The results of a UK study on depression and exercise show that it’s possible that exercise is as effective for treating depression as therapy or medication. The researchers caution, of course, that better studies need to be done to come to a conclusion.
But cool! Maybe that’s one of the reasons we get depressed in the winter (I was not going to the gym during the Endless Winter this year, that’s for damn sure). Medical News Today goes on to review the chemical reasons that exercise helps with depression: It increases our levels of a protein called PCG-1a1 that purges substances from the body that are harmful to our mental health, and also helps our enzymes to speed up the conversion of a stress-linked metabolite called kynurenine into kynurenic acid. Keep reading »
Gladys Misiewicz of Grand Rapids, Michigan almost never goes a day without exercise. She and 16 other residents of Villa Maria Retirement Community, where she lives, are training for a 5K — her very first! At age 100, she credits her long life with years of focus on activity and nutrition, and growing up without a car during the Great Depression. A fast walker who’s light on her feet, Gladys gets up at 4:30 every morning and attends every fitness class offered at the retirement home. When asked about her tai chi classes by local news station WZZM 13, Gladys says, “Guess how many mornings a week I go? Always.” Keep reading »
In March, I signed up for a 5k called Bacon Chase that took place in June (the lure being that you got unlimited bacon at the end). I figured by the time it rolled around, I’d be ready for it. So, of course, I proceeded to not prepare at all and then run it anyway to get my money’s worth — and I did OK! I managed not to stop running the whole time, and I ran at my normal 12:00 pace.
What happened next is what’s kind of messed in the head: I thought, OK, now I’m gonna do a 10k. The next day I thought, Oh, fuck it all, I’m doing the marathon. Yes, I have poor impulse control and I self-aggrandize about my capabilities. But it’s turned out all right. I was able to get registered on the Advocate Hospitals charity team to raise money for one of their city-based behavioral health centers (they serve the underserved and they need it, please donate!), so far I’ve stuck pretty well to the plan, and to my complete and utter surprise it is no longer a big deal for me to run 10 miles in a day anymore.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during my marathon training so far… Keep reading »
Yoga already has lots of known benefits, like better posture, flexibility and physical health, but now we can add something new to the list: increased brain function. According to new research through the University of Illinois, practicing hatha yoga three times a week helps you think more clearly, especially compared to stretching or toning exercises. The study examined a group of 100 people aged 55-79, and found that the 61 of them who practiced hatha yoga at least three times a week for eight weeks showed major improvement in ability to recall information, mental flexibility, and task-switching. The members of the group who did stretching and toning exercises for eight weeks instead of yoga showed no significant change in their cognitive abilities. The researchers controlled for other factors like gender, age or other demographic circumstances, so it’s pretty clear that yoga is the direct cause of the improvements. Keep reading »
An upcoming bracelet and app called the Pavlok will help you change your habits by giving you an electric shock when you fail at them. You get to choose the habit you’d like to work on, like spending too much time on the internet, going to the gym, losing hard-earned cash, or getting up at a certain time in the morning. Then you get to set a consequence to hold yourself accountable, which can range from Pavlok posting embarrassing stuff on your on Facebook wall, vibrations from your bracelet, losing hard-earned cash, or even a 340V electric shock. As the Pavlok’s promotional video says, there are so many self-improvement devices on the market that don’t really work, so “what if we get a device that changes behavior?”
Spoiler alert: the other products didn’t work because people change their own behavior. Keep reading »
Yoga pants just got even comfier — now you can buy a pair with built-in underwear. Julie Sygiel of the Dear Kate lingerie line got so sick of worrying about panty lines, chafing and period mishaps that she created a line of yoga pants that allow women the ”freedom to go commando.” When one of Sygiel’s friends suggested she try exercising without underwear, she loved how much more, well, uninhibited she felt. Unfortunately, she realized pretty quickly it wasn’t gonna fly with her super thin leggings in yoga class, which is when she set out to create her own.
The pants have a built-in panty liner made from a breathable fabric called “Underlux” that takes the place of regular underwear. They also have magic seams inside that somehow prevent any accidental reveals, and are made in the USA. Keep reading »