Archive for September, 2014

Heritage Day – Might as well braai?

There is no need to sit and bore South Africans or anyone willing to read this with the whole “It is Heritage Day, not braai day” debate, and why the informal name change is a controversy. There is no need to harp on and on and on about what Heritage Day is, why we have a Heritage Day, and why it should be celebrated. Or not celebrated. It has been said and done. You should know these things. You should know them on September 24, and you should know them on the 24th day of any other month as a South African. The truth is, it is just another public holiday and, by “just another public holiday”, I mean that most South Africans cannot afford to have the day off anyway. And, if they can, a public holiday is a day off to do the washing, sleep in or go to events where you can pay to do 67 minutes of something good. For all intents and purposes, it is a real-time Hallmark card – no different from those days we set aside to celebrate our parents or lovers, or the first day of the release of the first episode of Game of Thrones. Seriously, pick one! And, yes, maybe the fact that this specific day is associated with a braai makes it more marketable, or maybe, the whole braai thing was necessary to give it more of a collective meaning? Something we can all do (and I use the word “all” very loosely) together (and I use the word “together” very loosely), to celebrate our differences? Because, let us be honest, how many public holidays are spent actually doing something meaningful associated with that day? In my personal capacity, most public holidays are spent catching up on admin or working – and it is like that for a lot of people, I am sure. On the off chance that there is free time to be had, I can almost assure you that, if you are not paying to attend some corporate campaign on Nelson Mandela Day or tweeting a few things on Youth Day, you, like me, are not even sure what we are supposed to be doing to mark these occasions. Besides knowing what actually happened on those days, remembering them and honouring what they represent and why they are important (on a daily basis, or at least striving for that), if you are not working and you are economically inclined to do so, you are probably braaing anyway. So light a fire. Eat. And get on with it.
(And, by saying this, I am by no means condoning that you fill the pockets of the patron saint of Heritage Day in South Africa – Jan Braai – although I guess by default that is what you are kind of doing anyway. But, in that case, buy your meat well before he and any other corporate affiliates jump on to the marketing bandwagon and just freeze it for later.) And, if perhaps you are part of one of those families, or people or collectives who do not actually know anything about our history or heritage, or do but just suffer from a serious bout of selective historical amnesia, then at least feign interest and spark a conversation in what that the day is set aside for while downing your chop and dop.

– www.mg.co.za

U3A

Monday 29th September 2014
– The Ascent of Man : ( Part 11 of 13 )
Knowledge or certainty
Physicists begin to understand that certainty is unattainable
but when people believe that they have absolute knowledge,
with no test in reality, they behave inhumanely
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Alain Leger 044-533-2963

Monday 29th September 2014
– The U3A Film Club : The Grand Budapest Hotel
Written and directed by Wes Anderson, this charming British-German
comedy-drama is about the lasting friendship forged between a
legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and a lowly lobby boy
18H15 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Brian Hardy 044-533-5489

Tuesday 30th September 2014
– Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 1st October 2014
– World War One : 1914 – 1918 ( Part 5 of 7 )
Mutiny : In 1917, the French army refused to undertake
senseless attacks and the Russian Revolution broke out
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Marina Niven 044-533-2699

Wednesday 1st October 2014
– U3A Plett Social Bridge Club
Supervised bridge in a friendly atmosphere
with tips for improving your play.
13H30 at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator: Michael Webb 082-226-7280

Friday 3rd October 2014
– French Conversation
10H00 at 7 Gleninifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 3rd October 2014
– Mah Jong
Learn and play this ancient and fascinating game.
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Amelia White 044-533-0113

How To House Train Your Dog

This article shall give a few pointers on the fundamentals of house training your dog. House training your dog can be achieved surprisingly quickly if you follow a few simple steps and take the time to be consistent.

Make sure to give your dog a routine. Always be sure to take them outside first thing in the morning, straight after meals and just before bedtime, these times are crucial.

Also within that routine you should take some time to take your dog outside every two hours, every one hour for puppies, this ensures that the message is repetitive as to where you want them to go. Routine works well with dogs, it serves two purposes, it reinforces where you expect them to go and also helps to establish you as their pack leader.

