|HEALTH & FITNESS|
Take to cycling for fitness
They struggle to save lives
Warning over ‘unsafe’
New head lice treatment
Take to cycling for fitness
Modernisation and advanced technology have brought with it the bane of sedentary lifestyle. Easy accessibility to modern gadgets, corporate jobs and longer sittings in offices have added to the problem. All this leads to a greater incidence of cardiovascular problems, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, etc.
Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic activity undertaken to keep fit. It is a low-impact aerobic exercise, which works on the muscles of the thighs, buttocks and lower legs. It also stretches and strengthens the lower back and stomach muscles. With cycling, one lives longer and faces fewer problems in old age.
Cycling is an appropriate start for the beginners with joint problems and excess weight. Cycle takes the weight of the body, putting less pressure on joints, and, therefore, it is considered a good form of exercise for people with joint problems. For individuals who have led inactive lives, cycling is an ideal start-up sport because of easy control.
Cycling should be included into the daily routine like going to work and performing household chores. In order to derive the maximum benefit, cycling should be done at a good speed and with proper technique to avoid strain on the muscles and other parts of the body.
l Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed.
l Keep your arms relaxed with a slight bend at the elbow and a firm grip on the handle.
l Keep your back straight and upright with stomach muscles tight to prevent your back from slumping forward.
l The height of the seat should be adjusted in such a way that the knee should be slightly bent when the foot is put on the pedal.
If cycling practised as a health activity or performance activity, the physical and spiritual well being of the cyclist is enhanced. Start slowly with at least 15-20 minutes twice a week. As soon as this can be done comfortably, increase it to three times a week.
The following basic principles should be observed: firstly, the frequency of training should be increased from week to week. Then increase the training distance and finally the training intensity.
Steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. You can ride with any speed or cover any distance, your fitness will definitely improve. A lower amount of cycling improves one’s health and a higher amount improves fitness. Therefore, 45 minutes of cycling six days a week improves health, and two hours of cycling daily helps in weight reduction.
Time constrains, seasonal variations and easy accessibility to fitness centres have led to a revolution in indoor cycles equipped with the heart rate monitor along with the control of resistance and frequency. Thus, a person’s performance in accordance with age can be monitored and rescheduled. In many countries cycling has become popular in the gymnasiums with the introduction of spinning, a group exercise in which an instructor leads a class on bicycle, and workout is done on music.
Chandigarh is an ideal place to encourage cycling, being spread over a 5 km area with meticulous planning of cycling lanes along the roads.
Encouraging people to cycle to work is quite an uphill task, although it can reduce not only congestion and pollution on roads but also lead to a healthy society.
They struggle to save lives
You must have seen the tele-serial "Mahabharata" and can recall the scene where Yaksha asks Yudhistra: "What is the truth of life?" Yudhistra’s answer was, "mrityu" (death). So, for any lifecycle, death is certain. Between life and death the medical profession stands tall. The doctors fight against death. It is a trial to save a life.
Is every death by medical interference "a negligence"? Call it medical interference instead of calling it medical negligence. If medical interference is not done the death becomes certain for those who can survive and live longer. The only thing the doctor does not know is the destiny of a person he is treating.
The people should understand that the medical profession is not yet fully researched and guaranteed to save a life. It has been developed by research and learning from mistakes as per the needs of society. A doctor sitting in a remote area cannot be blamed for not having the required equipment if his economic condition does not permit it.
Injury or disease, congenital or acquired, comes as a trigger or cause for death. You can call it bad luck, or as the fate wants it to be. The doctor becomes a vehicle to prolong the announcement, good or bad.
Medical interference starts taking its shape whenever the door of a doctor is knocked. If it is not a criminal offence to treat a patient in distress or agony, then why should it be a criminal negligence for a medical interference which gives bad results?
The medical struggle is done to save a life and not to see a dead body. No doctor in his senses will wish death for his or her patient. One can, of course, claim that the medical struggle was less serious. In any case, the doctor is a friend of his or her patient.
Have a noble heart. The medical profession belongs to the human race. The profession demands the same love and affection by which a patient is brought and presented to a doctor. A doctor is always liable for criminal negligence but the unwanted and unlimited consumerism has begun to downgrade this noble profession. The image of a doctor is getting transformed from a Devta to a Yamadoot.
The public should not object to medical profit-sharing in the private sector to meet the cost of medical and diagnostic projects, but it should certainly protest against medical cheating. Yes, the doctor should avoid taking commission from the dealers for the promotion of a product.
The Supreme Court of India has injected a morale booster to the medical profession, which was loosing ground by continuous harassment at the hands of the police and the gullible public. The public should understand the gravity and limitations of the medical profession. The people must understand the doctors sometimes risk their own lives to save their patients from death.
It is the duty of the government to control the public behaviour as it happened in Patiala recently (dumping of garbage in front of the premises of doctors for presumed criminal negligence). If the present scenario continues, nobody would like to become a doctor, and no doctor would be willing to touch a serious patient.
The writer is a Chandigarh-based senior orthopaedic surgeon.
Herbal remedies may be unsafe, especially when patients suffering from chronic illness take them alongside conventional medicines, scientists have warned. Professor Peter Houghton, a pharmacologist at King’s College London, said up to one in four of the population took herbal remedies at least once a year; many did not realise the danger.
"Nothing in life is completely safe, and there is a myth that because something is natural it must be safe," he told the Festival of Science in Exeter.
Unsafe herbs and herbal products could arise as a result of natural substances that were potentially toxic when taken in high enough quantities, he said. Another problem was that the herb might be deliberately adulterated or accidentally contaminated with a more dangerous substance. The third problem arose from the fact that some herbs, although quite innocuous on their own, could interact with conventional drugs to cause serious side-effects.
"Such adverse reactions are receiving much attention because of the large numbers of people who take herbal products and conventional medicines at the same time.
"One example is St John’s wort,
a common herbal remedy for mild depression, which is known to speed up
the clearance of some drugs from the bloodstream. It was know to
affect the action of the contraceptive pill, drugs used to prevent
tissue rejection in transplant patients and antiretroviral medicines
taken by people with HIV and AIDS, Professor Houghton said. —
CHICAGO: A new method of killing head lice by suffocating them with a lotion that dries on the scalp like shrink-wrap appears to work as well as many conventional medicines, its US inventor said on Tuesday.
In a paper published by the American Academy of Paediatrics, Dale Pearlman, a dermatologist in Menlo Park, California, said that with his method nits — lice eggs — did not need to be combed out of the hair first, and resistance to some drug treatments was not an issue.
In two tests involving 133 children, the treatment eradicated lice from 95 per cent to 97 per cent of cases, he said.
The lotion was placed wet on the scalp, then dried with a hair dryer to ‘’shrink wrap’’ the lice and cut off their source of oxygen.
The treatment ‘’effectively treats head lice without neurotoxins, nit removal or extensive house cleaning,’’ he said in the report published in Paediatrics, the academy’s monthly journal.
‘’These results are comparable or superior to the results previously reported for treatments with permethrin, pyrethrin and malathion.’’
Pearlman said he developed the preparation himself and it was available only to his patients, but he was looking for backing from the pharmaceutical industry and for regulatory approval.
Head lice infestations are now treated with insecticidal preparations.
Pearlman said lice had become resistant to nonprescription remedies. Prescription preparations using either malathion or lindane had better cure rates than nonprescription products, but some parents and doctors were reluctant to recommend them because of safety concerns.