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by The Wellness Concierge®
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The Road-Ready HealthWire for June
“Bits and Bobs*”
to Keep You Sane, Safe, and Healthy on the Go
R. Fedin, The Wellness Concierge®
In the News;
A Healthy Reminder;
Alerts & Stats;
Fitness Raves and Faves;
Well on the Go;
IN THE NEWS…
A(nother) Jet-Lag Solution? Need to be alert and functioning
on little sleep? Some travelers are popping the
prescription drug modafinil (Provigil) to keep going despite
sleepless nights, red-eyes, and time-zone changes.
Although it’s FDA-approved only for narcolepsy, that
hasn’t stopped sleep-starved consumers from ingesting it to offset
sleepiness. (An FDA letter to the drug’s maker earlier this year
re-iterated the agency’s position that it’s "not approved to treat
such symptoms as sleepiness, tiredness, decreased activity, lack
of energy and fatigue.")
Although it’s proven to be non-addictive in tests to date,
its long-term safety remains a question mark. Users say it
doesn’t deliver the jolt and jitters of traditional stimulants and
amphetamines. Side effects include headaches and nausea but some
researchers feel those are less problematic than those of
The Washington Post’s
Shankar Vedantam details the ongoing research, the drug’s
wide appeal, and the controversy surrounding its use as a sleep
Vedantam quotes Harvard Medical School neurologist Thomas
Scammell who rightly questions the propriety of substituting a
drug for much-needed sleep: "…To take a drug and try to
counter this natural necessity of sleep is to defy nature. It's
like if I can give you a pill to take away your appetite -- does
it mean it's okay not to eat?"
Amenities: JetBlue’s new
posture cards illustrate four postures you can easily do
in your seat to unwind and relax. ... Hotel Sofitel Los Angeles’
"Get Fit Now" package ($249 plus tax) pairs you
with a personal trainer to the stars (Nancy Kennedy and Bobby
Strom or their staff who have shaped up celebs such as Julia
Roberts and Lara Flynn Boyle) for one-on-one custom exercise
and nutrition sessions at the hotel’s Club Sofitel fitness
center. In addition to the hotel’s posh in-room amenities and a
healthy breakfast, the one-night package includes: bottled water,
handouts with healthy recipes and hotel room fitness tips, use of
the fitness club, an exercise band, and a pedometer.
REMINDER: Scheduling necessary medical checkups and tests
is particularly onerous for those on the road. If you add in the "ick"
factor (for tests you know you need annually but would love to
forget), it’s certain that many travelers are bypassing the
recommended screenings. To the rescue from excuses and
oversights comes MyHealthTestReminder.com from the College
of American Pathologists. Log on and
sign up to get e-mail reminders for mammograms, colon
cancer screenings, Pap tests, and to give blood.
ALERTS & STATS: A reason to change seats—or stop talking?
Japanese scientists have found that cell phone usage
within a train car can create sufficient electromagnetic
radiation to pose a risk to other riders. With no place to
escape, the radiation emitted from the phones bounces off the
walls and onto…the passengers. According to the study, if one
passenger in five uses a phone, the radiation levels will exceed
Thinking of donating
blood? Your high-flying status could mean you can no longer
donate. If you’re an international traveler or someone who has
spent a lot of time in Europe, you should check the new
restrictions for blood donations to see if they apply to you.
If you’ve lived in France for five or more years since 1980 or
have spent three or more months in the UK from 1980 to 1996, you
can no longer give blood.
The FDA ordered the new
restrictions as an "extra precaution" aimed at reducing the
possible risk of transmitting the human form of mad cow disease
via transfusions. You can check
eligibility requirements and other restrictions
relating to travelers (You’ll need to wait 12 months before
donating if you’ve traveled to an area with a risk of malaria, and
longer if you’re immigrating from a country with malaria, for
example.) at the Red Cross site.
As If You Needed
Confirmation…According to Occupational & Environmental
Medicine, the spouses of those who travel frequently for
work are more prone to feeling anxious. ... A University of
Washington study found that some 81% of commercial air
travelers (who flew in January or February 2002) find
flying stressful—an increase of 20% since September 11.
Post 9/11, personal safety and security topped the list of
concerns (comfort and convenience headed the list in an earlier
pre-9/11 study). The most stressful scenarios? Not the fear of
terrorists, but, unsurprisingly, having to arrive early and wait
in lines and inconveniences related to security. The upside?
Flyers are less annoyed and concerned about delayed and late
flights. Oh really?
YOUR LIFE…SAVE SOMEONE ELSE’S
Learn CPR: The
number of folks traveling in the air and on the ground increases
in the summer—as does the potential for emergency situations
requiring CPR. You never know when your knowledge can make a
And while you’re at it, check out a class that demonstrates
how to use the Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)
that are now being found at more and more public venues and
Want to see
you really know about emergency CPR? Take the Red Cross’
online quiz (scroll down on the linked page).
You may be (unpleasantly) surprised at how you do.
Contact your local
Red Cross for class details, including workplace instructions.
RAVES AND FAVES: How am I doing? If knowing how many
calories you’re burning helps you commit to exercising, consider
Tanita’s HealthyJump. The battery-operated, adjustable 10-foot
"smart" jump rope counts calories as well as the number of
jumps (up to 9,999!).
888 345-4858, 425 831-5963. Aside from the fun factor, jumping
rope burns fat and is a great cardio workout you can do anywhere.
