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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Here’s how to stay healthy when you’re traveling

When you’re traveling the world, picking up bugs, getting stressed, and risking your health on a myriad of other ways is something that can and does happen. That’s why you need to ensure that you take extra good care of your health when you’re on the road.

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Traveling is a wonderful way to expand your horizons, experience other cultures and feed the soul, but as anyone who’s put on their backpack to go on an adventure before will tell you it’s isn’t always glamorous. When you’re traveling the world, picking up bugs, getting stressed, and risking your health on a myriad of other ways is something that can and does happen. That’s why you need to ensure that you take extra good care of your health when you’re on the road.

To help you with that, here are some simple tips to stay healthy when you’re traveling.

Wash Your Hands Regularly

This is a pretty simple one, and something that you should really be doing whether you’re traveling or not, but when you’re visiting lots of crowded airports and staying in hostels, it becomes even more important that you wash your hands often. Doing so will help to get rid of most of the nasty germs and bacteria that can leave you with an upset stomach, food poisoning and a whole host of other nasties. Antibacterial hand gel will be your best friend on those long trips.

Know What You Can and Cannot Eat/Drink

Another no-brainer, but it’s worth reminding you that certain foods and tap water that it would be fine to drink at home could be contaminated in various locations overseas. So, always check what is safe and unsafe to eat and drink in every new location you visit. Nothing zaps travel of its glamour faster than a bad dose of food poisoning.

Do Some Yoga

When you travel, it’s pretty easy to get stressed out as you run to catch your flight, look for safe places to stay and deal with security amongst other things. Not only that, but your body can get pretty stiff and uncomfortable the more you travel packed into trains and planes too. So, it makes total sense to take some time out to do a little yoga (or even just stretching) to untangle those knotted muscles and help you regain your mental equilibrium. You can do yoga anywhere, even in surprisingly small spaces, so give it a go and you’ll feel so much better.

Protect Your Ears

When you’re traveling, especially if you’re on a plane, you can often experience problems with your ears due to the changing pressure in the cabin and the roar of the engines. If you have sensitive ears or hearing problems already, investing in custom protection for your sense organs is a great way of ensuring that you don’t experience things like tinnitus and hearing loss. Then to prevent the pain from your ears popping as the air pressure changes, be sure to do the Valsalva manoeuvre. This should be enough to keep your ears in good shape.

Get Lots of Sleep

Travel is so exciting and there’s so much to do that it’s so easy to stay up partying all night and then spend all day taking in the sights, but you need to sleep. If you don’t get enough shut-eye each night, your system will be weaker and you’ll be more likely to pick up bugs and get sick. Give yourself time to recharge and you’ll appreciate the experiences you do have so much more.

Have an awesome adventure.

Travel

LGBTQIA travel guide in Ireland

Due to the abundance of icons and interesting spots and events, here is a list of the best and must-see in Ireland.

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Ireland currently sits up there with the most progressive countries in the world. Having legalized gay marriages in 2015 and generally legalizing homosexuality in 1993, the country has quickly become a mecca for the LGBTQIA community.

Gay Dublin

Merely walking around the city, you are bound to see several icons that will intrigue you as a member of the LGBTQIA community. For example, simply walking around the famous Stephen’s Green Park will lead you to Oscar Wilde who was not just one of the most famous Irishmen in history, but also an iconic playwright. His statue shows a lot about how highly Ireland regards its LGBTQIA community.

However, due to the abundance of icons and interesting spots and events, I have taken it upon myself to list the ones I believe are the best and must-see.

