| Fitness |
|ARTHRITIS AND EXERCISE--PART 1 OF 2|
||Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Symptoms include swelling, pain, redness of skin, heat at the joint, and loss of function. Arthritis can severely limit activity in people of any age, but it's the leading chronic condition in people age 65 and over and it's more common in women than in men. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms.Osteoarthritis is painful and linked to the wearing away of the cartilage found at the ends of bones. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones grind together, causing pain. It's usually found in the joints of the neck, fingers, hips, knees, and lower back. It's more likely to affect people over age 40, and by 60 most people show signs of the disease. Obesity is often a cause of osteoarthritis because the excess weight adds to the stress on the hips and knees.Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammation of the membranes that line the joints. The body's immune system attacks its own tissues, causing inflammation of the joints. The entire body is affected by this condition. Unrelenting pain and severe joint damage are common symptoms of this disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs are useful in treating the disease.You can exercise daily without injury to the joints if you have arthritis. We'll discuss exercise in our next tip.|
|IF YOU HAVE SLOW METABOLISM, CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
Almost everyone can lose weight. People with a slow metabolism will have a harder time and it may take longer to shed all the unwanted pounds. The key is to have a carefully planned program of nutrition and physical activity.
Designing a program of at least 45 minutes to an hour, four to five times a week, is generally the most effective method of increasing metabolism. Research has indicated that the body consumes mainly carbohydrates during intense workouts, while it relies more on fat to fuel prolonged, moderate exercise. Brisk walking, dancing, and bicycling are good slimming-down exercises.
T'ai chi is a martial art that is characterized by soft, slow, flowing movements that are performed with precision. It emphasizes relaxation and is a form of meditation in motion. People practice t'ai chi for health benefits, especially for the following conditions: arthritis, rheumatism, back problems, high blood pressure, and stress.
T'ai chi helps you, through meditation, to deal with yourself and others more effectively. It emphasizes learning control over yourself. It challenges you to become a better person by allowing the real you to emerge without limitations. This is part of the paradox of opening up and becoming powerful. The philosophy of t'ai chi understands everything in opposing principles, yin and yang. Harmony results in the natural balance of self and world. The results are physical and spiritual well-being.
WHAT MAKES AEROBIC EXERCISE SO BENEFICIAL?
The heart is a muscle, and as with any muscle, must be exercised to stay strong and working. After two to three months of aerobic exercise on a regular basis (three times a week for 20 or more minutes), the heart thickens, pumping more oxygenated blood with each beat. The arteries expand in diameter, allowing for greater blood flow. The working muscles of the arms and legs become efficient at using oxygen from the bloodstream. Exercise capacity improves tremendously.
The major risk factors for heart disease are reduced by aerobic exercise. Higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) are produced and the arteries have less plaque. The resting heart rate decreases, resulting in the same amount of blood pumped each day but with less wear and tear on the heart. Numerous studies indicate that aerobic exercise reduces depression and anxiety, and calms the mind. Sleep habits improve over a period of time. And, a Harvard University study of alumni men suggests the more active you are, the longer you will live.
MUSCLE FIBER COMPOSITION--PART 1 OF 3
Skeletal muscles are composed of two types of fiber: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Each is found in all skeletal muscles. If you look at a cross-section of muscle under a microscope, you will see a blend of light and dark fibers. The dark (red) are the slow-twitch, and the light (white) are fast-twitch fibers. They lie side by side but have very different functions.
The body will always try to do a physical task with as little effort as possible and use as little amount of energy as possible. This means that the body uses only as many fibers as necessary, and the first to be used are the slow-twitch fibers. The fast-twitch fibers are recruited when the task becomes more demanding, and they add to the exertion of the slow-twitch fibers.
The number of slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers in the muscles is determined by heredity. Appropriate physical activity can improve both the fitness and performance level of each kind of fiber.
MUSCLE FIBER COMPOSITION--PART 2 OF 3: SLOW-TWITCH FIBERS
The slow-twitch fibers have a high capacity for using oxygen for energy. They're called red fibers due to the large amount of blood supply found in them. They are slow to contract but have the ability to continue to contract over long periods of time. Studies indicate these fibers are used in prolonged endurance activities that require large amounts of oxygen. Running long distances, aerobic activities, and repeated muscle tasks over several minutes are performed by the slow-twitch fibers.
If your goal is to increase your cardiorespiratory fitness, continuous training of 30 or more minutes daily is all that is necessary for you to reach your optimal fitness level. However, if your goal is to participate in physical activities that involve quickness, you will need to develop the fast-twitch fibers.
HOW TO STICK WITH THE PROGRAM!
Many of us do not make it past the first six months of our exercise programs. We never reap the benefits due to dropping out before we can see and feel the difference. The reasons for our stopping are often common ones: scheduling difficulties, competing demands on time, a lack of affordable accessible programs, and a lack of confidence in our ability to keep pace.
Desire becomes the most important motivational factor. To have desire, we must have a program we enjoy. Here are some considerations for increasing desire:
- Select a comfortable level of intensity (around mid-point of your target heart range).
- Choose an activity you can stick with for a lifetime.
- Do not compete with others.
- Use a personal trainer or fitness professional to learn to exercise correctly (don't worry about performance).
- Use time to unwind mentally.
- If you become bored with your program, try new activities to refresh your routine. Schedule your exercise time at the beginning of the week and stick with it.
MUSCLE FIBER COMPOSITION--PART 3 OF 3: FAST-TWITCH FIBERS
- Fast-twitch (white) fibers contract quickly, allowing for explosive muscular contractions. They are suited for high-speed but short-duration exercise. These fibers do not have a high capacity for oxygen; therefore, they fatigue very quickly. They are used most often an anaerobic activities such as tennis, racquetball, sprinting, and karate.
- Interval training is one method of conditioning for both the fast- and slow-twitch fibers. It involves intense exercise for a given distance or a specified time alternated with lighter exercise and recovery. These exercises are performed at near-maximum levels of intensity. The heart rate and energy requirements are greatly increased by the intensity of the exercise. The capacity for anaerobic performance is heightened through regular interval training.
- After the age of 50, we must use our fast-twitch fibers or we lose them. It is important to have some type of exercise routine that includes light dumbbells along with daily household chores such as mowing the grass and carrying the groceries.
- One type of muscle strain is called a muscle pull. Usually the injury occurs when the muscle is overstretched. Scar tissue forms at the site of the injury and is not as strong or resilient as the original tissue. For a long time after the injury, you will feel its effects.
- The second form is a strain involving the tissue around the muscle. Most of these injuries involve a tendon (tissue that attaches muscle to bone). The blood supply to the surrounding tissues is limited, and the injury will take longer to heal than a muscle pull.
- Almost everyone will experience a muscle strain at some time. Recovery is usually quick, typically three to six weeks. Age and physical conditioning are factors influencing recovery time. Ice packs applied immediately to the injury will help to reduce swelling and pain. Resting the injured area for several days and avoiding exercising the muscle until it is healed is important for full recovery. If the muscle is ruptured or torn completely, surgery may be necessary. See a physician if the injury does not improve in a reasonable amount of time.
THE PERFECT ENDING TO AN EXERCISE SESSION!
- A great way to end an exercise session is to take a five-minute relaxation break. Lie on your back on the floor; bring your knees up to the point that your feet are flat; place your right hand on your left shoulder, your left hand on your right shoulder; and let your knees rest on each other. Close your eyes and just allow your body and mind to relax. Listen to your favorite inspirational music if possible.
- This technique is also great to use with children. You can use it at the end of a family fitness activity or when you need to calm your children down for a few moments in transition from one activity to another.
CYCLING--PART 1 OF 2
- Cycling is a physical activity that can be done in many different ways. There is competitive cycling around an oval track, fitness cycling on the open roads, pleasure and recreational cycling, and stationary cycling at home or a club. Cycling is a non-weight-bearing exercise that many overweight and older people find beneficial. The following is a sample beginning program:
- Ride on a predetermined three-mile course.
- For beginners, select a course on level ground. For the experienced rider, try to have equal amounts of uphill and downhill riding.
- Ride the course in 18 minutes or less if possible.
- Try to maintain a steady pace throughout the ride.
- A ten-speed bike will allow you to use low gears when going uphill. This will keep you from pushing your heart rate too high.
CYCLING--PART 2 OF 2
- Over 125 million Americans ride bicycles and about 1,000 deaths per year are reported from cycling accidents. The following are suggestions for cycling safety:
- Wear a helmet. It should be ANSI or Snell approved.
- Don't drink and ride.
- Respect traffic.
- Wear light reflective clothing that is easily seen at night and during the day.
- Avoid riding in the dark.
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Know and use proper hand signals.
- Maintain the operating condition of the bike.
- Use bike paths whenever possible.
- Stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
ALCOHOL AND FITNESS
- Alcohol consumption adds empty calories to our diets since it has no nutritional value. It is stored mainly as fat in the body and has adverse effects on athletic performance. The chemistry of the body is changed by the use of alcohol. The liver's output of glucose decreases, resulting in the lowering of the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) entering the cells. ATP is the fuel for muscle contraction and immediate bursts of energy. Alcohol also increases fatigue, promotes difficulty in regulating body temperature, and dehydrates the body.
- Alcohol has mind-altering effects on the brain. Within minutes after alcohol enters the bloodstream, the nerve cells of the brain are numbed. The heart muscle strains to cope with alcohol's depressive action. If drinking continues, vision, balance, and coordination are impaired. Over time, alcohol abuse increases the risk for certain forms of heart disease and cancer. It can destroy the functioning of the liver and pancreas, resulting in organ failure.
- The general message: Alcohol consumption can lead to poor athletic performance and health-related problems.
STRESS AND EXERCISE--PART 1 OF 3: EFFECTS OF STRESS
- Most people do not understand or are even aware of stress and the consequences of too much distress (stress we react to in a negative way). Many people who are aware of stress think only of stress as negative. Actually, stress can be good for us if we react in a positive way. After all, examples of stress can include welcoming a new baby to the family, planning a wedding, or studying for a test.
- Stressors are events and they always come before stress. Stressors are the cause (example: divorce, death of loved one, loss of job, failure in school); stress is the effect. Stress can cause the body to become exhausted and begin to break down. Hypertension, stroke, heart disease, depression, alcoholism, gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulitis may occur as a result of stress over a period of time. Other related disorders that are symptoms of stress are migraine headaches, allergies, asthma, hay fever, anxiety, insomnia, impotence, and menstrual irregularities. The dependency-related behaviors of cigarette smoking, overeating and undereating, and underactivity relate in part to unresolved stress. The immune system weakened by constant stress may allow infections and cancer to invade the body.
- To deal with stress, you need to practice positive coping skills. A high level of fitness, proper nutrition, and involvement in challenging activities will help you to handle stress.
STRESS AND EXERCISE--PART 2 OF 3: FIGHT OR FLIGHT
- Your body responds to stress physically in the same manner for both positive and negative stress. The body's natural protective technique to handle a stressor is the "fight or flight" syndrome. As soon as the stressor occurs (a signal such as your child is late for curfew), adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney). Your body has moved into the fight or flight mode. Adrenaline gives you energy to perform physical acts. The amount of adrenaline released depends on the intensity of the stressor and your previous experience with the stressor (your child is never late and you fear the worst).
- The body's functions begin to change. Blood circulation increases, sending more nutrients (energy) to your brain, lungs, and muscles. Muscles are strengthened to respond to the fight or flight syndrome. Breathing becomes more rapid to give you more oxygen. Your senses become sharper, making you more alert. You are ready to respond to the event that is happening.
STRESS AND EXERCISE--PART 3 OF 3: BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
- A stress reaction to an event affects homeostasis, the body's tendency to maintain a steady state--for example, maintaining body temperature or blood sugar levels. Our bodies require a balanced state to function smoothly. When prolonged stress interferes with our homeostatic balance, we become more prone to develop stress-related disorders.
- Your first approach to coping with the distress is to get some temporary relief. Exercise is a good way to burn off the adrenaline that is preparing you to flee the situation or to fight back. This will allow your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate to return to normal following the exercise. It will also help you to deal with your emotions and to respond to the situation rather than react to it.
- Many people work off the tension of daily hassles with a brisk walk, a run around the park, a dozen laps around the pool, jumping rope, or an aerobic dance class. Regular exercise can strengthen the body's systems, such as the cardiorespiratory system, that are affected by stress. Vigorous exercise can elevate the level of endorphins in the blood (hormones that stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain) and give feelings of well-being. Exercise can also reduce the uncomfortable feelings of stress, such as muscle tension and anxiety.
TYPES OF WALKING
- Different types of walking result in different benefits. STROLLING is walking at a leisurely pace. Strolling burns about 100 calories per a 30-minute walk. It's probably too slow of a walk to receive any health benefits. FITNESS WALKING is walking at a brisk pace of about three to four miles per hour. It meets the requirements for moderate exercise. Regular fitness walking can help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, adult on-set diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. RACE WALKING is fast heel-toe walking. It looks funny to observe, but speeds approach a pace of 5-plus miles per hour. Race walking gives all the benefits of fitness walking and may also increase longevity. RUGGED WALKING is hiking in rugged or hilly terrain at a brisk pace. It gives all the benefits of an aerobic workout. Climbing the hills strengthens the muscles of the thighs, hips, and buttocks.