Accidents will happen, do not under any circumstances chastise your dog for this. You will only succeed in confusing them and breaching the bond between you. Make no fuss and clean up in silence. However hard you may find this.

Some think it is a good idea to lay paper down close to door to the garden. I personally have never been a great fan of this idea. I think this sends a mixed message to your dog. If you want them to go outside make the effort to take them outside regularly. If you lay paper down you are saying “I want you to go outside but here is also OK. A mixed message that will confuse you dog.

Punishment following an accident will certainly set the toilet training process back and may well lead to behavioural problems further down the line. Accidents are not a personal attack on you.

Keep a watchful eye on your dog, do not expect them to tell you when they need to go outside. Do not let your dog wander all around the house unsupervised, watch for your dogs excessive sniffing or circling, if you notice this take them out immediately.

Successful toilet training for your dog depends on your good timing so the more effort you make the quicker your dog will get the message as to where it is you expect them to go.

Dogs like to have a routine they respond well to it, they are also keen to please if you set them up to succeed and fulfil your end of the bargain you will be amazed at how quickly your dog responds.

In this article we have covered some of the basics things you can do to house train your dog, whether a puppy or an adult dog. Remember the dog doesn’t know where it is expected to go, that is your job description to make that clear.

When you take on a dog you take on a huge amount of responsibility, be your dogs pack leader and your dog will reward you with unconditional love, affection and respect for life. Take a little time, be patient with your dog, and your dog will be clean very quickly.

PLAYING BRIDGE HAS MANY HEALTH BENEFITS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD

When many think of the game of bridge, they think of smoky living rooms filled with card tables and friends of their parents and grandparents. Today, bridge has a following of more than 25 million people in the United States according to the American Contract Bridge League and is played in homes, bridge clubs and country clubs across the country. Even more, approximately 50 million, are at least familiar with the game or have played before.
Not all of these players are in their twilight years either. Facebook fan clubs promoting the game of bridge are filled with younger players and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have invested $1 million in rejuvenating the game through a program in public schools.
A 2006 study performed by Dr. Christopher Shaw, a researcher from Carlinville, ILL, found that children who play bridge perform significantly better on standardized tests than their non bridge playing counterparts — increasing scores across all five core subjects areas with an astounding 39.11% increase in science.
Bridge can improve your physical health for older adults as well. Research has shown that a game of bridge can even boost your immune system. By stimulating the brain cortex, bridge-playing activity produces higher numbers of the white blood cells that fight disease. Other studies have found that people who play bridge regularly are 2½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.If you’re neither young, nor at risk of Dementia, there are still benefits.
Hmmm? Who knew?

Why play bridge?
Bridge exercises both sides of your brain. Bridge is one of the few games that stimulates both the left and right sides of your brain. Every time you play, you use — and improve — your skills in communication, logic, math, memory, visualization and psychology. It’s a unique type of mental workout that is both relaxing and invigorating, and that can’t be duplicated by other leisure or work-related activities.
Bridge stimulates the brain. Bridge is one of the best ways to practice the “use it or lose it” advice for maintaining mental sharpness in older age. Research has shown that regular bridge playing improves reasoning skills and long- and short-term memory. You’ll feel the neurons firing not only while you play, but long after. Many players say that hours after a bridge game, they still feel mentally alert and energized, similar to the “high” that long-distance runners experience after a race.
MORE BENEFITS?????
Bridge can be a lifelong pursuit. Learning to play well takes time and effort, and the game is impossible to master. No matter how many years you play, you’ll always find new challenges, and the learning process will never end. Bridge also caters to all physical conditions and disabilities, so players can actively pursue their pastime throughout their entire lives.
Bridge will never bore you. There are more than 750 trillion possible hands, so you’ll see something new every time you play ,each hand takes just five to ten minutes to play before you move on to the next deal .
Bridge is social. A game of bridge involves communication and cooperation with your partner and interaction with your opponents. There’s a special camaraderie among bridge players that develops from the social setting and the game’s emphasis on teamwork, ethics and sportsmanship.
Bridge is a bargain. All you need for a bridge game is a deck of cards and three other people. If you have a computer, you don’t even need the cards or the people.
Bridge is fun. Of all the reasons to learn the game, the most important is that it’s just fun to play. It offers the suspense of poker, the cerebral qualities of chess and the excitement of athletic sports, all in a sociable setting where you’re a participant, not just a spectator. Every session allows you to test yourself and experience the feeling of accomplishment when you find a successful bid or play.
That’s what keeps people coming back to the bridge table, and it’s why bridge will always be the world’s most popular card game.

