A common phrase that is readily thrown around is “I work to live, not live to work.” It seems that we are inherently thrown into one of these two categories: not work focused or a workaholic. What’s unfortunate is that it seems our society does not seem to know how to break away from this dichotomy, leading to people putting important activities off during the work week because they are too tired or busy to tend to these things.
The Raptitude Blog addresses some of these issues and what it means to work just for pay and how much that pay will get you. Definitely a fascinating read and as always, important to keep in mind as you put off the things you love to do for the sake of work.
The post can be read here: http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/
On that note, enjoy the long weekend! Hopefully the sunshine holds out and we all get some much needed downtime.
Courtesy Harold’s Planet
It is not uncommon for the general public to believe that being obese and overeating fatty foods is entirely a personal choice. You often hear people say things like “just practice more self-control!” and “I am able to say no to a box of cookies, why can’t you?” The reality for some people though is that while we do make food choices everyday, eating high fat foods can actually change the way you approach eating overall on the neuronal level. This is not easily controlled.
A recent study found that mice that consumed a high fat diet on a regular basis (compared to a normal balanced diet) showed significantly more cell growth in the hypothalamus, a brain region associated with mediating hunger. Furthermore, inhibiting this cell growth using radiation resulted in less consumption of fatty foods and weight gain. This is one small piece of evidence that obesity actually acts on your brain, changing the way you even consume food.
Some evidence suggest that staying cognitively active and strengthening your executive functions (cognitive flexibility, working memory, impulse control) can help you resist foods to potentially fight cravings towards high fat foods. Pilates is a really great option for this, as not only are you being active and counteracting weight gain, but you are also required to engage mentally with the movements you are doing which are certainly challenging to your cognitive functions.
Something to think about!
For the original papers, check out:
Tanycytes of the hypothalamic median eminence form a diet-responsive neurogenic niche - http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v15/n5/full/nn.3079.html
Getting a grip on drinking behavior: training working memory to reduce alcohol abuse. - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21685380
From Seth Godin’s blog:
Just the good parts
“I want to be an actress, but I don’t want to go on auditions.”
“I want to play varsity sports, but I need to be sure I’m going to make the team.”
“It’s important to sell this great new service, but I’m not willing to deal with rejection.”
You don’t get to just do the good parts. Of course. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have chosen this path if it was guaranteed to work every time.
The implication of this might surprise you, though: when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you’ve chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.
The very thing you’re seeking only exists because of the whole. We can’t deny the difficult parts, we have no choice but to embrace them.
Photo credit: Kansas Wetlands Education Centre
Hey lovely readers,
So this upcoming Monday is Earth Day 2013. Woo hoo! Nothing like a whole day devoted to bringing awareness and love to the planet we call home.
Looking for a way to celebrate? Here are some fun ideas:
Check out a garden, aquarium or zoo. Have a look at the unbelievably beautiful things that have grown on this planet. Remember though that some of these animals and plants may be in danger or threatened of becoming extinct. Take a moment to enjoy their beauty and think about how you can encourage protecting them.
Plant something! Start a garden, plant a tree, help a friend plant something. Help bring green and colour to your neighbourhood that is not only good for the eyes and mouth, but also the lungs as plants help filter the air. Not to mention, flowering plants attract bees, which are SUPER important for helping plants pollinate and survive. Help attract bees to your neighbourhood for prettier flowers and happier bee hives.
Look into composting. Many of us have so much food waste that ends up in a landfill. Instead of taking up that space, look into where you can drop off your food waste for composting. The food scraps will in turn be used to help grow things.
Eat local for the week. Now that it is Spring time, the farms of the greater Vancouver area will be providing more delicious goods that don’t have to travel as far. Dedicate next week to supporting local farmers while reducing your carbon footprint. Another way of doing this is taking a week to say no to things that we love that come from afar such as chocolate, coffee, tropical fruit, etc. This may seem annoying, but giving the planet a brief break is better than nothing!
Turn off ALL of your electronics for 1 hour. Also commonly known as Earth hour, turn off everything you own that generates a carbon footprint. Your computers, microwave, idle television, cell phone chargers, EVERYTHING. Take the hour to go out and enjoy a lovely park or just sit at home and chat. This is a really good way to remember that 1) we don’t need these things on all the time, 2) how dependent we can be on these devices, and 3) what it feels like to be free from the ongoing hum of electronics.
