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Men’s Health

Doing Nothing Is the Secret to Getting More Out of Life

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IT STARTS AT 4:00 AT THE a throbbing and incessant pain behind my left temple on a Saturday. I try to fall asleep again, but can’t – the second missed notice – and around 6:00 am I have another day of weekend work.

It’s fall 2020 and I run the risk of losing my job at ESPN. Two decades of overtaking others – by writing books and hosting a podcast, among other things – and being proud of friends who said, “How do you do all of this?” Convinced me that I should do more now got to. I should find solace in all of the skills I have developed to support my wife, Sonya. our three children; and my mother-in-law who moved in when she retired. Not me.

Around noon I can’t concentrate and have to lie down. Soon I am hyperventilating as burning pain spreads to my stomach and then to my fingers and toes, suddenly inflamed and too sensitive to touch. In the emergency room, Sonya speaks for me while I undergo a CAT scan, which thankfully rules out a brain aneurysm.

The bad news, the neurologist says, is he’s seeing more people like me for whom the pandemic is exacerbating stress, which is ignored until their anxiety levels are so high that it doubles.

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According to a survey by the Cleveland Clinic, seventy-seven percent of us say we’re a lot more stressed out now. Fifty-nine percent say the Covid quarantine did more harm to our mental health than the 2008 economic crisis. Still, 66 percent of us live the old manners of manhood and rarely discuss the pain and mental health impact of the pandemic.

“And that’s how you end up here,” says the neurologist. His advice? Don’t come back

The stress I feel – I decide I have to do something about it.

1

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Lesson 1: Identify When to Not Be Frantic

I don’t have to do anything. This is what I get into with my therapist: Allow idleness to flow into my day. “Rest will relax you,” he says. Then, a few weeks later, I get a call from my boss with an executive in Human Resources and they fire me.

Now the crisis is real. I can feel the fear and dread of impending poverty driving me to crazier productivity, fueled by the urge – primal and real – to provide for. My therapist recommends starting with a walk.

It’s not the mandatory nothing – I still don’t mock anything – but the walk will separate me from everything on my laptop. I’ll keep it short, stay on the shady street of my quiet suburb and listen to a biography of Douglas MacArthur because I’m not going to be productive. But I actually feel calmer and still full of energy when I come back, which makes me curious. Can nothing be a productivity hack?

It turned out that Thomas Edison and his staff would spend hours just thinking. This led to some of the team’s greatest realizations. Bill Gates took a long week of thinking to go alone to a remote area to just read and think. That has inspired many Microsoft victories. These days, Stefan Sagmeister takes a full year off every seven years. It has made his New York-based design company one of the most sought-after in the world because, as he says in a TED talk, every sabbatical offers unparalleled insight and excitement for future projects.

Sagmeister remained true to the request and declined my request to speak to him, saying, “During this unusual time, I try to minimize my planned time in front of the screens and on the phone.” That is Baller.

I orient myself to these entrepreneurs and literally plan idleness based on the calendar that I have overflowing with projects. On some days it is the half hour hike that my therapist recommends. On other days, it’s a block of daydreaming when I write about projects that I might one day pursue. Sometimes it acts as a sports coach to my nine year old twin boys while they study from a distance. As with everyone else, for me, downtime produces real results. It was during a daydream session that I hit upon the idea of ​​starting a paid online community to help creatives learn from each other in ways they can’t on social media.

A small company is born.

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Lesson 2: Trust the Power of Idleness

IN MY EMERGENCY, I read books like Andrew Smart’s Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing that formulates a theory as to why unplugging the power cord is so important. When regions of the brain “do nothing,” says Smart, “they are actually organizing for later use”.

This neural recovery has a name, the resting state network (RSN), and also has a function: promoting creativity. This is what the neurologist who laid the foundation for studying the RSN, Dr. Marcus Raichle of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The colleagues kept Dr. Raichle in the early 2000s for being crazy about hooking people up to MRIs and watching what happened in the brain when the subjects were doing nothing physically.

