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For August 31, 2016

  • Exercise Your Right to be Flexible
    Exercise Your Right to be Flexible

    Reach For Your Health!

    (PHYS, September 1999) � When it comes to fitness regimens, stretching usually comes in a distant third � behind aerobics and strength training � probably because it isn't directly associated with weight loss or dramatic changes in appearance. Yet without a good stretch, all your hard work at the gym would not be complete. Stretching before and after physical activity will not only help prevent injury, but can also improve sports performance by increasing your range of motion and improving your coordination.

    Even if you aren't going to get a full workout, spending twenty minutes a day stretching can have a wonderful effect on your general well-being. Stretching now will also help you avoid some of the unpleasant hallmarks of aging, such as decreased flexibility, poor balance and stiff joints. Regular stretching will free your body of muscular tension, improve circulation and enhance muscle tone. Best of all, stretching makes you feel good.

    Before you begin stretching, read the tips below to learn how to get the most from your exercise.

    Stretching Do's and Don'ts:

    • Stretch as often as you can � three to five times a week is recommended.
    • Remember to stretch after you work out. Many people think stretching is only necessary before exercise, but stretching afterwards is essential to avoid cramping, tightness and reduced range of motion.
    • Warm up for three to five minutes prior to stretching. A warm-up is any continuous movement that increases your body's core temperature, such as going up and down the stairs a few times or riding a stationary bike.
    • Breathe slowly and deeply throughout each stretch. Calm breathing will help relax you and your muscles and facilitate safe, effective stretching.
    • Focus on the muscles being stretched and hold each stretch for at least ten to thirty seconds, or five to six full breaths. Repeat each stretch three to five times.
    • Don't bounce. Bouncing can force the joints past their natural range of motion, causing sprains of the ligaments or tendons. Instead, focus on stretching to a point where you feel a mild tension. If the tension goes away after ten to thirty seconds of holding the stretch, adjust your body ever so slightly until you feel a mild tension again, and hold for ten to thirty seconds.
    • Most importantly, stretching should feel good. Never go beyond the point of feeling a mild tension in your muscles. If the tension is uncomfortable, you are overstretching and should ease up slightly.
  • Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise
    Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The number of cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the US more than doubled between 1992 and 1998, according to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. The report shows that cosmetic surgery is still more common among women -- approximately 10 times more women than men underwent cosmetic surgery in 1998.

    Liposuction is the most common cosmetic procedure requested by both sexes, and the number of liposuction procedures increased by 264%. The next four most common cosmetic procedures requested by women are breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, facelifts and chemical peels. The next most common procedures performed in men after liposuction are eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, breast reduction and facelift.

    The number of men having facelifts has more than doubled and the number having liposuction has tripled since 1992. The Society's annual report also shows that over the last 6 years:

    • Breast reduction surgery rates increased by 77%.
    • 84% of women who had breast implants removed had them replaced with newer versions of implants.
    • The percentage of persons over 65 opting for cosmetic surgery increased from 6% in 1992 to 9% in 1998.
    • The percentage of cosmetic procedures performed on those aged 31-50 remained at 41% over the past 6 years.
    • Cosmetic procedures in teens dropped from 4% of all procedures performed in 1992 to 2% in 1998.
    • The number of chemical peels in women increased 243% over the past 6 years.

    The report also shows that tumor removal is still the most common reconstructive procedure performed. Breast reconstruction surgery has increased 135% since 1992, with 39% of the procedures performed at the same time as mastectomy.

    Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

  • Osteoporosis.

    Bone is a dynamic tissue. It breaks down and re-builds itself constantly. As we age, the re-building process falls behind the breaking down process, resulting in weak, porous bones that are more prone to breaking.

    Osteoporosis is a condition, not a disease, in which the calcium content of the bone has depleted sufficiently enough over time that the bones become brittle, porous and are likely to fracture from even minimal trauma. There are no symptoms of osteoporosis until a fracture occurs, indicating the condition is in the advanced stages with little likelihood of successful treatment.

    More than 20 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis--a condition most of us believe is "for women only." In fact, twenty percent of the people who fall victim to this often debilitating condition are men. Their bone loss typically begins in their mid to late 40's and increases to a 10% loss by the age of 75. If it continues, this bone loss is classified as osteoporosis.

    Many health specialists believe about half of bone loss is determined by lifestyle factors. Whether you are a man or woman there are useful steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis. This includes drinking 2 to 3 servings of calcium containing milk products or supplementing the diet with 800 to 1000 milligrams of calcium, drinking alcohol in moderation, abstaining from tobacco use, and participating in weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis.

  • Which foods �good,� which �bad?�
    Which foods �good,� which �bad?�

    (NBC News, July 26 1999) � A seemingly endless barrage of contradictory findings has led to confusion among consumers about what foods are good for their health. For instance, which fats are �good� fats and which �bad?� And is it bad to put salt on eggs? But in the end, scientists say, the biggest problem of all is not what you eat; it�s how much.

