19. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Sports · Tags:

Athletes struggle and compete against each other to win the coveted trophy and award. Trophies, awards and accolades inspire moral, and encourage the fighting sprit within people. So what are the origins of the trophy? How did the practice of giving awards come about? Here is the story.

The year is March AD 978. Britain’s King Edward was riding on the outskirts of the city on a hunt. Soon, he was drinking and making merry when suddenly from behind, he was stabbed with a knife and died on the spot. Subsequently, in order to prevent the recurrence of similar assassinations, British rulers developed a banquet etiquette which doubled up as an assassination defense: a cup filled with wine would be passed around the drinkers, and people stood up to crowd around the drinker as a form of protection. After the cup was used for drinking sessions after a week later, the cup became a potent symbol of a precious gift. In later ages, people followed on this tradition to award the cup as a form of reward and recognition to the deserving recipient.

This carried on to evolve into the trophies of modern sporting competitions. With the increase in sports and competition events, the production and design of trophies, cups and awards continually underwent a process of refinement and improvement to include new shapes and styles. The trophy became pregnant with meaning and some became valued as precious works of art.

Some of the most famous trophies in the world are associated with the name of the sports sponsor or the donor of the trophy. Often, these trophies go on to become prestigious events known throughout the world. For example is the International Badminton Championships Men’s Team Champions Cup, Thomas Cup. In 1939 British badminton player Thomas made a donation for the trophy. In his honor, the trophy was called the Thomas Cup. In more recent years, trophies have been associated with corporate sponsors. A good example would be the Barclay’s Premier League Trophy.

Of all the trophies in the world, most are made of alloys, clay, wood, or plastic; but very few are made with gold or silver. The World Cup, also known as the “Goddess Cup”, is made from 1800-grams of pure gold. Brazil won the honor to keep the cup after they won it for the third time in 1970. At present, the most expensive trophy in the World Football Cup trophy, the FIFA World Cup, which is the production of 5 kg of pure gold. This cup is made in the shape of two hands to holding high the Earth and is worth $2.5 million.

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13. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

A recent survey showed that 22 percent of Americans considered health care to be the single most critical issue facing the U.S. today. And for good reason. Since 2000, health-care costs have nearly doubled, rising at five times the rate of salary increases.

The good news is that there are things that families can do to lower those costs.

Sign up for an HMO

If yours is a healthy family that only uses a lot of routine care, you can probably get by with a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, if such a plan is available at your workplace. If you use doctors within the HMO network, you probably won’t have to pay and deductibles and your co-pays will most likely be lower.

Pay less for medications

One area where you might be able to trim health-care costs is in medications. Many employers are offering financial incentives to encourage the use of less expensive drugs. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 workers are now in some kind of a plan that has a tiered cost-sharing formula for medicines.

The way these work is that there is one co-payment for generic drugs. Then, there is usually higher co-pay for preferred, brand name drugs such as Claritan or Levatol for which there is no generic substitute, and even higher co-pays for non-preferred drugs.

Be sure to always check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if there is a generic substitute before filling a prescription. Generics generally cost 30 to 70 percent less than brand-name drugs with an average co-pay of just $10 vs. $33 for a brand name, non-preferred drug. If there is no generic equivalent to the drug you have been prescribed, ask your insurer or company HR department if there is a substitute drug that would cost less under your health plan.

Take advantage of a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

An FSA allows you to deduct money pretax from your paycheck to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. The good news has gotten even better, too, as the list of expenses you can pay using FSA dollars has been expanded dramatically. In fact, the list now includes most over-the-counter drugs, and new services that make it easier to spend down your account. Yet, despite all the many benefits of FSAs, only about 20 percent of eligible employees current take advantage of them.

While contributions vary by employer, you can often contribute as much as $5,000 per year. Given this, you’ll save as much as 30 percent on your Federal Income Tax. Naturally, this will vary depending on your tax bracket.

You can use FSA dollars to pay insurance deductibles and co-pays, and for such un-reimbursed expenses as acupuncture, contact lenses, flu shots and LASIC surgery. You can find a list of eligible items at irs.gov.

Be sure to ask your HR department about the availability of an FSA. You can only elect to contribute to an FSA for a particular calendar year during an open enrollment benefits time or if you’ve had a life-altering event, such a marriage or the birth of a child.

Fight overcharges

Nobody’s perfect, including doctors and hospital billing departments. Billing overcharges can occur and they cost you literally thousands of dollars.

Consider the case of one patient who received a bill for $15,333 for 49 vials of Pepcid. The correct amount: $317. Typos like this can happen and, as you can see, can be very costly.

Keep a list of all any lab tests, medications, procedures and specialists seen during an illness. Then, do not pay any bills until you see itemized statements. Check these statements against the list you kept to spot common errors such as incorrect dates of service and duplicate or incorrect orders for medication. In the event you find an error, call the hospital’s or doctor’s billing department and your insurance company to get the mistake corrected.