Circling for Fun:
to have some fun and work your triceps, pecs, and upper
body? Throw on these
Trisometric Rings (pictured left) from gaiam.com. Slide them
on, keep your arms out and straight, and twirl. You can work
various muscles by altering the hand positions. At a pound each
(diameter is 12 inches), these foam and metal circles are a
packable addition to your road-fitness workout. $35 plus S&H;
Get More From Your
Workout: Whether you work out alone or with a trainer, in your
hotel room or a gym, you can maximize your exercise routine with
Fitness Training Cards.
The 50 plastic,
illustrated index-size cards offer detailed instructions for
exercises that are color coded by muscle group. You can choose
from four pre-programmed routines and there are separate
programs for men and women and three fitness levels. Ten cards
detail home and travel workouts you can do with common objects.
More info: 516- 433-0737
Everybody Into the
Pool! There’s nothing like an aquatic workout or laps to
keep you cool on a summer day. If your hotel is pool-free, check
The Swimmer’s Guide Online
for a local
venue. Its comprehensive database (It’s updated regularly and
includes over 11,000 entries for full-size, year-round pools in
105 countries.) lets you easily locate a nearby swimming pool. The
listings detail addresses, fees, access restrictions, hours, and
number/type of pools. There’s even data on water temperatures and
Take a Hike! If you like walking or jogging along scenic
routes, you can find a public path courtesy of the Rails-to-Trails
locator at TrailLink.com. You can search for local trails
by area or activity. The results include details on location,
activities, and distance as well as info on wheelchair
According to the site, "Rail-trails are multi-purpose, public
paths that encourage outdoor recreation and promote fitness... and
serve as historic and wildlife conservation corridors, linking
isolated parks and creating greenways through developed areas."
STRATEGIES: A New Use for a Restaurant Standby
Want to quickly
stop a minor cut from bleeding? Sprinkle ground black
pepper —it won’t sting or burn and it’s got antibacterial and
antiseptic properties to aid healing. Clean the cut/nick first
under running water (Add soap if you’ve handled meat or unwashed
veggies.), apply the black pepper, and use a clean finger to put
pressure on the cut.
EATING WELL ON THE GO: HEALTHY
New York City: Love fresh,
organic food that’s anything but bland? Check out the seasonal
menus that Patio Dining’s Chef Sara Jenkins prepares using
the best produce and products from local farmers’ markets.
"A jazzy improviser at the
range, Jenkins rarely plays the same dish twice," note reviewers
Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite in their
New York Magazine critique. Patio Dining, 31 Second
Avenue, NYC; 212-460-9171
In-Flight Food and
Frustration From a Flight Attendant’s Perspective
The June issue of
Self magazine features an excerpt ("The Plane Truth
About Airline Food") from flight attendant Rene Foss’
book, Around the World in a Bad Mood: Confessions of a Flight
Attendant that includes her response to the constant criticism
she hears about airline food—or its absence: "Airlines are in
the transportation business, not the restaurant business."
Would we expect any less from an airline employee?
The article, which focuses on her complaints about flyers and
tips on how to be a better passenger (that is, less of an
annoyance to the busy Foss) offers little in the way of
nutritional advice ("I try to bring my own meal or eat before I
arrive rather than have the plane food."). However, she does close
with a warning/reminder that "…flight attendants, just like
waiters, are the last ones to touch your food before you consume
it." That should help you rethink your in-flight interpersonal
skills if you plan to chow down on a flight. And we thought the
worst form of retaliation was withholding our special meals!
FYI: Self beefed up the piece with tips on how to
modify a typical airline meal and a listing of healthy
choices from airport restaurants. Its picks? Au Bon Pain’s
Thai Chicken Sandwich; Burger King’s Veggie Burger; Sbarro’s
Veggie Slice pizza; and Taco Bell Express’ Chicken or Steak Fiesta
THE IN-ROOM CHEF: Meat-Free
Heat-and-Serve BBQ If you’ve sworn off meat, barbecue season
can be a tempting reminder of your former favorites. Craving those
barbecued ribs you used to devour? Opt for Gardenburger’s
Meatless Riblets. They look, smell, and taste like their
meaty counterparts (and it’s not just because of the tangy
barbecue sauce they’re packed in). (Serving: 210 calories, 5g fat,
0 cholesterol, 720mg sodium, 4g fiber). My only "beefs": the
high-sodium content and the difficult-to-open plastic packets in
which they’re packaged. If even faux meat can’t tempt you, choose
soy-based Flame Grilled Chik'n Grill. With real grill marks and
taste, it’s a palate-pleasing faux-chicken choice.
Organic Veggies to Go Even with all the vegetarian
restaurants and health-food stores that seem to be everywhere
these days, it’s not always easy to find fresh organic fruits and
vegetables on the road (unless you’re lucky enough to be close to
a local farmers’ market). When you’re location-challenged, head
online and order up
fresh, pesticide-free, organic produce and healthy edibles
from Diamond Organics. They’ll overnite your order to any
U.S. address (except P.O. boxes); 888-674-2642; E-mail:
Totable, Tasty Tuna: Still toting those mini cans of tuna?
Fugghedaboutit! StarKist and Bumble Bee offer up water-packed tuna
in easy-open, no-drain,
eat-and-toss pouches (no refrigeration required before
eating). If only someone would package our favorite mix-ins:
chopped onions and capers. Toss a few of these and some crackers
into your carry-on luggage and you'll never find yourself famished
on the fly. ◄
is compiled from medical and scientific journals and related
professional publications, which have vetted the research data that they
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is our ability to make some of their stress go away.”
The Wellness Concierge®?
Marlene R. Fedin
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