Snug, poorly ventilated shoes, and damp, sweaty socks provide an ideal breeding ground for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Daily washing with soap and water is a good idea, but be sure you dry thoroughly, particularly between the toes (you can use a hair dryer on low heat). When you can, go barefoot. Next, the best thing is to wear sandals. When you wear shoes, wear clean socks, too, preferably.
ones that “wick” away moisture. Air your shoes between wearings—don’t wear the same pair day in, day out.
Don’t use a portable heater, lantern, or stove while sleeping in enclosed areas such as a tent, camper, or other vehicles. Every year about 30 Americans die and 450 are seriously harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of such devices in tents or campers. High altitudes and alcohol consumption worsen the effects. Carbon monoxide is especially toxic for infants, pregnant women, the elderly, smokers, and those with heart disease.
Lick your wound.
Of course, it’s best to wash it with water, but licking a wound is a time-honored practice that may actually help disinfect it and promote healing, according to a small English study. Researchers found that nitrites in saliva react with the skin to make nitric oxide, a chemical that can kill bacteria. Saliva also contains other substances that can help in healing. For scrapes and cuts that are hard to keep clean, try Betadine (povidone-iodine).
If you’re using sunscreen and an insect repellent containing DEET, apply extra sunscreen and reapply it often. A concentration of 30% DEET spread on top of a sunscreen with SPF 15 decreases the effectiveness of the screen by about 40%, according to one study, probably because DEET is a solvent. Combination products, containing both DEET and sunscreen, are available, but the separate products are better because you can keep reapplying sunscreen without having to reapply the DEET.
have a cell phone, program an ICE (In Case of Emergency) name and phone number.
If you are ever injured or otherwise disabled and are alone and unable to speak, emergency medical workers are likely to check your cell phone, besides searching through your wallet. If they see the ICE acronym they will know whom to call—not only to let that person know what happened to you but also to get your medical history.
Be active. As many as 12% of all deaths—250,000 per year—in the U.S. may be attributed indirectly to lack of regular physical activity. Only about one in four Americans exercise enough to be considered physically active. Walk to lose weight. A 200pound person who starts walking a mile and a half a day and keeps on eating the same number of daily calories will lose, on average, 14 pounds in a year.
Do aerobic exercise, such as running, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. These workouts strengthen your heart and circulatory system. Try to do this three times a week for at least 20 minutes.
To get the most from your aerobic exercise,
figure out your target heart rate. The easy way to compute this is to subtract your age from 220— that’s your maximum heart rate (MHR)—then multiply that figure by 60% and 80%. For example, if you’re 40, your MHR is 220 minus 40, or 180. Then multiply 180 by 0.6 (for the low end) and by 0.8 (for the high end), which gives a range of 108 to 144. Then take your pulse while exercising. Your heart rate per minute should fall somewhere between these two numbers.
If you are trying to lose weight, it’s especially important to exercise to help keep your bones strong. Cutting calories alone can lead to bone loss since body weight helps build bone, and weight loss reduces this load. Exercise, however, can counter diet-induced bone loss by increasing mechanical stress on the skeleton, thus stimulating the production of new bone.
Exercise to improve your mood and give yourself an energy boost. Many people experience an uplift in mood after a run, a swim, or a brisk walk, and numerous studies support this salutary psychological effect. Moderate aerobic exercise such as running or swimming tends to be most effective. In addition, being tired may actually be caused, at least in part, by a lack of exercise—what the experts call “sedentary inertia” or “exercise deficiency”—in which case exercise is the best antidote.
Warm up before stretching.
Stretching cold muscles can injure them. Warming up—by jogging in place for 5 to 10 minutes, for instance—prepares you for exercise by gradually increasing your heart rate and blood flow, raising the temperature of muscles, and improving muscle function. It may also decrease the chance of a sports injury.
Run away from diabetes. Doctors have long recommended exercise as a way to help control diabetes. And recent studies offer strong direct evidence that physical activity may actually help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Work out in the garden. Use an oldfashioned lawn mower and you’ll burn 420 to 480 calories an hour— as much as you would playing tennis. Spading, lifting, tilling, and raking can improve muscle tone and strength. Even the less strenuous forms of garden upkeep—weeding, trimming, raking—can burn about 300 calories an hour, if you work energetically at a constant pace.
To avoid overtraining and reduce the risk of injury, try cross training.
Instead of running every day, alternate it with swimming—this will give your leg muscles and joints a needed rest between runs. And if you do hurt your knees or ankles while running, you won’t have to stop exercising—you can keep on swimming to maintain your aerobic capacity. Don’t “run through” pain. If you feel pain (beyond mild discomfort) when exercising, stop. People often ignore pain or delay treating it, and thus aggravate the problem—so that full recovery can take weeks or months. The surest way to avoid such trouble is to treat any recurring ache or pain right away.
If you don’t have time for long workouts, try 10minute sessions. One study found that nine weekly 10minute sessions offer the same cardiovascular benefits as three weekly 30 minute sessions. That’s good news for beginning exercisers, who may find it easier to stick to shorter, more manageable workouts. Turn your coffee break into an exercise break. Try 10 minutes of brisk walking before work, 10 minutes of stair climbing or a quick run at noon, and 10 minutes of rope jumping or cycling in the evening.