Fitmodo: Fitbit Features You Need To Unlock And Is It Safe To Eat Snow?

Welcome to Fitmodo, your regular weekly round up of the news you need to know to keep your earthly form in top shape -- from fitness advice to breakthroughs in medical research.

This week:

Is It Safe To Eat Snow?

Quick! Something white, cold, and flaky is falling from the sky. Should you start eating it, perhaps by the spoonful? Maybe — but, more likely, maybe not.

Certainly there are some advocates for snow-eating: The Romans drizzled honey on top of snow for a (disappointing-sounding) dessert. A more modern alternative is offered by this recipe for basic snow ice cream (snow + cream + sugar) from the University of Missouri’s Extension department, which brushes aside any concern about eating snow as "urban legend." And you can usually spot at least a couple people trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues in a snowstorm.


7 Fitbit Features You Need To Unlock

Fitbits are a great way to track your activity and encourage yourself to get off the couch. Now, popular web service IFTTT (If This Then That) is getting in on the action. Here’s how you can use IFTTT to plug fitness data from any Fitbit into a host of other services and apps.

If you're completely new to IFTTT, we’d advise you to go and sign up for a free account immediately. The service lets you connect a wealth of apps and services up to each other using simple logic "recipes." Each recipe uses a trigger and a subsequent action, opening up a wide range of new possibilities. Here are the best that you can use with your Fitbit.


Texting Produces An Entirely New Kind Of Brain Wave Pattern

A research team from the Mayo Clinic has shown that text messaging changes the rhythm of brain wave patterns in a way that’s never seen before. The discovery shows that smartphones are literally altering the way our minds work.

We’re texting more than ever, yet little is known about the neurological effects of smartphone use. A new study shows that textural communication elicits a unique waveform, or “texting rhythm”, in the brains of some individuals. It’s a fascinating finding, one that shows how incredibly adaptable our brains really are, and how our cognitive processes change when confronted with new and mentally challenging technologies.


Does A Weekend Of Binge-Drinking Make Your Cold Worse?

People who binge drink on the weekend take more days off work, but the cost may be more than just economic.

Recently published research suggested alcohol and drug-related absenteeism costs the Australian economy around AU$3 billion a year. One of the report’s authors was quoted in the media as saying that “alcohol puts a bit of a tax on your immune system”. She said people may not realise drinking or drug-taking was causing their stomach upset, headache or worsening cold by Monday.

From the few studies that explore this, we know excess alcohol intake affects the immune system. But how does this effect manifest itself? Can a “big weekend” make people more susceptible to illness?


Also catching our eye:

  • Everyone loves naps, as long as you've got the science of it down before you doze off. Lifehacker Australia has a classic hack to show you how to take the perfect nap.
  • Business Insider Australia reveals why you should never brush your teeth after drinking wine
  • As we try to make it through Winter without completely losing our healthy momentum, Popsugar Australia has a list all the things you should never, ever feel guilty about while you're trying to stay healthy.