July 29, 2014

Similar to a heart attack, you may not realize when you're about to suffer heatstroke.     Photo: kevinkraftphotography/Thinkstock

The Real Killer at Endurance Races

Seriously, stop worrying about heart attacks

Cardiac arrest during a marathon is certainly the stuff of runners' nightmares, but if you're going to let anything cause you anxiety during your next race, it should be heatstroke. Heart-related deaths tend to get a lot of attention, but a new study says that heatstroke is a much more common danger for runners.

Cardiologists from Tel Aviv, Israel, found that for every incident of cardiac arrest either threatening or taking a runner's life at a long-distance race, there were about 10 incidents of heatstroke doing the same. Heatstroke is the most dangerous form of heat illness, entailing fever above 104 degrees and symptoms like losing consciousness. Yes, Tel Aviv is a particularly hot place, but heat is still responsible for about 700 deaths each year—and you might not even realize when it's putting your life in danger. You could feel dizziness or nausea, for example, but not much else out of the ordinary.

That said, heatstroke is preventable, and it's not necessarily a death sentence. Use common sense: Hydrate and don't push yourself too hard if you're feeling overheated. As several physicians pointed out, immersion in a tub of cold water for six or seven minutes can effectively prevent organ damage or death for most who do fall victim to heatstroke. So don't sweat it too much.


Will hotel stays become more monotone once you no longer have to speak to people?     Photo: Derek Flack/Flickr

Hilton Knows You Don't Like People

In the future, check-ins will be a purely digital affair

The days of waiting in line in hotel lobbies might soon become a thing of the past. Ditto the necessity of talking to a real live human who works at the hotel. Hilton Worldwide announced today that guests staying at its hotels will be able to check in and out via their mobile devices by the end of this year. The behemoth hospitality chain will also give potential visitors the opportunity to pick their rooms and will share photos and floor plans to help customers make more informed decisions when booking.

"For nearly a century, our guests have counted on us to consistently deliver exceptional experiences around the world, and in today's digitally connected culture, that means providing them with more choice and control over their hotel stay through technology," Christopher Nassetta, Hilton Worldwide's president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

As USA Today reports, Geraldine Calpin, global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide, recalled a recent online survey of 1,009 travelers that found that 84 percent of respondents wanted to pick their own room, much like airline passengers can pick their seats.

"We are giving our guests the ability to do just that by enabling them to select not just their room type, but the exact location in the hotel, all the way down to their room number," Calpin said. By the end of 2016, Hilton also hopes to have smartphone key technology available at most of its hotels, making plastic key cards obsolete.


Dubai: The city where the streets are paved—and the people are paid—in gold.     Photo: reddoublebrick/Flickr

Lose Weight, Get Rich

Dubai awards gold for each pound dropped

People use all kinds of incentives to lose weight, but citizens of Dubai might just have the best one yet. 

The city's "Your Child in Gold" program gives participants one gram of gold for every pound lost. Unless you're a kid—then you get two grams.

The program was first held last summer under the name "Your Weight in Gold" and primarily focused on adults. More than 35 pounds of gold—valued at $762,340—were distributed among participants, according to Quartz. This year, the program includes children so families can get involved and lose weight together.

But those who enroll have to pull their weight to earn the rewards. Only two children per family can participate, and each participant must lose a minimum of two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, to be eligible. "This program is not just about winning gold for a short-term commitment to exercise," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) in an Emirates 24/7 report. "It aims to encourage society to permanently adopt a healthier lifestyle. That is one of many reasons why DMCC is increasing its contribution to the campaign this year by providing Dh150,000 worth of gold with the ultimate goal of raising awareness of the benefits of exercise combined with a healthy diet."

The Kahleej Times reports that the campaign will run from July 15 to September 15, and the civic body has kept an open budget for the initiative. The metropolis certainly lives up to its "City of Gold" nickname.


Shane Gorrell shows off his new ride on his Facebook page.     Photo: Courtesy of Shane Gorrell/Facebook

Will-Powered Wheels

Man biking 1,840 miles against doctors' orders

You're dangerously overweight and in pain. You could feel resigned to your situation, or you could be like Shane Gorrell, who's taking the road less traveled to deal with his size and health. The Longview, Washington, resident is on an 1,840-mile weight-loss mission: Despite having no previous cycling experience and against the direction of medical professionals, the 300-pound, 6-foot-3 Gorrell is biking 40 miles a day to Sedona, Arizona.

Gorrell, who started the ride at 332 pounds, decided it was time to do something drastic when his weight began impeding his career. He was in the process of building an Internet start-up called Buyer Saver, but claims on his website that "he was often not taken seriously, for his weight was so noticeable." Gorrell hopes to reach 220 pounds.

Gorrell's covering all his bases. Behind his Quintana Roo bike, he's pulling a 110-pound trailer—which he welded himself—filled with necessities, including an ice cooler, a tent, a hammock, bear spray, and a blender.

To rev up his weight loss, Gorrell has been drinking nothing but four 20-ounce green smoothies (six cucumbers, four apples, eight celery stalks, and half a lemon makes four smoothies) each day since he began his journey on July 9. To make the drinks, he asks people along the route if he can hook up his blender to their home via extension cord, in exchange for some smoothie.

"It's easier to drop a cord at someone's house and share a green juice with them than it is to drive up to a Starbucks," Gorrell told the Longview Daily News

He hasn't consulted a nutritionist, but he has seen doctors at a Eugene, Oregon, urgent care clinic—his knees have been aching. A forklift injury in 2006 gave Gorrell a host of maladies: a fractured tibia, sustained deep-bone bruising on both knees, permanent neck whiplash, and even a sprained back; his left meniscus was replaced in 2011. The Eugene doctors and his orthopedic surgeon discouraged him from continuing his ride, but Gorrell is determined. 

"What's keeping me going is because I could sit at home and believe the doctor and keep getting fat and die from a heart attack, or I can just keep going," Gorrell said. "Either way I'm going to have pain. … I've traveled almost all the way through Oregon with no bicycle training and with a bad knee, so I have a lot of willpower."

Follow Gorrell's journey on TheRideOfHisLife.com, his YouTube channel, or radio interviews every Friday at 4 p.m. PST on KVSL.