Tag Archives: seven

Cancer symptoms: Seven warning signs in your poo that indicate cancer

Cancer is a serious condition whereby cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. When this destructive process takes place in the top part of your tummy, it is known as pancreatic cancer.

Like all cancers, it is imperative to respond to the warning signs of pancreatic cancer as soon as they appear to improve treatment outcomes.

Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer may not have any symptoms, or they might be hard to spot, notes the NHS.

However, if symptoms do surface, they may take the form of changes to your poo.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN), diarrhoea that has the following consistency signal pancreatic cancer:

  • Loose
  • Watery
  • Oily
  • Foul-smelling.

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These changes can be caused by insufficient amounts of pancreatic enzymes in the intestines, explains PCAN.

“This leads to malabsorption as undigested food passes quickly through the digestive tract,” says the health body.

“If the digestive system works too slowly, it can cause stools to become dry, hard and difficult to pass.”

General symptoms include:

  • The whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow (jaundice), you may also have itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • A high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery.

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How to respond

According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have:

  • Lost a noticeable amount of weight over the last six to 12 months without trying
  • other symptoms of pancreatic cancer that get worse or do not get better after two weeks
  • A condition that causes symptoms with your digestion that are not getting better after two weeks of using your usual treatments.

“Many of these symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different conditions,” notes the health body.

But it’s important to get them checked by a GP.

“This is because if they’re caused by cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable,” explains the NHS.

“Almost half of all new cases are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over,” reports Cancer Research UK.

According to the charity, around 20 out of 100 cases of pancreatic cancer in the UK (around 20 percent) are caused by smoking.

“Cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco all increase pancreatic cancer risk,” it warns.

Other risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Family cancer syndromes and genetic factors
  • Other medical conditions.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Stop bloating: How to beat the bloat in seven days – nutritionist’s week-long plan

There are several key offenders that can cause bloating; from swallowing too much air when eating to sensitivities to certain foods. While it is normal to experience some level of bloating after a meal, it is a physical clue that your digestive system is not working quite as it should. Want to reduce your bloating over the course of just one week? Rob, nutritionist and founder of Vice Naturals offers a day-by-day guide of what you can do to beat the bloat and bring your digestive system back into balance.

Day one – start a food diary

Keeping a food diary is a great first step to identifying trigger foods or ingredients, according to Rob.

He advised: “Simply jot down any flare ups you experience to see if you notice any patterns, or alternatively, consider an elimination diet, where certain foods which are known to cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as gluten and dairy, are removed from the diet for two to three weeks and reintroduced one at a time whilst monitoring symptoms.

“Once you have successfully pinpointed which foods your body cannot tolerate well, you can remove them from your diet to prevent any uncomfortable symptoms occurring.”

Day two – eat mindfully

If you eat too quickly or on the move, you may not digest your food properly, leading to undigested food particles sitting longer in the gut where they begin to fester, creating wind and bloating, said Rob.

READ MORE: How to lose visceral fat: The warm drink proven to shrink belly fat within 12 weeks

“Digestion begins in the brain as the cooking process begins, with the thought and smell of food encouraging the secretion of stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

“Try cooking a meal from scratch so you can soak in the smells and ensure you are chewing your food well, paying attention to the taste and texture as you do so. By making your mealtimes more of an occasion, in a quiet and relaxed environment undistracted by televisions and phones, you are less likely to gulp down air with each mouthful, which can also lead to bloating due to large amounts of food and air rapidly entering your stomach.

“Before eating, it is also wise to take some time to relax your mind to avoid eating too quickly, which could be as simple as taking deep breaths in and out.”

Day three – boost your gut bacteria

Optimum health starts in the gut and stems from a well-balanced microbiome, which can impact everything from energy levels to sleep quality, as well as physical and mental performance, explained Rob.

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He continued: “An imbalance of gut microflora can also lead to bloating, due to an overproduction of gas. One of the easiest ways to balance your gut microflora is to increase the beneficial bacteria in your diet. Supplementing with prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes is a great way of giving your gut everything it needs to function optimally.

