Mayor Bloomberg Wants YOU to Take the Stairs

stairs

The latest in a string of public health campaigns spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (see anti-soda, and anti-salt foods), now the NYC public figure is exhorting people to take the stairs in an effort to fight obesity. He proposes that any new buildings or buildings undergoing renovations would be required to post signs encouraging people to take the stairs, and leaving stairwells open (unlocked) all the time except in case of emergency. He hopes to start a non-profit to help foster building designs that encourage physical activity – read: creating stairwells that are appealing with are on walls and well lit, not dark sketchy places where predators lurk. Experts quoted by The Scoop recommend starting with 2 flights of stairs and then upping the ante when those start to feel easy. Or, if you want to mix things up, start taking every other step to strengthen glutes, hamstrings, and quads and increase your heart rate.

As someone who works on the 12th floor, I could probably lop off a gym session a week if I went up and down the stairs on foot every day! What do you think of Bloomberg’s latest tack to fight obesity?

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How to Haggle for the Right Price

Anyone who has visited Canal St. in New York City knows that half the fun of scoring cheap baubles is haggling on the price. If I can get the pashmina for $3 instead of $5, it is that much more beautiful to me. But on the flip side, I am typically extremely disappointed if someone turns down my offers to bargain and really sticks with their original sticker value. My usual technique is to name a price a bit below what I want to pay, have my high number in mind of what I’ll actually pay to own it, and gradually come up from the low number until we’ve reached a deal. Sometimes they bite on the low number, and sometimes we meet in the middle. Now research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (that I read about on The Scoop) has some handy tips on how to get the deal you want.

Studies completed by the Columbia Business School found that when hagglers gave a specific figure (think $4.35 instead of $5), they were more likely to receive a price closer to the number they wanted. The exact figure shows the seller you know what you’re talking about, and are sure about what you should pay, while rounding off to a $5 figure implies uncertainty. That being said, whenever you’re negotiating for a price, make sure you’ve done the research, and know it’s real worth. The seller knows its value, and picking a price near that will guarantee you more success.

What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten after bargaining for the right price?

Keep a Cool Head with Cooler Temps

cucumber

When you want someone to stay calm and collected, you tell them to keep a cool head. When someone has a fierce mean streak we call them hot tempered. As a society, we naturally make associations between being emotional and heat, and being rational with cold. Now, as it happens, there is some scientific backing to that generalization.  A study published in Acta Psychologica (that I read about on Women’s Health The Scoop) found that when people experienced exposure to cool temperatures, they were more able to understand other’s point of view. Being cool physically allowed the study participants to place themselves in another person’s shoes, imagining how they would feel in the situation.  Other research has shown that warm temperatures are linked with feeling friendly and similar to those who you share the space with (think sitting around a fire with friends). This may make you feel connected while simultaneously allowing you to project your feelings onto others, imagining they are feeling the same way you are. Physical coolness emphasizes the distance between you and another person, which can limit this reaction, and let you more fully observe their feelings without the interference of your own.

5 Ways Water is Good for Your Health

water

I’ll preface this by saying, I drink a lot of water. Ever since I was a little girl, and my mom let me take a pretty water mug with me every where, I have never really been without a water bottle in my purse. While my co-workers may think I’m diabetic because of the number of trips I take to the water cooler daily, I just enjoy being hydrated. Now The Scoop is backing me up with 5 reasons drinking water is awesome (and good for your health).

  1. Though it’s gross to talk about, new research shows that staying hydrated may keep things regular in your digestive tract even more effectively than that bowl of fiber one with a cup of coffee in the morning.
  2. Drinking lots of water is associated with losing weight
  3. Lots of H2O can lower your risk for kidney disease.
  4. Hydrated runners are faster, safer runners who can maintain their body temperature more regularly and keep their heart rates healthier.
  5. It can prevent headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and bad moods (hellooo, remember how you feel when you’re hung over?) by staving off the bad symptoms of dehydration.

Additionally, water keeps your body temperature at a steady place, cushions joints, protects your spinal cord, and clears the body of waste through sweating and peeing. Now drink up!

