Health Alert

Running Shoes May Damage Your Knees & Hips

Finally got that new pair of running shoes? Well, before you get down to taking them on the jogging track, here’s a piece of information—running shoes are likely to damage knees, hips and ankles.

In a study, researchers compared the effects on knee, hip and ankle joint motions of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes.

They concluded that running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes.

Sixty-eight healthy young adult runners (37 women), who run in typical, currently available running shoes, were selected from the general population. None had any history of musculoskeletal injury and each ran at least 15 miles per week.

All runners were provided with a running shoe, selected for its neutral classification and design characteristics typical of most running footwear. They observed each subject running barefoot and with shoes using a treadmill and a motion analysis system.

The researchers observed increased joint torques at the hip, knee and ankle with running shoes compared with running barefoot.

Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque and in the knee flexion and knee versus torques.

An average 54 pct increase in the hip internal rotation torque, a 36 pct increase in knee flexion torque, and a 38 pct increase in knee varus torque were measured when running in running shoes compared with barefoot.

The findings confirmed that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself, one negative effect is the increased stress on each of the 3 lower extremity joints.

These increases are likely caused in large part by an elevated heel and increased material under the medial arch, both characteristic of today’s running shoes.

“Remarkably, the effect of running shoes on knee joint torques during running (36pc-38pc increase) that the authors observed here is even greater than the effect that was reported earlier of high-heeled shoes during walking (20pc-26pc increase). Considering that lower extremity joint loading is of a significantly greater magnitude during running than is experienced during walking, the current findings indeed represent substantial biomechanical changes,” said lead author D. Casey Kerrigan, JKM Technologies LLC, Charlottesville, VA, and co-investigators.

Kerrigan concluded: “Reducing joint torques with footwear completely to that of barefoot running, while providing meaningful footwear functions, especially compliance, should be the goal of new footwear designs.”

Source :
The study has been published in the latest issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation .

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Health Alert

Listen to Your Body

Neanderthal cave men and women had tremendous physical prowess. They excelled in all kinds of physical activities. We, on the other hand, do not do everything — we are selective and specialise. We choose and pick our jobs, and this means we repeat some tasks, day after day. As a result, certain muscles and joints in our bodies get overused, while others atrophy from disuse. This has resulted in a spate of new diseases and diagnoses, namely, repetitive stress injuries or RSIs.

RSIs are a common affair in the computer era. Be it a student or senior citizen, computers have infiltrated everyone’s lives. People who had perhaps never imagined that they would need a computer — including housewives, schoolteachers, clerks, typists and salespersons in shops — are now forced to rely on the new technology. Everyone is busy using computers for work, browsing the Internet or playing games, or using the tiny keyboard on a mobile phone for repeated text messaging. These persistent rapid movements do not give the joints and muscles sufficient time to recover, resulting in inflammation, swelling and eventual damage. In children and teenagers, the growing ends of the bones are particularly susceptible.

Early signs of injury are stiffness of the neck, tingling, numbness or pain radiating to the arms, and feelings of weakness or fatigue. The fingers and arm joints may start to “trigger”. They get fixed painfully in a bent position and then get released with a painful internal pop.

Long hours in front of the computer take a toll on the eyes as well. Eyestrain can cause headaches, neck pain and transient blurring of vision.

An unfit workforce naturally means loss of man hours. A new science has thus evolved to tackle this problem. It is called ergonomics or the scientific study of people and their working conditions, especially to improve effectiveness. An ergonomically designed workplace goes a long way in reducing RSIs.

The seating arrangement is important while using a computer. Since people vary in height, the entire workforce cannot use similar chairs. A one-size-fits-all policy cannot be followed unless the height is adjustable. Chairs should also have a contoured back support. The feet should reach the floor comfortably. To check if the height of a chair is correct, place a pencil on the legs while sitting. It should slide towards the body, not away from it.

…....CLICK & SEE


The monitor should be placed at eye level, directly in front (not to a side), at an arm’s length from the eyes. If reading at this distance is a problem, increase the font size. The keyboard needs to be placed directly in front of the monitor. If it is angulated to a side, the eyes have to keep adjusting for different distances. Elbows should be placed close to the side of the body to prevent the wrists from bending. The fingers and wrists should remain at a 90-degree angle to the upper part of the arm.

Even if your work is hectic and engrossing, you should walk around or at least stretch your arms and legs every half an hour. If your work requires long hours on the computer, do static, seated exercises (you can get the information on the Internet).

To make it easier on the eyes, the lighting in the room should be soft, from the side and not directly overhead or from the back. You should also take eye breaks from time to time. Focus on a finger held a few inches in front of the face and then on something far in the distance and then back to the finger. Take eye breaks throughout the day. Consciously blink, as prolonged computer use can result in infrequent blinking and dry eyes.

