November 1, 2014

The Feel-Good Report

Managing the Moments

If you’re plumper than you’d prefer, remember it’s not motivation that matters. It’s the moments. Specifically, how you handle the difficult ones. A CNN.com report outlines the junctures that lead to weight gain and how you can control them.

   Post breakup: Replace one relationship with another; join a marathon-training group or other athletic team.

•   Party snacks: Eat before you go. If the tank is full, it won’t matter how delicious the food is.

   TV time: Use a smaller bowl.

   The buffet: Don’t go to buffets. (Sorry to all our favorite Chinese treasures.)

   Vacation: Eat what you want. You’re on vacation.

Fidget for Fitness

What if leg tapping isn’t a sign of nervousness but rather a road to good health? That’s the claim of an April report in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which tracked the relationship between light movement, such as finger drumming and weed pulling, and cardiorespiratory fitness in abdominally overweight Canadians. Cardiorespiratory fitness charts how quickly the body ships oxygen to muscles during exercise, and it can increase through traditional training techniques and weight loss. However, the study showed that although obese people don’t move much (no surprise there), fidgeting and wiggling for longer periods of time also improved cardiorespiratory fitness.
 

Shape up with Shoes

Skechers’ new Shape-ups sound too good to be true. Simply by walking, the company says, the wedge-shaped sole on these shoes will improve posture, reduce back stress, firm buttocks, tone thigh muscles and firm calves. It’s a regular Holy Grail of footwear. It’s popular, too, spawning imitators like Reebok’s Easytone. But does it really work? For the skinny on these shoes, we talked to Cindy Roorda, fitness director at YMCA of the Palms in Naples, who said: “Is it a gimmick? Maybe. But the shoes do seem to get people walking and moving, so in that sense I support the efforts.” Either way, shapely stems aren’t too far away, and Roorda gave us some exercises to help you find them.

Step up: Not with the shoes but with a knee-high platform. The simple act of stepping up and down will quickly tone your lower half.

Leg curl: Lie with your legs on a stability ball before pushing your hips and torso off the ground, engaging your core and hips. Roll the ball toward your hips and then away.

 

Follow the Seed

Performing a biopsy on a non-palpable breast lesion often means unsightly scarring, as surgeons use a guide-wire to locate the lesion. The wire is attached to a hook, which pierces the lesion. The surgeon follows the wire—sticking out of the breast now—to the lesion and extracts it.

Or you could take the magic seed.

We’re kidding. The seed isn’t magic. It’s radioactive. And it’s on its way to Southwest Florida, courtesy of the Breast Health Center in Fort Myers. In order to simplify the biopsy, the radioactive seed, about the size of a grain of sand, is planted in the lesion. It then sends a signal for the surgeon to follow. The benefits are threefold: The procedure no longer takes several hours, the surgeon can enter the breast from any angle—therefore reducing scarring—because he or she no longer needs to follow a wire to get there, and it’s a more exacting identification. It lowers the rate of re-excisions—done to exhume any bits of left-behind lesion—by 30 percent. “The surgeon can get closer to the area,” Dr. Mia Raif, a radiologist at Breast Health Center, says. “He can more accurately identify the area he is removing.”

 

Get Total Recall

Have a bad memory, you say? Just born with it? Can’t do anything about it? Must suffer the consequences? Joshua Foer, author of the new book Moonwalking with Einstein, thinks you’re lazy. Like most of us, Foer had a normal memory before a freelance writing assignment sent him to the U.S. Memory Championship. He quickly learned that memory can be enhanced through some quirky techniques. Soon he could remember the order of a shuffled deck of cards. Here, from an article he wrote for AARP.org, is how he did it:

   Place hard-to-remember facts in recognizable settings: Need to recall a shopping list? In your “memory palace”—which could be your house, office, etc.—imagine toilet paper on the lawn or orange juice in the toilet bowl.

   Chunk it: Group numbers together, not unlike a telephone number, for easy recall.

   Push your goals: When you’ve hit the “OK plateau,” that place where you can’t seem to remember any better, gather your resolve and push for more. For instance, if your goal is to remember three names at a networking event, remember six. Then, try to recall all their info seven days later.

   Avoid technology: It’s easy to cram new numbers into your iPhone. But if you really want to improve your memory, use every opportunity to exercise your brain rather than your smartphone.


Car Checks Your Health

Ford Motor Co. is introducing automobile technology that will monitor the health of drivers while they are on the go. Its newest system uses Bluetooth to check blood-glucose levels of diabetes patients. Other functions include allergen sentinels that alert drivers to rising pollen levels, allowing them to take preventive measures or alter the car’s air controls. The services will be integrated with Ford SYNC, the automaker’s interactive in-car system, through a series of apps.