Q: How can I rid my hands of calluses but still keep them tough enough to lift?
A: Don't take this personally, but "skin is a relatively dumb organ," says dermatologist Dr Kenneth Beer. "Skin only knows how to get thicker." Dumb, sure, but also effective – those calluses are extra layers of protection from all of your iron gripping. So yes, you need those calluses. But if they're extra rough, pick up a skin file, similar to a grater you'd use for ginger or hard cheese. Use it to gently remove some of the dead skin. Careful, though – if you're too aggressive, you'll just make the problem worse. Also, apply a moisturiser that contains urea or lactic acid morning and night to soften dead skin cells.
Q: I love naps. Do I have a problem?
If your boss has to shake you awake, then yes. But an occasional 20-minute nap to put some pep in your step is perfectly fine. What's not fine is being unable to ge through the day without a siesta. "Depending on your nap like a skydiver depends on a parachute means something is wrong," says Dr W. Christopher Winter, author of The Sleep Solution. "Napping is like a multivitamin – it should be a supplement, not a replacement," Winter says. As for timing, try to do your snoozing before lunch time. That way you augment your previous night's sleep total instead of disrupting your upcoming night.
Q: I run half marathons, but sometimes my heart pounds from just bounding up the stairs. Am I one of those fit guys who will keel over from a heart attack?
A: Can't say for sure, but probably not. This is not uncommon among active guys. Sure, you might be able to run forever or bench twice your weight, but to your body, that's not quite the same as racing up to a third-floor meeting. "Climbing stairs uses a whole different set of muscles and puts a lod on your heart and lungs in a way that your body's not used to," says cardiologist Dr Michael Faulx. It's a reminder to mix up your workout regimen, Faulx says. Do some intervals and hill climbs, and maybe leave a little earlier for that 11 o'clock.
Q: I see more people wearing surgical masks these days, like in Tokyo. Will a mask protect me from the flu – or anything else?
A: Not really. That masked dude on the train might be paranoid, or just a really nice guy. Surgical masks aren't that good at protecting you from other people's germs, which are everywhere. But if you're the one who's sick, a mask can limit the nastiness you spread around. Coughs and sneezes can send snot and saliva droplets flying more than three metres, MIT research reveals. A basic cloth masks will catch them. If you've traveled lately and think you might have an unusual strain of flu or respiratory illness, upgrade to a respirator mask.
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