Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why I Started Longboarding

I know I write about health stuff on this blog but have been a little lazy with my exercise routine lately. I'm going to provide a few tips about longboarding, which I recently picked up, and a few tips about what a good longboard can do to help my health.

I'm not very flexible -- too much time in front of a computer -- but 'boarding should be good for me to loosen up my body and stay limber. (I'm having a tough time so far -- even though I bought a good, stable longboard.

I like that 'boarding offers a full-body workout. It requires me to move arms, legs, and feet. That twisting motion is what I like compared to biking. (I'd run but my knees are creaky :)

Also, I like that I could do it all day and increase my physical stamina. With the right 'board, you could skate for miles with a crusier. See A Longboard Brand Buyers Guide to learn about choosing a board for endurance.

I don't do many tricks. (I got a longboard, not a skateboard.) But I do know that the small amount of tricks I can do have increased my precision.

All the small movements require me to place my feet on different spots on the board or adjust my timing or speed before doing the trick. Mostly, it's taught me that I still suck.

My coordination is getting better, though. If I wasn't an old codger, I think that riding a 'board provides a youngster with some valuable tips: Learning consequences.

Riding is dangerous -- ever see skateboards try to gap a set of stairs and fail? Yeah, it's not pretty.

We learn that when we take risks, we have to suffer the consequences of those risks. Sometimes, that means broken bones and nasty rashes from crashes.

All these oopses result in increased coordination, strength, balance, character and less accidents because you learn to crash. It sounds crazy. But I learned how to crash years ago while riding mountain bikes. I wrecked my bike for about a year straight. During that time, I learned how to crash and minimize damage.

Now, I'm not as limber as I was when I picked up longboarding, so I made sure to not get a skateboard (I needed something stable) and I made sure to read up on how to make a stable longboard.

I also like physical activities for reliving stress. It helps me detune and just chill out. I also feel much better because it is a physical exercise.

I'm sure it helps with other health problems like high blood pressure and obesity but I don't know too much about medical health. But my favourite thing about riding is that it burns calories.

Granted, those who are skateboarding in pools and pits are burning a lot more than me. However, I'm still getting a workout.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is my weight healthy? Good question, IDK

This is a subject many of us need to tackle. I did some research so it's not completely random info but this is based on facts. I'm not offering medical advice here because I'm not qualified. I'm just presenting information I found reading the Center for Disease Control and Mayo Clinic, so let's get started with this long, obese article. Speaking of obese ...

The more obese a person is, the higher risk he or she has for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, gallstones, and some forms of cancers. It would be to your advantage to be able to say whether you are approaching the border of being overweight or if you are already obese.

Unfortunately, the mirror doesn’t always tell if you are obese or not, because the eyes could be subjective.

You could go to a medical clinic, where information given will be objective. These health professionals spent years of their education learning about health. Think about the tiring process of how many years it takes to become a registered nurse. After that much education in nursing school, do you think they would steer you wrong with subjectivity?

If you are unwilling to go to a clinic, there are several ways to tell obesity or unhealthy weight with more objectivity by yourself. Measurement of any or combinations of the following are used to make objective interpretations: age, height, weight, bone density, waist circumference, hip circumference, and muscle fat.

Here are different methods which are useful for determining your healthiest proportions:

1. The Body Mass Index (BMI)

This method is most commonly used in determining the ideal body weight because of its relative simplicity. It takes into consideration your weight relative to your height.

It is computed using the formula below.

BMI metric units = weight in kilograms / (height in meters)2

Start making sure that your weight and height are in metric units as stated in the formula. Divide your weight with the square of your height. For instance, if you weigh 80 kilograms and stand 1.8 meters, using the calculator you solve first for the square of 1.8:

1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24 (this is the same as 1.82)

Solving for the BMI in metric units:
80 divided by 3.24 = 24.69
Therefore, the BMI metric units = 24.69
The resulting BMI is interpreted as follows:
  • Below 18.5 - underweight
  • 18.5 to 25 - ideal
  • 25 to 30 - overweight
  • Above 30 - obese
2. The Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)
Health experts say that the BMI is rather too simplistic a tool to accurately predict unhealthy conditions. Hence, another method can be used with it. It is the WHR which measures the circumference of the waist and the hips, both in inches.

