Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tips for Recognizing Unsafe Exercises

It's best to learn about exercise safety from a professional, but you should also use common sense and avoid exercises that aren't right for your fitness level. Listen to your body and when in doubt, back off. You can always increase your intensity during your next workout.

Top 8 Unsafe or Dangerous Exercise Habits

  1. Working Through Pain
    Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Ignoring this message and pushing on is the fastest way to get a serious or chronic injury. Although it seems obvious to stop if you feel pain, many athletes exercise with pain. Don't. If you feel pain, stop what you are doing and rest.
  2. Forgoing Rest Days
    Any exercise routine that lacks rest days is potentially unsafe. A large number of sports injuries are the result of overuse. These injuries occur from simply doing too much exercise. To avoid overuse injuries, balance rest days with exercise to allow the body to recover from the stress of training.
  3. Doing Only One Type of Exercise
    Doing the same exercise day after day may help you become very skilled at a sport, but it is another way to end up with an overuse injury. Stressing the same muscle groups and performing the same movement patterns repeatedly can put a tremendous amount of strain on muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing irritation, inflammation and even stress fractures. Even if you successfully avoid an overuse injury, you may end up with muscle imbalance, weakness, tightness and alignment problems. To avoid these problems, vary your exercise training routine. Do a variety of different types of exercise and cross train.
  4.  Performing Uncontrolled or Sloppy Movements
    Sloppy or uncontrolled movements occur for a variety of reasons, including fatigue, lack of appropriate skill, going too fast, and a lack of attention. When you are exercising, it's essential to be in control of your body. Sloppy execution or poor control is a set-up for injury. Even the safest exercise can become unsafe when done in an uncontrolled manner.
  5. Forcing Unnatural Joint Movement
    Any unnatural joint movements put you at high risk for an injury. Unnatural movements are typically caused by using a machine that isn't designed for your specific body shape or size and forces your joints to move in a way that doesn't follow your normal range of motion. One exercise that forces an unnatural joint movement is the behind the neck lat pulldown. This exercise works against the structural design of the shoulder joint. It puts unnecessary stress on the rotator cuff muscels, and forces the shoulders to rotate externally, a position vulnerable to dislocation. Additionally, you are forced to drop the head forward to the chest during the movement, which causes additional neck strain. Instead of this unnatural and dangerous exercise, consider lat pulldowns to the front, which work with the body's natural range of motion.
  6. Doing Too Much Too Soon
    Gradually increasing both the time and intensity of exercise is the ideal way to allow the body to adapt, grow stronger and become more fit. However, pushing your body beyond its ability to adapt will result in illness or injury. Many beginners find this out the hard way. They go out too hard, too fast and too furious and end up sore, injured and hating exercise. Even elite athletes can fall into this trap by thinking that if they are extremely fit in one sport, they can do anything. Not so. No matter what level of ability they have in another sport, athletes can get injured if they attempt to perform an exercise that is beyond their fitness level for that particular exercise. Remember to be realistic when assessing your ability and skill level.
  7. Using Poor Form or Technique When you are new to exercise or learning a new routine, it's important to learn how to do the movements properly. Most people should get some professional coaching at the beginning of a new sport to learn the fundamentals and develop good habits. If meeting with a professional coach, trainer or instructor is not possible, at least take a look at some books or videos about sports technique and exercise form. Keep in mind that we are all unique and some movements may be better-suited to your abilities or biomechanics. An instructor can help you modify exercises to fit your unique needs.
  8. Lifting Too Much
    Any weight training exercise that is done with weights that are too heavy for you is risky. It's that simple. If you can't maintain proper form while lifting, it's best to lighten your load.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, Gobble: How to Avoid Unnecessary Calories on Thanksgiving

If you’re in the middle of a Keebs Fitness weight loss program, you probably know that you’re about to face the most difficult time of the year. The period from Thanksgiving through Christmas can be rough for many people in terms of their weight loss goals. In particular, Thanksgiving is known for its tendency to encourage gluttony, and it can be a challenge to approach the day with a healthy attitude.

