10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

With quality of life, recreation and active lifestyles on everyone’s radar in terms of where to live, work and play, we often wonder where are these pockets of health — and what factors make them so healthy? As with many best and most lists, varying criteria create different outcomes. So depending on what source you choose, different cities may pop up. The most complete and stringent set of factors are employed for the annual American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index.

The Fitness Index uses strong community fitness — which is easier to gauge — as a proxy for the individual, personal fitness of residents. The top-ranked index cities have more resources that support health and fewer challenges to a healthy lifestyle. Based on the Index outcomes, following are the 10 healthiest U.S. cities.

Boise, Idaho

Credit: CSNafzger/Shutterstock

Hiking, mountain biking and outdoor adventure pursuits in general keep busy Boise residents in shape — enough so for the population to comprise the country’s tenth-healthiest city. No wonder. The capital city of Idaho is home to the Boise River Greenbelt, a series of tree-shaded trails and parks hugging the banks of the Boise River. With a section of river rolling directly through downtown, the greenbelt trail is prime terrain for urban workouts. Serious trail running is also a serious pursuit in and around Boise. Picturesque, punishing runs await at the forebodingly named routes Harrison Hollow, Five-Mile Gulch and Military Reserve, all highlighted expertly on the Boise section of Rootsrated.com.

San Jose, California

Credit: NicolasMcComber/iStock

San Jose is a major Bay Area technology hub, and it happens to have the ninth-fittest population in the nation. So when they aren’t behind computer screens, residents spend quality time outdoors exercising in beautiful natural surroundings. The Visit San Jose webpage for outdoor recreation  provides great tips on the best sites, such as Alum Rock Park in town or nearby at Castle Rock State Park in neighboring Los Gatos, California. Active San Jose citizens can add Zen meditation or a calming jog to their health routine at the city’s Kelly Park Japanese Garden.

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Credit: Vladimir Daragan/Shutterstock

The state capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul is the other half of the “Twin Cities” along with neighboring Minneapolis. Both cities share a penchant for healthy living, and you’ll find Minneapolis elsewhere on this list. For its part, Saint Paul’s fit crowd enjoys utilizing the Gateway State Trail for biking, running or simply strolling in nature. The 18-mile trail takes advantage of a former rail line between Stillwater and Saint Paul, now a paved path. Generally level thanks to its railway roots, the Gateway route winds northeast through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Oakdale, then continues through Washington County before ending at Pine Point Regional Park.

Denver, Colorado

Credit: Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

As a base for nearby Rocky Mountain skiing, mountain biking and hiking adventures, Denver is a mecca for active lifestyle seekers. As such, it’s no surprise to find Colorado’s capital at number seven for fitness. With the Mile High city indeed sitting at 5280 feet, residents don’t have to head for the mountains for high-altitude exertion. Just consider the bike trail descriptions at Denver.org. These are no short jaunts. Instead there are miles and miles of rides on paved bikeways that let you roll from Denver to outlying towns. For example, the Cherry Creek Regional Trail starts in Confluence Park and continues beside Cherry Creek for more than 40 miles before terminating near Franktown. Similarly, the Greenway Trail is nearly 30 miles of paved bike path along the banks of the South Platte River, connecting a series of pristine parks. As a bonus, the river played such a big role in local history that the Colorado Historical Society has placed along the route some 20 signs with photos and illustrations detailing important places and events.

Seattle, Washington

Credit: aiisha5/iStock

With Mt. Rainier National Park in its backyard and the waters of Puget Sound on its front porch, Seattle is a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts, earning it the number six ranking among healthy metros. While the city is surrounded by water, mountains and towering conifer forests, within its limits it contains thousands of acres of parkland. Among the best and most picturesque are 530-acre Discovery Park and the 230-acre grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum. As home to REI, of course hiking, camping, backpacking and climbing are everyday pursuits here, rain or shine. But biking is also a big deal. To that end, The Burke-Gilman Trail wends its way some 27 miles through the city’s northern neighborhoods. Seattle Cycling Tours, meanwhile, offers a 2.5-hour guided bike trek through central city landmarks and neighborhoods including Pioneer Square, South Lake Union and the Seattle Center.

