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posted: 1/27/2014 5:45 AM

Your health: Try these winter workouts

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  • Tobogganing may not seem like much of a workout, but take a few trips back up that hill, and you'll understand just how good this activity is for you.

      Tobogganing may not seem like much of a workout, but take a few trips back up that hill, and you'll understand just how good this activity is for you.


Try these winter workouts

What better time is there to discover a spankin' new, amazing workout than right now? (Hint: there is no better time!)

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Go tobogganing: What exactly is a toboggan, you ask? Simply, it's a sled without runners. Sure, tobogganing may not seem like much of a workout, but take a few trips back up that hill, and you'll understand just how good this activity is for you. Plus, you'll be having too much fun to even notice that you're in the middle of a winter sweat session.

Slip on a pair of snowshoes: There are endless health and fitness benefits to taking a stroll outdoors, not the least of which include weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. But throw on a pair of snowshoes, and you've got a whole new level of outdoor fitness since snowshoeing can burn anywhere between 400 and 1,000 calories an hour. Now that's a great reason to bundle up and enjoy the scenery.

Eye damage from lasers

Powerful lasers that are easily purchased online pose a serious danger to vision, according to a new report, Reuters says.

Doctors from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, report on the case of a 9-year-old boy who showed up at their hospital after being blinded by an adult playing with a handheld laser.

"Until he came in, no one had realized there was an actual injury and we saw the bleeding," Dr. Cynthia Toth, one of the authors of the new report, told Reuters Health.

The high-power laser had passed through the boy's eye lenses and burst the blood vessels in the back of his eyes.

"This was a larger device that was sold as some toy, but it's a dangerous weapon," Toth said. "You can start a fire with the power that was coming out of that one."

Toth is a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at Duke. She also has a long history of studying and working with lasers.

The high-power laser was made from a component of a dismantled home theater projector and purchased online.

A laser, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is a "powerful, targeted beam of electromagnetic radiation that is used in many products, from music players and printers to eye-surgery tools."

The FDA regulates lasers, as it does other radiation-emitting electronic products, and separates them into classes and subclasses.

Class 3a lasers include those typically used for pointing during presentations. Their power is capped at 5 milliwatts (mW) on the visible light spectrum under federal regulation. Class 4 lasers are the type used in industrial or medical settings and are an immediate hazard.

The laser used on the boy in the new report falls into class 4, according to the researchers. It produced 1,250 mW of power.

The boy's vision eventually recovered after two months, Toth and her colleagues report in JAMA Ophthalmology.

But other people are not so fortunate, Toth said.

Within the past few months, other reports of eye injuries by lasers were published in other journals, Toth said. In one case, a laser burned a hole through the back of a person's eye.

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