Archive for June, 2009


Do You Know How to Run?

Although this may be hard to pick-up off the written page I will explain what changes you may need to make to your current running style.  I tried this after having issues running on a variety of treadmills.  I just thought the belt was not working correctly, as it was constantly jerking and it wasn’t smooth.  Could it have been my weight?  The answers to both are a resounding no!  My technique was all wrong.  I was landing on my heel as I ran.  This landing basically stops forward motion, which causes the belt to slide, but more importantly, it caused extreme pressure to go up my leg, through my knees and hips and into my lower back.   

All accomplished and elite runners run on the balls of their feet.

The foot should strike the surface with the ball of the foot, in a dorsiflexed position (with toes pointing forward not downwards) otherwise this creates a “breaking” motion.  The heel doesn’t touch the ground.  The foot on landing on the surface should be “light” not heavy, it then “grips and scrapes” the surface.  The knee is slightly bent on contact with the surface and the foot lands below the centre of gravity – just below the hips.  Think of your leg working in a circular motion from the hip joint.

This brings the heel of the foot behind the body. The hamstrings and gluteus maximus (backside muscles) play a very big part in this movement.  The thigh moves forward with the action of the quads and hip-flexors, the leg is extended and the foot drops again, landing on the ball of the foot as above.  The back should be straight and relaxed, not bent at the waist.  The shoulders should be relaxed, the arms should be bent at approximately 90° and the motion should be from the shoulder not the forearms.  As the arm moves back it should continue to stay in 90° flexion.  The hands should be held with the palm facing inwards not down. If you prefer to hold your hands in a fist, the thumb should rest on the forefinger.  The head should be up with your eyes looking ahead not down.

You will know when you have got it right, you will be able you feel it.  It will feel weird at first, but it will feel more comfortable. 

(Resource: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/health_and_fitness/4286146.stm)

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There are countless ways to check if you have bad breath, but the way most of us check our breath (by cupping our hands over our mouth and taking a whiff) is the worst possible way to check your breath.

Are We Immune To Our Own Odors?

Your nose has an incredible ability to adapt. While some scientists debate whether or not we are truly “immune” to our own body odors, it is true that after we are exposed to a smell for long enough, we don’t notice it.

Because of this, asking other people to honestly evaluate your breath is the best method for determining the severity of your bad breath.

Fool-Proof Methods, without the embarrassing question: “Do I Stink?”

1. Using a Spoon

Using a spoon, turn it upside down, press it on the very back of your tongue and scrape your tongue.  A white(ish) paste will come off your tongue.  Smell it.   

2. Licking Your Wrist

Another common way to check for bad breath is to lick your wrist, let it dry for a 10 – 20 seconds, and then smell it.

3. Swabbing Your cheeks

A reliable way to check you breath is to use cotton or gauze to swab the back of your tongue and inside your cheeks. Then, smell it.

4. Smelling Dental Floss

This method is about not as reliable as using a spoon, but it’ll give you an indication if something is funky.  Make sure to use unscented dental floss if you check for bad breath this way.

The Best Times to Test

Understand that the time you choose to test your bad breath (if you are recording your results) is important, so that you do not skew your results.

You should try to test your breath about one hour after brushing your teeth… provided you have not eaten anything during that time.

Testing your breath immediately when you wake up is a bad idea, as everyone has some type of morning breath, since saliva production almost grinds to a halt when you sleep. Testing after you eat is a bad idea, as you will smell the odor of the foods you eat – rather than bad breath produced by bacteria in your mouth.

Is It Coming From Your Nose?

Many people believe that bad breath odor comes from their nose. Although this happens in some people (about 5-10% of bad breath sufferers), most people do not emit bad breath odors from their nose.

Since it’s impossible to smell the odor coming out of your own nose, the only way to determine if bad breath is coming from your nose is to ask a trusted friend or family member to tell you.

Sometimes, odors coming from your nose may represent a much more serious problem than halitosis – such as a sinus infection. If you notice any odor coming from your nose (but not from your mouth), you should consult with your physician to ensure it is not a serious health problem.

Are They Covering Their Noses?

Many people tell me they gauge their bad breath, based on how many people around them cover their noses when they’re talking to them.

While there is some reliability to doing this, this method is not perfect. Your results may be inaccurate, if:

  • You stand very close to people when they talk. This makes most people uncomfortable, and any breath – fresh or not – may cause people to back off and/or cover their noses if you stand too close.
  • They have a habit of touching their nose, mouth, and face. Many people touch their faces without even realizing it. If everyone covers their nose when you talk to then, it might be because of your breath, but if you notice that the same one or two people do it every time, it may be a habit of theirs, rather than a reaction to your breath.

Furthermore, when you are conscious about your breath, you are more apt to notice behaviors in people and assume their negative reactions to your bad breath. That’s not always true.

