More Useful Stuff
Had some of these questions on your mind recently? Find out how to deal with everyday problems all guys come across.
My wife thinks our daughter is playing too much Minecraft. I’m not really worried. Who’s right? – Danie
We’ll let your daughter pick the winner. First, have your wife invite your daughter to teach her about the game and explain why she enjoys it so much. If she plays Minecraft because she loves the challenge – and not because she has trouble socialising – then she’s probably fine, says Dr Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College and the author of Free to Learn (R302, kalahari.com). In fact, that virtual play may even give your daughter a leg up in the real world. Minecraft requires focus and creativity and helps build cognitive skills; it also fosters an understanding of spatial relationships that can help her excel in maths, science or engineering, says Gray. In that case, you win. But if her motives are darker, you all lose. “Some kids play video games because they’re depressed or being bullied at school, and this is an outlet,” says Gray. If you help her create more social connections, she may spend less time parked in front of the screen.
My brother was diagnosed with prediabetes. Can it be genetic? – Mo
If you’re asking whether you should just look for a two-for-one deal on glucose tests and be done with it, the answer’s no. While it’s true that scientists have identified approximately 50 genes that can raise a man’s diabetes risk, you and your brother should worry more about BMI than DNA, says Dr Fredric Kraemer, chief of the division of endocrinology, gerontology and metabolism at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. “You’re likely in a higher-risk category,” he says, “but by doing regular strength training and maintaining a healthy weight, you can defeat the bad blood sugar that runs in your family.” A 2011 UCLA study found that people with the most muscle mass were 28% less likely to develop prediabetes than those with the least. Your move: three days a week make sure you get a muscle building, fat-burning workout (there are stacks of ideas in this mag) – and challenge your brother to join you. Tell him that the results of the Diabetes Prevention Program, a three-year clinical trial of people in the high-risk category, revealed that participants who exercised for 150 minutes a week lost about five kilos and reduced their risk of developing full-blown diabetes by 58%. Still want precautions? Go here http://www.mh.co.za/news/eating-more-nuts-for-better-diabetes-management/
Is “performance underwear” for exercising a gimmick? – Frank
They aren’t superhero skivvies, but for slip-on strength? They’re great. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that powerlifters who trained for 10 weeks while wearing compression garments added nearly 18kg to their squat, while lifters who didn’t wear them as they trained added only two kilograms. The scientists suggest that the compression design of these garments reduces blood flow to the muscles in a way that may stimulate hormonal and neural pathways involved in building strength. Are you more of a cardio guy? In a New Zealand study, fit men who wore compression underwear for 24 hours following aerobic exercise ran faster and felt less fatigued during their next workout than those who didn’t don the tights. They also experienced less muscle soreness. “The extra pressure may affect muscle sensory receptors and change their feedback to your brain in a way that alters performance,” says study author Dr Michael Hamlin, an exercise scientist at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
How can I make sure that upper management knows my name? – Thato
Start by recognising that the corporate ladder is really more of an indoor climbing wall, what with the tenuous footholds and ever-present risk of a public fall. The person at the bottom holding your rope? That would be your immediate supervisor, who should be a partner to provide opportunities for you to interact with more senior people, says John Beeson, author of The Unwritten Rules: The 6 Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level (R313, kalahari.com). But avoid creating the impression that you’re trying to bypass your supervisor on your ascent. One of those growth opportunities could involve working with your boss to take on new responsibilities that also involve upper managers. A good example would be an interdepartmental team charged with a project that benefits the company as a whole, like improving customer satisfaction or increasing productivity. No such task force? Show some chutzpah and propose creating your own, says Beeson. Do the upper managers have blogs or Twitter accounts? Make thoughtful responses to executives’ postings and develop a relationship electronically. But don’t overdo it, Beeson says. “Your goal is to intrigue managers so they reach out to you.” Feel that’s not enough? Try this http://www.mh.co.za/how-to/downtime/a-promotion-requires-hard-work-dedication-and-a-cheesy-song-grab-a-mic/
I get erections on long car, bus, train and plane rides. – Jay
This is normal for someone who’s planting his perineum on a giant vibrator. As the vehicle’s vibrations travel to your seat, they stimulate nerves at the base of your penis. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, directing blood to your penis, says Dr Thomas J. Walsh, a urologist at the University of Washington. At the same time, something else is stimulated: your imagination. “When you spark this nervous system, you may also activate pleasure sensors that can back-feed and trigger sexual arousal,” Walsh says. If you reach your destination and need to avoid an awkward exit, he suggests giving your inner thigh a firm pinch. Pain triggers nerves that will make your erection evaporate.