  • The George Gay Club
    Your visit to the country wouldn’t be complete without a night out at this iconic gay club. The club was opened in 1985, long before homosexuality was legalized in the country. And even then, it was a safe haven for homosexuals. A place they could come to have fun while being themselves.
    In the present day, this hasn’t changed a bit as the club has retained its reputation for being a fun, loud, and raucous place for gays to have fun. You can always check out their social media pages for up to date information.
  • The Panti Bar
    If you are a fan of drag shows, then this is by no mistake the best place for you to be. Some have even proudly called it the best gay bar in Europe and they definitely have their reasons.
    Run by the Irish drag queen and icon, Panti Bliss, it has been the perfect LGBTQIA spot for more than a decade.
    Panti Bliss is well known in the Irish community because of her part in the fight for LGBTQIA equality and rights. The bar opens daily from 2pm and runs till very late.
  • The Dublin Gay Pride Parade
    The parade which was established in 1974 has since evolved from a one-day event into a full-blown 2-week annual festival that takes place in June. The festival rounds up with a huge street celebration which always proves to be massive fun for everyone.
    The party is attended by the whole city and even some Irish leaders like Leo Varadkar, have been known to attend.
No trip is complete without a taste of the local cuisine. Enjoy the unique taste and flavor that Ireland has to offer by sampling their food and craft beer.

Other Highlights

Naturally, being gay doesn’t define who we are. Like everyone else, we have a liking for the finer things in life and Ireland will never be found wanting of such great attractions. Apart from the obviously gay activities, there are a lot of other fun things to do in Ireland, and some of them include:

  • Guinness Storehouse
    Located at the Saint James’s Gate Brewery in central Dublin, this exhibition space was where the renowned stout was first brewed back in 1759.
    A visit here will take you through a fun journey of how the iconic stout is created. You will even get to taste some variants. You can finish your trip here with a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor while taking in a spectacular view of the city.
  • Book of Kells/Dublin Castle
    This right here is the embodiment of Irish heritage. A visit to this monument will take you through a journey of discovering some of the most important parts of Irish history.
    It is known for its incredible artistry and its numerous secrets and mysteries which date as far back as 800AD. 
    After this, a trip to explore the Dublin Castle will be the perfect way to round up the trip.
  • Irish Food Walking Tour
    No trip is complete without a taste of the local cuisine. Enjoy the unique taste and flavor that Ireland has to offer by sampling their food and craft beer. Eat and drink your way through the various restaurants and cafes, while basking in the ambiance of the Irish hidden gems.
Merely walking around the city, you are bound to see several icons that will intrigue you as a member of the LGBTQIA community.

Traveling Tips

Deciding to visit Ireland is probably the best vacation decision that is possible to be made. However, as a visitor who is probably visiting for the first time, there are a couple of things that need to be known in order to ensure you have the best possible experience.

  • Mobile Apps
    Being a stranger in a new land, one of the best apps that you can have at your fingertip is Google Maps.
    The app offers you both an offline and online mode. This means that if you are not sure if you will have access to the internet where you are going, you can pre-download a map of the area. And if you have an internet connection, you can easily access the app for up to date information on how to get around in the area.
  • Travel Insurance
    This is not even up for debate. You should have travel insurance as it protects you against travel risks and incidences like loss or theft of valuables, cancellation cover in the event you are unable to travel because of unforeseen medical issues, and even medical expenses while traveling.  To get the best travel insurance quote from different Insurance companies you should visit AA Insurance and find more information about right type of travel cover.
    It is important to keep safe while traveling overseas by always making sure you do not go out alone or stay out late. However, in the event of an accident, your travel insurance can protect you from unexpected costs. 
  • Money
    Although a lot of the businesses accept credit cards, some of the smaller ones prefer getting paid in cash. Therefore, it will be of great advantage to you to come along with some cash to aid in your transactions.
  • Tripadvisor
    This app comes quite handy when you are looking for which hotel to stay or which restaurant to eat around.
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Health & Wellness

Gay and bisexual men have higher rate of skin cancer

Rates of skin cancer were higher among gay and bisexual men compared to heterosexual men, but lower among bisexual women than heterosexual women.

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Photo by leo abdelnaby from Unsplash.com

In the largest study of skin cancer rates among gay, lesbian or bisexual individuals, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital report important differences in skin cancer prevalence among sexual minorities. Rates of skin cancer were higher among gay and bisexual men compared to heterosexual men, but lower among bisexual women than heterosexual women.

These findings, which were possible because of the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) module built into a national system of surveys, have implications for patient education and community outreach initiatives focused on reducing skin cancer risk. They also have implications for the design of future nationwide surveys. Results are published in JAMA Dermatology.