The formula is:
WHR = waistline in inches / Hip circumference in inches

Measure the waistline along the narrowest waist circumference and the hip along the widest circumference. For example, a woman with a waistline of 32 and a hip circumference of 42 will have a WHR of:
WHR = 32/42 = 0.76

The resulting WHR is interpreted in relation to the level of risk for cardiovascular health problems, hypertension, and diabetes, as follows:

For Women
  • Below 0.8 - low risk 
  • 0.8 to 0.89 - moderate risk
  • 0.9 and above – high risk
For Men
  • Below 0.9 - low risk
  • 0.9 to 0.99 - moderate risk
  • 1and above - high risk
3. Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR)

Another tool for health screening is the WHtR method which states that the ideal waist circumference is less than half the height of a person. This method reliably predicts risks for heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.

This only implies that you keep your waistline trim – at around half of your height. If you are 5’4’’ tall (64 inches), then you have to keep your waistline at less than 32 inches. The waist circumference measures the abdominal fat accumulated and too much of this visceral fat is harmful to the heart, kidneys and the liver. For those working out to control their weight, the WHtR is very simple to remember: Your height divided by 2 should be the maximum circumference of your waist. Use the same units of measurement for the height and waist, meaning, all measurements must be in the same units. If you use inches to measure the waistline, then use inches as well for the height.

4. Body Fat Percentage

Doctors and most high-tech health gyms have devices that measure the body fat, such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis, and near-infrared interactance. Experts believe that measuring the body fat is the true measure of a person’s healthy body fat composition. The body fat percentage is computed by dividing the body fat by the total weight. Acceptable body fat percentages are:
  • Men: 18% to 25%
  • Women: 25% to 31%
Beyond the maximum limits of 25% for men and 31% for women, a person can be either overweight or obese.

There are more sophisticated ways available today, such as the body fat percentage method, for weight-conscious people. The first three basic methods mentioned, however, are the quickest ways to tell if you have a problem with your weight or not. They are available to you at your home right away, with only a body measuring tape or a bathroom weighing scale, and must not be eliminated because of their simplicity.

These methods are a good start for you on your way to good health and better lifestyle.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A few thoughts concerning common health complaints in the US today

Credit: Kara Faus on Flickr
Even if a person is lucky enough to live through his life without being a victim of a major, life changing disease, there are some minor, harmless yet annoying health complaints that irritate everyone again and again in their lives; headaches, backaches, insomnia, asthma, obesity, to name a few.

There may be only a handful of people in the world who haven’t at least once in their lives been bothered by headaches, be it a few hours of throbbing in the head or a full-fledged migraine attack of days. Migraine headaches, cluster or tension headaches – these various types of headaches are repetitive and frustrating in a person’s life, often arriving at a moment’s notice to cancel all previously planned occasions.

As annoying as headaches are, they are usually harmless and require no special treatment. People tackle with their own unique headaches their personal way, through rest, sleep, caffeine or an aspirin. Besides medical attention or medicines, chiropractic care, acupuncture and massages has proved to be effective for relief in headaches.

An upset stomach, or really anything related to the digestive system, is not a topic to be brought up in polite company; nevertheless it is a major problem in a huge portion of the population. Digestive problems occur in a number of ways: constipation, gas, reflux, ulcers to name a few. Most of these are due to the unhealthy lifestyles the modern world is leading and due to intake of an unwholesome diet inclined towards processed food and meat. A good diet focused on grains, fruits and vegetables, and maintaining a schedule in regular eating is an absolute must to avoid any types or digestive problems.  

Flu, or the Common Cold, common as the name suggests, in one of the major complaints of victims of all age and situation. There is hardly any medication available or needed to cope with this illness, besides a good rest and plenty of rest. However, negligence when suffering from a cold may sometimes worsen the case and lead towards pneumonia, especially in the case of very young children, and this can be deadly.

