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

Mark's Daily Apple

6 Dec

New Findings: The Link Between Cancer and Exercise

Lance Armstrong has always been seen as the exception, rather than the rule. Conventional wisdom told us that he succeeded in spite of his cancer; that exercise is the realm of the healthy, rather than the ill. And it is that popular image of the bedridden, languishing cancer patient so prevalent in movies, media and culture that informed our reaction to Armstrong’s resurgence. How the hell was a guy with debilitating cancer able to repeatedly succeed on the world’s stage – in one of its most grueling athletic feats? Well, a recent spate of research (probably, in some small way, influenced or inspired by his Tour wins) into the relationship between cancer and exercise suggests that Lance Armstrong’s recovery may have actually been aided by his training regimen.

Keep reading…

5 Dec

Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet

Were you angered by traffic this morning or awakened abruptly? Have you been feeling blue with the onset of winter or charged by the vigor of the holiday season? Would you describe your mood lately as generally optimistic and happy? Or are you plagued by an enigmatic anxiety or erratic energy? Has depression been a problem for you? Do you find yourself easily annoyed or frustrated?

We were as surprised as anyone when we read the latest study following the seeming success of so-called “mood eating” and its physiological response. The research, a collaborative endeavor of the Institute of Nutrition and Physiological Function and the Center for Complementary Nutrition Therapy, followed 17 participants for 5 weeks. Dr. Stephen Quatschen, head of the study, says subjects experienced emotional release and corresponding physiological changes from particular foods. It seems Quatschen and his associates have identified varieties of foods that appear to temporarily counter or enhance several common emotional moods. Food characteristics such as texture, smell, shape and color strongly figured into subjects’ responses.

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4 Dec

Cowpooling: Share a Side

cowpoolingYou grow much of your own produce, visit your local farmers’ markets for the foods that you can’t grow yourself and have even started participating in a food co-op, but you’re still left high and dry when it comes to purchasing a decent steak.

Enter Cowpooling, the latest buzz term for the practice under which a group of neighbors team up to purchase a whole cow from a local farm. The cow is then butchered to order and the various cuts divvied up among the neighbors (who presumably aren’t going to argue over who gets the last T-bone!)

But, beyond the nifty name (seriously, cowpooling? Genius!) how exactly is it any different to good ol’ fashioned cow-sharing? Well, typically when you sign up for a cow-share, you’re signing up to have access to the cow’s fresh raw milk as opposed to, well, the actual cow. In addition, when you’re participating in a cowshare, you generally have to pay for a portion of the cow’s upkeep, usually in the form of a holding fee to the farmer.

Keep reading…

3 Dec

Clubbells

As you know by now, inefficient equipment can lead to great workouts. It’s why we prefer free weights to machines, and it’s why kettlebells, slosh tubes, and sandbags have gotten so much attention from us recently. The more work the equipment does for you, whether it’s a bench press machine keeping your press perfectly aligned or even a symmetrical dumbbell with perfect balance, the less work you’re actually performing. And a workout’s effectiveness depends exactly on that: the amount of work performed. Using symmetrical free weights like a barbell or a dumbbell is great and allows you to focus purely on moving tons of weight (a form of work); using machines that guide and assist you is actually counterproductive (don’t be a slacker) and ineffective.

Keep reading…

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