The Feel-Good Report
Barefoot running trend
In August, Adidas unveiled the Adipure Trainer W, making it the latest shoe manufacturer to dip a toe into the barefoot running shoe craze. These shoes lack the bulky cushioning of traditional trainers’ soles, instead offering their wearers only a thin strip of material between their feet and the ground. Studies say running barefoot—or using this “barefoot-inspired” footwear—actually prevents injury. But that doesn’t make sense. More cushioning should mean more protection. This is just a fad, like the pet rock. Right?
Wrong. “It’s not really a fad,” says Mitch Norgart, owner of Naples on the Run and president of the Gulf Coast Runners Club. “It’s a trend.” Norgart goes on to say that heavily cushioned shoes encourage their owners’ strides to strike on the heel. This sends a jolt through the foot, ankle, knee and hip. Over time, it can lead to serious damage to those joints. Barefoot shoes, however, require a center-sole impact, naturally cushioning the body from the repetitive jolt of the stride.
But that doesn’t mean barefoot shoes are perfect—not for our dainty American feet. “Kenyan runners and American runners are completely different animals. They run 120-150 miles a week,” Norgart says. “Today’s [recreational] marathon runner does it primarily for weight maintenance.” Simply put: Our feet are weaklings. But if you do want to try barefoot shoes (or completely barefoot running), Southwest Florida has the perfect solution. Says Norgart, “The beach offers the perfect combination of firmness and give.”
Blood Donor Champion
Your body, mind and beauty are the most important things to “The Feel Good Report.” We aren’t in the business of handing out “attaboys.” Yet Fort Myers resident John Sheppard, deserves a shout out. That’s because he recently entered the Guinness Book of World Records. But not for some trivial achievement, like most T-shirts worn at one time. Sheppard was honored for donating the most blood. Ever. All told, he’s gifted 315 pints of life. That’s about 30 people worth of blood, more or less. Even more remarkable is the reason Sheppard, who broke the record at Lee Memorial Blood Center, achieved this goal. “My family, friends and I have experienced health issues, scares and tragedies. It is these experiences that have brought to light what is really important in life. I am happy every day to wake up and be here and I want to do what I can to help others.”
E-readers are easy on the eyes
Considering my profession, it’s not surprising that I fear e-readers. (I’m afraid they’ll start handing out health advice anytime now. And I like to eat.) So I hoped that a deeper look at them would reveal cancer-causing gamma rays; maybe a vicious, skin-eating bacteria. These were long shots. More realistic were the chances that they harmed vision—being so close to a screen. But no dice, there, either. Experts told The New York Times that e-readers are perfectly safe for your vision. “Most of what our mothers told us about our eyes was wrong,” Dr. Travis Meredith told the paper. “Sitting close to a television or computer screen isn’t bad for our eyes. It’s a variety of other factors that can cause physical fatigue.” Oh, well. That bacteria thing could still come through.
Head outdoors to feel better
So maybe TV and e-readers won’t rot your eyes, but not everything mom said was a lie. When she forced you to run outside and play, she was doing you—and your outlook on life—a favor. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology measured the effect of just five minutes of outside time on people’s self-esteem. Those who did frolic (or garden, whichever) outdoors scored higher on tests. Plus, heavily vegetated and wet locales boosted morale even higher. Sound like any place you know?
Leave your colon alone
Colonics have come back in vogue lately. They sound like a good idea, too. After all, how could cleansing the dirtiest part of your body be a bad thing? By creating a nasty set of side effects, that’s how. A Journal of Family Practice report examined 20 different studies on colon cleansing, discovering that the practice can lead to punctured colons, bacterial infections, diarrhea, vomiting and kidney failure. As for the good? Not much.
As Time magazine noted, “[Your colon] may be a haven for bugs and toxins, but that’s where they’re supposed to be.”
Help for Alzheimer’s?
Until there’s a sure-fire cure, any breakthrough in the war against Alzheimer’s disease is noteworthy. And an early study just reported on by CNN.com, shows that our side may have just acquired a weapon of mass destruction: insulin. The research concluded that when taken through the nose, the hormone “promotes cell repair and cell genesis.” In the real world, that meant that patients treated with insulin improved their memories by 20 percent over the control group, which was treated with placebos. The results, published in Journal Archives of Neurology, are too limited—they only studied 104 people—to be considered solid treatment just yet. But when the status of Alzheimer’s is concerned, any bad news (for the disease) is good news for us.
Stay in Collier to live longer
The running joke about Florida is that it’s God’s waiting room. At least in Collier County, it’s a long wait. A new study that examined life expectancy on a global scale between 2000 and 2007 found that women in Collier live to 86 years on average, longer than anywhere else in the country and almost six years better than the U.S. average. Men don’t do so badly either at 80 years, nearly five years better than the average American male and first in Florida. Charlotte and Lee women live to 83.1 years, tied for fifth in the Sunshine State, while Lee (76.2) and Charlotte (76.1) men are 13th and 14th, respectively.