Archive | June 2013

Temperature Control and Multiple Sclerosis

cooling vestIf you have multiple sclerosis then you are certainly aware of the pain associated with higher temperatures. Staying cool is a very important part of dealing with the pain associated with this disease.

For those of you who don’t know, multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the way the brain and spinal cord communicate with each other. It causes degradation in the myelin sheaths that insulate fibers called axons. These axons are like data cables that carry information from one place to the other. If the rubber insulation on a cable were to wear away its ability to transmit signals diminishes. The same happens for our axons when the myelin sheath degrades.

One of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis is a heightened sensitivity to high temperatures. Patients often avoid hot showers and humid locations. High temperatures cannot always be avoided though. One solution that has been invented is the multiple sclerosis cooling vest.

There are two types of cooling vests for multiple sclerosis: passive and active. Passive devices are non-mechanical and very portable, whereas active vests are a bit more complex.

Passive Cooling Vests

This type is very portable and is on the cheaper side of multiple sclerosis cooling vests. The design of this product can be as simple as a nylon vest with ice pack inserts. The drawback is that ice packs may in fact be too cold.

Phase change cooling vests solve this problem. These are made of a material that can hold a constant temperature between 53 and 55 degrees for about three hours. All you need to do is pop them into a refrigerator for 15 minutes and they are recharged. Ice pack inserts can still have a role in fighting off heavy outdoor heat.

Active Cooling Vests

One of the downfalls of a passive cooling vest for multiple sclerosis is that it consistently needs to be recharged and cooled down. Active vests seriously limit this problem. Being that they are a battery powered system, they do not need to be recharged as often. Though they can be significantly more expensive than a passive device, this shouldn’t stop you from looking into it. Insurance companies will sometimes pay for an active cooling vest if it is approved by your physician.

Hopefully now you know a little more about multiple sclerosis and cooling vests. This is a disease that (for now) does not have a cure. Despite that, the symptoms can be managed and relief can be had.


The New Face of Exercise

a football player

Next time you’re waiting your turn in the check-out line, pick up any magazine and see if it doesn’t say something about exercise or weight loss. And we as a nation are no longer content on the treadmill. What we desire in life is variation, and our exercise regime is no different. It’s no surprise, then, that sports training and trying to get ripped fast is becoming a very popular energy outlet among modern workout enthusiasts.

Marathons and fun runs used to be limited to arrows spray-painted on pavement and water tables peppering the roadside. But this is no longer the case. These days it doesn’t take much searching to find a race equivalent to a medieval obstacle training course, complete with mud, fire, and zombies leaping out of the nearest line of shrubbery. Around the next corner might be a rope ladder or a mud pit, a stretch of tires to jump through or walls to scale. Necessary to training obstacle course athletes is mimicking the very atmosphere of the course itself, so sports training and getting ripped abs has thus taken on a brand new persona in recent years.

Varying forms of obstacle course training have become the craze among these contemporary athletes who find joy in pushing their bodies to the limits in the most bizarre of circumstances to get ripped abs fast. Examples of exercise could range from rope systems on gym walls to wave-induced swimming pools for ultimate resistance. In their regular routines, this new age of athletes could be found in the gym, in the ocean, on the pavement, in trees, or anywhere in between. Variation is key, and they seek it out at all costs.

Take Parkour for example. It is a holistic kind of workout that originated f rom obstacle course training used in the military and was once something you saw on street corners from people who seemed of another world. Now it’s something you see from this new phase of athletes who recognize the value of holistic exercise and get ripped six pack abs. Or what about MovNat, an exercise system based on the ancestral ways of human movement that includes anything from walking and running to lifting, carrying, climbing, crawling, grappling, and jumping?

And then there is the infamous triathlon, which stands the test of time for the obvious reason that it combines three very different forms of exercise – swimming, biking, and running – into a varied test of physical performance. A tri fitness trainer today is just as sought-after as a decade ago. Why so? Because as some trends come and go, people will always be driven to test the limits of their bodies. And as long as there is the drive to be physically fit, the necessity of variation will be present. So don’t be surprised if you see someone jump and tumble off the wall beside your next stoplight. He may just be training for his next race.