“It’s absolutely critical that we ask about sexual orientation and gender identity in national health surveys; if we never ask the question, we’d never know that these differences exist,” said corresponding author Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, director of the Dermatology Inpatient Service at the Brigham. “This information helps inform the nation about how to allocate health resources and how to train providers and leaders. When we look at disparities, it may be uncomfortable, but we need to continue to ask these questions to see if we’re getting better or worse at addressing them. Historically, this kind of health variation was hidden, but we now recognize that it’s clinically meaningful.”

Mostaghimi and colleagues leveraged data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), using data collected from annual questionnaires from 2014 to 2018. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses the BRFSS to collect information about risk factors and behaviors among adults. About 450,000 adults are interviewed by telephone by the BRFSS each year. Beginning in 2014, the BRFSS began using the SOGI module to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. This module was administered in 37 states.

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Mostaghimi and colleagues compared skin cancer rates among heterosexual men to rates in gay or bisexual men and compared rates among heterosexual women to lesbian or bisexual women. Rates of skin cancer were 8.1 percent among gay men and 8.4 percent among bisexual men, statistically higher than the rate of 6.7 percent among heterosexual men. Skin cancer rates were 5.9 percent among lesbian women and 6.6 percent among heterosexual women, which was not a statistically significant difference. However, the rate of 4.7 percent among bisexual women was statistically significantly lower than heterosexual women.

The authors note that the data are based on self-reported skin cancer diagnoses, which have not been confirmed by a physician. The SOGI module was also only implemented in 37 states, so may not be generalizable to all states.

The BRFSS survey did not collect information about risk factors for skin cancer, such as UV exposure, Fitzpatrick skin type (a measure of skin color and susceptibility to sun burn), HIV status and more. However, smaller studies have reported higher usage of indoor tanning beds among sexual minority men, a known risk factor for skin cancer.

The CDC recently considered stopping implementation of the SOGI module for future BRFSS surveys, a move Mostaghimi feels would hinder efforts to support this population.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to look nationally at data about skin cancer rates among sexual minorities. Eliminating SOGI would prevent us from better studying this vulnerable population over time to see how rates may change from year to year,” said Mostaghimi. “As a next step, we want to connect with sexual minority communities to help identify the cause of these differences in skin cancer rates. This is work that will need to be done thoughtfully but may help not just sexual minorities but everyone.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

How sports can help unify people

Sports can bring people together within societies, and across borders.

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Sport has proved to be a unique unifying factor in an often divided world. It brings people together within societies, and across the border. While there are organized forums intended to unite people from different backgrounds, it is hard to think of a better factor than the cheers and noises coming from sports stadiums. 

One eye-catching incident happened in the 23rd edition of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, where long-term enemies North Korea and South Korea matched together to the applause of hundreds of millions of fans watching from different parts of the world. In what has been hailed as the biggest show of reconciliation, the two nations are set to enter a combined women’s hockey team.

Role of sport

Let’s face it, the world is already too fractured with endless conflicts among nations. Race and religion have played their part in dividing nations, but looking at sports events like UEFA Europa League fan news, there is only one language of peace for the sake of the sport. Even where there is little or nothing in common between different factions, sport has found a way of bringing these people together, and getting them to speak one language. Betting with Betway, for example, covers sporting events from all over the world.

Packed stadiums of supporters cheering their teams is evidence enough of how the love of football or any other sport surpasses political or geographical animosity and differences. It is believed that the popular Olympic Games were first aimed at reducing conflicts among warring parties. In what gave birth to the tradition of the Olympic Truce, the Oracle at Delphi came up with the idea of starting a peaceful sporting competition at a time when Greece was plagued by endless armed conflict. 

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The idea was given to Iphitos, who was the King of Elis, and it is documented that he received massive backing from his fellow monarchs. The truce would allow for a peaceful end to all regional conflicts days before and after the Olympics, to facilitate safe travel of athletes and their families to and from the events. The Olympics Truce was re-adopted in 1994, and today it remains the ideal of the games, where a UN resolution is passed two years before each Olympics.

