Tag Archives: health

Sticking with yoga: Practice pays off in decreased stress

A University of Ohio study suggests that women who stick with yoga practice (at least twice a week for two years or more) enjoy biochemically measurable health benefits.

The study compared longtime yoga students with newbies (involved in yoga for only a few weeks). Both groups had their endocrine responses measured before and after yoga practice, treadmill walking, television viewing and known stress events.

The novices’ blood was found to have, on average, 41 percent higher levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 than that of the experts. High interleukin-6 has been associated with heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The novices were also tested for a protein that is a marker for inflammation; some were found to have levels of that protein nearly five times greater than those of the women who had been doing yoga over the long term.

>In good health

>It’s been my custom for the past several years to write on the holiday cards I send out “Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.” Why the addition of “healthy” to the usual holiday greeting? Not sure. Perhaps it’s because I had a mysterious, debilitating illness that trashed my life for five years in my 30s. (It turned out to be interstitial cystitis, and treatable, once diagnosed.) Or perhaps because on the East Coast I sometimes bought coats from Jewish manufacturers with labels that said “Wear in good health.”

Anyway, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do write down a few priorities. This year, the whiteboard outside my office says:

1. Eat healthy food.
2. Exercise three times a week.
3. Earn $$$.
4. Do creative things.
5. Have fun with people.

They’re in that order for a reason. It’s hard for me to work long hours, sustain creative projects, or truly enjoy myself, if I’m not healthy. I know people who manage it, but I’m not one of them.

And, yes, I know that simply eating healthy food and exercising won’t guarantee good health; it’ll just tip the odds in my favor. Genetics, and fate, are also important factors.

Those if you who know me can guess why I’m thinking and writing about health this week, can’t you?

>On reading

>At my annual checkup today, my doctor asked me if I watched TV. I said my TV isn’t even hooked up to broadcast sources — I only use it to watch DVDs when friends come over to visit.

He laughed, admitted that he doesn’t watch broadcast TV, either, and commented that he sees a direct correlation between lots of of TV watching and poor health among his patients, particularly the elderly. He said the problem isn’t just sitting and watching TV instead of exercising; it’s letting the mind slip into passivity instead of engaging with games, discussions, puzzles, writing, and reading.

I love reading, but recently have been spending what used to be my reading time writing instead. And instead of reading new books, I’ve been working my way through science fiction classics (such as Cordwainer Smith’s Norstrilia) to get a better understanding of that genre.

Thus, I have yet to read any of the books on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year list. But, seeing the list made me realize how much I want to get to some of these, particularly Michael Connelly‘s latest, The Brass Verdict, Donald Ray’s Knockemstiff, and Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time.

(cross-posted on Writer Way)