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How to be safe in the sun

Metrosmag,SA

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While there’s nothing better than just chilling at the beach or pool, it can also get dangerous when you don’t protect yourself from the scotching sun.

A few years ago I had a small skin cancer removed, making me one of the nearly 5 million people treated for skin cancer every year in the United States. While it will never recur, no one wants to hear the word cancer. It’s scary and unsettling. And now I have a history of skin cancer, putting me at increased risk for another one down the road. I wish I had known growing up what I know now about the sun’s harmful rays.

Today, skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. But there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk. The key is to get serious about protecting yourself from ultraviolet (UV) light, whether from the sun or indoor tanning beds. Working toward a “healthy” glow is many women’s favorite summer pastime, but that glow is actually skin damage. It’s not a sign of health, even if you tan and don’t burn. Just in case you need another reason to be sun smart, too much sun exposure causes premature signs of aging, like wrinkles and age spots. We all have friends and family members with sun damage who are too young to look that old.

As we head into the summer months, I hope you’ll keep your skin’s health — present and future — in mind. Use these seven tips to stay safe in the sun.

  1. Wear protective clothing. If possible, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Hats with wide brims not only cover your face, but they also protect other easy-to-forget spots like your ears and your scalp.
  2. Make sunglasses your favorite accessory. Sunglasses shield your eyes from UV rays that can cause eye problems, like cataracts. Pricey sunglasses don’t guarantee better protection. Look for a pair that says it blocks 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays.
  3. Limit your sun time, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That’s when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Plan your outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon. You can also find or create shade during those hours. At the park? Sit under a tree. At the beach? Bring a beach umbrella. Just a regular day? Plan indoor lunch breaks or schedule nap times during those hours.
  4. Use sunscreen and use it right. UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. To protect your skin, put sunscreen on every part of your body that will be exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes before going outside, even if it’s cloudy out. Sunscreen is most effective when used with other sun protection methods, like those mentioned above.When choosing sunscreen, pick one with at least SPF 15 and that offers broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. One coat of sunscreen doesn’t last all day. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours, and don’t forget to put it on your hands and feet and to reapply after swimming or sweating.
  5. Say no to tanning. There’s no such thing as a safe tan, whether you’re inside or outside. It’s a myth that indoor tanning is a safer alternative to sun tanning. Tanning beds, tanning booths, and sunlamps expose you to intense UV radiation, which increases your risk of skin cancer and skin damage.
  6. Give up the vitamin D excuse. Tanning isn’t a safe way to get vitamin D. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, talk to your doctor about the sources that are best for you.
  7. Get to know your skin. Skin cancer is easier to treat when caught early, so get to know your skin and watch for changes. Look for new skin markings, like moles, bumps, scaly spots, or places where your skin has changed color. Watch moles for changes in size, texture, color, or shape. Take note if a mole has uneven edges, differences in color, or one half that is different than the other. You can also watch for moles, sores, or growths that continue to bleed, won’t heal, or look different from any other growth you may have. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these changes.

And don’t forget to keep the kids safe in the sun. All of these tips are important for them, including hats and sunglasses. Just as sun damage to our skin starts when we are young, so can safe sun habits.

Why not embrace your natural skin tone this summer? No amount of tanning will ever actually change your skin tone, so try finding new ways to feel good about you. A new lipstick or blouse that compliments your skin can work wonders for brightening up your look. Love your skin this season and all year long by taking steps to protect it, and share this blog post with your friends, family, and coworkers. The battle against skin damage is year-round.

 

Metrosmag,sa ( inspired by Mzansi Lifestyle ) Mzansi is rich in Lifestyle, a nation diverse in race and culture. Mzansi Magazine explores the rich heritage , versitile culture and the celebrations of Life in Mzansi. Metros Magazine, SA is South Africa's informative Metropolitan lifestlye magazine with all the fresh and important news in Mzansi.

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Health & Fitness

The Real Reason You’re Gaining Weight As You Get Older and how to prevent it.

Metrosmag,SA

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Many of us have experienced it firsthand: As the years go by, the pounds become more difficult to keep off. But have you ever wondered exactly why we experience weight gain as we age? Hint: Your eating habits actually aren’t to blame.

There are a variety of reasons, explains Dr. Caroline Apovian, the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, and the vice-president of The Obesity Society. A change in hormones, a more sedentary lifestyle, and an increase in stress and decrease in sleep due to added responsibilities are just a few.

“But a major reason for middle aged weight gain is the natural muscle loss we all experience,” Dr. Apovian, the author of The Age-Defying Diet and The Overnight Diet: The Proven Plan for Fast, Permanent Weight Loss, says. “The amount of lean muscle mass we have is the primary determinant of metabolic rate. In other words, the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we will burn. Our muscle mass naturally begins to decline around age 30, and that process, called sarcopenia, accelerates around age 40. Unless something is done to actively protect and build up that lean muscle mass, our bodies will require fewer calories, our metabolisms will slow, and the lost muscle will be replaced by fat.”