Portland, Oregon

Credit: 4nadia/iStock

Spread out in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, Portland is known for its parks, bridges and bike lanes — and for its generally green attitude. It’s no surprise then, that the number five fittest city has myriad recreational pursuits for Portlanders. Surrounding mountains and forests offering hiking, mountain biking and climbing at every emerald-green turn of the trail. Oregon’s largest city sits directly on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, so paddling is a prime pursuit for fitness within the urban core. Another in-city outdoor highlight, Washington Park features both the city’s Japanese Garden and the Oregon Zoo.

Madison, Wisconsin

Credit: Joey Reuteman/Shutterstock

Consider the winters in Wisconsin when noting the ingenious nature of the Sett Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Part of the three-story student union building, with the Sett Pub located conveniently on the lower level, perfect cold-weather activities occupy the rest of the space with live music, dancing, bowling, billiards and indoor rock-climbing. It’s not all about the indoors, of course. Madison, which lies just east of Milwaukee, is the Wisconsin state capital, and the city’s Capital City State Trail is a favorite urban exercise outlet. The picturesque paved path winds past Monona Terrace, a lakefront convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, providing an architectural treat along with exercise options.

Washington, D.C.

Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Hemmed in by the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia and known for its imposing neoclassical monuments and government buildings, our nation’s capital at first glance doesn’t scream fitness. Yet the population of Washington, D.C., is serious about staying in shape, it seems, ranking at number three among healthy metros. The city actually helps with that, providing myriad free outdoor activities, many of which can be found at Washington.org. D.C.’s favorite outdoor exercise space is no doubt Rock Creek Park. It’s 4.4 square miles encompass multiple hiking and biking trails, plus riding stables and tennis courts. Hikers, bikers and runners also enjoy long stretches of the C&O Canal Towpath, with 180-plus miles of accessible trail along the scenic Potomac River between Georgetown and Cumberland, Maryland.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

Minneapolis, the major Minnesota metro that forms the “Twin Cities” with the neighboring state capital of Saint Paul, consistently ranks among the nation’s best read cities. It’s per capita bookstores, libraries and degreed denizens help earn that title. Smarts and staying in shape apparently go hand in hand, with Minneapolis sitting at number two for healthiest cities. Bisected by the Mississippi River, the city is full of serene parks and lakes, all of which make for great outdoor recreation. For example, within city limits more than 10 miles of trails traverse famed Minnehaha Park and its environs. One popular recreation route starts beneath 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, from where hikers, bikers and runners can follow the tree-shaded trail through dense woods to bluffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, then loop back to the falls.

Arlington, Virginia

Credit: uschools/iStock

Aerobics, aquatics, seated exercise classes, strength training, core strength, boxing, tai chi, yoga, pilates, walking clubs, tennis and biking are among the programs offered by Arlington Parks and Recreation. And those are just the senior activities. There’s a reason Arlington landed at number one in the nation for fit populations. Active pursuits are provided for every age and fitness level through the municipal recreation department, which also makes it easy to get involved with accomodations for income level and disabilities. At least a part of the population is getting their blood pumping with more extreme pursuits. The adrenaline crowd here is serious about mountain biking, and the Arlington Single Track Tour is an exciting, two-county ride to get in some exercise.

5 things apples have been used for throughout history

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

5 things apples have been used for throughout history

Apples have always been a popular fruit all over the world. While they were not originally from America (the first country to make apples a sought-after food was Persia), they have become an extremely “American” fruit, being used in everything from apple pie, to savory dishes like pork roast. Apples have had many different uses in different places throughout the centuries, though, some of which may surprise you.

