The global home fitness equipment market is big business — more than $10 billion in 2020, according to Fortune Business Insights, with years of continued growth expected.
For health-conscious consumers, this means more options than ever before. But exercisers should be cautious — some available gadgets do nothing, or worse, can put their safety at risk. Some of the most famous offenders include:
- Abdominal stimulation belts. At best, these devices will do nothing to slim or tighten the midsection; at worst, they can lead to shocks, burns, bruising, and other injuries.
- Toning shoes. These shoes offer no calorie-burning or muscle-strengthening benefits and can increase the wearer’s risk of injury due to a reduced base of support.
- Sauna suits. These full-body suits retain body heat and force wearers to sweat more, which can lead to dehydration, fainting, and heat-related illness.
- Vibration plates. While vibration training may offer some benefits, these devices often exceed safety standards for vibration intensity and can be dangerous when used improperly or by people with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or joint replacements.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to fitness, so exercisers should be skeptical of any gadget that relies on a gimmicky approach or promises dramatic results with minimal time and effort. And despite what manufacturers may want consumers to believe, fitness equipment — even useful, versatile items like dumbbells and jump ropes — aren’t necessary to get an effective workout. For many at-home fitness enthusiasts, the only necessary items are a comfortable pair of shoes and a good workout playlist.
Answering 4 questions about orthodontics
Well-aligned teeth have many physical benefits, but did you know there are psychological benefits, too? October is National Orthodontic Health Month. In that spirit, here are four questions to help you learn more about what orthodontics can do for you or your child.
1. What’s orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in diagnosing, preventing, and treating misaligned, overlapping, and protruding teeth for functional or cosmetic purposes.
2. Who can undergo orthodontic treatment?
You can realign your smile at any age. Therefore, orthodontics isn’t only for children and teenagers. It’s also for adults who want to straighten their smile, whether for appearance or health reasons.
3. What are the benefits?
Orthodontic treatments can prevent or correct many problems, including premature wear, difficulty chewing, speech problems, and muscle pain. Straight teeth are also easier to maintain and less prone to cavities. Moreover, a beautiful smile can boost your self-esteem.
4. What are the different types of treatments?
Depending on your needs, your orthodontist may suggest various solutions. Common treatments include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, clear aligners, and retainers.
Talk to an orthodontist in your area to learn more about your options.
4 facts about erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a taboo subject that’s often treated with a mocking attitude. However, because it’s not always taken seriously, a wealth of incorrect information is circulating about this common condition. Here are four facts to help you sort the truth from the fibs.
1. Difficulty having an erection isn’t necessarily a dysfunction. Fatigue, alcohol abuse, and stress can all cause temporary erectile difficulties. It may also be a simple matter of not wanting a sexual relationship. Don’t be concerned about the occasional glitch.
2. Erectile dysfunction isn’t just about the erection. It also includes the inability to maintain an erection to complete sexual intercourse satisfactorily.
3. It can happen at any age. Although erectile dysfunction primarily occurs as part of the aging process, it can affect men of all ages.
4. Erectile dysfunction can have many causes. Emotions, hormones, the nervous system, and the blood vessels can impact erection. Some reasons for erectile dysfunction include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and testosterone deficiency. That’s why it’s essential to discuss your condition with your doctor to determine if you have any underlying conditions.
If you think you may have erectile dysfunction, see a healthcare professional. Remember that talking about it is the first step to correcting the problem.
September is Cholesterol Education Month: Time to check up on LDLs and HDLs
Accountants aren’t the only ones who go by the numbers. Increasingly, doctors gauge your health by your numbers as well. Better numbers mean better health and a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.
You can make healthy choices that add up to better numbers every day. To do it, keep LDL cholesterol numbers in mind and choose smaller portions of high-fat foods like hamburgers, cheese, and French fries.
The two faces of cholesterol:
According to the American Heart Association, an acceptable total cholesterol reading is 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or lower. Above 200, you should take some steps to lower it. The number includes two kinds of cholesterol.
The bad: Low-density lipoproteins, the LDLs: This is the stuff that clogs arteries. You need some, but too much is bad news. Shoot for an LDL reading of less than 100.
If your total cholesterol level is high, you have two choices: You can pay more attention to eating a low-fat diet and getting some exercise, or you can get your doctor’s advice about cholesterol-lowering drugs.
According to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, eating high amounts of soluble fiber from sources like oat bran and beans can also help lower cholesterol. In the colon, fiber may interfere with the body’s production of LDL.
The good: High-density lipoproteins, the HDLs: The minimum good reading here is 35 mg/dl. If you have an HDL as high as 80, despite high total cholesterol levels, you may not have to worry about heart disease.