Still, if weight loss is truly your goal, you need to make it your goal on Thanksgiving just as much as any other day of the year. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day’s many wonderful tastes, it just means that you need to exercise a little bit of control.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that Thanksgiving doesn’t entirely destroy your weight loss progress:
  • Don’t fast before. If you skip breakfast and lunch in preparation for dinner on Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to overeat. Continue your regular routine of having a healthy breakfast, lunch and even your afternoon snack. This will help you to be able to practice portion control during the feast.
  • Focus on veggies. Eat a salad, or load up on raw veggies like carrots and celery before you eat your main meal. This will help keep your appetite in check, and it will help you feel full as you approach dinnertime. Skip hors d’oeuvres entirely and opt for these kinds of healthy items instead.
  • Watch out for fat content. There are foods that you’ll find on the Thanksgiving dinner table that are terribly high in fat, such as anything cream-based, as well as things like gravy. Avoid these kids of dishes. Most casseroles are going to fall into this category.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. The calories in wine can add up fast. Stick to one glass, if your family drinks wine with their dinner. Drinking alcohol can actually increase your appetite, and can make you less likely to follow good portion control practices. Stick to water (which can decrease your appetite) whenever possible.
  • Watch out for the weekend nap. Consider replacing the lounging that you normally do on Thanksgiving with a football game in the yard or give yourself a shot at Black Friday shopping. Find something to burn off some calories instead of just sitting around.
  • Enjoy the turkey. Turkey without skin or gravy is one of the best sources of lean protein you can find. Eat it with some brown rice or steamed veggies as leftovers, and you’ll have a balanced yet low-calorie meal.
Happy Thanksgiving from Keebs Fitness!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

Running in old or worn out shoes can lead to an increase in running injuries. Over time running shoes lose stability and shock absorption capacity. When this happens the stress to the feet and legs increases dramatically. Over time such added stress can lead to an overuse injury. A simple prevention strategy includes replacing running shoes when they wear out. 

The midsole layer of a shoe provides the cushioning and stability. This area usually wears out before the outsole shows major signs of wear. When a midsole wears out the shoe looses functional stability. It is this loss of stability and cushioning that leads to increased stress and increased injury risk.
It is recommended that you replace running shoes between 350-550 miles depending on your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run. Lighter runners can get closer to the upper end of the recommendation while heavier runners are harder on shoes and should consider replacement shoes closer to 350 miles.

Running Shoe Replacement Tips

  • Track your mileage. After 350-550 miles it's time for a new pair. For runners who log 25 miles per week replace your shoes every three to four months.
  • You can check for signs of wear on the sole by placing your old shoes on a table and looking at them from behind. If the soles are worn and leaning to one side, the midsole cushioning is probably worn as well.

Spotting Midsole Wear

A shoe's midsole cushioning may be worn out long before the tread shows signs of wear. Because the bottom and tread of the shoe may look fine, identifying when the cushioning is shot isn't easy to do. Here are some tips for identifying midsole wear:
  • First, pay attention to how you feel. As your shoes begin to give out, you may begin to get some aches or pains in your bones and joints. You may also notice slight muscle fatigue, new tightness, or possible shin splints. Look for creasing of the midsole material in areas of high load (under the heel or the ball of the foot). A worn out midsole will have wrinkles and creases there.
  • Try to twist the shoe. A worn out midsole will allow the shoe to twist more easily than a new shoe.
  • Try on a new pair of the model that you are currently wearing. Compare this to your current shoes. If the cushioning in your shoes feels dead in comparison, it probably is.

Consider Rotating Running Shoes

If you workout with Keebs frequently, it's a good idea to have more than one pair of shoes. Think about buying two pairs at a time (or buying a second pair about midway through the life of your first). Add the new pair in to your shoe rotation when your "old" shoes have about 200 miles on them. If you use two pairs of shoes you should still track mileage per shoe, and replace each after it has 350-550 miles on it.

Thanks for reading! And feel free to ask if you have any questions about your current workout shoes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Physical Activity Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

How are blood pressure and exercise connected? 

Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.
Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 5 to 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). That is as significant as some blood pressure medications, such as Benicar.
If your blood pressure is at a desirable level — less than 120/80 mm Hg — exercise can keep it from rising as you age. Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, another important way to control blood pressure.
But to keep your blood pressure low, you need to keep exercising. The benefits last only as long as you continue to exercise.
Source: Mayo Clinic, Times Health Guide

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vigorous Exercise Boots Vitamin D while Lowering Heart Risk

Vigorous exercise like jogging can reduce heart attack risk by 22%.
People who do vigorous physical activity — such as running, jogging, playing basketball or soccer — for three or more hours a week reduce their risk of a heart attack by 22%, a recent Harvard study found. Among the reasons: They have higher levels of good cholesterol and vitamin D as well as better levels of other factors involved in heart disease.

The fact that vitamin D plays a role in the relationship between exercise and risk of heart disease is a new finding," says the study's lead author Andrea Chomistek, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health. "This likely comes from being outside more. People who exercise tend to be out in the sun, which raises their vitamin D level. I don't think you'd get the same increase in vitamin D by staying inside and running on the treadmill."

Chomistek and colleagues analyzed the activity levels and the blood work of men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. During 10 years of follow-up, 412 men had a heart attack and were matched to a control group of 827 men who did not have heart disease.

The findings reported in October's Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of American College of Sports Medicine:
•Vigorous exercise was associated with higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which accounted for 38% of the decreased risk of heart disease.
•Those who exercised also had higher levels of vitamin D and lower levels of hemoglobin A1c (a marker of diabetes risk), apolipoprotein B (a blood protein) than those who were inactive.

"Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health, especially your heart health," Chomistek says. The scientists didn't ask people how much time they spent exercising outdoors, but other research shows that being outside more is associated with higher levels of vitamin D because of sun exposure, she says. Russ Pate, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, says, "This is another reason to be outside more. You get a double benefit. If you're outside, you're more likely to be physically active, which provides a range of health benefits and you get greater sun exposure so have greater vitamin D levels, which carries many health benefits."

Other studies show that those who do regular moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, have a 20% lower risk of heart disease, she says. "Moderate and vigorous exercise may have similar benefits for reducing your risk of heart disease as long as you burn a similar amount of energy," Chomistek says.
These findings also may apply to women because previous studies have shown that women get similar heart-health benefits from regular exercise, she says.

Thanks for reading this post! Source: USA Today

Dedicated to your health,
Keebs Fitness

Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 Simple Tips to Consume More Water

When it comes to weight loss, water is vital. It helps flush toxins from your body, and allows your metabolism to function efficiently.  Thus, here are 5 simple tips to help you drink more water:

1. Do you drink fruit juice or other beverages besides water? Try diluting them with water. You can work up to it gradually if you want to – start by adding 3/4 juice and 1/4 water. Keep adding more water as time goes on, until you are drinking 75% water and 25% juice, or even mostly water with just a splash of juice for flavor.

2. Combine other activities with drinking water. Every time you visit the restroom, drink an 8 ounce glass of water before or after. Do the same before each meal, and after each meal. Before you go to bed, or before you brush your teeth, etc.

3. Consume vegetables & fruit with a high water content--some examples include watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

4. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Sip some while you sit at traffic lights, before you go into a store, after you come out, while you work all day – just keep sipping and you can drink a fair amount of water in a day.

5. If continuous sipping isn't feasible for you, try scheduling a few time periods (such as your lunch hour) to drink greater amounts.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before You Exercise

-In general, you should select foods and beverages that provide your body with adequate carbohydrates and fluids. It is important to give your body the fuel and hydration it needs to perform a vigorous workout.

-The amount of food you consume should reflect when you plan to exercise. If you eat within 2 hours of a workout, choose something light such as a cereal bar or a banana. But if you plan to eat more than 2 hours before a workout, aim for a smaller meal that is around 400 to 500 calories.

-To avoid stomach discomfort, avoid foods that are high in fiber, such as bran. Foods that are high in fiber (as well as those high in fat and/or protein) also take longer to digest.

-Aim to drink 7-10 ounces of water 10-20 minutes before a workout. An additional 17-20 ounces is recommended 2-3 hours prior, if possible.
-Keep track of what you eat and how you feel. Everyone is different, so it is important to listen to your body and identify the foods and beverages that make you feel best!

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Exercise Can Keep the Brain Fit

For those of us hoping to keep our brains fit and healthy well into middle age and beyond, the latest science offers some reassurance. Activity appears to be critical, though scientists have yet to prove that exercise can ward off serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease. But what about the more mundane, creeping memory loss that begins about the time our 30s recede, when car keys and people’s names evaporate? It’s not Alzheimer’s, but it’s worrying. Can activity ameliorate its slow advance — and maintain vocabulary retrieval skills, so that the word “ameliorate” leaps to mind when needed?