Researched by KATIA C. ROWLANDS – STOTT PILATES INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER – 0825134256

golf day

U3A

Monday 22nd September 2014
– Shoreline Series 2 : Episode 10 of 13
Port Edward to Durban
The KwaZulu South Coast with its holiday resorts and rock art
Major economic driver is shipping and related activities
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Christo Vlok 044-533-5155

Tuesday 23rd September 2014
– Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 24th September 2014
– This day is a Public Holiday
thus no U3A lecture for today

Wednesday 24th September 2014
– U3A Plett Social Bridge Club
General lessons for improving players, help
and supervised Bridge in a friendly atmosphere
13H30 at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator: Michael Webb 082-226-7280

Friday 26th September 2014
– French Conversation
10H00 Meet at 7 Glennifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 26th September 2014
– Mah-jong
Learn and play this ancient and fascinating game
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Amelia White 044-533-0113

Back pain: core strengthening exercises to protect the spine

Targeted core strengthening work can reduce the risk of back pain
According to back care experts, four fifths of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives and athletes are no different. The good news according to TJ Salih is that targeted core strengthening work can reduce this risk
Anatomy of the healthy spine
The human spine is comprised of 33 bones (vertebrae) separated by 23 intervertebral discs, which when fitted together make a ‘lazy S-shaped’ curve – ideally suited to minimising the stresses and strains on the spine when under load. Although each vertebral joint only allows a small degree of movement, together they allow large ranges of movements in the spine as a whole.
The spinal column is further stabilised by ligaments, which attach to the vertebra. These ligaments are similar to those in other joints; they can be strained and sprained – a risk that is increased by sustained stretches or awkward movements of the spine. Fortunately another level of spinal stabilisation exists. A number of deep (core) muscles in close proximity to the spine act as a kind of muscular girdle and help to stabilise the vertebrae in the spine during activities involving spinal movement such as throwing or kicking a ball, twisting, turning, bending etc. Physiologists now believe that these stabilising muscles play a crucial role in maintaining spinal integrity and keeping injury at bay.
Spinal pain
There are a number of causes of spinal pain, but many involve a disc prolapse, where the nucleus of an intervertebral disc is subject to unusual or excessive force and herniates out, pressing onto an adjacent nerve, causing pain (often but incorrectly referred to as a ‘slipped disc). The risk of a disc prolapse increases during movements or prolonged postures involving bending or twisting, particularly when spinal control is poor due to weakened core muscles.
Spinal health and core strength
Core strength refers to the degree of muscular control exerted by the core muscles to stabilise the spine during movement. In recent years, studies among the general population have demonstrated that training and strengthening these muscles not only improves the function and mobility of back pain sufferers, but also reduces the risk of re-injury1-3.
Athletes are no different; although being fit and active is known to reduce the risk of back pain, this is negated by research showing that high-volume training performed by elite athletes may increase this risk4. However, while athletes undertaking heavy training loads seem to be at a higher risk of developing back pain, the good news is that they generally respond very well to back pain treatments5.

