Sports and Men’s Bone Health

Young adult males who engage in sports like basketball may experience a decrease in osteoporosis risk as they age, a new study report.

Study researchers started by measuring bone mass in more than 800 young men between the ages of 18 and 20. They also retrieved data regarding the men’s exercise levels. After five years passed, these same men had bone scans and shared the exercise habits again.

Active young men who performed load-bearing tasks and sports and men who increased their exercise levels over five years increased their chances of building their bones.

The study found that young men who participated in load-bearing sports each week for a minimum of four hours improved their hip bone density by an overall average of 1.3 percent. Young men who were inactive over the course of five years experienced a hip bone density decrease that amounted to 2.1 percent on average.

When hip bones begin to thin and weaken in later years, fractures and breaks are more likely to occur. The study authors stated that men’s hip fractures can cause complicated disabilities and other health issues. This study was published in May’s Journal of Bone and Mineral Research issue.

Dr. Mattias Lorentzon of the Sweden’s University of Gothenburg stated that men who performed more load bearing activities between ages 19 and 24 had an increase in bone development. These same men also had larger bones in comparison to the sedentary men who were studied.

Experts believe larger bones with higher mass can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak because they start becoming porous and cannot support the weight. This leads to fractures in later years, starting around age 50 at times.

Lorentzon added that osteoporosis may actually begin to develop as early as age 25. He notes that this makes it crucial for young men to stay active and increase their bone mass.

Lorentzon and other researchers discovered that basketball, tennis, soccer and volleyball are excellent sports for increasing bone mass. These load bearing sports require a lot of moving and jumping. This type of load bearing helps new bone tissue to develop.


Sleepless Nights Are Bad for the Heart

According to a study of some 52,000 Norwegian participants, both male and female, conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, consistent sleepless nights may increase oneís risk of an acute myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack).

Lars E. Laugsand, M.D. and his colleagues found that there was a 30-45 percent higher risk of heart attack among those who struggle to get to sleep or to stay asleep.

In fact, the more numerous the symptoms of insomnia, the greater the risk according to their report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers observed that insomnia may affect as many as one-third of the adult population. The symptoms of insomnia are pretty straightforward and recognizable.

Additional pertinent information on insomnia could be obtained in clinical risk assessment studies. The  report indicated that the results would be useful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The issue of insomnia could be managed simply by following good sleep hygiene recommendations. Certain pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies might be necessary, however, to treat chronic insomnia.

Some 52,610 men and women responded to a questionnaire which was then analyzed by the researchers. The subjects resided in a single county in Norway. The incident of heart attack was then followed by means of national vital status and hospital registries in the Nord-Trndelag Health Study.

In a period consisting of 11.4 years of follow-up, there were 2,368 heart attacks recorded.

Of the study participants, 3.3 percent reported difficulties in getting to sleep on a nightly basis. In addition, 2.5 percent of the study participants reported trouble maintaining sleep, and 8.0 percent reported nonrestorative sleep more than once a week.

It was found that among those who struggled to fall asleep each night 45 percent were at increased risk of having a heart attack compared with those who had no trouble sleeping. Among those who struggled to stay asleep it was found that 30 percent were at a heightened risk of heart attack. For those reporting nonrestorative sleep, several times a week the risk of heart attack was 27 percent.

Adjustments were allowed in the study for variations in age, educational level, marital status, gender and shift workers. Other considerations included such factors as anxiety levels and depression as well as the amount of physical activity and smoking.

Sensitivity analyses excluded the first five years of follow-up treatment as well as non-hospital verified heart attacks and people with chronic somatic disorders.

It was interesting to note that when study participants on sleep medications were excluded, it strengthened the association between trouble falling asleep and risk of heart attack.

This may indicate a connection between the use of sleep medications and fewer heart attacks, possibly because the medication reduces the initial difficulty in falling asleep. Further investigation beyond the present study is needed, however, before drawing any conclusions.

Also to be considered are other potential mechanisms that are common risk factors for heart disease and insomnia including high blood pressure and increased sympathetic activation.

In the study, sleep apnea was not assessed as that link has already been connected to cardiovascular disorder.

