With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in mind, many people are taking bold steps to get fit and build strength. But some strength training exercises, which tend to get passed along at the gym like folklore, may not be based on how the body works best. “All too often, strength training programs don’t take into account correct biomechanics or even individual body types,” says Mayo Clinic’s Ed Laskowski, M.D., of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Some strength training exercises, if performed with poor technique, can cause injuries ranging from spontaneous twinges to the aches that come from months of cumulative stress. The key to safe, effective strength training is doing it right. Dr. Laskowski is available to talk … MORE
For many of our clients, skiing is a favorite wintertime hobby. By implementing a few basic exercises into your workout routine, you’ll feel stronger, fatigue more slowly, ski better and enjoy your day even more. There are entire books on this topic, but these will help get you started in the right direction. Note – none of these should cause any “pain” (which is different from muscle fatigue): Wall Sits: sit with your back straight against the wall and no chair, supporting yourself with (primarily) your thigh muscles. Hold until fatigued and repeat after a brief rest interval. Note that muscles are very specific in their training (approximately 5 degree overlap on angle of knee), so to maximize outcomes, you’ll … MORE
To learn more about how exercise affects the brain, scientists in Ireland asked a group of sedentary male college students to take part in a memory test followed by strenuous exercise. First, the young men watched a rapid-fire lineup of photos with the faces and names of strangers. After a break, they tried to recall the names they had just seen as the photos again zipped across a computer screen. Afterward, half of the students rode a stationary bicycle, at an increasingly strenuous pace, until they were exhausted. The others sat quietly for 30 minutes. Then both groups took the brain-teaser test again. Notably, the exercised volunteers performed significantly better on the memory test than they had on their first … MORE
With the help of a large Norwegian longitudinal health study called HUNT, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) were able to find a clear relationship between time spent in church and lower blood pressure in both women and men. “We found that the more often HUNT participants went to church, the lower their blood pressure, even when we controlled for a number of other possible explanatory factors,” says Torgeir Sørensen, a PhD candidate from the School of Theology and Religious Psychology Centre at Sykehuset Innlandet (Inland Hospital). Previous research from the United States has shown that there is a possible link between people who attend church and blood pressure. For this study, church attendance was selected … MORE
At 20 minutes after quitting: Blood pressure decreases Pulse rate drops Body temperature of hands and feet increases. At 8 hours: Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal Oxygen level in blood increases to normal At 24 hours: Chance of a heart attack decreases At 48 hours: nerve endings begin regrowth ability to smell and taste improves Between 2 weeks and 3 months: Circulation improves Walking becomes easier Lung function increases Between 1 to 9 months smoke-free: Starting as early as a month after you quit smoking, and continuing for the next several months, you may notice significant improvements in these areas: coughing sinus congestion fatigue shortness of breath At One Year Smoke-Free: Your excess risk of coronary heart … MORE
A new study of sexually active older women has found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age and those not engaging in sex are satisfied with their sex lives. A majority of study participants report frequent arousal and orgasm that continue into old age, despite low sexual desire. The study appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System evaluated sexual activity and satisfaction as reported by 806 older women who are part of the Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS) cohort, a group of women who live in a planned community near San Diego and whose health has been … MORE
Will you greet January feeling good about how you traversed the round of holiday parties and traditions, or will you be frantically trying to get those extra pounds off in a hurry? If you wait until January to deal with holiday weight gain, you will likely feel frustrated and wonder where to begin. Instead, consider putting strategies in place now. You will invariably come face to face with a cascade of diet plans in the new year. My advice to people is always to think about their weight-loss strategy as doing things differently and not as a diet — “diet” is a four-letter-word, in my book. Instead of dieting, you are simply making choices. That’s much less formidable, don’t you … MORE
Experts say dozens of easy-to-find ‘superfoods’ can help ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more. Imagine a superfood — not a drug — powerful enough to help you lower yourcholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no side effects? You’d surely stock up on a lifetime supply. Guess what? These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket. “The effect that diet can have on how you feel today and in the future is astounding,” says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, author of Nutritionfor aHealthy Pregnancy, Food & Mood, and The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. “Even people who … MORE
BOSTON, MA — Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health have examined the effect of eating nuts on cardiovascular health, reports the Harvard Men’s Health Watch. “Their work shows that nuts really are healthy, especially for men at risk for heart disease,” says Dr. Harvey B. Simon, editor. Studies show that healthy men, and those who have already suffered a heart attack, can reduce cardiovascular risk by eating nuts regularly, reports the Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Doctors theorize that: nuts may help lower cholesterol, partly by replacing less healthy foods in the diet nuts contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats known to benefit the heart the omega-3 fats found in walnuts may protect against irregular heart … MORE
Does your kitchen pantry work with or against your healthy eating habits? It’s time for a makeover. By having a pantry stocked with healthy items, cooking meals and preparing snacks will be easier, making eating wholesome food a breeze. After organizing your pantry, consider food storage items. Buy bags and containers that allow you to store food in serving-size portions. Stock up on snack, sandwich and quart-size storage bags, airtight containers, as well as cling wrap, twist ties, and measuring cups of varying sizes. Now that you can store them efficiently, go out and get the following foods to keep your pantry healthy. Breakfast Oatmeal is a must-have, but consider nixing the instant variety unless you can find a brand … MORE
Overeating may cause brain aging while eating less turns on a molecule that helps the brain stay young. A team of Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered that this molecule, called CREB1, is triggered by “caloric restriction” (low caloric diet) in the brain of mice. They found that CREB1 activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper functioning of the brain. This work was led by Giovambattista Pani, researcher at the Institute of General Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, directed by Professor Achille Cittadini, in collaboration with Professor Claudio Grassi of the Institute of Human Physiology. The research appears this week in the … MORE
Newswise — Thirsty? You may be more inclined to reach for plain old H2O if you knew how many calories are in sugar-sweetened beverages; this is according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They examined the effect of providing clear and visible caloric information about sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and fruit juice on the number of sugar-sweetened beverage purchases at neighborhood stores, and found that providing easily understandable caloric information, specifically in the form of a physical activity equivalent, may reduce the likelihood of sugar-sweetened beverage purchases among adolescents by as much as half. The results are featured in a recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health. … MORE
Looking for a new Competitive Challenge? Try Dragon Boat Racing! Are you a competitive athlete looking for a new challenge? Would you like to find an activity that fosters competition at any age/ability level? The Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado (DRACO) would love to introduce you to the exciting sport of Dragon Boat Racing! We are a non-profit organization affiliated with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. Our goal is to promote dragon boat racing locally, and to train competitive dragon boat teams to compete in national and international races. Dragon boat races are held all over the globe, in a wide variety of exotic venues. Of course, Denver also hosts its own prestigious Colorado Dragon Boat Festival each year – … MORE