    WHEN DEBBIE RAGAN, a research psychologist, buys food for her family, she thinks what many of us do. �I think there�s an immense amount of confusion about what�s good and what�s bad,� says Ragan. In fact, the latest survey from the American Dietetic Association shows that almost four out of five Americans believe that nutrition affects their health � but only two in five think they are doing all they can to eat the right diet.

    One problem is the seemingly endless barrage of new and often contradictory findings. �Nutrition is not a science of breakthroughs. The story goes together in little bits and pieces,� says Jeanne Goldberg, a research scientist affiliated with Tufts University. Take fat like butter and margarine. The old advice is to avoid all fats at all costs. Many nutritionists now think that was a mistake. �We threw out the baby with the bath water there,� says Goldberg. It turns out not all fats are same. Scientists now believe vegetable oils can be healthy, that animal fats generally are not � but that the worst of all is �trans� fat, or chemically altered vegetable fat, found in many margarines and processed foods.

    �I used to use margarine. Now that I�ve switched to butter. I really like the taste of butter better,� says Ragan. Scientists are changing the advice about other tasty things too, like salt on eggs. �For many years dietary advice was really based on guesses,� says Dr. Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public health. But new studies show the guesses were often wrong. Salt does not usually raise blood pressure. And eggs do not raise cholesterol.

    But the biggest problem of all is not what we eat but how much we eat. Whether it is good for you or bad for you, Americans are eating much more of everything � creating an epidemic of obesity. Government statistics show that in this century the average person�s intake of red meat, poultry, fish, cheese, fats and sweeteners have all gone up. �Where we have gone off the deep end is in terms of excess consumption,� says Tufts University�s Jeanne Goldberg. And that is the unhealthy reality no matter what the latest nutrition study finds.

  • Does It Matter When I Exercise?
    Does It Matter When I Exercise?

    (MSNBC) It�s true that studies have suggested the body functions more efficiently at different times of the day. Some reports, for instance, have shown that the body�s processes are slowest in the morning. Others have found that in the afternoon, strength and aerobic capacity are greatest, suggesting that it might be best to exercise at this time.

    However, there are two basic principles to exercise that are even more important: If you�re both consistent and patient with your training, you�ll reap the benefits, says Joel Friel, author of �The Cyclist�s Training Bible� and �The Triathlete�s Training Bible.�

    Friel, an exercise science expert, points out that studies done in the past several years have shown that important aspects of a person�s workout are not affected by time of day, such as how long you can go before exhaustion. Perceived effort remains the same throughout the day, too, meaning a workout doesn�t feel harder in the evening than it would in the morning.

    Other factors play a part as well. Pollution is heavier in the afternoon, which may affect your breathing. So running, cycling and other outdoor activities done in the early morning or after the evening rush hour may be better. The hot afternoon sun may also be a factor that makes early morning or evening exercise a better choice.

    The bottom line, says Friel, is that it�s most important to find what time of day works best for you and to commit to a fitness routine. So if exercising at night works best because you work full-time, stick with it.

  • Supplement Review: Pyruvate
    Supplement Review: Pyruvate

    By I.S.S.A.

    Pyruvate is a chemical product of sugar metabolism. A company called Med-Pro Industries owns the patent on pyruvate (does anyone else find the trend of pharmaceutical and supplement companies actually patenting naturally occurring substances disturbing?). Med-Pro licenses out the use of pyruvate to a handful of companies, most notably Twinlab who produce, you guessed it, "Pyruvate Fuel."

    Pyruvate is marketed, overmarketed if you ask me, as a dietary supplement with claims that it will increase fat and weight loss. This is reportedly accomplished through an increase in metabolic rate, brought on by supplementing with pyruvate, and a coinciding increase in fat utilization.

    While I would agree with those commentators (like Bill) who have called for more research to be done on pyruvate before such bold claims are put forward, I would actually go a step further and advise you to be very skeptical about this supplement. Here's why:

    The hype being pushed by the makers and distributors of pyruvate are based on claims that stem from some very dubious studies.

    The main human study that pyruvate's fat and weight loss claims are derived from has significant limitations. First, the studies exclusively involved women classified as morbidly obese who were isolated in hospital wards for 3 weeks, virtually confined to their beds, and on a liquid only diet.

    While the group taking pyruvate (in very large doses I might add, about 10 times the daily dose people using the supplement get) did lose 48% more fat than the group not taking pyruvate, that 48% was only less than 3 pounds of actual weight (2.86). Remember, these were extremely obese individuals on a liquid diet, not people who are training on a regular basis.

    I find the other marketing claims associated with pyruvate to be equally misleading. All in all, I just don't like the way the makers and marketers of pyruvate distort the very limited and inconclusive research that has been done on the product; I'm offended by it.

    And to make matters worse, pyruvate is pushed particularly hard on the web and via email marketing. Fitness and the Web are two key elements of my life and my business, so I get a little peeved about things like this. There are a handful of good supplements available that will help you to drop those extra pounds and promote fat loss. I'm convinced that pyruvate is not one of them.


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