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The Feel-Good Report

The Game of Love

Whether you’re looking to start a relationship or just strengthen one, “The Feel-Good Report” celebrates Valentine’s Day by extending some scientifically verified approaches to love: What’s the first rule you learn when dating? Play hard-to-get. This is a tactic that the women of my high school employed with great diligence (at least in regard to me). And while it’s a bit of a cliché, recent science reveals that it’s also oh-so effective. A Psychological Science experiment asked 47 college women to rate the Facebook profiles of four men. The women were split into three groups; one that was told that the four men had rated each woman’s own Facebook profile highly, one that was told they had ranked the women as average, and one that was told that the men’s ranking of the women was uncertain. The results show that the women were more attracted to the men when unsure of their feelings. The point? If you want to spend Valentine’s Day alone, come on too strong. If you’d like some company, don’t be afraid to play coy.


Rekindle That Romance

OK, so you’ve found somebody. But, eventually, all that lust can wear off when dealing with kids, work, family matters, fights, life, etc. Suddenly, you realize the passion is gone. Maybe it happened because of something catastrophic (like an affair) or it just fizzled away after years of marriage. Either way, the truth is difficult to dodge: You’re not having sex anymore. However, according to Psychology Today columnist and sex therapist Laurie Watson, this doesn’t have to be permanent. Reviving that passion, writes Watson, is a three-step process:

Brace for Conflict: If you’re not fighting, at least some, you’re probably limping through an ineffectual marriage—and sex life. Passion begets fighting, yes, but also leads to passion in other areas. If you’ve given up on your relationship, you probably don’t think a knock-down, drag-out fight is worth the effort. Reignite the pilot light by first raging at each other.

2. Name the Elephant in the Room: Talk to your spouse about the lack of sex. Oftentimes, physical intimacy dries up due to a lack of emotional intimacy. Life has a way of driving people apart, but it’s necessary to long-term happiness to stay connected. That means telling your spouse why you think your sex life has taken a nose dive. Maybe it’s uncomfortable, but treatment can’t begin without a diagnosis.

3. Have Sex Again: Watson warns that the first few times could be “utilitarian.” But “That’s OK,” she writes. “You can direct a stone that is rolling, but getting it on the right course while it’s lying on its side is usually nigh impossible.”


Shop for Your Running Style

If you’ve made it past January and your New Year’s cardio regimen is still intact, it’s safe to invest in better equipment. Fortunately, the best running shoes aren’t always the most expensive or name brand, according to Runner’s World “Winter 2010 Running Shoe Guide.” But there are different soles for different folks, depending on your running style. Here we present a few of the shoes the magazine lauded.

For motion-control: Brooks Beast 8 (pictured above), $130, www.brooksrunning.com. Its bulky design controls
over-pronation better than any other running shoe.

For stability: ASICS Gel-1160, $85, www.asics.com. A soft, supportive shoe that’s inexpensively priced.

Editor’s choice: ASICS GT-2160, $100, www.asics.com. A great option for long-distance runners.

Best debut shoe: Nike Lunar Eclipse+, $130, www.nikerunning.com. For runners with “normal to low arches” who are looking for resiliency in their footwear.


Don’t Retire Your Brain

Congratulations. You’ve worked hard your entire life. Now you’re retired and welcome to play as much golf, tennis or canasta as you want. If you’re in Southwest Florida you can go to the beach. Every day.

Life. Is. Glorious. Except …

Well, where are your keys? And what were you supposed to pick up at the store? Is there milk in the fridge? When is your anniversary? Who is that guy watching TV in your living room? (Relax, it’s just your husband.)

The problem with all that golf and canasta is that it doesn’t sharpen your mind. Fortunately, Lee Memorial Health System has developed a Memory Camp as part of its Healthy Brain Initiative of Lee County. A scientifically based program created by the director of the Center for Aging at Los Angeles, LMHS’s Memory Camp is a four-week class that teaches its participants to use strategies and exercises to sharpen their memories. If you’re interested in attending the class, visit www.leememorial.org/healthybrainfl.

“When we’re working, our brains are going at 1,000 mph,” says John Ruehle, the owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Cape Coral and an instructor for the Memory Camp. “Our class is mainly retired. It has more to do with boredom than anything. If you don’t use it, you lose it.”     

Although memory does deteriorate with age, both old and young benefit from memory training, says researcher Elena Cavallini, of the Italian University of Pavia, in her study, “Aging and Everyday Memory: The Beneficial Effect of Memory Training.” Furthermore, a study from University of Padova in Italy shows that the improvement in memory caused by strategic brain training is close to the same between both old and young minds.

So before you run to the doctor bemoaning Alzheimer’s or senility, try these two memory-sharpening techniques endorsed by Ruehle.


1. When you go grocery shopping, separate your list into categorical groups. For instance, if you need 12 items, place them into three groups of four, with one group for produce, one for dairy, etc. Then see if you can remember each item without the aid of the shopping list. People rely on the written list too much; trying to recall without its help will exercise your brain cells.

2. Sentence and story: In order to remember something, use the intended items in a zany story. For example,
if you’re going grocery shopping again, perhaps use the sentence, “The carrots jumped over the ice cream at the deli counter.” 


Not All Sunscreen’s Created Equal

By now, most of us realize that unless you’re a bodybuilder, a piece of leather or Speaker of the House John Boehner, golden brown is a skin color best reserved for crispy fried chicken. If you want to enjoy the sun (and here in Southwest Florida, we have a lot of activities to pair with it), you’d better slather on some sun block. But a recent report in Men’s Journal says that “92 percent of sunscreens—and all of the major commercial brands in the U.S.—fail to block the sun’s most harmful ultraviolet rays.” So while your sunscreen may protect your skin from the blisters, biting sting and peeling skin of sunburns, there’s a healthy chance that it’s failing to block the sun’s cancer-causing rays. We’re not one for scare tactics, but consider these facts, which were cited in the article:

• Although the market for sunscreen has quadrupled to $4 billion in the last decade, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.

• One in five people will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

• Reports of other cancer incidents continue to decline, but cases of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, are rising.  


Fear not (or not much), we’re also mentioning the ways to combat ineffective sunscreen:

• Make sure your sun block includes zinc, titanium dioxide and avobenzone ormeroxyl sx. These three chemicals block both UVA and UVB rays.

• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, if lying about, or every 40 minutes
if running, sweating or swimming. Or simply use the UVSunSense. Apply sunscreen to the bracelet when you apply it to your skin, and it turns
lavender when it’s time for another coat.

• Sun proof your wardrobe with the Columbia Silver Ridge shirt (pictured below), which blocks 12 percent more of the sun’s rays than a regular white T-shirt; a wide-brimmed hat of nearly five inches; and wraparound sunglasses to prevent cataracts.

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