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Six tips for getting off the treadmill

Now that 2020 is finally coming to an end, outdoor running is becoming a more practical option for more people. Here are some reminders/tips on how to do it safely.

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Over the last year, it’s often been difficult to impossible for people to run outdoors. In fact, people who took up running as a way to keep fit in lockdown may never have been off a treadmill. Now that 2020 is finally coming to an end, outdoor running is becoming a more practical option for more people.

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Here are some reminders/tips on how to do it safely.

Outdoors, you need to see where you’re going

If you wear spectacles, then you’re going to need to think about how to deal with fogging. Even if you don’t, you’ll need to think about the elements. Experienced outdoor runners will probably have run-friendly sunglasses and headgear. Remember to dig them out of storage. New outdoor runners should probably invest in a good pair of running sunglasses and a peaked cap.

You also need to be seen

Bright colors are fairly effective as long as there is some sort of light. It’s best to back them up with reflective accessories such as wrist and leg bands. These only work when light hits them directly, but when it does they’re extremely visible.  

The issue of lights

If you’re using lights, then you need to decide whether their main purpose is to help you see or to help you be seen. If it’s the former, then you generally want the beam to be steady. If it’s the latter, then it’s usually better if it flashes or changes in some way. This helps to draw attention to it. It’s generally useful to have some lights in case you wind up running on the road.

Injury prevention

This could be a major issue for people getting (back) off a treadmill. On a treadmill, you’re on a cushioned, flat, obstacle-free surface. You control the incline so you know exactly what it is. None of that applies outdoors. This means that outdoor running is more demanding on your mind and your body, especially your joints.

Getting (back) outdoors is a good time to review your footwear. If you’re an experienced outdoor runner, check that your running shoes are up to running outdoors. If you’re new to outdoor running, you might want to get a second opinion on your running shoes. You’re going to need a lot more cushioning outdoors than you do on a treadmill.

You’ll also need to take warm-ups and cool-downs very seriously. This is particularly important when temperatures are cooler. It’s what gets your muscles prepped for what they’re going to do next. In fact, if you’re running outdoors in the cooler months, your muscles will appreciate all the love you can give them. This means that kinesiology tape is a smart investment.

Invest in thermals and breathable fabrics

When you’re on a treadmill, you can adjust the room temperature and/or use a fan. When you’re running outdoors, you can adjust your level of effort or your clothing. At least, you can in theory. In practice, doing either can be more complicated than it sounds.

Your level of effort will often be determined by factors beyond your control. In winter, for example, you could be running in strong headwinds one day and calm breezes the next. You can adjust your clothing, but ideally, you want to do so while you’re still moving. This keeps up your momentum and your body temperature.

Generally, the most effective way to square this circle is to use thermals as your base layer. They adapt to your body temperature and so reduce the need for changes of clothes. Back these up with layers you can change easily (e.g. gloves and hats). Use breathable fabrics whenever possible to deal with sweat issues. This is particularly important for your socks!

Plan your run effectively

On a treadmill, you can just pick your program and go. Outdoors, you really need to think about the practicalities of your route. In particular, you need to think about personal safety implications. This is especially important in winter due to the impact of the weather.

For example, cold weather drains cell phone batteries quickly. This means that, ideally, you want to charge up your phone completely before you run. You also want to take a portable battery with you, just in case. At the very least do one or the other. This is in addition to letting someone know where you’re going and when you’re expected to be back.

Rain can reduce both grip and flexibility. Also, when it’s cold, it can quickly turn to ice. Keep this in mind when you plan your route. Ideally, look for running trails where you can easily get transport back to base if you need to cancel your run.

Lifestyle & Culture

These are the weirdest and worst impacts of COVID-19

Let’s explore some of the weirdest side effects of this health pandemic.

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It’s true to say that COVID-19 and the health pandemic has rocked the world throughout 2020. It has led to numerous people suffering, either medically or financially. Indeed, the WHO recently warned that those most vulnerable to the economic dangers of COVID-19 are being completely overlooked in developing countries. Of course, the financial issues aren’t the only impact of COVID-19.

Let’s explore some of the weirdest side effects of this health pandemic. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

More Sex

We’ve mentioned this before. In the UK, there was essentially a sex ban unless you were married. However, this hasn’t stopped people from going out and getting freaky. Instead, it seems that more people are willing to throw caution to the wind now when it comes to sex.