Bike to work! Give the air a break from your car or the bus and bike to work. It is good for you and the environment.
Any other ideas out there? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Happy Earth Day everyone!
For more info on Earth Day, check out http://www.earthday.org/2013/
“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.” ~Barbara Kingsolver
Empathy is a unique emotion that has previously been thought to exist just in humans. The ability to imagine what it feels like to go through what someone else is going through is not only difficult, but takes a fair amount of imagination and kindness.
In recent years, scientists have been able to show that rats are also capable of empathy. In an experiment where a rat restrained in a plastic tube, a familiar rat that was free to roam was found to help the captured rat escape. Moreover, it was willing to share some sweet chocolate chips afterwards, and given that sugar is like gold to rats, that is saying a lot. Experiments like these will help neuroscientists to further understand the biological underpinnings of this curious emotion.
So it turns out that empathy and empathizing may go beyond our cultural and social upbringing, but rather might be hardwired into us. Something to consider next time you are struggling to understand another person’s plight.
Photo credit: New York Times
Stretching. We all have heard of it, and most of us do it before a workout and have been told that it improves flexibility and prevents against injury. Unfortunately what a lot of us do not know is that it is not as straight forward as that, and if done improperly, can antagonize our fitness goals.
Here is the low down on stretching:
The good: it feels awesome. After a hard workout, a long week at work, or ever after sitting for a couple of hours it is a relief to get your tight muscles moving. It also is good to keep a counterbalance between how tight and flexed your muscles are from several workouts and being super loose from too much stretching.
The bad: most people stretch “passively” before a work out (sitting and stretching your muscles without moving them), which in turn tells their muscles to “cool off” so when they do proper weight bearing exercises their muscles are not prepared. There is more evidence indicating that static stretching before any type of physical activity impedes your ability to lift weight to your full potential or run at your best pace. Kind of a bummer when you think that you are trying to help those things when in fact being loose is exactly what your body doesn’t need.
The ugly: some of us may have a tendency to overstretch, or re-stretch muscles that are already adequately loose. This can actually result in injury. Small tears in your muscles and tendons can result as they are pushed to the limit of their flexibility, making them not only injured but also prevents them from being able to support your body when you move. Without these muscles, your body learns to compensate, resulting in further movement and muscle issues.
So how much is too much? How can you prevent these sort of problems? First: listen to your body! That phrase “no pain no gain” is certainly not referring to pushing yourself through pain that is not associated with fatigue. You need to learn what the upper and lower limits of any movement or exercise are for you and work within that range. If you are properly supervised, you can also learn to extend this range. Secondly, try to engage in more “active” stretching. Stretch while you walk to turn your muscles on but also get them warmed up.
Wanna learn a bit more? Give this cool article a read.
Happy Easter to everyone out there celebrating! Whether it be your religion or the simple welcoming of spring, we hope you all get to spend time with those you care about in the sunshine.
-The Movement Studio
Photo credit: Body and soul .com.au
Fibromyalgia- ever heard of it? Not surprising as this pain condition has become much more recognized over the last 5-7 years in the media. Previously thought to be a psychosomatic disorder, or a discomfort that is the result of emotional distress manifesting in the experience of physiological pain or ailment, is now being considered a real pain issue.
Earlier this month, researchers at University of Illinois College released a test that is the first objective test for fibromyalgia. What does this mean? A test like this will enable doctors to identify the various symptoms and biomarkers associated with fibromyalgia to get patients care sooner. The test uses not only pain inventories but also protein levels in blood to identify who is at risk and how their body is responding.
It is tests like these that will truly make a difference in getting treatment for those who need it, so pretty cool!
Do any of you readers have fibromyalgia or know somebody with it? What are your thoughts on this test?
To some, the body is just a mechanical vessel, transporting us down streets, helping us achieve our goals, and a thought machine. To others, it is a moving work of art, with all of the beautiful pieces working in harmony to result in movement, thought, and action.
Dutch artisti Koen Hauser is in the latter crowd, as he released new pieces titled “bodies with exposed anatomy” in fall of last year. The purpose of his work is to delve beyond what the physical exterior looks like to show what is happening underneath in an attempt to blur the lines of a scientific experiment and reality.
To have a look, check out Design Boom for additional photos.
What do you readers think? Is this art or just a weird expose of muscle and bone?