Eggs- Good or Evil?

eggs

In the constant back and forth about whether eggs are good for you or bad for you, we’ve heard it all. They are bad for your cholesterol! They are good for your cholesterol! They’re a healthy source of protein! They’re an unhealthy source of protein! Eat the whites! Eat the whole egg! The scientific community has taken both sides. And now, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (that I read on The Scoop) is back on the anti-egg campaign with new research showing that eating excessive quantities of eggs (I’m looking at you Paleo dieters) may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke even if you don’t have any of the other more traditional risk factors. Here’s why!

In the past, eggs were demonized because we thought the cholesterol they contained directly impacted our cholesterol levels, driving them up the more eggs we ate. However, it looks like the real culprit may be the lecithin contained in the egg yolk. When the body breaks down lecithin, it becomes choline (the vitamin you get from your bacon egg and cheese that some say reduces hangover symptoms) in the intestine which releases a substance the liver converts into the compound trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO for short). This TMAO can make plaque and cholesterol build up more quickly in coronary arteries which ups risk of heart attack and stroke. However, avoiding the yolk where the lecithin lives, can reduce your risk. Looks like it’s back to egg white omelets at brunch until the researchers say otherwise!

Energy Drinks May be Worse for You than You Thought

energy drinkI went through a phase when I was really into energy drinks. Like, I had a complex rating system just in case the convenience store was out of my favorite. I would always go for Diet Rockstar because it tasted delicious, then the Mountain Dew Amp because I figured if the soda had a lot of  caffeine, the energy drink must be a mega dose. After those two, I would drink pretty much whatever was in stock (except the Sobe energy drinks-those are gross). I was working full time during my summer off from college,  and still maintaining a social schedule like I had all day free. There was more than one party that I feel asleep on the couch in the middle of  a room full of people. Then one day I picked up a guy friend of mine, and he commented about the creatine in my energy beverage, noting that people on his football team took that to get big, and that’s when I realized maybe I should cut back on the caffeine and factor back in a few hours of sleep instead. Looking back, I laugh about how obviously unhealthy my choices were.

Yet energy drinks remain popular, even in the face of lawsuits alleging they cause serious cardiovascular problems, and even death (we all remember how popular Four LOKO was, no?). I mean, a simple scan of the nutrition label will reveal sugar counts that are through the roof. And now The Scoop reports that they may be even worse than you thought. The beverages may contain ingredients not listed on the label, and not approved by the FDA. They may have compounds known to clog arteries, or linked to cardiovascular problems. And their claims are typically exaggerated or false. So next time you’re looking for a quick pick me up, think twice about the can claiming to improve your focus or stimulate your metabolism, and maybe just reach for a coffee instead (especially since it may even make you live longer).

Do you drink energy drinks?

Make a Choice, Then Be Satisfied with It

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Some choices are easy, and not wrought with self-doubt, pro’s and con’s lists, and endless waffling back and forth. I’m thinking of the decisions in life like, “Do I marry Ryan Gosling or Leonardo DiCaprio?” (a win-win obviously), or “Do I avoid the middle airplane seat?” (you know that’s a guaranteed lose).  Some situations are easy because both options are wonderful, or there is a clear cut definition where one is much much worse. It’s those decisions where both are OK, or there are too many variations on the outcome that leave most of us spinning. Think about how difficult it can be to pick out an outfit when you are confronted with a hundred tops, lots of bottoms, and nearly infinite combinations of the two. But new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research (and blogged about by Women’s Health The Scoop) found that even when making the decision may be hard, there are simple tricks people can use to feel satisfied with the choice they have made.

The short answer is to give the decision a physical act of closure. If you’re between two items on the menu, shut if after you have picked. If you selected a dress from your clset, close the door. If you’ve decided you don’t need to eat any more chips, zip up the bag and put it in the cabinet. After struggling with an email, and sending it-close your laptop. Scientists think that this triggers your mind to believe that the item is final, checked off of your to-do list, and now it’s time to move on. Then it shifts its focus to the item you picked, rather than all of the other options you’ve recently given up by making that choice. (Which sounds a lot like how your mind creates synthetic happiness to me!)

How do you stick with your decisions, after they’re made?