April 24, 2014

The Feel-Good Report

Narrow Your WaistNarrow Your Waist

Have you noticed that your stomach reaches your destination significantly sooner than the rest of you? That’s not good. But there is hope that doesn’t involve staples, bands or even an expensive personal trainer. It’s called stomach vacuuming and, as horrible as it sounds, at no point does a Hoover venture near your belly button. Just what is this miracle technique? You suck in your stomach and hold it. That’s it. (Think of those cartoons with guys on the beach sucking in their gut when a pretty girl walks by.)

If you search YouTube for videos featuring the technique, you’ll be amazed (and probably grossed out) by just how far inward some people can get their stomachs to go. For some it looks as if their ribcages are bizarre shelves hanging over a distant waistland. (Get it? Waistland? Haha.) Of course, that’s only how those people look while doing the technique. After doing the exercise you will look perfectly normal. And after about a month of regular work, you should see amazing results. People claim they’ve seen up to a four-inch difference in their waist size. Remember, there is a thing called muscle memory. Over time, our inner abs get as lazy as we do—allowing for your inner parts to experience gravity. And since your innards don’t have a clear path to your ankles, the next obvious route is over the front of your belt. But if you keep those inner abs strong, it keeps things tucked in nicely. Best of all, you can do it at any time: standing, sitting at your desk or even on all fours. It worked for Arnold during his Mr. Olympia days and it can work for you.


New Dental TreatmentNew Dental Treatment

I believe it was Shakespeare who said, "All the world’s a mouth, and all its people merely molars." Then again, it could have been Dr. Denise Gay, D.D.S., M.D.S., a board-certified Naples periodontist who is a self-proclaimed dental nerd. And as such, she is super excited about a new antioxidant oral care line (AO Pro Products from Periosciences) that helps reduce the free radicals that are a major cause of the inflammatory factors that lead to gingival and periodontal issues. And those issues, to put it in layman’s terms, are, you know, bad. They can lead to Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, vascular diseases including heart disease and stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, miscarriage, pancreatic cancer, chronic cough—and the list goes on and on.


Visionary GlassesVisionary Glasses

Eyeglasses were invented in the late 13th century and haven’t really changed a whole lot since: still two lenses housed in frames sitting on your nose. But if the Terminator films taught us nothing else, it’s that technology will find a way to infiltrate eyewear. A company called Pixel Optics featured high-tech specs at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that use electrified liquid crystal lenses capable of changing the prescription in an instant. Just touch the temple or tilt your head and it activates a layer of liquid crystals in each lens, instantly creating a near-focus zone.

Current progressives limit your field of vision one way or another—blurring the edges if you’re looking out across the horizon or blurring the middle and top if you’re looking down to read. These emPower! glasses know what you’re looking to do from the angle of your head or with the touch of the frame side, making the entire lens perfect for what you’re doing at that moment. It’s pretty cool.

The frames have batteries built into the sides and the glasses come with a portable charger. The glasses can be fully charged overnight, and a charge lasts between two and three days.

The emPower! glasses cost around $1,500 and are available at Spectacles of Naples at Mercato as well as a few other eye care professionals. Check out lifeactivated.com for more information.


Helping Brain FunctionHelping Brain Function?

Has anyone told you recently that you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed? If so, you should consider trying some new dietary supplements that contain the purported brain enhancer citicoline. Found naturally in the body and brain, scientists believe citicoline enhances the formation of brain cell membranes and may boost production of neurotransmitters essential to brain function. Not surprisingly, as we age, brain function starts down a slippery slope: sometimes subtle (where’d I put those keys?), sometimes not subtle (what the hell are keys?).

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cites that in some countries, citicoline is sold as a prescription drug to help "regenerate the brain after a stroke." Our own Food and Drug Administration isn’t convinced, as clinical trials found it no more effective than a placebo. With that said, other studies have found it to have some benefits for minimizing damage caused by mini-strokes. Regardless, companies are jumping on the citicoline bandwagon.

One such product, Nawgan (available at Walgreens), claims to be the first scientifically formulated brain health beverage. And since we haven’t had any yet, we can’t really argue (due to lack of brain function). The drink was created by a professor of neuropsychology to enhance concentration and focus. Each can contains 250 milligrams of citicoline—just enough to make you say, "Hmmm, I probably need more."


Work Out or Lose Money: GymPactWork Out or Lose Money

How did those New Year’s resolutions work out for you? Are you still going to the gym three times a week? Really? Neither are we. But we’ve just stumbled upon a new way to keep ourselves motivated to hit the gym: It’s called GymPact, and it’s an iPhone app that helps encourage you by taking your money every time you fail get your sweat on. Yep, you read that right. Every time you fail to get to the gym, GymPact will charge your credit card a minimum of $5. It could be more if you need extra motivation. Of course, there is some carrot with this stick. If you are diligent and make it to your gym every day you committed to, you will earn a piece of the pie from all of the people who didn’t make it and had to pony up their cold hard cash.

Exactly how does this work? First, you go to gym-pact.com and join. Then you set your pact—the number of days you want to exercise, the monetary stakes you’re willing to pay if you don’t—and then check in at your gym. It confirms your location via GPS. In GymPact’s initial study, it found that it helped 90 percent of users keep their goals. The other 10 percent will lose weight the old-fashioned way—through poverty.


Chewing Gum improves test scoresChewing Gum improves test scores

If you are going to be taking exams anytime soon, you are going to thank us. It turns out that recent studies have shown that students who chewed gum right before a test did significantly better than a control group of students who did not chew gum. Two groups of students in Canton, N.Y., which is located between nowhere and Ottawa, Canada, completed five cognitively demanding tasks after chewing gum (sugar and non-sugar) for five minutes to the continuous beat of a metronome. (Canton is sounding like an awesome college town, isn’t it?) The gum-chewers seriously outperformed the control group significantly for the first 20 minutes, but showed no advantage after 30 minutes passed. Lesson to be learned here? Tell your teachers you only have 30 minutes to take their tests and invest in a quality metronome.

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