Love Your Body – Doctor Suggestions

Why? Because those bits of your body that you’re not so proud of might be doing you a favour when it comes to your health.

About 80 percent of American women are unhappy with the way they look and most of those women know other women who are also unhappy with their bodies, according to University of Queensland body image researcher Renee Fletcher.

“But beauty doesn’t come in one size and very few women look like the very thin ideal portrayed in the media,” says Fletcher. “We need to learn to love our body and what it does, and to accept the parts of our body we may not be happy with.

“Maybe you aren’t happy with the size of your thighs, but few women have the thin thighs of models. Focus on health instead.”

And some features of your body that you dislike may actually be better for you than the model alternative

Big Nose

Research at the University of Iowa found that big noses reduce the risk of colds. The study found that people with big noses breathe in 6.5 percent fewer particles, such as cold bacteria, than people with smaller noses.

Consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Nigel Biggs says people with smaller noses have narrower airways, can have more difficulty breathing and suffer a blocked nose more easily, too. “A larger nose has better airways. Someone with a smaller nose is more likely to find that the soft cartilage collapses in their nose if they breathe in hard and that impacts on breathing ability,” he says.

Big Thighs

Men and women with thighs less than 60cm wide are at greater risk of heart disease. Almost 3000 people took part in a study at Copenhagen University Hospital, and researchers found that people with small thighs were at greater risk of heart disease and premature death. They suggest this may be due to ‘too little muscle mass’ in that area and, in turn, this can be linked to low insulin sensitivity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. O’Brien says we need to focus on a balanced diet and regular exercise to reduce body fat generally. “Eat less and do more. People would love to get away from that simple equation but it’s the best way to get rid of unwanted fat,” he says.

Small Chests

If you long for Jessica Rabbit-style breasts, think again, because smaller chested women are less likely to suffer back, neck and shoulder pain. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says women with size DD chests or larger suffer regular neck, shoulder and lower back pain.

Dr Simon Floreani, national president of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, says that larger chests not only place pressure on the back, neck and shoulders, but women can also tend to become round-shouldered and self-conscious.

“The extra weight of the breast tissue pulls down on the neck and shoulders and they sometimes fold themselves forwards and hunch, which affects the lower back and their breathing as it squashes the diaphragm,” says Floreani.

“If you have larger chests, ensure you are fitted with a supportive bra, choose an appropriate sports bra when you exercise and maybe choose sports that aren’t high impact, and focus on your posture and staying upright.”

Weird Stuff Your Body Does

Have you ever wondered why you have eyebrows, or whether yawning is actually contagious? If you are one of those curious types who like to be in- the- know, Dr Cassy Richmond unravels a few little mysteries about your body.

Why do you have eyebrows?

Your eyebrows sit in a smack-bang position above your eyes, and help you to convey a variety of expressions, including surprise, anger and confusion. However, some experts say that these little hairy patches actually played a significant role in protecting early man’s survival.

Because eyebrows help to keep the eyes dry from rain and sweat, they prevented vision from being impeded during a heavy rainstorm (shelter wasn’t always so easy to come by back then) or whilst sweating profusely (which was likely to occur when being hunted by a predator).

Nowadays, they continue to protect our eyes during inclement weather, and keep out salty sweat, which may irritate or sting our peepers.

Is yawning contagious?

Have you ever noticed that when someone in the room yawns, you find yourself yawning as well? This yawning domino effect is called “contagious yawning”. It can also occur when you hear someone yawn (for example, over the telephone), or even when reading about the subject-matter. Chances are, you are probably yawning yourself right now!

Contagious yawning is believed to be a subconscious expression of empathy. And some experts believe that those with greater empathy (who are able to understand, and sometimes share, others’ feelings) are more susceptible to engaging in the phenomenon.

And now a recent study has used brain imaging techniques to show that certain brain cells, called mirror neurons, are involved in the process. These neurons are believed to be the driving force for imitation so that when someone sees or hears a yawn, they may mimic or “catch” the yawn themselves.

Why do you lose your taste when your nose is blocked?

Your tongue contains thousands of taste buds to enable you to perceive the five different types of tastes, namely sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umani (this is a newly recognised taste -and basically means savouriness).

But did you know that up to 75 percent of what you perceive as taste actually comes from your ability to smell?

Your nose contains millions of olfactory nerve receptors. When you eat, odour molecules from food bind to some of these receptors. This causes the release of chemical signalling to the brain, and enables your nose to distinguish hundreds of different smells and flavours.

Given the crucial role that your nose plays in perceiving taste, it makes sense that food becomes tasteless when your nose is blocked (from a cold, for example). It may also explain why kids subconsciously scrunch their noses in disgust when told that they have to eat their Brussels sprouts at dinner-time.

Can you keep your eyes open when you sneeze?

A sneeze is a quick and forceful, involuntary process. It occurs automatically to expel dust, pollen, and other allergens from your respiratory tract.

It is common to sneeze when you have a cold because the inside of your nasal cavity becomes swollen and inflamed and more sensitive to irritants than usual. Some people also sneeze when they see a bright light.

Most people find that their eyes close during a sneeze. This is not (as folklore will have you believe) to keep your eyes from popping out of your head. Shutting your eyes while you sneeze is simply a reflex similar to the reflex that causes your leg to kick out when your knee is tapped with a tendon hammer.

Get Fit in Your Lounge Room

Healthy Workout Through GamingThink ‘gamer’ and images of socially awkward teens playing the online version of Dungeons & Dragons probably come to mind. But there’s a new breed of games that promises to get the whole family up and off the couch and fit in your lounge room. We’ve found the newest release ‘exer-games’ for you to try.

Zumba Fitness: Join the Party

After the Zumba craze swept the globe in 2010 it was inevitable an interactive video game would follow. Developed by Zumba’s creator, Miami-based celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez, Zumba Fitness: Join The Party includes 30 routines some created specifically for the game.

And there are plenty of workout options. You can take 20- or 45-minute classes for beginners, intermediate or expert Zumba dancers or ‘dance off’ against up to four friends in multiplayer mode. If you’re using an Xbox, you can also coordinate an online class with up to eight friends.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

When it comes to putting you inside the game, it doesn’t come much better than this. When you set this game up for the first time, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved scans your entire body to tailor exercises and workout programs to your shape and fitness goals. Then, each time you work out, the game uses the Kinect camera to display a real-time image of you on the screen next to your trainer.

The camera tracks your whole body throughout your workout, which means that cheating or piking out is a whole lot harder than if you were just holding a controller. If you aren’t doing a move correctly, the game offers advice on how to improve and get the most out of your workout.

If you don’t feel like doing your personalised workout, there are also fitness classes, cardio boxing and gym games including hula-hooping. If even that sounds like too much effort, try the Tai Chi-inspired Zen exercises, which come complete with soothing music and butterflies, and flowers that radiate from your body when you complete a move correctly

My Fitness Coach: Dance Workout Wii

If traditional workouts like running or lifting weights just aren’t your thing, a dance workout might be exactly what you need to get motivated about exercise. This game is an easy-to-use fitness program that offers exactly what the title suggests… dance workouts!

While it might not be as advanced or personalised as some of the other fitness games, this is still good fun and offers a selection of routines to popular tracks for different fitness levels.

You can play this game using one or two Wii remotes (one held in each hand), and the game gives you the option of using the Wii Balance Board. While there is a multiplayer option, this game only supports a maximum of two players.

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