“Try the Vite Body range from Vite Naturals, which contains chicory root fibre, a five-strain digestive enzyme and multi-strain, live probiotic complex, as well as calcium to ensure an efficient digestive process. Available in once-a-day capsules and delicious snack bars, the Vite Body range is ideal for those looking for a convenient and enjoyable way to get a good-bacteria boost on-the-go.”

Day four – stress less

You may have heard of the phrase the “gut-brain axis”, which is another way of explaining that the gut and brain are intrinsically linked, said Rob.

He added: “If you are stressed, your body will typically slow down the digestive process, as its priority is to divert blood away from the gut and into the muscles as part of the fight or flight response, rather than processing the meal you have just eaten. Incorporating some self-care activities into your day, such as taking a hot bath, reading a book, or following a guided meditation practice, will not only do wonders for your mental health, but will also ensure the various systems in your body are working optimally.”

Day five – up your fibre intake

Fibre is often portrayed as the enemy when it comes to bloating, however, it physically helps to move the food through your digestive system more efficiently and eliminates excess gas from the body, said Rob.

He continued: “Without adequate fibre, your digestive system will become more sluggish, leaving you feeling bloated or constipated. Try to incorporate more fibre-rich foods into your diet such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrains. If cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower cause you to bloat, opt for non-starchy vegetables instead, such as carrots, celery, bok choy, and lettuce.”

Day six – don’t eat too late

When you are sleeping, the various systems in your body repair and rebuild, including your digestive system. Eating too near to bedtime means that your digestive system will need to use up a lot of energy to process your meal, causing your sleep to be disrupted, said Rob.

He advised: “Over the long term, your digestive health will suffer, and you may find yourself more susceptible to bloating.

“Always try and eat regularly and aim to finish your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime to allow enough time for your digestive system to rest and recover overnight. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help to flush through toxins, encouraging bowel movements.”

Day seven – cut back on sugar

Sugary foods can be addictive, giving us a quick ‘fix’ that tempts us back time and time again. The bad news is that bad gut bacteria thrive off sugar, and too much bad gut bacteria means that you will find yourself craving more of the sweet stuff, creating an imbalance within your gut, stomach, intestines or colon.

Rob explained: “This prevents the microbiome from doing its job properly, leading to inflammation, digestive upset such as bloating, and even skin issues.

“Cutting back on sugary foods for a short time can rebalance your gut bacteria and prevent sweet cravings from occurring in the future.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Seven for Simone: Biles claims another US Gymnastics title

Simone Biles finished nearly five points ahead of runner-up Sunisa Lee and good friend and teammate Jordan Chiles.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Simone Biles looks ready for Tokyo. So it seems, are the leading contenders vying to join the reigning world and Olympic gymnastics champion in Japan next month.

The 24-year-old Biles claimed her seventh U.S. title Sunday night, delivering another stunning — and stunningly easy — performance that served little doubt the pressure surrounding her bid to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic all-around gold in more than 50 years is only pushing her to even greater heights.

Shaking off a somewhat sloppy start Friday, at least by her impeccable standards, Biles put on a four-rotation showcase on what separates her from every other gymnast on the planet. Her score of 119.650 was nearly five points better than runner-up Sunisa Lee and good friend and teammate Jordan Chiles.

While Biles’ victory was never in doubt — it rarely has been during her nearly eight-year reign atop the sport — she remains in no mood to coast. Visibly annoyed after stepping out of bounds three times during her floor routine on Friday, Biles responded the way she almost always does: by cleaning things up and expanding what is possible on the competition floor.

And to think she didn’t even bother with her latest innovation, a Yurchenko double-pike vault she drilled twice at the U.S. Classic last month that caught the attention of everyone from LeBron James to Michelle Obama. Instead, she opted for two with slightly lower difficulty that she completed so casually it was hard to tell if she was in front of an arena that screamed for her at every turn or just fooling around at practice back home in Houston.

Not that it mattered. She still posted the top score on vault anyway. Just like she did on beam. Just like she did on floor. Just like always.

Biles started her night on balance beam and with the instrumental from Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” playing while the entire arena stopped to watch, she barely even wobbled while putting together a series that remains among the gold standard in the world on an event that’s maybe her third best.

Her floor exercise, the one that includes two elements already named after her in the sport’s Code of Points, was far more precise than it was on Friday. She was well in bounds on all but one of her tumbling passes and her 14.950 included a 6.8 D-score, which ranks the difficulty of the routine, tied for the highest by any athlete on any event at the meet.