New workout last weekend represented a new strategy in the Ironman preparation – the 8 hour swim/bike/run. It was all completed within the 15 x 10 SF area in our basement and included approximately a 1 hr swim on the Vasa machine, 6 hrs on the Computrainer riding the 112 mile St. George course and then running close to an hour at sub 7 min/mile on the treadmill. Why? Two primary purposes. The first was to further fine-tune the race day fueling plan (what works during a 4-5 hr workout likely won’t be as effective during a 10 hr event). The second was to “normalize” the ironman distance (again – if longest pre-race workout is just 4-5 hrs, race day … MORE
Stress is a normal reaction to change. In most cases, we are able to cope, but when stress is chronic and interferes with your daily routine, it can take a heavy toll on your health and well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80 percent of health care is spent on stress-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, sleep disturbances, depression and weight gain. Although we can’t avoid stress, there are ways to help manage it. Your breathing becomes more shallow and rapid when you are under stress. Being aware of this allows you to be better prepared to focus on taking longer, deeper breaths. Directing thoughts to relaxing your body while slowly inhaling and … MORE
A 15-minute walk can cut snacking on chocolate at work by half, according to research by the University of Exeter. The study showed that, even in stressful situations, workers eat only half as much chocolate as they normally would after this short burst of physical activity. Published in the journal Appetite, the research suggests that employees may find that short breaks away from their desks can help keen their minds off snacking. In the study, 78 regular chocolate-eaters were invited to enter a simulated work environment, after two days abstinence from chocolate snacking. Two groups were asked to take a brisk 15-minute walk on a treadmill and were then given work to complete at a desk. One group was given … MORE
ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2011) — People who eat baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis may be improving their brain health and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study presented November 30 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). “This is the first study to establish a direct relationship between fish consumption, brain structure and Alzheimer’s risk,” said Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled fish at least one time per week had better preservation of gray matter volume on MRI in brain … MORE
I’m certainly no prophet, but in watching the literal plethora of caffeine products (drinks, shots, strips and more, on top of the traditional coffees, teas and sodas) populating our airwaves and grocery carts, I have a feeling we may very well be looking at our generation’s version of nicotine. Think about it – when cigarettes first made their way onto the scene, it was cool. Natural stimulant – feels good – increases energy levels. No worries, right? How’d that one turn out? Fast forward to today, when rather than a simple cup of coffee to start off the day, we’re encouraged to take it to another level. At every turn, we’re nudged to down a shot of “all natural” (you … MORE
Here’s another reason why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”—according to new research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology(https://www.jleukbio.org), oral ingestion of apple polyphenols (antioxidants found in apple peels) can suppress T cell activation to prevent colitis in mice. This study is the first to show a role for T cells in polyphenol-mediated protection against an autoimmune disease and could lead to new therapies and treatments for people with disorders related to bowel inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colitis-associated colorectal cancer. David W. Pascual, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana said “Our results show that a natural … MORE
Much attention has been given to the idea of “Barefoot Running” since the publishing of the book Born to Run (most definitely worth a read, by the way). And the Vibram 5 Finger Shoes have reaped great benefits from this latest trend. If you were to pick up a Runner’s World shoe review issue just 3 years ago, Vibrams didn’t even make the cut. Now an entire category of “minimalist” shoes is being featured – for good reason. If you’ve not tried the Vibrams, they’re definitely worth checking out. But do not make the mistake of suddenly switching over to them from your “normal” running shoes. Rather, gradually ease into them, adding a few minutes each day and transitioning over … MORE
Like you, I’m always trying to learn new things. And yesterday I picked up a couple of tips to help avoid the negative effects of illness during this time of the year when they’re all around us and my Ironman training volume likely has my defenses down a bit. The two items I’ll be adding to my morning smoothie concoction are Aloe Vera Juice and Oil of Oregano, which are both known to enhance immunity in the body. The aloe is a slam dunk – not “tasty” but almost stands on it’s own. But the oil of oregano? Oh my word! It’s awful (and awfully strong!). When I first dropped a few droplets into my mouth after leaving the store, … MORE
A new study now reveals that an increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality. The data from epidemiological studies suggest that tendencies towards a healthy diet and the right amount of physical exercise often come hand in hand. Furthermore, an increase in physical activity is usually linked to a parallel improvement in diet quality. Exercise also brings benefits such as an increase in sensitivity to physiological signs of fullness. This not only means that appetite can be controlled better but it also modifies hedonic responses to food stimuli. Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioral … MORE
People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity. The study, out in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, lends more evidence to mounting research showing the importance of exercise to a number of health factors. Among adults in the United States, about 35 … MORE
Trend data show a sharp increase in the number of emergency department (ED) visits involving energy drinks between 2005 (1,128 visits) and 2008 and 2009 (16,053 and 13,114 visits, respectively), representing about a tenfold increase between 2005 and 2009. Approximately half of the energy drink related ED visits (52 percent) made by patients aged 18 to 25 involved combinations of energy drinks with alcohol or other drugs (but almost 50% were unrelated to alcohol or drugs).
Among 40 year old men who participated in the survey, 5,380 persons had taken an IQ test during the mandatory Swedish conscription examination at a mean (sd) age of 18.1 (1.0) years, 21.0 (1.0) years before the survey. The results of the IQ test were standardized to a normal distribution score with nine levels. Waist-Hip-Ratio (WHR) was calculated as waist circumference divided by hip circumference. Results: WHR among middle-aged men differed significantly between IQ levels (p<0.001). The association was inverse, with the highest mean (sd) WHR value 0.91 (0.06) for the men with lowest IQ and the lowest value 0.88 (0.06) for the men with highest IQ (see figure). The results were robust when adjusting for confounding factors in a … MORE
Currently about 10 weeks into the base building phase. The goal is to build an outstanding base through the end of December and then begin upping specific intensity, aero position training and race specific workouts. As noted previously, multiple changes to this season’s training, including 2+ hrs/wk of strengthening, a minimum of 3 days at the pool, a maximum of 6 hrs/wk of running (where most injuries originate), limited intensity on the run training (little to no intervals – focus on bricks and tempo training), scheduling based on RestWise score each day, Compex electrical stim twice/wk and probably most importantly – a strong nutritional focus. I’ve been following the Paleo Diet for Athletes (Cordain and Friel) over the past 2 … MORE
There is no doubt that eating a balanced diet is essential for maintaining a healthy body weight as well as appropriate arousal and energy balance, but the details about how the nutrients we consume are detected and processed in the brain remain elusive. Now, a research study discovers intriguing new information about how dietary nutrients influence brain cells that are key regulators of energy balance in the body. The study, published by Cell Press in the November 17, 2011 issue of the journal Neuron, suggests a cellular mechanism that may allow brain cells to translate different diets into different patterns of activity. Taken together, these results support a new and more complex nutrient-specific model for dietary regulation of orexin/hypocretin neurons. … MORE
As amazing as it may seem, people (even some Physicians, unfortunately) STILL continue to claim that “running is bad for your knees.” Please note – this is FALSE. A peer-reviewed, long-term research and epidemiological study out of Stanford Medical School found that after 20 years, the knees of distance runners were actually HEALTHIER than those of a control group. And a 2011 study by the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that “physical activity [including running] is BENEFICIAL, rather than detrimental, to join health” (here’s the study if interested: http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2011/03/28/effect-of-physical-activity-on-knees.pdf). The only exception to that is if you already have an injured knee, then running on it without correcting the cause could result in further injury, of course.
