If you had to associate Facebook with an emotional state, you’d probably go with FOMO (fear of missing out). But the social networking giant is taking steps to use its connectedness in suicide prevention efforts. Plus, the latest in wearables is a banana?! Read on to get the full scoop on these stories and others that have caught our eye this week.
Facebook’s New Mental Health Campaign
You already use Facebook to check in on your friends and exes, but now it can also be a valuable tool to recognize the signs of potential suicide. The Facebook Compassion Research Center has been working with the suicide prevention organizations Now Matters Now, Forefront and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to develop features that may help save users who are on the edge.
If you see a post that worries you, you have the option to report it the social media site, which will provide you with suicide prevention tools, such as suggested outreach language and a help guide. The user in distress may receive self-care tips, information for a suicide hotline or someone to chat with. Vetted by psychologists and suicide prevention experts, the resources use Facebook’s most valuable asset — its ability to connect people — as a tool to potentially save lives. “One of the things that we learned was that increased social connectedness improves outcome,” says Rob Boyle Facebook product manager. “That’s what we do — help people connect.” (Facebook)
Could a Sauna Save Your Heart?
Can’t get enough of your gym’s sauna? Turns out it’s doing more than just keeping you warm. According to a new Finnish study, the sweatboxes are thought to help improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure, and help you exercise longer. Researchers discovered that among the 2,300 Finnish men studied, those who used a sauna four times a week or more suffered from half as many heart attacks compared to those who steamed once a week or less. The study’s author suggests that the high temperature and humidity could cause beneficial changes in the cardiovascular system. So go ahead and get sweaty. (Men’s Fitness)
Your New Fitness Tracker: The Banana
Well, this is just bananas. At last weekend’s Tokyo Marathon, fruit purveyor Dole unveiled the wearable banana. Scientists peeled back the skin to insert the LED display, and strangely enough, a smaller banana. The LEDs beam out lights to show you your splits, heart rate and motivational tweets. There’s a GPS in there, too, but you’ll have to carry a separate device to access the data. (Engadget)
Meditate to Enjoy Your Workout
Hate exercise? Meditate on that. A new study shows that practicing mindfulness could be the key to enjoying your workouts. By being present through all aspects of your workout (even the tough parts!), you may grow to view the act as less threatening and be more likely to hit the gym the next day, too. Try this walking meditation to learn how to tune into your workouts. (Yoga Journal)
Our American Diet Is Killing Us
Time to step up our fitness game. A new report from the governmental Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee shows that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Even worse, half of our country’s population, or more than 100 million people, suffer from preventable chronic diseases related to an unhealthy diet and lack of movement. The committee’s report recommends a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains — and low in red meat, sugar and refined carbs. (Washington Post)
Eat Peanuts…To Prevent Peanut Allergies?
Listen up, new moms and dads. Parents have long been advised to keep their children nut-free if they’re allergic. But new research shows that — with a doctor’s supervision — it may be possible to desensitize a child to a peanut allergy through exposure. This gives hopes to parents and children alike. But let us repeat: Don’t try this at home. (CNN)
The Most Underrated Part of Marathon Training
Training for a marathon is no easy feat. Unless you’re a pro, you’ll have to figure out how to fit in long runs around a busy work schedule, sacrificing some of your free time to run for hours on end. But the time you spend not on your feet, resting, is just as important. These tips will help you learn how to get in both the sleep and miles you need. (Crazy Running Girl)