Obligingly, a number of important new studies have just been published that address those very questions. In perhaps the most encouraging of these, Canadian researchers measured the energy expenditure and cognitive functioning of a large group of elderly adults over the course of two to five years. Most of the volunteers did not exercise, per se, and almost none worked out vigorously. Their activities generally consisted of “walking around the block, cooking, gardening, cleaning and that sort of thing,” said Laura Middleton, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and lead author of the study, which was published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine.

But even so, the effects of this modest activity on the brain were remarkable, Dr. Middleton said. While the wholly sedentary volunteers, and there were many of these, scored significantly worse over the years on tests of cognitive function, the most active group showed little decline. About 90 percent of those with the greatest daily energy expenditure could think and remember just about as well, year after year.
“Our results indicate that vigorous exercise isn’t necessary” to protect your mind, Dr. Middleton said. “I think that’s exciting. It might inspire people who would be intimidated about the idea of quote-unquote exercising to just get up and move.”
The same message emerged from another study published last week in the same journal. In it, women, most in their 70s, with vascular disease or multiple risk factors for developing that condition completed cognitive tests and surveys of their activities over a period of five years. Again, they were not spry. There were no marathon runners among them. The most active walked. But there was “a decreasing rate of cognitive decline” among the active group, the authors wrote. Their ability to remember and think did still diminish, but not as rapidly as among the sedentary.

“If an inactive 70-year-old is heading toward dementia at 50 miles per hour, by the time she’s 75 or 76, she’s speeding there at 75 miles per hour,” said Jae H. Kang, an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study. “But the active 76-year-olds in our study moved toward dementia at more like 50 miles per hour.” Walking and other light activity had bought them, essentially, five years of better brainpower.

“If we can push out the onset of dementia by 5, 10 or more years, that changes the dynamics of aging,” said Dr. Eric Larson, the vice president of research at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and author of an editorial accompanying the two studies.

“None of us wants to lose our minds,” he said. So the growing body of science linking activity and improved mental functioning “is a wake-up call. We have to find ways to get everybody moving.”

Which makes one additional new study about exercise and the brain, published this month in Neurobiology of Aging, particularly appealing. For those among us, and they are many, who can’t get excited about going for walks or brisk gardening, scientists from the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of British Columbia and other institutions have shown, for the first time, that light-duty weight training changes how well older women think and how blood flows within their brains. After 12 months of lifting weights twice a week, the women performed significantly better on tests of mental processing ability than a control group of women who completed a balance and toning program, while functional M.R.I. scans showed that portions of the brain that control such thinking were considerably more active in the weight trainers.

“We’re not trying to show that lifting weights is better than aerobic-style activity” for staving off cognitive decline, said Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an assistant professor at the university and study leader. “But it does appear to be a viable option, and if people enjoy it, as our participants did, and stick with it,” then more of us might be able, potentially, to ameliorate mental decline well into late life.

Source: New York Times

Thanks for reading! -Keebs Fitness

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are Hot Dogs as Dangerous as Cigarettes?!

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes preventive medicine and a vegan diet, unveiled a billboard Monday near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the advisory: "Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health."

The billboard features a picture of hot dogs in a cigarette pack inscribed with skull and crossbones. It aims to increase awareness of a link between colorectal cancer and hot dogs.
Hot dogs, like cigarettes, should come with a "warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk," said Susan Levin, the committee's nutrition education director.
Other health experts disagree.

Although hot dogs are certainly not health food, neither are they toxic, if consumed in moderation, they say.
"It is not necessary to eliminate consumption of red or processed meat; rather the message is that these foods should not be the mainstay of your diet," American Cancer Society guidelines state.
About twice a month, Kimberly Hunt indulges. She harbors no illusions that hot dogs are good for her, but she's not worried about the risks.

"Not any more than any other processed foods that we eat," said Hunt, as she finished off lunch in downtown Indianapolis. "There's a lot of things that are going to cause cancer. Are hot dogs on the top of my list? No."
Hot dogs are low in nutritional value, said Dr. Jesse Spear, an internal medicine physician with St. Vincent Medical Group in Fishers, Ind. They're high in salt, which can lead to hypertension and heart disease.
Should we avoid them at all costs?