Two new studies by researchers at the University of Rhode Island are providing additional insights into the role that eating rate plays in the amount of food one consumes. The studies found that men eat significantly faster than women, heavier people eat faster than slimmer people, and refined grains are consumed faster than whole grains, among other findings. Kathleen Melanson presented her research at the annual meeting of The Obesity Society in Orlando this month. The second study, which examined the characteristics associated with eating rates, found a close association between eating rate and body mass index (BMI), with those individuals with a high BMI typically eating considerably faster than those with a low BMI. The study also found that … MORE
Many complications of diabetes, including kidney disease, foot problems and vision problems are generally well recognized. But the disease’s impact on the brain is often overlooked. For the past five years, a team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) neurophysiologist Vera Novak, MD, PhD, has been studying the effects of diabetes on cognitive health in older individuals and has determined that memory loss, depression and other types of cognitive impairment are a serious consequence of this widespread disease. Now, Novak’s team has identified a key mechanism behind this course of events. In a study published in the November 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes Care, they report that in older patients with diabetes, two adhesion molecules – sVCAM … MORE
For the first time, scientists report a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS), who are at high risk for heart disease. Serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health. It took only one ounce of mixed nuts (raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) a day to produce the good effects. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research. Symptoms of MetS include excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight … MORE
Regular physical activity is associated with a lower risk of suffering depression in old age. This is shown by one of the largest studies on elderly Europeans to have been carried out, by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, among others. Research also shows that self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading elderly people to exercise more. In a recently published study Lindwall, together with research colleagues, has studied 17,500 elderly people with an average age of 64 from 11 European countries who are taking part in the large EU-funded population study Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE). The subjects in the study were followed up over a period of two and a half years, … MORE
A new national study of eating out and income shows that fast-food dining becomes more common as earnings increase from low to middle incomes, weakening the popular notion that fast food should be blamed for higher rates of obesity among the poor. “There is a correlation between obesity and lower income, but it cannot be solely attributed to restaurant choice,” said J. Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences at UC Davis and senior author of the study, which is published online in Population Health Management. “Fast-food dining is most popular among the middle class, who are less likely to be obese.”
The genetic predisposition to obesity due to the ‘fat mass and obesity associated’ (FTO) gene can be substantially reduced by living a physically active lifestyle according to new research by a large international collaboration, led by Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, in Cambridge, UK, and published in this week’s PLoS Medicine. The researchers found that the effect of the FTO gene on obesity risk is nearly 30% weaker among physically active than in physically inactive adults. This finding holds an important public health message relevant to health care professionals and the wider public as it challenges the widely-held view that obesity ‘is in my genes’ and not amenable to lifestyle changes. On the contrary, this study … MORE
Newswise — Failing to get back on a healthy eating plan soon after the big holiday feast can lead to serious weight gain and most likely a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. “Most of us will eat snacks and sweets the week leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas, then continue for days and weeks afterwards,” said Gaye Lynn Hicks, R.D., L.D., a dietitian with the Methodist Weight Management Center in Houston. “This often leads to a whole season of eating and before you know it you have put on a lot of weight in a short amount of time.” Hicks said this type of behavior can spiral out of control very quickly, so adopting a healthy lifestyle becomes … MORE
If you’ve been tuning into this blog over time, you know that the past couple of years, while fantastic in many ways, have been a disappointment on the competitive front. A broken ankle in 2010 (during a 14er hike with the family) and then a fractured fibula during a 70.3 Tri (first race of the season) resulted in two years without the pleasure of racing. But hope springs eternal, and over the past 2 months, I’ve been gradually increasing my training to the higher volume levels. And today, I officially registered for Ironman St. George, which will take place in Utah in May of 2012. For those of you who may not be familiar with triathlon distances, this is one … MORE
Many folks assume the best they can do to improve their results on exams is to “try harder.” But research now bears out some specific tips to maximizing your outcomes when it comes to those exams. First – sleep is critical – up to 4 full days before the exam. While the all-nighter is a popular study habit, the habit is actually linked to LOWER grades and then it further impairs reasoning and memory for that noted 4 days. In addition, do not wake up earlier than normal to study as this could interfere with the rapid-eye-movement sleep that aids memory. It’s also valuable to review the toughest material just before you turn out the lights. Then there’s food. Just … MORE
A lower sodium diet in combination with a potassium-rich diet is associated with a reduced risk of death from ALL causes, according to a study reported in the July 11th, 2011 American Medical Association journal (Archives of Internal Medicine). This study, which involved over 12,000 participants, showed that those with the highest sodium-potassium ratio had a 46% greater risk of dying from any cause after adjusting for other variables. How do you change your ratio? 77% of sodium is contained in processed foods (another 11% from the salt shaker when cooking or eating). Reduce these and combine that step with increasing potassium-rich fruits and vegetables (Butternut Squash, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Cucumber, Cantaloupe, Bananas all have over 400 mg of Potassium … MORE
The Most Sleep-Deprived Cities list is based on an independent analysis of individual sleep habits as reported in an annual study of more than 350,000 adults by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The data reveals the following ten cities as America’s most sleep-deprived: 1. Detroit, MI 2. Birmingham, AL 3. Oklahoma City, OK 4. New Orleans, LA 5. New York, NY 6. Cincinnati, OH 7. Louisville, KY 8. Raleigh, NC 9. Columbus, OH 10. Boston, MA. The GOOD news is that with the time change coming up in early November, we ALL have the perfect opportunity to easily shift our sleep pattern to include an extra 30 minutes or more each night with no adjustment period needed!
Of course not, but a recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates that while we may not “say” it does, our actions indicate otherwise. Consumers who feel powerless will choose larger size food portions in an attempt to gain status. Many cultural norms associate larger products with greater status—for instance, the size of a vehicle, house, or TV. The authors tested whether or not consumers used the size of food products to express their status. In one of the authors’ experiments, they confirmed that consumers equate larger sizes of food options with greater status. For example, participants perceived that consumers who chose a large coffee had more status than someone who chose medium or small, even when the … MORE
“Achieving these seven simple lifestyle factors gives people a 90 per cent chance of living to the age of 90 or 100, free of not only heart disease and stroke but from a number of other chronic illnesses including cancer,” says Dr. Clyde Yancy, a professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also the past-president of the American Heart Association. You can achieve optimal health, says Dr. Yancy, by following these steps: 1- GET ACTIVE: Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person’s expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke. 2- KNOW AND CONTROL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: … MORE
We know sleep influences many things in life, but caloric intake? Indeed. A study at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital demonstrated that women who only got 4 hours of sleep/night ate 329 more calories and an astounding 31 more grams of fat than when they slept well. But it doesn’t end there. Night owls, even when sleeping 7 hrs, ate an average of 248 more calories than those who went to bed early (Northwestern University study).
According to a recent UCLA study, dieters who ate pistachios daily brought down their BMI and their Triglycerides more than those who ate an identical number of calories but snacked on pretzels instead. So if you’ve been cutting out nuts because you thought they were too high in fat, it may be time to reconsider your snacks.
Nothing can boost energy–and brainpower–like a midday snooze. Behold, the restorative effects of a 30-minute slumber: As you nod off…Drowsiness is brought on by a sleep-promoting chemical called adenosine, which builds up in your body throughout the day. If you skip shut-eye at night, a high level of adenosine can leave you feeling desperate for a nap. Your brain pumps out GABA, a neurotransmitter that lets your head’s sleep-wake center know it’s sleepy time. GABA also helps deactivate much of the brain stem, which controls muscle movement. That’s why when you dream about, say, playing tennis, you don’t swing your arm. If you’re super-exhausted, your brain might shut down before your body is fully relaxed, leading to involuntary muscle contractions … MORE
Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They’re low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean friend—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half. Those are “two things dietitians love,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet. “For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not … MORE
A retrospective examination (Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, Oct 2011) was conducted of injuries, physical fitness, and their association among Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) new agent trainees. Injuries and activities associated with injuries were obtained from a review of medical records in the medical clinic that served the new agents. A physical fitness test (PFT) was administered at Weeks 1, 7 and 14 of the 17-week new agent training course. The PFT consisted of push-ups to exhaustion, 1-minute bent-leg sit-ups, 300-meter sprint, a 1.5-mile run, and pull-ups to exhaustion. Among both men and women, higher injury incidence was associated with lower performance on any of the physical fitness measures.
