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For July 20, 2018

  • Seven Reasons You Can Still Have Fun Exercising in the Rain
    Seven Reasons You Can Still Have Fun Exercising in the Rain

    Wet-Weather Exercise Secrets

    (Prevention, Aug 1999) � Don't let showers stop your program -- it's only water!

    1. Wear garments that breathe. A plastic slicker may keep the rain out, but you'll get steamy on the inside.
    2. Stick to asphalt and concrete, but avoid the painted lines on roads; they can sometimes be slicker than the road surface. Keep off slippery wet grass too.
    3. Choose leather walking shoes. They resist water better than cloth or nylon mesh. (Also, rippled soles give you better traction.)
    4. Wear bright clothing. You'll be more visible to drivers on rainy days.
    5. Use a hat or visor with a large brim to keep rain off your face. If you're still getting pelted, carry an umbrella: You can still get a brisk walk even if you aren't swinging your arms fully. And walking with an umbrella, no matter how it may slow you, is better than watching TV!
    6. Step around puddles. It may seem obvious, but for walkers who keep to a straight course, standing water may be deeper than it looks.
    7. Stuff your wet walking shoes with newspaper or paper towels to speed drying.
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  • Some Guidelines When Choosing a Gym
    Some Guidelines When Choosing a Gym

    Join the Club

    (PHYS, September 1999) � You've heard that the guys are hunks and the juice bar is happening. Great, but that's no way to choose a gym. If health and safety are your prime considerations � and they should be � here are a few guidelines from Randy Delaney, director of personal fitness at World Gym in New York City:

    Proper ventilation. The air should feel cool and smell fresh, not like sweaty bodies.

    Good lighting. Incandescent bulbs are easier on the eyes than fluorescent.

    Enough room. A crammed layout is not safe. Or fun.

    Cleanliness. No stained mats or grubby bathrooms.

    Well-maintained machines. You don't have to be a mechanic to tell if benches are torn, cables seem worn, or free weights are haphazardly scattered around.

    A qualified staff. Employees should be certified by a nationally recognized organization like ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) or AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America). They should be helpful � and findable. One instructor can't monitor more than 30 people at once and the pool should always have at least one lifeguard. A new member should get a free orientation, but later on, it may be worth springing for a few sessions with a private trainer.

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  • Great Weight-Loss Expectations
    Great Weight-Loss Expectations

    What�s Realistic?

    (MSNBC News Services, September 10 1999) � �It just isn�t working,� you say, and you give up on an important diet or exercise resolution. It�s tempting to toss in the towel when you don�t get results fast enough. One way to overcome this temptation is to develop healthy habits that don�t feel like torture. Equally important, however, is to have realistic expectations in the first place.

    STUDIES SHOW that exercise is one of the main influences on long-term weight control. But for most people, exercise works slowly. For someone who has been a �couch potato� for a number of years to start a walking program is a big accomplishment. Yet each pound of fat loss requires burning an extra 3,500 calories more than are taken in. Research shows that a person who weighs 180 pounds and walks three days a week for 30 minutes at a medium-paced three miles per hour would take almost four months to lose a pound. Someone hoping to lose a few pounds a week would have given up long before that.

    Exercise can produce greater results. The acronym FIT � for Frequency, Intensity and Time � tells you how to increase the benefits. Instead of walking three days each week, which is considered the minimum for maintaining your current level of fitness, walking five or six days a week will allow the calorie-burning to add up more quickly. Or once you�ve conditioned yourself to walking three miles per hour, you can increase that to a brisk four miles per hour and burn about an extra 50 calories a session. Interval training, in which you periodically push a bit harder, is a great way to burn more calories and increase your level of fitness. Or, if you can manage an hour instead of just a half hour of walking, you double the calories you burn. The hour can be broken up and spread through the day.

    Studies show that even by combining these strategies, it would take you five to six weeks to lose a pound. Your average weight loss would be eight to 10 pounds per year. This is plenty to improve fitness and gradually reduce your weight, but if you feel a need to lose weight a little faster, add some other strategies.

    Weight-training exercise to increase muscle is one way to burn more calories. Muscle tissue burns more calories than does body fat. In studies of weight-training programs, in about 12 weeks people who add three pounds of muscle (while losing fat) can burn an extra 120 to 200 calories per day.

    Look at your eating habits, too. By cutting back on portions or skipping a snack that was purely habit, many people can easily eliminate 200 extra calories a day without going hungry at all. That 200 calories daily can mean loss of almost half a pound a week.

