Why You Wheeze When You Exercise in the Cold

It’s a bummer of a start to an exercise program: You finally get up the courage to do some high-intensity intervals, or to run in the cold for the first time, and ten minutes later you can barely breathe. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.

Source: Why You Wheeze When You Exercise in the Cold

One annoying thing about the cheap masks that I have noticed: the slight opening towards the top that they leave for the nose also serves as the spot where the warm air tends to escape when you exhale towards the eyes, which will fog up your sunglasses if you’re wearing any.

Study: Common Decongestant May Be Worthless

When racked with a cold, flu, or bout of allergies, breathing through a snotless schnoz can seem like a sweet, sweet luxury—one most coveted during sleepless hours of the night. But many of the pills marketed to help achieve that unobstructed euphoria may be infuriatingly useless.

In a new study of more than 500 adult allergy sufferers, researchers found that the common, over-the-counter(OTC) decongestant, phenylephrine, was no better at unclogging noses than placebo—even when given at higher doses than those currently approved. The study’s authors called on the Food and Drug administration to strike phenylephrine from its list of effective nasal decongestants.

Source: Common decongestant may be worthless, study finds

Decongestants don’t “bust up boogers”.  They reduce swelling in the mucous membranes, thus opening nasal passages.  Mycolytics, like Mucinex (guaifenesin) break up mucus.

Thanks Walter White. Thanks a lot.

Sorry, but These Popular Cold and Flu Remedies Don’t Actually Work

There’s something about “natural” medicine that makes us want to believe it works, even if there’s very little evidence to support it. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of trying every single one of the natural remedies in this gallery. And, with cold and flu season around the corner, I’ll likely give each of these a try again. Sometimes science is wrong, right?

Click through the gallery above to see if your natural cold and flu fighter actually works – or if it’s all in your head.

Source: Sorry, but these popular cold and flu remedies don’t actually work

I’ve covered vitamin C and the common cold in the past.

One approach I’ve used when faced with severe nasal congestion is spicy food.  Maybe not the best idea if you’re running a fever already, but can provide the ability to breathe through your nose (if not briefly).

Can You Tell Champagne From Soda by the Sound of The Bubbles Alone?

“Sound is the forgotten flavor sense,” says experimental psychologist Charles Spence. At his lab at Oxford University in England, he manipulates sound in ways that transform our experience of food and drink, making stale potato chips taste fresh, adding the sensation of cream to black coffee, or boosting the savory, peaty notes in whiskey.

Source: Can You Tell Champagne From Soda by the Sound of The Bubbles Alone?

Cool read, the article includes audio files to try out.

The Myth of Vitamin C and the Common Cold

You’ve probably heard it a zillion times: take some vitamin C if you feel a cold coming on, and chase away illness with a gallon of orange juice. Even though we know there’s no cure for the common cold, many of us still believe in the sweet, orange elixir and don’t even question what the makers of the stuff guarantee: an 8 oz. glass delivers “100% of the vitamin C” needed to “maintain a healthy immune system.”

Science-ish looked at high-quality studies on the subject of vitamin C and sickness, starting with this recent Cochrane systematic review (the highest form of evidence) on the supplement for prevention and treatment of the common cold. The lead author, Dr. Harri Hemilä, of the department of public health at the University of Helsinki, told Science-ish he has spent much of his career exploring this very question—with some interesting results.

…there is good evidence it has benefits for one specific group of people: those who undertake really intense physical activity such as marathon runners. For them, vitamin C supplementation decreases the incidence of colds by half. These findings, though, do not hold up for ordinary people, Dr. Hemilä emphasized.

Source: The myth of Vitamin C and the common cold

All is not lost – vitamin C is good for:

  • free radical protection
  • collagen production
  • brain health

…and there are better sources than oranges.

Why Winter Swimming Is Good For You

I have yet to do a polar bear swim.  This year, it was a polar bear swim or a cyclocross race… I chose the race.  The local pool is pretty cold as it is, and lately I’m not tolerating the temperature as well as I have – I must have done 100 meters (25m lengths sadly, I miss 50’s when I can’t swim open water).

But the cold being Good for You™ is questionable.  Recent studies confirmed you are more likely to catch cold/etc from cold temperature exposure.  The video also doesn’t mention the details about the groups tested for health benefits – I’m willing to bet the group that didn’t see any benefit did nothing through the same time period.  Exercise is good for you, be it: running, cycling, walking

Common Cold ‘Prefers Cold Noses’

The virus behind the common cold is much happier in a cold nose, US researchers suggest.

