Thursday, 19 July 2007

Odd fitness: Bike Soccer

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As I've mentioned before, there's no one way to stay in shape. In fact, for those of you who are interested in getting fit but don't know how to start, it doesn't matter what you do to get active -- as long as you find something that's interesting. The weight loss, the muscle gain (or whatever you're trying to achieve) will come in time, but you probably won't get started (and almost certainly won't stick with it), unless you're genuinely enjoying yourself.

Here's an example of a sport you probably hadn't thought of, but one that would certainly get your blood pumping -- cycle ball. It's a combination of cycling and basketball, that's surprisingly interesting to watch!

So, next time you're sitting on the couch, wishing you could get up the motivation to take a jog, or go for a swim -- call up a few of your buddies, grab your bike, and try a little two on two -- cycle ball style.

Recall: Canned hot dog chili sauce causing botulism

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Botulism hasn't been seen in commercially canned goods since the 1970s, but it recently reared its ugly head in some hot dog chili sauce products and sent 4 people to the hospital. Botulism is caused by the bacteria Clostridium and works by paralyzing muscles. All 4 people (2 kids in Texas and a couple from Indiana) are expected to fully recover.

The warning and recall apply to 10-ounce cans of Castleberry's, Austex and Kroger brands of hot dog chili sauce with "best by" dates from April 30, 2009 through May 22, 2009. They were canned in Augusta, GA, and Castleberry is cooperating fully with the FDA and CDC investigations.

This is scary -- why now, after all these years?

Get outdoors with your dog, hands free

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So it's been proven scientifically that having a dog is good for your health, and it's not just because they provide that unconditional love and affection that earned them the title "man's best friend." Having a dog also makes it much easier to get outside and get moving, either walking or jogging, or for some people biking (although that always scares me a little). Well now there's a handy gadget that makes it so you don't have to hold the leash the entire time: the Cardio Canine human harness and dog leash system. It's a belt that goes around your waist with a clip to attach your dog's leash, a place for your water bottle, and pocket for keys or whatever.

This looks great, although make sure your dog is trained well enough not to bolt after a rabbit or other dogs -- getting pulled out of stride like that without your arm to soften the jolt you could easily end up laying on your face or twisting an ankle .

Via Fitsugar

Hot dog sauce recalled due to botulism contamination

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In the first commercial case in a long while of a canned product recall due to botulism food poisoning bacteria, some popular brands of hot dog sauce (a little different than hot dog chili) have been recalled.

The brands include Castleberry's, Austex and Kroger brands of hot dog sauce in the 10-ounce size. Two children in Texas has become very ill when the botulism was discovered. It's extremely rare to find it in canned products, and there has not been a case stemming from a canned food in the U.S. in decades.

Check your pantries and see if you have any of the offending cans. The "Best Buy" dates stamped in the cans will be from April 30, 2009 to May 22, 2009. My my, there must be some hefty preservatives in there!

Madonna's a lifelong runner

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For someone who's in her 40s, has three kids and has been dominating the music industry since I was in elementary school, Madonna looks pretty good. Perhaps it's her strict macrobiotic diet. Perhaps it's her jam-packed schedule that is full of energetic performances around the world. Or perhaps it's that she's a runner and has been for ages, according to these photos on Fitsugar. The first photos are from 2007, and the second are from 1987 -- 20 years apart. The fashions have changed -- she's no longer sporting wrist bands, cheesy hats, a muscle T-shirt, a muletted blond running partner and 80s-style Reeboks, but the body looks the same, and not a lot of women who are nearing 50 can say that.

What do you think of Madonna? An inspiration for healthy living?

The latest in high tech and fancy gym equipment

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Gyms are moving up, in terms of technology at least. The treadmill with the waterbottle holder used to be in highest demand, but now it's a piece of junk if there's no iPod port or video screen. These days you can see how many calories you've burned, see your heart rate rise and fall in real time, and watch your favorite music videos while you workout. And besides new fancy features on age old equipment, the machines themselves are evolving into new and truly space-age designs. From machines that can learn and adjust to your personal abilities to those with technology borrowed from NASA to change your effective body weight, it's amazing what they can do these days in the name of fitness.

Yet somehow we're bigger than ever? Something messed up about that!

Restless legs: a real syndrome

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Do you struggle at night with legs that want to keep moving, even though it's time to sleep? You may struggle from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Until recently, there wasn't unanimous agreement over whether the condition had a physical or psychological basis, or if it was even real. But recent research has found a genetic link to the condition, connecting a gene variation to people in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Iceland. Researchers say the gene variation probably accounts for about 50% of RLS, and interestingly, in one study was also linked to low iron levels. Low iron levels have previously been associated with RLS as well.

