Click inside for the weekly health rail, with items on a study that found a link between fitness and intelligence, how to take inspiration from football players when planning your workout, and more. Or check out the links below:
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Frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough and avoiding others who are ill -- you probably already know the basics of protecting your health during cold and flu season. But you may not be aware of the important role proper humidity in the home and workplace plays in preventing the transmission of viruses.
Having the proper amount of moisture in the air can help slow the transmission of viruses in indoor environments, according to a recent study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
"Several studies have shown that dry air/environments are more conducive to virus transmission," says Jim Lundgreen, humidification systems engineer with DRI-STEEM, which designs and manufactures humidification systems for commercial, industrial and institutional facilities around the world.
With seasonal flu and H1N1 cases occurring throughout the country, it's a good time for homeowners and building managers to think about humidification and its affect on the spread of viruses like the flu.
Multiple variables, including temperature, affect the optimum humidity range. Per the Mount Sinai study, the optimum range appears to be between 40 and 60 percent relative humidity. So how do you improve the RH -- and consequently the air quality and healthfulness -- in your home or workplace?
Homeowners and building managers can measure indoor humidity by using a simple hygrometer. More sophisticated applications should have humidity levels tested by an air quality professional, such as an HVAC technician.
If your RH is less than 40 percent, you should consider adding a humidifier to your home or building. If it's higher than 60 percent, you might want to consider dehumidifying, as high humidity levels can foster the growth of harmful fungus and mildew.
"Humidification and its effect on indoor air quality is something that has been well studied - and in practice - for many years," Lundgreen says.
There are a number of ways to get moisture into the air in a home or commercial setting. Many of us remember the humidifiers Mom used when we were sick that puffed hot steam into the air. Many humidification systems rely on boiling water to steam and then releasing it into the air.
Other humidification products, like cool mist humidifiers, are also available, so matching the right product to your environment is easy.
Study: Fit teenage boys are smarter
Researchers have found that better cardiovascular health among teenage boys correlates to higher scores on a range of intelligence tests – and more education and income later in life.
The study looked at data for all 1.2 million Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who enlisted for mandatory military service at the age of 18.
In every measure of cognitive functioning they analyzed – from verbal ability to logical performance to geometric perception to mechanical skills – average test scores increased according to aerobic fitness. However, scores on intelligence tests did not increase along with muscle strength, the researchers found.
-- University of Southern California
Did You Know?
About one in three adults in the United States cares for a loved one who is elderly, sick or has special needs. -- National Alliance for Caregiving
Health Tip: Work out like a lineman
Taking inspiration from football workouts is a great way to create a successful routine:
- Build a strength foundation: Try adding basic exercises to your routine like squats, bench presses, pull ups and core (abdominal and lower back) exercises. Complement these with single joint movements such as hamstring curls, calf raises, shrugs and triceps extensions.
- Mix in cardio training: Go cycling or swimming, and add a workout on the stair stepper or elliptical cross-trainer for variety. Be sure to include intervals to your routine.
- Rev up your speed work: Add short sprints to your treadmill workout, focusing on driving off the balls of your feet and leaning forward with your whole body. Try sprinting for 20 seconds then returning to a fast jog for a complete workout.
- Play catch: Throwing a ball with a friend or even a child can be a great way to get a workout while having fun. The throwing motion works your shoulders, your core and your glutes.
-- Life Fitness, www.lifefitness.com
Number to Know: 40,000
Every year, approximately 40,000 cases of salmonella are reported in the United States. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or reported, the actual number of infections may be thirty or more times greater, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Children’s Health: Dealing with teen weight gain
Researchers are studying whether “balanced parenting” can offer useful strategies for helping overweight teens control their weight.
Balanced parenting is a child-centered approach that encourages children to be independent but still places limits on their actions. Research shows that families should focus on:
- Mixed messages: Parents must make sure their message does not contradict their actions.
- Food and exercise as battlegrounds: Parents and kids often disagree on health goals, leading to a cycle of frustration.
- Problem-solving: Reflect on the problem, think about how to engage the child, then try it.
- Social support: School support groups or other community groups may help teens feel like they are not alone, and have peers to turn to.
-- University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
Senior Health: Web tool may predict stroke
Scientists have developed a new Web-based tool that may better predict whether a person will suffer a second stroke within 90 days of a first stroke.
The “Recurrence Risk Estimator at 90 days” or “RRE-90 score” calculates a person’s risk of having another stroke within three months by looking at risk factors of stroke, such as history of mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack, age and the type of first stroke the person experienced, along with information from brain scans.
The higher the score, the more likely it was a patient would experience a second stroke.
-- American Academy of Neurology
GateHouse News Service