Saturday, February 28, 2015

you SHOULD try this at home

No time for exercise? Too busy to eat right? What kind of a toll is it all taking on your health? There's a simple test you can do just about anywhere that's been proven to predict how long you'll live. A doctor in Brazil invented the Sitting Rising Test or SRT, and he's proven it can predict your risk of dying in the next five years. When it comes to figuring out how healthy you are, and long you might live, a cardiac stress test is often considered the gold-standard for giving doctors very specific information. "What we're doing from a stress test standpoint is what we call risk stratifying somebody for their risk for a heart attack, and dying from a heart attack in the next one, three, or five years," says Dr. Michael Lim, director of the Division of Cardiology at Saint Louis University Hospital. But what if you could predict your longevity quickly, easily and without even leaving your home? Scientific studies over the past 15 years have proven if you have trouble getting down and getting back off the floor, it's nothing to laugh at. Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo, MD, PhD, a specialist in exercise and sports medicine, also works with cardiac patients at Clínica de Medicina do Exercício – Clinimex, in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and invented SRT to easily measure non-aerobic physical fitness. In an interview via Skype from his home in Rio, he said the idea for SRT came from observing his older, sedentary patients who could pass basic aerobic tests. "Many of them are able to bike or to run on a treadmill," said Dr. Araujo, "but if you asked them could you tie your shoes, it's pretty difficult to do that. We realized not only aerobic fitness is important. You also need other things for your life: strength, flexibility, balance." The goal is to get down and back up from a sitting position with minimal support. It can be used in all age groups, and results are based on a scale of one to 10. Score three or less and your risk of dying is five times greater over the next five years. It may look and sound easy, but here's how it's done. You cross your feet, and go into a seated position. That's five points. Coming back up is another 5. But you can lose points really fast. You lose a point for each hand, arm or knee you need for support. Take off a half-point when you lose your balance at any time, either on the way down or coming back up. Total them all for your final score. If you have bad knees or hips, don't try this alone. "Have a friend, have a spouse, have a friend with us when we do this," said Dr. Lim. Be sure to take your shoes off, and wear comfortable clothes. But for every point you get, there's a 21% decrease in mortality from all causes. Dr. Lim, says it makes sense. "The more active we are the better we can accommodate stressors the more likely we are to handle something bad that happens down the road," said Dr. Lim. Dr. Araujo's data has been published in American and European medical journals. By the way, he says if you're over 50 and score a perfect 10, you should be proud, because not many people in the age group can do it.

It was 16F (-8C) in the Park this morning

From today's NY Times: They bent into the wind, a parade of defiant-looking runners shuffling through Central Park just before dawn on one of the coldest days of the week. They had smothered their skin beneath layers of high-tech and higher-color clothing. They were not exactly sweating as much as steaming. They looked so cold. There was just one more day till March, but the temperature was only 19 degrees (still, one man wearing shorts declared, this was better than some other days). The reservoir was a shining expanse of white. Most paths were paved with a sheet of ice. No one wanted to stop. But if a reporter kept pace for a seven-minute mile or two, some would explain what on earth they were doing out there. Roni Selig, a senior executive producer at CNN, had risen at 4:20 a.m. to meet her friend Rebecca Ajavananda, a managing director at the private equity firm StepStone, at the park at 5:30. They were training for a half-Ironman triathlon and a marathon. “This is the only time I can be away from my computer and have no one bother me,” Selig said. “This winter has been longer, and colder, and the ice is really nasty. But come spring when the park is crowded again, we’ll be in better shape.” As the sun came up, more runners emerged around the park, like 46-year-old Mark Koans. As streetlights flickered off and night turned into morning, the predawn set dominated by bankers and lawyers diversified. Gisela Mandl, a 61-year-old personal assistant to a wealthy family in the city, ran alone, smiling. “Running out here is invigorating,” she said. “It makes me feel alive.” “Every day when I get up and it’s 10 degrees, I’m so grateful I can be out here,” she added. She began her run at 6:30, as she has done every day for the past 30 years, and prefers the winter solitude. Down the road, Beth Isaac, a 37-year-old pharmacist, had run into her friend Ashley Barnish, 27, who works for Capital One. Pausing to chat, they shivered as frost formed on their clothes, but they stood by their choice of park over gym. “The treadmill is so boring,” Isaac said. “Who wants to spend their mornings staring at a wall?” As the sun rose, the park filled with so many runners that it seemed there was nothing unusual about spending hours outdoors in weather that freezes sweat to eyelashes and turns noses into faucets. Besides, in a few months the same roads will be clogged to the point of impassability, with bikers and walkers and runners back from the gym. At least until it gets too hot.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Could there be an even worse photo than the bacon wrapped pizza? Yes - here it is!

