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

Archive for the ‘ Stress ’ Category

14 Oct

How to Increase Your Heart Rate Variability

Last week, I introduced the concept of heart rate variability – the variation of heart beat to beat intervals. Far from the metronome we might assume it to be, the healthiest heart beat follows a fractal pattern, with varying lengths of time separating each pulse. A higher heart rate variability (HRV) suggests a relaxed, low-stress physiological […]

13 Oct

Dear Mark: Sleep Deprivation as Hormesis, Sweet Cravings, CrossFit, and More

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter that’s really closer to a five-parter. First are a couple of questions from Joe, who first wonders about the hormetic benefits of acute sleep deprivation (are there any?) and then asks how he can beat a sweet tooth he suspects is brought on by lack […]

1 Oct

16 Ways Green Space Improves Your Life

Most people like being surrounded by nature. Even if it’s just a walk through a suburban city park or puttering about in a backyard garden, we’re drawn to green spaces filled with grass, trees, and leafy vegetation. They make us feel better. But the way we describe the effects of green space is all very […]

26 Aug

The High Cost of Commuting

Between gas, car maintenance, bus fare, and train tickets, commuting can get expensive. Driving a mile in the US costs around $0.55, according to the IRS, and some estimates (PDF) even peg this country’s working poor as spending close to 10% of their income on commuting. Financial experts suggest that a one way commute of 20 miles […]

27 May

7 Nighttime Rituals to Help You Unwind, Relax, and Chill Out (That Don’t Involve Alcohol)

Last week, I shared my evolving relationship with alcohol. I’m off it, basically. A big change has been at night; a glass or two of wine with Carrie used to be my nighttime ritual. It would help me unwind from a stressful day, relax and reconnect with my wife, and get me ready for bed. […]

12 May

Dear Mark: Tweaking Sprints for a Stressful Life; Carrie’s Primal Transition

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I answer one question and Carrie answers another. First up is one from Diane, a (full-time) working mother who’s noticed something interesting about her variable response to sprinting: when she’s relaxed and low-stress or on vacation, sprints lean her out; when she’s working and inundated with stress and responsibilities […]

7 Nov

A Beginner’s Guide: Why You Should Practice Meditation and How to Get Started

In response to last week’s “Rethinking Stress” article, a number of readers noted the relevancy of meditation to the insight. Meditation, of course, isn’t something that changes our outer circumstances. It’s an inside job, so to speak. It can change our processing of stress by shifting our relationship to ourselves and to our own cognitive […]

30 Oct

Rethinking Stress: It Could Save Your Life

Think back to the last time you were under stress. What kind of physical symptoms can you recall? Pounding heart. Increased pulse rate. The sensation of blood rushing through your body and brain. A narrowing of focus, your thoughts and gaze centered on the stressor itself; and then, suddenly, you’re scatterbrained. Anxiety. Your stomach a […]

14 Oct

Dear Mark: Bodyweight or Barbells, Restaurant Traps, Primal Egg Coffee Stability, and Post-Exercise Insomnia

Today’s Dear Mark is a four-parter with some fantastic questions (and passable answers, I hope!). First up, I answer a reader question from the comment section of last week’s Barbell Dogma post. Second, I discuss the number one nutritional trap of restaurant foods, and it has nothing to do with grains, sugar, or carbohydrates. After […]

3 Jul

5 Things I Still Struggle With

When it comes to living a healthy, Primal lifestyle, for the most part I’ve got things dialed in. There are very few things, if any, I’d change about my eating plan, my workouts, or my sleep schedule, for example, but there are some areas in which I know I can improve. Some major, some not […]

16 Apr

6 More Tea Ingredients That Can Help You Unwind, Relax and Chill Out

Last week, I made the case for the inclusion of chill-out, relaxing, and otherwise anti-stress teas and herbs, particularly for the stress-wracked among us (and who doesn’t deal with significant amounts of stress?). Several readers on the last post made the comment that, while effective, these tea ingredients don’t necessarily please the palate. I believe […]

9 Apr

6 Tea Ingredients That Can Help You Unwind, Relax and Chill Out

A popular product class is the “sleepy time” tea. These are the teas which purport to help you unwind from a rough day, relax in the midst of exterior (or interior) chaos, and chill out in a state of relatively peaceful bliss. Many of us live in a state of constant stress punctuated by bouts […]

23 Jan

Co-Sleeping: How to Do It Safely

Last week, I broached the topic of co-sleeping. The reception was almost unanimously positive, with plenty of you chiming in with your own c0-sleeping success stories. Before you toss the crib, however, realize that co-sleeping isn’t as simple as flopping down in bed with your baby and drifting off to sleep. Co-sleeping is a healthy, […]

29 Nov

The Physical Toll of Negative Emotions

Living Primally is first and foremost about taking responsibility for your own health. Though we might not be able to control each and every facet of our lives and genetics, we have considerably more power than we think. Diet, exercise, sleep, sun, social connection, and play all figure centrally into our health. (If you’ve been […]

26 Nov

Dear Mark: Workout Break, Raw Milk, Banana Breakfast, Ketosis in Breastfeeding, and Bikram Yoga

In this edition of Dear Mark, I provide rapid fire answers to five of your questions. First, I discuss another situation where the deload week(s) make(s) sense and may even have to be extended: when exercise starts taking away from the quality of your life. Next I explain why for some people raw milk is […]

8 Nov

Hormesis: How Certain Kinds of Stress Can Actually Be Good for You

Why are certain things “good for us”? Why does lifting weights make us stronger? Why does running a mile on a regular basis improve our aerobic conditioning and allow us to improve our times? Why does skipping a meal every now and then increase insulin sensitivity, lower body fat, improve lipid numbers, and generally make […]

13 Jun

How to Work Outside (Even If You’re a Desk Jockey)

Last week, I told you why working outside – at least from time to time – can be helpful, relaxing, and even performance-enhancing. A number of you emailed me directly, or left comments thanking me for the idea. Most people were on board with working outdoors, but mostly in theory, because let’s face it – […]

7 Jun

Why You Should Work Outside

We’ve discussed the “nature-deficit disorder” running rampant throughout contemporary society before. Kids are more likely to control characters in video games who explore vast outdoor worlds (and complain about the graphics “not being realistic enough”) rather than get out and explore the real world themselves (which has excellent graphics, a pretty snazzy physics engine, and […]

22 Mar

Detaching Yourself from the Outcome

When you’re facing 26.2 miles of hard open road with nothing but a pair of Nikes and your own determination to see you through, you get a little attached to the outcome. In fact, the outcome – the finish line, the win, the PR – sustains you. It drives you. Without the promise of relief […]

18 Jan

How Might Inflammation Cause Heart Disease?

Despite its obsessive focus on cholesterol levels as the ultimate arbiter of cardiovascular disease, most of the medical field agrees that plenty of other factors also contribute: tobacco usage, psychosocial stress, activity level, and genetic predispositions. In short, a diverse set of lifestyle and genetic factors are consistently associated with cardiovascular disease. This is accepted […]

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