Additionally, the evaluation of sleep quality by means of polysomnography, the absence of data duration of sleep and the inability to exclude possible uncontrolled confounding were factors affecting conclusions in the study.

Also, the researchers caution, the results did not take into account the effects and sleep habits of those living at lower latitudes, different risks of a heart attack due to location and environmental factors, or sleeping and circadian habits.


Professional Tricks For Better Shaving Results

For a lot of men, the morning shaving seems to be more of a tiresome duty than an easy job. If you’re in this boat yourself, rest assured that you don’t have to live with razor burn and irritated skin forever.

In days gone by, shaving was less of a chore and more of an art. Barbers used to do a thriving trade in shaving, and their skills were nothing less than phenomenal. If you educate yourself on shaving like the experts, you can replicate their results! Just check out the handy guidelines laid out below.

Before Shaving

Every shave should be preceded by a rinse with warm water. Celeste Hilling, the founder, and CEO of Skin Authority says that this rinse will soften up your skin and keep your face healthier. Next, up, you have to wash your face. According to Hilling, the ideal cleanser for this job is a gel with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) for an antibacterial effect. This will also open up your pores and let your shaving products sink in better. Facial scrubs that have large, abrasive particles should be avoided – they can contribute to shaving complications like breakouts and inflammation.

At this point, your skin should be damp. Use a clean towel to remove excess water, but not all of it. Remember to use gentle patting motions rather than hard scrubbing. This will reduce the risk of razor burns.

Starting The Perfect Shave

A gel is the ideal shaving product because it minimizes friction and causes less irritation. Doctor Neal Shultz, a dermatologist practicing in New York, says that high-priced specialty products aren’t required; the gels you see in your local supermarket or drug store are quite capable of doing the job.

Your razor should have some weight to it. Multi-bladed models are also a good idea. Many authorities (including Hilling) suggest that an old-fashioned straight razor gives the very best results, but it takes a long time to master the skill of using one. Stick to a disposable head razor with two or more blades to get great results right from the start. In Beverly Hills, Hollywood stylist Billy Lowe recommends heavier razors to all of his male clients. Lightweight plastic razors tend to buck, causing nicks and cuts. A razor with a weighted handle will glide smoothly and require less control.

You should always shave with the grain of your facial hair. Lowe warns that shaving against the hair leads to a host of problems, especially on the neck. He recommends making multiple passes – he personally uses three passes to achieve the best results. Multiple shades produce added benefits, cutting closer and exfoliating the skin.

If your skin is especially sensitive, you should strongly consider investing in a high-quality electric razor. Dr. Schultz says this is often the best solution to chronic razor burn and skin irritation. Shaving with the grain and spacing out your shaving schedule can also help if you want to stick with ordinary razors.

Post-Shave Skin Care

Your first step after your shave is complete is to pat your face dry. A clean, dry towel is also a must here. Rubbing should be avoided in order to prevent skin irritation.

If you normally use aftershave, try going without it for a while. Alcohol-based aftershaves are needlessly harsh on your skin; a simple moisturizer will deliver many healthier-looking results. According to Lowe, and post-shaving products you use need to be free of alcohol, retinol, glycol, and any harsh chemical toners. Even the best shave leaves your skin in a weakened, vulnerable state. That’s why Lowe strongly encourages the immediate use of moisture cream after you’re done the shaving. It shouldn’t be put off until later.

If you encounter skin problems related to shaving, you should address them promptly and thoroughly. The dreaded razor burn can be treated with an ordinary styptic pencil and a dab or two of antibiotic cream, according to Schultz. For long-term razor burn relief, Hilling recommends using a toning product that includes at least two percent salicylic acid and eight percent glycolic acid. (Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be applied immediately after your shave, though! Use your skin toner at a well-separated hour.)

If you can’t seem to avoid nicks and cuts no matter how carefully you shave, Lowe recommends trying out night-time shaving. Running out the door in the morning with blood-splotched toilet paper stuck to your face is never a good idea. Save right before you go to bed and take all the time you need to handle any shaving-related complications.

Hopefully, this information will give you the “leg up” you need to perfect your shaving routine and start achieving better results. Contrary to what some people think, shaving isn’t a natural skill. It needs to be practiced and studied like any other. Put in the necessary time, and you can certainly master the art of shaving!