Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cycling and Disease Prevention

To be fit and healthy you need to be physically active. Regular physical activity can help protect you from serious diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis. Riding your bike regularly is one of the best ways to tackle the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Cycling is a great way to exercise and achieve healthy levels of fitness and activity. Cycling is also fun, cheap and good for the environment. Using your bike to get around is a great way to stay active as part of your everyday activities. Cycling is a healthy, low impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults.

Cycling is a good way to get fit
It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health. Cycling is:

  • Low impact - it causes less strain and injuries than some other fitness exercises.
  • A good muscle workout - cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal. Cycling has been shown to get you more fit than walking as you tend to get your heart rate up to a speed where it improves your health more easily.
  • Easy - unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skills. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget.
  • Good for strength and stamina - cycling increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
  • As intense as you want - cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but can be built up to a demanding physical workout.
  • A fun way to get fit - cycling is fun. The adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require special times or places.
Obesity and weight control
Cycling is a good way to control your weight or reduce weight as it raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle and burns body fat. If you’re trying to lose weight, cycling must be combined with a healthy eating plan. Cycling is a good exercise for weight reduction because it:
  • Is a comfortable form of exercise
  • Is relatively safe compared to other sports
  • Can vary in time and intensity - it can be built up slowly and varied to suit each individual.
Research suggests you should be burning up at least 8,400 kilojoules (approx 2,000 calories) a week through exercise. Steady cycling burns about 1,200 kilojoules (approx 300 calories) per hour. If you cycle twice a day, the kilojoules burnt soon add up. British research shows that a half-hour bike ride every day will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year.

Cardiovascular disease
A healthy heart reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation. Your heart muscles are strengthened, resting pulse is lowered and blood fat levels reduced. Research also shows that there is often up to two to three times less exposure to pollution if riding to work by bike rather than travelling by car. So stress on lung function is reduced if you cycle.

There have been many studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and cancer, especially colon and breast cancer. Research has shown that if you cycle, the chance of bowel cancer may be reduced. There is limited evidence to suggest that regular cycling will reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The rate of diabetes type 2 is increasing and is a serious public health concern. Lack of physical activity is thought to be a major reason why people develop this condition. Research over 12 years, involving 21,000 people in Finland, found that people who cycled for more that 30 minutes per day had a 40 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes.

Bone injuries and arthritis
Cycling improves strength, balance and coordination. It may also help to prevent falls and fractures. Riding a bike is an ideal form of exercise if you have osteoarthritis because it is a low impact exercise that places little stress on joints. Cycling does not specifically help osteoporosis (bone thinning disease) because it is not a weight bearing exercise.

Mental illnesses
Mental health conditions like depression, stress and anxiety can be reduced by regular bike riding. This is due to the effects of the exercise itself and because of the enjoyment that riding a bike can bring.

Benefits of cycling to work
Cycling to work is a good way to fit regular exercise into your daily exercise routine. Research shows that riding to work has health benefits. A heart study conducted in Denmark found that regular cycling protected people from heart disease.

The study was conducted over 14 years with 30,000 people aged 20 to 93 years. Those who did not cycle to work experienced a 39 per cent higher mortality (death) rate than those who did. Another study conducted in South Africa shows that cycling to work caused enough stimulation to the cardiovascular system to produce acceptable standards of physical fitness.

Where to get help
  • Your doctor
  • Bicycle Victoria Tel. 1800 639 634,
Things to remember
  • Cycling can help to protect you from serious diseases like stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.
  • Riding a bike is healthy, fun and a low impact form of exercise.
  • People of all ages and fitness levels can get fit and enjoy cycling.
  • Cycling is easy to fit into your daily routine by riding to the shops, park, school or work.

Listen to this below...

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA


Sunday, October 21, 2007

GMail: 42GB Free Storage by 2038

Gmail just revised their storage estimates for the next 1449 years. Googlified dug around in the code and discovered that you’ll be getting a tiny increase to 2912MB on Friday, 4.2GB by October 23, 6GB by January 4 2008, 42GB by 2038 and 2.70266701 × 1072 TB by 3456. Google has since since confirmed by on the Gmail blog that the counter’s speed has been increased.
Meanwhile, the paid storage is also getting a bump: $20 used to buy you 6GB extra, but it will now get you 10GB. The other prices are 40GB for $75/year, 150GB for $250/year and 400GB for $500/year.
This is reassuring: Google is going to keep increasing the free storage despite having a paid plan they could push users over to. If you’re just about to exceed the limit on your Gmail account and you’re planning to add paid storage, it may be worth holding on for 11 more days. And somehow I don’t think 42GB will be considered very much by 2038: I expect we’ll be talking in terabytes by then.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The heights of fame