We’re about 5 weeks in at this point and will gradually begin adding foods back in starting next week, beginning with potatoes. The results? As mentioned previously, as with any habit, it gets easier with each passing week. In fact, at this point, just about all cravings are gone. I’ve come to enjoy what we’re eating, and really don’t miss any of the previous items on a daily basis. More interesting has been my body’s response to training and recovery. I was coming off an injury and have gradually built my training volume back up to the 16-20 hour/week level in preparation for beginning Ironman training on November 1st. And in spite of the significant build, I seem to be … MORE
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SAN DIEGO, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization, today announced the results of an independently conducted, academic study on Vibram FiveFingers, a sock-style shoe designed to simulate the effect of running barefoot while still protecting the foot. The study found that while the shoes may be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic running injuries, using Vibramsand barefoot-style shoes for running can pose additional risks if runners do not adopt the correct foot-to-ground strike style. ACE commissioned the study to determine what happens when runners switch from their traditional running shoes to wearing minimalist running shoes like VibramFiveFingers. Advocates … MORE
A study in the Oct. 1, 2011 issue of the journal SLEEP showed that children who went to bed late and got up late were 1.5 times more likely to become obese than those who went to bed early and got up early. Furthermore, late-nighters were almost twice as likely to be physically inactive and 2.9 times more likely to sit in front of the TV and computer or play video games for more hours than guidelines recommend. “The children who went to bed late and woke up late, and the children who went to bed early and woke up early got virtually the same amount of sleep in total,” said co-author Carol Maher, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with the … MORE
We’re just about a month into the process now and, just as the experts advise, the habits are beginning to form. I’ve discovered ways to get the extra calories to balance out my workouts, learned some delicious options of what I CAN eat (rather than focusing on what I can’t), and frankly – it’s working very well. In fact, as I may have mentioned in a previous post, I’m planning to maintain 80% of this eating strategy as I move into the coming season of triathlon training. A couple of interesting discoveries along the way… First, I’m amazed at how much of our society is built around food. Parties, sporting events, meetings, celebrations – they’re all focused on food! Obviously … MORE
High cholesterol has been found to contribute to a loss of bone density in two ways, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. It blocks formation of new bone cells and it encourages the activity of mechanisms responsible for breaking down bone. “In the current study in mice, we showed that a high-cholesterol diet alone significantly decreased bone quality,” said Erik Nelson, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the McDonnell laboratory. However, they noted that only when cholesterol was converted to 27-hydroxycholesterol did it negatively impact bone. Without estrogen, which occurs in postmenopausal women, the 27-hydroxycholesterol continued signaling through liver X receptor, which decreased the amount of bone. In the meantime, the data we have generated thus far suggest … MORE
Adding another incentive to exercise, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found that physical activity improves arthritis symptoms even among obese mice that continue to chow down on a high-fat diet. The insight suggests that excess weight alone isn’t what causes the aches and pains of osteoarthritis, despite the long-held notion that carrying extra pounds strains the joints and leads to the inflammatory condition. Published Sept. 27, 2011 online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, the findings are now being tested in people. “What’s surprising is that exercise, without substantial weight loss, can be beneficial to the joints,” said Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., professor of orthopaedic surgery at Duke and senior author of the study. “Ideally, it would be best … MORE
If you’re not quite ready for a treadmill desk like the one we featured through TrekDesk? How about starting with a stand-up desk, which offers many of the same benefits? These tips from adjustable desk-maker Anthro will help you get started… 1. Be sure to make proper adjustments to your keyboard, screen, etc to fit you, not your co-worker. What’s comfortable for one person may be torture for another. The best posture is the next one. No one position is sustainable for long periods, so change positions often. Optimally, you would shift through a range of motions, mainly sitting, standing, or perching on a high stool. Maybe you’ll decide to hold one position for emailing, another for paperwork, and still … MORE
We get a lot of questions about various diets, and it seems there’s a new one everyday. But one that seems to have faced (and passed) the test of time, is the Paleo Diet. The first major aspect about this is it really isn’t a “diet” in the classic sense of being something you do temporarily to lose weight (which rarely, if ever, works long term, as you well know). Rather, it’s a strategy for living and pursuing enhanced health. In a nutshell, the Paleo Diet (sometimes called the Caveman Diet) eliminates dairy, refined sugar, processed food and cereal grains from your fueling plan. Instead, you focus on (almost) unlimited amounts of low glycemic fruits and veggies, along with lean … MORE
We’ve turned the corner. While we’re still eliminating all refined sugars, processed foods, breads, grains, dairy, alcohol and a few other select items from our eating, we added back in rice and almonds this week – and it made a BIG difference. Seriously – it may not sound like that big of an addition, but it’s all in perspective. Previously we were eating only fruits, veggies and lean meats. The addition of rice and almonds provided additional snack options such as rice cakes with almond butter, which was a wonderful supplement. The one other addition was the Doc approved me adding Perpeteum (a soy-based, low sugar fuel) for use when riding over 2 hours, as I simply couldn’t store enough … MORE
Quick update as promised on this short-term eating journey we’re walking with our daughter. We’re now just about 2 weeks in at this point. Similar feelings persist – I miss the stuff I’m used to eating. I occasionally catch myself staring a bit longingly at something on our shelves that is off limits for now (cue the violin music). And at a friend’s birthday party Saturday night, the discipline levels had to be launched to new levels to resist all the great foods and wine available (water and a carrot? Sure!). But it’s getting a little easier. My lunches have been delicious, consisting of a spinach, avocado, onion, cucumber salad with olive oil, salt and pepper along with salmon or … MORE
University of Missouri researchers have found evidence that shows those who quit smoking show improvements in their overall personality. In the study, MU researchers compared people, aged 18-35, who smoked with those who had quit smoking. They found that individuals who smoked were higher in two distinct personality traits during young adulthood: Impulsivity (acting without thinking about the consequences) and Neuroticism (being emotionally negative and anxious, most of the time). The study found that those who quit smoking had the biggest declines in impulsivity and neuroticism from ages 18 to 25. The study, “Smoking Desistance and Personality Change in Emerging and Young Adulthood,” has been accepted by the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. The study was co-authored by Kenneth J. … MORE
Adults, middle-aged and up, can cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 80% by adhering to a combination of just five healthy lifestyle habits, a new analysis from the National Institutes of Health. Those 5 factors and their impact are as follows: Healthy diet and Exercise combined accounted for a 28-29% risk reduction. Not Smoking for at least 10 years reduced it an additional 4%. Moderate alcohol consumption carved off another 7-24% of the risk and having a Body Mass Index (see the BMI tool in your journal to check) of 18.5 – 24.9 reduced it another 27 – 33%. 26 million Americans were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010.
Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reported a Mayo Clinic study published in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The researchers broadly defined exercise as enough aerobic physical activity to raise the heart rate and increase the body’s need for oxygen. Examples include walking, gym workouts and activities at home such as shoveling snow or raking leaves. The researchers note that brain imaging studies have consistently revealed objective evidence of favorable effects of exercise on human brain integrity. Also, they note, animal research has shown that exercise generates trophic factors that improve brain functioning, plus exercise facilitates brain connections (neuroplasticity).
