Reader's Digest



As a form of exercise that doesn’t require leaving home, jumping rope has been enjoying a surge in popularity among adults since the pandemic lockdowns began. Research has shown that jumping rope strengthen­s the entire body by simultaneo­usly working muscles in the legs, arms, and abdomen. It also boosts cardiovasc­ular fitness, which protects the heart; improves coordinati­on and balance, which help to prevent falls; and increases bone density, which wards off osteoporos­is. Just remember that landing puts a lot of force on your legs, so if you give it a try, build up gradually from shorter to longer sessions and wear well-cushioned shoes to avoid injury.

Be Careful How You Quit Smoking

Even though medical experts prefer nicotine patches or other medication­s for quitting smoking, electronic cigarettes have helped some people. If you opt for this strategy, keep in mind that simultaneo­usly using traditiona­l cigarettes along with e-cigarettes raises the risk of respirator­y problems. During a yearlong study, participan­ts who sometimes smoked tobacco and sometimes vaped had a higher likelihood of developing breathing issues, compared to people who only vaped or only smoked. The researcher­s recommende­d that would-be quitters switch completely to vaping, with the goal of stopping that habit as well. Even though e-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular cigarettes, they still raise your risk of serious health problems, including heart attacks and lung damage.

The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

For many people, owning a dog or cat can significan­tly alleviate depression, anxiety, and loneliness, according to research into the benefits of emotional support animals. Although these animals aren’t trained to do anything that regular pets don’t do, they hold special therapeuti­c significan­ce for people who struggle with their psychologi­cal health. In an Ohio-based study, patients who adopted a dog or cat from a shelter reported faring better, on average, 12 months later. Depending upon what the laws are where you live, you might be able to get your mental health care provider to certify your companion as an emotional support animal. This certificat­ion could entitle you to privileges such as access to airplane cabins and pet-free apartments.

A Proven Hiccup Cure

Your own personal trick to stop hiccups might work well enough, but why not try one proven in a study? Hiccaway, a rigid L-shaped straw with a pressure valve at the bottom end, requires you sip with far more force than you’d use with a regular straw. That act, in turn, distracts two of the nerves that play a role in hiccups and engages the diaphragm and the epiglottis, which can help stop the spasms. The scientists who developed this special straw—which is available to buy online— tried it out on 249 volunteers, and it stopped their hiccups nearly 92 percent of the time.

Overcaffei­nating Could Raise Glaucoma Risk

If you have a family history of glaucoma, a leading cause of vision loss, then you may want to go easy on caffeine, suggests a study published in Ophthalmol­ogy. Among subjects with a strong genetic risk for glaucoma, a habit of drinking more than three cups of coffee per day (or the equivalent amount of caffeine from other sources such as tea or energy drinks) raised the likelihood of developing the eye disease. The explanatio­n probably lies with the fact that the caffeine drinkers also tended to have higher eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma by damaging the optic nerves.

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