That's not what Spear tells patients. Instead, he advises them to eat a generally healthy diet -- more fruits and vegetables, less processed meats.

"I don't personally tell people never to eat hot dogs, because I guess I'm just realistic enough to know that people will still consume them to some degree," he said. But there's something about a car race that encourages hot dog consumption. Last year, more than 1.1 million hot dogs were sold during the Indianapolis 500.

So this year, the Physicians Committee decided to target another Speedway event, Sunday's Brickyard 400, with its $2,750 billboard. The strong warning is needed to make people think twice about eating hot dogs and all processed meats, Levin said. That includes deli meats, ham, sausage, bacon and pepperoni.
"A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave," said Levin, a registered dietitian. "People think feeding their kids these foods (is) safe, but (it's) not."

The research linking colorectal cancer and processed meat is convincing, says a 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research. Just one 50-gram serving of processed meat -- about the amount in one hot dog -- a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent, the study found.

George Hanlin has his consumption down to one or two a month, as part of a plan to eat healthier. Monday, he contemplated the data linking hot dogs to health risks. "Will it keep me from never eating hot dogs? No," Hanlin said. "But there's no question I will try to limit it a lot more."

Source: USA Today

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interesting Article Regarding Women's Workout Clothes,0,2632958.story?track=latiphoneapp

...At Keebs boot camp, you can wear something cute or just anything ol' thing :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To Feel Better, Exercise Harder

Vigorous exercise offers more of a mood boost than less strenuous exercise, a new study finds.

U.K. researchers compared 11 sedentary people who did moderate and high-intensity exercise. Their mood was assessed before, during, immediately following, and 20 minutes after they did the workouts.
Click here to find out more!

The participants' moods were more negative during and immediately after high-intensity exercise, compared to when they did the less strenuous exercise or no exercise. However, their mood 20 minutes after doing the vigorous workout was much better compared to before the workout.
This type of improvement did not occur after moderate or no exercise, the investigators found.
The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society in Glasgow, Scotland. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary because it has not been subject to the scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
"These results have implications for the recommended intensity of exercise required to produce the 'feel good factor' often experienced following exercise," author Dr. Nickolas Smith of Manchester Metropolitan University, said in a society news release.
"There are also implications regarding how people new to regular exercise should expect to feel during the exercise itself if they are to experience post-exercise mood benefits," he added.

Interested in taking your exercise rountine to the next level? Check out

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Exercise May Cut Salt’s Effect on Blood Pressure

saltRegular exercise and a low-sodium diet are two lifestyle changes that are often recommended to reduce high blood pressure. Now a new study shows that one appears to influence the other. Specifically, physical activity appears to help keep blood pressure from climbing after people e at eye-popping amounts of salt -- 18,000 milligrams a day to be exact. That’s about 10 times the recommended daily intake for sodium. As a visual aid, picture 18 salted soft pretzels like the kind sold at mall food courts. That’s much more than most people ever come close to, so some experts question whether the findings of the study could be applied to the real world.

“Because the high salt part of this was so high salt, I’m not sure you can gain any insight into what you can do on a daily basis, eating a normal diet,” says A. Marc Gillinov, MD. Gillinov is a staff cardiac surgeon at the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.
But Gillinov also says that the study is interesting because it is among the first to look at the relationship between physical activity and salt sensitivity and that it adds to what’s already known about how to keep blood pressure within healthy limits.

“The exact mechanism by which salt influences blood pressure is not completely worked out,” he tells WebMD. “But there’s no question that over the course of years, the more salt you eat, the more likely you are to get high blood pressure as you get older, as you get to be a middle-aged or older adult.”

Physical Activity and Salt Sensitivity

For the study, which was presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions,researchers recruited more than 1,900 Chinese adults with a family history of prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension (blood pressure between 140/90 and 159/99 mmHg). The average age of study participants was 38.
They then had participants follow two one-week diets. One diet was 3,000 milligrams of salt a day and the other was 18,000 milligrams a day.

