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For January 22, 2018

  • 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.

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  • Tips to Ease Back Pain
    Tips to Ease Back Pain

    Simple Advice for Preventing and Reducing Back Pain

    (Prevention, September 1999) � Women and men suffer from about the same amount of back pain, but while men most often get long-lasting back pain from lifting too much, women often ache from sitting too much. "The second highest incidence of back pain is reported by sedentary workers, most of whom are women who sit at desks -- often in front of computers all day," says Sheila Reid, P.T., coordinator of rehabilitation services at The Spine Institute of New England in Williston, Vermont. Here are some simple tips for reducing back pain:

    Adjust your work station. "A good chair should be fully adjustable and fit the person who sits in it as well as the tasks that he or she performs," says Annie Pivarski, ergonomics and injury prevention program supervisor at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. To get the best back support, your feet should be flat on the floor and your lower back supported by the back of the chair. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips or level with them, and you shouldn't have to crane to see your computer, says Reid.

    Move around. Every half hour, move around to keep your muscles and spine from stiffening.

    Try a lumbar pillow. Buy one at a medical supply store or just roll up a towel behind your waist for greater lower-back support while you sit at your desk.

    Wear low heels. Low-heeled shoes can sometimes help with arch support, but more than 1 1/2 inches will misalign the curvature of your back, which can lead to back pain. If you must wear heels, save them for special occasions.

    Lift first, turn second. It seems natural: You grab a bag of groceries and turn to load them into the car in one quick movement. Don't do it, say experts. Over time, twisting can lead to herniated disks. Instead, lift your load, hold it close to your abdomen, and then turn, using your feet to get you where you want to go instead of swiveling your hips.

    Stay close to your loads. Think about it: The closer you stand to whatever you're picking up--be it a child, a bag of groceries or a box of office supplies--the less strain you put on your muscles. Here's the right technique:

    Beginning in a standing position, squat from your knees rather than bending from the waist to pick up the load. Plant your feet firmly in front of you, one foot slightly ahead. Once you have your arms around it, keep the load as close to your abdomen as possible while lifting and lowering. And use both hands so that you lift symmetrically.

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  • Working Out After Surgery
    Working Out After Surgery

    How Long Should You Wait?

    (Prevention, September 1999)

    QUESTION: I usually do a combination weight training and cardio workout every other day. But I just had surgery to remove my appendix. How soon can I go back to working out, and what should I do to get back up to speed?

    ANSWER: Your doctor is the best person to advise you on when it is safe to resume exercising. Every body and every surgery is different so there isn't one simple answer. But once you get your doctor's OK to start working out, ease back into it to avoid soreness or injury.

    As a general rule, the amount of time you missed exercising should equal the amount of time you give yourself to return to your previous level. For example, say you were cycling 15 miles in an hour before you were laid up with an injury for four weeks. Your first week back do only 10 or 15 minutes at a slower than normal pace. The next week increase your time to 30 minutes, and then 45 minutes the following week. By the fourth week, you should be able to put in an hour, but don't push your pace. The following week you should be back up to speed.

    Most importantly, listen to your body. If you're feeling tired, back off a bit. If you experience any pain or problems, see your doctor. Don't worry. Your desire to get back on track is a good sign that you'll be back to your usual routine before you know it.

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  • Where's The Fat?
    Where's The Fat?

    - By EDMUND R. BURKE, PH.D.

    Exercise Combined With Diet Cuts Bodyfat, But From Where? Do you lose more weight by cutting calories than you do by exercising more? Recent evidence slightly tips the scales toward exercising. A study in December's Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise followed 26 formerly-sedentary women for 13 weeks. One group of women cycled for a half-hour once or twice a week while cutting 200 calories a day from their diet. Another cycled three to four times a week while eating the same as usual. And a third made no changes. Not surprisingly, the third group lost no fat. But both exercise groups lost similar amounts of visceral fat--deep, hard fat that shapes the typical beer belly. Visceral fat has been associated with heart disease and diabetes. The three-or-four-times-a-week exercise group, however, lost more subcutaneous fat--the kind that lays just beneath the skin, primarily in your arms and legs. Though not harmful, subcutaneous fat makes you look flabby.

    WHAT'S YOUR BODY SHAPE? Waist-to-Hip Ratio Tells Where The Fat's At You're not as slim as you'd like to be. But you've never really thought of yourself as being overweight either. So when you read about the benefits of maintaining a "healthy weight," you wonder where you fit in--is your weight OK, or is it putting your health at risk? A simple do-it-yourself evaluation reported in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter can give you an idea of what shape your shape is in, and if you might benefit from shedding a few pounds. The waist-to-hip ratio indicates where most of your fat is located. People who carry most of their weight around their waists are often referred to as "apples." Those who carry most of their weight below their waist--around the hips and thighs--are often referred to as "pears." Generally, it's better to have a pear shape than an apple shape. That's because fat around the waist is associated with an increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Fat around your hips and thighs is considered less of a health risk.

