ACL injury, lung cancer, TV = death, and free classes for your health! A Get Wellth Round-up

What’s Get Wellth? Get Wellth winners* are health resources and/or study results that meet the strict Doc Gurley criteria:  cheap (hey, what’s cheaper than free?), simple to get/do, proven effective, of high quality and with minimal-to-no side effects. All great, right?

Ultimate frisbee, Jul 2009 - 24
Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

First up – it’s sadly all too common nowadays to see a young athlete using crutches to make his/her way across campus, knee swathed in a mega-brace. And now our rainy mud-soaked fields can only make the sight even MORE common. But what if someone told you that you could reduce your risk, or your kid’s risk, of injury – especially that dreaded, devastating, ACL knee injury – by 77%? AND, that you could get those amazing results by something as simple as…a set of exercises! You’d be calling the team’s coach, or high school trainer, or league organizer to get them on-board, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s time to pick up the phone and make that call, email your teammates, or FB/tweet the results to friends and family. Knee injuries, including ACL injuries, can plague all athletes, but growing girls are particularly at risk. But a simple set of exercises, done consistently (hey, how about at the start of every practice?) can dramatically reduce those injuries. While this recent study looked at preventing injury in teen girls, there are other studies with similar amazing results, including among professional male soccer players! If you’re looking for a nice set of those exercises to pass along, check some out here, or google ACL prevention exercises for more.

This is an x-ray image of a chest. Both sides ...
Image via Wikipedia

Next up, lung cancer – What if someone told you that, even after a diagnosis of lung cancer, you could DOUBLE your chances of survival? This one’s an intervention that won’t cost anyone a penny – and can even save you a hefty sum of money. How’s that work? “Lung cancer” has to be two of the most dreaded words any patient could ever hear. And lung cancer is MUCH more common among smokers, and VERY difficult to treat. So, if you’re a smoker who’s been diagnosed with lung cancer, isn’t the horse already out of the barn? On top of facing chemo, possibly surgery, and all the emotional hits you’re likely to take, should you add stopping smoking onto your already full plate of potential misery? Well, the answer is now…yes!  Results show that stopping smoking can dramatically increase your chances of survival. While the side effects in the short run can be pretty intense (it is tough to quit), they do tend go away relatively quickly – especially compared to chemo and/or surgery. It’s a great step to take for ALL your health – because hey, you’re in this for the long haul. This study is a nice ray of hope – even in the grimmest moments, you can still take constructive steps. More proof that it’s not too late to invest in your wellth.

Lost (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

Third, how would you like to know about something that could give an extra hour of free time a day, costs NOTHING and has been shown to increase your chances of surviving more years? Um, guess what? It’s simple – turn off the Conan-Leno catfight! Besides taking up your free time, each hour of TV you watch has now been shown to actually decrease the total number of years you’re likely to live. That’s a powerful, hideous double whammy.  And, for the “Lost” skeptics in the crowd, let me just say that these were not trivial numbers: “Compared to those who watched less than two hours of TV per day, people who watched four hours or more were 80 percent more likely to die from heart disease and 46 percent more likely to die from any cause…Each additional hour spent in front of the TV increased the risk of dying from heart disease by 18 percent and the overall risk of death by 11 percent,” as reported by CNN (who used the – ahem -somewhat mislabeled, conflict-of-interest headline “Too much TV may be bad for the health” – why not, instead, the more accurate “Watching TV is killing you”?). So why is there such a big health hit from TV? No one knows for sure the absolute answer, but theories and early studies indicate that people who watch TV are MUCH more physically passive (including not even shifting or twitching – you really are in a TV coma), and they get higher levels of stress hormones (which physiologically depress immunity, increase blood sugar levels and blood pressure), and they sleep much worse and for fewer hours (less sleep also leads to depressed immunity, increased blood sugar levels and blood pressure, as well as weight gain) and are more likely to eat poor-quality food (studies indicate due to advertising’s effects), and are much more likely to mindlessly overeat while watching. Bottom line: TV is not your friend. Unplugging is free (or may even PAY you big annual bucks by eliminating your cable bill), is simple, and has no side-effects (well, except for those painful Simpsons-withdrawal cramps). You may be shocked at how much of your life you instantly get back by unplugging the old black box (and, by how addicted you were without realizing it…). But if you can’t bear to unplug, at least, for your health, consider investing in a treadmill (still cheap, especially when compared to that annual cable bill) and put it in front of the Tube. Then be ruthless: No walking = no watching. Hey, it’s your life that’s at stake here. Perhaps, instead of the Boob Tube, we ought to rename it the Death Ray…

Finally, what if you found out you could go to a mini version of Stanford Medical School? For free! Here’s a resource that every responsible body owner will want to use. Stanford’s Mini Medical School is even available for download on iTunes. Pressed for time? Just download it and listen on your commute. Hard to imagine how they could make it cheaper, easier or more convenient, isn’t it? And hey, it they don’t cover enough psych topics for you – here’s another great free health resource to use: free online psychology courses. These were passed along by LinksForShrinks (another good resource).

*Without major profits at stake, or a PR team to promote them, Get Wellth results and resources often don’t get the press they deserve. Feel free to Facebook, MySpace, tweet, email or just pass the word along to anyone who might benefit from knowing about these gems. It pays to invest in your wellth!

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