12 Jan

The Biomechanics of Safe Walking on Ice & Snow

Winter Walk

Being like absolutely no one else in my neighbourhood and taking a walk this evening. Walk through the snow is the cool opportunity to check your gait pattern by looking back at your footprints. Do your feet turn out? Pigeon toe? How long is your stride?
Walking on ice is a good opportunity to break your neck . . . err, I mean, to analyse how your gait changes when you’re on a slippery surface. Gripping toes, shifting your weight forward instead of back, and lifting at the knees rather than pushing the ground away with the hamstrings are all ways that you compensate for the decreased coefficient of kinetic friction. Pretty cool, eh?

Fun fact: if you have shoes with little traction and keep your weight back in your rear leg when walking on icy surfaces, you will fall. I proved it this morning.

Think of yourself as a front wheel drive where the foot out front ‘pulls’ you forward instead of the rear foot ‘pushing’ forward. Place your whole foot down at once and walk with a wider stance.

The Canada Safety Council has tips for winter walking because: of course they do.

Monkey Bars in the Winter

While you’re at it, winter means not fighting children for the monkey bars. Head to the park, grab a hold, and swing!  Monkey bars are my fave because they’re fun. Also hanging is a natural movement that humans have mostly lost the ability to do. It takes grip strength (especially when you do it with mittens!) and shoulder strength just to hang, let alone to swing and pull yourself up. It helps you open the intercostal muscles for better oxygen intake. Win-Win and fun-fun!

10 Jan

Links for a Sunday Morning

Teeny house, big lie: Why so many proponents of the tiny-house movement have decided to upsize – Globe and Mail

Haven’t we learned anything from futuristic sci-fi movies? Cramming people into boxes stacked on top of each other, thus turning space into a currency, is just asking for Matt Damon to lead a rebellion.

The incredible thing we all do during conversations – The Atlantic

On average, each turn lasts for around 2 seconds, and the typical gap between them is just 200 milliseconds—barely enough time to utter a syllable. That figure is nigh-universal. It exists across cultures, with only slight variations. It’s even there in sign-language conversations.

‘It’s a miracle no one has died yet’: The Biggest Loser returns, despite critics’ warnings – The Guardian

“In my season there was a woman named Heather who was made to look like a combative, lazy bitch. But in actuality, she had a torn calf muscle and had developed bursitis in both knees. When she refused to run, they edited it to make her look lazy.”

Giving birth can be as hard on your body as running a marathon – Vox

If an athlete sustained a similar injury in the field, she’d be in an MRI machine in an instant. We have this thing where we tell women, ‘Well, you’re six weeks postpartum, and now we don’t need to see you — you’ll be fine.’ But not all women feel fine after six weeks nor are ready to go back to work, and they aren’t crazy.

Why you should never do leg extensions – Stack

During Leg Extensions, the resistance is located at the shins, just above the feet. This causes shearing forces on the knees, which means the force is experienced horizontally across the joint. Your body does not like this. In most serious injuries, there’s some form of horizontal force—whether from a collision or momentum—that causes the injury. In the case of the Leg Extension, the ACL is the primary concern.

This Inspiring Video Proves Any Woman of Any Size Can Do Yoga – Cosmopolitan

If there’s one thing to take away from this woman, it’s that your weight says approximately N-O-T-H-I-N-G about what your body can do. Which is a perfectly good reason to throw your own body hang-ups out the window no matter what kind of shape you’re in.

Don’t Fall for the Common Habits Myth that Stops People from Making Successful Change. – Gretchen Rubin

We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive and healthy by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.

A Healthy Diet’s Main Ingredients? Best Guesses – NY Times

There is a conspicuous American tendency to cling to a favored diet as the gateway to good health, keeping weight down, staving off cancers and banishing heart attacks. A consequence is an abundance of regimens — vegan, gluten-free, Paleolithic, fruitarian and many more — each promoted by its adherents as the one true path. But nutrition experts, including those in this Retro Report, caution that life is complex, and that we are more than what we eat.

An argument for less intense exercise – Hufifngton Post

I don’t see commercials or magazine articles or complicated self help books about “taking a walk every day.” Because it’s free, and anyone can do it, it doesn’t seem as exciting of a goal for many people, and companies certainly aren’t spending money making it seem sexy.

03 Jan

Links for a Sunday Morning

Is Your Trainer Wrong? – Men’s Health

Is it safe to deep squat? Exercise on an empty stomach? And is the kipping pull-up amazing or amazingly horrible? 

Why it took 10 years to charge Bill Cosby – Macleans

It would take another eight years before the discrediting of Cosby—a slow trajectory from “America’s Dad” to “America’s Rapist,” in the words of the New York Daily News—began. That dates to October 2014, when stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby out (“You rape women, Bill Cosby”) in a video that went viral and prompted even more women to come forward.