“You’d just lie there,” says Dr. Raichle. But he found that “your brain is constantly active,” suggesting that neural calm is never calm. “Problems are solved,” he says, even without our knowing it.

Whether it’s Isaac Newton under the apple tree or I’m out for a walk, Dr. Raichle argues that we are often at our best when we are most relaxed. That’s true for me. I am happier and think more clearly because of my planned downtime. Even though I have more work than ever before, I’m less stressed. I realize that I’ve been doing the wrong thing for 20 years. I don’t have to wrestle and pin down and rule the hours of each day. I can move with them, enjoy them as they are. I find time for even more downtime.

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Lesson 3: Doing Less to Feel More

AT A SPECIFIC POINT In the spring of 2021, it doesn’t seem like a good thing to say that I am using rest as a guide to optimize productivity. I’m beyond hacks. I am now developing a worldview with idleness – the nothing prescribed long ago – as the core sentence.

As the artist and author Jenny Odell says in her recently published book “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy”, “such“ nothing ”cannot be tolerated [by modern society] because they cannot be used or appropriated and do not produce any results. “Odell connects the less-is-more ideology with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who built a garden and a school of thought on the assumption that the good life results from the careful study of everyday life.

One day I call Tom Hodgkinson just before he leaves the office early so that he can really see his vibrant city on the bike ride home to his apartment. Hodgkinson runs The Idler, a mindset as well as a magazine published in London: his team hosts events and even a full-blown academy to teach the art of simple pleasures, which some consider indolence but actually heightened intelligence. “People feel that men have to act responsibly, which means they have to be slaves in the office to take care of their families. But then they turn 50 and their wives hate them and their children are grown up and don’t know them, ”says Hodgkinson. “That is irresponsible for me.”

We’re talking about the Harvard Grant Study, a longitudinal project that followed WWII Harvard students from childhood to death. The most important result over decades and career paths? Happiness is a by-product of the relationships you have with your friends, but especially with your family.

“Happiness is love. Period, ”wrote one of the chief researchers of the Harvard Grant study.

“Exactly,” says Hodgkinson.

4th

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Lesson 4: Nothing + Nothing = Everything

WHILE THE WEATHER WARMS UP, I quit my job to teach my daughter how to roller skate. I try to keep up with my twins as they play Just Dance on the Nintendo Switch in 2021. My walks get longer and I leave my cell phone behind. I watch the rising sun limit the tree line. I distinguish chirping birds. At home, I answer fewer emails and start praying, which I haven’t done since I was a kid. It is both an act of faith and a fellowship with silence.

I haven’t had a headache in weeks, but I hope that we can all, as Hodgkinson puts it, be “evolved and superior people.” We still have time to remember where this busy world will take us, even as the world opens again. “Look where it has taken you,” says Hodgkinson.

“Exactly,” I say.

It ultimately led me to realize that idleness is not laziness. I still do a lot. But the things that I plan every day manipulate and streamline all of the things that I pursue. The void concentrates me not only on my work, but, as Epicurus would have had it, on the grainy life outside: the multicolored silence of dawn when I stand in my kitchen in front of my coffee; the high-pitched cries of laughter at night when my kids and I play together.

Lately, every lunchtime, I’ve been walking the path that leads to a river that flows behind my house. One day I meet a photographer who points to a swan and tells me it’s rarely seen in our part of Connecticut. That’s why she brought her camera with her: capturing that which seems prosaic, disposable, nothing, but for the trained eye is beautiful and even transcendent.

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Men’s Health

What Is Fascia – How to Target Your Training to Prevent Injury

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Your hip flexors and quads ache, a dull ache that you’ve likely felt before, especially after exercising. You think you know how to deal with it. You foam roller, you do some stretches, but that only fixes the pain. That’s because the problem isn’t just affecting your muscles.

The real culprit: You have neglected your fascia, the fibrous tissue that was once considered just a shell for your muscles. More recently, it has been shown to play a key role in how your body moves – and why it occasionally hurts. The sooner you learn to take care of this often-overlooked tissue, the faster you’ll recover from those painful hip flexors and other types of sore muscles – and the more bouncy you’ll be with any activity, be it running, lifting, exercising or running errands with Fooling around with your kids.

