Sceptically Fit


Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:36

The best piece of health-related news in the last month or so: The case for Drinking as much Coffee as you want.

“What I tell patients is, if you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can,” says Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. He’s even developed a metric for monitoring your dosage: If you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on your last cup of the day. From there, he says, “If you drink that much, it’s not going to do you any harm, and it might actually help you. A lot.”

Officially, the American Medical Association recommends conservatively that “moderate tea or coffee drinking likely has no negative effect on health, as long as you live an otherwise healthy lifestyle.” That is a lackluster endorsement in light of so much recent glowing research. Not only have most of coffee’s purported ill effects been disproven — the most recent review fails to link it the development of hypertension — but we have so, so much information about its benefits. We believe they extend from preventing Alzheimer’s disease to protecting the liver. What we know goes beyond small-scale studies or limited observations. The past couple of years have seen findings, that, taken together, suggest that we should embrace coffee for reasons beyond the benefits of caffeine, and that we might go so far as to consider it a nutrient.

A look at how naturopathy attempts to ‘treat’ prostate cancer – unsurprisingly the advice is at best effective, at worst actively harmful…

The benefits of meditating – five minutes is all it takes.

More evidence that exercise is essential for protecting the mind: exercise linked to lower brain shrinkage when ageing.

Women should lift weights – here’s why and how to do it. Weak fingers holding you back? How about some ‘round the worlds‘ to help with those lifts?

A good shoulder and hip mobility workout. And the importance of planks for hip mobility.


Lots of Links

Filed under: Exercise, Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 19:29

Stress can make you fat. Should we just sleep more? Is meditation the answer?

A look at the idea of sustainable agriculture and the role of subsidies. Another look at the question of is Paleo sustainable?

British tastes in breakfast cereal is moving away from highly processed and sugary. Can we move away from cereal altogether? Mark offers some conversational rebuttals that may come in handy when explaining you don’t eat grains.

A further look at the role of inflammation and mood disorders.

A look at the myths and pseudoscience in the cosmetic industry.

I don’t expect to win, yes its just about taking part and yes, races are just more fun.

Caitlin talks about why fit is a feminist issue:

But when you’ve internalized the social messages that you are weak because you are a woman, well, just existing in the world becomes a lot harder than it needs to be.  And when you pursue fitness simply so you can fit a new definition of “sexy,” you are continuing to buy into a system of thought that says women’s highest value lies in how they look to others.

I think it is critical that we feminists engage with fitness and athletics in a way that takes these things seriously and recognizes their potential to change lives for the better.  It doesn’t have to be about hating yourself and your body, nor does it have to be about embracing fascist beauty standards.  It can also be about loving your body and wanting to take the best possible care of yourself.  It can also be about rejecting the social equation that says to be a woman is to be weak and in need of protection.  It can be about redefining yourself as a creature of strength and power.


Lots of Links

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:00

A lot of people have given up drinking alcohol as part of a January detox, but maybe the better option is to drink smarter and choose paleo friendly options.

Here’s another guide to meditation for those looking for a more grounded 2012. Maybe I’m biased, but in two different countries and many different centres I’m yet to come across a yoga practice that seemed to work with my body instead of just try for the pose, so this article came as no surprise.

Does your new year commitment to a paleo diet mean you’re explaining the why’s over and over again? Dr Terry Wahls talks about how the paleo diet means protecting your mitochondria. One of the key things that will come up when trying to explain a healthy primal/paleo diet is preventing inflammation. Mark looks at just what inflammation means for the body.  Unfortunately, Paleo isn’t a cure-all for everyone – Melissa talks about how she had to look further than a general paleo diet to resolve her IBS.

Ignoring the fat-fear-mongering, seems veggie burgers are the one time to avoid a high protein count – to avoid processed soy and actually get vegetables!

Seth takes a look at the value of the  epidemiological method. And Silverhydra asks does masturbation lower testosterone levels?


Taking Time Out

Filed under: Health and Nutrition — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 12:15

More evidence that meditation has a real tangible benefit. I’ve been contemplating bringing meditation into my routine for a while now, but with the usual procrastinating type excuses I have yet to find time. This is one more reason to try to.

Both before and after the 5 week period, everyone took part in a brief 15 minutes of attempted focused attention meditation. They were told: “relax with your eyes closed, and focus on the flow of your breath at the tip of your nose; if a random thought arises, acknowledge the thought and then simply let it go by gently bringing your attention back to the flow of your breath.” While they meditated, people wore a cap full of electrodes, creating a picture of their brain activity.

Billions of neurons in the human brain communicate by generating small electro-chemical signals. When probes from an instrument that measures electrical energy are placed near a brain cell, a voltage change can be registered whenever the neuron is active. These electrical potentials are relatively small and cannot be monitored individually in humans without actually opening the head – at least not yet. But, because neighboring neurons frequently are active close together in time, the behavior of a group of neurons can be measured with electrodes placed on the scalp.

People in the meditation group could attend up to nine, 30-minute meditation instruction sessions across a five week period. In actuality, they attended a little under 7 instruction sessions, averaging 5 hours and 16 minutes of training in total.

Even with this small amount of practice, the researchers found big differences in brain functioning. Specifically, meditation training seemed to shift activity in the frontal regions of the brain towards a pattern indicative of greater positive, approach-oriented emotional states.

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