When it comes to improving your memory, experts say it’s all about rest.
A new study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, suggests that taking breaks is more effective for boosting memory than other traditional methods like caffeine and mental exercises.
As reported by CNN, researchers gathered a small group of “normally aging” elderly men and women, and asked them to recount as many details from two stories as they could.
Following the first story, participants were asked to relax and close their eyes in a dark room for 10 minutes. Researchers then asked participants to point out the differences in several pairs of near identical images.
Researchers found that overall, participants recounted far more details after they had rested; and that their memory boost held up even a full week after the initial trial.
Previous research has showed that small periods of rest – even a few minutes – are beneficial to both memory and alertness. But this new study points to the effectiveness of short periods of rest for “long-term memory consolidation.”
Research fellow and lead study author, Michaela Dewar, points out that when we first encounter new information, we’re likely in an early stage of memory formation. “Further neural processes have to occur after this stage for us to be able to remember this information at a later point in time,” she said. (more…)
By Jill Lawson from Jill Lawson Yoga
Many of us believe the power of thought can greatly affect the course of a day, if not our feelings and attitudes that shape the opinions we have of ourselves. As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny,” thoughts can promote positive or negative experiences for us.
The following daily affirmations work to cement positive thoughts in our subconscious mind, allowing us to practice healthier habits and lead us to more fulfilling and much happier moments. They are helpful when we are having a bad day, but equally as effective when we are feeling good already. The more we can put a positive thought toward something, the closer we are to actually bringing that thought into our reality.
There are lots of “rules” when it comes to running. “You have to stretch.” “You have to wear proper shoes.” “You have to cross train.”
I’ve heard all of these and more. I’ve also heard every one of these rules debunked at one point or another. It can be confusing at times to know exactly what we are supposed to do to ensure optimal running performance and health.
Recently another long standing “rule” of running was challenged in the news. The New York Times reported that the 10% rule was put under the microscope to see if its tenure still holds true or if it ever deserved its position as valid advice in the first place.
The 10% rule states that a runner should not increase their mileage more than 10% each week. The idea is that this gradual increase will prevent the body from succumbing to injury. This rule was put to the test, and studies found that it didn’t hold up: Just as many runners sustained injuries who followed the rule as those who did not.
So, what does this mean? Can a runner start out at a 10 mile total one week, and then jump up to 30 the next week? Will this increased distance and stress play no role in promoting an injury?
No pain, no gain, right? Well, maybe in certain scenarios, this old motto is false. A runner in training should expect fatigue. They should expect muscle soreness. They should also anticipate that not every run will be a good one. But what about when these truths start piling up? Does the runner need to learn to push through or is it possible that backing off will be the key to their success?
While it might not seem possible, a runner can actually over-train and negatively impact their performance.
Over-training is characterized as not allowing the body to rest and recover from the stress of training. If the body can’t catch up on the much needed repair time, the athlete’s performance will suffer. This is a very serious problem. Over-training has the potential to ruin one’s running career if not taken seriously. If the body gets into a state of over-training, it’s very difficult to recover.
We live in the age of extremes. We have to be the fastest, baddest, biggest and the best at everything we do. This is America! When speaking of cars, computers and the speed at which we receive our text messages, our all or nothing attitude is a definite advantage, but it is this mind frame that has lead us to gigantic food portions, exponentially rising obesity related healthcare costs and the first generation of children with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. We certainly are the biggest and baddest in terms of girth and the quality of our nutrition, that’s for sure.
It works the other way, too. We want instant gratification, instant results and immediate weight loss when adopting a fitness routine. In the age of the Biggest Loser, where contestants work out 8+ hours a day, everyday, and see double digit weight loss, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that more is better. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t work that way.
Regardless of your New Year’s resolution and the good intentions that come along with it, winter weather brings some pretty intense temptations. I highly prefer a comfy couch, warm fire and hot bowl of beef stew over running outside in the frigid, snowy, windy mess of winter. I would like to say that I always resist such temptations but I know I’m not the only one who would be lying if I did. The fact is, everyone deserves a break; a cheat-on-my-diet day or a forget-my-workout day. The question is, how much of a break is acceptable? At what point during your fitness boycott do you start to un-do the benefits of your training? A few recent studies have tried to answer those questions and it seems to depend on your basic fitness level and expected length of hiatus.
Athletes who completely halt their training can expect to see a decline in strength, stamina and muscle mass within as little as five weeks. This isn’t a small decline, either. The studies reported a loss of up to “9 percent of their muscular power and 11 percent of their aerobic capacity.” The longer one remains inactive, the higher the risk of diabetes and other health complications rises. Even competitive athletes who intensely train for many years don’t have much room for sloth later in life. The benefits of exercise only exist as long as the person remains active. I guess that’s why professional athletes continue to train in the off-season.