Many experts are worried that COVID will trigger a new wave of sexual health diseases. Worse still, it’s fear that many people have not received the diagnosis they need because health clinics remained closed through the lockdown. 

More Accidents On The Roads

With fewer people traveling through the lockdown, you would think that this meant there has been fewer accidents on the road. This hasn’t been the case and research suggests that the opposite has been true. There have been more cases of drivers simply not paying attention to road dangers or even ignoring them completely.

It seems that the 20 percent unemployment rate hasn’t stopped people from traveling in key locations and when they do they are not taking the right safety measures such as wearing a seatbelt. However, it’s not all bad news. 

Less Pollution 

Through the lockdown, there was a sharp reduction in levels of pollution in key areas across the world. Indeed, many residents were delighted to find that their skies were no longer covered by thick smog. As well as this, the reduction in levels of pollution has also helped ensure that wildlife has been able to return to key areas of the world that it hasn’t been seen in for years.

Unfortunately, pollution levels did start to rise again almost as soon as the lockdown was lifted in key locations. 

The Rich Get Richer

You might think that everyone suffered a massive economic blow during the coroavirus pandemic. However, this wasn’t the case and many savvy investors were able to immediately increase their investment. While many people were buying up the toilet paper, stock market investors were selling and buying the right stocks. The impact had an unprecedented effect on stock market prices. It allowed those with enough capital to seize massive profits and avoid the panic completely. Unfortunately, most of the people who benefited from this situation were already rich, to begin with. You can’t play the game unless you already have money in your hands. 

As you can seem there have been numerous impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic beyond some businesses shutting their doors. It has pushed people into desperate situations and in some cases made them more willing to take risks in their life rather than continue to play it safe. 

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Health & Wellness

Loneliness in youth could impact mental health over the long term

Loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

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Photo by Cristian Palmer from Unsplash.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated widespread social isolation, affecting all ages of global society. A new rapid review in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports on the available evidence about children and young people specifically, stating that loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

The review, which synthesizes over 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies on topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between 4 and 21 years of age, found extensive evidence of an association between loneliness and an increased risk of mental health problems for children and young people.

“As school closures continue, indoor play facilities remain closed and at best, young people can meet outdoors in small groups only, chances are that many are lonely (and continue to be so over time),” said lead author, Maria Loades, DClinPsy, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

“This rapid review of what is known about loneliness and its impact on mental health in children and young people found that loneliness is associated with both depression and anxiety. This occurs when studies measured both loneliness and mental health at the same point in time; when loneliness was measured separately; and when depression and anxiety were measured subsequently, up to 9 years later,” Dr. Loades added. “Of relevance to the COVID-19 context, we found some evidence that it is the duration of loneliness that is more strongly associated with later mental health problems.”

From the selected studies there was evidence that children and young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness on mental health outcomes like depressive symptoms could last for years. There was also evidence that the duration of loneliness may be more important, than the intensity of loneliness, in increasing the risk of future depression among young people.

For many young people, loneliness will decrease as they re-establish social contacts and connections as lockdown eases (e.g., as they return to school or college). For some a sense of loneliness may persist as they struggle to resume social life, particularly for those who were more vulnerable to being socially isolated before lockdown.

“It’s key that children and young people are allowed to return to activities such as playing together, even if outdoors, as soon as possible, and that they are able to resume attending school, which gives them a structure for their day, and provides them with opportunities to see peers and to get support from adults outside of the nuclear family,” said Dr. Loades. Furthermore, she added “children need more in their strategy for easing lockdown. Alongside this, the government could target children’s wellbeing in public health messaging. And meanwhile, we should also continue to embrace technology as a way to keep in touch.”

So whilst we do what we can to mitigate the effects of loneliness and re-establish social connections, we also need to prepare for an increase in mental health problems, in part due to loneliness, and also due to the other unintended consequences of lockdown, such as a lack of structure, physical inactivity and social and/separation anxiety that might be triggered when resuming social interactions outside of the home.