- To increase the amount of calories burned and to give your upper body a workout, pump your arms as you walk. Always stretch before and after a workout.
- Exercise can be lonely, but it is necessary for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Getting up early on a cold winter morning to go to the gym or for a three-mile jog can be difficult. If you have an exercise partner or a network of exercise people, this chore can become a social connection. The encouragement effect of a partner or exercise group can help keep you going through the low motivational moments. Mark Goulston, author of Get Out Of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee Books, 1996) believes the lack of self-discipline in doing something very difficult often re-creates in us a certain loneliness that we experienced as a child. An exercise partner or group can help us with these feelings.
- Exercise partners add accountability to exercise. Positive peer pressure to show up for a scheduled fitness session may be the solution for people who quit their exercise routines. For a beginning exerciser, a partner or group may provide the knowledge, encouragement, and consistency needed to keep going. A group or partner may also provide a way for you to improve your fitness level. Networking allows you to find fitness partners and groups that will push you to work harder to develop your personal fitness.
PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINERS
- Personal trainers are becoming a very popular way for people to learn proper fitness techniques and to feel comfortable in a fitness facility or gym. A trainer can develop an exercise program for you based on your personal health and fitness goals. He/she will take you step by step through your fitness routine until you feel confident. This is especially beneficial for the person just beginning a weight-lifting program, but just as important for someone wanting to boost his or her old exercise workout.
- Hiring a trainer does not mean that you are engaging in a long-term commitment. A series of five or six appointments focused on teaching the basic exercise principles is probably all that's needed for most people. Checkup sessions to build on what you have learned will keep you improving and help you stay motivated.
- Personal trainers charge between $20 and $100 or more an hour depending on where you live. One way of reducing the rate is to organize a group of two or three friends to split the cost of the session. Not all trainers will work with groups unless you commit to a certain number of sessions. Trainers should have credentials from national professional organizations such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE): http://www.acefitness.org Always ask for client referrals and professional references.
- Billy Banks, a seven-time world karate champion, created Tae-Bo by combining Tae Kwon Do, boxing, and the latest music. Many fitness clubs now have classes of kickboxing, Tae-boxing, and martial arts aerobics. While these classes can offer a safe workout, they do require above-average endurance, strength, and flexibility. Consider these guidelines before your first kick or punch:
- Focus on proper technique.
- Go at your own pace.
- Watch your balance.
- Do not overextend your kicks beyond your flexibility and strength levels.
- Do not lock your arms or legs.
- Know when to stop.
- Modify any of the exercises that are too difficult for your level.
- Avoid crowded classes.
- If you are a beginner, choose a beginner's class.
- If you are doing a video workout, watch the entire video before you begin.
- If you are taking a group class, observe before you participate.
- Remember: Many injuries from improper technique or overstressed joints will not show up for a period of time. It's extremely important for the instructor to have national certification or, if you're using tapes, that you follow the instructions precisely.
HEALTH CLUBS--PART 1 OF 5: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CLUB
- Ideally, when choosing a health club, you should choose one within a 10-minute walk or drive from your home or office. The longer it takes for you to get there, the more time you have to talk yourself out of going. Convenience of the club is one of the best motivational factors for you to make the trip. The more variety of equipment, the better, but check to make sure the equipment is maintained and in good working order. Equipment should not look old or overused. Stuffing should not be hanging out of the benches, duct tape should not hold equipment together, and motorized equipment should not be loud and whiny. Check out the credentials of the trainers--they should belong to national professional organizations. Observe the trainers working with members to determine if they are attentive and doing their job. The club should be clean, especially the locker rooms. Carpets, shower, sinks, and pools must be kept clean to reduce the risk of infections.
- Some clubs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; some have limited hours and days. Select a club that best meets your needs; otherwise, you will always be adjusting your schedule to try to make time for your visits.
HEALTH CLUBS--PART 2 OF 5: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
- Before you sign a health club membership contract, there are a few simple questions to ask as recommended by the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission:
- Ask whether there is a trial period during which you can sample the services free of charge.
- Ask how many members the club has and whether there is a limit on the number of members who can join.
- Visit the club during the hours you would normally use the facility and see whether it is overcrowded during that period of time.
- Find out if the club is open only to men on some days and to women on others.
- Ask about the qualifications or special training of the instructors.
- Ask to speak to an instructor about club policies regarding safety and injury prevention.
- Take home a copy of the membership contract and read it carefully. Make sure it includes any rights or options you have been promised verbally.
- Ask whether there are short-term memberships so you do not have to commit to the club for a longer term than you may use.
- Find out about the club's refund and cancellation policies.
- Consider finance charges and any special fees when you figure the total cost of your membership. Break out this cost per week and per day so you know what you are spending to use the facilities.
- Check with your local consumer protection agencies (Better Business Bureau) to find out whether they have received any complaints about the club and, if so, how they were resolved.
- You can check out additional information at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/health/spas.htm
HEALTH CLUBS--PART 3 OF 5: MOTIVATION TO GO!
- It's much easier to stick with an exercise program if you have a fitness partner. Find a friend, your neighbor, your spouse, or a daughter/son to go with you to the club. Select activities that you enjoy at the club and you'll look forward to your sessions. Tell your family your exercise goals and ask for their encouragement. Schedule your exercise sessions at the beginning of the week and block that time out from your daily activities. Focus on each exercise session; don't become obsessed with the outcomes. Make a commitment to yourself to exercise 30 minutes or more four times a week. Draw up a contract with yourself stating realistic goals. Outline a plan for attaining these goals. If you have a bad day and miss a session, just gently get yourself back on track the next day. IDEA, a professional fitness organization, offers additional motivational techniques at the following Web site: http://ideafit.com/ftgetactive.cfm
HEALTH CLUBS--PART 4 OF 5: ETIQUETTE
- Every health club has its set of rules concerning the do's and don'ts of using the facility. The following are some of the more general rules you'll need to know:
- Always take a towel with you while you exercise and wipe off the equipment after you have finished.
- Place your free weights back on the rack and in the right order.
- Do not sit on a bench or machine that you are not using.
- Do not crowd anyone's personal space. Stand back out of the way until the person finishes using the machine or weights.
- Do not camp out at a weight machine or carry on conversations when people are waiting.
- Allow people to work in or tell them how long you will be on the machine.
- Always use a spotter if you are not sure you can safely complete your repetitions.
- Do not use vulgar or inappropriate language.
- Do not use more than one locker.
- Limit the number of towels you use, especially on busy days.
- Remember that you're sharing the club with other members and that you have a responsibility to keep the club running as smoothly as possible.
HEALTH CLUBS--PART 5 OF 5: COMMON MISTAKES
- The following are some common mistakes that could cause injury or a loss of effectiveness of your workout.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP--PART 1 OF 5
Sleep is one of the keys to fitness. Sleep is highly productive in
restoring and renewing the body for the next day. During the deepest
stages of sleep, the body receives its daily dose of the human growth
hormone (HGH). HGH promotes growth, maintenance, and repair of muscle.
If we do not get enough hours of sleep or we wake up frequently in the
night, we lose this much-needed deep sleep. The body does not receive
enough HGH to keep the muscles healthy. This could mean our muscles
might be less resilient, which increases the risk of an injury during
Muscle is important for keeping your metabolism working at a high
level. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day.
If you are lacking in hours of sleep, your muscles are not
recuperating from the stress of the day. They cannot function
properly. It's better to get a couple more hours of sleep than to get
yourself up early for your workout.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP--PART 2 OF 5
According to recent studies, when we sleep we accumulate adenosine
triphosphate (ATP), energy molecules that enable us to think and move.
When ATP is burned as energy, it produces a by-product called
adenosine. Adenosine is the substance responsible for body fatigue.
Adenosine build-up in the brain eventually causes us to go to sleep.
It also interrupts all physical activities of our bodies; we can no
longer perform muscular activities to the best of our ability. By the
end of the day, your muscles and nerves are going to be tired. To
perform optimally, we must renew our supply of ATP.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP--PART 3 OF 5
Regular vigorous exercise promotes sleep; however, exercising too near
bedtime can keep you from sleeping soundly. Avoid large meals late in
the evening or heavy late-night snacks that can disrupt your sleep
pattern. A single drink in the evening may be relaxing, but too many
drinks during the day can make sleep difficult. Any
caffeine-containing drink (such as coffee, soft drinks, teas) and some
medications can make you restless during the night. You should put any
problems and worries behind you by bedtime. Winding down (watching TV,
listening to music, or any other relaxing activity) in the evening is
an excellent way to promote sleep.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP--PART 4 OF 5
A warm bath immediately before going to bed helps promote sleep. A
light snack of foods high in L-tryptophan (eggs, tuna, and turkey) and
a glass of milk will help you fall asleep. Yoga, mild stretching, or
alternating contraction/ relaxation of the large muscles of the arms
and legs promote sleep by slowing down the body's activity level.
Taking slow deep breaths and imagining peaceful settings guide the
body into restfulness. Escaping into fantasies or envisioning yourself
sleeping soundly slows the mind and encourages the onset of sleep.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP--PART 5 OF 5
College students, people in high-stress jobs, school-aged
children/teens involved in extracurricular activities or athletics,
and parents of young children may not get the amount of sleep needed
each night. A power nap or an afternoon nap may help to make up the
sleep deficit. A power nap of about 20 to 30 minutes can be refreshing
and valuable to overall performance. The nap should remain short,
never longer than an hour or two, since too much afternoon sleep might
disrupt nighttime sleeping. The amount of sleep needed varies from
person to person. The following are some guidelines:
- Newborn baby--16 to 20 hours a day
- Two-year-old child--13 hours a day
- Five-year-old child--10 to 11 hours a day
- Ten-year-old child--9 to 10 hours a day
- Adult--7 to 8 hours a day
- 80-year-old--5 hours a day
Prevention of cold stress is mainly a matter of dressing properly for
the weather. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends one or
more of the following techniques:
- Layer clothing--Several thin layers are warmer than a single heavy
garment. Layers can be added or removed to ventilate the skin surface.
- Cover the head--Heat loss from the head and neck can account for up
to 50 percent of the loss of body heat.
- Protect the hands--Gloves should be used whenever there is the
slightest risk of frostbite. Mittens are better than gloves for
- Stay dry--Water, whether from sweat, rain, snow, or sleet,
significantly increases body-heat loss. Keep feet dry. A fabric, such
as wool or polypropylene, will absorb moisture from the skin and still
insulate the body. Cotton is not suitable because once it is wet it no
longer keeps the body warm.
- Drink liquids--Fluids are as important during cold weather as in
the heat. Dehydration increases the risk of frostbite.
The body's rate of heat production is less when exercising on a cool
or cold day, especially in windy conditions. If you're not prepared
for the weather, frostbite or hypothermia may result.
To learn more about the American College of Sports Medicine, visit its
Web site at: http://www.ascm.org
If you want to take the guesswork out of your aerobic exercise, wear a
heart monitor. Monitoring the target heart rate (60 percent to 85
percent of maximum heart rate) is the safest and most effective method
to getting fit. Studies indicate that less than 22 percent of people
are not exercising hard enough to maintain their target rate for 20 to
30 minutes. Heart rate monitors are beneficial because they calculate
the intensity of your workout, giving you an instant measurement of
how hard you are exercising.
The basic heart-rate monitors range in price from $59 to $79 and are
excellent for beginners wanting only to measure heart rate in beats
per minute. The more expensive monitors calculate calories burned, lap
times, average heart-rate time, recovery time, and time spent
below/above the target zone. The most sophisticated models are capable
of downloading data to a computer or manually recalling data on the
face of the watch. These monitors range in price up to $369.
Most physicians recommend exercise during pregnancy; however,
mothers-to-be must be aware of the risk of prolonged exercise. Studies
indicate exercise over long periods can result in an increase in the
mother's core temperature (hyperthermia). This increase may also raise
the core temperature of the fetus, which may result in a congenital
malformation. Fortunately, exercise of 15 minutes or less is not
likely to raise the mother's core temperature enough to cause problems
to the fetus. If the mother exercises longer than 15 minutes, she must
monitor her temperature; it should not go higher than 100.4 degrees
In 1982, nutritional researchers William Bennett and Joel Gurin
introduced a controversial theory concerning weight loss. The setpoint
theory states that a person's body has a setpoint weight at which it
is programmed to be comfortable. This theory proposes that the body
will sabotage itself during weight loss by slowing down metabolism
(the body's rate of burning calories). In extreme cases, the metabolic
rate will decrease to a point at which the body will maintain its
weight on 1,000 calories a day.
Can the setpoint change? Proponents of this theory believe that it is
possible to raise the setpoint by continually gaining weight and not
exercising. On the other hand, reducing calories and exercising over a
long period of time can slowly decrease a person's setpoint. Exercise
may be the most critical factor in readjusting a setpoint.
If the setpoint theory is correct, a low-calorie diet (below 1,000
calories a day) may cause the body to protect the dieter from
starvation by slowing down metabolism and making weight loss more
difficult. Modifying your diet by lowering fat, sugar, and calories
(1,200 to 1,800 calories each day) and increasing fiber, water, and
exercise is a way to increase metabolic rate and weight loss.
One way of determining how active you are each day is to count the
number of steps you take with a pedometer or step counter. Exercise
experts encourage people to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, which
equals five miles. Usually when people begin recording their steps
each day, they report anywhere from less than 1,000 steps to 10,000 or
more. The average is about 2,000 steps a day, which equals about one
mile depending on stride length and pace. A minimum of 8,000 steps a
day is needed to receive the general health benefits of walking,
including a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types
Step counters can be especially advantageous for people who travel a
lot and find themselves sitting in airplanes for long periods of time.