Allergies, from food or other sources, are present in more or less everybody in the United States. The most common forms of food allergies include peanut, soy, fish and nut allergies and lactose intolerance. Around 12 million Americans are estimated to have at least one kind of food allergy. Individuals allergic to a particular food have to be extremely cautious of their food intake, or else coming in contact with that particular food item in item may lead to sneezing and runny nose, itching, rash, diarrhea; even to swelling, hives, nausea and fainting to be extreme.

Besides food allergies, different people often have allergic reactions to pollens, dust or cold. These types of allergies usually differ with seasons, growing in the winter or spring. Allergies are usually harmless, limiting itself to sneezing, runny nose, headaches and light fever, but can often lead to asthma and breathing difficulty.

Eye-strain, back pains, sore muscles and pain in the neck are – they all have one common reason. Staring at the television for too long, or working at the computer for hours at a time. Neglected, these mere symptoms could lead to a permanent pain in your body and harm to your eyesight. It is advised to take frequent rests and breaks between work to avoid such stress to the body.

Fever, however high, if an isolated factor, may still be pretty harmless for adults. For children though, a fever as low as 100°C, if left untreated, can prove to be fatal. It is better to take the child to the nearest ER or to a pediatrician for inquiry soon after discovery.

Hangovers are the result of excessive alcohol intake and generally occur the morning after drinking, resulting in splitting headaches, nausea, thirst and vomiting. No medication is needed to cure hangovers, but everyone follows their own recipes of caffeine, pain relievers and a lot of liquid diet to ease the uneasiness.

As each of us grow older, many other symptoms make their appearance in our lives; diabetes, arthritis, heart problems, dementia, eye problems to name a few. It is important to keep an eye out to distinguish which are the normal signs of ageing and which are actually serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and Heart failure disguised as ageing. Although there’s no stopping the inevitable, knowing the symptoms beforehand could save a lot of trouble in the future.

The above mentioned illnesses, more like botherations in our lives than actual diseases, are harmless in most cases. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that they should be neglected or overlooked at any age or time. Harmless physical inconveniences can lead to major diseases in many cases, so it is extremely important to know one’s own body and seek regular checkup.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some thoughts about complementary and alternative medicine

Alternative medicine is a practice of medicine that has the healing effect of medicine but is not supported by scientific methods of gathering evidence. Alternative medicines are generally consists of a wide range of health care practices, such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine and acupuncture; and also products and therapies.

Alternative medicines have typically not been included in any degree courses in medical colleges or prescribed by traditional doctors or used in conventional medicine.

Complementary medicine is sometimes used in aid to conventional medicine prescribed by a physician; it is not proven scientifically to be effective, but used in complement with conventional medicine.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine, together, is abbreviated as CAM. There is a basic difference between the two types of medicine: complementary medicines are generally non-conventional medicines that are used with conventional form of medicine; whereas alternative medicine refers to non-conventional medicine used in place of conventional medicine.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), around 40% of Americans use unconventional medicine that is outside the jurisdiction of mainstream medicine.

In addition to CAM, Integrated Medicine combines mainstream medical care with CAM therapies and has some scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing mechanics, training potential CAM researches, and distributing information to the public and professionals alike.

There are a number of CAM therapies that are in practice in the United States at the moment.

    Acupuncture is a Chinese technique that is around 2000 years old and involves inserting thin and metallic needles into the skin of a human being. This is one of the most researched and studied of CAM and is extensively practiced in the US based on medical knowledge from China, Japan, Korea and other countries.

    Ayurveda is an alternative method that that has have in practice in the Indian subcontinent for nearly 5,000 years. It includes herbal medicine and diet that is focused on disease prevention and treatment.

    Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between bodily structure, especially that of the spinal cord. Chiropractors use manipulative therapy as a treatment tool.

    Homeopathic is an alternative medicine where small, highly diluted quantities of medicine are given to cure symptoms, where the same medicines at a higher concentration or amount will cause the symptoms.

    Massage artists and therapists manipulate muscle and connective tissues to enhance their wellbeing and promote relaxation in a person.