Lee, competing on a bad ankle that sometimes left her limping around the arena, Lee appears to be gaining momentum following a sluggish return to competition last month. Behind a bars routine that is one of the most innovative and electric on the planet, Lee fended off a strong challenge from Chiles to hold on to silver.

Chiles continued her remarkable rise over the last six months, finishing runner-up to Biles for the second time in three weeks. The 20-year-old, who started training alongside Biles two years ago, is practically now a lock to be named to the U.S. Olympic team following the trials in St. Louis later this month.

The real intrigue heading into the trials might be who else can emerge from a crowded field. Leanne Wong finished fourth, with Emma Malabuyo fifth. Jade Carey, who has already secured an at-large berth to the Olympics thanks to her performance on the World Cup circuit, was sixth.

The group at the trials, however, will not include Laurie Hernandez. A two-time Olympic medalist in 2016, Hernandez did not compete after injuring her left knee on a beam dismount during warm-ups on Friday. The 20-year-old shared a picture of herself in her Captain American/Falcon-inspired leotard anyway sporting a sizable tape job over her injured knee.

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Dementia symptoms: Seven ‘memory lapses’ indicative of early stage Alzheimer’s

Seven “memory lapses”

  1. Forget about recent conversations or events
  2. Misplace items
  3. Forget the names of places and objects
  4. Have trouble thinking of the right word
  5. Ask questions repetitively
  6. Show poor judgement or find it harder to make decisions
  7. Become less flexible and more hesitant to try new things

“There are often signs of mood changes, such as increasing anxiety or agitation, or periods of confusion,” added the NHS.

How can I prevent Alzheimer’s?

“A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk,” the NHS stated.

This involves taking steps to protect your cardiovascular health, such as “keeping alcohol to a minimum”.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Which seven players should be cut from England's Euro 2020 squad? Vote now

Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jesse Lingard, Kalvin Phillips and James Ward-Prowse join Henderson and Bellingham as the seven midfielders.

Southgate has gone for ten forward options in the 33-man panel with skipper Harry Kane named after clinching the 2020/21 Premier League top scorer and top assister awards.

Kane will captain Southgate’s side this summer after his six goals at the 2018 World Cup secured the Three Lions first World Cup Golden Boot since Gary Lineker in 1986.

The Spurs hitman is called up alongside Sancho, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Ollie Watkins, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Sean Connery's younger brother Neil dies from illness just seven months after Bond star

Neil Connery has died aged 82, just seven months after his brother Sean Connery’s death. The news was announced by his friend Steve Begg, who said: “He looked and sounded like his big bro.” He added on Facebook: “My good friend and Edinburgh drinking buddy Neil Connery passed away early this morning, I am sad to report.
“He considered me a lackluster challenge when it came to the drinking stakes but I considered him with respect.

“He looked and sounded like his big bro so going out with him was always interesting to say the least. Miss you Neil.”

Sean’s sibling made his film debut in the 1967 film O.K. Connery, a James Bond-inspired movie.

The film was retitled Operation Kid Brother in America and is also known as Operation Double 007.

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Neil’s wife previously discussed how upset he was that he couldn’t visit Sean before he died last year.

According to the Daily Mail online, she said: “He’s just very upset at losing his only brother.

“’He would’ve gone but, of course, given the times we’re in, nobody can travel anywhere for any reason so that’s upsetting too.”

Sean died peacefully in his sleep aged 90, after being “unwell for some time,” his son Jason said.

He added: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

The late actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.

He also starred in The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

The actor, also a father-of-two, was married to Micheline Roquebrune up until his death.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Woman overcomes chronic ME to swim Oceans Seven in new Sky documentary

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

swim

Beth overcame ME to swim Oceans Seven (Image: Nyla Sammons)

As wild swimming gains ever more fans due to lockdown, a new documentary film Against The Tides follows Beth’s attempt to be the first person to swim the world’s seven most dangerous straits – known as the Oceans Seven – in a single year. “One of the things that surprises me is the ability of the body to endure,” says Beth. “It is not what drives you forward, but what is holding you back, which stops you from doing things.” The film shows the Briton go from Hawaii to Ireland, New Zealand to Gibraltar in her quest – some would call it foolhardy – to prove she could do it. 

