Tetris Shown to Curb Food, Alcohol, and Cigarette Cravings

A study performed at Plymouth University has shown that playing Tetris for just three minutes can reduce cravings for food, alcohol, and cigarettes.  The game basically distracts the brain from images of the aforementioned substances by shifting focus to the almost 30-year old game.  The lead professor stated that cravings usually last a couple of minutes and during this time, the individual is picturing the item they want and how good they will feel if they receive it.  Thus, even a quick game of Tetris can help eliminate episodes of cravings.

The study instructed participants to rate their cravings in strength, vividness, and intrusiveness.  Half of the individuals played the game for three minutes and the other half waited for the game to load for three minutes.  The group that actually played the game reported 24% less cravings than the group that didn’t get to play.

Now before you go and dust off your copy of Tetris for the NES, it should be noted that probably any kind of three minute distraction when a craving sets in will likely reproduce similar results as the study.  Playing Tetris itself is not inherently a craving buster, so replace the game with your favorite three minute activity and voila!

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Taping Tuesday: Inner Knee Pain

With a rash of MCL injuries occurring in the NBA recently (Iman Shumpert and Nene Hilario), I thought it would be appropriate to showcase a couple of kinesiotaping techniques for inner knee pain.  In addition to knee ligament issues, medial knee pain can also be caused by inflammation of the tendons from leg muscles that attach in the area such as the sartorious, gracilis, and semitendinosis.

KT Tape provides a way to tape the inner knee using two small strips and one larger strip of tape.

Rocktape on the other hand provides support in the region using a regular strip and a half strip of tape.

Overview of Nets’ G Shaun Livingston’s Bruised Tailbone

Shaun Livingston suffered an injury to his tailbone on Saturday and was diagnosed with a bruised tailbone after x-rays came back negative.  He missed Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day.  The Brooklyn Nets don’t play again until Wednesday and have three games remaining this week.

A tailbone bruise refers to an injury to five small bones at the end of the sacrum called the coccyx.  Typical methods of trauma include falling back and landing on the area or a direct blow.  Bruising, fractures, and dislocations are common results of injury to the tailbone.  Full recovery can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks depending on severity and if there is a fracture.  A doughnut cushion may be used for long periods of sitting to help alleviate pressure on the coccyx.

Fantasy Impact
Newly acquired Marcus Thornton from Sacramento should put up solid numbers once he plays his first game for the Nets.  He has been out with food poisoning but will provide scoring punch off the bench as evidenced by a 42 PTS outburst on January 24.

P90X3: Week 5 Recap

Week 5 contained a collection of workouts that were a good deal more intense than any of the previous ones.  Starting with Eccentric Upper where each move focused on eccentric or lengthening of muscles for three seconds followed by one second of concentric motion (muscle shortening).  This philosophy is repeated with a variety of push-ups, pull-ups, and moves with weights to work the chest, back, biceps, and triceps.  I was already pretty burnt out by the time the burnout session at the end started but I am looking forward to signs of improvement in the next three weeks.

The next day’s workout was Triometrics, which consisted of plyometric/cardio moves that were each broken down into three segments, totaling a minute.  The first 20 seconds focused on the core move, while each subsequent 20 seconds added modifications to make it more difficult.  The nice thing about this structure is that depending on your level of fitness and comfort, you can stay with any of the phases for the entire minute.  It was a good workout to follow the upper body-centric nature of the previous day but the burnout segment (side hops) was relatively mild and could have been more intense.

Eccentric Lower was the next new workout for the week and followed the same overall structure of the upper routine by the same name.  Three seconds of muscle lengthening followed by a quick one second of muscle shortening.  In my opinion, this was easier just for the simple fact that no pull-ups were involved.  A variety of squats, lunges, kicks, and other lower body moves made the workout go by fast with very little repetition.  I didn’t think “calf dog” worked the named muscles enough and will try replacing it with calf raises with weights the next time.

Incinerator is another total upper body workout and has become my favorite routine so far.  The premise behind this DVD is to work the same area with two moves in a row to achieve failure.  Whether it was chest, back, biceps or triceps, all those muscle groups were definitely hypertrophied by the end of the 30 minutes.  With only one dedicated upper workout in the first block of P90X3 (The Challenge), I am glad the second block has two.  I prefer less cardio and more strength training so this week’s exercises were just what I wanted.

The last new workout included in week 5 was MMX, basically Kenpo X from P90X but intensified with less breaks.  I liked the fast and more complex nature of the martial arts moves in this video and felt I got more out of it in half the time (30 minutes versus an hour).  A big criticism of the Kenpo workout from X1 was that it is too easy and I think Tony took that to heart as MMX pushes you right from the beginning with more kicks and combinations.  Gone are the blocking moves and instead, your whole body gets into it with sprawls thrown into the mix.

I really enjoyed this first week of block 2 and look forward to spending the next three weeks with this set of exercises.  The increased focus on the upper body has got me excited, even if they are pretty tough so far.  I hope to see some good gains going into the last block of P90X3.

Overview of Knicks G/F Iman Shumpert’s MCL Sprain

After an MRI today, Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee.  The injury occurred in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.  Shumpert drove into the lane and tried stopping when he landed and twisted his left knee.  This is the same knee that he had surgery for a torn ACL towards the end of his rookie season.  Since it is a sprain, the Knicks stated that they expect Shumpert to miss two weeks.