Sports specific spinal health and specific sports
Although there’s no doubting the benefits of core strength work for athletes, there’s a dearth of research on specific core strengthening routines for specific sports. However, some sports are renowned for the unusually large amounts of loading they can create in the spine; a few of these are briefly mentioned below:
Football A combination of over-strong and tight hamstrings, tight hip flexors and calves, over-developed rectus abdominis but weakened core muscles, and a tendency for footballers to favour one leg over the other can result in poor pelvic and trunk stability and reduced spinal flexibility. Ideally sport specific stretches including hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, calf and abdominal wall stretches are recommended to improve stability and reduce injury6.
Rugby Forward players in particular are prone to developing muscular imbalances in the neck and shoulders, and to tight hip flexors. Much of this arises from the requirements of the scrum, where a lot of time is spent bending forwards. A combination of specific stretches (especially for the neck) and a general core-strengthening program can be of great benefit to rugby players.
Cricket A stress fracture of the vertebra is a surprisingly common injury among cricketers, especially bowlers. Studies have indicated that it’s not the volume of bowling that creates the problem; rather the technique7. Fast bowlers in particular use the spine as a whip for the arm while simultaneously subjecting the spine to rotation and sideways bending, placing stress on a region of the vertebra called Pars Interarticularis’, leading to crack formation in this area. Prevention of this injury often requires the adoption of a ‘squarer’ technique to reduce rotation in the spine, which may require analysis of foot and hip movement too. Stretches for the spine, shoulder girdle and scapulae area are also strongly recommended as well as core strengthening work.
Rowing The repetitive and prolonged forward bending action in rowers with loss of the ‘lazy-S’ position can place the ligaments and disks in spine under stress, leading to an increased risk of low back pain. This risk is increased with any left/right asymmetry as rotational strains can then develop. Thoracic pain can also be a problem. Rowers often develop tight rectus abdominis and chest muscles and have poor core strength. Stretches that target and open up the chest are recommended as well as a general core strengthening routine.
Conclusion Although more studies on core strengthening work to reduce the injury risk in specific sports are needed, the available evidence suggests that the inclusion of a number of simple core strength and stretching exercises in a sport conditioning program can help reduce spinal injury risk and provide a solid foundation for the execution of sport specific skills and movements.
References
1. Med Sci Sports Exerc; 2004; 36 (6): 926 – 934
2. Curr Sports Med Rep; 2004; 3 (1): 41- 46
3. Curr Sports Med Rep; 2004; 3 (1): 35 – 40
4. Curr Sports Med Rep; 2004; 3 (1): 41- 46
5. Spine; 1996; 21 (22): 2640 –2650
6. Man Ther; 2001; 6 (4): 213 – 220
7. Sports Med; 2002; 32: 633 – 653

Researched by KATIA C. ROWLANDS – PILATES INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER – 0825134256

Basic Dog Grooming Tips

The act of grooming your dog is one of the fundamental things that your dog requires. The essential grooming requirements depend on your dog’s breed and its characteristics. The first thing a pet owner must manage with is the dog’s hair.

Long hair dogs that shed require more frequent grooming than short hair dogs, or those who shed on a seasonal basis. Dogs who frequent the outdoors pick up debris and should be brushed or combed daily. It can often be an effort to untangle the hair as well as remove those bits or particles stuck in the dog’s coat after the dog has been outside.

If you’re looking for something more convenient and don’t mind laying out some cash, you could use a professional groomer. You should be aware that professional dog grooming can get really expensive if you use it weekly. But if you want the best for your dog, you may chose that option. If you want to go strictly for convenience, you can hire mobile dog groomers who have full grooming stations equipped with all your dog’s needs in their vehicles. The groomers park their van on your driveway or in front of your house, so you don’t even have to leave home. If you’re unable to handle grooming tasks yourself, this is the ultimate in convenience. Another benefit to using professional groomers is that you don’t have the mess or “damp dog” odor in your home.

To save money, groom your dog yourself. Just equip yourself with the basic grooming tools. It’s not a good idea to use your old hairbrush on your dog. Get proper brushes and combs that are designed for your dog’s fur. If not, you are likely to incur vet bills if you use your discarded brushes since they could potentially create damage to your dog’s skin.

