Sunday, 3 October 2021

The power of song. Weight problems. Environmental problems, Fuel problems. And so on.

Sing for your health’s sake! Michael Mosley - I think that should be Dr Michael Mosley - does a programme on BBC Radio 4 called “Just One Thing”. It’s full of suggestions for things you can do to improve your health, or rather it gives one suggestion each week. He challenges a guest to do that “one thing” for a week. Interspersed with visits to that person to see how he or she is getting on, are bits of scientific explanation. This week the “one thing” was singing at the top of your lungs, preferably for at least 5 minutes. Today’s guest was unsure if her family would be pleased to have her singing out loud all over the house but went for it anyway. She really enjoyed it and declared she felt the benefit of singing. Whenever she felt like a nap, she declared, she now sings and finds that singing energises her. Much better than a nap. 

Apparently singing has benefits for our mental health and general mood, the deeper breathing making us feel much better. But it’s also good for our physical health. As well as energising the singer, the deeper breathing makes us semi-automatically improve our posture. Tests have shown that regular singing can help to reduce chronic pain. Indeed, some doctors have taken to prescribing joining a choir as an alternative to painkillers! 

There you go! I knew I was right to sing along to the radio. I don’t suppose dancing in the kitchen does any harm either. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard that at the end of a different radio programme recently. 

While I’m on thinking of health matters, there’s this:-

 “People risk developing type 2 diabetes if they can no longer fit into the jeans they were wearing when they were 21, according to one of the world’s leading experts on the disease.

And if people discovered they could no longer fit into the same-sized trousers then they were “carrying too much fat”, Prof Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, said.”

Goodness! How many of us can still fit into the jeans we wore when we were 21? Even if you don’t weigh significantly more - and even the best of us have usually put on at least half a stone - you’ve usually changed shape and the fat has redistributed itself. Jeans have also changed shape: narrower and tighter in some places and wider and baggier in others. In my case, back when I was 21 my mother used to declare me “too thin” and secretly worried, she told me later, that I might have an eating disorder. Not likely! I always enjoyed my food too much.

Considering other problems around the world, it strikes me that the wildfires in the USA have slipped put of the news. And yet, according to this articletwo fires in California are still burning, maybe not as fiercely but still going! Until this latest round of fires experts believed that the giant sequoias did not burn. Now they know they do … and they die. The trees are on danger. And in areas where the fires have been extinguished they now have until the next fire season to clear some of the debris left behind by fallen burn trees. Down where there should be undergrowth there are masses of dried buts of tree, perfect kindling for even hotter fires next year. We have been warned!

Will Hutton has been writing about the petrol crisis. He’s not afraid to blame Brexit but recognises that recognises that there are other factors:

“Brexit is plainly one of the reason for the shortage of drivers and for the troublesome frictions at our borders spilling over into problems in the food and supermarket supply chains. More crucially, it was ministers’ very fear that early action would be seen as proof positive of Brexit’s frailties that so paralysed them.”

Reading his article, it strikes me more and more that politicians are not prepared to stand by what they perhaps truly believe because they are afraid of how the media and think tanks and the rest will react! We need more idealists!

And finally, here’s idealist Michael Rosen on the petrol crisis.

“I'm trying to spot the flaw in my logic: 

1. Petrol shortages are caused by people panicking. 

2. There are areas of the UK where there are fewer shortages than in other areas.

3. Therefore where there are shortages, people are panicking more than in areas where there are fewer shortages. 

5. We can't get petrol.

6. Londoners panic more than other people in the UK.”

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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