For years, fascia was considered something that had to be kneaded and leveled (hence this roller), mainly to prevent injuries and to warm up. But that’s only part of the story, says Bill Parisi, CSCS, author of the book Fascia Training: A Whole-System Approach and founder of the Parisi Speed ​​School.

Your fasciae are a whole-body network, much like your muscular and cardiovascular systems. You train these systems in the gym with weights and cardio. You should also train your fascia system with targeted movements. By stimulating your fasciae, you can prevent a lot of injuries and add extra strength to your muscles (and yes, you will also improve the feel and function of your hip flexors). “Training the fascia system is the new science of speed, strength and resistance to injury,” says Parisi, who has been training athletes for 30 years.

Fascia does not appear on X-rays and MRIs, the traditional methods of examining soft tissues, but recent advances in ultrasound imaging technology have enabled researchers to examine fascia and how it can contribute to improved athletic performance and human movement. You learned that the fascia system is a single, interconnected web, made up primarily of collagen and fluid, that surrounds everything in your body – muscles, bones, blood vessels, and so on.

This web has several functions. Your fascia can tighten to give you stability in awkward positions. (Imagine contorting yourself to reach into the back seat of your car.) Or, like a spring, it can store energy when you crouch for a jump and then help provide extra thrust when you get off Lift off the floor. “For this reason, athletes wear compression sleeves or tights to get the feeling of warmth, spring force and recoil, of free energy and stability around muscles and joints,” says Parisi. “The training of your fascia network creates this feeling itself.”

Skip the workout that stimulates the fascia (or worse, barely move for hours) and it revolts. It’s programmed to respond quickly: right now, microscopic fibroblast cells crawl through your body like spiders, secreting collagen networks that make up your fascia network. If you don’t move often, the mesh will stiffen your muscles, which can eventually lead to posture and movement imbalances. This can lead to your typical hip flexion and general body pain. “Collagen breaks down based on how stressful your body is,” says Parisi. Load your fascia network properly and it will get better at stabilizing your body and delivering more bounce.

Your favorite movement, this foam roller, can alleviate fascia stiffness, but it does not develop fascia force or spring force. The solution: Challenge your fasciae by incorporating multiplanar movements and other exercises into your workout. Take the time to do this and you will soon feel greater power by channeling your own armor.

Imagine your fascia

The movements that work your fasciae aren’t new, says Parisi. But the way you do it can be. Focus on using light weights to be quick and agile. Your goal is to challenge your fasciae in multiple directions, forcing the tissue to respond quickly to landings and contractions. Do at least one exercise from each group every week.

Attack levels

Unless you’re a Cobra Kai perk, there’s a good chance that you spend very little time twisting your torso or moving sideways each day. The result: your fascia tissues may not be programmed to stabilize your body when you turn. “If you pull a muscle,” says Parisi, “the cause of the injury is the lack of training of the fascia.” The solution: exercises in which you turn your body in different directions and angles and do it at different speeds.

Exercise 1: scoop squat

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand against your chest with a dumbbell. Squat down, then lower the bell. Stand, twist your left foot inward and swing the barbell over your right shoulder. Repeat on the other side. This is 1 rep; Do 3 sets of 4 to 5.

Exercise 2: Reverse Lunge to Wood Chop

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell vertically with one hand on each end. Step back with your left foot and lower yourself into a reverse lunge, swinging the weight first toward your right shoulder and then down diagonally to your left hip. Back to top. This is 1 rep; Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 per side.

Check your pulse

Tiny pulses at the end of your range of motion stimulate fibroblasts to shed the collagen fibers that can make you more explosive. “Pulsing is the expression and release of strength,” says Parisi. Use light weights (like half your typical training weight) and experiment with different angles.

