Sceptically Fit


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.


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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