Play Let’s make a deal

While this may sound over the top, it is sometimes possible to negotiate lower prices. Some employees have found they were able to bargain with their pharmacists. Other employees, although fewer in number, have successfully played “let’s make a deal” with doctors, dentists and hospitals. In fact, this can be surprisingly successful, as patients who have negotiated have nabbed a lower fee in about half of all cases.

Naturally, you won’t want to try to negotiate emergency care but you may be able to save money on expensive services such as orthodontia or LASIK surgery.

Where can you negotiate most successfully? Try young doctors who are just starting a practice or doctors with whom you have a long history. Before you start any negotiation, call your insurance company and see what it considers to be a reasonable and customary charge for the procedure. Then try to get your doctor to limit his or her bill to that amount – as the providers’ prices often run 25 to 50 percent higher than what the insurance company would pay If possible, offer to pay part of your bill in cash.

Cutting the cost of your health care is not easy. But if you’re willing to do the work and check out all available options, you just might be able to take a scalpel to them.

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

Living without healthcare insurance is a common problem that is occurring in today’s society. Many adults are unable to afford the high cost of healthcare without the help of insurance and will often go without due to money issues. Children also suffer from this lack of health insurance. It can be even more critical for children to receive medical care than it is for adults. Therefore, the Texas Health Steps program was created to help children in east Texas.

Texas Health Steps was designed to provide medical insurance for all east Texas children under the age of 21. Especially during the early formative years of a child’s life, frequent medical care can be extremely important. Making sure that your child receives their yearly check up will make sure that any developmental issues will be discovered before they come to a critical point. Leaving certain medical conditions untreated can be fatal.

For some people, health insurance is not the only issue that prevents them from taking their child to the doctor for necessary check ups. The rising costs of gas in east Texas can also be an issue. In fact, some people do not even own a car because of the costs of owning and operating a vehicle. Texas Health Steps can also help with this aspect. The program includes the option of a provided ride to attend doctor’s appointments or even money to help you fill your gas tank so that you can get your children the medical care that they require.

Texas Health Steps will help you with every aspect of your child’s care. In addition to doctor’s appointments, this program will also cover any vision care needs that your child may have as well as dental needs. Your east Texas caseworker will be able to help you find doctors that are close to your home and are a good match for your family’s individual needs. They can even help you to make the appointments that you need.

Taking care of today’s children is very important. They are the future of the country and deserve to grow up happy and healthy. If your child is insured with Texas Health Steps, visit an east Texas
health clinic [http://www.countryside-clinic.com] to find a full service nurse practitioner than can help you to make sure that your child receives the medical care that he or she needs and deserves.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Sports · Tags:

You’ve probably heard of competitive eating before and there’s a good chance you might have even tried it yourself as an amateur. I entered a couple of eating contests at local fairs in my day, especially as a young girl but it was nothing more than fun and games.

For some, however, competitive eating is something serious. So much so, in fact, that we now have Major League Eating, an international ranking of the top competitors in this unusual sport. It even inspired the reality TV show, “Man Versus Food.”

This year’s men’s winner of the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest ate 62 franks and buns in 10 minutes and the first-ever women’s winner ate 40 hot dogs. It’s a fascination that is sweeping far more than just our nation as countries all over the globe feature similar eating contests.

The bizarre sport of competitive eating is nothing short of a freak show to some people. Depending on who you ask, it shouldn’t be considered a sport at all. Some call it gluttony, others call it mental disorder- so what is it really?

A government watchdog group in Taiwan calls it a health hazard. “The frequent ‘big-stomach’ contests not only endanger health but violate the principle of fairness as the contestants who get sick are using the national health insurance resources,” said the group, in a statement.

While such contests are not illegal, the group considers them to be against social fairness and justice as well as harmful to health.

Is there any truth to the health hazards of such excessive eating? There is one small study attempting to find out once and for all. The objective was “to assess the stomachs of a world-class speed-eating champion and of a control subject during a speed-eating test in our gastrointestinal fluoroscopy suite to determine how competitive speed eaters are able to eat so much so fast.”

The study showed that a competitive eater seemed to lack the “satiety reflex” to cause them to stop eating and the stomach would inflate to an enormous rate to allow for the excess food.

“There’s no real documentation of the risks and dangers associated with this sport,” says Levine, a doctor in the study.

While some may think anyone who would eat that much food must have a mental disorder, there have also been no tests or studies done to date that clarify anything regarding the mental state of people who choose to participate in such contests. For some, it may be mere curiosity. For others, it’s a way to stake their own little claim to fame.

What about you; have you ever participating in a competitive eating contest? Do you think it’s a real sport or nothing short of crazy?