Current research suggests prolonged sitting is unhealthy, even for people who exercise when they aren’t in a chair. “We have engineered activity right out of people’s lives,” said Ray Browning, a Colorado State University professor in the school’s Health and Exercise Science department. One simple solution: Stand (or even walk) while working more. Among other things, standing burns more calories than sitting. But the benefits stem from more than just potential weight loss. Research is showing that muscle contraction and stimulation, which happens naturally in the legs when people are upright, promotes health, Browning said. When muscles are comparatively dormant for long periods of time, the benefits of muscle exertion are lost. It’s important to ease into the process over … MORE
We made it through what we were told would be the toughest part of the process of eliminating common foods that may cause reactions (the first 3 days) so time for an update. The toughest part for me has been breaking long-held habits. Seemingly simple things like a bowl of yogurt as a snack or a handful of nut mix as a supplement when in the car or a glass of wine with dinner are off limits for at least 35 days. Meals consist of almost exclusively fruits, veggies, lean meats and water. Obviously healthy choices, but I must admit that even though I’m already used to eating very healthy, I miss some of my standard supplements – and I’m … MORE
CT scan on the leg was negative last week, so I’m thankful to be able to wind back up the cycling and running for the first time since April! Stay tuned for where that may lead in the season ahead. However, in the mean time, I’m going to join my 14 year old daughter on what is likely to be a very interesting nutritional journey over (approximately) the next 2 months. She has kept her head high and her smile bright through some pretty serious responses to various foods, and is now ready to participate in a “Food Elimination Discovery Journey.” Since a lot of folks deal with these issues, I figured it would be a valuable experience to join … MORE
The connection between our diet and hormones is significant, yet widely ignored, even though our hormones directly impact our health. The most basic link between diet and hormones is this: consuming too much refined flour and sugar disrupts hormonal balance. It is imperative to keep blood sugar stable in order to balance hormones. How do we do this? By eating every few hours, managing carbohydrates, consuming helpful fats and avoiding harmful ones, sticking with high-quality foods and avoiding too much processed foods. Eat small meals every 2-3 hours that consist of a lean protein – chicken, turkey, fish, nuts – and a complex carbohydrate – a vegetable or high-fiber fruit. Consume carbohydrates that rate low on the glycemic index such … MORE
Lack of adequate sleep is costing the average U.S. worker 11.3 days, or $2,280 in lost productivity every year, according to a study in the September 1 issue of the journal Sleep. As a nation, the total cost is 252.7 days and $63.2 billion. Americans are not missing work because of insomnia. They are still going to their jobs but accomplishing less because they’re tired. In an information-based economy, it’s difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity.” The results were computed from a national sampling of 7,428 employees, part of the larger American Insomnia Study, which was led by Kessler.
McMaster researchers have found one more reason to exercise: working out triggers influential stem cells to become bone instead of fat, improving overall health by boosting the body’s capacity to make blood. The body’s mesenchymal stem cells are most likely to become fat or bone, depending on which path they follow. Using treadmill-conditioned mice, a team led by the Department of Kinesiology’s Gianni Parise has shown that aerobic exercise triggers those cells to become bone more often than fat. The exercising mice ran less than an hour, three times a week, enough time to have a significant impact on their blood production, says Parise, an associate professor. In sedentary mice, the same stem cells were more likely to become fat, … MORE
In May 2009, a sample of 2,500 New Zealand women aged 40 to 50 years was randomly selected from the nationwide electoral rolls. After adjusting for age, smoking status, menopause status, thyroid condition, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical activity, BMI statistically significantly increased by 2.8% (95% confidence interval: 1.5% to 4.1%; P
Here’s a list worth review of the top 10 Back to School foods: 1. Organic Milk – the list comes from the Horizon Organic Milk company – what did you expect ;- ) but the calcium is important 2. Whole Grain Bread 3. Trail Mix Fixings (read the contents or make yourself – not all are healthy) 4. Nut Butter 5. Hummus 6. Granola Bars (again – read the contents carefully – some are just candy bars in disguise) 7. Turkey Breast 8. String Cheese 9. Fruit, Fruit, Fruit (and more fruit) 10. Veggies, Veggies, Veggies (and even more veggies!)
The Wall Street Journal today focused in on various studies today around “coffee breaks” and their benefit (or lack thereof) to performance. They found that performance on memory and attention tests improved by 20% after subjects paused for a walk through an arboretum. When the same people strolled down a busy street, no cognitive boost was found. Interestingly, a 10 minute break in a quiet room to look at pictures of a nature scene had similar (but not as significant) results, while looking at pictures of a city street in the same quiet room did not. And the coffee itself? Men who drank more than their usual amount of coffee actually performed worse when working on a group assignment.
When it comes to improving bone health in postmenopausal women (and people of all ages, actually) a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found a simple, proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis: eating dried plums. “All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional,” said lead researcher Armjandi. Over a 12-month period, the first group was instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums (about 10) each day, while the second was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples. The group that consumed dried plums had significantly higher bone mineral density in the ulna and spine, in comparison with the group that … MORE
Are you one of the many, many individuals who must take an allergy into account when going out to eat? We stumbled across this new site that makes it much easier to find a restaurant nearby that will take good care of your needs. Check it out: http://www.allergyeats.com/
Aerobic exercise is your best bet when it comes to losing that dreaded belly fat, a new study finds. When Duke University Medical Center researchers conducted a head-to-head comparison of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a combination of the two, they found aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose the belly fat that’s most damaging to your health. This isn’t the fat that lies just under your skin and causes the dreaded muffin top. Belly or abdominal fat — known in scientific communities as visceral fat and liver fat — is located deep within the abdominal cavity and fills the spaces between internal organs. It’s been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, … MORE
Exercise can be as effective as a second medication for as many as half of depressed patients whose condition have not been cured by a single antidepressant medication. As published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, it was found that both moderate and intense levels of daily exercise can work as well as administering a second antidepressant drug, which is often used when initial medications don’t move patients to remission. It is one of the first controlled investigations in the U.S. to suggest that adding a regular exercise routine, combined with targeted medications, actually can relieve fully the symptoms of major depressive disorder.
If you’ve ever made your own smoothie, packing it with fruit, spinach, flax seed oil, protein powder, coconut milk, chia seeds and all sorts of healthy items, then you know how easy it is to add a plethora of health to your daily fueling plan. In fact, there may be no better way to start off your day on a healthy note than to compliment your morning workout with a homemade (or office made) smoothie for breakfast. But it gets better! What if you were to make a little larger smoothie each morning and then set aside one glass or water bottle full in the refrigerator for your afternoon snack? Granted, it won’t be quite as tasty as it was … MORE
Older adults who lead sedentary lifestyles and consume a lot of sodium in their diet may be putting themselves at risk for more than just heart disease. A study led by researchers at Baycrest in Toronto has found evidence that high-salt diets coupled with low physical activity can be detrimental to cognitive health in older adults. The finding, which appears online today in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, may have significant public health implications, emphasizing the importance of addressing multiple lifestyle factors that can impact brain health. While low sodium intake is associated with reduced blood pressure and risk of heart disease, this is believed to be the first study to extend the benefits of a low sodium diet to … MORE
Symptoms of weight gain, mood swings, insomnia, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and achy joints tied to menopause? This article provides some specific steps to ease those through nutritional options. Sometimes hormone replacement therapy is appropriate, but the following tips may reduce the dependence on the hormones. The tips that follow are good for everyone, but this balanced diet is especially therapeutic for women with menopause symptoms: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/30392349.html?page=all&prepage=3&c=y#continue
1. High-carbohydrate diets lower HDL cholesterol and raise triglycerides, which greatly increases your risk of heart disease. 2. Carbohydrates raise insulin, which makes you fat and increases your risk of type II diabetes. 3. A high intake of carbohydrates and sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. 4. Carbohydrates eaten in excess raise levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, which increases risk of heart attacks and strokes. 5. Eating too many carbohydrates makes LDL cholesterol smaller and denser, which in turn raises risk of heart and artery disease. Interested in the other five? Here you go: http://www.weightandwellness.com/id45.html
Reuters covered a large study from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute (Wen, et al) today that shows dedicating even 15 minutes/day to a moderate form of exercise like brisk walking, will benefit anyone. Some people struggle to stick to the standard guideline of 30 minutes a day of exercise, five days a week. While that may be optimal, this study demonstrates consistency with just 15 min/day can make a significant difference. The study, which tracked 416,000 people over 13 years found an increase in life expectancy of three years compared with those who remained inactive.