Courtesy of USA Today: When Fraser Cunningham stepped outside of his Cincinnati home Friday morning, it was still dark.It was darn cold, too. His Garmin told him it was -10 degrees F. And, just like he's been doing every single morning at 5:30 for more than 18 months, the 56-year-old GE engineer hopped on his bicycle and rode to work. It was so cold, that his eyes literally froze open during the trek. "It's better than freezing shut," he said. Cunningham hasn't missed a day commuting by bicycle since July 22, 2013. Hoping to beat out his personal best continuous streak of one year, eight-and-a-half months, he's been counting every day.
Watch the video above to see all the gear he needs to keep warm.

Little Caesars rolls out bacon-wrapped-crust pizza

Little Caesars has devised a brand new place to feed the public's obsession with bacon: wrapped around the pizza crust. More specifically, 3 1/2 feet of bacon wrapped around the pizza crust. The innovative budget pizza chain is rolling out the Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep! Deep! Dish Pizza today. At $12, the limited-time offer will be one of Little Caesars' priciest pizzas. "Every time you take a bite out of the crust, you'll get bacon," says David Scrivano, CEO at Little Caesars. The pizza also comes with pepperoni and has bacon sprinkled on top. The promotion replaces the chain's Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza (source: USA Today).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Spare a thought for us: NYC braces for coldest day in 2 decades

According to the NY Post newspaper today, The Big Apple will be more like the Big Icebox this weekend. An arctic cold front packing dangerous winds of up to 60 mph (100 km/hr) could make it feel like it’s 20 below zero F by Sunday (about -25C) — the coldest wind-chill factor since 1993’s “Storm of the Century,” forecasters warned. This is a picture of the fountain in Bryant Park frozen over
“You better snuggle up,” AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said, noting the arctic blast will blow through after another snowstorm slams the already hard-hit Northeast this weekend. The blizzard to the north will skirt the city Saturday into early Sunday but could leave up to 3 inches of snow on the ground in the metro area. Today's high was 35F (2C) with a low of 17F (-8C), but by Sunday morning conditions will be downright dangerous. The thermometer will plummet to 6 degrees F (-15C) or lower.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"What good is the warmth of summer without winter to give it sweetness?"

So John Steinbeck wrote, or words to that effect. Thought today would be a good day to check out the High Line in the snow. Hadn't been there in a while as it's way over the other side of Manhattan and gets more & more popular/crowded all the time: in fact, i recall last time we said "Never again!". But today I guessed right, given we were heading for a max of 1 degree C, -5 in the wind, with a light fog. While all the roadways and sidewalks are cleared, several inches of snow have covered the rest of the ground since before Australia Day and it's hardly been above zero since then, so i presumed the High Line would still be snowy (but hopefully open) and I schlepped over there for a look.
this is the new section - closed today because of snow and ice.
Look familiar?
Here's Max & Xavi in the same spot in the summer of '13. Steinbeck was right.
The High Line is pretty amazing. For those who don't remember it was an elevated railway line built in the 1920's over in the old warehouse district by the Hudson, to get the freight trains off the street. it was use until the 1980's then closed and was even partially torn down.
the rest was left in disrepair until about 10 yrs ago when someone got the brilliant idea to turn it into a park. it opened shortly after we arrived. This is how it looked before renovation.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some people are so creative!

"LOOKING FOR HUGGIES WIPES TRAVEL CASES: Hey folks- Does anyone happen to have any of the hard plastic Huggies travel wipes cases lying around? I just found out they were discontinued months ago and I want to paint a couple more for baby gifts. I need plain white or a solid color, not the polka-dotted kind that used to come in the Costco packages. Thanks, Andi"

Monday, February 2, 2015

Superbowl Sunday

Not exactly a Superbowl day "tradition", but like in 2012 I began the big day running in the NYRR Gridiron Run & Longest Football Throw, in the cold and the snow, before enjoying the game in the evening.
The highlight of the game occurred in the final minute, with a rookie for the Patriots making the match-saving defensive play, intercepting the ball on their own goal line, shutting down the Seahawks who looked inevitable to score the game-winning touchdown. But as you know, many people of the 114 million who tuned in (most watched TV show ever) watch the broadcast for the ads rather than the game. The Nissan one was my favorite (I'm missing Xavi, and my Dad!) and this Bud Light one was fun