There are several levels at which we can prepare for the heightened demand:

  • Take a universal approach to promoting wellbeing through public messaging, and by schools doing activities to promote wellbeing in children and young people as they resume normal activities.
  • Seek to identify those who are struggling with loneliness as early as possible and do so by targeted interventions to help them overcome their struggles. This may be through the provision of extra support in schools, helping them overcome anxieties about returning to school, or giving them an extra hand with reconnecting socially with peers.

For those who continue to struggle over time, and can’t get back to doing the things they normally do as a result of their struggles, we need to ensure that they are made aware that services are open, and can provide specialist help, and to make sure that they know how to access this help and are supported to do so.

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Health & Wellness

Lesbian, gay, bisexual communities more at-risk for dementia – study

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual — or LGB — people are more vulnerable to one of the fastest-growing health concerns in the country: dementia, according to research from Michigan State University.

“Our study speaks to the unaddressed questions about whether members the LGB community are more likely to develop cognitive impairment at older ages and, if so, what factors contribute to their poorer cognitive health, ” said Ning Hsieh, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU and lead author of the study published in the journal, The Gerontologist.

“We knew that stress and depression are risk factors for many chronic health problems, including cognitive impairment, in later life. LGB people experience more stressful events and have higher rates of depression compared to their heterosexual counterparts,” she said.

Analyzing the elevated cognitive health risks among older members of the LGB community, the study was the first to use a national sample and screening tool to gauge cognitive health disparities between LGB and heterosexual older adults.

Hsieh and MSU colleagues Hui Liu, professor of sociology, and Wen-Hua Lai, a Ph.D. student of sociology — compared cognitive skills of 3,500 LGB and heterosexual adults using a screening tool and questionnaire that tests for six domains. Those areas included temporal orientation; language; visuospatial skills; executive function; attention, concentration and working memory; and short-term memory.

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

The researchers found that on average, older LGB adults were more likely to fall into categories for mild cognitive impairment or early dementia compared to heterosexual older adults. The team also tested for specific health and social factors — such as physical conditions, mental health conditions, living a healthy lifestyle and social connections — and the only factor related to cognitive differences for sexual minorities was depression.

“Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the important underlying factors leading to cognitive disadvantages for LGB people,” Hsieh said. “They may experience higher rates of depression than their heterosexual peers for many reasons, including not being accepted by parts of society, feeling ashamed of their sexual orientation or trying to hide their romantic relationships and being treated unfairly in school or at work.”

The researchers felt surprised that other factors — such as fewer social connections, drinking or smoking — didn’t have as great of an effect on LGB people’s cognitive function later in life. But, they also recognized the need for additional research to understand how the stressors sexual minorities experience earlier in life can lead to cognitive impairments as they age. Additionally, Hsieh said, they hope that the study’s findings shed light on the need for greater inclusivity for sexual minorities, as it can have an influence on their mental and cognitive well-being.

“Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment,” Hsieh said. “Making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.”

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Travel

Trump-appointed judges void Florida bans on conversion therapy for children

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

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Image by Juan Pablo Mascanfroni from Unsplash.com

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

In the case – Otto et al v City of Boca Raton, Florida et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-10604 – the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided (in a 2-1 decision) with two therapists who said the laws in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

American Republican President Donald Trump – the loser in the country’s latest presidential election, and who refuses to concede – appointed the two judges who supported conversion therapy.

According to Circuit Judge Britt Grant, the laws “allow speech that many find concerning – even dangerous,” but the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

The therapists in the case, Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, said their clients had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality,” and they sought counseling to conform their identities and behaviors with those beliefs.

A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law noted that 20 American states and Washington, D.C. already ban licensed healthcare professionals from conducting conversion therapy on children. The practice – which aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities – stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and is linked to depression, anxiety and suicide.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) also opposes conversion therapy, since the practice often assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Common whales to see depending on the season

While many people think of whale watching as a seasonal activity reserved for warmer months, interesting and impressive species of whales can be seen in San Diego all year. If you are planning a trip, you should consider which species you would most like to see and book a tour during for when those species are most common.

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While many people think of whale watching as a seasonal activity reserved for warmer months, interesting and impressive species of whales can be seen in San Diego all year. If you are planning a trip, you should consider which species you would most like to see and book a tour during for when those species are most common.

Of course, some species are easier to spot than others. Those looking for the best humpback whale watching San Diego has to offer can find themselves satisfied all year. Blue whales, on the other hand, only migrate through San Diego from April to September.