So, what can you do to prevent sarcopenia? Dr. Apovian offers three tips:

  1. “Exercise with weights at least twice per week, building up in both weight and intensity as you progress,” she says.
  2. “Eat a diet rich in lean protein sources, including protein smoothies.”
  3. “Get plenty of sleep,” Dr. Apovian concludes. “Amongst other health benefits, this gives the body time to repair and rebuild the muscles.”
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Race Recovery Tips with Caroline Wöstmann

Metrosmag,SA

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Powerade’s ‘Power to Beat Your Best’ aims to provide athletes with the tools to achieve a personal best time and will be working with a number of South Africa’s foremost running, cycling and training experts to challenge athletes to beat their best in 2017.

Multiple Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades Marathon champion Caroline Wöstmann shares her tips on race recovery:

Like all things in life, finding the balance between training and recovery is incredibly important for a runner. When you lose that balance, you often end up injured. You will often find yourself looking at your training load and thinking “well, it is the same as it was last year, so I should manage it again”. But you do not take into account what is going on in the rest of your life and the effect that has on your body and you forget about rest and recovery. Training is only part of the formula.

If you are having a stressful week, rather back off on training – do less mileage or no high intensity speed work because your body can only deal with so much. Physical training is physical stress – if you have emotional stress as well, your body will not recover properly. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night or are waking up during the night, it is a sign you have too much stress. Listen to your body.

The scope of your recovery depends on how much your training load is. You do not have to do as intensive recovery if you are not training as intensely. Making sure you get enough sleep is important. If you are training 200km a week, you should ideally have a nap during the day, after getting a solid 8 hours at night. I take a 1-hour nap in the day between my morning and evening sessions.

The second most important thing after sleep, is nutrition. If you are expending huge amounts of energy and missing a meal, your body does not have anything to rebuild with. You need to replace what you are expending, being careful not to eat too much, which can mean you put on weight. I find it is important that I eat something immediately after my session – ideally within 15-45 minutes.

In an ideal world, you will be able to take some time off work to focus on training and recovery. If you have big goals, taking a couple of weeks off after your heaviest training load means you will have more time to recover – and the time away should lower all the other stresses in your life, too.

Having an ice bath after a quality session really helps recovery, but I would only recommend doing that after a hard race or a long run, because it is not fun for anyone. It is only for when you are pushing your body to extremes. The optimal time seems to be immersing yourself for 10 minutes, at 8-12 degrees. Sports massage works well too – a 30-60 min massage every week loosens up the muscles.

Tapering is important to the recovery process too. Once you’ve done all the training, tapering reduces the load and gives the body more time to recover – and recovery makes you stronger.

For more information on ‘Power to Beat Your Best’ visit www.powerade.co.za , the official hydration partner of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

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“Nocebo Effect” explains side effects when switching medicines

Metrosmag,SA

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In the last three decades, countless blockbuster prescription medications for a host of chronic ailments have become available as generics. Currently, about 56% of prescriptions in South Africa are now for generics (IMS, March 2017).

This has shaved hundreds of billions of rands from the nation’s rising healthcare costs and has undoubtedly saved countless of lives by allowing more people to afford the medication they need.

Still, some people believe that more affordable medication can’t be as good as the brand name equivalents and fear that switching to a generic is risky.

Several studies found that generic substitution may be associated with a powerful phenomenon known as the nocebo effect where patients are so convinced that a medication disagrees with them that they start experiencing reduced efficacy and have imagined side effects. This possibly explains why switching from a brand-name medication to a generic version may cause people to report more side effects, even though both medications are chemically identical.

Mariska van Aswegen, spokesperson of leading SA generics firm, Pharma Dynamics says both the nocebo and placebo effects suggest the power of the mind, but should not be confused with one another.

“In placebo, our expectation of feeling better can lead to real physiological changes in our bodies, whilst patients who read about the negative side effects of a certain medication may be primed to notice these symptoms in their own bodies, described as the nocebo effect.”

A study conducted by the American Psychosomatic Society examined the effect that an apparent change in medication had on participants. Sixty-two university students participated in the mock study that tested the effectiveness of a supposedly “new” drug used to treat pre-exam anxiety. During the initial test, patients were told that they were being given the “brand name” drug, which was then supposedly switched to the “generic” version during the 2nd round of tests. Incredibly, researchers found that patients who thought they were being given the “generic” treatment reported more side effects along with a reduction in efficacy compared to when they took the “brand name” medication, even though all tablets were placebos.

“Once a brand-name product comes off patent, a generic medicine manufacturer must ensure that the medication they are producing contains the same active ingredient(s) as the brand-name product, in the same dosage form, at the same dose or concentration and for the same route of administration.

“It also has to prove that it is as stable and pure as the original by meeting certain pharmacokinetic parameters in the body, for example, dissolving at the same rate and extent as that of the brand-name medication.”

Van Aswegen goes on to explain that patients who are anxious or stressed are more likely to suffer from the nocebo effect, especially when asked about the adverse effects of a medication. “They can even be triggered by the manner and behaviour of the doctor prescribing the treatment,” she says.

Generic medication is however just as safe and effective as their brand-name equivalents, and can save you up to 80% on your medication bill. To find out if there is a generic equivalent for the brand-name medication you are taking, ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendations

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