The daily step counts can serve as a reminder to get up and walk
rather than sitting and waiting for the next plane. Also, people who
work in offices usually walk between 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day, which
requires another 2 to 3 miles of walking when they get home from work
to reach the 10,000-step goal. Many people find pedometers and step
counters a motivational tool to a more active lifestyle.
There are many pedometers on the market, some more elaborate than
others. The basic pedometer counts only steps and sells for about
$20.00 (Digi-walker by Yamax). The average model counts steps,
distance, and calories and is priced around $30.00. And the
top-of-the-line pedometer counts steps, converts to miles, and has a
stopwatch and a clock. Businesspeople may be interested in the black
leather belt with a pedometer in the buckle made by Walk4Life
CAFFEINE USE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY--PART 1 OF 2
Caffeine use by endurance athletes as a performance enhancer has been
a controversial subject for several years. Caffeine works at different
levels in the body to cause its effects. Studies indicate that it acts
as a stimulant to the central nervous system, increases reaction time
in sports requiring quick reflexes (martial arts, boxing, wrestling),
and increases the utilization of free fatty acids in the bloodstream.
Research has determined that caffeine will increase endurance during
such activities as long-distance running and cycling but is not
beneficial for strength-training athletes. During endurance events,
the muscles use both fat and glycogen (blood sugar) as fuel. The
natural tendency of our bodies is to use mostly glycogen during the
first 90 minutes of running, cycling, and similar activities. After
the 90 minutes, the glycogen stores become depleted, causing the body
to slow down as it switches to fat as a primary fuel. Studies indicate
that caffeine will increase the use of fat as fuel in place of muscle
glycogen. This delaying of the use of muscle glycogen will allow a
person to maintain a given pace longer before fatigue sets in. This
would be especially important to anyone attempting to lose weight or
body fat because he/she will be able to exercise for longer periods of
time, resulting in more calories burned and an increase in basal
CAFFEINE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY--PART 2 OF 2
The use of caffeine on a regular basis will reduce its beneficial
effects due to physiological tolerance. This means an increase in the
amount of caffeine is needed to continue to have the same beneficial
effects. The result is that taking in too much caffeine can cause
adverse reactions, such as delayed reaction times and excessive
nervousness. In some people, this leads to caffeinism, the result of
prolonged and frequent use (about ten cups a day) of caffeine. The
symptoms are restlessness, anxiety, diarrhea, headaches, and heart
palpitations. Also, caffeine has a diuretic effect that can lead to
dehydration during hot and humid weather conditions.
Caffeine use requires individual testing. A week or two prior to an
endurance event, try out caffeine to determine its effects. It is
recommended that two to three cups of coffee be consumed one hour
prior to activity. Anymore than this amount could be dangerous due to
caffeine's diuretic effect and its ability to constrict blood vessels,
resulting in a higher blood pressure.
If you have any health conditions that may worsen due to the use of
caffeine as a performance enhancer, you will need to check with your
primary care physician. The use of caffeine with substances such as
ephedrine, found in Mau-Huan and Gin-Singh, is extremely dangerous due
to their ability to stimulate the central nervous system and cause
restricted blood vessels. This could lead to cardiac arrest.
EXERCISE INDUCED ASTHMA (EIA)--PART 1 OF 3: HOW WILL I
KNOW IF I HAVE EIA?
It's important to recognize the symptoms of EIA and to be able to
distinguish them from poor physical conditioning. Listen to your body
during exercise; notice if you are breathing too quickly, if your
heart is beating too fast, if there is a tightening in your chest, and
if you are coughing or wheezing. For some people, these symptoms will
occur within three to eight minutes of starting physical activity, but
for most, EIA begins after stopping the exercise.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, an allergist or pulmonary
specialist can administer a test called an exercise challenge. You
will walk/run on a treadmill or ride an exercise bicycle and perform
repeated breathing tests. Using the results, the specialist can
properly diagnose your conditions. Treatment includes careful
selection of activities that will prevent the symptoms and the use of
a pretreatment medication.
EXERCISE INDUCED ASTHMA (EIA)--PART 2 OF 3: WHAT SPORTS
ARE BEST FOR PEOPLE WITH EIA?
Running and any long-distance nonstop activity, such as using the
treadmill, cycling, basketball, field hockey, and soccer, are most
often associated with EIA. Activities with short rest intervals, such
as baseball, softball, football, wrestling, volleyball, tennis,
downhill skiing, golf, and certain track and field events, are least
likely to cause asthma symptoms. Swimming can be tolerated if it is
done in a warm, humid environment and in a horizontal position. This
position will help mobilize mucus from the bottom of the lungs. For
people who cannot tolerate any of these activities, walking, light
jogging, leisurely biking, and hiking may be the answer.
EXERCISE INDUCED ASTHMA (EIA)--PART 3 OF 3: EIA AND
It's extremely important to recognize EIA in children. Failing to
identify EIA could cause young children to avoid physical activity and
sports. Research indicates approximately 20 percent of school-age
children have this condition.
If your child has been diagnosed with EIA, be sure to notify the
physical education teacher or coach about your child's asthma. Inform
the instructor about the warning signs and characteristics of your
child's disease. Most children can participate in physical activity,
but the instructor should recognize the signs of breathing difficulty.
He/she must understand that the child must be excused immediately from
class to take medications. Make sure your child is educated about
managing his/her disease while at school.
The Open Airways for Schools Program was developed by the American
Lung Association to inform schoolchildren about asthma. Encourage your
school administrators to include this program as part of the school's
curriculum. For information on this program, go to
FAT CELLS--PART 1 OF 3: HOW DO WE GET RID OF STORED FAT?
There is a popular belief that obesity is the result of overeating,
but that may not always be true. Research indicates that in the United
States, obese people don't necessarily eat more than normal weight
people. They are usually more sedentary, resulting in the metabolizing
(burning) of fewer calories and the storing of more adipose (fat)
A normal individual has between 25 billion and 30 billion fat cells.
Most overweight Americans suffer from hypertropic obesity: The number
of cells is normal, but the size increases up to 40 percent from fat
deposits. When we lose weight, we do not lose fat cells--they just
shrink in size.
Unfortunately when we have stored excessive fat, it's hard to get rid
of it. The only factor that causes your fat cells to release their
reserves is a lowering of glucose (blood sugar) below a given level.
Individually, the fat cells will detect the lowered glucose level and
begin to break down fat and release it into the bloodstream as energy.
Moderate or even mild exercise can help you to reduce glucose levels
by lowering the amount of insulin in the blood and decreasing the
body's resistance to insulin. This enhances the "fat-burning" ability
of the cells.
Remember to always check with your primary care physician before you
start any type of diet/exercise program. A physician can determine the
best methods for you to lose weight based on your medical history. A
number of conditions, such as hypoglycemia, diabetes, and glandular
disease, require specialized nutritional plans.
FAT CELLS--PART 2 OF 3: CREEPING OBESITY
Inactivity is generally the cause of "creeping obesity." St.
Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City has estimated deaths
attributable to obesity at 280,000 or more a year. Of these deaths,
most likely up to 44 percent could have been prevented by exercise.
Steven N. Blair, a researcher from The Cooper Institute for Aerobics
(Dallas, Texas), found in a 10-year study of 25,174 men that low
fitness was a stronger predictor of mortality than was diabetes, high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoking.
If losing body fat is your goal, some types of aerobic activity will
work better than others. Low-impact aerobic activity, such as walking,
step aerobics, and aerobic dance, are great activities. Also, you can
benefit from no-impact aerobics, such as swimming, bicycling, and
rowing. Forty-five minutes of moderate aerobic activity five times a
week combined with a nutritional food plan will help you to lose body
Successful weight loss requires time, commitment, and perseverance.
Many dieters are trapped in the "yo-yo" syndrome: They repeatedly lose
and regain the same weight. The only permanent way to effectively lose
weight is a combination of sound nutritional habits and regular
Always consult with your primary care physician before starting any
weight loss program. There are specific conditions that require
individualized nutritional plans. A nutritionist can help you
determine your food plan goals.
FAT CELLS--PART 3 OF 3: CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT THROUGH
It's possible to lose weight by exercising without a cutback on
calories; however, it's difficult. Each physical activity has a
caloric cost (the amount of calories or energy use). The following are
some of the caloric costs based on a 150-pound person exercising for
Bowling: 96 calories
Golf: 114 calories
Walking (17-minute mile): 162 calories
Cycling (6.4-minute mile): 201 calories
Swimming (50 yd/minute): 273 calories
Jogging (10-minute mile): 300 calories
Running (6-minute mile): 480 calories
To lose one pound a week, you must burn an extra 500 calories a day.
Most obese people would find this very difficult, especially if they
have been sedentary for a long period of time. A combination of
reduced calories with exercise is generally easier for most people.
NEVER TOO OLD!
There are many misconceptions about aging. The myth that older people
are feeble, weak, and lack vitality is incorrect. Research indicates
the benefits of exercise for the elderly are similar to the benefits
of exercise for younger individuals. Physical exercise can prevent and
even reverse about half of the physical decline normally associated
with aging. Yet, it's estimated that only 8 percent of retirees
exercise at recommended levels.
One area of fitness that still does not get the attention it deserves
is weight training. For the elderly, weight training can improve
strength, balance, flexibility, and appearance, and it can reduce the
risks of falls and fractures. Just one year of regular strength
training can take 15 to 20 years off the person's physical condition.
Much of what we consider normal aging is no more than the lack of
muscle use resulting in muscle atrophy.
Statistics show the number of people is increasing in the
100-years-and-older age group. Due to a longer life span, we now have
many years of leisure time after retirement. Many retirees who never
had the time to participate or learn a sport skill during their career
years are now spending time at the gym, courts, and pools. The
National Senior Games Association provides opportunities for the
over-50 group to participate in athletic competition.
The best strategy for getting started is to talk with your primary
care physician about exercise. Your health history can be considered
when selecting the best physical activities for you. It's always
important to start slowly and build gradually.
For information about the National Senior Games Association, check out
SHOULD I EXERCISE WHEN ILL?
Exercise causes the breakdown of muscle tissue and requires the body
to repair itself. In fact, the body not only repairs the damaged
tissue but also makes the tissue stronger. If you are sick, your
tissue-repairing ability decreases and makes it difficult for tissue
regeneration. A systemic illness, such as the flu, depletes the body
of its energy and slows tissue repair. Your body requires sufficient
time to heal, and exercise could be detrimental. Also, emotional
distress lowers the body's recuperative power. The accumulative effect
of the systemic illness, emotional distress, and your age can result
in an overall body deterioration. Rest becomes an important factor in
the body's healing. Exercise would not be beneficial and may cause a
longer recuperation period.
THREE-MINUTE STEP TEST
The step test is used to measure the recovery heart rate as a means of
evaluating an individual's cardiorespiratory fitness (aerobic). You
will need a partner, a 12-inch bench (or crate, block, step), and a
stopwatch. Step up with the left foot, up with the right foot, then
down with the left and down with the right. Complete 24 full steps per
minute for three minutes. After finishing, sit down, have your partner
find your pulse within five seconds, and take your pulse for one
minute. Your score is your rate for one full minute.
General recovery heart rate ratings are:
Superior to excellent: less than 90 BPM
Good to average: 90-100 BPM
Fair: 101-120 BPM
Poor: greater than 120 BPM
AGILITY--PART 1 OF 2
Agility is the ability to change the direction of your body quickly
and to control the movement of your whole body. It is a component of
skill-related fitness, along with balance, coordination, power,
reaction time, and speed. It's an important skill needed for
activities such as basketball, fencing, dance, football, gymnastics,
handball, judo, karate, racquetball, skiing, soccer, and surfing. The
following is a simple test for agility that you can take on any tennis
- Find the baseline center mark--this is your starting mark. See how
many times you can touch the baseline center mark and the singles
lines in 30 seconds. You can use your foot to touch the lines or a
racquet in hand.
- If you score between 30 and 38 times in 30 seconds, you have scored
in the excellent range.
- If you score between 22 and 30 times in 30 seconds, you are in the
- If you score lower than 22 times in 30 seconds, you may want to
include an agility exercise in your training routine. Remember, you
are only competing against your personal best. Be sure to always
include a warm-up session before any physical activity.
AGILITY PART--2 OF 2
The 20-yard shuttle is a drill for increasing agility. You will need
to set up three parallel lines five yards apart. Start by straddling
the middle line (start-finish), one foot on the left side and one foot
on the right side. You can move either left or right to start. Run to
line 1 and touch the line with one hand. Run immediately through the
starting line to line 2 and touch that line with one hand. Run
immediately back to the starting line to end the drill. You should not
do this drill more than five times in a workout session. Rest time
between each drill depends on your physical condition. Give yourself
at least 20 seconds before the next drill. It's important that you do
this drill before any speed work.
PUSHUPS--PART 1 OF 3: HOW TO START?
Many people find pushups too difficult and often require some form of
strength training before attempting one. However, pushups are an
excellent form of exercise for developing upper-body strength. Since
you do not need any equipment, it's a practical, low-cost exercise.
The key to success is to start at the level that is best for you.