Exercise 1: push-up impulses stay low

Remain low push-up impulses

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Get into the push-up position with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, your core and buttocks tensed, then lower your chest to within an inch of the floor. This is the beginning. Now make tiny up and down impulses for 30 seconds. Only lift your chest an inch or two on each repetition. Shift your weight slightly between your hands. Push back up. Do 3 sets.

Exercise 2: Romanian deadlift with pulse

Pulse Romanian Deadlift

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Hold dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides. Holding the weights close to your shins, slide your buttocks back and lower your torso. Stop before your back begins to curve. Break. This is the beginning. Make up and down pulses for 30 seconds. Shift your weight from your left foot to your right foot every few repetitions. Stand. Do 3 sets.

Ricochet

Exercise your fasciae to be responsive, and it will plump up your muscles and joints when your body hits the floor – after a jump, for example. It also acts like a spring, delivering additional explosive energy in any direction. Your focus: small, quick jumps in several directions.

Exercise 1: jumping rope

Jump rope

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Grab a rope (or if you don’t have one, just do repetitive jumps). Focus on keeping the jumps small and staying on the balls of your feet instead of jumping high. Do three 30-second sets.

Exercise 2: skater jumps

Skater jumps

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand in an athletic posture. Jump right with your right foot; Land gently and jump back to the left with your left foot. Work on making every jump explosive; don’t rest on the ground. Do three 30-second sets.

A version of this story originally appeared in Men’s Health’s May 2021 issue, entitled “THE FASCIA TRACK”.

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How Lingering After-effects Impact Female Health and Male Fertility

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As we reach the seemingly end of the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in India, several recovering patients are staring at the long road of dealing with lingering symptoms – now defined by doctors as “long covid”. Given the situation, News18 will run a 15-day “Decoding Long Covid” series in which doctors with different specialties raise concerns, recommend ways to deal with them, and suggest when to seek help.

In today’s column, Dr. Anjali Kumar, Gynecologist in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at CK Birla Hospital in Gurugram, on how Covid-19 affects women’s health.

Kumar said that while Covid can have a long-term effect on people’s bodies, women multitasking and most household chores in India may be more affected.

“Most people who develop Covid-19 have a mild or moderate illness that gets better over time. However, some people develop permanent symptoms that can be serious. The implications are more on women’s health as they multitask and deal with many responsibilities like housework, care chores and work, “said Kumar.

Also read: Deciphering Long Covid: A gastroenterologist explains why hyperacidity and loss of appetite should not be ignored

The doctor said that some of the long-term effects of Covid-19 could include extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, low-level fever and mental disorders, impaired memory, mood swings, insomnia, headaches, and isolation and loneliness.

Kumar pointed out that women who had Covid-19 while pregnant still have problems with fatigue, exhaustion, muscle pain and shortness of breath even after they recover. “These are compounded by fears and concerns about the impact of COVID-19 infection on the baby and uncertainties about treatment and ultimate delivery and baby care. Women in general have also reported fears for their gynecological health, period irregularities and fertility problems at the time of COVID-19 infection, “the doctor said.

Kumar said a psychiatrist was needed in post-Covid clinics to address women’s health issues from a mental health perspective. “All of these problems can be solved with the right guidance. We can also help with online tools (counseling and sessions) to provide information and guidance to people recovering from COVID-19 infection, “said Kumar.

“We can also create online support groups that can help women understand that they are not alone and provide a platform to share experiences,” she added.

In fact, recent studies show that Covid-19 also causes erectile dysfunction in men and affects their fertility. A research paper titled “Mask up to keep it up” published in Andrology magazine in March 2021 suggested that there is a link between erectile dysfunction and Covid-19.

The study, which was carried out on Italian men, found that Covid-19 destroys the cardiovascular system and causes blood vessel disease, which in turn affects a man’s erection. Another study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health found that the Covid-19 virus is present in the penis long after the initial infection in humans. The results of the study suggested that widespread endothelial cell dysfunction due to COVID-19 infection may contribute to erectile dysfunction. (Click here to read more).

