There Are No Shortcuts To Good Health

It’s extraordinary what you can find on the Internet: weight-loss pills, miraculous teas, physical performance supplements, or anti-aging pills.

You don’t even have to go deep. A quick search on Amazon will show hundreds of products, many with good reviews.

When someone has bad health, it’s very tempting to get one of these and believe you will get rid of symptoms quick. The reality is that the supplements industry is not regulated by governments. Anyone can call themselves a supplement designer, mix baking powder with pesticides (USA Today article), fool people with marketing tricks, and totally get away with it. There are simply no rules and it’s not far from snake oil salesmen in the 19th century.

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Exercising doesn’t have to be expensive

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2016 has been the year of the smart watch for me. I got an Apple Watch sports (~$400) and then got two GPS sports watches (more than $1k total). That’s a lot of expensive watches in the same year!

I already wrote a review of the Apple Watch and then made a complete guide of GPS sports watches. Go read them if you haven’t yet!

Let me be clear though: if sports watches help you train, you don’t need a GPS sports watch to exercise. Actually you really don’t need any expensive gear to exercise and have fun.

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Gyroscope : A beautiful health dashboard

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Gyroscope app

Did you know your iPhone knows exactly how many steps you take daily? And that it can list which locations you visit through the day? It also measures how many floors you climbed, your walking distance, and if you have installed health apps, it will also begin to collect heart rate data, blood pressure and even your health records.

The downside is that all of it is inside the Health app, which is as sexy and usable as a spreadsheet!

How do we unlock and get insights from the data?

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OutcomeReference updates !

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Last week was the first in two months I didn’t update the site daily.

I missed it because of a hard 23km run in freezing weather Friday and also because I invested a lot of time OutcomeReference. And it was definitively worth it!

OutcomeReference grew from a simple conversation to now a major application referencing 130 health studies and 320 health effects. Check it out

There were also major work done to improve how health effects were visualized.

For example, if you are a runner, and want to see how you can improve running performance, all factors are listed on this page. It is possible to sort factors on their efficacy or performance, or sort through factors.

Another way to use the site is if you are looking for information about a nutrient. For example, if you have questions about coffee, go on this page. It will show all digestive, performance effects and also showcase recent studies on caffeine.

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Effects of Caffeine

While this is just the beginning, I’m quite satisfied with what the site offers so far. It makes OutcomeReference a perfect companion site for DailyHealthPoints and gives unique insights you can’t get from anywhere else on the Internet.

Here is the complete list of updates:

  • Added a logo
  • Added a Facebook page
  • Added site chat to get more info
  • Added Evidence (“Needs more research”, “Low evidence”, “High evidence”
  • Added publication study date, and showcases new studies
  • Added three times more studies and health effects
  • Added timing to causes
  • Added categories for causes and outcomes
  • Tables are sortable. Click on table header
  • Added icons and colors for improved design

If you have comments, reviews, feedback, please add them below. Thanks to Zara ♥ who has provided great comments (which will be added to the site in the next update)

The Art of Relaxation

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I first encountered the paradox of relaxation in years of martial arts training:

The more relaxed you are, the faster you will be

If I come to a kung-fu class tensed, I would inevitably get my ass kicked @#$$!

However, if I am relaxed, I am able to have a higher reaction time, discern attacks and be able counter-attack with speed.

This is counter-intuitive. Instinctively, our muscles and body tense when face to danger. Why should we learn to be relaxed instead?

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OutcomeReference.com : Linking Nutrition, Exercise and life choices to Health Outcomes

 

What is the ideal diet? What types of exercise should you do? What should you undertake to prevent mental disease? Those are common questions asked by millions of blogs and even more people every day, worldwide.

Unlike mathematics, there is no single answer. Delving into scientific studies such as those aggregated on pubmed help to separate the good from the bad. You type a keyword such as “diabetes” and it will show papers studying diabetes. However, this is not easy:

  • Health studies are published for scientists. Readability is low and challenging for those without relevant education
  • The vast majority of health studies are behind a “pay-wall”
  • There are different types of trial designs, from meta-analysis, double-blind randomized trials, cohort studies etc. Furthermore, the number of subjects vary wildly between studies, as well as age, weight range, athleticism of subjects, or study length. It takes a good eye to know which study has a better design and which ones are relevant to your case.
  • Studies on the same subject can use different metrics or biomarkers, making direct comparisons difficult
  • Studies on the same subject and with the same methodology can have conflicting results
  • Health studies, especially in nutrition, can be funded by corporations and have bias.

All these contribute to confusion. Media and bloggers then interpret findings to their likings, further increasing confusion.

Because of these issues, I have developed a reference portal OutcomeReference

OutcomeReference is a FREE, easy-to-use reference website aiming to show clearly the outcome of your health choices. 

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Managing Your Physical Condition with Heart Rate Variability

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In a previous post, resting heart rate was shown to reflect physical and mental condition. A low resting heart rate correlates with good health compared to a high resting heart rate.

It becomes complex when you consider age. Older people have lower resting heart rate. And individuals with the same age, nutrition and overall fitness level can have vastly different heart rates. For instance, my maximum heart rate when running is around 172bpm while a friend has 200bpm, with the same heart rate sensor. It does not mean however that I am more or less fit than others.

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