When you gauge your breath, based on other people’s behaviors, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s impossible to determine how severe your bad breath is, unless you test it for yourself. And – the only way you can make improvement is to track your progress and establish objectives and goals for overcoming your bad breath.

(Resource: http://www.bad-breath-guide.com/test-bad-breath.html)

Cures For Halitosis

Good dental care can help with bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene. Professional cleaning combined with at good at home care, including regular brushing and flossing, can help keep the problem under control. Unless you carry the toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you at all times, the mouth might lose its freshness during the course of the day.

Certain foods tend to cause bad breath. Some foods, such as onions, curry, cheese, fish and garlic can produce an odor that comes out through the pores. Some foods can take an entire day to clear the bloodstream, meaning that after eating an offending food, you should be extra vigilant, or keep you distance from people.

It is not practical to take a break to freshen your breath with an hourly brush and gargle. Sometimes breath mints just don’t’ seem to do the trick. Fortunately, there are several foods that offer a quick breath freshening solution. Some foods, such as parsley and lemon wedge, are readily available as a garnish when we go out to eat. Some breath freshening foods, such as apples and spices are easy to carry along and munch when handy.
1. Lemons. The yellow citrus fruit is often used as a restaurant garnish or in glasses of ice water. Suck on the lemon wedge or nibble on the lemon rind. Lemon candy is also an effective, portable breath freshener.

2. Parsley and green garnishes. The most common green garnish is parsley, but fresh basil and rosemary also work as breath fresheners. Do not waste that green sprig on the plate. After eating your meal, chew on and eat the garnish. The green garnish freshens breath and adds nutrients to your meal.

3. Apples, Pears, Carrots, Jicama. Crispy refreshing fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and bump up saliva production as you chew. These crisp foods, and others like them, act like a scrubbing rinse for the mouth.

4. Crunchy Spices. Exotic spices, such as anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander and fennel seeds are easily found in the spice aisle of the grocery store. A dish of these spicy seeds can be kept on the dining room table next to the salt and pepper. These hard, dry seeds can also be kept in the little plastic bags in the purse or pocket. Chew on a few exotic spicy seeds to sweeten after dinner or coffee breath.

5. Mint Sprigs. Mint is the active ingredient in many commercial breath mints and gum. Chew on a fresh mint sprig for a refreshing change of pace.

6. Cinnamon Sticks. Cinnamon sticks are a pleasant tasting spice that can easily be carried in your purse or pocket. An essential oil in cinnamon kills a nasty oral bacteria, as well as squelching the sulfur smell of onion and garlic.

7. Berries. Colorful fruits, such as berries, melons and oranges are high in vitamin C and deter stinky bacteria in the mouth.

8. Yogurt. Eat a half a cup of plain, sugar free, yogurt twice a day to lower levels of hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Combine the yogurt with fresh fruit for an extra dollop of breath freshening goodness.

Foods that freshen breath are easily available and portable. Keep breath freshening foods with you at all times for unexpected bad breath emergencies.

(Resource: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/642463/freshen_your_breath_with_food_that.html?cat=5)

www.instructables.com

This site gives ideas on recycling methods and ingenious ways to reuse things, to ways to get rid of ants without ruining your lawn or poisoning your pets, to build a set of earbud protectors out of a contact lenses case, to converting an LCD computer monitor into a television. 

There are thousands of little things on here that get the brain juices flowing. 

And it is a great place to spend your break.

In a recent article I read on Askmen.com, the author writes about the 10 year anniversary of the term MILF.  The term arguably originated in the epic movie American Pie in 1999 (other sources have stated the term originated in the mid-1980s). 

http://ca.askmen.com/entertainment/austin_300/321_milf-rant.html

I tend to believe this guy.  The term is degrading and not cool.  At the time it was funny, but it’s time has passed. 

I still, however, like and still use the term ‘cougar’.  Rrrrrr.

Food for thought

I was thinking about the cost of things the other day.  Just some food for thought here for all you to ponder.

Gillette Replaceable Razor Blades…..  They seem quite expensive.  A package of 4 for like $18 (or something like that).  That seems quite high to me.  However, when you take one out of the package, you pop the handle into the back of it and you hear that satisfying click.  But, take a closer look at the blade cartridge.  It is truly an amazing marvel of engineering excellence.  Starting at the sharp, extremely straight, thin stainless steel blades.  4 of them!  Then there are the extremely tightly toleranced plastic/rubber surround that is supposed to stretch your skin and push up your bristly facial hair.  There is the amazing wear strip up top which basically is a timer for the life of your blade.  How does this work?  And then, all of this is held together with a polymer chassis with an internal spring with the swivel head.   