If you’re not sure of the correct way to bathe and brush your dog’s hair, search online for some resources that can help you through the process. There are many articles and forums available to you, or simply ask a dog groomer or your veterinarian. You could also take a course from a pet store or vet’s office to learn the correct procedures and get some expert tips on dealing with your dog’s anxieties during grooming as well.

Some may think that grooming your dog is optional, but it’s not. Not grooming your dog consistently leaves him at risk for illnesses, parasites, damage to his skin or hair or both. Your dog may be unhappy about having a bath, but you can’t let that stop you.

Note that rough scrubbing should be avoided when giving your dog a bath. It can reduce the natural oils that are there to protect your dog’s skin and hair follicles. Also, be cautious what types of powders or fragrances you use on your dog. Many are not made for dogs and can cause discomfort or infection. Avoid use of any product that isn’t fit for your dog and your dog’s breed.

Patience is what is needed when grooming your dog. Take time to gently talk to your pet while you are grooming. Try to make grooming a playful time by rubbing his belly and patting his head. It’s best not to initiate the grooming process if you don’t have much time or you don’t have the needed patience to complete the process. Remember, whatever attitude you project towards the grooming session, your dog will know and it will impact how he approaches them in the future.

U3A

Monday 15th September 2014
– The Ascent of Man : ( Part 10 of 13 )
World within world
The Story of the Periodic Table – and of the atom
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Alain Leger 044-533-2963

Tuesday 16th September 2014
– Italian Conversation
09H45 at 12 Challenge Drive
Co-ordinator: Brenda Hardy 044-533-5489

Wednesday 17th September 2014
– World War One : 1914 – 1918 ( Part 4 of 7 )
Slaughter : The trench warfare of the Western Front
brought about the death of upwards of 3 000 000 men
10H00 at Formosa Garden Village Lounge
Co-ordinator: Michael Lond 044-533-0018

Wednesday 17th September 2014
– U3A Plett Social Bridge Club
Supervised bridge in a friendly atmosphere
with tips for improving your play.
13H30 at the Angling Club
Co-ordinator: Michael Webb 082-226-7280

Friday 19th September 2014
– French Conversation
10H00 at 7 Gleninifer Street
Co-ordinator: Merle Decot 044-533-5879

Friday 19th September 2014
– Mah Jong
Learn and play this ancient and fascinating game.
13H30 at Formosa Garden Village Small Dining Room
Co-ordinator: Amelia White 044-533-0113

Dog Tricks: Where To Start

When it comes to teaching your dog new tricks this can be great fun for all involved. You can start off by doing something simple like weaving in and out of your legs or fetching some article by name or teaching your dog to shut a door.

There are a few people that find it is demeaning to the dog by teaching them tricks but I can assure you that dogs love learning and especially being appreciated and by learning to do something new it will cover both of these needs. Whatever you going to teach your dog both of you will benefit from the experience and it will be a time that you will learn more about each other.

Suggested Tricks could include:

• Close the door
• Roll over
• Catch
• Give a paw
• Open a box
• Find members of your family or toy by name
• Bark on command
• Weave through your legs
• Jump over objects
• Crawl under a low object or a chair

With any trick, split it into small sequences and teach each one a step at a time. If the task is complicated start with the last sequence first and then add the previous element to the beginning and build up from there. This method is called reverse chaining. It is excellent as it helps the dog learn as he always ends with the familiar part. Rather than waiting until the whole sequence is learnt reward every step for getting closer and closer to your goal. Each step you are asking a little more of your dog.

The use of clickers can work extremely well as you are able to reward your dog at the correct time even if he is still some distance away from his goal. While tricks can be fun they can also be a benefit to anyone that is disabled and not being able to pick something up off the ground or fetch some sort of aid to help the disabled person.

There are many people that are sight impaired that use seeing eye dogs that had started just like you are with simple to learn tricks and then graduated to more advanced training. The whole process should be imaginative, have a think of what your dog enjoys and develop this to include a whole collection of tricks.

The dog will enjoy learning something different and will certainly enjoy all of the praise in getting something right. All that is needed is a dose of persistence and time invested in her training and by doing this you will be rewarded.

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