Sports Zone Media is your #1 source for all things sports. Here you will find news, articles, updates and more on your favorite sports topics, professional teams, youth coaching, high school sports and health/nutrition.

25. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Health · Tags:

In mental health circles, counselors, psychiatrists, and facilitated group specialists always talk about coping skills. Why? Not only because we need them to get through the day but also to help us function better in society.

I’ve come up with 4 must have coping skills for anyone dealing with mental health issues. They’ve worked for me and I know they have worked for many others as well. So here they are:

1. Have A Support Network

Family members and close friends would be ideal but I know that is not available for some. So, in that case, have your doctor as a support. Yes, I know, I know. They only dispense meds these days but he/she might be able to guide you to some resources that are available that you didn’t know about before.

Maybe there are support groups in your area specifically designed with you in mind? Even if there aren’t you can always go to a near by mental health clinic and look for services. Most of these places will take most types of insurance–even medi-caid. But what if it’s miles away and you just can’t get to it? Well, consider starting one of your own, Just have a small group of like-minded people simply supporting one another. And if you can find a volunteer facilitator, great! But it’s not necessary. Sometimes the best therapy is a group of people who “get you” and care about your well-being.

Some of the great things about support groups is that you can create field trips, pot- lucks, or dinners while you talk.

I am currently in a group supported by an organization called Mental Health America. It focuses on getting mental health clients back in to work that we can handle and hopefully enjoy. Without this group, this site would not be possible for me. Consider Mental Health America if they’re in a local area. Mental health clinics usually can help you.

2. Find A Way To Exercise!

I know, I know. Some of you may barely be able to get out of bed before 3 pm let alone have the energy to workout… I get it. I used to be there too. Here’s the thing though. Forget about traditional ways to exercise; the gym, running, weight training etc… Have you thought about just walking? It doesn’t even have to be a brisk walk like the gurus tell us. All you have to do is walk! Walk around the block. Walk around town and get some lunch when you wake up, if that’s you. You don’t need to be a gym rat to get those feel good chemicals going which is exactly what we must focus on first, not weight loss. Say, for example the feelings last just for 30 minutes. It’s worth it.

Why? Because the more you do it the longer the endorphins and other neurochemicals are felt throughout the body. I walk 3 days a week every morning and when I’m done I practice 15 minutes of meditation. For me, it’s the best way to start off my day. This leads me to the 3rd coping skill.

3. Mindfulness

The man called The Buddha taught that the source of all suffering was in our attempt to escape the present moment and our direct experience of it. Do you think this is true? There was a study done recently on mindfulness meditation. Apparently, it is the first of its kind that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation.

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton gene activity changes daily. In his research it illustrates that by persistent change of perception of your mind CAN alter the activity of your genes creating over 30,000 variations from each gene. Wild stuff, huh!

So, what does that mean for us? For the mentally ill, our present moment is subjected to a lot of suffering much of the time. You might ask, ” how can this help me as a coping skill?” Simple. By being present and feeling what you are experiencing in each moment would be ideal but what I’ve discovered is that people with mental health issues like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or generalized anxiety disorder etc… can only manage the pain for so long until we need to escape the present. I escape on bad days when symptoms flair. I feel it for a few minutes until I’ve calmed down a bit then I continue with what I’m doin’. Or, I simply give up the present moment lie down and go to sleep. Escape is necessary for us I’ve come to conclude. Too much time in our own head is not a good thing–for anyone.

When you feel something coming on, try to feel it. All of it. Breathe. Then release. If releasing is impossible, give up the moment and rest. Don’t fight yourself any longer. Be your best friend… even with the mental disorder. It’s the only way you will find peace in the present moment like The Buddha describes in his teachings.

4. Develop More Hobbies Than Goals

What do I mean by this? Well, a goal has an end point. Once you’ve reached it it’s over. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against having goals. They work for some people but I’m not one of them. I think I’ve tried every method of goal setting out there and they just didn’t work for me.

Now, take my dad for example. He’s goal-oriented. He had a goal to build a real two-seated helicopter. Took him over 5 years to do it but he did it. He now has a ready to fly flying machine in my parents backyard.

The down-side to goals are once you’re finished, you’re off looking for the next goal and the next and the next. My father is now restless because his goal is finished and he doesn’t know what to do next!

So, try something different in a way. Develop hobbies that have no end. I’m talking about those hobbies that can only make you better and better with age and time. See where it takes you. Life is funny that way. You can start off doing one thing and having it end up evolving into something totally different–but right for you.

Coping skills for mental health will always be individualized so experiment. Try a few or all of these tips and see what happens. In no time at all you could be doing things you never thought possible for you…

Having a mental illness myself, I’ve learned there are natural approaches to improve my health while on medication. They’re simple, easy, and they work.

 

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