If participants’ blood pressure rose by 5% from the lower to higher salt weeks, they were considered to be salt sensitive.

Researchers also looked at how much physical activity the participants reported on questionnaires.
They found that the more physical activity a person got, the less likely they were to be sensitive to salt.
Study participants in the group that got the most physical activity had a 38% lower risk of being salt sensitive compared to those who got the least amount of physical activity.

The researchers, who were from China and Tulane University in New Orleans, said that their results needed to be repeated, but if other studies could duplicate the finding, that would point to a need for sedentary people, in particular, to eat a low-salt diet.

Even better, Gillinov says, would be for physically inactive people to get moving and watch their sodium.
“These are two things that affect blood pressure, salt intake and exercise, and for your health and for your heart, do your best on both fronts.”

Article by: Brenda Goodman, WebMD Health News

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Can Exercise Keep You Young?

We all know that physical activity is beneficial in countless ways, but even so, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was startled to discover that exercise kept a strain of mice from becoming gray prematurely.
Getty Images
But shiny fur was the least of its benefits. Indeed, in heartening new research published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.

In the experiment, Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lab rodents that carry a genetic mutation affecting how well their bodies repair malfunctioning mitochondria, which are tiny organelles within cells. Mitochondria combine oxygen and nutrients to create fuel for the cells — they are microscopic power generators.

Mitochrondria have their own DNA, distinct from the cell’s own genetic material, and they multiply on their own. But in the process, mitochondria can accumulate small genetic mutations, which under normal circumstances are corrected by specialized repair systems within the cell. Over time, as we age, the number of mutations begins to outstrip the system’s ability to make repairs, and mitochondria start malfunctioning and dying.

Many scientists consider the loss of healthy mitochondria to be an important underlying cause of aging in mammals. As resident mitochondria falter, the cells they fuel wither or die. Muscles shrink, brain volume drops, hair falls out or loses its pigmentation, and soon enough we are, in appearance and beneath the surface, old.

The mice that Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lacked the primary mitochondrial repair mechanism, so they developed malfunctioning mitochondria early in their lives, as early as 3 months of age, the human equivalent of age 20. By the time they reached 8 months, or their early 60s in human terms, the animals were extremely frail and decrepit, with spindly muscles, shrunken brains, enlarged hearts, shriveled gonads and patchy, graying fur. Listless, they barely moved around their cages. All were dead before reaching a year of age.

Except the mice that exercised.

Half of the mice were allowed to run on a wheel for 45 minutes three times a week, beginning at 3 months. These rodent runners were required to maintain a fairly brisk pace, Dr. Tarnopolsky said: “It was about like a person running a 50- or 55-minute 10K.” (A 10K race is 6.2 miles.) The mice continued this regimen for five months.

At 8 months, when their sedentary lab mates were bald, frail and dying, the running rats remained youthful. They had full pelts of dark fur, no salt-and-pepper shadings. They also had maintained almost all of their muscle mass and brain volume. Their gonads were normal, as were their hearts. They could balance on narrow rods, the showoffs.

But perhaps most remarkable, although they still harbored the mutation that should have affected mitochondrial repair, they had more mitochondria over all and far fewer with mutations than the sedentary mice had. At 1 year, none of the exercising mice had died of natural causes. (Some were sacrificed to compare their cellular health to that of the unexercised mice, all of whom were, by that age, dead.)

The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the impact that exercise had on the animals’ aging process, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. He and his colleagues had expected to find that exercise would affect mitochondrial health in muscles, including the heart, since past research had shown a connection. They had not expected that it would affect every tissue and bodily system studied.

Other studies, including a number from Dr. Tarnopolsky’s own lab,  have also found that exercise affects the course of aging, but none has shown such a comprehensive effect. And precisely how exercise alters the aging process remains unknown. In this experiment, running resulted in an upsurge in the rodents’ production of a protein known as PGC-1alpha, which regulates genes involved in metabolism and energy creation, including mitochondrial function. Exercise also sparked the repair of malfunctioning mitochondria through a mechanism outside the known repair pathway; in these mutant mice, that pathway didn’t exist, but their mitochondria were nonetheless being repaired.

Dr. Tarnopolsky is currently overseeing a number of experiments that he expects will help to elucidate the specific physiological mechanisms. But for now, he said, the lesson of his experiment and dozens like it is unambiguous. “Exercise alters the course of aging,” he said.