    To find out what shape you are, measure your hips at their widest point and your waist at its narrowest (usually at the navel, but this may vary). Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A ratio greater than .80 for a woman and greater than 1.0 for a man indicates an apple shape.

    TURN OFF THAT TV! Get Your Kids Up Off The Couch, Excessive TV Watching Is Making Them Fat Knowing that the overweight children of today are likely to become the overweight adults of tomorrow mandates that you pay careful attention to your child's diet, exercise and lifestyle habits. A study reported in a recent issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association reports on dated collected from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which measured the amount of physical activity and television watching among 4,000 children in U.S. households and the relationship to their Body Mass Index (BMI) and percent bodyfat. Overall, approximately 20% of the children reported fewer than three exercise sessions per week (which was even higher among girls); whereas 26% of the children watched more than four hours of television per day. Yes, per day! Not surprisingly, the increased television watching was associated with increased BMI and total bodyfat levels. The authors concluded that increased television watching was associated with the increasing prevalence of overweight children inthe U.S., and that children were increasingly participating in sedentary-leisure activities, such as playing video games, watching television and using computers, and that this trend was more than coincidental. As parents you need to encourage your children to participate in regular exercise, particularly activities that they can engage in for the rest of their lives. Good examples are running, cycling, weight training, soccer, bodybuilding, basketball, swimming and skiing. If we do not stop this trend, the health care crisis will continue to grow to bigger and bigger proportions in this country.

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  • The Overweight Now Rival The Hungry In Number, Study Says
    The Overweight Now Rival The Hungry In Number, Study Says

    January 17, 2000

    NYT Syndicate

    The number of overweight people in the world now rivals the number of hungry, underfed people, a study of global trends reported on Saturday.

    Drawing on research from a number of agencies and institutions, Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, said in its annual study "State of the World 2000" that 1.2 billion people, the largest number ever recorded, are underfed and undernourished.

    But, the report adds, another 1.2 billion people are eating too much or too much of the wrong food and have become "probably the fastest-growing group of the malnourished."

    About 2 billion people in a third category that overlaps with the first two are described as the "hidden hungry"; they may appear to be well fed but are weakened by a shortage of essential vitamins and minerals.

    "We've created a way of life where our level of physical activity has been so reduced that our caloric intake greatly exceeds our caloric expenditure, and that surplus translates into fat," said Lester R. Brown, president of Worldwatch, commenting on the rise in obesity.

    "What's sort of compelling about it is that in this country last year, there were 400,000 liposuction procedures. It shows how out of balance things are," he said.

    The report, published in New York by W.W. Norton, says that the two extremes of hunger and obesity are increasingly found in all societies, poor as well as rich, albeit in differing proportions.

    A 1999 U.N. study found that in China, the percentage of overweight people in the population jumped to 15 percent from 9 percent in three years in the early 1990s. In Brazil and Colombia the percentage of overweight people is reaching a par with several countries of Europe.

    In some developing countries, gaps between the underfed and overfed are growing. India, where obesity is common in pockets of affluence, has the world's largest population of underweight, malnourished children.

    The report notes that poverty, rather than food shortages, is the main underlying cause of hunger. It states that 80 percent of all malnourished children in the Third World in the last decade lived in countries that reported food surpluses.

    The report said that "poorly nourished people are a sign of development gone awry: Prosperity has either bypassed them and left them hungry, or saturated them to the point of self-indulgence."

    Copyright 2000 The New York Times Syndicate.
    All rights reserved.
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  • New Diet Drug Is No Cure-All
    New Diet Drug Is No Cure-All

    (Medical Tribune, July 30 1999) - Recent information in the news has suggested that a new medicine has been approved that lets you eat all the fat you want and still lose weight!

    Orlistat, sold under the brand name Xenical, acts in the intestinal tract to stop the gut from absorbing part of dietary fat. Like other diet drugs, it must be used along with changes in eating habits and physical activity. It has been used in Sweden as a "reminder" to teach people to limit dietary fat � if fat consumption goes too high, a person gets a stomach ache and diarrhea.

    While studies have shown that the medicine can promote weight loss of 5 to 10 percent, a commitment to re-learning how to make good food choices is vital, or weight will be regained. Besides, fat consumption is not the whole problem. Americans have decreased fat consumption, yet obesity has increased because calorie consumption from other sources has increased and physical activity levels remain low.

    People who turn to food for emotional reasons will continue to do so despite this medicine until the basic misuse of food is treated. In blocking fat absorption, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and beta-carotene are also impaired, so it is important to take a multivitamin with beta-carotene each day at least two hours away from the medication.

    So the lesson is, don't rely on a wonder drug to lose weight. Stick to the basic principles of eating right and exercising and you will have much greater success!

    Source: American Institute for Cancer Research.

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