    Aromatherapy involves the use of aromatic oil extracts or essences from flowers and herbs to promote health and overall comfort.

    Dietary Supplements may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acid, and other substances such as enzymes, organ tissues and metabolites. These are complementary medicines that are intended as a supplement to one’s diet. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), dietary supplements are to be considered as food, not medicine.

    Naturopathic Medicine is a CAM alternative therapy where practitioners work with the patient in supporting his inner power through a treatment of nutrition and lifestyle counseling, dietary supplement and exercise, homeopathy and medicinal plants.

    Reiki is a Japanese healing technique where practitioners believe that in healing an individual’s spirit, in turn, heals their physical body.

    Electromagnetic Fields are invisible lines of force that are present around all electronic devices; and magnetic fields are produced by electric currents flowing at the Earth’s Core.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) are used most in the treatments of back pains and aches, common cold and headaches, joint pain and stiffness, anxiety and depression.

Also, women are more likely to turn to CAM than men; and more likely, older adults are more inclined towards it than young adults.

68.3% African-American adults are more susceptible than White Adults to use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and 43.1% Asian adults prefer it more than African-American and White Adults.

American adults living in the urban areas are more likely to use CAM therapies than adults living in the rural areas of the country.

54.9% of US adults believe that CAM, in collaboration with conventional treatment will help them in their illness. 50.1% adults try it because of their curiosity; 26% adults try it on advice from their doctor or practitioner. 13% of American adults try CAM because they think conventional treatment is too expensive for them.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Old men are not necessarily grumpy -- especially in business

It’s not true at all. What’s true is that men who are grumpy as young people end up growing grumpier by the day. They may not be happy as young folks, and, as they age, their jobs may suck, and they may need a way to improve their overall business acumen.

I think that the reverse of the “grumpy old man” stereotype is closer to the real score. It’s highly unlikely that a cheerful person ages and becomes grumpy for the sole reason of growing old.

More relaxed pace

As a general observation, people mellow down and become more contented. They may become less adventurous, but not necessarily less happy. Men, or women for that matter, have gone full circle, so to speak. Life’s great mysteries have been unravelled. Time is to be enjoyed, not chased. There are no more races to build a career. For most of us in our golden years, we live and enjoy what we have worked for after so many years in the daily grind. Walks are more relaxed, not the nervous pacing when I was younger. Emotionally, we are also more calm and stable. And for the longest time, I now truly sleep instead of what used to be intermittent catnaps.

Clearer thinking process to improve business

Decision-making is a lot easier and clearer than before, ironically. Contrary to the common belief that older people tend to lose it, I think my focus couldn’t be better. That probably comes with the fact that I have fewer things on my mind; hence, weighing matters over become simpler and less stressful.

No fad or trend to keep up with

I’m less mindful of fashion and trends. Correct that, I’m not mindful at all about what the latest thing is. It used to be a major issue – “Am I correctly dressed for the event?” or “Do I have the latest gizmo for work and play?” I’m totally off that kind of pressure. I walk with the most comfortable thing on my feet. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have the latest mobile phone, as long as I can use it to make a call. 

Stronger self-image

I remember being unsure of myself. I used to question myself whether I was competitive enough, or whether people believed in me. There used to be struggles, mainly with myself; and there were not a few “proving myself” situations to go through. At this point, I have come to terms with who I am. That ended a lot of quixotic battles actually. It’s like having all the answers all of a sudden; I can’t say how much of a relief that is, but it is.

More control over time

It used to be the other way around. Like most people I worked with, I was ruled by the clock and the calendar. Time can’t do that to me now. I own my time; I have better hold of it. I have a say on what I want to do or where I decide to go. Now that I think about it - it’s like having a life!

Men, or women for that matter, can’t be grumpy growing old for all those reasons. We have more to share because we’ve seen it all. There are more resources than there are fancy things to spend them with.

Well, we do move slower. But that also makes us see a lot of things that we used to simply breeze by. We have the luxury of time to stop every once in a while, and the wisdom to appreciate what truly is important. Grumpy old people? Nah! Just grumpy people gone older and grumpier.