Sports activities can also cause RSIs. If you walk or jog for an hour every day, you need to prevent RSIs to your lower limbs. Warm ups and cool downs taught in school are excellent. Unfortunately, these stretches are often forgotten or done half-heartedly as they seem unnecessary and time-consuming. They are vital to condition and prepare the muscles for exercise and for adequate recovery. To prevent repetitive injuries, it is also important at any age to try and vary the daily exercise. Alternate walking or running with bicycling or swimming so that different groups of muscles are used.

While exercising, wear appropriate footwear. Walking and jogging require running shoes or cross trainers, not Hawaii chappals or rubber sandals. Children require footwear suitable to the sport they are playing. Inexpensive, stiff plastic shoes or playing football barefoot can result in an injury.

Listen to your body and seek prompt medical advice for any discomfort during work, sports or leisure activities. Don’t concentrate on work alone. Incorporate aerobic exercises and stretches into your lifestyle. The benefits of regular exercise are immeasurable. Immunity and resistance to disease increase and the improvement in overall flexibility and strength can help prevent crippling RSIs.

Source: The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

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Laugh Out Loud

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Laugh Out Loud to keep the age lines away.


Actress Urvashi Sharma is a picture of happiness. Research has shown that a good laugh also increases your intake of oxygen, which eases stress

Psychological research has given credence to the old adage Laughter is the best medicine. If not a panacea for all ailments, it’s certainly a good preventative measure that also makes you feel great. The research concludes that whenever we laugh we release a wave of chemicals in the body including the endorphin hormone, which is also released during healthy exercise.

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-relaxant — they stimulate feelings of well-being, joy and give you a high. In fact, experts opine that your daily laugh quota total should equal at least 15 chuckles a day, or you are under laughed. Does that bring a smile to your face?

So what are the benefits of laughter?
Laughter increases oxygenation of your body at both the cellular and organ level. By laughing, you intake vast amounts of oxygen in huge gulps, and you repeat this process in a sort of temporary hyperventilation session.

Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information.

Laughter makes us bond and connect socially, our work, marriage and families all need humour and light moments. Have you ever noticed that when one person is laughing, soon everyone around him or her is also laughing? Sometimes you don’t even know what you are laughing about.

Your body feels refreshed and you are ready to continue your day with renewed spirit. When we laugh together, it can bind us closer together instead of pulling us apart.

Laughing also boosts blood circulation, youâ€re exercising abdominal muscles; you’re exercising the muscles of your face; and you’re enhancing the flexibility of various joints throughout your body. So it’s a bit of a physical exercise and healthful body movement as well.

According to the researchers, regular laughter in your life could help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. They recommend 15 minutes of laughter a day as well as regular exercise to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Laughing at ourselves and the situation helps reveal that small things are not the earth-shaking events they sometimes seem to be.

Looking at a problem from a different perspective can make it seem less formidable and provide opportunities for greater objectivity and insight. Plus, the good feeling that we get when we laugh can remain with us as an internal experience even after the laughter subsides.

Laughter yoga & laughter clubs
Somewhat similar to traditional yoga, laughter yoga is an exercise which incorporates breathing, yoga, stretching techniques along with laughter. The structured format includes several laughter exercises for a period of 30 to 45 minutes facilitated by a trained individual. Practiced it can be used as supplemental or preventative therapy.

Source: The Times Of India

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Smelling Good (Body smell)

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All human beings have a unique body odour, often pleasant but sometimes a little repulsive. Animals, too, have a distinctive smell which is different from that of other species. They can identify their own kind and are attracted only to the opposite sex of the same species. This is through the release of chemicals called pheromones which they detect with a vomeronasal olfactory (smell) organ in their nasal cavities………CLICK & SEE

Perfumes make the skin acidic and less attractive to bacteria

Human beings, too, have a well-developed sense of smell. Cave men smelt out their friends, enemies and predators. Like lower mammals, humans knew when women were at the fertile period of their menstrual cycle. Similarly, women could identify virile males with good genes.

Over the years, the olfactory sense became rudimentary as it was no longer needed for survival. Natural body odour is now a nuisance, which needs to be controlled and altered to a pleasant, subtle fragrance.

Odour arises as a result of bacterial action on sweat. People with a congenital condition called anhidrosis do not sweat or smell.

Most people have between two and five million sweat glands situated all over the body. Most of these are eccrine glands which secrete a watery, salty sweat as and when the body temperature rises. As this sweat evaporates, it cools down the body. Eccrine glands are distinct from the apocrine sweat glands found in the scalp, armpits and groin. Apocrine glands are connected to cells that secrete a fatty substance called sebum. Sweat from these glands is mixed with this material. Bacteria living on the surface of the skin can break down the sebum for nutrition, producing the characteristic odour.