Beginner's level: Pushups against a wall--Stand back a few feet back
from the wall. Place your hands directly in front of you at shoulder
level against the wall. Lower yourself toward the wall surface. Push
back to starting position, being sure not to lock elbows.
The in-between pushup: If you have the benefit of exercising in a
fitness facility, you can use the Smith machine (a piece of equipment
used for bench presses) for this exercise. (If you do not, do the
pushups against tables of varying heights or a counter.) The lower the
bar, the more difficult the pushup. Face the bar. Place your hands at
shoulder width on the bar. Lower your upper body toward the bar,
keeping your legs straight and abdomen tight. Roll up on the tips of
your toes as you lower your body. The chest now bears most of your
body weight. Push back to starting position.
Regular pushup: Place your hands at chest height, shoulder width
apart, on the floor or ground. Keep fingers pointed forward. Position
yourself either on your knees (easier) or toes. Bend your elbows out
to the side and then lower your body. The head should be level with
the spine, the legs straight behind. Squeeze your chest as you push
back upward; do not lock the elbows.
PUSHUPS--PART 2 OF 3: SELF-TESTING
To do pushups, you will need a stopwatch or timer. Assume the
front-leaning pushup position. Lower your body until the chest touches
the floor. Raise and repeat for one minute. Your score is the number
of pushups completed in one minute.
Age 18-29: >50--Excellent, 17-45--Good, <17--Average
Age 30-39: >40--Excellent, 12-40--Good, <12--Average
Age 40-49: >35--Excellent, 8-35--Good, <8--Average
Age 50-59: >30--Excellent, 6-30--Good, <6--Average
Age 60+: >25--Excellent, 5-25--Good, <5--Average
Modified pushups: Same as above with knees bent up, hands under
Age 18-29: >45--Excellent, 17-45--Good, <17--Average
Age 30-39: >40--Excellent, 12-40--Good, <12--Average
Age 40-49: >35--Excellent, 8-35--Good, <8--Average
Age 50-59: >30--Excellent, 6-30--Good, <6--Average
Age 60+: >25--Excellent, 5-25--Good, <5-Average
Scoring standards are from the National Fitness Test developed by the
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.
PUSHUPS--PART 3 OF 3: ADVANCED FORMS
If you've mastered regular form pushups and are ready to move on to
the more difficult positions, the following are in the advanced
category. Remember, form is more important than number.
Fingertip pushups: Perform these pushups the same as a regular pushup
but change the hands from flat on the floor to fingertips.
Elevated leg pushup: Place your hands at shoulder width, palms on the
floor or ground. Finger should be straight ahead and elbows flexed to
the side. Elevate your legs on a bench or chair. Keep your body in a
straight line. Push upward and fully extend your elbows (do not lock
your elbows). Return to starting position.
One-arm pushup: Perform a regular pushup with one arm behind the back.
Inverted pushup: Perform a handstand with legs straight and leaning
against a wall. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your
arms fully extended. Lower your head toward the floor by flexing your
elbows. Push your body back to starting position.
FYI: The record for nonstop pushups was 10,507, set by Minoru Yoshida
(Japan) in October 1980.
CONCEPT OF HOMEOSTASIS
The body seeks to maintain a steady state of equilibrium and balance
called homeostasis. This automatic self-regulating system must
constantly monitor and regulate the amount of oxygen, carbon dioxide,
nutrients, hormones, and organic/inorganic substances in the body. The
sensations of hunger and thirst are examples of homeostasis
mechanisms. These sensations trigger the body to maintain the
appropriate levels of energy, nutrients, and water.
Stress, illness, and aging are detrimental to homeostasis. These
conditions make it more difficult for the body to maintain its
internal balance. Nothing seems more out of balance than when we
fighting a terminal illness or working in a high-stress job, or when
we find ourselves in a slow decline during the middle-age years. The
importance of exercise and nutrition cannot be overstated when we talk
about maintaining internal balance or homeostasis. Following a
physical fitness and a nutritional food plan from childhood to older
adulthood gives us the physiological edge on maintaining a healthy
internal balance. These elements are essential for the prevention of
stress-related illness, the development of a healthy immune system,
and the minimizing of age-related problems.
Cross-country skiing is a low-impact aerobic activity that offers
people of all ages the opportunity to develop a high level of fitness.
It can be a family fitness sport in which all members of the family,
from 2 to 8 years old, and even the dog, can participate in together.
A package of ski rentals, trail pass, and a lesson costs around
$34.00. Usually one or two lessons are all that is needed to get you
The benefits for the heart, lungs, and body musculature can be
compared to the benefits of jogging. The difficulty of the terrain,
pace, and the length of rest periods determine the increase in
fitness. Most people skiing at a moderate pace burn from 500 to 800
calories per hour depending on weight and body composition. It can be
a perfect substitute for joggers and cyclists during the winter
To learn more about cross-country skiing, check out the Cross Country
Ski Areas Association at
In some overweight people, the amount of insulin and glucose (blood
sugar) is usually abnormally high after eating carbohydrates. The
reason for this is that the obese person's tissues are insensitive to
his/her own insulin. As a result, as the person gains weight, the body
will make changes in favor of the body getting even fatter.
Insulin is secreted from the pancreas and stimulates the body cells to
open pores that allow glucose to enter. When a person gains weight,
the fat-saturated muscles do not respond to insulin. Insulin enters
the muscles very slowly, resulting in a high blood glucose level. With
the muscle cells rejecting the glucose, this extra glucose circulating
in the bloodstream enters into the fat cells. The fat cells become the
dumping ground for the glucose. The glucose-filled fat cells promote
the development of more fat. The result is that the obese person will
make fat faster as he/she gains weight.
A diet of low glycemic foods in combination with exercise will help
the insulin insensitive person to lose weight. It is extremely
important to consult with a primary care physician or endocrinologist
before changing your food plan. Insulin insensitivity can indicate
hypoglycemia, a pre-condition to diabetes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MUSCLE WHEN IT ISN'T EXERCISED?
As we become older or more sedentary, fat begins to slowly invade the
muscles. The fat-saturated muscles reach their limit and the fat
begins to accumulate outside the muscle underneath the skin. We see
this in the "pot belly" of middle-age men and the thickening of the
waist of middle-age women. If you diet, you will lose the subcutaneous
fat (under the skin) but nothing will happen to the intramuscular fat.
Your once lean and slim muscles will remain short and round. You will
become a smaller version of the fat self. However, you can exercise
away the intramuscular fat, resulting in the return of the original
lean/slim-shaped muscles. Exercise will give firmness and definition
to the muscle.
WILL EXERCISE MAKE YOU MORE IMMUNE TO DISEASE?
The white blood cells are responsible for fighting infection. Moderate
physical exercise will temporarily increase the number of white blood
cells. After exercise periods lasting less than 30 minutes, the number
of white blood cells will return to normal within one to two hours.
After exercise sessions lasting longer than 30 minutes, the white
blood cell count will remain elevated for 24 or more hours. An
increased number of white blood cells suggest an increased immunity to
disease and infection. Therefore, exercise makes people less
susceptible to disease.
EXERCISING ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Muscles require energy for movement. This energy is found in the form
of glucose (blood sugar), glycogen (sugar stored in the muscle), or
body fat. When exercising, the body first uses the glucose circulating
in the blood for energy. If you have not eaten, your body will not
have the available glucose and will drain the glycogen from the muscle
cells. The result is a tired feeling and a lack of muscle endurance.
Fat is not immediately burned because the body conserves fat during
times of deprivation. The metabolizing of fat is a last resort and
usually does not occur for the first 24-48 hours of lowered glucose
MEDICATIONS AND EXERCISE
Especially during the winter months, we find ourselves taking
medications for sinus infections or colds. Some of the most common
cold medications may cause changes in the body that will directly
affect physical performance.
Antihistamines are depressants that dry runny noses, clear postnasal
drip, and clear sinus congestion. Some reactions to over-the-counter
antihistamines are drowsiness, overheating, and impaired hand-eye
coordination. Using a non-sedating antihistamine or a long-acting
formula (12-24 hour) will help prevent a slowing down of your physical
Antibiotics fight bacterial infection and often cause stomach upset.
Quinolones are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections in
different parts of the body. They work by killing bacteria or
preventing bacterial growth. They carry a slight risk of tendon
rupture and skin sensitivity to the sun. If using antibiotics,
exposure to sunlight even for brief periods of time may cause severe
sunburn, skin rash, redness, itching, or discoloration. Using a
sunblock lotion and protective clothing is recommended. Do not use
sunlamps or tanning booths while taking antibiotics. It may be
necessary to use a sunscreen when in the sun.
Decongestants are cold remedies designed to reduce nasal stuffiness.
Taking these medications may raise your heart rate and blood pressure.
To reduce risks, take a long-lasting formula several hours before you
exercise. If you have a history of heart problems, ask your doctor
about taking decongestants before you exercise.
As soon as you have your doctor's okay after the birth of your baby,
you may want to start exercising. Start slowly and don't push
yourself--it will take months or even years to get back in shape.
However, exercise will boost your self-esteem and possibly give you
back the feeling of some of control of your life.
Octavio Galindo, co-owner of Le Studio Conditioning in Pasadena,
California, designed the following exercises:
- Deep inhaling: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the
floor. Place one hand on your abdomen. Inhale in one count, expanding
your abdomen; exhale slowly through your mouth. As you exhale, pull
your bellybutton in toward your spine. Follow this sequence: inhale in
one count, exhale in four counts twice; inhale in one count, exhale in
five counts twice; inhale in one count, exhale in six counts twice;
inhale in one count, exhale in seven counts twice. Strengthens
- Moving bridge: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor,
arms relaxed by your side, palms down. Inhale; exhale, lifting arms up
overhead as you lift your torso up off the floor until your body is in
a straight line. Only your head, neck, top of shoulders, and feet will
be in contact with the floor. Inhale, then exhale, slowly letting your
spine roll back onto the floor. Repeat 4-6 times. Strengthens
abdominals and quadriceps.
- Spinal twist: Lie on your back, bend your left knee, foot flat on
the floor; keep right leg extended. Place your right hand on the
outside of your left knee and extend your left arm on a diagonal to
your shoulder on the floor; palm down. Inhale; then exhale as you drop
your left knee toward the floor, crossing over your right leg. Staying
in this position, inhale; then circle your left arm clockwise four
times. Exhale as you circle. Repeat in opposite direction. Return to
the starting position, switch legs, and repeat with the other leg and
arm. Stretches back, abdominal, and shoulder muscles.
Source: Fit Pregnancy, Fall 1999, or visit the Web site:
WORKING OUT AT WORK--PART 1 OF 5: SELF-EVALUATION
During the "good old days," people worked in jobs requiring strenuous
physical activity. But with today's technology, many people are
physically inactive. Leaving early in the morning before daylight and
returning home after dark leaves very little time for a workout.
Finding a way to fit in fitness at work can make a tremendous
difference in your health.
A self-evaluation is the first step to getting fit--you need to become
aware of opportunities for physical activity. The following are some
questions to ask yourself:
- How do you travel to work? How early do you get there? Can you
stay a few minutes later each day?
- How much time do you spend at a desk? At a computer? On your feet?
- Do you have breaks? How long are they?
- How much time do you have for lunch? How much time does it really
take to eat lunch?
- Can you step out of the workplace and breathe fresh air during your
No matter what the answers are to the above questions, there are ways
to work fitness into the workday.
WORKING OUT AT WORK--PART 2 OF 5: STRATEGIES
The Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity indicates that 30
minutes of moderate daily activity is the only requirement needed for
health-related fitness. One good way to get some of this activity in
is by altering the way you travel to work:
- Park and walk: Park your car one mile from your work building and
walk the rest of the way or park in the farthest spot in the parking
lot from the entrance to your building.
- Bus stops: Get off the bus several stops early and walk the rest of
- Walk before work: Before entering your building, walk around the
block. A city block is slightly less than half a mile.
- Stay later: Will leaving work later make a difference in your
after-work schedule? Can you take a few minutes to walk the halls of
the building? This exercise time may help you relieve stress at the
end of the workday, revive your energy level, or prepare yourself for
driving in traffic. It may help you to change roles from career person
to parent, allowing you time for yourself before picking up the kids
at the day-care center or arriving at home.
The 30 minutes of physical activity can be spread out throughout the
day. A 10-minute walk before work, a 10-minute walk at lunch, and a
10-minute walk after work adds up to fulfilling the daily requirement.
WORKING OUT AT WORK--PART 3 OF 5: LUNCHTIME AND BREAKS
Working for eight straight hours without some kind of physical
activity is not emotionally, mentally, or physically beneficial. If
possible, take at least two 15-minute breaks to walk or perform
stretching exercises. Exercising for five of the 15 minutes will
reenergize you and add minutes to your fitness program. If you work at
a computer, get up every hour and do some type of physical activity.
When talking on the telephone, stand up and pace. If you have a long
cord, a cordless phone, or a headset, move away from your workstation
and stretch while you're talking. If you can, visit people instead of
calling them on the phone, take longer routes to the restroom or copy
machine, or take the stairs instead of an elevator.