Is it worth $4.xx for each blade cartridge?  Of course, this number is based on mass production.  If this was a one-off design, the value would be 1,000x that for sure.  Drafting and design time – 8 hour minimum @ $xx/hr + error and tolerance checking + 4 hours @ $yy / hr + material + dies + manufacturing + QC.  I have no idea what the exact time involved would be, but it would be at least a few days of solid work.  All in all, it is impressive, once you think about it.

Intersection tips

Approaching a stale green light can be frustrating.  Everyone is in such a rush these days.  A few simple tips to watch out for when approaching a light is the following:

–          If it is green, by looking ahead of you, you can see whether or not the light will be changing soon.  If the crosswalk white person is lit, you still have time to make it through the intersection

–          If it is green and the orange crosswalk hand is blinking, that means the light is about to change.  Just recently a lot of the lights have been converted and have a countdown timer, which is very convenient and you know when exactly the light will change.

–          If the light is red, you can (more often than not), see the opposite crosswalk lights.  As mentioned above, if the crosswalk lights indicate a white person, the light will remain red for you for a few more seconds (or will be changing soon if the orange hand is blinking). 

–          As for timing, when the hand that is blinking stops, that means the light has changed from green to amber.  That means it will take 3 to 4 seconds for your light to turn green.  To be safe, wait an addition 1 to 2 seconds to accelerate away from the line.

–          If you are sitting at a red light which is designated as a crosswalk/pedestrian crossing, you will know when the light will be turning by watching the blinking orange hand – when it stays on, the light will turn green in 3 to 4 seconds.

1. A new way to set up your mirrors.

Start by setting your rear-view mirror as you normally would. Then, lean your head all the way to the left so it touches the driver’s window. From that position, set your left side-view mirror so you can see the back corner of your car.

Now lean the same distance the other way, and set your right sideview mirror the same way.

Now, here’s what happens. When a car comes up behind you, you should first see it in your rear-view mirror. But as it passes you (let’s say on your left), you’ll see it move to the left side of your rear-view mirror. And as its left headlight disappears from your rear-view mirror, it should instantly show up in your left side-view mirror. There should be no delay. It should slip from one to the other, so you can always see it.

End result?  No huge blind spots.

Driving with the mirrors this way takes some getting used to. You have to learn to rely on your rear-view mirror first. And you’ll have to get used to what your side-view mirrors are now looking at. But, the good news is that your blind spot should now be gone.

blind spots

 

 

 

2. Manual Transmissions.

Always keep the car in gear.  Coming to a stop at a light may seem uninteresting, but in the event you need to move quickly, you will not be ready.  

3. Route planning.

This is more of a mental, visual thing that I have used in the past and seems to work.  When you are going somewhere, visualize where you are going.  Check the map, think of the roads you will be going on.  Chances are you will get there safely. 

I have found that if you get rushed, you are late for something, or are unfamiliar with where you are going, mistakes will happen.  Let’s use the being late scenario…. You are late and traffic is slow.  The best idea is to put your favorite radio talk show on or some fave tunes and relax and be ready to proceed.  Yes, you will be late.  But you will arrive safely.  However, the majority of us get anxious and just want to be on our way.  So, what will we do?  We will take a short cut.  We will speed.  We will take chances running a light, or try to beat the train.  All of these things will be done on the fly, at high speeds.  Your reaction time will be cut down.  You cannot account for a school zone if you cut corners.  Your odds that you will arrive at your destination on time and safely have gone severely down. 

Know where you are going, and if you are lost, take a calm approach and plan as you go.

Driving Tips

I have decided to post up a week or so long series on driving tips that are tricky and will help you out on a regular basis.  Maybe some of them are well known – but this is from my viewpoint and will help traffic and will help you avoid an accident.

FREE FLOW LANE…. Is this a hard concept? 

Examples include…coming off of 109th Street, heading south toward the High Level Bridge.  The free flow, added lane sign is up ahead.  Why would someone feel like stopping?  I do not see a yield sign.  Please proceed!  No wonder the traffice builds up. 

When you see this sign, follow your lane marker and proceed down the road. 

Added Lane

Added Lane

Tip 2 for Monday…. TURNING RIGHT ON A GREEN, APPROACHING A YIELD SIGN
When on road turning right where there is a median.   The turn is gradual and large and there is a large amount of time to make the turn.    So, a few seconds prior to entering the turn, and you see the light has turned green.  Unless no one is on the road, there will not be a large amount of traffic coming from your left.  The yield sign is there to remind you that traffic may be approaching.  With the light being green, it is okay to continue on your way.  All too many times I see overly cautious, inexperienced drivers coming to a complete stop for no reason.  It is so important to be aware of what is happening in front of you.  How many times was a rear end accident the cause of the first driver not being aware of the situation?