To increase good cholesterol in your blood, eat more fruits and vegetables. Aerobic exercise can raise levels of the protective HDL and may also help to lower LDL.
If the names HDL and LDL confuse you, remember that, in most areas, high is better than low!
Meat diet draws fire; proponents defend
Proponents of the all-meat “carnivore diet” claim it can aid with weight loss, combat chronic diseases, decrease inflammation, lower blood sugar and improve sleep, among other things. There’s just one simple rule: Eliminate everything from your diet except animal products. Before long, advocates claim, you’ll be a slimmer, healthier, happier you.
Nutritionists and physicians are skeptical, if not openly antagonistic, of the diet, which is the antithesis of vegetarian or vegan diets. Instead of eschewing meat and animal products, carnivore diet adherents eliminate all plants — no exceptions. And while it has vocal fans, no research has been conducted to investigate the long-term effects of an all-meat diet, whether positive or negative.
According to Jonathan Jarry, writing for McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, it’s easy to make impressive claims about extreme diets without any real scientific scrutiny. No data backs up these claims.
One study did review the health status and claims of people on the diet. In a 2019 study of 2029 people who followed the carnivore diet for 14 months, about 95 percent reported high levels of satisfaction with the diet, including improved health, weight, and medical conditions. Just over five percent of dieters reported any adverse symptoms, but diabetics reported weight loss and decreased need for medication. Among those reporting their lipid profiles, the bad LDL cholesterol was elevated, but the good HDL cholesterol was optimal.
Ample research has shown that excessive red meat consumption can be risky, causing severe constipation from lack of fiber, elevated cholesterol, elevated uric acid levels (which can lead to gout), and increased risk of colorectal cancer. And instead of fighting inflammation, as advocates claim, the saturated fats in red meat are more likely to cause it.
According to Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Kate Patton, the carnivore diet isn’t good for anyone. Instead, she urges dieters to consider eating plans emphasizing balance, variety, and long-term sustainability.
The carnivore diet is similar but not identical to a low-carb diet. Low-carb dieters do allow some carbohydrates into their diet — between 20 and 100 grams, or at least enough to provide fiber. The carnivore diet, on the other hand, allows zero carbohydrates. Many of the highest profile fans claim that it can help with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and acts as the ultimate elimination diet. In elimination diets, foods are eliminated one at a time to see if symptoms of allergies or immune disorders improve.
Astronauts lose bone in space
A few months in space can lead to decades of permanent bone loss, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.
Researchers followed a group of 17 astronauts — 14 men and three women with an average age of 47 — for a year after they returned from four to seven-month missions aboard the International Space Station. All the astronauts experienced significant bone loss — equivalent to about two decades of bone loss for an older adult on Earth. Scans taken a year back on Earth showed that only about half the damage had been reversed for most astronauts.
Weight-bearing bones thin and weaken during spaceflight, and bone rods can eventually disconnect, said Leigh Gabel, study researcher, and professor at the University of Calgary, in an interview with Reuters. While remaining bone connections can be strengthened again, the disconnected spots can’t be rebuilt.
Researchers found that astronauts who prioritized strength training, particularly deadlifts, were more likely to recover bone after their return to Earth.
A deeper understanding of the health effects of microgravity — and how to mitigate those effects — is crucial as humanity sets its eyes toward more ambitious space voyages. One 2020 study in the journal PLOS One indicated that a three-year round trip to Mars could put 33 percent of astronauts at risk for osteoporosis. Astronauts also experience higher solar radiation and fluid shifts that can impact their cardiovascular systems and vision.
4 tips for a successful manicure
Do you have some extra time on your hands? You can give yourself a beautiful manicure for fun or a special occasion. Here are four tips to help you get the perfect look.
Prepare your nails
Shape your nails using a high-quality nail file. Make sure you only file in one direction. Carefully push back your cuticles and finish with a buffer to smooth the surface.
Choose the right nail polish
Select professional products to minimize the risk of flaking. Gel polishes are quite popular and are a good choice because they’re chip resistant. Just bear in mind that some require a UV lamp to dry properly. Make sure you read the label before buying.
Above all, take your time. Additionally, don’t over-soak the brush to ensure a smooth application. Start by placing a polish line in the middle of the nail and then spread it out to the edges. If necessary, use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to eliminate any smudges.
Apply multiple coats
Apply a clear base coat to protect your nails and prevent the polish pigment from penetrating your nail bed. Then, apply two or three coats of colored polish. Finish with a clear topcoat.
Apply the polish in thin layers for maximum durability. Make sure you allow ample drying time between coats. Freshly applied nail polish remains fragile for about 30 minutes.
Do you want a gorgeous manicure that’ll last? Look for an expert nail technician near you.