Posts from the ‘science/health’ Category

Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: The Bike

Ok, so I’ve been on vacation for the last 3 weeks, but I’m back now, and just as committed to getting in shape for the zombie apocalypse as ever! Christmas has however wreaked havoc on my weight loss and fitness routine, and so I am still working back into things, and am so relieved to be doing so (visiting family is great, but stressful, and full of food!).
I also have a new addition to my fitness arsenal – a bike. I didn’t ask for it, or even know that I wanted it, but I got one, and I love it. And riding around the neighborhood on it got me thinking about how useful a bike could be during Zombiegeddon.

Women’s Forge Sejour Path Comfort Bike - Egg-Shell White (16")
Aside from offering a nice, low-impact cardio workout, a bike is relatively fast, and maneuverable,  it’s quiet, and it doesn’t require fuel.  The downside is that it is open, leaving you exposed.  For moderately crowded situations, and for reconnaissance purposes I think that a bicycle could be kind of great (not without risks, but great).

I think that the key to minimizing the risks associated with utilizing a bike while in the presence of zombies is to practice riding, to get really good a controlling the bike, and to increase your cardio endurance.  And luckily all you need to do is ride a bike to achieve these things.  Obviously a stationary bike will be able to give you the cardio workout, but without the experience of maneuvering a real bike.

I also theorize that being dresses properly could help make the bike a safer Zombiegeddon option.  By being as fully covered by your clothes as possible you could prevent drive by scratches and bites.  And as always, if you are riding a bike, it is advisable to wear a helmet.

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Zombie Fitness Plan: Upper-Body Strength

Alright so I’m finishing week 3 of my gym membership, and my self-training for the zombie Armageddon.  I’m still pushing cardio for endurance (read: ability to out run zombies – just in case they turn out to be those damn fast ones).  But I am also focusing on building my upper body strength. 

If you are a girl (and I happen to be) then it is common to be a bit deficient in this area, but it is important.  Think about climbing.  Could you climb a rope?  For many females the idea is laughable.  I couldn’t do it, literally if my life depended on it.  Could you overpower someone, who weighed over, say, 90lbs ?  And even just defending yourself with a weapon usually requires a good bit of strength to make it effective. 

Free weights are good for upper-body workouts, but at the gym I have the luxury of nautilus machines to help me.  I have been focusing on the overhead press, and the assisted pull up.  Core strengthening is also important to do with this so that you have the middle strength to give momentum and stability to your movements – I like the Plank for a total core workout. 

Another method, if it’s available, is boxing.  A punching bag is one of the best fitness tools out there.  It will build muscle in your arms, legs, and core; it also works with helping to include reflexes and movement into your strength workout (if you get a hanging one that will swing).  The punching bag also provides a cardio workout.  My gym does not have a punching bag, mores the pity.

For me the idea that I couldn’t pull myself up a rope, or many other things, is worrisome within the context of the zombie apocalypse.  Having the upper body strength to defend myself is key, and it is just one of the many things that motivates me while I’m training.

Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: Continued

Arthur Saxon performing a bent press.

Image via Wikipedia

Well, I am almost 2 weeks into my new gym membership and my self-training for the zombie apocalypse.  I am taking it slow, so as not to injure myself.  Right now I am up to 25 minutes of cardio followed by another 1/2 hour of strength training 4 days a week.  I am loving it.  First of all it has helped me to quit smoking (none for almost a week!), secondly it just feels great to work out (it’s that good kind of pain).  Also at the end of the day it simply feels good to look back and know that you’ve done something healthy and productive.

I am focusing on increasing my endurance, my upper body strength, and my flexibility (which will decrease my chances of muscle injury, which as anyone who has ever pulled a muscle can attest, can be fairly debilitating).  Whenever I get tired and think that maybe 15 minutes of cardio is enough, I just picture hordes of zombies chasing me, and I keep going. 

Next week my aim is to increase cardio to 30-35 minutes, and to get to the gym 5 days rather than 4.  I started out with only weight loss in mind, and while that is still and always will be a goal, it is nice, since weight loss is so slow-going and efforts so easily begin to seem futile, to have something else driving things.  And so I will continue…

The Zombiegeddon Fitness Plan: Being the Best You Can Be, in Case of the Zombie Apocalypse

So, I recently got a gym membership.  I’m looking to drop about 40 pounds, and I really needed something to do, so the gym is kind of perfect.  And while losing weight is awesome, and being healthy and fit is great too, I have to admit that in the back of my mind (or maybe somewhere closer to the middle) one of my motivations is definitely Zombiegeddon.  Having been expecting zombies to show up for years now, I have run over so many scenarios, so many times, and one thing is clear – staying alive will not be a cakewalk.  Unfortunately for those of us who are out of shape I think that survival under these circumstances will require a good amount of running, walking, jumping, and hiding in often uncomfortable places (though the backseat of a Volkswagen wouldn’t be a particularly good spot to hide from zombies.  Just FYI.).  Endurance, strength and flexibility will be huge assets, and in fact may mean the difference between life and death. 

Today I started actually working out, getting in shape.  Today I also started my self-training for the Zombie Apocalypse.  There are lots of great reasons to get in shape, and they all factor in to why I decided to pay good money to make myself all sweaty and out of breath.  But perhaps the most entertaining, and the most ridiculously motivating is the possibility that you may need to be in the best shape possible to prevent being eaten alive by zombies.  Think about it.