Modern day sport

Football happens to be the most popular sport in the world, even when different regions are associated with a variety of other sporting disciplines. The famous European leagues, for example, the English Premier League, Bundesliga in Germany, Ligue 1 in France, and the Italian Serie A attract fans from all over the world. This is largely due to the presence of hundreds of players from all over the world playing in these leagues, as well as the unconditional love of the sport regardless of who plays. Remember you can bet on all the action happening on all Europeans leagues on Betway on the website or on the app.

International tournaments organized at different levels, featuring a variety of sporting disciplines bring people together, albeit for the moment. In essence, getting people supporting one course and forgetting the differences that alienate them is one of the most effective ways of bringing universal peace.

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Technology

Are robots designed to include the LGBTQIA community?

Developers need to be more inclusive with AI and robot design, researchers say.

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Photo by Jesse Chan from Unsplash.com

Technology is not developed in a vacuum, but instead reflects biases and reproduces societal values and beliefs.

This is why “it is imperative that we construct mechanisms and policies that acknowledge the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination, also for the LGBTQ+ community in the development and use of robots and AI,” said researchers.

In a new short paper in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, Roger A. Søraa from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and co-authors Eduard Fosch-Villaronga from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Adam Poulsen from Charles Sturt University in Australia discuss what a queering of robots might entail.

Søraa is active in robot and cyborg research through the newly started Immersive Technology and Social Robots Lab at NTNU, and has been active in queer and gender debates, including starting the NTNU LGBTQ+ networks for employees.

Søraa and his co-authors highlight the lack in the inclusion of queer perspectives on robots and machines. This, they argue, should be better recognized in both the research and design of the robots of the future, and should prod developers and designers to be more inclusive in how they build and create the machines that increasingly walk, talk and act among us.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

14 Must-listen podcasts for wellness

The first thing you need when planning a new wellness routine is some good old inspiration. To get you started, try a few of these podcasts to get the ideas flowing.

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Let’s face it, staying healthy in body and mind is much easier said than done. We all know which foods and drinks are good for our bodies, but that doesn’t stop us craving those that aren’t! It’s easy to sign up for a gym membership, but far harder to motivate yourself to go after a long day. No matter how much you look after your mental health, there will always come those tougher times whereby your strength is tested. 

IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

Creating the right self-care regime takes a little trial and error, so don’t fret if you don’t get it right straight away. The first thing you need when planning a new wellness routine is some good old inspiration. To get you started, try a few of these podcasts to get the ideas flowing.

1 . Hurdle 

Hurdle is a podcast hosted by Emily Abate, a content creator, and writer from Connecticut. Emily is the fitness editor for SELF Magazine and is also a certified personal trainer. In her podcast, Emily chats to people who have coped with a tough time in their life by establishing a new wellness regime. The podcasts brings you stories of those who have found peace and strength with the use of various wellness practices. From yoga to crystals or clean-eating; here, you’ll find plenty of stories to motivate you. Emily’s mission is to encourage listeners to be the best that they can be and to ‘move with intention.’ Tune in and listen to stories from top CEOs and professional athletes, allow yourself to be moved by their tales of struggle and success.

2. Move Your DNA

Move Your DNA is created and hosted by Katy Bowman, an author and biomechanist. Katy leads discussions on how movement affects our bodies and lives while seeking to encourage you to try new ways of moving. Topics include discussions of rewilding, social media, gardening, improving sleep, and the science of wellness. The podcast discusses how our society has become more sedentary and offers tips on how you can get moving more often in your day-to-day life. With Kathy you’ll learn plenty of interesting facts plus get some great ideas to weave into your routine.

3. TED HEALTH

TED Health is an excellent podcast brought to you by TED Talks. Here you’ll find podcasts on a huge variety of different topics from daily health to new age medical breakthroughs. Learn about how your gut microbes from birth can affect your health or find out what we can learn from vaccinating vampire bats! You can also listen to a huge theme of TED Talks on the go via downloading the app. Podcasts, in general, are perfect for those times when you are traveling and just don’t have the space or motivation to read a book! Just be sure to get yourself an excellent phone tariff to save on your data usage. (Companies like smarty network offer some top affordable packages).