And while the swimming is all very fascinating – at one point she’s swimming with a dangerous shark, at other times avoiding jellyfish, rocks and hyperthermia – it is the complex and extraordinarily strong woman at the heart of the story which makes the Sky documentary so compelling.

From the start you question what drives her; and whether the actions are inspiring or selfish. Even her own mother isn’t convinced, admitting: “I am not her number one supporter when it comes to her swimming.

“She is the single parent to a small child and I don’t like the idea of her swimming against tides or through shoals of jellyfish because I don’t want her to get hurt.”

But then the backstory comes out. Beth, now 43, from Somerset, is battling both the demons from her past and the challenges of her present. Pushing herself to the limit is one of the few ways she can take control.

Aged ten, a popular, sporty and academic child she had a painless bout of glandular fever. She then started getting strange pains in her limbs and an exhaustion would overcome her. Weeks would go by and she would be fine, but then the illness would take hold again until she spent more of her time feeling ill than well. 

“No one could explain what or why this was happening to me,” she recalls as we talk over Zoom. “All through my adolescence I would have these complete crashes where my glands would come up, I would feel so sick and the pain was so bad – in different places – that it felt like I had molten lava running through my veins.

beth

Covid has kept Beth away from the sea but she’s relaxing in a bathtub on her patio full of icy water (Image: NC)

“I got to the stage where I couldn’t even lift my hand up to brush my own hair.

“Sometimes I’d be fine for three months – I’d be completely well. And then I would crash for six months. And the hardest thing was not knowing what was wrong with me. The blood tests came back fine; there was nothing wrong with me as far as the doctors were concerned.

“It obviously led to mental health issues; I started self-harming, I became bulimic. I couldn’t trust my body. The doctors said it was all in my head when I knew it was my body.

“Aged 17 I couldn’t even sit up, let alone stand up and I was in a wheelchair. I didn’t even have the energy to brush my teeth or scratch an itch. All my muscles ached all the time.”

One of the only things that seemed to help was water.

The family farm had a pond and her father enlarged it; she would lie in it for hours, the weightlessness of being in the water provided a brief respite from real life.

At 17, after seven years of countless visits to different doctors, she received a diagnosis of ME or chronic fatigue syndrome. The downside was, there was no cure. 

“It was a relief to get a diagnosis, because my mental state was so fragile after everyone saying there was nothing wrong with me but being told there was no cure made me feel like my life was over,” she says.

sea

Cold water helps to soothe Beth’s physical symptoms of ME (Image: David Leyland)

“But I still had some fight in me and that was to rebel against myself, against this extreme lethargy. It became a compulsion to push myself as much as I could.”

Beth started listening to her body, learned to recognise her triggers. She refused to continue her education, knowing that the stress was making her ill. She would move when she could and kept pushing her body and, slowly, she began to recover.

“Recovery is an odd word because I still get the symptoms sometimes,” she says.

“My immune system is really bad and when I overdo things, I get this heavy feeling, but I’ve learned how to listen closely to my body. But at the same time, I felt like I had to prove myself and prove not only that I could do what others do, but to be almost superhuman.”

When she felt well enough, after years of being cooped up in her bedroom, she made a bucket list of things she wanted to do.

One of the first was flying to Hawaii. She initially went for a brief two-week holiday, but didn’t return to England for seven years; first training as a massage therapist in Hawaii before, briefly, becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand where she was given lodgings at a monastery in exchange for English lessons. She willed herself to wellness.

Coming back to England, she met a man, fell in love and had her son, Dylan, but was left a single mother when they split up; a new challenge for someone who had already been through so much.

When Dylan, now 11, started school, she was forced to face yet more problems.

“I always saw Dylan as delightfully kooky,” she recalls. “He was outgoing and adventurous. But when he went to school, everything changed. They described a child I didn’t know – he would hide underneath tables and he would bite and scratch.

“Dylan just couldn’t cope. It was horrendous, he was six years old and he started talking about wanting to kill himself. So I took him out of school, took him away from all the things that triggered him and started home-schooling.”