Planting orchards

Credit: S847 / iStock

The first American apple orchard was planted in 1625 by a man named William Blackstone. He created this orchard by planting apples/apple seeds from Europe on Beacon Hill in Boston in order to bring the beloved fruit to America. Many other Americans followed suit, planting their own apple orchards on American soil. The first governor of Massachusetts, for instance, wrote all about his own orchard in his account book, where he also mentioned that his children set fire to part of it and burned down 500 of his trees. Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were orchardists as well, although their orchards fared much better than the governor’s.

To explain gravity

Credit: lucentius / iStock

While most of us remember the story about Isaac Newton getting bopped on the head by an apple in the 17th century and suddenly coming up with the concept of gravity, that is most likely not exactly how it happened. Newton, a college student at the time, really was in his family’s orchard in England when he saw an apple fall from a tree, but it probably didn’t hit him on the head. The way that it fell straight down to the ground instead of to the side or in another direction got him to thinking, which eventually led to his developing the universal law of gravitation.

Magic

Credit: nata_vkusidey / iStock

According to some legends, apples have a connection to the “fairy world.” The tradition of bobbing for apples at Halloween is related to the idea that both apples and water have a supernatural link to other worlds beyond our own. Some other Halloween traditions say that taking a bite out of an apple and sleeping with it under your pillow will make you have a dream about the person who will be your true love. It is also said that falling asleep in an apple orchard could make you wake up years later, and that burying treasure under an apple tree will ensure that it will never decompose or be discovered by anyone else.

Symbolism

Credit: docent / Shutterstock.com

Everyone has heard the story of the Garden of Eden, in which Eve is tempted to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she does it, dooming her companion Adam and the rest of the human race that came after them. For centuries, people have believed that the fruit that is referred to in this story is the apple, but this is actually not true. The type of fruit is never specified, meaning it could have been anything from a fig to an olive to a banana. Early artists, though, depicted this fruit as being an apple, perhaps because in Latin the word “malus” means both “evil” and “apple.” This associated the Forbidden Fruit with an apple in everyone’s mind, and the symbolism has hung on for hundreds of years.

Health

Credit: RomoloTavani / iStock

You knew we couldn’t get through an article about apples without reciting the compulsory phrase: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This idea has been around for thousands of years, with some cultures believing that apples could make them immune to sickness, or even immortal. Today, apples have been scientifically proven to help reduce allergic reactions by slowing down the body’s secretion of histamine, as well as to shorten the length and severity of migraines. They have also been shown to help with digestion by slowing down the process and making you feel fuller and more satisfied longer.

Stay calm and meditate, mindfulness can boost pain tolerance

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Stay calm and meditate, mindfulness can boost pain tolerance

A new study says that the meditative practice of mindfulness can increase tolerance to pain.

FITNESS Updated: Sep 09, 2018 12:38 IST

Press Trust of India
Health,Wellness,Fitness
The study shows that people who are more mindful than others feel less pain. (Shutterstock)

Mindfulness — a meditative practice that focusses on paying attention to the present moment — can increase person’s tolerance to pain, a study has found. Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in the US analysed data obtained from a study published in 2015 that compared mindfulness meditation to placebo analgesia.

They sought to determine if dispositional mindfulness, an individual’s innate or natural level of mindfulness, was associated with lower pain sensitivity, and to identify what brain mechanisms were involved. “Mindfulness is related to being aware of the present moment without too much emotional reaction or judgment,” said Fadel Zeidan, assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We now know that some people are more mindful than others, and those people seemingly feel less pain,” said Zeidan, lead author of the study published in the journal Pain.

In the study, 76 healthy volunteers who had never meditated first completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, a clinical measurement of mindfulness, to determine their baseline levels. While undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging, they were administered painful heat stimulation.

Whole brain analyses revealed that higher dispositional mindfulness during painful heat was associated with greater deactivation of a brain region called the posterior cingulate cortex, a central neural node of the default mode network. Further, in those that reported higher pain, there was greater activation of this critically important brain region.