While some past studies have shown that persons carrying a few extra pounds in their 70s live longer than their thinner counterparts, a new study that measured subjects’ weight at multiple points over a longer period of time reveals the opposite. Research recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that men over 75 with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 22.3 had a 3.7-year shorter life expectancy, and women over 75 with a BMI greater than 27.4 had a 2.1-year shorter life expectancy. The study looked at 6,030 adults who never smoked and who were free of major chronic diseases at enrollment. It then examined only those adults who maintained a stable weight.
Let’s face facts: More than half of all nurses are fat. Obese even. There may be a medical reason why your workday sends you to the fridge. Psychologically, you may be the kind of person who cares for others too much, and that’s causing you to overeat to compensate for not caring for yourself. Physically, your heightened stress levels (hey, you’re a nurse…it’s a common problem) could be upsetting your biochemical balance, which is in turn making you fat. If you’re the kind of nurse who is overeating because you are an uber-caregiver, you’ll find solutions in this article to deal with that and more: http://scrubsmag.com/eatstress/
A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows that a small amount of physical exercise could profoundly protect the elderly from long-term memory loss that can happen suddenly following infection, illnesses or injury in old age. “Our research shows that a small amount of physical exercise by late middle-aged rats profoundly protects against exaggerated inflammation in the brain and long-lasting memory impairments that follow a serious bacterial infection,” said Ruth Barrientos of the psychology and neuroscience department. The results of the study will appear in the Aug. 10 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience. Past research has shown that exercise in humans protects against declines in cognitive function associated with aging and protects against dementia.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to be the object of my own little case study. The topic? How fast can I complete the 13.1 mile run portion of a Half Ironman (Boulder 70.3) after not having run for 4 months due to a broken fibula and wearing an air cast on my leg. Going into the event, I planned to step off the course if the leg started feeling worse, and also wore the air cast during the 56 mi bike portion to provide the greatest possible stability going into the run itself. The outcome was interesting – and somewhat encouraging. I started off conservatively, going through the first 6 miles at about 7:05 pace/mile. At that point, the … MORE
Chewing food 40 times instead of a typical 15 times caused study participants to eat nearly 12 percent fewer calories, according to results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Jie Li and colleagues from Harbin Medical University in China gave a typical breakfast to 14 obese young men and 16 young men of normal weight to see if there were differences in how they chewed their food. The researchers also looked to see whether chewing more would lead subjects to eat less and would affect levels of blood sugar or certain hormones that regulate appetite. In the current study, the team found a connection between the amount of chewing and levels of several hormones that “tell the brain … MORE
More individuals are learning the importance of reading food labels, but there is one key factor that cannot be forgotten – the serving size (which may not represent “your” actual serving size). Canned soup presents a dramatic example of how unrealistic the stated serving sizes are, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Labels for Campbell’s Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle soup indicate a serving is 1 cup (a little less than half a can) and has 790 milligrams of sodium—a hefty amount by any standard and about half the sodium most adults should consume in a whole day. But according to a national telephone survey commissioned by CSPI, 64 percent of consumers would eat the whole … MORE
Even people who set aside time for exercise regularly but are otherwise sedentary, may not be active enough to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes. Inactivity, in addition to the availability of high-caloric food has led to an increased rate of metabolic dysfunction in Americans. “If people spend the majority of their time sitting, even with regular periods of exercise, they are still at greater risk for chronic diseases,” Thyfault said. “If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems. In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain.” 10,000 steps/day is a good … MORE
Exercising in the water has long been an option pursued by injured athletes. However, more and more attention is being given to the value of water exercise for healthy individual who are looking to improve their core strength and raise their heart rate while providing a valuable occasional break from the pounding of land-based activities. Here’s an article that provides a number of ideas from the July 24th issue of the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/fitness/ci_18537139
A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that the greater an individual’s total muscle mass, the lower the person’s risk of having insulin resistance, the major precursor of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance, which can raise blood glucose levels above the normal range, is a major factor that contributes to the development of diabetes. Previous studies have shown that very low muscle mass is a risk factor for insulin resistance, but until now, no study has examined whether increasing muscle mass to average and above average levels, independent of obesity levels, would lead to improved blood glucose regulation. In this study, researchers examined the association of skeletal muscle mass … MORE
When you decide what to eat, not only does your brain need to figure out how it feels about a food’s taste versus its health benefits versus its size or even its packaging, but it needs to decide the importance of each of those attributes relative to the others. And it needs to do all of this more-or-less instantaneously. A previous study (see Rangel and Hare in Science, 2009) showed that a specific area of the brain, the dlPFC, comes to life when a person is using self-control during decision making. The new study (July 27 issue of Journal of Neuroscience) goes a step further, showing that there seem to be ways to help kickstart the dlPFC through the use … MORE
What is protein? How much protein do we need? Is it possible to eat too much protein? These are important questions for people following a low carb way of eating, who usually are replacing part of their carbohydrate intake with protein. Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the human body, making up about 16 percent of our total body weight. Muscle, hair, skin, and connective tissue are mainly made up of protein. However, protein plays a major role in all of the cells and most of the fluids in our bodies. If you’ve got questions about protein, one of our Coaches found this excellent introductory article you’ll likely enjoy: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/protein.htm?r=et
Call me odd (ok, you probably already do), but ever since I was a little kid, I got a charge out of seeing people making purposeful choices to improve their lives. And now, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to hopefully help make at least a small difference in the lives of so many incredible, amazing people across this great country. We’re not the biggest wellness provider (never will be – we’re too focused on each of you as individuals to offer the cheap, generic alternatives), but nobody – NOBODY – cares more about making a difference. And we’ll do (I’ll do!) everything possible to demonstrate that to each of you on a daily and even hourly basis. Blogs are … MORE
A positive outlook on life might lower your risk of having a stroke, according to new research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. In an observational study, a nationally representative group of 6,044 adults over age 50 rated their optimism levels on a 16-point scale. Each point increase in optimism corresponded to a 9 percent decrease in acute stroke risk over a two-year follow-up period. “Our work suggests that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health,” said Eric Kim, study lead author and a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Optimism is the expectation that more good things, rather than bad, will happen. Previous research has shown … MORE
When I look back at many of the biggest disappointments in my life, there’s an interesting trend developing — disappointment appears to be the catalyst for new – and better – discoveries. Details can wait for another day, but for those of you struggling with an injury that’s affecting your training, I was hoping this would be an encouragement to you. My past 2 1/2 seasons in triathlon have been pretty disappointing. Freak accidents (broken ankle while hiking with the kids last year and then a fractured fibula in a race early this year) have limited my running significantly, and essentially ended two seasons before they had a chance to get started. So I’ve spent more and more time on … MORE
The recent issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology included a study showing that caffeine reduces muscle activity in the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from a woman’s ovaries to her womb. “Our experiments were conducted in mice, but this finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant,” says Sean Ward, professor of physiology and cell biology, at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, who conducted the study. It was found that caffeine stops the actions of specialized pacemaker cells in the wall of the tubes. When inhibited, the eggs can’t move down the tubes as effectively.
