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Today is April 19

Bicycle Day

As warm temperatures return, many people renew their interest in spending time outdoors. Spring and summer are peak times of year to enjoy the great outdoors.

A popular activity in spring, summer and fall, cycling benefits the mind and body in various ways.

Mind

One of the more common mental health benefits of exercise is that working up a sweat can help alleviate physical and mental stress. Reducing stress is important for overall health and can reduce a person’s risk of developing certain illnesses.

Cycling is a great way to get outdoors, meet people and see the scenery. Getting outside to exercise also can reduce anxiety and depression.

A study conducted in 2007 by researcher Charles Hillman indicated that exercise boosts brain power and may be able to stave off Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. Dr. Phil Tomporowski has studied how children with ADHD may be positively affected by bike riding, and how control issues were improved without the use of medication.

Body

The Victoria State Department Better Health Channel says that cycling for health and fitness is a good idea. Riding a bicycle is a low-impact form of exercise for people of all ages. Cycling can be fun and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Cycling generally causes less strain on joints and other areas of the body because it is low-impact. However, cycling provides enough resistance to be an effective muscle workout.

People who want to improve their cardiovascular health and manage their weight can turn to cycling to achieve their goals. Cycling raises one’s metabolic rate to help the body burn fat when combined with a healthy diet. Cycling Weekly says cycling burns between 400 and 1,000 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of a ride and the rider’s weight. Individuals can modify the distance and intensity of a cycling workout to suit their fitness goals.

Disease risk and adverse health outcomes can be reduced by hopping on a bike. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow examined more than 260,000 individuals over the course of five years. The study found that cycling to work can cut a rider’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half.

Those eager to get started on cycling are encouraged to begin slowly, especially if it has been awhile since they last exercised. It’s also important to find the right-sized bicycle to reduce strain and injury. A full-service bike shop can help bike shoppers find one that is the right height and frame size for the rider’s body. The height of the handlebars and the seat also can be adjusted for comfort.

Always consult with a physician prior to exercise to ensure that the regimen is safe. Those with prior injuries or health problems should be doubly careful, though cycling is generally safe for beginners.

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Garlic Day

Garlic makes a delicious addition to various meals. Though some people may avoid garlic because of its potential to contribute to bad breath, doing so means people may miss out on some surprising health benefits produced by this powerful, if pungent, bulb.

  1. Garlic bolsters the immune system. A 2015 review published in the Journal of Immunology Research found that garlic appears to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types. A strong immune system helps people fight germs that can lead to colds and other illnesses.
  2. Garlic can have a positive effect on blood pressure. According to the Cleveland Clinic, researchers believe that red blood cells turn the sulfur in garlic into hydrogen sulfide gas that expands the blood vessels. That makes it easier to regulate blood pressure. That’s no minor benefit, as the American Heart Association notes that high blood pressure can contribute to heart disease and stroke.
  3. Garlic can benefit the skin. Allicin is a compound that is produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. According to the online health and wellness resource MedLife, allicin benefits the body in various ways, including killing the bacteria that causes acne.
  4. Garlic may help reduce lead levels in the body. A 2012 study published in the journal Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology studied the potentially therapeutic effects of garlic on 117 workers in the car battery industry. The clinical signs and symptoms of lead poisoning were significantly higher among workers who were not treated with garlic compared to those who were. Authors of the study concluded that garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.

Garlic can make for a nutritious addition to any meal, and some of its many health benefits may surprise even the most ardent supporters of this unique bulb.

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National Poker Day

Poker is one of the world’s most popular games. Because professional, part-time and amateur players sidle up to poker tables every day, it can be hard to estimate just how many people across the globe play poker in a given year. But Caesars® Casino lists poker among its most played games at its casinos in Las Vegas, arguably the most popular city in the world to play cards.

Poker is a game of skill that can be both simple and complex. Understanding the various hands one can draw while playing can help novices better understand the game.

  • Royal flush: Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular types of poker in the world, and a royal flush is the best hand one can draw in Texas Hold’em. According to PokerNews.com, this hand is a combination of a ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit.
  • Straight flush: This is five cards of the same suit in sequential order.
  • Four of a kind: This hand is any four numerically matching cards, such as four tens, four eights, etc.
  • Full house: A full house is a combination of three of a kind and a pair in the same hand.
  • Flush: A player has a flush when he or she has five cards of the same suit, in any order.
  • Straight: This refers to a hand that has five cards of any suit in sequential order. For example, a straight may be a hand made up of a five of hearts, a six of clubs, a seven of diamonds, an eight of clubs, and a nine of spades.
  • Three of a kind: This hand includes any three numerically matching cards.
  • Two pair: A player has two pair when he has two different pairs in the same hand, such as two eights and two tens.
  • One pair: One pair refers to a hand that has two numerically matching cards.
  • High card: The high card refers to the highest ranking card in your hand.