“The results from our study showed that mindful individuals are seemingly less caught up in the experience of pain, which was associated with lower pain reports,” Zeidan said. “Now we have some new ammunition to target this brain region in the development of effective pain therapies,” he said.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 12:38 IST

14 Month Old Malaysian Baby Needs $30,000 For Emergency Heart Surgery

(This article is courtesy of the Kuala Lumpur Daily News Paper)

Baby with holes in heart needs RM120,000 for immediate surgery

Baby with holes in heart needs RM120,000 for immediate surgery

Qarl Muhammad Ziqri Abdul Hafiz has been put on standby to undergo a major surgery to close two holes in his heart, until his parents can come up with the money. – BERNAMApic

KUANTAN: “As a mother, I just want my baby to be healthy.”

These are the words of a grieving Norlida Othman, 35, an administrative assistant, over the plight of her 14-month-old son, Qarl Muhammad Ziqri Abdul Hafiz, who was diagnosed with holes in the heart when was 42 days old.

She said when Qarl was born, his lips and nails were bluish in colour, but she and her husband, Abdul Hafiz Mohd Asri, 24, did not suspect anything until they brought Qarl to a clinic for a bad cough.

“The doctor at the clinic told us that it might due to heart problems. Qarl was then referred to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan where he was warded at the intensive care unit for two weeks before he was transferred to the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur,” she said when met at her house in Indera Mahkota 1 here Monday.

She said her son had undergone a surgery to insert a stent in October last year and a heart catheterisation surgery to fix his blocked artery earlier this month.

Right now, Norlida said her son had been put on standby to undergo a major surgery to close the two holes in his heart.

“The cost of the surgery is expected to reach RM120,000, but we only have RM2,000 in our savings as most of it had been used spent to pay for the first surgery, which cost RM40,000, and the second surgery, RM30,000.

“Now, we are hoping for public donation as the major surgery cannot be postponed any longer,” she said.

Donations can be deposited into Norlida’s Bank Rakyat account number 221131136782 or to her husband’s Maybank account number 156012393383 (Abdul Hafiz Mohd Asri) or by contacting them personally at 013-9181004 or 017-9990065.

Doesn’t Everyone Feel This Way? (Our Health)

Doesn’t Everyone Feel This Way? (Our Health)

 

How do we feel about something is an eternal poll question isn’t it? Today if you don’t mind I would like you to talk with yourself (in private probably would be best). Ask yourself how you personally rate your average day as to how much pain you are in during your average day.  I am writing this to two groups of people, one group is the group who honestly can say on their average day that they are pain-free. The other group is the one that I believe the majority of us fifty plus folks fit in to, the one where you wish you could afford stock in Bio-freeze. My thoughts definitely go out to all of the men and women who by economics are pushing themselves as hard as they can each and every day knowing it is the only way to buy groceries and pay the next rent payment, no matter what their pain levels happen to be.

 

Back in 1983 I ended up being in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. Since that evening my physical abilities changed forever and they only get worse as age comes to visit. Believe it or not I am blessed with a wife who will help point out my flaws to me, not that a wife would do such a thing. My wife pointed out to me that the average person on an average day should have an average pain level of zero, that this is how a person should rate an average day. Where do you call your average day? For a long time now I have rated my average day as a five.

 

My wife see’s me each day, she pretty much knows how well I get around each day. She thinks that because it is what it is (pain level) that I don’t have any “good” days. I think that a five is a good measuring stick for a good day. If I am blessed with a day where things are less than a five, I feel that is a great day, if you just happen to have a day at a three or a four. If I am at pain levels of six or above on multiple areas, then I am not having a good day. I don’t know how else to correlate my thoughts to you. Again I ask you the question, what is a normal day to you? I honestly do hope that your days can stay free of pain. I hope that my wife is correct, that you don’t feel like I do every day, that would be just down right unfriendly of me. I wish you well, these are just the rambling thoughts of an old man to you, stay well, stay safe, God bless.