Lunchtime is a great opportunity for physical activity. Parking
garages and shopping malls provide a year-round place for lunchtime
walks because they're protected from the weather. Also, you can get in
some "hill work" along with your walk in a parking garage. Climbing
stairs at your building, parking garage, or mall will provide a higher
level of intensity to your workout. Eight trips up and down one flight
of stairs provide an excellent lunchtime workout. Alternating walking,
garage walking, and stair climbing adds variety and difficulty to the
WORKING OUT AT WORK--PART 4 OF 5: EXERCISING AT YOUR DESK
You can work exercises into your day even at your workstation. The
following are stretching and strength exercises designed for sitting
at a desk:
- Interlace your fingers above your head with palms facing upward.
Push your arms slightly backward and upward. Hold the stretch for
- Sit with your arms hanging loosely at your side. Turn your head to
one side, then the other. Hold for five seconds each side. Repeat one
to three times.
- Sit with your fingers interlaced behind your head, elbows straight
out to sides. Pull shoulders blades together to create tension through
upper back and shoulder blades. Hold five seconds and release. Repeat
one to three times.
- Interlace your fingers and turn palms out. Extend arms in front at
shoulder level. Hold for 20-30 seconds, relax, and repeat.
- Gently squeeze a tennis ball or other rubber ball that offers
resistance. Repeat several times.
- Slip a heavy-duty rubber band over the fingers of both hands but
not the thumbs. Place your hands together, palms facing each other.
The rubber band should not be over the knuckles. Keep your elbows at
your side; slowly pull your hands apart until the rubber band will not
stretch any further. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat
four to eight times.
- Place a large rubber band around one of the legs of your chair.
Slip one foot into the rubber band. Position the rubber band in front
of the chair at ankle height. Slowly extend your lower leg upward,
until the rubber band is stretched to its limit. Slowly return to the
starting position. Repeat four to eight times each leg.
WORKING OUT AT WORK--PART 5 OF 5: 3O-MINUTE GYM ROUTINE
If you're fortunate enough to have an exercise facility at your work
site, you can schedule 30 minutes at lunchtime or save your breaks for
a 30-minute exercise period at the end of the day. Divide your session
into four parts:
- Schedule 20 minutes of aerobic exercise. This may include the use
of a treadmill, exercise bike, Stairmaster, or any other
cardiorespiratory exercise machine. If using the treadmill, exercise
at the rate of three to four miles per hour with a three to five
- Include upper body weight training exercises for the arms,
shoulder, chest, and back.
- Include lower body weight training exercises for the quads,
hamstrings, and gluteals.
- Include abdominal exercises (varying types of curl-ups or
BALANCE--PART 1 0F 3: STATIC AND DYNAMIC
Balance is a component of skill-related fitness. It's the ability to
keep an upright position, while either standing still or moving. There
are two types balance--static and dynamic. Balance during standing or
seated positions is called static balance, and balance while moving is
called dynamic balance. The body's ability to maintain balance is a
great neuromuscular feat. Your body is able to sense where you are in
space and maintain an upright position. All the visual, inner ear, and
muscular information must be integrated to keep you in an upright
position, whether stationary or moving.
Balance also helps you to move around objects, climb hills or stairs,
walk on uneven surfaces, or reach for objects. It helps you to avoid
falling or reduces injury by "breaking" a fall. It's a crucial skill
for athletes and is often sports-specific (ice skaters must develop a
level of balance different from the type of balance needed by soccer
A lack of static balance makes it difficult to reach for objects above
the head or to stand with the feet close together. Lack of dynamic
balance results in unsteady walking, difficulty in going up and down
stairs, or difficulty climbing or stepping over obstacles. Balance can
be improved through training, by participating in sports, or through a
variety of movement activities.
BALANCE--PART 2 OF 3: EXERCISES
The following are exercises to develop static balance (stationary
balance while sitting or standing):
- Stand with both feet in a comfortable position. Rise up on toes of
both feet and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.
- Stand on one foot and place the other foot on the inside of
supporting knee. Balance for 10 seconds. Repeat using the other foot.
- Stand on one foot. Raise the other foot to the front, keeping your
body still. Return your foot to the floor.
- Stand on one foot. Lift the other foot behind you, keeping your
body still. Return foot to the floor. Stand on one foot. Raise the
other foot in front of you. Return your foot to the floor. Repeat
sequence with opposite foot.
The following are exercises to develop dynamic balance (balance while
- Walk slowly while balancing a book on your head. When you are able
to do this, balance a book on your head while going up and down
- Step up and down on one step while holding a glass of water in both
hands. Gradually build up speed without spilling the water.
- Walk and increase your stride length and speed.
BALANCE--PART 3 OF 3: GYMNASTIC BALLS
Gymnastic balls (Swiss balls) are large, vinyl, air-filled balls used
for improving balance. They're a safe and effective way of improving
balance. Originally, they were used in physical therapy sessions but
are now gaining popularity as a piece of exercise equipment. Exercises
have been designed for use with the balls for general back, abdominal,
shoulder, and leg strengthening. The exerciser performs the activity
while sitting or lying in a prone position on the ball. Balance is the
key to maintaining correct position while performing the exercises.
Gymnastic balls are especially helpful with developing back strength,
reducing bad posture, reducing poor body mechanics, and eliminating
inflexibility. Over a period of time, both anterior and posterior
muscle groups of the spine will improve.
Branch-chained amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are part
of the essential eight amino acids grouping, which cannot be made in
the body but must be taken in daily through dietary or supplemental
intake. This group of amino acids consists of L-leucine, L-Isoleucine,
and L-valine. A deficiency in any one of these amino acids will cause
muscle loss. Unlike other amino acids, branch-chain amino acids are
metabolized in the muscle and not the liver.
A recent report in the "Journal of Nutrition" states that leucine,
found in protein-rich foods, can speed muscle recovery after exercise.
For the person exercising at high levels, researchers recommend
protein-rich foods such as energy bars, energy drinks, or lean meats
as soon after exercise as possible. However, the daily protein
consumption should be between 1.4 and 2.0 grams per kilogram of body
weight. This is approximately 20 to 30 percent of the daily calories.
Researchers do not recommend the use of leucine in supplement form,
since the exact amount of leucine needed for muscle recovery remains
Strenuous workouts will improve athletic performance, but this doesn't
mean these types of workouts will give you a great health advantage.
Research indicates that there is very little difference in the death
rates from coronary heart disease, cancer, and the other combined
causes between moderate exercisers and heavy exercisers; however,
there is a great difference in the death rates of inactive people and
There are advantages of moderate exercise over strenuous exercise.
Generally, we are able to sustain moderate exercise for a longer time.
If you're using exercise for weight control, the longer you're able to
exercise, the more calories you'll burn. For example, most people can
walk for a longer period of time than they can jog. A three-mile walk
will burn approximately 300 calories; a one-mile jog will burn about
In addition, moderate exercise reduces stress, anxiety, high blood
pressure, and the risk of adult onset diabetes as effectively as
OVERWORKED EYES--PART 1 OF 3
Optometrists and ophthalmologists often dispute the effectiveness of
vision therapy. Some physicians believe vision therapy will improve
vision skills, making the eyes more efficient and accurate; others
believe that research has not proved vision therapy to be beneficial.
However, most physicians agree that some eye exercises will reduce
eyestrain, the result of overworked eyes from artificial light and
computer use. Eyestrain, over a period of time, can lead to blurred
vision, eye irritation, headaches, migraines, neck tension, and
Many professional athletic teams have used vision therapy to improve
hand-eye coordination in sports performance. To read information on
eye exercises, go to
OVERWORKED EYES--PART 2 OF 3
When fatigue occurs, you tend to blink less, which causes your eyes to
produce an insufficient amount of tears. The body will compensate by
increasing the blood flow to the eyes, resulting in bloodshot eyes.
- Keep a bottle of artificial tears with you and squirt a few drops
into your eyes whenever they feel dry.
- Look down at your work rather than up; it makes blinking easier.
- Close your eyes every half hour for a few seconds to give your eyes
- Shift focus to a distant object every few minutes.
- Place cold cotton pads on eyes or cold soda cans during your
Many people who work at computers find that they need prescription
eyewear different from that they use for reading or for distance.
Check with your eye specialist if you feel eyestrain while working at
OVERWORKED EYES--PART 3 OF 3
Ultraviolet light can damage the eyes when too much exposure occurs.
Snowblindness results from a brief but intense exposure to ultraviolet
light. Symptoms usually include eye pain, light sensitivity, tearing,
and a sensation that something is in the eye. These symptoms usually
go away after about 24 hours. Many people refer to this as "sunburn"
of the eye.
Other exposure to ultraviolet light over an extended period of time
may produce eye deterioration, cataracts, and loss of sight during
aging. The use of suntanning booths can lead to eye deterioration.
There is no type of protective sunglasses that will give enough
protection. Also, fluorescent lighting in office buildings should be
properly fitted with ultraviolet-absorbing plastic panels to prevent
exposure to UV light.
Sunglasses with 100 percent blockage of ultraviolet rays are
considered the best. Large-framed wraparound sunglasses can protect
your eyes from all angles. To read more about various kinds of
sunglasses, go to
THE SIX STAGES OF CHANGE
James Prochaska, PhD, in his book "Changing for Good" (William Morrow
and Company, New York, 1994), has developed six stages for change. His
approach has been successfully used by the National Cancer Institute
to help people stop smoking, the National Institutes for Alcoholism
and Alcohol Abuse to help people stop drinking, and by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to curb behavior that leads to HIV
infection. The following are his six stages of change:
1. Precontemplation: Precontemplators have no current intention of
changing. They have a feeling of hopeless, and they use denial and
defensiveness to keep from going forward.
2. Contemplation: Contemplators accept or realize that they have a
problem and begin to think seriously about changing it.
3. Preparation: Most people in this stage are planning to take action
within a month. Prepares develop a firm, detailed scheme for action.
4. Action: This is the overt change of behavior. The person takes
action and makes a commitment.
5. Maintenance: Often more difficult to achieve than action,
maintenance can last six months to a lifetime.
6. Termination: The problem no longer presents any temptation. Some
experts say termination never occurs, only that maintenance becomes
less vigilant over time.
The key is to remember that change is a process and oftentimes does
not occur without problems. It's important not to get caught up in
self-blame for lapses but to use the experience as help for future
The winter sun can be brutal on the skin. The ultraviolet light
(electromagnetic radiation of shorter wavelengths than visible light)
from the sun can severely damage your skin. There are three types of
ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Sunburn is not as likely in the
winter due to fact that UVB light is not as intense in the winter.
However, UVA light is not as reduced during the winter, and its rays
are linked to premature aging and melanoma, the most dangerous type of
skin cancer. At higher elevations, such as the location of many ski
resorts, the snow reflects more UVA and UVB radiation. It's important
to wear a sunblock of 30 SPF or more.
- Warm-up--Stretching is not a warm-up activity. A heart warm-up of five minutes is needed before any type of stretching activity. A heart warm-up may consist of brisk walking, light jogging, rope jumping, or a light form of the activity you are about to begin.
- Lifting too much weight--Straining to lift a weight causes poor technique and may result in injury.
- Failing to adjust the machines--Exercises cannot be performed properly if the seats or handles are not in the correct positions.
- Holding your breath--Try to get as much oxygen as possible. You need the energy to perform the exercises. Exhale when you lift the weight and inhale when you lower it.
- Cardio machines--You can touch the rails lightly but should not pull with your arms as you use the treadmill, Stairmaster, or any other machine. The correct form is to stand up straight with your arms swinging freely.
- Not asking for help--You can avoid injury and frustration if you ask for help from a trainer or a spotter.
||Coordination is a skill-related component of fitness. It's the ability
to integrate eye, hand, and foot movements. Activities such as tennis,
golf, and baseball require a high level of coordination. Coordination
can be improved by practicing the skill you want to develop. For
example, basketball players need to practice dribbling the ball and
shooting to develop hand-eye coordination. Also, it's important to
practice skills you want to improve with both left and right sides of
|EATING BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE|
||An energy bar, a piece of fruit, or a sports drink 15 to 45 minutes
before exercising will increase your energy level. You will have two
fuel sources for energy: blood glucose (blood sugar) and muscle
glycogen (sugar stored in the muscle).
Research indicates it may take up to 24 hours after exercise to
replace glycogen stores in the muscles, resulting in body fatigue.
Most nutritionists recommend a piece of fruit or a complex
carbohydrate (a half of a bagel) within 30 minutes of working out. You
may require a carbohydrate-rich meal an hour or so after a strenuous
|FITNESS ON TV|
||The following is a list of some of the fitness programs on TV. Check
local listings for day and time.
- American Health and Fitness on Fox Sports
- American Muscle, ESPN
- Bodies in Motion, Sports Channel
- Body Electric, PBS
- Body Shaping, ESPN2
- Co-Ed Training, ESPN2
- Crunch Fitness, ESPN2
- Gotta Sweat, ESPN2
- Kiana's Flex Appeal, ESPN2
- Muscle Sport USA, Fox Sport
- Wai Lana Yoga, PBS
For a listing of daily fitness programs on TV, go to
|HEART DISEASE IN KIDS|
||Researchers have found in pregnant women with high cholesterol that
the fetus may show signs of heart vessel blockage. This may be an
indication of the possibility of a later heart attack. The U.S. Health
Service has determined that 40 percent of American children from five
to eight years old show at least one health risk sign of
cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate that 50 percent of girls and
30 percent of boys in the U.S. cannot run a mile in less than ten
minutes. This information, along with the fact that only 36 percent of
American children are enrolled in daily physical education classes,
indicate that a large majority of future adults will suffer from some
type of heart disease at an early age.