Our individual odour is dependent on age, sex, menstrual cycle, bathing habits, clothes, diet and any medication we may be taking.

Children have poorly developed apocrine sweat glands and hence have no body odour. These glands develop at puberty, producing the typical “teenage smell”.

Increased sweating or hyperhidrosis can be hereditary. It can also occur with anxiety, as a result of the stimulation of the sweat glands by the nervous system, making the person “clammy with fear” or break out into a “cold sweat”.

Hormonal changes affect sweating. Around the time of menopause, as the oestrogen levels drop, many women experience sudden, unprovoked attacks of excessive sweating. Excessive thyroid hormones also produce the same symptoms.

During fever, the body attempts to cool itself by increasing the sweat production — causing the typical chills and sweating that occur with malaria.

Medications like paracetamol or caffeine also increase sweating.

Body odour is as individual as a finger print. A sudden change in the body odour may herald the onset of illness. Diabetes has a fruity smell, liver and kidney disease an ammonia smell.

Body odour can be changed and controlled. The Japanese have actually invented clothes impregnated with chemicals that absorb and alter body odour, making it pleasant and sexy. For us less fortunate Indians, there are many simple measures that can reduce and pleasantly alter body odour.

Keep your axillary and pubic hair trimmed and bathe twice a day to control the population of body bacteria. Use a loofa instead of applying the soap directly to the skin. Dry the feet thoroughly to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

Wear clothes made of natural fibres like cotton, silk or linen. Clothes including socks should be changed daily and washed regularly. Wearing clothes on which sweat has dried aids bacterial growth.

Shoes should be leather or cloth so that sweat can evaporate and the feet can breathe.

Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages should be avoided as they can increase sweating. Garlic and onions also can impart an offensive odour to sweat.

Aerobic exercise combined with relaxation techniques help to control the stress that triggers excessive perspiration.

Sweating can be reduced with acetylcholine medications, mild electric currents, botox injections or surgery. For most people, such measures are not required. Deodorants, anti-perspirants and body sprays are sufficient. They make the skin acidic and less attractive to bacteria. They contain perfume fragrances which mask the odour of perspiration.

An unpleasant body odour can have psychological, social and occupational consequences. Love follows initial attraction which is influenced by body odour. Romantic failures probably mean you need to “Zatak” yourself or aim for “the Axe Effect”.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Healthy Tips

Walk Your Way to Weight Loss

Walking is the exercise of choice for most dieters. No wonder.

You don’t need a gym membership to do this most effective exercise . You can do it virtually everywhere (around the block or around the mall, for example). It’s gentle on joints. And you can burn a surprising number of calories. On flat terrain, a half-hour walk at a brisk pace can chew through 75 to 100 calories. Hike up some hills and you can spend 200 to 250 calories.


Here’s how to prepare:

Find a Shoe That Fits
The only equipment you really need is a decent pair of walking shoes. Finding them is a cinch. What matters most is comfort. If it feels good, odds are it provides enough support. When you’re shopping for shoes:
Wear the socks you plan to exercise in. That way you’ll get the best fit.
Try on both shoes. Most people’s feet aren’t exactly the same size. Choose a pair that fits your larger foot.
Allow a little extra room.
Feet swell when you walk, so buy a pair with about a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Make sure the heel doesn’t slip, though, or you could end up with painful blisters.

Check Your Form
Sure, walking comes naturally, and it’s smart to go with the technique you’ve honed since you were a toddler. But these tips will help you stay comfortable and get the most out of your walk:

Stand up straight.
Imagine a string pulling you up from the center of the top of your head. Let that string pull you up as straight as possible. Relax your shoulders.
Look ahead. Keep your neck straight and your head held high to avoid unnecessary strain to your neck and shoulders. If you have to look down to see where you’re going, lower your eyes, not your head.
Move those arms.
Bend your elbows and let your arms swing naturally at your sides. You’ll prevent swelling, tingling or numbness — and you’ll burn up to 15 percent more calories by keeping your arms moving.
Don’t carry that weight.
Some people try to get in extra exercise by toting a couple of light dumbbells, but fitness-walking experts say that’s risky: The weights can pull you off balance and strain muscles in your back or legs.

Stay Safe
Walking is one of the safest activities you can do. Still, it’s wise to take a few precautions.
If you’re walking at night, wear a piece of reflective clothing.
If the path is dimly lit, bring a good flashlight.
When the weather’s warm, be sure to drink a tall glass of water before you set out and another when you return.
If your path is rugged or bumpy, protect your ankles, particularly if you have a history of twists or sprains. Consider wearing a comfortable elastic bandage for support, and keep your eyes focused on the path.