Although in this experiment, the activity was aerobic and strenuous, Dr. Tarnopolsky is not convinced that either is absolutely necessary for benefits. Studies of older humans have shown that weightlifting can improve mitochondrial health, he said, as can moderate endurance exercise. Although there is probably a threshold amount of exercise that is necessary to affect physiological aging, Dr. Tarnopolsky said, “anything is better than nothing.” If you haven’t been active in the past, he continued, start walking five minutes a day, then begin to increase your activity level.

The potential benefits have attractions even for the young. While Dr. Tarnopolsky, a lifelong athlete, noted with satisfaction that active, aged mice kept their hair, his younger graduate students were far more interested in the animals’ robust gonads. Their testicles and ovaries hadn’t shrunk, unlike those of sedentary elderly mice.

Dr. Tarnopolsky’s students were impressed. “I think they all exercise now,” he said.

Article source:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How much nutritional loss is there from underripe fruit?

There is a significant change in nutritional value as a fruit or vegetable ripens, but ripeness may not be the major factor in nutrition, said Jennifer Wilkins of the division of nutritional sciences of the Cornell University College of Human Ecology.

The change in value varies with factors like variety and post-harvest handling, she said. For example, a 2004 study of blackberries in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that the level of anthocyanin pigments, which may have antioxidant benefits, increased more than fourfold as Marion blackberries went from underripe to overripe (to 317 milligrams per 100 grams, from 74.7 milligrams); for another variety, Evergreen, they rose a bit more than twofold (to 164 milligrams from 69.9).

While antioxidant activities also increased with ripening, they did not show such a significant change. And another nutrient class, phenolics, actually decreased slightly.

“For a lot of fruits and vegetables in the supermarket, ripeness is not the big issue,” Dr. Wilkins said. Even though a tomato may be harvested before peak maturity and shipped before vitamin C has a chance to develop fully, bigger factors may be what variety it is; if it’s chilled enough and quickly enough after harvest; what humidity and temperature it is exposed to in shipping; and how long it takes to get to market.

Exercise: The Best Therapy For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

A new study explains that existing therapies for treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may be just that — old therapies.

The study found that implementing exercise for patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome may be the most beneficial therapy, even more beneficial than many expert-recommended solutions.
Additional therapy solutions recommended have been behavioral therapies, increasing the knowledge of patients about their situations, and even certain medications.

However, the new study suggests that increasing the amount of exercise a patient performs may be all that is needed to combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers explain that in many cases, chronic fatigue syndrome is at least somewhat related to or caused by stress. As exercise itself has been shown to positively influence the mind and relieve stress, experts believe it to also be a very effective tool at overcoming CFS.

While exercise has been shown to be a proper treatment method, some experts explain it to be a very difficult situation as the condition affects each individual differently. Because of that, exercise itself may not be sufficient.

Regardless of the findings, experts suggest that whether or not an individual is suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and a moderate amount of exercise each week is recommended


Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Just Do It' Attitude Works With Exercise

Thinking about making exercise part of your life? Just lace up your shoes and get out there, and don't give your brain time to hem and haw about it.

That's what successful middle-aged exercisers say they do. Their approach is outlined in May's issue of Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

In the words of two women in the study: "I don't think about it. Just do it," and "If you think about it, you can talk yourself out of it."

Active people ignored their brain's chatter and made exercise a non-negotiable part of their day, write researchers from Canada's University of Alberta, including Sandra O'Brien Cousins, PhD, professor emeritus of physical education and recreation.

Everyone's Got an Excuse

Cousins and colleagues heard everything but "the dog ate my sneakers" in their in-depth phone interviews about exercise with 40 Canadians (20 men and 20 women) aged 42-77.

Job pressures, tired feet, health concerns, age, boredom, bad weather, and even worries about a flasher in the neighborhood were cited by participants.

It's not that the exercisers had fewer stresses. They just worked out anyway, without thinking about it. They even avoided mental pep talks about fitness, deciding to be active, no matter what crossed their minds.

"Active people claimed that they, or someone else, could easily talk themselves out of their planned and regular physical activity" says the study.

