You can get fit by following the Rule of 5.
- Craving something unhealthy? Drink a big glass of water and wait five minutes.
- Don’t feel like working out? Just do it for five minutes (once you start, it’s easy to keep going).
- Feel hungry all the time, even after you’ve eaten? Eat half your plate, then wait five minutes. Your brain will register that you’ve eaten and you’ll be able to cut down on those monster portions (and that monster in your stomach).
- Feeling stressed? Breathe deeply – in through your nose, out through your mouth – for five minutes. I promise, you’ll feel so deliriously happy by the end of it, you’ll think you swallowed helium or possibly even something illegal. This breathing exercise is also terrific for your immune system and brain.
- Just about any problem, stress, craving or issue can be resolved if you simply wait five minutes. Follow the rule of five and see if you don’t feel better, fast.
Maybe it’s only Monday morning traffic, but I’m noticing people become just a little more aggressive behind the shield of their cars. It’s as if driving in a car grants us sudden power and anonymity – and a license to be rude. Road rage concerns me, not only because of the safety issues, but because it’s a sign to me that people aren’t venting their bottled-up anger properly. It’s not a good thing when anger is the instinctive reaction as soon as there’s no perceived threat or social expectation.
My thought? It’s just so much easier to let things go. It really does feel better to forgive, shrug it off, and laugh. Cars don’t make us anonymous – just the opposite – they make our true character transparent. Do your part to help people simmer down when they’re on the road – let’s set an example. Feeling generosity to others is an important part of being healthy. (And so is venting frustration properly – exercise, meditation, prayer, talking with friends, and “chill out” time are all ways to stay emotionally healthy.)
Between bird flu, Rhode Island school closures, conjoined children, the new WHO director, an ethical debate about a disabled daughter, and the ruckus over human-animal DNA splicing, it’s been quite a controversial and bizarre week in the world of science and health.
Frankly, I’ll leave these stories to Google and all the pundits chomping at the 5 o’clock Friday bit. If you’re looking for a little bit of a breather from all this, the Bees have gone hunting for the latest study findings in the field of health, and here’s the best of the catch:
1 – My favorite kind of study: one that’s randomized, placebo-controlled, and long-term (in this case, nearly 7 years!). The findings reveal that supplementing with zinc helps fight aging and age-related diseases, macular degeneration, and oxidation. It’s one of the better-designed studies I’ve seen on zinc. Although, quick note – long-term supplementation with zinc needs to be kept at a fairly low dosage and quality source such as found here. Here is the American Journal of Ophthalmology Clickativity for those who want the nitty-gritty.
2 – A researcher named Bruce. Now here’s a guy I like. He writes a terrific essay on the need for particular nutrients to mitigate certain effects of aging, cancer risk, and cellular function, and is upfront about his conflict of interest (he’s part of a scientific advisory board involved in the licensing of a supplement that supports mitochondria). Nevertheless, he doesn’t profit, his findings are spot-on, and I appreciate the academic honesty. That’s more than can be said for a lot of conflicts of interest in the medical industry that get hushed.
We’ll be getting into ATP, stress, oxidation and mitochondria in the future to help you understand why our bodies age and weaken the way they do, and what can be done about it (first tip: take a potent multivitamin with antioxidants, and lay off the sugar). But Bruce’s summary is worth perusing for a quick minute. The more you can do to stop oxidation at the cellular level, the better your health will be in myriad ways: wrinkling and aging, energy, immunity, cognition, disease prevention, liver function, nervous system function, cardiovascular health, and so on. There is a common component to many diseases, illnesses and dysfunctions of the body – it’s cell damage.
3 – Exercise improves life in your golden years. A study from the Journal of Gerontology highlights the critical need for folks over 60 to continue building their strength through exercise. Aging is essentially a process of tissue wasting away – hair, organs, vital fats, muscle and bone tissue, and even brain tissue. Exercise, particularly strength training, offsets this process to the extent that is possible. Living long is great – but I’m interested in living well, too. I’m sure you are as well. Exercise later in life is also critical for maintaining confidence, emotional happiness, and a sense of security – all important things for everybody but especially seniors. Medline Plus, a public service resource, summarizes the study nicely and offers some fitness tips. It also stresses the importance of a structured workout regimen: we humans do thrive on just a little bit of routine.
Here’s an interesting fact: complaining, thinking negative thoughts and just having a generally grumpy mindset is bad for your back. In fact, a new study says all kinds of aches and pains can be alleviated by an attitude shift. Being cheerful really does keep you healthy.
Of course, they are trees.
Sara here, with a few extra holiday tips:
- Consider having your holiday meal delivered from a nice restaurant. No one will know. Really. And you can always bribe that little nephew who figures it out. (There’s always one, isn’t there?)
- Hire a maid service from one of those quick-n-cheap housekeeping companies. Relatives can pitch a few dollars in if they want, but a one-time basic cleaning after the big day is surprisingly inexpensive. And it might be better than a massage.
- Enlist the children to complete forced labor. It builds character. As soon as they go outside to hurl snowballs and/or smaller cousins at each other, they’ll forget all about having to take out the trash.
- Take the phone off the hook after 8 p.m.
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