To change the fitness level of a child, one hour of physical activity
is needed every day. Parents are required to take a more active role
in the development of physical fitness in their children to meet this
basic requirement. Personal trainers, sports clubs, fitness
facilities, and family fitness activities are ways to ensure this need
is met. Also, parents should encourage their local schools to include
daily physical education programs from kindergarten through twelfth
grade with a qualified physical education instructor. Many school
facilities remain unused after school hours and during the summer
months. Planned programs with supervision for children and families in
these facilities could increase the fitness of the whole community.|
|OBSTACLES TO FITNESS SUCCESS|
||Obtaining fitness has its obstacles; you must remember to keep focused
your goals. It will be necessary to develop flexibility with your
routine. Here are some suggestions:
- In bad weather, play indoor sports, walk at a mall, or exercise to
- If "out of the mood to exercise," call a friend to exercise with
- If dissatisfied with your progress, look back to where you started
far you have come.
- If busy, remember exercise will give you an energy boost and reduce
- If sore, take a warm bath or shower. Each ache is a step in
- If discouraged, read an exercise book or article.
Your health is worth the time and energy it takes to include physical
activity. Plan activity as a fun part of your day; walk or hike with
friends, participate in a sport, jog, or ride a bike. The emotional,
physical, and spiritual rewards will bring joy and good health into
|SEE HOW COORDINATED YOU ARE|
||Here's a test to determine how coordinated you are. You'll need three
24-inch dowel rods of 1/2-inch thickness. Practice the following test
three times before beginning to record your scores. Write down your
scores for four trials.
Stick test for coordination:
1. Hold one stick in each hand. Support a third stick across the other
2. Toss the supported stick in the air so that it makes a half turn.
3. Catch it with the sticks you are holding in your hands. It's an
error if the "tossed" stick hits your hand. You may bend your knees
during the toss and catch.
4. Do this test five times, tossing the stick to the right and left
five times each for a total of ten times.
5. Score one point for each successful catch.
Keep track of your scores for four trials. Your best score is used for
the following evaluation:
Excellent - 9 to 10 points
Good - 7 to 8 points
Fair - 4 to 6 points
Poor - less than 4|
|STEROIDS--PART 1 OF 3: USE AND ABUSE|
||Steroids are drugs prescribed by physicians for anemia, inadequate
growth patterns, chronic diseases, and recovery from surgery or burns.
Anabolic steroids function in the same manner as the male sex hormone
testosterone to produce increases in weight, strength, endurance, and
aggressiveness. Steroids can be taken in pill form or by injection.
Over the last few years, public awareness of the dangers of illegal
steroid use has increased due to the media's coverage of its use by
bodybuilders, track athletes, and football players. The possibility of
life-threatening side effects and adverse reactions places steroids in
a highly dangerous category. These effects include heart palpitations,
certain forms of cancer, liver complications, and psychological
Many organizations (among them the National Collegiate Athlete
Association, National Football League, and International Olympic
Committee) have banned steroids and are testing athletes for illegal
use. Yet, it's estimated that approximately 17 to 20 percent of
college athletes and over one million people in the United States are
|STEROIDS--PART 2 OF 3: ADVERSE EFFECTS |
||Several adverse effects occur in both men and women who use anabolic
steroids. These drugs can cause mood swings in both genders, resulting
in increased hostility, aggression, and violence known by abusers as
"roid rage." In women, large doses of steroids can increase facial
hair growth, cause baldness, increase deepening of the voice, decrease
breast size, enlarge the clitoris, and change or cause a cessation of
menstruation. In men, steroids can increase facial and body hair
growth, decrease the body's production of testosterone, and cause
atrophy of the testicles.
In addition to the sexual changes, there are many possible dangers to
the organs and systems of the body. Acne, elevated cholesterol levels,
high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver tumors, and immune system
deficiencies are all possible results of steroid use.|
|STEROIDS--PART 3 OF 3: ADDICTIVE QUALITIES|
||Anabolic steroids can produce euphoria, diminish fatigue, and increase
bulk and power in both sexes. These qualities can make steroids
addictive. Researchers at Yale University have determined that
long-term users of anabolic steroids experience the characteristics of
classic addiction: cravings, difficulty in ceasing steroid use, and
withdrawal symptoms. Certain delusional behavior that is
characteristic of addiction may occur. Athletes on steroids may be
unaware of body changes that are obvious to others, such as reverse
anorexia. Many users, when they stop using steroids, undergo
psychological withdrawal, mainly caused by the loss of the physique
they were accustomed to during the drug use. Also, steroid users tend
to overlook or simply ignore the physical dangers and moral
implications of taking illegal substances. Denial is a basic trait of
||Highly competitive activities are usually poor stress diversion
activities. However, if you can participate in an activity without
being caught up in winning or losing, the activity can be very
beneficial for relieving stress. The benefits from the following
activities are very personal. These activities are categorized by how
a majority of people would view the activity.
In addition to the above, the following belong in the
high-stress-reduction category: sailing, skating, cross-country
skiing, downhill skiing, surfing, swimming, water skiing, and weight
|THE ACTIVITY PYRAMID|
||The activity pyramid is a means of incorporating physical activity
into your daily life. The pyramid is divided into four layers:
1. Everyday activities
2. Activities 3-5 times a week
3. Activities 2-3 times a week
4. Ways to cut down on sitting
Everyday activities or Level 1 make up the base of the pyramid. These
are activities you should try to include in your everyday life:
walking the dog, taking the stairs, and working in the garden. Level 2
focuses on the activities we need to do two or three times a week,
such as bicycling, brisk walking, swimming, dancing, and tennis. At
Level 3, the focus is on strength, stretching, and leisure activities.
Golf, bowling, yardwork, stretching, and weight lifting are examples
of activities to participate in two or three times a week. The last
level looks at activities we should cut down on, such as sitting.
To examine the pyramid and receive more information, check out
|YOUR FITNESS PROGRAM|
||The following are questions that can help you evaluate your fitness
program. Start with 100 points and subtract points for deficiencies.
Answer yes or no to questions.
- Does your program include sufficient aerobic exercise for
cardiorespiratory fitness (at least, 20 minutes, three days per week)?
If no, minus 10.
- Does your program include strength and muscular endurance
exercises, such as push-ups and abdominal crunches? If no, minus 5.
Are there strength exercises for all major muscle groups? If not,
- Does your program include flexibility exercises? If no, minus 10.
- Does your program allow for varying fitness levels, such as
starting out slowly and working your way up? If no, minus 10.
- Does your program take a reasonable time at each session--at least
20 minutes but not more than an hour--at least three days per week? If
no, minus 10.
- Does your program include a warm-up and cool-down? If no to either,
minus 5; if no to both, minus 10.
- Can the program be performed with only basic equipment, such as
shoes, small weights, or a jump rope? If no, minus 10.
- Is the your program safe? Do you have sufficient knowledge to
design your own fitness program? Or have you had your program checked
by a fitness specialist? Are the principles for training included in
your program? If no, minus 10.
- Are you using a program made by a promoter that is not backed up by
research? Such as "no work fitness," "cures your heart disease," or
"redistributes your cellulite"? If yes, minus 10.
- Does the program promote a lifetime fitness plan based on a variety
of enjoyable activities? If no, minus 10.
Source: Lori Turner and co-authors, "Life Choices," (New York: West
Publishing, 1992), adapted from Table 7-3, pp. 189.|
|DIABETES AND EXERCISE--PART 1 OF 3: ROLE OF INSULIN|
||Insulin's role in the body is to help glucose (blood sugar) enter the
cells, where it's used for energy. The two main classifications of
diabetes are Type I (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and Type II
(non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus). Type I develops mainly in
children, teenagers, and young adults. It's the result of the
autoimmune system of the body destroying the insulin-producing cells
in the pancreas. Often Type I diabetes will develop in a young person
after an illness in which the immune system of the body has been
challenged (such as the flu). The pancreas does not produce insulin,
and the glucose builds up in the bloodstream. People with Type I must
take injections daily and monitor their blood sugar levels very
Type II diabetes usually occurs in adults after the age of 45. The
pancreas produces insulin but does not make enough, and the cells do
not use the insulin properly. People with this type of diabetes cannot
maintain a normal glucose level, especially after eating. This is
referred to as insulin resistance. Type II diabetics may be able to
control their blood glucose levels without medication. The amount of
insulin resistance varies from person to person, and some will require
medications along with diet and exercise. Diabetes is a progressive
disease. The earlier Type II diabetes is diagnosed, the better the
chance the person will be able to control glucose levels through diet
|DIABETES AND EXERCISE--PART 2 OF 3: WARNING SIGNS|
||Type I warning signs may occur very suddenly. Weight loss, increased
thirst, hunger, fatigue, increased urination, and blurred vision are
all signs of this type of diabetes. Type II diabetes often develops
without any warning signs. Some people, however, will show signs, such
as exhaustion; blurred vision; dry, itchy skin; tingling or loss of
feeling in the hands or feet; non-healing infections of the skin,
vagina, and/or bladder; and a mild increase in thirst, hunger, or
Other medical conditions can precede diabetes. High blood pressure and
high blood lipids (fats) often exist along with Type II diabetes but
may develop before the diabetes due to high insulin and glucose
levels. Recent studies suggest elevated levels of insulin appear to
make people more prone to blood clots, resulting in heart attacks and
strokes. About 75 percent of people with Type II diabetes die of heart
attacks and strokes.
If you notice one or more symptoms of diabetes, contact your
physician. A fasting blood test can be administered to detect blood
sugar levels that are too high. Normal blood sugar results are below
100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). A result higher than 126 mg/dl
suggests that you might have diabetes.|
|DIABETES AND EXERCISE--PART 3 0F 3: THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE|
||Regular exercise can help people with diabetes control their glucose
levels. Also, it can help to control weight, which in turn, helps to
improve insulin effectiveness. Flexibility exercises, strength
training, low-intensity walking, aerobics, and cycling are excellent
types of exercises that will help to keep insulin levels under
control. However, it's important for a diabetic to monitor glucose
before and after exercise to determine how different types of exercise
affect glucose levels.
Exercise will also control PAI-1 antigen, a chemical that impairs the
body's ability to dissolve clots. With the latest research indicating
that high levels of insulin and PAI-1 may lead to heart attacks and
strokes, exercise will allow for a lowering of both of these chemicals
in the blood.
Lower levels of blood glucose may allow for less diabetic medication.
It's important to consult a physician for suggestions on adjusting
||Technology has made us too smart for our own good. We now can get out
of bed, walk to our computers, and begin our workday. In the last
hundred years, we have moved from manual labor to desktop
workstations. All of this progress has made life physically easier but
not always physically better. Many inactive people are constantly
fatigued from the stress of the daily hassles, improper diet, and an
One way to change an inactive lifestyle is to schedule old-fashioned
Saturdays. Declare the first Saturday of the month a day to slow down
and enjoy life. No television, no answering machines, no computers, no
gadgets that make you feel the anxiety and stress of daily life.
Instead, try a stroll in the neighborhood, planting flowers or a
garden, repairing an old bicycle for future use, skating, cutting a
neighbor's grass, or recreational play with your children. Taking the
time to enjoy an old-fashioned Saturday may be the experience needed
to keep balance and harmony in your life during the rest of the month.|
|THE BEST EXERCISES FOR PREVENTING DISEASE|
||Regular exercise is the key to preventing many diseases. Any sustained
movement, like walking, bicycling, swimming, or cross-country skiing,
will reduce the risk of several life-threatening diseases, such as
coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and
possibly cancer. Exercise does not need to be boring, expensive,
time-consuming, or inconvenient. Moderate forms of exercise will give
the benefits needed to prevent disease. Gardening, dancing, walking,
household chores, and even shopping expeditions can give you enough
exercise to meet the daily requirement. All that's needed to
personalize your fitness plan is a creative and adventurous spirit.
Research has proven that aerobic activities can prevent some disease
but that strength-training exercise may not be as beneficial. However,
strength training is an excellent form of exercise for preventing
osteoporosis. Weight-bearing or strength-training activities increase
the flow of bone-hardening calcium into the skeleton. Studies have
found the spinal bones of weightlifters to be approximately 15 percent
denser than the bones of runners or people who don't exercise. While
runners had denser thighbones than inactive people, the weightlifters'
thighbones were even denser than the runners' by an additional 11
|ADVENTURE VACATIONS--PART 1 OF 3 |
||Because of technology, many people are looking to adventure vacations
for a change from the long hours of sitting before a computer.
Canoeing, kayaking, caving, mountain climbing, cycling, hiking,
white-water rafting, and horseback riding are just a few of the
physical activities that require outdoor activity. Many people find
that this type of trip renews their spirit.
You don't need to be in top physical shape or love the rugged outdoors
to go on an adventure vacation. There are many travel agencies that
gear their vacations to combine outdoor activities with great food and
a comfortable bed. A new trend for some companies is ecotours. This
type of adventure includes physical activities in the natural
environment, but the activities will not exhaust the natural resources
or damage the environment.|
|ADVENTURE VACATIONS--PART 2 OF 3|
||Some of the benefits of an adventure vacation are the daily physical
workouts, experiencing the geography, and learning about the culture
of the people. For many people, these vacations provide the
opportunity to test inner drive and physical strength. For some, the
ultimate adventure is experiencing a survival camp, the challenge of
depending on self, nature, and companions for shelter, food, and
Not all adventure vacations require you to give up the luxuries
associated with most vacations. Many tours plan a day of rugged
activity with an evening of gourmet food and a night at a local inn or
hotel. Some walking and cycling tours in Europe travel daily from one
inn to the next inn. The evenings are spent gathering in local pubs
meeting the people and talking with the people of the towns. Even for
campers, tours will provide inflatable foam mattresses and
high-quality tents to make the trip more enjoyable than the usual
The option of planning your own adventure trip around your favorite
outdoor activity allows for personal needs and preferences.