Addicted to Distraction – NY Times

The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention. We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.

In Defense of Food and the Rise of ‘Healthy-ish’ – The Atlantic

The key to health, books and websites and dietitians and former presidents reveal, is a process of elimination. It’s going without. The problem with giving things up, though, is that inevitably it creates a void in one’s diet that only Reese’s pieces and a family-sized wheel of brie can fill.

The Most Searched Workout by State – Vox

Americans are always looking to improve their fitness. But a peek at what workouts people in each state were uniquely searching for on Google this year suggests an incredible diversity in the potential paths to better health.

Canada Rental Rates Infographic – Huffington Post

While Vancouver is often recognized as Canada’s most expensive city in which to buy real estate, that isn’t always the case for renting. The average monthly rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment there is $1,079, while in Toronto, it’s $1,103.

50 Body Acceptance New Year’s Resolutions (That Don’t Involve Dieting!) – Everyday Feminism

Most people – and especially most women’s – new year’s resolutions center on dieting and weight loss as the key to happiness.

31 Dec

This Year Resolve to Make a Resolution Every Moment.

InhaleExhale

No New Year’s resolutions for me this year. No thanks. Resolutions and I are (mostly) through.

I concede that New Year’s Day feels like a fresh start. That fresh start feeling is so motivating, it’s no wonder people resolve to become fitter, phatter, healthier, more financially stable, and the like.

I’m not going to pretend like I’m not personally motivated by the anticipation of what is possible in this brand new year.

There are things that I know could make me a better person, a healthier person, a more loving person, a more successful person, and all-around less of an asshole.

I could give up sugar, take more steps in a day, hug 12 people every day, make regular charitable contributions, cut back on coffee, dress better, eat more leafy greens, do more yoga, floss, stop yelling in traffic, read more non-fiction, etc, etc, etc. . .

And I should do those things, but. . .

using January 1 as the launch date of Me 2.0 is setting me up for failure.

And here’s why:

Say I set a goal to go for a walk every day 2016
1. Slipping up feels like a failure – And it is. When I miss my walk on January 8th, that’s it. I failed.
2. If I fall off the wagon I need to wait until next year to get back on – I already failed my resolution, I might as well just sit on the couch for the rest of 2016.

Here’s the thing. If you want to make a fresh start you don’t have to wait for January 1. You don’t have to wait for a new month, or a new week, or a new morning. . .

. . . keep narrowing down those intervals and you realize that time is just an arbitrary thing. Every single moment is brand new the opportunity for a fresh start. Every single breath you take is a reminder that you are alive and that a new moment is here and ready for you. In that new moment you can be the person you want to be or make the choice you want to make.

You don’t have to be held to the standard of the person you were last year, or yesterday, or on your last inhale breath. You are always someone new. And that new person can be Me 2.0, launching now. And now. And now. And now. . .

InhaleExhale

20 Dec

Links for a Sunday Morning

It was easier to be skinny in the 1980s – The Atlantic

A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

It’s Time To Quit The Rat Race And Become A Freakin’ Viking – Huffington Post

A 115-foot longship based in Norway, has put out a call for volunteer crew members to man the vessel during this year’s voyage from Norway to the U.S., stopping in Iceland, Greenland, and Canada along the way.

A Day in the Life of Americans – Flowing Data

Mesmerizing moving charts of how people flow from one activity to the next throughout the day.

The best and worst nutritional advice from around the world – Vox

In Italy, curiously, cookies and cured meats show up as food groups.

Norwegian Adventurer Spends 6 Months Alone in NWT Wilderness – CBC

“The dream was to go out to Canada. Live off the land. Fish and see the nature,” Glestad said in a soft, reflective voice. “I know it sounds strange, but it was my kind of dream. Just living out there.”

“Diabetic Surgery” Uncovers Irrational Weight Biases – Weighty Matters

So basically here we have a surgical intervention that is dramatically better than a medical one, for a condition that causes cumulative damage and can wreak havoc on a person’s quality and quantity of life. Yet many MDs, allied health professionals and health reporters are taking this opportunity to discuss how we shouldn’t be looking to surgical solutions for diabetes because patients could instead use their forks and feet.

The Golden State Warriors’ Record-Breaking Mindful Mindset – Yoga Dork

Golden State’s #1 core value is joy, #2 is mindfulness, then #3 is compassion for team members and the game of basketball, and finally in the #4 spot is competition.

L.A. Times wonders if Serena Williams deserves Sportsperson of the Year more than a horse – CBC News

“Well given that horses aren’t people I’m going to have to go with the actual athletic woman who was given the Sportsperson award. I mean are you seriously asking who is a better person — a black woman or a horse? Is that really what you want to be saying here?”

