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The Independent Online

Wear this

Wear this

Hi-tech sportswear performs no better than your old cotton T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, say scientists. Researchers from Indiana State University measured physiological responses, such as heart rate and body temperature, in eight men. Some wore cotton clothes, others synthetic fabric. While the cotton clothes retained much more sweat, this did not interfere with the body's performance. But the scientists conceded that synthetic fabrics may come into their own in cooler conditions. Visit

Pose this

At this time of year many people resolve to sign up for yoga classes. But, having browsed the different disciplines and plumped for one, they are then faced with an even greater array of yoga postures. However, help is at hand at, a website that offers 30 postures complete with difficulty ratings (marked out of 10), step-by-step instructions and animated diagrams. So if the contortions of the 'scorpion posture' (difficulty rating seven) are beyond you, try the 'fish posture' (an easy three).

Climb this

Nepal's tourism ministry, keen to attract visitors after a troubled year, announced last week that 103 more mountain peaks will be opened to climbers and trekkers in 2002. The mountains, in several districts throughout Nepal, have hitherto been off-limits to visitors and include the 24,111ft peak Mt Talung in the Kanchenjunga range. The hope is to revive the country's mountaineering tourism industry. The government will also simplify the visa system, offering just single-entry ($30) or multiple-entry ($50) visas.

Throw this

During the gloomier months, some people need a little extra motivation to exercise outdoors. This where something like a boomerang comes in useful. A thrown boomerang is, of course, designed to come back to you, although while you learn to perfect the art you will do a fair amount of running after it. The hunting tool was developed in the Australian out-back, but British manufacturers Davro, based in Scotland, offer a range of quality wood boomerangs at; the Astro tri-blade model for beginners costs £10.86. Interestingly, Aborigines are said to call a non-returning boomerang a 'kylie'...

Flake this

While snowfalls in the Alps have generally been less than spectacular so far this year, your back garden could become a wintry wonderland. All you need is the Backyard Blizzard snowmaker, which runs off the household power supply. Simply attach the mobile machine to your garden hose and hey presto – snow. It produces 60 cubic feet an hour, so your own half-pipe shouldn't take too long to build. Visit; the 220v version costs $3,105 (£2,100).

Surf this

Follow the progress of the riders and drivers in the 24th Arras-Madrid-Dakar Rally at, the event's official website. The site has detailed reports from each stage of the rally in the virtual race headquarters, you can follow the fortunes of individual teams on the maps, while the fate of unluckier competitors is hinted at in the pictures of burnt-out cars in the photogallery.