Researching the area, planning your overnight stays, providing an
eating plan, and studying the hazards of the trip are essentials to
planning your own adventure. Your own plan will allow for freedom of
choice and a tighter budget.|
|ADVENTURE VACATIONS--PART 3 OF 3|
||Fitness levels needed for adventure vacations vary according to
physical activities. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to
complete one day's activities without total exhaustion. Generally,
regular exercisers are the types of people who sign-up for adventure
vacations. However, many tours are planned for people wanting a
different experience and take into consideration the fitness levels of
their customers. You can check with the individual tour operators if
you have any questions regarding the level of fitness for the trip. If
you are looking for a vacation that will test your limits, you need to
find a tour that will be a challenge to you.
To make sure that you're suited for your particular vacation, talk
with at least three people that have already experienced the trip. Ask
plenty questions of the tour operator about his/her experience and the
safety operations of the company. Know ahead of time the procedures
for injuries and illnesses. Ask if the company farms out its tours to
other companies. Procedures can change if a company does this, and you
may not receive the tour as it was planned. If you have flexibility in
your planning, many companies reduce their rates for tours that are
not filled in the last days before the tour. You may save money on a
short tour at the last minute.|
|ESTIMATION OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE--PART 1 OF 4|
||Basal metabolism is the process in which energy is produced by the
body. The amount of energy used by the body at rest is called the
basal metabolic rate, or the BMR. About 60 to 70 percent of the energy
used by your body during the day is to maintain the body's systems,
such as digestion of food, beating of the heart, breathing,
maintaining body temperature, and many other life-sustaining
functions. If you consume more calories than needed for basal
metabolism, you will need to burn these calories off with some form of
Several factors determine the basal metabolic rate. Age is the one of
most influencing factors; generally, the younger you are, the higher
your BMR. This is due to the fact that during infancy and childhood
there are many growth spurts requiring high amounts of calories. After
you reach 30, your BMR slows down by a rate of one to two percent a
year. It becomes increasingly harder to lose and keep weight off as
you grow older. The "middle-age spread" is often a result of a slowing
of the BMR and an inclination to be inactive.
Another significant factor is the influence of your body composition.
Muscle tissue is highly active even at rest. The more muscle tissue in
your body, the higher your BMR. Men usually have a higher BMR because
of their greater tendency toward lean muscle tissue.
Hormones also play an important part in basal metabolism. The BMR is
likely to change during puberty and pregnancy due to hormonal changes.|
|ESTIMATION OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE--PART 2 OF 4|
||If you're a math wizard, you will zip through this part of our series
on energy expenditure; if not, you may need a calculator.
Step One: Estimate basal metabolic rate (BMR).
To change body weight from pounds to kilograms, multiply your body
weight by 2.2. The answer is your body weight in kilograms. Your
answer is _____kg.
To find your BMR, multiply your weight in kg by the BMR factor (1.0
males or .95 females). Your answer is _____ calories per hour.
To find your BMR for 24 hours, multiply the calories per hour by 24.
Your daily BMR is _____ calories. Your answer represents the number of
calories needed daily for the functioning of your body at rest. You
will need this answer for Step 2 in our next tip.|
|ESTIMATION OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE--PART 3 OF 4|
||Here's in the next step in our series on energy expenditure.
Step Two: Estimate the level of energy expended on physical activity
Multiply your daily BMR (answer from Step 1, in our previous tip) by
the energy cost factor.
If you're sedentary (you sit most of the day; you stand two hours and
move about slowly; you sew, study, or type), multiply your BMR by .30.
If your activity is light (you do some walking and much standing but
no strenuous exercise), multiply your BMR by .40.
If your activity is moderate (you do considerable walking with little
sitting but no limited strenuous exercise), multiply your BMR by .50.
If your activity is strenuous (little sitting with fairly strenuous
activity), multiply your BMR by .65.
If your activity is very strenuous (little sitting with strenuous
activity most of the day), multiply your BMR by .80.
The answer is your PA. This answer represents the number of calories
needed to maintain your weight with your daily activity. You will need
your answers to Steps 1 and 2 for Step 3 in our next tip.|
|ESTIMATION OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE--PART 4 OF 4|
||Here are the final steps in our series on energy expenditure.
Step Three: Estimate the specific dynamic effect (SDE) of food.
Add the daily BMR (Step 1) and the PA (Step 2). Multiply this answer
by .10 to find the SDE. This answer represents the number of calories
needed each day, including activity and the digestion of food.
Step Four: Figure the sum of calories expended on BMR, PA, and SDE to
obtain the total estimated energy expenditure.
Add together the BMR, PA, and SDE. Your answer represents the total
number of calories needed each day to maintain your present weight.
Source: Strewn, Sarah S., Guide to Better Nutrition.|
|FITNESS SELF-CARE LISTS|
||One method of goal setting is to develop a fitness self-care list at
the beginning of each month. The following is a sample list for the
month of April:
APRIL: FITNESS SELF-CARE LIST
_____ Take care of feet; buy new jogging shoes; give away any shoes
_____ Sit up straight while working at computer; take computer breaks
every 30 minutes.
_____ Exercise during commercials during one TV program each evening.
_____ Plan a no-snacking day each week.
_____ Schedule annual exam with family physician.
_____ Ask a friend to go for a walk in the park.
_____ Go to library and check out a fitness book; read the book.
_____ Try a new sport or physical activity.|
||Climbing walls create indoors the characteristics of natural rock
walls and cliffs. The popularity of this fitness activity is soaring,
increasing the number of climbing walls found in gyms, colleges, and
unusual places such as churches and science museums. Although climbing
is an activity with a level of risk, the number of accidents at
climbing walls is very low. Anyone can learn the techniques of indoor
climbing with one orientation session familiarizing him or her with
the climbing devices, the rope system, and the techniques.
Indoor climbing appeals to people looking for a physical activity that
requires "mind over matter." It's a sport where the mental edge is
important and increased self-confidence is a result. In addition,
improved strength, competition, and socialization appeal to people
looking for an interesting way to add variety to their fitness
Indoor climbing is not expensive. Equipment runs approximately $50 for
a harness and $75 to $150 for shoes. Some indoor facilities rent the
equipment and provide instruction. A $5 fee is the average amount
charged for climbing the wall in facilities without a membership. To
find the climbing wall located closest to you, go to
||Children are born with an innate curiosity and a strong drive for
physical fitness. In the past, most preschool children achieved
physical fitness through exploring their environments. However, recent
studies indicate that childhood obesity in the United States has
increased in the last 20 years. The most important factor leading to
obesity at any age is low physical activity. It's estimated that
children from 2 to 5 years of age watch 25.5 hours of television per
week. This TV time takes away large amounts of time that could be
spent in vigorous physical activity.
Another factor recently reported in the Journal of the American
Dietetic Association is the rising rates of obesity due to the
"super-sized" food portions at fast food restaurants. One study
suggests that by the age of five, children will eat the amount of food
given to them rather than the amount indicated by their hunger. Eating
large amounts of food when not hungry results in a harmful food
pattern that leads to childhood and adult obesity.
Parents can help their children acquire the exercise habits needed for
lifelong wellness by monitoring their children's environment. The
critical time for laying the foundation of skills needed by children
is from the ages of two to five. Research also suggests that parents
allow children to determine how much they eat and not force them to
eat everything on their plates.|
||Power is a skilled-related factor of physical fitness. It's the
ability to perform strength movements at a rapid pace. Strength and
speed are both involved in power. Physical activities that require
power are baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics, judo, karate,
rowing, and cross-country skiing. The standing long jump is a test for
power. To do this test, you'll need a line on the floor, a tape
measure, and a partner. The test is as follows:
First, stand with both feet behind the starting line on the floor.
Swing the arms forward, and jump as far as possible with both feet
together. Do not run or hop before you jump. Have your partner measure
from the starting line to the nearest point where any part of your
body touched the floor during the landing. Try the test twice--your
best score counts.
Scoring: Men: Excellent--87 inches or more, Good--80 to 86 inches,
Fair--70 to 79 inches, Poor--below 69 inches. Women: Excellent--74
inches or more, Good--66 to 73 inches, Fair--8 to 65 inches,
Poor--below 57 inches.|
|STRETCHING AND WEIGHT TRAINING|
||Research from Louisiana State University and Brigham Young University
indicates that stretching before lifting weights can cause a loss of
strength. Light aerobic exercise (bicycling, treadmill, rope jumping)
is recommended in place of stretching. However, research also
indicates that people who stretch after lifting weights will increase
strength. The South Shore YMCA, Quincy, MA conducted a ten-week study
and found that male weightlifters who stretched after training
increased their strength by 54 percent; those who didn't stretch only
increased strength by 29 percent.
Source: Vitality; January 2000, page 10, and Vitality; November 1999,
page 20. (Vitality Magazine, 8080 N. Central Ave., Dallas, TX 75206)|
|VOLUNTEERING AND FITNESS|
||One way to keep working on your fitness is to volunteer for community
projects that require physical activity. In addition to feeling
terrific for contributing your time and talent to a good cause, you
will also feel great due to the benefits of performing the exercise.
Here are some ways to give to your community and to yourself:
- Participate in a community walk/run for a nonprofit organization.
- Volunteer to keep a highway or street clean of trash or debris.
- Cut the grass, or rake the yard of an elderly or ill person.
- Help build or repair a house for a disadvantaged family.
- Coach a youth team and perform the exercises with the team.
- Plant a flower garden and take cut flowers to local nursing home.
- Volunteer to play games with the children at a local homeless
|WATER JOGGING: IF YOU CAN'T SWIM|
||Jogging in a pool is one of the most popular methods of keeping fit,
especially for pregnant women, obese individuals, or people in
rehabilitation after an injury. Water exercise is a form of non-impact
aerobics that tones muscles through progressive resistance. For
pregnant women, the water keeps the body cool and the fetus at a safe
temperature. Many non-swimmers find jogging in a pool, even in the
shallow end, very scary. A product called the Aqua-Jogger, a
semi-flotation belt worn around the waist, keeps the jogger in an
upright position. The belt allows the jogger to move around the pool
at any pace or heart rate. The Aqua-Jogger costs about $50.|
|SODIUM IN YOUR DIET--PART 1 OF 4|
||Thanks for the reader comment: "I would suggest, if you can, that you
give some more tips on the role of sodium in one's diet, and its many
Sodium is an essential nutrient used to regulate fluid and blood
pressure, but is not made by the body. The minimum amount of sodium
chloride (salt) needed daily by the human body is 500 mg. The
Nutrition Board of the Natural Academy of Sciences recommends a range
of 1100 mg to 3300 mg with 2400 mg the daily average. Most Americans
consume more than 6000 mg a day, resulting in high blood pressure,
kidney or liver disease, and edema (the retention of body fluids). The
overuse of salt often happens without the person being aware of the
amount he or she is consuming.
How do you know if you're eating the recommended amount of sodium? If
you had the time and desire, you could count your sodium intake by
keeping track of the foods you eat and calculating the amount. An
easier way to reduce sodium is to control the amount or limit the
following foods: pork products such as ham and bacon, hot dogs,
luncheon meats, sausages, all shellfish, breads and cereals containing
salt, cheese and salted butter or margarine, and certain vegetables,
including celery and sauerkraut. Foods lower in salt are the
following: skim milk, eggs, beef, veal, lamb, poultry, fish, fresh
fruits, and vegetables. Some drugs and water filtered through a water
softener may contain sodium, and you should avoid those when on a
|SODIUM IN YOUR DIET--PART 2 OF 4|
||The following are some suggestions for changing your daily sodium
- Read the labels to find the amount of sodium in each serving of
any given product.
- Use various spices to flavor your foods instead of salt or other
sodium-containing flavor enhancers.
- Make a herb shaker. Combine:
2 tsp. Thyme
1-1/2 tsp. Sage
2 tsp. Rosemary
2-1/2 tsp. Marjoram
2-1/2 tsp. Savory
Use this combination to flavor vegetables, meats, fish, or poultry.
- Drain and rinse canned foods to remove excess salt.
- Convenience foods and fast food meals often contain more salt than
home-cooked meals. If you eat a fast food lunch, select a low-sodium
meal made with fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, meats, and
grains for dinner.
- Always taste before salting food that you have cooked or when
- Remove the saltshaker from the table.|
|SODIUM IN YOUR DIET--PART 3 OF 4|
||Fast food meals can be high in sodium. The following are some
- McDonalds's: Quarter-Pound Cheeseburger, Large Fries, 16 oz. Soda =
1450 mg sodium
- Domino's Pizza: Four slices Sausage and Mushroom pizza = 2302 mg
- Kentucky Fried Chicken: Two pieces Fried Chicken (Breast and Wing),
Buttermilk Biscuit, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Corn on the Cob, 16-oz.