Read more about RLS, including symptoms and treatment options, at the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation's web page.

The healthy way to deal with rejection

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It's a fact of life: we all have to deal with rejection at some point or another. Rejection is not just an emotional thing -- it's a physical feeling too, and studies show that the areas of the brain that are activated when one suffers from rejection are the same activated when an individual receives painful stimuli. And while it won't kill us, it still smarts. The health experts at CNN recommend the following when dealing with rejection:
  • Step back, and ask yourself if this rejection really matters in the grand scheme of things.
  • Don't dwell on it -- move forward and do your best to get over it
  • And yet, allow yourself to feel the emotions of rejection, which can be similar to grief. Just know when to pick yourself up and move on.
How did you deal with rejection?

Mobile mammograms?

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One of the biggest challenges in the fight against breast cancer is getting women in the doctor's office for regular mammograms. Safeway is hoping to help out with this issue by creating an $800,000 digital mobile mammography unit (a van) that will make it easier for women to access screenings. The van can do up to 30 mammograms a day and will begin traveling around the Puget Sound area next month.

This digital "mammogram-obile" isn't the first of its kind -- they're growing more and more popular as a means of encouraging women to comply with one of the best known breast cancer treatment options we have: early detection.

How to help your kids lose weight

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Middle age spread isn't just for grown ups any more, and 15% of American children are struggling with extra weight and obesity. Being overweight comes with a long list of health risks, and children who carry excessive weight are in danger of developing adult diseases at a very young age. In addition, overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, and current estimates say that nearly 50 million Americans could develop diabetes in the next 40 years.

But helping an overweight child is a tricky issue and sensitive parents will tread carefully around feelings like poor self-esteem and isolation. MSNBC has a terrific article on helping overweight kids lose weight without making them feel additional stigma, including ideas like putting the whole family on a "health program" and making exercise and healthy eating fun. If you have a child or teen who needs some help taking off the pounds, it's worth taking a look at these suggestions.

The ultimate gadget for cyclists: The Polar CS600

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In the world of "fun ways to track your status while working out" cyclists have been a little left out when compared to walkers and runners, who can get heart rate monitors and shoes and mp3 players that tell them what's going on -- all while coordinating their efforts to music no less. Well now there's something specially designed for cyclists by cyclists: the CS600 by Polar. Put together with the help of six teams that competed in last year's Tour de France, it monitors not only your heart rate (of course), but also your bike's speed and altitude, which it sends wirelessly to your computer from it's convenient spot on the bike's handlebars.

Sound cool? It must be -- it costs upwards of $700.

Man finds fly larvae living in his scalp (doctor said it was shingles)

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Aaron Dallas, a man from Colorado who recently took a trip to Belize, was told by a specialist (a specialist!) that the painful bleeding bumps on the back of his head might be shingles and he was given a variety of lotions and topical treatments to try. None of them worked, and the bumps only got worse. Why? Because they were bot fly larvae! Mr Dallas was quoted as saying "I'd put my hand back there and feel them moving. I thought it was blood coursing through my head." He also said he could hear them and thought he was going crazy.

Okay, so I've totally got the heebie jeebies! It's bad enough to have this happen (I guess bot fly infections are not uncommon in some parts of South and Central America) but for a doctor to think it's shingles? Get a new specialist.

Foods to help you quit smoking

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Over the years, I've had several friends who have tried to quit smoking, only to pick it back up the minute they walk into a bar or drink a beer. "I only smoke when I drink," they'd say. Over at The Cardio Blog, Chris wrote an intriguing post that may help explain the phenomenon. A study recently published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that certain foods enhance the flavor of cigarettes, including alcohol and caffeinated beverages. On the flip side, there are also foods that smokers reported do not go well with cigarettes, like fruits and vegetables, juice, and dairy products. It seems that healthy living and smoking don't mix, something that probably won't surprise anyone. But I'm you think that eating these foods could help curb cigarette cravings? What do you think?

How to tell if your diet is questionable

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There's a diet for nearly every personality out there, and if you've been struggling to lose weight and faltering, you might just be looking for the diet that's going to solve all your weight problems. The truth is, there isn't one diet that necessarily works better than the others, that much has been proven. In fact, there are a lot of diets out there that might not help you lose weight at all, except from your pocketbook.

So how do you know if the diet you're considering is worthwhile? Take a minute to read over this post from Diet-Blog that lists 7 signs of a dubious diet. Some diets can help you lose weight, but I think it's the motivation of the dieter and the change to a healthier lifestyle that really does the trick.