Touch your toes, and blow your nose.

I had a mild sinus cold last week. Towards the end of the sickness, my nose was was fairly clear, but something interesting happened when I was tying my boots to venture into the cold weather. My nasal passage filled with snot. So I stood up, grabbed a tissue and blew my nose. I bent over again with my head hanging down, and the same thing happened so I blew my nose again. I’m really happy about this discovery because I enjoy the feeling of having clear sinuses. The best part is that it got rid of bacteria that were causing problems. The infection was removed quicker with this method.
Touch your toes, and blow your nose.

98, Morning Exercise, and Organization

Today I met an 85 year old woman that was very spry for her age.  After talking with her for a bit, the topic of exercise entered the conversation, and she told me she swims every morning for an hour at “a quarter til seven” and walks every afternoon.  She used to walk at the mall, but that was torn down. So now the people at Target have welcomed her to walk there when the weather is too bad like it is today.  Today it is rainy, and it has been raining for about two days straight.

Aunt Mary and I

When she told me about this it reminded me of my 98 year old aunt Mary (in the picture to the right) who has been exercising in the morning before breakfast for years.  She used to walk for an hour every morning when she was younger (85 or so).  Now she lays in bed every morning and does various leg exercises while lying on her back.  She still lives in her own home, cooks for herself, does her laundry, and anything that a normal person does.  She moves pretty quickly too.

Both of these long living individuals exercise in the morning.  While in the 85 year old woman’s home I noticed it was very organized and clean.  This is how my Aunt Mary’s house is as well.

Do you think think there is something special about exercising in the morning as opposed to in the evening? Does being organized increase longevity or is it linked to other qualities associated with longevity?

Leg or Low Back pain… Is it your sciatic nerve?

My dad’s back has been bothering him. I figured out that the problem isn’t his sciatic nerve by doing this easy test.

  1. Sit on the edge of your bed.
  2. Press the back of your head so that your chin is pressed against your chest
  3. Slouch forward.
  4. Pick one leg. Move your ankle on that leg so the top of your foot moves closer to your shin. Keep your hands behind your head.
  5. Straighten the leg the leg you chose in the previous step.
  6. Repeat this process for the other leg.

If your pain symptoms occur while your leg is straightened, then there is a good chance you are having sciatic nerve troubles. There may be some pain with the stretch of leg muscles or mid back, but it will be different than the pain you are regularly experiencing. This is called the Sitting Root Test, and the idea behind it is to stretch the sciatic nerve in attempt to reproduce the pain. Now you know may know what the problem is so how can you fix it?

Many nerve problems and body aches can be corrected by exercise and practicing good posture. With these the body will often correct its problems. Another thing to consider is taking note of your daily habits and activities. Look at how long you sit, in what position you sit, how long you stand, what position you stand, and things like that. You may be able to figure out why you are having this pain and fix the root of the problem.

What is the sciatic nerve?

A nerve is the way your brain tells your muscles to relax or contract. The sciatic nerve arises from the from the low back and sacral regions (L4 to S3), but doesn’t actually become the sciatic nerve until all the roots join in front of the piriformis muscle and exit the pelvic area through the greater sciatic foramen. From there it divides into the common fibular nerve and the tibial nerve to so it can transmit nerve impulses to muscles on the back of the thigh, lower leg, and foot.

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This post is here to get my blog listed at Technorati, and my claim token is R4ZRDZC7WRW8.

Hungry? Try hot water, niacin, and shoveling snow.

I wake up at 3am…hungry. I stay  in bed for awhile, but the hunger isn’t going away. So I roll out of bed with my eyes closed only opening them for a snapshot of the dark hallway. It isn’t any fun running into walls. I walk to the kitchen and drink some water and fall asleep easily.

I wake up at 7:30am….really hungry. This is the morning for me to skip breakfast so this could be a problem. I study the book of Judges in the Bible for about 40 minutes, and I’m hungrier after I finish.

Snowy Driveway

     It is about 6 degrees Fahrenheit outside and there is a good amount of snow covering my driveway (see picture). My hunger leaves when I start shoveling snow, and I only shovel for about 15 minutes. Then I come inside, and drink some hot water with about 25mg of Niacin (not slow release). This keeps the hunger away for about 2 hours.This isn’t my everyday experience, but some days I just get hungry.  You know what I mean?

Here are a three reasons for my hunger:

  • Cortisol levels are at their peak in the morning, and cortisol increases hunger.
  • I usually eat around 8am.
  • Lower blood glucose

Why does shoveling snow reduce hunger?

The simplest explanation is distraction.  By changing my focus to a task, my perception of hunger was reduced.  Shoveling snow is exercise, exercise increases norepinepherine levels, and norepinepherine reduces hunger.

Why does hot water reduce hunger?

Stretch receptors in the stomach and duodenum sends signals via the vagal nerves to reduce activation in the feeding center of the brain.  There are also oral receptors that tell the brain that something has been ingested.

Why does niacin reduce hunger?

Niacin is able to raise blood glucose; you’ll see why that matters when I mention the hypothalamus.   I’ve looked at some of the studies, and it has been shown that niacin increases blood glucose in people with diabetes.  I don’t have diabetes so I’m unsure if that is the reason.  Another reason may be that niacin made tryptophan more available for serotonin production.  Niacin can be synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is also used to synthesize serotonin.  More serotonin means less hunger.  One day, I’ll have to tell you about a bad experience I had with niacin.  For now, all I have to say is start with small doses, like 25mg.

What part of the brain is active during hunger?

The lateral nucleus of the hypothalamus is active, and it is the area of the hypothalamus most associated with hunger.  In the lateral nuclei there are glucosensitive neurons that become active when blood glucose is lowered. Lower blood glucose leads to more active lateral hypothalamic glucosensitive neurons to induce  hunger.  This is called the glucostatic theory of hunger and feeding regulation.

You may be wondering why I didn’t just eat.  Well, I didn’t eat because I’m doing an experiment involving  intermittent fasting.

All aboard! Exploring Physiology

Empty Treasure Chest

I have a treasure chest with a few coins in it.  I need to fill it up though; so I’m going in search of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, gold coins, and other precious materials.  If I find any bad treasure, it’ll be tossed overboard into the deep. The treasure isn’t only for me though; it is for you too. It’s time to start exploring physiology!