Weird News: Useful Excuses for Labor Day

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Excuse for women to have sex: Women sprinters who have sex before competition generally perform better, top German trainer Uwe Hakus said. "We have scientific evidence that women who have sex shortly before competing run better. It boosts performance," he said. "With women, the testosterone levels rise when they have sex." Unfortunately, Hakus says, male testosterone levels fall after sex, slowing them down. Excuses for Little Children

Excuse not to mow the lawn: Kids, I know you love to help in the yard. But you should remind Mom and Dad that more than 9,400 youngsters under 18 that receive emergency care because of lawnmower-related injuries.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says children under 12 should not operate walk-behind power or hand mowers. And you shouldn't go near a riding mower until you're 16. I know you want to help, but safety first.

Excuse to chew gum: Chewing gum makes you smarter. Researchers at England's University of Northumbria concluded that chewing gum has a positive effect on cognitive tasks such as thinking and memory. Peppermint or spearmint? It doesn't make a difference. The key, researchers say, is the repetitive chewing motion.

Excuse not to kiss your sister: Little boys hate to kiss their sisters. Now there's scientific justification — they smell. In fact, all family members smell bad to one another, according to a team of scientists at Wayne State University in Detroit. Researchers recruited 25 families with children aged between 6 and 15 and gave them T-shirts. They were later asked to sniff two T-shirts, one worn by a family member and another worn by a stranger. The results: Volunteers far preferred the smell of the stranger's shirt. Why do people seem to think their families stink? Scientists concluded it might be nature's way of discouraging siblings from being attracted to one another.

Excuse to eat candy: Kindly remind Mom and Dad that, contrary to popular belief, the sugar in candy does not cause hyperactivity. That contention has been backed up by a Vanderbilt University study. Other researchers have determined that chocolate, though tasty, isn't addictive. The National Confectioners Association even points to research at Penn State University that says chocolate may help lower cholesterol.

Excuse to eat ice cream: The typical American eats ice cream 2.2 times a week, according to a report by Mintel Consumer Intelligence. Unless you get ice cream more than twice a week, you're getting less than other kids. And that's good reason to whine, "It's not faiiiiir!"