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The No-Helmet Bicycling Movement is Harmful to Your Health

Every sport has its own built-in factions: If you’re a runner do you wear minimal shoes or full-support ones? If you do yoga, do you like traditional yoga or hot yoga? When I started cycling I was pretty surprised to find that the point of division was whether or not your wore a helmet.

bike helmet

“Who doesn’t wear a helmet?” was my initial thought when I saw fellow cyclists pedaling without any protection on their heads. Hadn’t they seen the stats showing that helmet save lives? I’m squarely in the helmet-wearing camp, using science (and common sense) to back-up my position. Because of that, I continue to be surprised that people on the no-helmet side of the argument also use science to support their claims. But it shouldn’t be too unexpected: The interesting thing with numbers is that you can spin them to support just about anything you want. (For a good example, see this tongue-in-cheek article on why seat belts and child restraints are hazardous.)

But back to bicycling. Yesterday, via Facebook, I was directed to yet another anti-helmet argument, this one written by a student at Yale. He had all sorts of supporting documents, pie charts, etc., that claimed to show: A.) that cycling is less dangerous than walking down the street, among other things; and B.) that helmets may actually be harmful.

I read the piece. Then I checked his math. And he was spinning the statistics to make his case. Here’s the beginning, and cornerstone, of his argument:
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Tips to Keep You Safe While Biking or Jogging Outside

Public health officials have been encouraging Americans of all ages to walk and bike more to decrease obesity and improve overall health. Now that the weather is warmer, we just might be inclined to follow their advice.

On beautiful days, it’s tempting to just throw on your jogging shoes and go for a quick run, or dust off the bike for a nice ride and not think twice about safety.

Not only do you need to be aware of safety but also what do if you possibly encounter a dangerous situation. Here are some things to consider before you head outside:

First, decide where you are going to go and if possible have someone go with you. Going on bike rides or a quick jog is a great reason to invite a friend or loved one. If you do go by yourself, let someone else know where you are going and provide them with details on where you plan to go. While planning your route, avoid deserted or dangerous areas. Try to stay near paths that are more populated and well lit. Vary your route and the time of day so you are not as predictable. Avoid unfamiliar areas, but if you are trying a new path or route make mental notes of emergency phones, and safe businesses. Also, carry some I.D. and change just in case you need to make a phone call.
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Yoga Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Body

A recent article published by the New York Times suggested the many ways yoga can wreck your body. While this is true, it is important to understand that injuries can be avoided. Without knowing much about yoga, especially the myriad ways yoga is practiced in our modern day society, one might read that article and take it as a reason to toss out their New Year’s resolution of trying a yoga class for the first time. But the reality is, yoga doesn’t do the body wrecking, you do, and it happens when you neither honor your limits nor trust in your abilities. Having a qualified yoga teacher also helps prevent needless wrecking and wrenching of our fragile bodies, but ultimately, we are our best teachers.

The bottom line is that with any type of physical activity we all must trust ourselves, our own inner teacher. There are times when it is appropriate to dig in a little deeper to move past self imposed limitations of movement, and there are times when it is completely acceptable to bow out of a pose or an exercise if it hurts. Also, no two styles of yoga are exactly the same. It is best to find one that fits your body type, rather than try to fit your body into a style that does not suit you.

While some yoga poses will be extremely inappropriate for you, some yoga poses are necessary to counter other poses in an effort to avoid muscle imbalance and instability. A qualified instructor will lead you in such a way that you have no choice but to listen to your body’s needs. You will know when too much is too much, and you will understand why some poses are needed to keep you aligned.


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Read This Before You Try a Kettlebell Workout DVD

Kettlebell workouts seem to be all the rage these days. And because it’s an exercise known for being tough, gritty and somewhat complicated, I’ve been interested in trying it for the last few years (glutton for punishment, I am). But it wasn’t until I reviewed a few kettlebell workout DVDs that I gave them a go. And what a go it was.

kettlebellsWorking with kettlebells is intense and some of the movements are downright dangerous and can result in injury if you do them improperly. And because many of the moves—especially the compound ones—are extremely challenging and advanced, it’s likely that when you get tired (and you will get tired), your form will suffer. And bad form isn’t good.
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GO Sport IDs Provide Athletes with Motivation and Security

Go Sport ID Wrist bands and logoIt’s great to leave all your cares behind when you go out for a bike ride, which often means keeping your phone home. Similarly, toting around a heavy wallet can be a burden when you’re out running. However, in the case of a serious injury or accident, the absence of these objects makes it difficult to identify an unconscious athlete or contact their family. GO Sport ID provides a simple solution to give runners and bikers peace of mind by creating lightweight identification that communicates the your most important information when you can’t.

They offer several different ID products, including wristbands and dog tags. There are a number of wristbands options, such as an adjustable nylon band or magnetic therapy bracelets. Each GO Sport ID not only has space for your name and an emergency contact, but also an inspirational message so that you can use your ID to remind yourself of your goals and motivations. You may also want to provide any other vital medical information that first responders need to know.

GO Sport IDs was started in August 2011, and is based in Houston. Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and runner-up Hannah Curlee are spokespeople for GO Sport IDs, and encourage all athletes to be prepared for emergencies.


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