Friday, October 02, 2015

Cheap roads to fitness

Maybe not depends on you...but at least to get some exercise. It's some "day"--women's fitness or something (I don't DO "days" here, but thought this was a good list).

Some recommendations for exercising on the cheap?

The outdoors is free. For the cost of decent shoes, you can run, jog, or hike. Twenty-two mins a day will increase your lifespan (statistically anyhow).

How about a home gym? The average gym membership is about $60 a month...In five years, that's $3500. You can get dumbbells, a balance ball, resistance bands and even a treadmill (Craigs) for way less.

Or just adapt some household items into weights. Water bottles, big cans, detergent, even 40-lb bags of pet food. Some moms even hoist the kid.

Use your own body weight to provide resistance. Lunges, squats, pushups.

Stream free videos. Check out The Daily Hit or YouTube offerings.

If you like going to a facility, take advantage of cheap trials--you may get several mos of free workouts.

Before you sign a contract, look for deals from the company online. Coupon Sherpa is a good one.

Some retailers also offer free workouts--check. Also, check your local for hiking groups.

You can also barter--how about teaching a few classes to get a few? Or check people in, clean up in the evenings--you can ask anyone anything.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

One-stop test for all viruses

Researchers at the Washington University's School of Medicine (St Louis) have developed a test that identifies thousands of known viruses in one fell swoop. This will eliminate patients' getting batteries of different tests at different doctors.

Called ViroCap, it can detect viruses not found by standard testing. You don't have to look for something with a special test--it tells you, here are the viruses present. (Sept Genome Research)

The gold standard now is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. However, these screen for only about 20 viruses at a time.

Researchers screened blood, stool, and nasal secretions. In one test, they screened 14 children--the new test found viruses missed in four under previous methods. The standard testing missed Influenza B, parechovirus (intestinal and respiratory), herpes virus 1 (cold sores), and the chicken pox virus.

It can detect even viruses that are close to each other genetically. It also sorts of subtypes that can cause ailments.

The test may also be modified in the future to find bacteria, fungi, and other microbes as well as indicators that the pathogen is resistant to antibiotics.

The research and test are being provided publicly and will be available to scientists--and eventually patients?--worldwide.

Yay--let's get on it!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pretty soon--falling leaves

I love trees, but they can't seem to keep it together. All the "stuff" falls off many species about this time of year--and guess who gets to rake up the results?

Raking leaves, says Kaixuan Liu, MD, founder and president of the Atlantic Spine Center, requires a lot of movements--twisting, bending, lifting, reaching.


Ways to avoid leaf-related injuries:

--Stretch before a raking session--back, leg, and shoulder muscles, neck. Hold each stretch 30 seconds.

--Avoid twisting. Don't just plant your feet and twist around to get to accumulations. Let your feet do some of it.

--Don't hunch over. Keep legs should-width apart, bend knees slightly. Make sure your rake is the right size to prevent leaning over.

--As you gather leaf piles, bend at the knees. Leaves don't look heavy, but they can be.

--Take a break every 15-30 mins.

--Stretch gently when you are done and headed for the couch.

If you still get aches and pains, esp 24-48 hours later, ice the area for 20 mins.

Another good method is to get your kid to do the raking.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The lowdown on blood pressure--sort of

An ideal blood pressure, for years, has been 120/80. Yet, many people have a top number of 140-150, even if on medication.

You probably heard that some researchers think that is passe for people 50 and over---maybe it needs to be even lower to prevent cardio events and deaths.

One in three adults in the US suffers from high blood pressure. Adults over 54 and blacks are particularly vulnerable.

National Institutes of Health did a study called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial and was so impressed with the results, they stopped it early so they could share the results.

Apparently many people being treated for hypertension were hitting a top number of 140--not 120. If it could be kept at 120, according to these findings, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure would be reduced by a third. Or so preliminary data show.

So should older people shoot for this? The doctors are being cautious--awaiting the full results.

One doctor says if someone is between 120 and 140, she explores their medication, lifestyle, and other factors to see if it could go lower.

Wouldn't that take a lot of drugs? The cost of drugs, adherence, tolerance--all are factors.

People also should walk 30 mins a day, reduce weight if needed and feasible (5% reduction will help),

I take three modes of BP med for "the family curse." When I get 120 over maybe 85, I think they took it wrong.

I also think older people need SOME pressure to get blood to the top floor.

But what I think is not important--ask your doc.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New type of personal tent on horizon

This could be in the "better mousetrap dept." At the Swiss Textiles Assn's Innovation Day, a new startup called Polarmond presented an all-in-one sleeping system.

It is a sleeping bag, mat, and bivouac in one. The sleeper heated by his or her own body heat at temps down to thirty below.

It is a spacious inner room--not just a sleeping bag. And it's lightweight.

They call it Magic Tent.

They faced many challenges--for one thing, the insulated material does not touch the body to hold in the heat. This means humidity from the body gets in the air. This gets trapped in a liner. What's left gets taken up by the warmed air in the sleeping "cell," even if the outdoor temp varies.

I am not very versed in tents--does this sound new, different, and promising?

It may hit the market in March of 2016.