Their study showed the human immune system was weaker in cooler temperatures, allowing the virus to thrive.

The researchers suggested keeping your nose warm and avoiding cold air while infected.

Source: Common cold ‘prefers cold noses’

It’s likely to be much more complex than that. Dry air causing dry mucous membranes and skin which makes for easier portal of entry. Maybe change in activity or interactions of some animals that act as reservoirs. Probably a dozen other things… This study only focused on mouse cells growing in a culture dish. While they controlled for humidity and whatnot, but not at all in the context of an intact organism breathing in virus.

Why: Are Men Always So Much Hotter Than Women?

Holding a body close to you, it’s easy to appreciate the warmth a human body can generate.

Humans are “warm-blooded” animals. We’re able to effectively maintain a stable internal temperature, even on cold mornings or hot afternoons. This thermo-regulation is a dynamic process that balances heat generation (through metabolism and muscle activity) and heat loss to the environment, in order to maintain core temperatures.

Source: Monday’s medical myth: men are hotter than women

There are no words

Being Colder May Be Good For Your Health

Ken K. Liu, a principal at a hedge fund in Los Angeles, has been wearing the vest under his suit jacket on and off for about a year. He told me that some people’s first reaction to the unwieldy getup is “What the hell are you doing?” As soon as Liu explains the concept, though, many of them say it sounds like a good idea. Others still think it’s “stupid”—as did my colleagues, when I wore one—but Liu has not been deterred. Each morning while his coffee is brewing, he takes his vest out of the freezer and dons it without shame. Liu was never “fat,” by his estimation, but he says he did carry a few extra pounds that he had trouble dropping, despite exercise and attention to diet. The Cold Shoulder closed that gap.

Hayes’s ice vest was inspired by the work of Ray Cronise, a former materials scientist at NASA who now devotes himself to researching the benefits of cold exposure. During the swimmer Michael Phelps’s 2008 Olympic gold-medal streak, Cronise heard the widely circulated claim that Phelps was eating 12,000 calories a day. Having been fastidiously trying to lose weight, he was incredulous. Phelps’s intake was more than five times what the average American eats daily, and many thousands of calories more than what most elite athletes in training need. Running a marathon burns only about 2,500 calories. Phelps would have to be aggressively swimming during every waking hour to keep from gaining weight. But then Cronise—who knows enough about heat transfer to have been employed keeping astronauts alive in the sub-zero depths of space—figured it out: Phelps must be burning extra calories simply by being immersed in cool water.

Source: The Benefits of Being Cold

Couple of things to consider:

  • The article is talking about 19-24 degrees Celsius
  • Thailand doesn’t have a lot obese people. It’s hot. Very hot…

While I’m not Phelps, and high profile athletes have notorious diets leading up to events, I have encountered the need for more [and better] food.  I’ve been woken in the middle of the night with hunger pains.  The tricky part about dealing with these moments is the nutrition in what I’m eating.  Fueling between activities can also be really tricky – time to make food is the immediate problem, but also time to digest.  Ah, the fun of trying to do something at a reasonable pace when food is occupying your stomach…

Study: 8 Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep

…real, successful, sustainable weight loss comes from achieving excellence in a completely unexpected realm: the bedroom.

No, you can’t lovemake your way to lean. (Although if you want to try, check out our steamy story on 8 Libido-Boosting Superfoods.) But you can absolutely sleep your way to slender. In fact, no matter how many pounds you press, how many miles you log, how much kohlrabi you crunch, it won’t get you anywhere near your weight-loss goals unless you’re also getting enough quality sleep. A recent study found sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! The good news is just a few simple tweaks to your p.m. routine can mean serious weight loss success. So open your eyes: Here are eight science-backed suggestions to lose while you snooze.

Source: 8 Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep

The first one – kitchen hours – has been previously covered.  Tolerating colder temperatures could save you heating costs while your body works to stay warmer.

What isn’t mentioned is how important sleep is when training.  One triathlete was saying that it was the sleep two days before your race that was important – because the night before you’re getting things together and in some cases – getting up in the early morning to fuel up.  But exercise in general needs rest to fully recover.