All Year

Humpback whales are visible in San Diego all year round. Humpbacks are extremely popular with older tourists and children alike for their distinctive appearance. Dolphins are also common throughout the year, and what these brilliant creatures lack in size, they easily make up for in presentation. Dolphin pods love to breach the surface of the water, seemingly for the pure joy of doing flips and rolls for dazzled onlookers.

Summer

Summer is an excellent time for a San Diego whale watching tour. The peak season for blue whales, the largest creatures to have ever lived, is in June, so most times from May until August are good for blue whale sightings. Fin whales, the second largest species of whale, as well as minke whales are also most abundant during summer months. While you may have seen these species on nature documentaries, they have to be seen to be experienced properly. In person, you will be awed by their sheer size and power.

Fall

Humpback whales and rare species dominate fall months in San Diego. Though killer whales travel widely, their migrations take them through San Diego in late fall. Of course, there is plenty of other wildlife in the bay during fall, from seals to seabirds, and some tours have even spotted sharks swimming alongside whale watching vessels.

Winter

The gray whale, a species named for its coloration, is at its peak season in winter. Gray whales love to spout pillars of water into the air, and are highly social animals that often travel together with other cetaceans. February is known as one of the best months for a whale watching tour, as this is when an extremely high volume of gray whales pass through San Diego each year.

Spring

April is generally recognized as the last month for gray whale sightings. While various species can be spotted in early spring, the first blue whale sightings normally begin around May. Dolphin activity tends to ramp up in spring, resulting in awesome photos of playful pods and megapods.

If you are planning a trip to the San Diego area, you can find marine wildlife worth visiting throughout the year. Whether you’re booking a family whale watching tour, or you want to have your wedding reception on a boat San Diego waters have something for you.

Remember that, while no tour at any time of the year can guarantee that you will spot a specific type of whale, you are almost certain to see something interesting or learn something you didn’t know before when you book with a good company.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Eat yourself healthy this winter

Would you like to know how to nourish your body to obtain excellent nutrition and quality of life? Let’s take a look.

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Having good nutrition is an essential aspect of life, the opposite means being exposed to diseases, lack of energy, and a poor quality of life. For this reason, your body needs the absorption of the necessary nutrients and the intake of substitute products that provide the body with the necessary energy to have good health.

Would you like to know how to nourish your body to obtain excellent nutrition and quality of life? Let’s take a look. 

Improve your health.

Often, the choices you make in life, what you eat and drink, have great importance since that means a healthy and active life. We all have different needs in calories, always according to our gender, age, and activity level. Health conditions play a role, too, even if you need to lose weight. In short, eating a healthy diet works in your favor because it can help you be at the right weight and always feel young and energetic. It can also help you with specific problems like heart disease.

Unquestionably a healthy diet keeps your body working at its best. The key? Choose only foods that are beneficial for your body. Good nutrition is based on the consumption of food groups so that the whole organism works correctly.

The grains

Whole grains are essential in any diet. The good news is that they are relatively easy to get. one of the significant advantages of grains is that they help us feel full longer and reduce the anxiety of wanting to put something sweet in our mouth between meals.

However, avoid those labels that say “rich.”

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits are vibrant on the palate, with a sugar type that does not affect our health and very low-fat content. Also, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and many vitamins; they are the perfect food for our health. Therefore it is a mistake to try to add refined sugar, butter, and creams to fruits. Keep things simple, meaning steam, bake, or boil.

If you want to accentuate its flavor, you can add a little salt and olive oil and natural dressings, but avoid processed creams and cream cheese that are harmful to the body. Another option is peanut butter, which, apart from being delicious, has good fats for your body.

Protein

Protein is vital to us all, and therefore you could look at adding whey protein to your diet. In addition to this, you may want to include some meat as long as it is lean. As a suggestion, read the product label carefully; if it says “loin” or “leg,” it is a lean cut that is good for you. Some pork cuts, such as hams, have a layer of fat on the outside that, although delicious, is best removed before eating.

If you are seasoning the meat, avoid excess salt, and give preference to herbs and spices. Lean cuts will taste better with these cooking methods, and if you need to grease the pan, avoid processed butter and oils because they are life-threatening to your heart.

It’s time to get healthy; it is good for both the body and the mind.

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