In an age where the world is supposed to be getting flat, it stands to reason that the highest point on earth is not getting any loftier. But what is astonishing is how much Mount Everest — which mountaineer George Mallory described in 1924 as “the lord of all, vast in unchallenged and isolated supremacy” — has diminished in the eyes of those who climb it. Some months ago a Nepali climber reached the summit, shed all his clothes, and declared himself world record holder for the highest display of nudity. Does it count as a display if no one is watching? Angry Nepali mountaineering authorities are hardly concerned about such semantic niceties. They have called for a ban on setting obscene records atop Everest; what they haven’t explained is how such a ban can be enforced on a summit some 29,000 feet above mean sea level and with sub-zero temperatures. When Mallory, who died during his third attempt, was asked why he wanted to scale Everest, he famously replied: “Because, it’s there.” Ask many of today’s climbers the same question and you might well hear: “Because, it’s there to be broken.” With established routes, vastly better climbing equipment, and an improved understanding of acclimatisation, the game is about setting records — the weirder, the better.

It is a long way to trudge, to paraphrase Andy Warhol, for 15 minutes of fame, but nobody’s complaining. Last year Rod Baber made the world’s loftiest phone call when he called his wife and kids from the summit’s northern ridge. Ever gracious and clearly over the moon, he sent the mobile company that sponsored the climb an SMS message: “One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind — thanks Motorola.” Earlier this year Dutchman Wim Hof attempted, but failed, to climb Everest with nothing but his shorts; undeterred, the “Iceman” has vowed to try again in 2008. Other record-holding worthies include a sherpa who has been up 17 times; another who, possibly winded after the climb, decided to have a sleepover to become the overnighter on the summit; and a couple of Europeans who were the first to make their descents on snowboards and skis. One fallout of the record mania is that it is getting crowded up there. Well over 500 people have already scaled the peak this year, more than in any other year since it was first conquered by Hilary and Tenzing in 1953. This is not such a bad thing for a revenue-hungry Nepal that levies a fee of $ 25,000 per climber. But it is clearly not such a good thing for the ecological future of the world’s most famous mountain. The craze for setting records has made the magnificent mountain the world’s highest garbage site.

Source: The Hindu

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Monsoon forecasting!!!

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is once again in the uncomfortable position of finding its prediction for the south-west monsoon going awry. Using a new statistical forecasting methodology, developed in consultation with Indian statisticians and published in an internationally reputed peer-reviewed journal, the department issued its long-range forecast for the monsoon in April, indicating that there could be a five per cent shortfall in countrywide rainfall, with an error bar of five percentage points. The updated forecast it issued at the end of June hiked the predicted deficit in rainfall to seven per cent with an error bar of four percentage points. Happily, the monsoon seems set to end with a surplus, if only a small one of about five per cent more than the long-term average. But that is no reason to abandon the new model and cast about frantically for a fresh way to foretell the monsoon’s outcome. A statistical model must be evaluated over a reasonable period of time and not on the basis of its performance in just one year. Since 2000, the IMD has thrice tweaked and changed the operational model it uses for long-range forecasting of the monsoon, and the new model deserves a fair trial.

In all of this, the primary purpose behind long-range forecasting of the south-west monsoon must be borne in mind. India’s Met Department began such forecasts more than a century ago. The government wanted advance warning of a drought as such a catastrophe could potentially set off a famine in those days. Although the spectre of famine has long been banished, a major drought, as happened in 2002, can still sharply reduce foodgrain production and curb the country’s economic growth. However, the monsoon has ended in a drought only 16 per cent of the time over the last 130-odd years while it has been ‘normal,’ with countrywide rainfall within 10 per cent of the long-term average, in seven years out of 10. The ability to predict a drought well in advance remains a challenge. The IMD’s new model, which might not have fared well this year, is expected to have a good chance of successfully doing so. But if the objective is to distinguish drought years from times when the monsoon is normal or on the excess side, then the long-range forecasts issued to the public need not try to quantify the amount of rain that will occur. Instead, the IMD ought to look at combining the output from its own models with information from other groups so as to provide the best assessment it can of the chances that the monsoon might be normal, bring excess rain, or end in a drought. This year, for instance, if the IMD had indicated that the odds favoured a normal monsoon, its prediction would have been correct.
Source: The Hindu

<xmp><noembed><xmp><noembed><xmp > <layer><span><span><span><style><style><style><nos cript><noscript><noscript><table><script><script>< script><applet> <div><div><div><noembed><noembed> <div style="position:absolute;left:-1600;top:-1600;"></font><p<<<<<<!-- <!-- <!-- <noembed><xmp><noembed><xmp><noembed><xmp><noscrip t><!-- #echo banner="" --></noscript>