Ligaments of the Knee
Ligaments of the Knee

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the knee is located on the inside surface of the knee joint.  It attaches the medial aspect of the femur to the medial aspect of the tibia as noted in the image above.  Most MCL sprains occur with bending, twisting, or quick changes of motion such as in basketball, football, and soccer.

There are three classifications of MCL sprains:

  • Grade 1: Mild pain in the area of the MCL with pressure or  valgus stress (pushing the lateral side of the knee in while pushing the inside of the ankle out) placed on the knee joint but no joint laxity.  Recovery time is usually 1 to 3 weeks
  • Grade 2: Moderate pain and edema present with some joint laxity when a valgus stress is placed on the joint.  Recovery takes about a month.
  • Grade 3: Complete tear of the ligament with severe joint laxity and instability.  Usually requires knee stabilization brace with recovery taking 4 to 6 weeks.

Fantasy Impact
J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. will both see more playing time with Shumpert out.  Smith logged 40 minutes on Wednesday night, finishing with 19 PTS and 3 3PT.  Hardaway Jr. on the other hand has come out of the All-Star break on fire, shooting 46% from the field and scoring 23 and 16 PTS while going 7-15 from behind the arc in the past two games.

Overview of Nuggets G Ty Lawson’s Rib Fracture

Denver Nuggets starting point guard Ty Lawson missed his third game in a row last night with a fractured left rib.  He suffered the injury during the February 8th game against the Detroit Pistons and was formally diagnosed with an x-ray.  No timetable has been set for his return and should be out for at least a couple more games.

Rib fractures usually occur with direct trauma such as in contact sports or motor vehicle accidents.  Because ribs are involved with expansion and contraction of the thorax, common symptoms include pain with breathing and coughing.  Tenderness to palpation of the injured area and pain with general motion are also likely.  Pain relief is the main goal during recovery as most rib fractures will heal on its own within a couple of weeks.

Fantasy Impact
Randy Foye has been starting in place of Lawson but has not been consistently putting up big numbers.  Foye only registered 8 PTS and 5 REB in 40 minutes of action last night.  He has struggled with his shot the past 3 games, all under 30% from the field.  Foye did have  a productive line during the game Lawson exited early from (25 PTS with 5 3PT made) so he will most likely get hot again.  Evan Fournier is starting at shooting guard and has doubled his scoring output in the last 4 games (7.2 PPG to 14.5 PPG) and can help out any owners in need of some scoring and three point makes.

Titanfall Beta Now Open to All

Looks like the Titanfall beta will now be opened to everyone on the XBox One, with the PC version following suit shortly, per a Tweet from Respawn Entertainemnt co-founder Vince Zampella.

It will be interesting to see how Respawn’s servers respond to the influx of players.  As of last night on the PC (which is still in closed beta), I was once again receiving connection error messages and disconnects.  It wasn’t as frequent as Saturday but nonetheless was frequent enough to be annoying and disruptive.  It’s good to see them stress their servers at close to max capacity with the change so I expect these issues to be ironed out by Titanfall‘s release on March 11th,

P90X3: Week 4 Recap

Week 4 was a mix of familiar workouts and new routines to transition in to the more intense block 2 of P90X3.  First up was Isometrix, which is basically a collection of tough yoga moves that are held for a grueling 45 seconds.  The poses that stood out for me were plank with arm and leg lifts which really works the core and bound dog with leg lift which requires good hamstring flexibility (an area that I do see mild improvement since starting the program).  This workout shows up only during transition weeks so I am spared from having to do it every week.  Regular X3 Yoga is enough for me!

Accelerator is true to its name with each move lasting a minute and provides a great cardio workout.  Moves alternate between cardio and plank work, which is common with a lot of the P90X3 routines.  I think this makes up for a lack of a dedicated ab workout (unless you bought the deluxe edition).

The last new workout this week was Pilates X.  I honestly had no idea what to expect and went into it with a completely blank slate.  I left with the respect that pilates is a lot harder than I could have ever imagined and once again, is a great core workout.  My lack of flexibility in my hip flexors and legs in general were once again highlighted during this DVD.

Overall, this first transition week was a good recovery period before the intensity ramps up again with the second block starting with Eccentric Upper.  I look forward to reporting back in a week, if my body isn’t so sore that I can’t type!

‘Titanfall’ Closed Beta Registration Ends 2/14

The deadline for a chance to access the closed beta of Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall on XBox One and PC is fast approaching.  Registration ends on Friday, 2/14 at 4 pm PST.  Founded by the guys responsible for Infanity Ward’s Call of Duty titles, this will be Respawn Entertainment’s first game and will compete for market share with established shooters such as the aforementioned CoD and EA’s Battlefield series.  Head here to sign-up before it ends.

Slated for a March 11th release, Titanfall is a 6v6 first person shooter with the added element of giant robots (titans) that each player can jump in and pilot.  The beta will include 2 maps (Angel City and Fracture) and 3 game modes.  Attrition is Titanfall‘s version of team deathmatch but with AI controlled cannon fodder running around.  Hardpoint Domination is basically Battlefield‘s Conquest mode where teams fight to maintain three capture points.  Finally, Last Titan Standing starts all players in a titan and only one life.  Check out the following  videos that were recently released for more info.

Beta codes will be emailed to a select number of people beginning tonight and until February 17th.  I’ll be furiously hitting the ‘F5’ key through the weekend…