The Feel-Good Report: June 2012
How Often Do You Change Your Sheets?
We were recently handed an article from The Wall Street Journal that described the proper how and when of sheet changing and cleaning. The general consensus among people who pay clinical attention to things like microbes and cooties suggest we change our sheets at least once a week in order to remove “accumulated debris.” Apparently, skin cells flake off and become an all-night buffet for dust mites.
Those mites then make more dust mites and, to put it mildly, don’t have the best hygiene habits of their own. Add to that that a person can perspire as much as one liter per night and you begin to realize that maybe sheets and mattresses should be disposable. But since that’s inconvenient, wash your sheets in water that is between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit and use a hot drying cycle. If you’re like us, you’ll be adding some serious bleach to that machine. In addition, experts say you should consider an impervious outer cover for your mattress so that the aforementioned perspiration and mite community don’t turn your bed into a terrarium.
A Hot New Workout
One of the hottest workouts at the recent American College of Sports Medicine’s annual conference in Las Vegas was the TRX Metabolic Conditioning Workout. If you are unfamiliar with TRX suspension training, it was born out of necessity when a Navy Seal developed the strap system to use one’s own body weight as a conditioning tool, forgoing the need to create makeshift weights out of milk jugs and cement while out in the field for long periods of time.
Participants have likened it to yoga on ropes because of the amount of balance required. And, of course, all that balance helps build an impressive amount of core strength.
“The great thing about it is that you can do it anywhere,” says Tiffany Upshaw, a certified TRX trainer at the Omni Club in Fort Myers. “If you’re driving down the street and feel like pulling over, you can just strap it to a tree. You just need nine feet of height. It’s for all places, all goals and all type of people … Trust me, you will learn a lot about your body. It’s all core, all of the time.” (Since she’s a professional fitness and bikini model, we’ve decided to trust her.)
There are more than 300 exercises developed for the straps, which means you can do more with two pair of straps than you can with a gym full of equipment. And they might even work as actual suspenders. Let’s see a rowing machine do that.
What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer
Dr. Thomas Hudson, a diagnostic radiologist in Naples, recently published a new book on breast cancer, Journey to Hope, which focuses on self-care and prevention for women and the men who love them. It’s 330 pages packed full of information discussing everything from risk to new medicine to diet and the power of imagination. Hudson also tackles the importance of having healthy relationships in your life during your healing. According to Hudson, healing can be delayed up to 24 hours after a marital argument.
Breast cancer is more than just a genetic disease. The book points out that there are many factors involved in breast cancer risk, a number of which—diet, exercise, stress and social support—you can do something about.
“Most women don’t know how much they can do to decrease their risk of breast cancer or to improve their survival if they already have it,” says Hudson. “I want to dispel a lot of the fear and feelings of powerlessness women have surrounding this issue.”
His straightforward and conversational approach make the book a must-read for anyone who has been touched by the disease or wants to learn more about it. There is even a companion website (yourjourneytohope.com) that has extra information pertinent to the subject.
The book is available online at yourjourneytohope.com.
Very Smart Alarm Clocks
There are so many great reasons to stay in bed that we could fill this entire magazine with them. So trust us when we say that if there is something out there in the way of new alarm clocks that might make it easier for our head to leave our pillow, we’re all for it. Back in the day, the best you could hope for—alarm-wise—was a rooster or a leaking roof.
But even with our current organic sensibilities, things in the 21st century tend to milk the technology angle. To that end, “sleep monitors” are the latest devices aimed at waking you at just the precise moment in your sleep pattern so that you awake refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day.
Some, like the SleepTracker wristwatch alarm, wake you when your body motion suggests you’re sleeping lightly enough to start your day. Others, like the Zeo system, use a headband with electrodes that measure brainwaves and electrical impulses from eye movement. It has a slick iPhone app that shows you your sleep patterns (in case you were wondering the optimum time to wake up in the middle of the night for a dish of ice cream). If you still find that you hit the snooze bar into the double digits, we recommend Clocky, a new alarm clock on wheels. That’s right, wheels. When it goes off, it hightails it off your nightstand and zooms around your room until you get out of bed, catch it and turn it off.
Meditation Helps the Brain
Ohm. Ohm. Ohmmmmmm.
You need to relax. No, really. A recent study from the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging suggests that people who meditate have stronger connections between the brain regions and show less brain shrinkage than would be expected as the body ages. Stronger connections mean a better ability to relay electrical signals throughout the brain. A Harvard study that followed meditators who practiced for at least six hours each week for an average of nine years had thicker anterior insula and prefrontal cortexes than non-meditators. And, as is sometimes the case, thicker is better. Surely more research needs to be done, but these studies suggest that regular meditation may help slow the aging of the brain and positively affect the immune system. All we know is that we plan to start meditating as soon as we finish typing this.
An Approved Hangover Remedy
Who says we aren’t providing you with useful information? The FDA approved a new hangover killer at the end of last year, and because we are thorough, it has taken us this long to give it the Gulfshore Life seal of approval. Blowfish is an over-the-counter drug cocktail that combines 1,000 milligrams of aspirin, 120 milligrams of caffeine and a “stomach-soothing agent” into two effervescent tablets taken the morning after a night of near-professional-grade imbibing. Once dissolved in water, the remedy knocks out multiple hangover symptoms in just minutes. Available at forhangovers.com and various drugstores.