One day a week her mother would look after Dylan, who has since been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, OCD, sensory issues, dyslexia and dyspraxia, and Beth, who works as a part-time masseur, started going to the local swimming pool for respite.

While there she decided to undertake a Channel swim challenge – swimming the length of the Channel in a month.

She did it in just a few days. It felt so amazing that she booked an organisation to help her swim the real Channel two years later. She knew she needed more time than normal to prepare her body, but she was hooked on the challenge.

Now Beth admits her reasons for swimming are complicated. “No one can hear me scream in the water,” she says, quietly. “I could swim it all out. It was a way of calming my body and my mind down. I needed to push myself because I was constantly feeling like I was on the verge of feeling like a failure.

“I had all these questions of guilt.

“And when your child has special needs you feel so alone the whole time. Swimming was a way of chasing the demons in my head. The best thing for me was the meditative calm which comes at the end of a good long swim.”

Dylan was always part of her challenges. 

beth

Beth, with Dylan, says her son is involved in the training for her challenges (Image: David Leyland)

They’d go down to the sea and she’d put him in a wetsuit and life jacket in a small dinghy attached to her leg. “He had a little gun and would squirt me in the face if he wanted to talk to me. He would point which way down the coast he wanted to go and I went swimming with him.”

As for the impact on Beth’s body, she says the actual swimming aspect has always been the easiest part: “You can train your mind to push through so many barriers and achieve what you want.” The tough bit was on land.

By the time the documentary was filmed two years ago, Dylan was nine and not as malleable as he was as a toddler. It features scenes of him terrified at the thought of her being attacked by sharks. The team she travelled with for each of the challenges – which cost more than £80,000 – also included a childminder for Dylan but he increasingly recoiled at being left with them.

Towards the end of the film, as Beth attempts her fifth swim, in Northern Japan, Dylan hides her swimming costume. She is forced to do some tough soul searching about what she was doing the swim for.

“Yes, there are people who criticised me for swimming when I had Dylan but others also said, ‘you are going to be such a great role model,'” she ponders. “No one can say how you should do this thing called motherhood; this is just my version of it.”

Her decision, which viewers will see, is an emotional surprise.

Since doing the challenge, Covid has kept Beth away from the sea but she and Dylan have been planning adventures for when the world opens up again. In the meantime, she has been forced to take her aquatic solace in a bathtub in her garden. “I am missing swimming so much, I miss the sea,” she sighs.

“The closest I get to the feeling I get from swimming is jumping into an icy bathtub on the patio. When I am feeling stuck or stressed or lethargic or depressed, I jump in cold water and it is an instant reset.

“You can’t be anywhere but in the present because there is an overwhelming sensation which gives you an endorphin high. It’s insane.”

Against the Tides can be seen on Sky Documentary and is also available for digital download

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Coffee side effects: Seven physical warning signs you need to cut down

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

However, people can vary in their sensitivity to caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee that affects the central nervous system. What are the signs that you need to cut down or turn to decaf? Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, warned the Mayo Clinic, which is just one of seven physical warning signs you are drinking too much. Another symptom of the over-consumption of coffee is experiencing a “fast heartbeat”.

This is equivalent to 400mg of caffeine, but depending on which coffee you have, the caffeine content can differ.

The Mayo Clinic added: “Women who are pregnant, or who are trying to become pregnant and those who are breast-feeding, should talk with their doctors about limiting caffeine use to less than 200mg daily.”

This is equivalent to drinking around two cups of coffee daily – and that’s if you’re not drinking another caffeinated beverage, such as tea.

“Heavy caffeine use can cause unpleasant side effects and… [it] may not be a good choice for people who take certain medications,” said the Mayo Clinic.

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Medications and herbal supplements that may interact with caffeine include:

  • Ephedrine
  • Theophylline
  • Echinacea

Ephedrine

Mixing caffeine with this type of medication – used in decongestants – “might increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or seizure”.

Theophylline

Theophylline is “used to open bronchial airways”, and tends to have “caffeine-like effects”. This can lead to feelings of nausea and heart palpitations.

Echinacea

This herbal supplement, widely used to prevent colds, may also increase the unpleasant effects of caffeine.