GM Fish under FDA review

The FDA has yet to reach a decision about its approval of genetically modified salmon for public consumption, but things are not looking good for concerned American consumers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/18/AR2010091803520.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/09/union-to-fda-say-no-to-genetically-modified-salmon/63340/

The review panel of “experts” does not consist of food safety experts, and includes people who could be biased towards approving AquaAdvantage’s fish – including individuals who have themselves developed genetically modified animals, and one person who used to work for Monsanto.
It also seems that because of procedural technicalities (which seem hollow, and point more directly to the financial bottom line) it is unlikely that any labeling would be required to alert consumers as to the nature of this, or any other GM product, because the companies that produce these products (and it seems the FDA too) are concerned that people would not want to buy food that they knew to be genetically modified.  Which, lets face it, would likely be the case.  So instead it seems likely that they will make it policy to keep American consumers in the dark, and force them to buy products that they overwhelmingly do not want to buy, and that this technology will be approved, potential dangers to health and environment, and all.  Bastards.

Here are some other reasons that this strikes me as a bad idea: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronnie-cummins/10-freakiest-things-about_b_737267.html

GMO Salmon under reveiw by FDA

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/09/20/genetically-modified-salmon/?hpt=T2

This week the FDA is holding public meetings regarding their review of genetically engineered salmon.  If approved for consumption this would be the first genetically engineered animal product to be introduced into our national food chain.  GMO’s are already in use in plant material, and currently there are no labeling requirements in the U.S. to allow consumers to tell which food products contain them.  If approved these genetically altered salmon would open the door to the other GMO meat products waiting in the wings, including EnviroPig, and a cow designed to resist Mad Cow disease.

It’s no secret that GMO’s are controversial, and there have already been problems and issues related to the altered plant products, including the uncontrollable spread of GMO crops and potential health threats.

http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

GMO’s fall under the category of drugs according to FDA review guidelines and so this fish and any other GMO product seeking approval are reviewed by a panel of experts who normally review veterinary pharmaceuticals – not food safety issues.

All of this makes me very nervous.  I have my doubts about the rigour and accuracy of the FDA’s safety review processes, and I also am suspicious of the amount of influence that Big Food might have on their decision-making (I know it sounds paranoid, but that doesn’t really matter if it happens to be true).  The amount of money to be made from this technology, paired with the potential environmental and health effects make this a very potentially volatile topic.

Obviously I hope that the FDA does not approve this GMO fish for public consumption.  Further, I hope that if it does approve it that they at least require clear product labeling so that those of us how are made very nervous by GMO’s in our food can attempt to avoid them.  For now everything is up in the air.

Desperate searching for something interesting to blog about leads to severe mental unrest

Being new to blogging I find I often have trouble coming up with topics to blog about.  So I was searching the internet for interesting topics when I came upon Morgellons disease and delusional parasitosis.  These are possibly interconnected diseases where in affected people believe they are host to parasites as evidenced by the sensation of crawling, itching, stinging, and biting under their skin (a wholly unpleasant sounding experience called formication).  In the case of delusional parasitosis this condition is psychosomatic – it is imagined, or can be caused by drug and alcohol use/abuse.  Morgellons has similar symptoms, but also includes the presence of fibers growing under and out of the skin (strange red and blue fibers which when examined were found to be neither any known textile or plant).  Morgellons sufferers also claim to have found bugs growing in their skin.  Patients of both diseases present with skin lesions, which are often assumed to be due to the itching and picking of the patients themselves as a response to the itching/crawling sensations they experience.  Other physical symptoms are often present such as fatigue, difficulty focusing, and musculoskeletal pain.

Now, it is unknown at this time whether Morgellons is a separate disease than delusional parasitosis.  Many health professionals believe that the two are one in the same and that Morgellons too is psychosomatic.  The CDC is currently conducting an investigation into this phenomenon.  However for those who suffer the effects of this disease it is very real and terrifying (it is also disfiguring, as the skin lesions – self-inflicted or not – are often not allowed to heal due to itching and picking, leaving these people susceptible to infection and  long-term scaring).    Some professionals are taking the disease seriously and they have a really pretty scary theory about what may be causing Morgellons.

Apparently biopsies of tissue samples from these lesions contain evidence of agrobacterium, a plant bacteria that causes something like plant cancer owing to its ability to transfer genes to plants.  Agrobacterium can also be responsible for opportunistic infections in humans with compromised immune systems.  This bacterium has been used extensively by the biotech movement to “improve” plants through genetic engineering.  You can see where this is going.

Apparently the FDA and the bioengineers don’t actually know what the long-term effects of genetic engineering might be, however this hasn’t stopped or even slowed the use of the technology at many levels of food production.  Something like 68% of the food in america is in part or in whole genetically modified.

And now, still at the beginning of my research into this subject (which has largely changed from Morgellons disease[which may be just the tip of the iceberg] to genetic engineering in our food supply and its potential effects on our health and well-being) I am, as the title of this blog suggests, severely mentally unrestful (ok, that is not a real term apparently, but lets just say I am pretty F-ing disturbed).  I am also angry, mostly at the FDA for allowing genetically modified foods into circulation without proper analysis of their dangers, but also at the bioengineering companies (and all the corporate fat cats who profit at one level or another) for pushing these technologies.

There are plenty of sinister theories about the FDA/Corporate connection, some of which are conjecture and some of which seems to be supported by fact – like I said I’m just beginning to become familiar with this topic.  I will however continue my research (and if you’re reading this I suggest you do some of your own), mental unrest notwithstanding, because sometimes not knowing is worse than knowing the terrifying, awful truth.