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Men’s Health

The 100 Strongest Cities in America

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WHAT DOES a strong city? Our analysis of 100 major cities shows that it’s more than just muscle mass. Real strength is the lack of psychological stress and depression, well-being, generally good health, adequate sleep and physical activity, access to exercise (gyms and parks), social connections and a high proportion of registered voters. So strength of body, mind, heart and community – this is what sets the strongest US cities apart from the rest.

To rank these cities, we used a specific methodology: mental health (including wellbeing) and physical health (sleeping habits and more) each made up 25 percent of our weighted rankings. The ratio of registered voters to eligible voters was 20 percent. The connection of residents to urban organizations accounted for 15 percent. Cardiovascular health was 10 percent. The remaining 5 percent accounted for the number of fitness facilities and access to exercise options.

And as sources, we looked at the 500 Cities Project, the American Fitness Index, the CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, County Health Rankings, the US Census Bureau, the World Well-Being Project, and the records of states, cities and towns Counties.

Here’s how these cities fare:

America’s strongest cities

1. Madison, Wisconsin

Marchello74Getty Images


2nd anchorage, AK
3. Washington, DC
4. Burlington, VT
5. Minneapolis, MN
6. Denver, CO
7. Sioux Falls, SD
8. Lincoln, NE
9. Raleigh, NC
10. Bridgeport, CT
11. Seattle, WA
12. Aurora, CO
13. San Francisco, California
14. St. Paul, MN
15. Austin, TX
16. Virginia Beach, Virginia
17. Colorado Springs, Colorado
18. Anaheim, California
19. Atlanta, GA



20. Charlotte, NC

Kruck20Getty Images

21. Durham, NC
22. Des Moines, IA
23. Portland, OR
24. Fargo, ND
25. Omaha, NE
26. Charleston, SC
27. Oakland, CA.
28. Settlements, MT
29. Portland, ME
30. Chesapeake, Virginia
31. San Jose, California
32. Louisville, KY
33. Sacramento, California
34. San Diego, California
35. Pittsburgh, PA
36. Boise City, ID
37. Cheyenne City, WY
38. Greensboro, NC
39. Honolulu, HI

40. Los Angeles, California

male trail runner

Patrik gardenGetty Images

41. Plano, TX
42. Manchester, NH
43. Chicago, IL
44. Salt Lake City, UT
45. Wilmington, DE
46. ​​Nashville, TN
47. Reno, NV
48. Winston-Salem, NC
49. Lexington, KY
50. New York, NY
51. Buffalo, NY
52. St. Louis, MO
53. Richmond, Virginia
54. Little Rock, AR
55. Phoenix, AZ
56. Newark, New Jersey
57. Boston, MA
58. Jersey City, New Jersey
59. Jacksonville, Florida


60. St. Petersberg, FL

Saint Petersburg aerial view

Majestic_AerialsGetty Images

61. Birmingham, AL
62. Cleveland, OH
63. Cincinnati, OH
64. Albuquerque, NM
65. Norfolk, Virginia
66. New Orleans, LA
67. Houston, TX
68. Baltimore, MD
69. San Antonio, TX
70. Orlando, FL
71. Tucson, Arizona
72. Indianapolis, IN
73. Wichita, KS
74. Las Vegas, NV
75. Fort Wayne, IN
76. Kansas City, MO
77. Riverside, California
78. Miami, FL
79. Lubbock, TX

80. Dallas, TX

Downtown Dallas skyline with Margaret Hut Hills Bridge

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81. Columbus, OH
82. Jackson, MS
83. Toledo, OH
84. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
85. Fort Worth, TX
86. Tulsa, OK
87. Providence, RI
88. Memphis, TN
89. Oklahoma City, OK
90. Tampa, Florida
91. Baton Rouge, LA
92. Stockton, California
93. Charleston, WV
94. Corpus Christi, TX
95. El Paso, TX
96. Fresno, California
97. Laredo, TX
98. Philadelphia, PA
99. Bakersfield, California
100. Detroit, Michigan

A version of this article appeared in the June 2021 issue of Men’s Health.

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