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4. Mind Pump

Mind Pump brings you the expertise of personal trainers and fitness thought leaders Justin Andrews, Adam Schafer, and Sal Di Stefano. The creators of Mind Pump feel that the fitness industry is often full of fad workouts and supplement advice that’s based on faux science and driving profits. Mind Pump wishes to talk about the truth of health, fitness, and wellness with no fads or fakery. For anyone who wants to get on a seriously organic fitness journey- Mind Pump is undoubtedly for you.

5. The Wellness Mama

This podcast covers topics such as fitness, natural living, stress, sleep, real food, and toxins. The creator, Kate Wells, has a journalistic background and is a mother of six children. Katie initially sought to learn more about health and wellness to help her in her own health struggles. Before long, her efforts were transformed into a fantastic podcast and blog. Episodes discuss agriculture, overcoming trauma, herbal supplements, positive parenting, and more. Tune in and learn how to improve your family’s health as well as your own.

6. Open Mind

Open Mind invites us to listen to discussions and stories about mental health with host Frankie Bridge. Throughout the podcasts, Frankie draws upon her personal experiences of mental health breakdowns, shedding light on how she has been able to draw strength and make progress. With her podcast, she aims to encourage more open discussions of mental health in society. Each episode features special guests from successful authors to actresses and reality TV stars. Whether you’ve ever experienced mental health issues or not, Open Mind is a moving series of stories that you won’t want to miss.

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7. How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

How to Fail aims to celebrate those things that just didn’t go to plan! Elizabeth Day and celebrity guests discuss the lessons that they have learned from their failures and how to use these lessons to facilitate future success. In a society where wellness is largely focused on our successes, this podcast is a real refreshing change. Learn to embrace those times when things aren’t quite perfect and discover just how you might bounce back.

8. The Hilarious World Of Depression

These podcasts provide moving, informative, and frank discussions of depression (while also managing to be funny along the way)! The podcast was created to allow people to gain some insight, and understand that those who are depressed are not alone in their struggles. Topics include:Depressions’ biggest lies exposed’ and types of therapy along with a variety of special guests. The more that we learn about mental health, the better equipped we are to help ourselves and others.

9. Yogaland

Yogaland is the fantastic creation of Andrea Ferreti, who has worked as an editor at Yoga Journal for many years. In Yogaland episodes, Andrea chats to those in the know about all things yoga and wellness. Here you’ll learn about how the practice affects our emotional lives, the effects on the body, and the use of yoga in schools. Whether you’re already a keen yogi or simply looking to get some info, this podcast is certainly an excellent wellness boost. (If you’re not a yogi now- you indeed will be converted after a few episodes).

10. The Diet Starts Tomorrow

Samantha Fishbein and Aleen Kuperman bring you this super-honest perspective on health, fitness, and weight loss. Hosts value the idea that wellness looks easy on Insta (but doesn’t often feel that way in real-time)! Here you’ll get advice on workout routines which are achievable for the working week and how to keep yourself healthy while still having plenty of fun! From drinking less alcohol to Taylor Swift’s take on eating disorders, these women have got your health education well and truly covered.

11. The Psychology Of Eating

The Psychology Of Eating is created and hosted by wellness coach Marc David who has assisted millions of individuals in breaking their problem eating habits and losing weight. The show is both powerful and unscripted, where you’ll hear Marc coach clients using a mix of both nutrition and psychology. For those looking to transform an unhealthy relationship with food, be sure to download this one and get on the path to change. Here you’ll learn all about the top trends in nutrition, brain health, hypnosis, and more.

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12. The Rambling Runner

Matt Chittim brings us this charming podcast about amateur runners who are training to keep on improving and reaching their goals. Recent episodes include interviews with Jen A. Miller, author of ‘Running: A Love Story,’ talking about her memoir and all other things running-related! Perhaps you’re looking to get into running, but you’re not sure where to start? If so, there are plenty of stories here to get you good and inspired.