23 Things You Learn fro Being Single on Christmas – Though Catalog

Being pampered by your parents who are super excited to see you again almost makes up for the fact that you are not getting pampered the other 358 days of the year.

12 Dec

Links for a Sunday Morning

The BEST Yoga Mat – Reviews.com

With over 50 hours of research on dozens of yoga mats, I focused on the properties and composition of the mat and how this applies to the various styles of yoga. I surveyed the masses, consulted with over 10 yoga professionals with years experience on mats, and personally put many mats through hours of testing.

Photographer overwhelmed by response to Lake Erie pictures – CBC

Sandford spent two or three days a week, sometimes putting in six-hour days, photographing the awesome natural power of Lake Erie during a four-week span in November. The end result is a breathtaking gallery of the lake’s power and might.

Yoga and Bone Density – another myth? – Foot Love Yoga

For postures connecting upper & lower body to the ground (think plank) force through the arms is greater for men than women because men’s center of mass is concentrated on the upper-body; conversely, force through the feet is greater for women than for men, because women’s center of mass is in the pelvis.

Toronto’s Best New Restaurants of 2015 – Globe and Mail

Picks for the year’s most original, most extraordinary restaurants. What they all have in common is that the people who run them took inspired risks and defied the usual ways of the restaurant business.

The tyranny of Fitbit goals can create artificial happiness – CBC (podcast)

Part of the allure of FitBits and other wearable devices is the way they can inspire and motivate you to go the extra mile. But when the extra mile becomes the twentieth or twenty-fifth mile, it may be time to sit and think about your fitness choices. 

Finland To Bring In A Universal Basic Income – Forbes

From the right it gets rid of the thing we worry most about welfare . . . And from the left it actually increases workers’ bargaining power without, of course, needing those potentially self-interested unions standing in the middle.

Stop saying ’sorry’ if you want to say thank you – Bright Side

We often apologise assuming that people will appreciate our politeness and good manners. But in most cases, the other party is much more pleased to hear words of gratitude from you rather than an apology.

08 Dec

Yoga for Athletes: Tip 2 – Get in the Zone

Be a Better Athlete With Yoga - Zone

 

Part 2 of the Yoga for Athletes series focuses on focus.

Get in ‘The Zone’

“Get you head in the game!”

“Focus!”

“Keep your eyes open! Pay attention!”

. . . hollow words shouted from the sidelines attempting to motivate you to stay focused and perform at your best. Easier said than done.

As an athlete you’ve had those moments when you just can’t focus and your head is out of the game. Your thoughts are drifting to pain in your body or stress in your life and not your performance.

But as an athlete you’ve also had those moments when you are so into the game that you’re one with it. The connection between your mind and body becomes so intertwined that you don’t know where thought ends and action starts. You’re not thinking THEN doing. Your mind is so absorbed, so hyper-aware that your body is doing exactly what you need to do. It’s magic.

This is what it takes to have success in your sport. This is what it takes to have peak performance.

But how do you get to the point where your mind and body to work in synchronicity? How do you get out of the distraction zone and into the performance zone?

Yoga is a great way to help you get there. The goal in yoga is to be completely aware of your body at any given moment of the practice. It’s about focus. It’s a moving meditation.

Everything from stress, to nervousness, to noises and visual distractions can take your head out of the game but yoga teaches you how to avoid them and turn your attention inside yourself. Consistent yoga gives you great practice in programming your mind to let go of distractions so you can stay in ‘The Zone’ in every game.

28 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

It may be 2015, but not for political wives – Maclean’s

It’s 2015; women can go by whatever name they want—and change it whenever they want. But it appears some of our most high-profile women don’t have the same range of options, and that says something. . . Is there no value to a political brand in which a female partner is allowed separate billing and her own identity?

What Psychology Says About Materialism and the Holidays – American Psycological Association

Materialism is associated with lower levels of well-being, less pro-social interpersonal behavior, more ecologically destructive behavior, and worse academic outcomes. It also is associated with more spending problems and debt.

5 retail sales tricks to watch for on Black Friday – CBC

Stick to your list and resist the urge to browse.

The Science Behind Mindful Eating: (infographic)  – Summer Tomato

Mindful Eatingclick to see more

Smartphones hurt our face-to-face relationships – CBC Radio (podcast)

It isn’t good for us to flee from any moment of boredom by going to a phone.

Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable? – NY Times

Studies showed that the stigma and shame so common in our society do not motivate people to lose weight. . . the opposite is true. Messages that shame, blame and stigmatize people about their weight have a negative impact and interfere with efforts to improve health.

The Myth of Easy Cooking – The Atlantic

The weight of expectation imposed by our cooking culture, which offers unrealistically complex recipes while at the same time dismissing them as simple, can be crushing.  

