Is there a Downside to wearing a Mask during Exercise?

The pandemic has forced us to perform more of our activities outdoors. As a result, hiking, strolling, riding a bike or just jogging has become a challenge to practice social distancing. Most people feel that it is uncomfortable and harder to breathe wearing a mask while exercising. Many wonder if they are getting the same benefits that a good workout provides while wearing a mask. Two studies have shown that wearing a mask does not hinder the effects of vigorous training. An older study focused on health care workers and how masks affected their work and found that it did not. According to a new study Published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science it found little if any noticeable differences in heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, respiratory rates and current carbon dioxide levels. Sixteen participants were asked to ride stationary bikes in an uphill slant until they reached the point of exhaustion. The athletes performed 3 sessions and in one they were allowed to remove the masks. Test results showed no difference in all the above markers. A second study, with fourteen men and women was conducted in the same manner and published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also found no difference in performance or difficulty in the results of wearing or not wearing a mask. The studies dealt mainly with cycling, but it is safe to say the same results would be found during any vigorous exercise. But it is important to remember that these studies were done with healthy individuals and may affect someone differently if they have breathing difficulties or are not very active differently.

Jigsaw Puzzles and Our Minds…

Working on a jigsaw puzzle can be extremely gratifying. The fact that there is a conclusion to a puzzle, unlike some of the puzzles that we confront in our daily lives, is part of the gratification. Since solving a jigsaw demands so much intensity, it can actually shut off the neurological pathways that can lead to anxiety. A demand for puzzles has grown especially during this pandemic. They are available in everything from wood to cardboard to acrylic. Whenever there is a severe crisis, the last one was the Great Depression, there seems to be an upswing in demand. Because they are tactile, they provide a different sensation then just visual entertainment. There appears to be a hit of dopamine every time a piece fits into place. Puzzles encourage participation from either family members or friends which make them more collaborative as opposed to competitive and therefore relaxing. Putting together a puzzle can develop skill sets such as visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory, pattern matching and patience. There are even companies such as “Completing the Puzzle” that can rent you a puzzle if you do not have space to store puzzles. Jigsaw sets can begin at 100 pieces and go up to as many as 32,000. They are available in every category which makes it easy to put together a visual you truly enjoy. Lastly, they can be extremely meditative if you just want to sit quiet and be alone.

An Extra Set of Salivary Glands…

The human body is so complicated. After years of cutting and dicing cadavers, we are still finding hidden unknown organs. Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered a fourth set of salivary glands hidden inside the nasal cavity. Until recently it was believed that there were only three major sets. Why is this important? Salivary glands are responsible for supplying spit. In turn, the mouth becomes lubricated allowing us to both speak and swallow. They help us fight off germs from entering the mouth and have great healing powers for infections in the mouth. Most important they help with tasting our food which is a major contributor to quality of life. The tissues that comprise these glands are extremely delicate, and doctors are extremely careful not to destroy them when using radiation. These two hidden glands may be a major funneling system for transporting fluid from the head to the base of the tongue. The new finding may help to answer the question why people who undergo radiation of the head and neck so often end up with so many of the effects of injured salivary glands. Since they were so well hidden, doctors, unaware of their existence, never took precautions to spare them. It is not clear at present if these glands exist in the whole population or in certain groups of people. The research needs to widen its study to include a more diverse population. It just goes to show what an incredible piece of anatomy our bodies are.

3 Myths about Brain Health…

  • We use only 10% of our brain.  If this were true, brain injuries would not be so devastating. In fact, brain scans show that a good portion of the brain is used for even the simplest tasks.
  • We are dominated by either your left or your right brain.  It is true that most people receive language skills from the left part of the brain and experience special and emotional abilities from the right. However, Brain scanning technologies have shown that both hemispheres work together when it comes to complex processing.
  • We have only five senses.  Along with our sense of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste we possess much more. Proprioception is our relation to where our body parts are and what they are doing. Nociception is our ability to feel pain. Thermoception enables us to sense temperature changes. Chronoception allows us to sense the passage of time. Interoception provides us with awareness of our internal needs such as hunger and thirst.