Many women indicate losing or even maintaining weight after menopause is difficult, and now a study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge sheds light on why. Scientists have found that women have a lower metabolism after menopause. The research shows that postmenopausal women burned 100 to 150 fewer calories a day just resting and doing everyday activities, and they were less physically active, for an overall average decrease of 200 calories a day burned after menopause. The lower metabolism could be tied to lower estrogen levels, not muscle loss, says lead researcher Jennifer Lovejoy, formerly with Pennington. And it looks as if lower estrogen may increase appetite and cause cravings for carbohydrates and fats, she says. So watch … MORE
A new study, lead by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that neutralizing sodium’s impact on the heart isn’t just tied to cutting intake. Rather, they found that it’s important to increase consumption of a key mineral found in many fruits and vegetables: potassium. Potassium has been found to offset sodium’s impact on blood pressure. The study found that people with the highest ratios were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack compared with those with the lowest ratios. They also were 46% more likely to die from a heart-related death compared with those with the lowest ratios.
A study was published today that noted the standard advice to “drink 8 glasses of water/day” is a bunch of baloney. I agree – kind of. It should be obvious to anyone that the amount of fluid necessary varies by individual based on a number of factors from exercise levels, sweat rates, etc. However, what’s missed in the discussion (and the research) is the fact that we’re likely to drink about 8 glasses of SOMETHING each day. If it’s not water, it’s likely to be soda (uggh), coffee (affecting depth of sleep), fruit juice (good in small amounts, but high in natural sugar and calories), or energy drinks (say it ain’t so!). If we reach instead for a glass of … MORE
Salt – it’s critical to life. But generally we take in FAR more than we need. The recommendation for sodium in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the American Heart Association is 2,400 milligrams (mg) daily for adults. This is about the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt (2,300 mg to be exact). The average American consumes 5,000 mg of sodium daily — twice the necessary amount. If you’re looking for bring more wisdom to your salt intake, here is a link that provides some valuable tips: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/lowering-your-salt-intake.navId-323518.html?print=true
Endurance athletes have known for years that additional sleep enhances recovery and thus overall performance. Now, a new study in the July 1st, 2011 journal SLEEP confirms it extends further. It demonstrated that sleep extension is beneficial to athletic performance, reaction time, vigor, fatigue and mood in collegiate basketball players. The study is the first to document sleep extension and the athletic performance of actively competing athletes. Objective measurements included accuracy (9% improvement in both free throw and 3 point percentage) as well as sprint times. Ratings of physical and mental well-being during practices and games was also enhanced.
The latest review of obesity (BMI > 30) rates, broken down by state are now available. Where is your state? 1. Mississippi (34.4%); 2. Alabama (32.3%); 3. West Virginia* (32.2%); 4. Tennessee (31.9%); 5. Louisiana (31.6%); 6. Kentucky** (31.5%); 7. Oklahoma** (31.4%); 8. South Carolina* (30.9%); 9. Arkansas (30.6%); 10. Michigan* (30.5%); 11. Missouri* (30.3%); 12. Texas** (30.1%); 13. Ohio (29.6%); 14. North Carolina (29.4%); 15. Indiana* (29.1%); 16. Kansas** (29.0%); 17. (tie) Georgia (28.7%); and South Dakota (28.7%); 19. Pennsylvania (28.5%); 20. Iowa (28.1%); 21. (tie) Delaware (28.0%); and North Dakota (28.0%); 23. Illinois** (27.7%); 24. Nebraska (27.6%); 25. Wisconsin (27.4%); 26. Maryland (27.1%); 27. Maine** (26.5%); 28. Washington (26.4%); 29. Florida** (26.1%); 30. (tie) Alaska (25.9%); and Virginia … MORE
Evidence in both humans and animals points to emotional benefits from exercise, both physical and mental. Now, in recent experiments with mice, scientists have traced the stress-buffering effect of activity to a brain circuit known to be involved in emotional regulation as well as mood disorders and medication effects. The finding is a clue to understanding the neurological roots of resilience, key to developing new means of prevention and treatment for stress-related illness. This study, conducted by Lehmann and Herkenham, appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience 31:6159-6173, 2011
In a study published in Diabetologia (Lim & Hollingsworth, et al), it was found that type 2 diabetes could be reversed in 8 weeks with a 600 calorie/day intervention. Normalization of both beta cell function and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes was achieved by dietary energy restriction alone. This was associated with decreased pancreatic and liver triacylglycerol stores. The abnormalities underlying type 2 diabetes are reversible by reducing dietary energy intake.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight and suspect your body’s working against you, you may be right, according to a University of Illinois study published in the journal Obesity. “When obese persons reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts. They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry,” said Gregory G. Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine and a member of U of I’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. He particularly cautions against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss. “Take smaller steps … MORE
The most recent Journal of the American Heart Association included a study showing that an exercise training program worked better than a commonly used beta blocker. It significantly improved — even cured — patients with a debilitating heart syndrome, according to research published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) — called “The Grinch Syndrome” because most patients have a heart that’s “two sizes too small” — affects about 500,000 Americans, primarily young women. POTS is characterized by a rapid increase in heartbeat of more than 30 beats per minute or a heart rate that exceeds 120 beats per minute when patients change from lying down to standing within 10 minutes. The heart rate … MORE
A recent Purdue study found that fat substitutes actually do lead to weight gain, confirming the findings of a previous study. Synthetic fat substitutes used in low-calorie potato chips and other foods could backfire and contribute to weight gain and obesity, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association. The study, by researchers at Purdue University, challenges the conventional wisdom that foods made with fat substitutes help with weight loss. “Our research showed that fat substitutes can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate food intake, which can lead to inefficient use of calories and weight gain,” said Susan E. Swithers, PhD, the lead researcher and a Purdue psychology professor. The study was published online in the APA … MORE
The potentially lasting implications of day-to-day couple conflict on physical and mental well-being are revealed in a study published today in the journal Personal Relationships (June 17, 2011). The study found that all participants across the sample as a whole experienced sleep disruption after conflict. Conflict was also found to have repercussions for next-day mood. The results of this study have significant implications for the greater understanding of how routine relationship experiences influence emotional and physical health over time. “We already know from prior research that people in stable, happy marriages experience better overall health than do those in more conflicted relationships,” said Professor Hicks. “We can now further conclude from our current research that individuals who are in insecure … MORE
Powerful video – might be that little extra encouragement needed to make today the day… (here’s the cut/paste in case your screen isn’t showing the link — http://youtu.be/iWpVTKbk8-U)
Older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop the small brain lesions, sometimes referred to as silent strokes, that are the first sign of cerebrovascular disease, according to a new study published in the June 8, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). “These ‘silent strokes’ are more significant than the name implies, because they have been associated with an increased risk of falls and impaired mobility, memory problems and even dementia, as well as stroke,” said study author Joshua Z. Willey, MD, MS, of Columbia University in New York and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Fascinating! In a study involving 27 year olds, brain function increased more than 50% from the baseline following the introduction of a consistent exercise program. Then, as soon as the exercise was stopped, the brain function began dropping again immediately. The reference for the study is below, but before looking it up, maybe it’s a good time to get up and take a walk? ;- ) Here’s the source: Harada, T. et al (2004) Jogging improved performance of a behavioral branching task: implications for prefrontal activation. Neuroscience Research 49: 325 – 337
Today was one of those tough, tough workouts that drains every bit of energy, but pays off immensely in the long run, or in this case, the long “cycle.” 4 training buddies and I met early this morning and lined up for a 10 mile time trial (TT) on our bikes. Once complete, we rode easy to recover for 5 minutes and then did it again. And then again. And then again. All total, we did 4 draft-free 10 mile TT with 5 minutes recovery in between each. Absolutely nothing left at the end, but without a doubt it was an immense deposit in the fitness bank that can be withdrawn later in the season. Good stuff! Would love to … MORE
Why participate in a race (whether it’s a 5k run or an Ironman Triathlon)? Bicycling Magazine’s 43 year old Editor in Chief Peter Flax, who admits he’s never a threat to win or even podium in any event of significance, said it so well in the July issue and worth sharing: “For me, the point isn’t to triumph. We spend our so-called modern lives coddled- breezing through airports on people movers, accepting meeting requests nestled in Aeron chairs, engaging cruise control to avoid the demands of the gas pedal. Our amazing muscles and capillaries and neural pathways are built to do something far more profound if we put them to the test.” Well said, Mr. Flax. Well said.