    By combining these strategies, weight loss can proceed at the rate of a half to one pound per week. This is the rate experts recommend to safely lose mainly fat tissue, without loss of muscle tissue or slowing down metabolic rate. A year from now you�ll be a lot better off than the people who spend the year stopping and starting less sensible exercise and diet resolutions.

    These types of exercise and eating changes have been shown in many studies to produce a wide range of other benefits long before weight loss stacks up. You�ll find it easier to carry things and climb stairs. You�ll have more energy and feel less stressed. Notice and celebrate these and other changes in how you feel, and the temptation to forsake your resolutions will simply fade away.

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  • The anti-aging effects of blueberries
    The anti-aging effects of blueberries

    The secret to eternal youth may already be atop your cereal. A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that eating blueberries can reverse age-related loss of memory and motor skills. Nineteen-month-old rats (equivalent in age to 65-year-old humans) that were fed strawberry or spinach or blueberry extracts -- foods high in antioxidants -- all showed improved memory, but rats that ate the blueberry extract regained balance and coordination as well. This discovery comes on the heels of earlier findings that antioxidant-rich foods can prevent neurological degeneration associated with aging.

    Blueberries, like the other foods tested, contain flavonoids, potent antioxidants which are believed to reduce free-radical damage, but researchers are uncertain of what it is that makes the berries in particular so effective. Regardless, says the study's lead author, Dr. James A. Joseph, "nothing bad has happened from eating blue-berries, and nobody's ever OD'd."

    From Mensjournal.com by Emma Sussman Starr
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  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's).
    Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA's).

    Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA's were developed to provide appropriate nutrient intake levels for healthy people. RDA's are recommendations, not requirements, based on age and gender with the understanding that individual needs are not identical but fall within a range. RDA's are revised every five years based on current nutrition research. They are published by the government, but the study group that recommends them is composed of nutritionists and other scientists, not politicians. The reliability of RDA's is limited by the physical variances in humans -- some are tall, some are short, and they have different levels of activity. Nevertheless there is enough of a safety margin that using them as a yardstick to measure the adequacy of individual intake is useful.

    A separate set of recommendations called the U. S. RDA's have been developed by the Food and Drug Administration. These are non gender, non age specific extrapolations from the RDAs. Typically the highest value from the RDA is used as the standard for the U. S. RDA which is used specifically for labeling food products and supplements. For example, of all the RDA's, the highest recommendation for vitamin A for any age or gender is 5,000 International Units, which is the value used for the U. S. RDA.

    Additionally, seven specific Dietary Goals were published by the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in 1977. Seven less specific and less controversial Dietary Guidelines replaced the politically motivated Goals in 1979. These include:

    • Eat a Variety of Foods Daily,
    • Maintain Ideal Weight,
    • Avoid Too Much Fat,
    • Eat Foods with Adequate Starch and Fiber,
    • Avoid Too Much Sugar,
    • Avoid Too much Sodium, and
    • If you Drink Alcohol, Do So in Moderation.
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  • When Working Out Makes Your Weight Increase
    When Working Out Makes Your Weight Increase

    The Best Ways to Track Your Weight

    (Prevention, September 1999)

    QUESTION: I'm 39 years old and have noticed that my weight is going up, but my measurements are the same. I exercise -- walking and weight lifting -- an average of four to five hours a week. What's going on?

    ANSWER: The scale is not always the best way to assess your weight, especially if you exercise. How much you weigh can vary greatly during a typical day, and for women, it can change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Better ways to keep track of your weight are by how your clothes fit or by measuring your arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs -- as it sounds like you are doing. If your measurements are not increasing along with your weight, you probably have nothing to worry about.

    The most likely reason for the increase in weight is that you're building muscle from your weight-lifting workouts. Compared to fat, muscle weighs about 22% more. But it's much more compact, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a similar amount of fat -- and looks a heck of a lot better. Another bonus: Muscle burns about 15 to 25 times more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight.

    If the weight gain continues and you notice that your clothes are getting tighter, take a look at your diet. No matter how much you exercise, if you are eating too many calories, you'll gain weight. A packet of M&M's has more than 300 calories, which can quickly override the calories you'd burn during a typical walk. Keep it up and the scale will start to inch up. You don't have to be eating junk food for that to happen either. Even large portions of healthy foods can cause you to gain weight. If your eating is under control but you're still gaining, check with your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing to the weight gain.

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