Soda = 2276 mg sodium
- Taco Bell: Taco Salad, 16 oz. Soda = 1620 mg sodium
Some people are sodium sensitive, and excessive salt use will increase
their blood pressure. To determine if you are one of these people,
measure your blood pressure before and after eating a low-salt diet
for a few weeks. Genetically, African Americans tend to be salt
sensitive and should have their blood pressure checked on a regular
basis. Remember: You need 500 mg of salt daily, and the recommended
daily amount is approximately 2400 mg.|
|SODIUM IN YOUR DIET--PART 4 OF 4|
||If you work out for more than one hour at a moderate to intense level
and do not replace the water loss and calories burned, you'll probably
feel fatigued. Once you reach this point, it's very hard to regain
strength without allowing the body time for recuperation. In the past,
scientists have not felt additional salt was needed during exercise,
only water to replenish the lost body fluid from sweating. However,
recent studies indicate salt is needed for the retaining of water
taken in during exercise. Drinks containing salt are absorbed into the
bloodstream faster and are retained in the body longer than plain
water. This allows for a longer workout time.
Sport drinks contain salt and are one method of replenishment. Foods
containing salt, such as peanuts, eaten with plain water will also
help your body to absorb, to hold water, and to give energy. One-half
teaspoon to eight ounces of water will give the needed results. It's
especially important to include salt in your drinks while exercising
in hot weather.
Always consult a physician if you have high blood pressure.
Salt-sensitive people may experience an increase in blood pressure and
need a physician's approval to increase salt intake.|
|SPORTS MASSAGE--PART 1 OF 3|
||Sports massage is an important strategy for prevention of injury,
enhancement of performance, and as an aid in recovery after an
athletic event. In the past few years, the level of athletic
competition has gradually increased to a new high in many sports. Some
of this is due to improved equipment, better nutrition, and increased
psychological/physical knowledge of the body structure and function.
Massage is one of the many therapies and treatments now available to
increase performance level.
No matter which sport a person trains in, the goal is to increase the
level of performance. This goal subjects the body to gradual and
controlled overuse. Overuse may create problems and imbalances in soft
tissues. Massage can be an effective method of releasing tension and
restoring circulation, lymph flow, and relaxation to the muscles. It's
an important component of high-level performance.|
|SPORTS MASSAGE--PART 2 OF 3|
||Maintenance massage is based on keeping the athlete in top condition
and injury free. The massage therapist's understanding of anatomy and
kinesiology is necessary to help maintain and improve the range of
motion and muscle flexibility for the athlete.
Pre-event massage is used to enhance circulation and to reduce excess
muscle and mental tension before competition. Post-event massage is
used for reducing muscle spasms, toxic buildup, and to help the body
return to pre-competition level. Deep-tissue massages should be
scheduled at least 24 to 48 hours before or after a hard workout.
Rehabilitation massage can help the athlete heal and reduce discomfort
from the injury. Massage techniques used in combination with
appropriate medical care can reduce the amount of secondary problems
resulting from chronic or acute injuries.|
|SPORTS MASSAGE--PART 3 OF 3|
||Sport therapists must be trained in anatomy, physiology, and
kinesiology as well as the correct techniques for the various kinds of
massage. The Commission on Massage Training Accreditation (COMTA) is
an accrediting association for massage therapy programs. Programs
accredited by COMTA are requiring 500 hours of classroom instruction
in the above requirements plus First Aid and CPR.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
requires the highest level of credentials in the massage therapy
field. This certification includes testing in ethics and a practicum
in technique. Continuing education is also required to keep the
certification at a current status.
When selecting a therapist, check the person's credentials,
experience, and recommendations from medical professionals associated
with the athletics and sports. The American Massage Therapy
Association (AMTA) provides a national massage therapist locator
||Do you want to look and feel better? Get in shape? Or
simply lose weight? Fitness Online
[http://www.fitnessonline.com] asks you for your
priorities, then tailors its exercise, nutrition, and
other health stories and links for you. Maybe you have
a more specialized goal, such as a healthy pregnancy.
Again, you'll see the relevant information.|
||Steer clear of online drugstores that have only one or
a few drugs. You're safer with a full-service drugstore
that offers hundreds and thousands of medications. The
one-drug outfit can too-easily be a garage operation
pushing questionable pills.|
||PlanetRX.com [http://www.planetrx.com] is just what
it sounds like: a new planet near Neptune.
No, seriously, it's an online pharmacy. You browse to
the site, type in the name of the drug you need, the
dose, whether or not it's a refill, then add your
address, credit-card number, and prescription number.
Then you wait, for one to five days, while the site
verifies the prescription with your doctor. Standard
shipping adds another few days -- or you can pay extra
for overnight delivery.|
||He changed his name from Angelo Siciliano and changed his physique from 97-lb weakling to man-you-didn't-mess-with-at-the-beach. And he decided to share the secrets with the world, or at least the world that read the back pages of magazines and comic books. Charles Atlas [http://www.charlesatlas.com] is still selling his dynamic-tension exercise system at his Web site.|
|BREAST FEEDING, DIETING, AND EXERCISE|
||A recent study from the University of North Carolina (Greensboro)
indicated that breast-feeding women, who lose weight by dieting and
exercise between the fourth and 14th week after giving birth, will not
hinder the development of the infant's weight and height. This study
included women with a body mass index of at least 25; women with a
lower body mass index may obtain different results. The women in the
study were averaging one pound a week of weight loss. Some physicians
and nutritionists do not agree with the results of this study and
recommend waiting four to six months before beginning a weight loss
program. At that time, the mother is no longer the only source for
nutrition of the infant.
To read a related article, go to
|IT'S TIME FOR A FITNESS CHECK-UP|
||Our New Year's resolutions are usually on the back burner by now. It's
time to re-check our fitness goals and to make new ones for the
springtime. There are many outdoor activities to refresh a fitness
The change to daylight savings time will give more hours to the day
for physical activity. Outdoor activities can give a variety of new
challenges. Now may be the time to sign up for a new sport and to take
some lessons, or to sign up for a sport league. This is a great time
for family activity. Plan some fun challenges to do outdoors in the
evenings with your family. Keep a record of each person's personal
best. It's time to make new goals for the spring months and to refresh
your commitment to fitness.|
|MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDING|
||Mountain bike riding is an excellent method to obtain cardiovascular
fitness. The ideal situation is to become fit enough to maintain your
target aerobic zone for two hours of bike riding. The ideal target
aerobic zone is 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.
To begin your bike ride, warm up with a 10-minute stretching session
and a five-minute heart warm-up ride on level ground. For the first 10
minutes of your ride, keep your heart rate within ten beats of your
target heart rate. Work up to 30-45 minute sessions, three to four
times a week. Do not increase your time and intensity too quickly.
Start on level ground for the first several weeks before you begin any
hill work. The key is to allow your body to condition itself at its
own rate. Listen to the signs and signals it's giving you. Give
yourself at least six weeks to see an improvement in energy, stamina,
and strength. Always reverse your warm-up for a cool-down at the end
of your ride. Remember: You're conditioning the cardiovascular system
to be more efficient and training your body to burn fat--and this
takes many sessions.
A term used in cycling is spinning, the number of revolutions of the
wheel per minute. The number of RPMs for mountain biking is around
60-80. This is the optimal cadence, but you need to establish a
cadence that you can sustain during your ride. Your cadence will
change as you go up and down hills and come to full stops and starts.
Your cadence must be one you can return to after changes.
It's important to understand the basics of shifting gears. You must be
able to shift into a gear that is comfortable and efficient to pedal
in. If you're pedaling too slowly, you're wasting energy; pedaling too
fast results in aerobic/endurance fatigue.
To improve your fitness through hill work, start on short hills. Most
cyclists will move up the hill by taking it easy on the first part and
pushing on the last part. However, some will go hard on the first part
and take it easy the rest of the way up the hill. You must determine
the method easiest for you.
A jump is a short, fast burst of speed (a sprint). Interval training
using jumps is one way to improve fitness. On one of the days during
the week, do five to seven jumps. Find a flat stretch of land and
simply stand up out of the seat and increase your speed until you
reach full speed. Keep it up for 10-15 seconds and then return to your
regular speed. Don't lower your speed below your regular pace. Repeat
this several times during the course of an hour or better ride.
Here are some tips to get the most from your mountain biking
- Don't lock your elbows. Locking the elbows will lead to sore neck
muscles. Beginning riders often lock the elbows in order to take
stress off the back. However, locked elbows will cause the arms and
shoulders to become rigid, which results in sore neck muscles.
- Take frequent breaks. If you're not used to riding in a bent
position, take breaks to stretch your back and neck muscles.
- Use your gears. You want your cadence to be right for you. You
don't want to go too fast or too slow. Use your gears to maintain a
consistent cadence that you can handle.
- Scan the terrain when riding off-road. Keep your attention on what
is coming up ahead and directly in front of your front tire.
- Use a crouch position for downhill riding. This is the basic,
off-the-saddle position when going downhill or over an obstacle.
- Wear gloves. Gloves will protect you from cuts from a fall. In
addition, gel-padded gloves will protect you from the bike's constant
vibration, which can cause injury to the nerves of the hands and arms.|
|OSTEOPOROSIS AND EXERCISE|
||A common condition in older adults is osteoporosis. This condition is
characterized by a thinning and deterioration of bone tissue that
increases the risk of a bone fracture. Women are more prone to have
this condition due to the fact that they tend to live longer than men,
they have lower bone mass than men, and they lose bone mass at an
accelerated rate after menopause as their estrogen levels decrease.
Women and men have a lot to gain by remaining physically active as
they grow older. Bone mass levels are significantly higher in active
individuals in comparison to sedentary people. Bone responds to the
demands placed on it by building more bone mass. The recommended
physical activities are walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing,
racquet sports, and hiking. However, you can achieve physical
activity's full benefits only when you have the proper hormone levels
present (estrogen in women, testosterone in men). A healthy diet,
regular exercise, and calcium supplements will help to maintain bone
mass although it is harder to achieve as we age.
For information on the exercise video "BeBoneWise: Official Exercise
Video of the National Osteoporosis Foundation," see
||Many people prefer sports drinks to water because they taste better
and it's easier to drink them more often. If the sports drink contains
a small amount of sugar, sodium, and potassium, the drink will
effectively hydrate the person. The following facts are important to
consider when using a sports drink:
- Sports drinks should contain between 14 and 19 grams of
carbohydrates per eight-ounce serving (six to eight percent). A drink
with more than ten percent carbohydrates may cause slow absorption,
nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. A drink with five percent or less sugar
solution may not provide enough additional energy to increase exercise
- Carbonation causes stomach bloating. Dilute carbonated drinks to
- The correct sodium level is 100-110 milligrams per eight ounces.
Sodium content in sports drinks can range from eight to 116
- Fruit juices have a 10-15 percent carbohydrate level and need to be
diluted. Mix one part juice to seven parts water.
- You do not sweat out vitamins; there's no need to buy drinks that
- Water is adequate for exercise under one hour. However, if the
exercise is intense or lasts more than an hour, a sports drink will be
- If you're participating in a sports event lasting four hours or
more, you need a sports drink that contains from 110 to 120 milligrams
|WHATEVER IT TAKES|
||The sporting goods industry is setting aside money to lobby for
federal legislation that would encourage school districts to increase
the amount of physical education in the schools. The industry fears
the lack of consumers in the future due to the inactivity of today's
school children. At the present time, Illinois is the only state that
requires daily physical education from kindergarten to 12th grade. In
many schools, physical education is the first program to be eliminated
when there's a lack of funds.
The importance of lifelong fitness is grossly underrated in the United
States. The increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and early
death is the result of the lack of awareness of the importance of
physical activity. Research has found that 60 percent of adults who
exercise 250 or more days a year reported that high school physical
education classes had contributed to their decision to be active later
in life. It's important to develop within children the interest to
become physically active and to stay active. Schools must emphasize
the importance of a healthy body and a healthy mind. Otherwise,
computer games will dominate playtime and children will become
||The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
[http://www.nabp.net] keeps a list of approved online
drugstores. This isn't the be-all and end-all. It's
only the stores that have voluntarily sought and
received NABP approval. Still, it's comforting when a
store has more official recognition such as this.|
||Quackwatch [http://www.quackwatch.com] is a funny
name for a serious game: attacking and exposing fraud
in medicine. When you consider investing your money or
your future personal health future in some treatment or
procedure, maybe you should first run it by
|Take Two, With a Grain of Salt|
||Chances are a specialized store such as Vitamins.com
[http://www.vitamins.com] won't have much negative to
say about, well, its specialty -- in this case, about
vitamins. Still, there are some experts at such a site
full of advice and concern. And there are often special
buying features -- at Vitamins.com you can set up an
auto-reorder facility so that vitamins arrive when you
||Achoo [http://www.achoo.com] is a free search site
for health and medical information online. From
Alternative Medicine to Anatomy, Exercise to Ethics,
you will be hard pressed to find a site with healthier
||Online pharmacies with headquarters outside the United
States can be much looser than those inside the U.S.
For example, they may not require any prescription at
The upside to this is freedom to do what you want, to
get drugs you believe you should have without a doctor
The downside to this is freedom to ruin your health,
taking drugs that may be inappropriate or even toxic
for you. And even if the drugs may have been right if
prescribed and sold inside the U.S., the lack of
regulation of dosage, manufacturing-quality,
information and packaging can all turn potential
solutions into threatening dangers.|