Physical inactivity has been associated with the risk of obesity and chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Few Americans are exercising these days -- at work or in their leisure time. A national health objective for 2010 is to decrease the rates of no leisure-time physical activity to 20%. According to the CDC, the prevalence of no leisure-time physical activity peaked in 1989 at approximately 32% and was stable until 1996, after which it declined an average of 1% per year to 25% in 2002.
Younger participants were more active than older ones. Middle-aged men had more physically demanding jobs and therefore only contemplated leisure-time physical activity. Middle-aged women were more active in getting leisure-time exercise.

Health and self-care were strong motivators for women age 40-55. They said they wanted to enjoy exercise and feel successful at it.

One woman said she exercised first thing in the morning "so that you can't talk yourself out of it." Another said she wished her husband would come along but exercised by herself anyway.
Age could be an obstacle or an inspiration. "As you get older, your health gets worse, so you have got to keep up activities to stay healthy," one woman said.

Middle-Aged Men: Good Intentions

The middle-aged men in the survey could be best described as "high active" at work and "low active" at play, says Cousins.

Men knew about the benefits of exercise. They said they wanted challenge, adventure, and goals, even if a little pain was involved. But work, family, tiredness, and commitments got in the way.

"It's easier to sit around," said one man. Another said society's high speed made him want to slow down in his free time.

Several men were "intenders," say the researchers. For instance, one man had positive, detailed ideas about taking up his old hobby -- horseback riding -- but he said he needed "the adrenaline rush in order to want to do it again."

That's not to say that all men were idle. "The pros of physical activity far outweigh any cons that may arise and actually, I don't say anything -- I just do it," said one active man. "I don't stop myself from doing anything."

Older Women's Outlook

Procrastination was expressed by seven out of 10 women age 56 or older. "I should do this; it would be good for me," one woman said.

"But older women were mainly thinking about it and were not setting definite plans to participate," says the study.

Declining health, crime, big dogs, and age were some of the obstacles cited by the older women. Some also said they were afraid to overdo it.

A 79-year-old woman who skied and played tennis in her youth blamed her inactivity on "laziness of age." Another 79-year-old woman said she tried to walk her dog for 20 minutes per day and do posture exercises but only did so "spasmodically."

Now, she's due to change her ways. "I'm supposed to be starting these special classes for heart attack victims soon," she told the researchers.

One older woman was highly active. "I am happy with the way I am," the 77-year-old said. Another woman -- who used to swim and play tennis -- said her health was good but her friends are "too slow" to keep up with her.

"Anyone with brains knows you need to get up and move when you are old, especially now that you hear so much about it," said the 77-year-old.

"You need to be active," she continued. "Maybe in the time of my mother they didn't care about their figures or knew that being heavy is bad for you. They never went and walked around the block or anything. They just sat around."

'Investment Talk' From Older Men

Men age 56 and older tended to be skeptical that they could benefit from exercise at their age, says the study.

"They seemed to assume self-stereotypes about being too old, and cannot see the point of investing time and effort in exercise by that time of life," write the researchers.

Many studies have shown that it's never too late to reap the rewards of exercise, which may help the heart, bones, and brain, as well as the muscles and waistline.

Article By: Miranda Hitti, WebMD Health News

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Healthier Lifestyle Can Prevent 340,000 Cancers a Year

More than 300,000 cases of cancer in the US could be prevented each year if more people ate a healthy diet, got regular exercise and limited their alcohol intake, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

These types of lifestyle changes could lead to significant reductions in particularly common cancers such as breast (38% fewer cases per year), stomach (47% fewer) and colon (45% fewer).

The research about how a healthy lifestyle can reduce cancer risk was released to mark World Cancer Day. The WCRF said its findings are supported by the World Health Organization's new Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, a report that says that regular physical activity can prevent many diseases, including breast and colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Exercise to prevent cancer

"Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases," said Dr Tim Armstrong, of WHO's Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion.

"In order to improve their health and prevent several diseases, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity throughout the week. This can be achieved by simply walking 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work daily," he advised.

Other healthy lifestyle habits that reduce the risk of cancer include quitting smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and preventing cancer-causing infections, the WCRF said.

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Each year, 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 7.6 million die from the disease. But 30 to 40% of cancers can be prevented and one-third can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment, according to the WCRF.


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