Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The "Iron Lady" had important words

Margaret Thatcher once said, “Power is like being a lady; if you have to say you are, you aren't.”

More wisdom in Meryl Streep's Oscar acceptance speech after commenting that most of America had Streep-fatigue -- "Whatever." 

image via

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

no Friend of mine (yoga scandal)

John Friend, the founder of Anusara, one of the world’s very popular styles of yoga, told followers that he was stepping down for an indefinite period of “self-reflection, therapy and personal retreat.”    This comes, apparently, after accusations of sexual impropriety with female students.

I find it a bit heart-breaking, as the uninformed extremists that label yoga as "Sin" are going to have a ball with this one.   
More details on the full, icky story here.   Though please read with an open mind, as I have one problem with this article: I have been to hundreds of classes and the thinking "yoga and scandal?  no surpise here" is unfair.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Exercise = a better brain.

"Some people feel better when they exercise.  I am a different person when I exercise."
Mr Right said this to me a few days ago after a particularly good workout. I could relate in a big way -- it is also an accurate description of myself post-workout. 

After a good sweat, I literally speed through work at twice the pace as I do before I've exercised. 

Today I found this article in the NYT health pages. 

Apparently some Japanese researchers have found that this "different person" effect is happening in the brain.
In the first of their new experiments, published last year in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Neuroscience at the University of Tsukuba gathered two groups of adult male rats and had one group start a treadmill running program, while the other group sat for the same period of time each day on unmoving treadmills. The researchers’ aim was to determine how much the level of brain glycogen changed during and after exercise.

After the single session on the treadmill, the animals were allowed to rest and feed, and then their brain glycogen levels were studied. The food, it appeared, had gone directly to their heads; their brain levels of glycogen not only had been restored to what they had been before the workout, but had soared past that point, increasing by as much as a 60 percent in the frontal cortex and hippocampus and slightly less in other parts of the brain. The astrocytes had “overcompensated,” resulting in a kind of brain carbo-loading.

The levels, however, had dropped back to normal within about 24 hours.

That was not the case, though, if the animals continued to exercise. In those rats that ran for four weeks, the “supercompensation” became the new normal, with their baseline levels of glycogen showing substantial increases compared with the sedentary animals. The increases were especially notable in, again, those portions of the brain critical to learning and memory formation — the cortex and the hippocampus. 

So if they kept at it on a regular basis, they didn't just get smarter for part of the day following exercise, they stayed smarter.  Which is why the findings are potentially so meaningful – and not just for rats.

While a brain with more fuel reserves is potentially a brain that can sustain and direct movement longer, it also “may be a key mechanism underlying exercise-enhanced cognitive function,” says Hideaki Soya, a professor of exercise biochemistry at the University of Tsukuba and senior author of the studies, since supercompensation occurs most strikingly in the parts of the brain that allow us better to think and to remember. As a result, Dr. Soya says, “it is tempting to suggest that increased storage and utility of brain glycogen in the cortex and hippocampus might be involved in the development” of a better, sharper brain.

Yes, "a better, sharper brain."  So get moving, it truly makes you smarter.

via New York Times Health blog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Courtney, SJP and Sandra Bullock - all my age!

I first posted this a year ago as I was a few weeks from turning 46.  But inspiration is inspiration, and it's worth saying again.
All three of these women are my age.
Sarah Jessica Parker is exactly one week older than I am.
Courtney Cox and SJP --Clearly they don't sit around eating starchy-carbs, but I've always chalked these gorgeous bodies up to a definite genetic advantage. Obviously thin frames that very little flesh lives on.
Sandra Bullock? My envy, my idol. Apparently her favorite workouts are Pilates and running. Whatever it is, she is obviously very loyal.
I became a really serious fan when she dedicated her 2010 Oscar to "the Moms who take care of the babies and children no matter where they come from." Nobody knew about little Louis then, but what a powerful, well-deserved acknowledgement to those Mom's.

These women have inspired my pre-birthday "Spring Cleaning." As in cleaning me.    I really hope to stay injury-free long enough to be consistent with my workouts. Miracle weight loss probably won't occur (though welcome with open arms), but come April 1, I will know I've given my best effort to turning 47 in good health.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

hot yoga - the controversy lives on

The debate about hot yoga is almost as old as yoga itself.  Ok, not quite as old.  I do remember first hearing it discussed at an IDEA Convention in 1999.  The conversation has evolved (a good thing!) and there are good points from both "sides."
Hot yoga--where you perform yoga poses in a room heated between 90 and 105 degrees--may come with a list of benefits, like helping you sweat out toxins and release anxiety and stress. But experts warn that some people need to talk to their doctors before signing up for a class--or stay out of the sauna-like room altogether.

One well-known form is Bikram yoga, though many "hot" yoga classes are now available that do not follow Bikram sequencing or protocal.

According to Diana Zotos, a yoga instructor and physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, "The heat makes people feel as if they can stretch deeper into poses and can give them a false sense of flexibility. This can lead to muscle strains or damage to the joint, including ligaments and cartilage."
If you experience any of these health issues, hot yoga might not be the exercise for you:
* You've ever had heat stroke or get fatigued, dizzy, or dehydrated quickly
* You have osteoarthritis, rheumatologic arthritis
* You have pain in your muscles or joints
* You have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or heart disease
Plus, says Zotos, if you're totally new to yoga or over 40, you should first become familiar with yoga poses before heading to hot yoga--even if you don't have underlying medical conditions. "Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding," she says.

Read more from post on
Read more on Yahoo News

Thursday, February 16, 2012

oooh la la Kate

I stopped loving Kate Spade when Kate Spade wasn't really there any more.  (She's a Kansas City girl!).
But the "Pardon My French" t-shirt won me (back) over.  Not to mention the dots.
It's taken me two years to say "Bonjour" without embarrasment, so I giggled a little when I saw this.

Monday, February 06, 2012