13. The Habit Coach

Are you one of those people who struggles to motivate yourself? Do you like the idea of building good habits but just aren’t sure where to begin? If you’d answer yes to either of these questions, the habit coach is undoubtedly one that you need to give a go! The Habit Coach discusses ways to successfully build wellness habits, whether around sleep, health, stress, or relationships. In every episode, you’ll find plenty of easy habit suggestions along with plenty of fun facts. Let coach Asdin Doctor take you on a journey of creating those healthy habits for good.

14. Eat Move & Live Better 

Eat Move & Live Better is a podcast by Precise Nutrition who want to deliver you the message that it is possible to get healthy no matter who you are (or how busy you are)! The podcast aims to offer info that makes healthy eating and exercise both achievable and enjoyable. Each episode discusses topics such as lifestyle strategies, binge eating, nutritional strategies for old age, the ketogenic diet, and more.

When creating yourself a new wellness routine, it’s a good idea to get yourself a journal. Here you can write down your goals for each day and week, whether about food, exercise, or general self-care. Keeping track of your progress serves as an excellent motivational tool to keep on going.

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Health & Wellness

10+ lifetime sexual partners linked to heightened cancer risk

Those who reported a higher tally of sexual partners were also more likely to smoke, drink frequently, and do more vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis.

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Photo by Mia Harvey from Unsplash.com

A history of 10 or more lifetime sexual partners is linked to a heightened risk of being diagnosed with cancer, reveals research published online in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

And among women, a higher number of sexual partners is also linked to heightened odds of reporting a limiting long term condition, the findings indicate.

Few studies have looked at the potential impact of the number of sexual partners on wider health outcomes.

To try and plug this knowledge gap, the researchers drew on information gathered for the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a nationally representative tracking study of older adults (50+) living in England.

In 2012-13, participants were asked how many sexual partners they had had. Complete data were provided by 5722 of the 7079 people who responded to this question: 2537 men and 3185 women. Responses were categorised as 0-1; 2-4; 5-9; and 10 or more sexual partners.

Participants were also asked to rate their own health and report any long standing condition or infirmity which impinged on routine activity in any way.

Other relevant information obtained included: age; ethnicity; marital status; household income other than a pension; lifestyle (smoking, drinking, physical activity); and presence of depressive symptoms.

The average age of participants was 64, and almost three out of four were married. Some 28.5% of men said they had had 0-1 sexual partners to date; 29% said they had had 2-4; one in five (20%) reported 5-9; while 22% reported 10 or more.

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The equivalent figures for women were: just under 41%; 35.5%; just under 16%; and just under 8%.

In both sexes, a higher number of sexual partners was associated with younger age, single status, and being in the highest or lowest brackets of household wealth.

Those who reported a higher tally of sexual partners were also more likely to smoke, drink frequently, and do more vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis.

When all the data were analysed, a statistically significant association emerged between the number of lifetime sexual partners and risk of a cancer diagnosis among both sexes.

Compared with women who reported 0-1 sexual partners, those who said they had had 10 or more, were 91% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer.

Among the men, those who reported 2-4 lifetime sexual partners were 57% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer than were those who reported 0-1. And those who reported 10 or more, were 69% more likely to have been diagnosed with the disease.

While the number of sexual partners was not associated with reported long standing conditions among the men, it was among the women.

Women who reported 5-9 or 10+ lifetime sexual partners were 64% more likely to have a limiting chronic condition than those who said they had had 0-1.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause. Nevertheless, the findings chime with those of previous studies, implicating sexually transmitted infections in the development of several types of cancer and hepatitis, suggest the researchers.

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They didn’t obtain information on the specific types of cancer participants reported, but speculate: “…the heightened risk of cancer might be driven by those types known to be associated with [sexually transmitted infections].”

And they suggest that enquiring about the number of sexual partners might complement existing cancer screening programmes by helping to identify those at risk, if further research can establish a causal association between the number of sexual partners and subsequent ill health.

But an explanation for the gender difference in long term condition risk remains “elusive,” they write, especially given that men tend to have more lifetime sexual partners than women, while women are more likely than men to see a doctor when they feel ill, so potentially limiting the associated consequences for their long term health.

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