Why Do the Detroit Lions always Play on Thanksgiving? – Mental Floss

Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, the owner hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. 

Let’s stop calling reproductive rights a “women’s issue” – Quartz

We still haven’t connected the dots that “women’s issues” are “everyone issues”—especially when it comes to linking reproductive rights and economic security. We still demarcate between them, ignoring the data and research that show how the lack of support for reproductive health (or understanding of it as linked to economic security, in other words, having an effect on everyone, and not just women) leaves women at an economic disadvantage.

Who is Really Paying for Adele? – The New Yorker

You don’t want to buy the record because that would be giving in to a heavy-handed attempt to make us purchase the music twice—to pay another ten dollars on top of the monthly subscription for an album that will show up on streaming sooner or later.

 

21 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

Hockey’s Puppy Mill – The Walrus

Describing players as “amateur” seems like wishful assertion rather than a reflection of reality. . .The atmosphere mirrors the professional experience in nearly every possible way. There are coaches, general managers, referees, and ushers. Teens sell beer and pizza. The only ones who aren’t paid? The players.

Brawn and Brains – NY Times

Sturdy legs could mean healthy brains, according to a new study of British twins. . . Over all, among both the identical and fraternal twins, fitter legs were strongly linked, 10 years later, to fitter brains.

Teens Who Weigh Themselves Have More Body Issues – Time

Females who weighed themselves more frequently had greater weight concerns. They also reported lower self-esteem and said they felt more depressed and less satisfied with their bodies than those who didn’t weigh themselves as often.

The Women of Hollywood Speak Out – NY Times Magazine

Female executives and filmmakers are ready to run studios
and direct blockbuster pictures. What will it take to dismantle
the pervasive sexism that keeps them from doing it?

Plight of the Funny Female – The Atlantic

A man’s use of humor increased his desirability. The women’s use of humor, meanwhile, didn’t make the men want to date them more—it actually made them slightly less alluring. That’s right: The men found the pretty, unfunny women more desirable than equally pretty ones who also happened to be funny.

How to Get Better at Expressing Emotions – The Atlantic

Really good quality long-term interpersonal relationships are based on shared experience but also the ability to share how we are feeling at that time. But if you are always expected to say you’re doing “great,” you’re never going to have that level of intimacy that you need in a really good relationship.

Conversion from the Westboro Baptist Church via Twitter (long read) – The New Yorker

How a Megan Phelps-Roper, prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church, came to question its beliefs.

14 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

And I’m BACK!

My web host had been holding my site hostage, which I’m still pissed about, but whatever. Here’s the shit I found interesting this week

Photo Diary:  A nine-country scramble to freedom, through the eyes of a refugee – The Globe and Mail

Soon the boat is bouncing, and water begins accumulating in the centre of the craft. . . Sweeta readily identifies it as the worst moment in their long trip to Europe. “I was so scared that I began yelling, ‘Let’s go back!’ ” she later recalled.

Down with likeability! The problem with our ‘like’ culture – Maclean’s

But the effects of a likeability fixation are more sweeping than we realize. People like, and buy, the familiar. So a world driven by “like” doesn’t stray too far from comfort zones. Confrontation and dissent and iconoclasm don’t belong—nor does the spirit of invention that can accompany them.

Urban-Exploring Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch – Vice

“His entire house was filled with these expensive looking, one-off, semi-artistic things. . . These weird mirrors on this four-foot by four-foot platform. And that would be next to some Roman statue-looking thing. Next to that would be an eight-foot-tall oil painting of Michael Jackson himself. There were all of these paintings inside the house. There’s one where he’s leading a procession of children.”

Project Aims to Resurrect an Ancient Wonder of the World – CN Traveller

The 100-foot-tall bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios, towering over the Rhodians in the third century, was among the tallest structures in the world when it was built in 280 B.C. Now an ambitious team of young professionals would like to resurrect the Colossus of Rhodes.

How American parenting is killing the American marriage – Quartz

It has become totally unacceptable in our culture to say anything bad about our children, let alone admit that we don’t like them all of the time. We are allowed to say bad things about our spouses, our parents, our aunts and uncles, but try saying, “My kid doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s not a super likable person,” and see how fast you get dropped from the PTA.

#CoverTheAthlete video targets sexist questions put to female athletes – CBC News

The makers of the video adapted questions asked of female athletes to fit existing news clips of male athletes like Crosby, “in order to show how ridiculous it is that female athletes are asked these questions.”

In search of Detroit’s most beautiful blocks – Model D

“There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees; and there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living.” Yet beauty abounds across Detroit’s 139 square miles, albeit in a pocketed, dispersed sort of way.