The cycle goes as follows:

  • Drink coffee to remain alert during the day
  • The caffeine in coffee then keeps you awake at night
  • A shortened length of time sleeping, causing you to feel tired during the day

Difficulty sleeping isn’t the only issue caffeine might cause during the night.

Caffeine use may also lead to “frequent urination or the inability to control urination”.

In summary, if you experience any of the following seven signs, cutting down on caffeine might help:

  1. Headache
  2. Insomnia
  3. Nervousness
  4. Irritability
  5. Frequent urination or inability to control urination
  6. Fast heartbeat
  7. Muscle tremors

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How to live longer: Scientist shares seven habits you need to have to boost longevity

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

Regarding exercise, Steele said: “If you literally don’t do any exercise at all, even going for a 10-minute walk every day is going to dramatically improve your health.”

However, when it comes to lengthy sweat sessions, he said the benefits of working out seem to plateau beyond an average of 30 minutes a day.  

“The evidence for incredible levels of exercise is quite weak,” he added.

“In fact, if anything it might slightly reduce your lifespan.”

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Alexa has seven new commands to test out on your Amazon Echo today

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

As you’re probably blissfully unaware, today is Shakespeare Day. But while it might not have the brand recognition of Christmas Day or Black Friday, Amazon has fully embraced Shakespeare Day with an update to Amazon Echo and Echo Show smart devices worldwide. The US retail firm has rolled out a number of new responses for chatty AI assistant Alexa to celebrate England’s most famous playwright.

The updated responses for Alexa follow research by Amazon that found that Britons use an average of 83 Shakespearean phrases a month. While there are undoubtedly some community theatre headliners who regularly tell baristas that their “mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” and that “if snow be white, why then her breasts are dun”, for most of us, the 83 phrases borrowed from Shakespeare are more likely to be sayings like “fair play”, “for goodness sake”, and “what’s done is done”. All three of these popular sayings are derived from plays written by Bill.

Starting today (April 23) Amazon Echo owners can ask Alexa to “speak like Shakespeare” for a variety of responses. They can also ask the hands-free assistant to recite a Shakespearean sonnet and soliloquy. Or, if that sounds too much like being back in an O-level exam room, Amazon also allowed Echo owners to ask for a famous insult from Shakespeare too.

According to the findings, “for goodness sake”, first found in Shakespeare’s Henry the Eighth is the Bard’s phrase used most by modern Britons – amounting to some 120 times a year, while “fair play”, most famously from The Tempest and “what’s done is done”, spoken by Lady Macbeth, follow close behind. Fair play, eh?

If you want to test out Alexa’s new Shakespearean knowledge, the following phrases are available to test out from April 23 (Shakespeare Day 2021) going forwards.

As always, these voice commands will work with any Alexa-enabled gadgets. That includes the Amazon Echo smart speaker, as well as Echo Show, which adds a touchscreen for some extra information from Alexa, Amazon Fire TV streaming set-top boxes, the Echo Buds – wireless earbuds that include handsfree access to Alexa anywhere, some Fitbit smartwatches and a number of other popular gadgets and TVs. You’ll need to start every voice command with the wake word “Alexa”. This acts as a Power Button for the device, telling it to begin taking note of whatever you’re about to say, so that it can take action for you.

  • “Alexa, speak like Shakespeare”
  • “Alexa, tell me a Shakespearean insult”
  • “Alexa, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
  • “Alexa, to be or not to be?”
  • “Alexa, recite a Shakespearean Sonnet”
  • “Recite a Shakespearean Soliloquy”
  • “Tell me a Shakespearean limerick”

If you haven’t already kitted out your home with a speaker speaker, Amazon is currently offering its Echo Show 8 smart display for £99. Originally priced at £119.99, the deal is a great way to get started with Amazon’s hugely-popular AI assistant. Echo Show 8 has a touchscreen, which is able to play videos from Disney+ and Prime Video, display step-by-step cooking instructions, as well as more detailed responses – like a week-long forecast – without the need for Alexa to keep talking for minutes on end.

The most affordable Alexa gadget is the Echo Dot, the third-generation – without the new spherical design unleashed last year, that starts from £39.99 at the moment. However, Amazon often sells its Echo Dot at even cheaper prices, often dropping as low as £18.99 as part of the Black Friday sales event in November 2020.