their own health decisions only after careful research and consideration. Although a lot of mainstream health experts genuinely believe you are incapable of arriving at your own smart health decisions, our answer to that is: oh yeah, and whose idea was it to breed mad-cow-resistant cows instead of simply feeding a vegetarian species vegetarian feed?
Also, health information shouldn’t be boring or stale, so it’s our goal to annoy the heck out of purveyors of the status quo – down to every last mainstream milksop. Face it, bees are annoying.
The popularity of blogging and social-networking has reached an all time high and people are beginning to realize that these tools can be applied to personal healthcare. It seems like every day another site pops up that is designed to bring people together and help them achieve health and well-being. We have brought you a number of health sites with a social-networking bent in the past like OrganizedWisdom, Daily Plate, and Traineo, but we can hardly keep up with the surge!
Here are our latest favorites:
Revolution Health: Chairman Steve Case’s (co-founder of AOL) rally call for the site is ‘Let’s revolutionize health care!’ We are right there with you on this one Steve. Personal profile pages, dozens of health and fitness tools, help finding the best doctors and insurance plans, info on medical conditions and treatments. This site aims to have it all and does a pretty bang up job. It is still under construction, but offers a thorough preview in the meantime.
Daily Strength: Here you can keep a wellness journal, make friends and share advice and personal stories, and join support groups. This site is not nearly as comprehensive as Revolution Health, and is also in a preview stage, but is definitely worth a look.
Sermo: This site is ‘by physicians, for physicians’ so it won’t apply to everyone, but the objective is so laudable it is well worth the mention. Additionally, if their goals are achieved we all win by receiving better healthcare from more informed physicians.
Sermo is a forum for healthcare providers to collaborate on the latest clinical findings and discuss their experience from their daily practice. This collective knowledge can then be used to apply more accurate and precise diagnoses to patients. All physicians out there should be using this resource.
The next three sites provide communities and support for specific groups of people: dLife for those managing a life with diabetes; Real Mental Health for those dealing with depression, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions; The Wellness Community which provides support and education for those affected by cancer. The format, design and philosophy may change slightly from site to site, but they all have a few things in common. They challenge us to be the masters of our own health destinies. They encourage us to arm ourselves to the hilt with the latest health information, so we can make informed decisions. And they want to see us connect with one another to share our personal experiences and advice. As you well know, these are just a few of the goals found here at Mark’s Daily Apple.
The social-networking revolution for healthcare is no longer on its way. It is here! We are happy to be at the forefront of this change – bringing useful, humorous, enjoyable, and easy-to-digest health information to all. Viva La Revolución!
Thanks to Diabetes Mine for sharing great new Web 2.0 health information.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
We’re going to preface today’s mix with a quick mention of the hot headlines. Yes, in the UK, Viagra is going OTC for Valentine’s Day. Yes, once again, Spain has a problem with skinny models (eat some paella, already). And yes, HPV vaccines for children are still causing a big ruckus.
Now that we got that out of the way, there were also some really important discoveries reported today, and they’re not even boring. They’re just not about Kate Moss. They’re about you!
Here’s the best of it, because you probably won’t see it on the news tonight:
1) Yes, but what causes diabetes?
Huge news: scientists have identified four genes which predispose people to developing type-2 diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus, also known as the scourge of modern society, also known as unnecessary in the majority of cases).
Mark believes adamantly in fighting diabetes through lifestyle choices. So many cases of diabetes can be prevented or mitigated with healthier choices – it’s truly a tragedy that this epidemic is striking so many (particularly children) because exercise and healthier eating habits, among other factors, can undo much of the current problem. Most cases of diabetes (about 3/4) are not type 1, but type 2. Though type 2 can’t always be prevented, diabetics who take appropriate healthy measures almost always see their symptoms relieved – even eliminated.
(There’s also a tragic socioeconomic dimension to diabetes – the lack of access to quality food, good medical care and education all contribute. We’d like to see a charity that helps educate disadvantaged families about inexpensive healthy food options and preventive health measures and provides solutions. Do you know of one?)
What this study reveals is not that there is a genetic cause for type 2 – rather, with 70% accuracy, scientists can determine who is likely to develop type 2. This has huge implications for preventive treatment. How great would it be to take a test that determines if you happen to be at a higher risk for diabetes? If so, people could take proactive lifestyle measures to avoid the disease. Read about it.
2) Drool, no extra charge
Those Mediterranean homeys just don’t stop. First, it’s olive oil. Then it’s wine. Next it’s antioxidants. Then fish. Now, scientists think the naps are why Italians, Greeks and other Southern European nations have lower rates of heart disease. If companies can’t or won’t provide health care and daycare, we’re not sure if you should hold out hope for nap time, but it sounds pretty healthy!
3) The power of intention
Everyone’s in a big hot fuss over The Secret these days. Bend your mind a little further: here’s some fascinating brain news, just out today, about the power of intention. Muy interesante!
4) We are really, really fat
74% of Americans are overweight. This creates huge (yeah, yeah) economic and social burdens. Not to mention it makes us live in sheer misery. Who feels sexy, has energy or wants to enjoy activities (or can, for that matter) when one’s very body is an encumbrance? The emotional, mental and social tolls are staggering. Just let it sink in for a minute.
- Ever felt embarrassed in a bathing suit?
- Felt pressure to look a certain way?
- Had a hard time running up a flight of stairs?
- Needed medication to address health problems that are a result of excess weight?
- Wished you had more sexual stamina and drive?
- Felt drained, tired and stressed?
- Suffered from anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, sleep apnea?
- Felt bad about yourself?
These are all problems that have a solution. Truly, they do. Isn’t that great news? Best of all, the solutions are free. They are easy to learn about and implement. You’ve probably heard the opposite – but it doesn’t take trainers, money, gyms and expensive food to be healthy and maintain a good weight. Those things are nice, and they help, but they aren’t necessary. An overhaul is great, but just four or five consistently-applied changes can radically change your health.
We want people to be healthy and happy. We don’t want to be in the top 10 fat countries, which we are. Who is fatter? Well, hardly anyone, but Kuwait and Samoa are slightly bigger. Slightly. We’re Americans, dammit! We have money, optimism, and we invented the internet (sorry, Al), which is loaded with health help. Plus, we have great teeth. Why are we so unhealthy and overweight? That doesn’t sound like something America should be leading in, does it?
You can’t change everyone, but you do have the power to change your own health. If you’re someone who needs to and wants to, we hope you’ll take heart and begin the steps necessary to do it. Have faith! There is a whole world of support online – free. Stick around. Learn. Act. Make the first click.
“Soon we’ll be away from here, step on the gas and wipe that tear away. One sweet dream came true today.” – The Beatles
From one choice a new life is born.
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