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

Mark's Daily Apple

28 May

Sensible Vices: Round 2

Sensible VicesWhat can we say? We love our vices: those delightful, scrumptious, indulgent little morsels of gratifying transgression. O.K., this isn’t really how we look at it, but it’s kind of fun (and relatively harmless) to linger for a moment in imagined decadence.

In reality, our vices are simply healthy pleasures, satisfying and rather sensible indulgences. More Tom Hanks than Steve McQueen. More Jane Austen than Candace Bushnell. (Whatever floats your boat – you get our meaning.) The point is, these are vices that come without the guilt. What a deal! 100% satisfaction with no self-imposed penitence. Sign us up!

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27 May

10 Primal Plyos for the Upper Body

As a follow-up to last week’s 10 Primal Plyos to Make You Fitter, Faster, Stronger that focused on the lower body, we present 10 explosive exercises for your upper body. Thanks to reader dusty for the suggestion!

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26 May

Dear Mark: Primal Blueprint for Both Men and Women?

Exercises for WomenIn last week’s guest post on muscle building, reader Charlotte raised the issue of gender differences in exercise benefits. Are men and women the same when it comes to the effects of cardiovascular exercise? What about the most effective ways to burn fat? These were just a few questions that got the comment board going full throttle. Thanks to Charlotte and everyone who contributed their expertise and experience. (It’s what I love about doing MDA!)

So, what about the question of gender? Let me first say that the Primal Blueprint is fully intended for and applicable to both men and women. Sure, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat and tend to carry it in places where it’s not as readily burned as abdominal fat. It’s true, also, that our relative hormones levels have some influence on our body’s use of fat for fuel, our resting metabolism, and our sensitivity to other hormones key to exercise response. But these gender-based differences have been found to be relatively modest. And ultimately, we are not necessarily trying to be body-builders or runway models, but simply trying to find that mix of diet and exercise that achieves the healthiest levels of low body fat and balanced, useful and well-sculpted muscles for each or our unique bodies.

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25 May

Not Enough B-6?

BResearchers from Tufts University have found that people may not be getting enough vitamin B-6 with the current Recommended Daily Allowance of 2 milligrams. And that goes double for certain groups.

Vitamin B-6 plays an integral role in the formation of red blood cells, regulation of blood glucose, digestion of protein, and the function of the immune and nervous systems. The researchers tested plasma pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP) levels as the primary measure of B6 status.

Corresponding author Morris and colleagues studied 7,822 blood samples of men and women ages one-year and older collected from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Vitamin B6 inadequacy was defined as a plasma PLP concentration less than 20 nmol/L. To the authors’ knowledge, the current study is the first large scale study to use plasma PLP concentrations to evaluate vitamin B6 status in free-living people of all ages. The investigators were also able to consider whether the current RDA guaranteed adequate vitamin B6 status because study participants were questioned about supplement use and two days’ worth of food intake. … Eleven percent of supplement users and nearly a quarter of non-users demonstrated plasma PLP blood levels of less than 20 nmol/L.

via Science Daily

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24 May

Fasting May Stave Off Jet Lag

Plane FoodIf you’ve ever taken an intercontinental flight – or heck, jetted from coast to coast – chances are you’re probably no stranger to jet lag. Now, new research from Harvard University suggests that simply changing your meal times can help speed your adjustment to a new time zone.

When we discuss jet lag, what we’re really discussing is an interruption in the body’s circadian rhythm, that is, the internal master clock that governs our sleeping patterns as well as the precise timing of certain hormone secretions, brain wave patterns, and cellular repair and regeneration. Disruptions to this critical clock – either through frequent travel or shift work – can result in sleep disturbances and reductions in mental acuity in its mildest form, but is also thought to contribute to depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.

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