Prescription drugs are known to include a number of potential side effects. We now know what that number is. Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine found an average of 70 reactions per drug, a number that can overwhelm physicians trying to select suitable treatments for their patients. In the study, appearing in the May 23, 2011 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers also found that more commonly prescribed drugs averaged around 100 side effects. The upper range was as many as 525 reactions. The study involved analysis of more than 5,600 drug labels and more than half a million labeled effects.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently addressed the topic of “Energy” (ie, Red Bull, Monster, etc) and “Sports” (such as Gatorade, Powerade, etc) drinks for children and adolescents. Their advice? Generally speaking, water is the best choice. Sports drinks may occasionally be appropriate for those engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activity, but only at those times. Energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents, said Dr. Schneider and Dr. Benjamin. They contain stimulants not found in sports drinks that have been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. Bottom line? Avoid “Energy” drinks entirely, and reach for a Sports drink only when correlated with very high activity … MORE
The NY Times (May 26th, 2011) reported that the shift in the labor force since 1960 is closely correlated to the obesity epidemic in the US. Jobs requiring moderate physical activity, which made up 50% of the labor market in 1960, now account for just 20%. This translates to 120-140 calories/day, obviously a considerable figure over time. For those in a position considered sedentary, individuals must now take personal responsibility for this differential, either through their leisure choices or in their food selection.
Eating more fish is a smart move for your heart, right? Well – yes and no. In a study reported in Circulation: Heart Failure (American Heart Association Journal), it was found that the risk of developing heart failure was lower for those who ate baked or broiled fish. However, eating FRIED fish one or more times per week was associated with a 48 percent higher risk of heart failure compared to those who ate fried fish infrequently. So make it a priority to include more fish in your diet (especially dark fish such as salmon), but be sure to stay away from the fried version!
It’s an undeniable fact when it comes to training intensity: Iron really does sharpen iron. This morning I got out with a buddy of mine – Terry Nugent – for a series of three back-to-back 10 mile time trials (cycling) with about 6 minutes of recovery between each. To say we both pushed ourselves far harder when out there together compared to what would have happened solo would be a significant understatement. If you’re looking to step up your the intensity (and results!) in your fitness pursuits, connect with like-minded friend and release the jet fuel!
A University of Missouri researcher has found that eating a healthy breakfast, especially one high in (healthy) protein, increases satiety, reduces hunger throughout the day and can be a simple strategy for improving appetite control and preventing overeating. The researchers decided to target ‘breakfast-skipping’ teens for two reasons, Leidy said. First, breakfast skipping has been strongly associated with unhealthy snacking, overeating (especially at night), weight gain and obesity. Second, approximately 60 percent of adolescents skip breakfast on a daily basis. The higher protein (healthy protein, such as waffles with protein powder) breakfast led to even greater changes in appetite, satiety and reward-driven eating behavior compared to the normal protein breakfast.
For those of you who already follow us on Facebook, you’re well aware of the regular health and wellness discounts posted on the site. If you’re not yet connected with us on your Facebook page, just click the “LIKE” button down toward the bottom right side of this page and you’ll be all set to see regular features, including special discounts we’ve arranged for our members. And by the way, we don’t receive any remuneration from any of the companies who’s discounts we post. They are simply organizations we respect and we’re helping spread the word, knowing it’s one more thing we can do to help change the world… one employee at a time!
In an interview I heard this morning with Bob Seebohar (www.fuel4mance.com), he had a fantastically simple but powerful tip worth sharing that applies to everyone and not just hard core athletes. The tip was that as you approach each meal, ask “Where’s my (high quality source of) protein? and Where’s my color (fruits, veggies)?” He’s not against carbohydrates, except maybe the empty, simple sugar-dense options. There is power in simplicity, and this simple tip – if applied to each meal, and even each snack – will clearly make a difference for us all.
The generic guideline around sleep has historically been to aim for 8 hours. Now a significant research recently covered in the NY Times Magazine backs up that data. Those who had eight hours of sleep hardly had any attention lapses and no cognitive declines over the 14 days of the study. Those in the four- and six-hour groups had P.V.T. results that declined steadily with almost each passing day. Though the four-hour subjects performed far worse, the six-hour group also consistently fell off-task. By the sixth day, 25 percent of the six-hour group was falling asleep at the computer. By the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been … MORE
One of our long-time partners, The Children’s Hospital of Denver, was once again recognized by US as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country (#5 nationally among children’s hospitals and the only Colorado hospital to make the US News Honor roll). The Children’s Hospital of Denver currently has over 2,300 of their employees actively participating in the US Corporate Wellness personalized wellness program. We absolutely consider ourselves extremely blessed to have been selected as their ongoing partner in creating a personalized approach to helping each individual employee become their best self as they serve the children of Colorado. Keep up the great work TCH!!
Do you want to be happier? According to the authors of a new review article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, pursuing happiness for happiness sake can actually make people feel worse. The tools often suggested for making yourself happy aren’t necessarily bad—like taking time every day to think about things you’re happy about or grateful for, or setting up situations that are likely to make you happy. “But when you’re doing it with the motivation or expectation that these things ought to make you happy, that can lead to disappointment and decreased happiness,” Gruber says. Indeed, psychological scientists have discovered what appears to really increase happiness. “The strongest predictor of happiness … MORE
Are you stuck in a rut with your exercise routine? Have you looked back over the past several weeks and found that you’re stuck on hold? You’re consistent, but your performance is just so-so. Nothing special. Here’s a tip – take advantage of what exercise physiologists call “Social Facilitation.” By occasionally working out with others, you’ll perform better, and that better performance means higher intensity and of course enhanced outcomes with your own fitness. This may mean getting out for a group ride on the bike, hitting the gym with a couple of buddies, or finding a running group in the area to join once/week. Kick this Social Facilitation technique into play once or twice/week and your plateau will be … MORE
US Corporate Wellness was extremely pleased to be recognized as winner of a Gold Star Certificate from the Better Business Bureau Denver/Boulder for 2008-2010. This unique honor recognizes BBB Accredited organizations that have had no complaints over the past 3 years. We are thankful to all of our fantastic partners and participants for their wonderful feedback and look forward to continuing to provide exceptional service in the future.
Here’s a good, solid swim set for the swimmers and triathletes in our midst: 200 Warm-up 5 x 200 at a send-off that provides you with approximately 30 seconds rest in between intervals Easy 50 10 x 100 at send-off that provides 15 seconds rest Easy 50 10 x 50 at send-off that provides 8-10 seconds rest Easy 50 20 x 25 (fast, recovery, fast, recovery, etc) 200 warm-down
Parents are busy (understatement of the year?), and time for exercise can be tough. But what if instead of those trips to/from practice being the limiter, they were seen as the opportunity? What if, instead of saying “I can’t exercise because I’ve got to take Johnny to soccer practice,” it became “What a great chance to exercise when I take Johnny to soccer practice!” Obviously this wouldn’t always make sense, but would it sometimes? I consistently see parents at the pool, the track, the park or the gym sitting and watching practice (or reading a book). Perfect setting to get in a jog, swim or even a walk (and set a great example for the kids), with no additional time … MORE