Sunday, December 30, 2007

Health Trends In 2007

What's Hot, What's Not
By Sally Wadyka for MSN Health & Fitness

In 2007, health and fitness news ran the gamut from the very good (healthier restaurant food) to the bad (dangerously lead-laden toys), with stops in between for the very sneaky (hiding veggies in other dishes) and the jaw-droppingly weird (toys laced with date-rape drug). Here’s a recap of the year that was, but this isn’t just ancient history: These trends and issues will carry on into 2008, as the regulatory, medical and nutritional communities look to address concerns and build on recent breakthroughs. Read more

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Guide To Staying In Shape During The Holiday Season!

During the holidays the temptations to break the diet and skip the gym seem to be everywhere; at home and at the office. Here is a guide that will help you with nutrition, exercise, and supplementation.

Read more

Sunday, October 21, 2007

10 Tips for Parents With Overweight Kids

Children eat what they get! If it crosses their lips, it either comes from you, a friend, or the school. As parents, we take the ultimate responsibility for the health of our children. Read article

Counceling for Weight Loss?

Have you ever thought about going to counseling as a means to create a more effective diet program? Here are some possible reasons your current strategies are not working. Learn more.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

7 Excuses For Not Starting Up Your Weight Loss Diet

Changing habits is one of the most difficult challanges we human beings are facing. This also applies to changing food habits, and especially starting a weight loss diet, when you are used to eating what you want when you want it. When we feel defeated by this challenge it is easy to find excuses for not doing it. I'll discuss 7 common excuses for not starting up or staying on a fitness diet, and give you some tips on what to do to get your mind "on track" again. Read more

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Online Tool for Dining Out

You're perusing the menu at a popular restaurant. Trying to make a healthy choice, you narrow your options. Which would you ultimately choose...Read more

Quiz: How Realistic Are You About Weight Loss?

Learn how to get real and get results.

Having unrealistic expectations can make weight loss a frustrating process since lasting results don't always happen on a certain timetable. Take this 14-question quiz to get a deeper understanding of your weight loss expectations. Read more

Life On the Fat Lane...How fast food fuel obesity

By Allison J. Cleary, EatingWell.com

I've stepped into the fire-grilled world of Burger King with a mission to order the healthiest meal on the menu. It's 12:30 in the afternoon, the line is six deep, orders from the drive-thru crackle over the intercom, and nine workers hustle to keep the burgers moving. Glossy posters of golden-crusted chicken and juicy bacon burgers hang everywhere. The unmistakable aroma of French fries and crispy chicken surrounds me, Read More

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fish Oil May Help You Lose Fat…But not that much fat.

By Tom Venuto.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere for the last several years, you’ve probably heard about the health benefits of eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements.

Well, it looks like you might be able to add fat loss alongside the other benefits like heart, blood (cholesterol/triglycerides), brain, skin and joint health (and the rest of the list, which is too long to print here). Read the entire article and post your comments.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Living & Managing Osteoarthritis

Living with osteoarthritis just got easier: Here are tips on assistive devices, exercises for osteoarthritis, natural pain treatment, personal stories, and more.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Maintain a Healthy Diet on a Road Trip

Typical freeway fare includes fast food, microwave-ready service station options, bags of chips, and lots of sodas. These foods are almost always full of bad fats, lots of calories, and not much valuable nutrition. Plus, eating junk food for a couple of days can leave you feeling fatigued and crabby, and give you a stomach ache.

With a little bit of effort and willpower, you can navigate your way around the junk food and maintain your healthy diet while on a long road trip. You’ll feel healthier, more alert, and have more fun.
Read more.

A New Twist on Yoga

By Sarah Kliff
Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - It's 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning at One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco. A dozen or so participants have just begun an hourlong yoga class, moving from group meditation to traditional yoga poses—downward-facing dog, baby cobra, warrior—with the help of an instructor. But there's something different about this yoga class: no one is wearing any clothes. Read more.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The New Face of Fitness is Getting Older

(CNN) -- Sixty used to be old -- or at least it seemed to be. In the '80s, seniors had TV role models like the Golden Girls, Matlock and "Murder She Wrote's" mystery-writing sleuth, Jessica Fletcher. Harrison Ford may be 65, but he still fits into Indiana Jones' trousers from 1981.
more photos »

Now baby boomers can look to Goldie Hawn, Diane Sawyer and Harrison Ford for inspiration as they near retirement age. Today's seniors also have a much different view of fitness than their parents, said Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging.

"Exercise was actually a bad word," Milner said. "The term exercise meant hard work. It was what you did in the military or body builders did at Muscle Beach and women were told that if they did it they weren't womanly or it would hurt their reproductive organs."

Baby boomers like Jane Fonda, jogging pioneer Jim Fixx and aerobics inventor Ken Cooper helped create the modern fitness movement, according to Milner. Read more.

The Runners' List of Optimal Foods

The Runners' List of Optimal FoodsBy Marion Webb Whether you're training for the prestigious Boston Marathon or run to stay healthy and fit, how you fuel your body can make the difference between running half-empty or to optimal performance.

To find out which foods will keep your running energized, we have consulted Exercise Physiologist Fabio Comana, M.A., M.S., who has an advanced degree in nutrition and is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, and other experts on the right amounts of fueling sources, best foods to buy and nutritional guidelines to maximize your workouts and pre-competition foods.

A well-balanced diet with the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat are essential to keep individuals healthy. For runners, especially marathoners, eating right is critical to maintain the body's essential functions, including those of the cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular systems to generate oxygen, strength and endurance.Read more.

Fritz Makeover: Best Foods For Your Diet

Most of us know what foods are good for us. Real foods. Stuff our grandmothers would have recognized as food. What you might not know is which options are best for your diet. Whether you’ve sworn off fatty foods or are on a low-carb kick, we’ll tell you what foods will work magic on your body. Start by choosing your diet plan.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Silk Plus Omega -3 DHA and Silk Plus Fiber

If you can you use more fiber and Omega -3 DHA in your diet then you own it to your self to try the New Silk Plus which delivers everything you love about Silk, and then some.

Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA offers an added boost of DHA - a specific omega-3 linked to a wide variety of important health benefits.

Silk Plus Fiber gives you 5 grams of dietary fiber in every delicious serving - that's five times more fiber than regular Silk.

Check out the delicious and nutritious Silk Plus selections.

Fitness Infomercial Scams

There are tons of customer complaints on almost every product being hocked on TV. Lots of interesting and eye-opening reading. Read more

You Are Where You Eat

By Sarah Kliff

July 27, 2007 - Our desks, cars, couches and even our beds are just a few of the settings for meals stuffed into an already overstuffed schedule. But abandoning the dining-room table for these locales may be an unwise diet choice, as not all eating sites are created equal. Many of the ways we eat can often lead to weight gain and digestion difficulties. Here are seven of the worst ways to chow down: Read more:

Six Of The Worst Workout Habits

By Sarah Kliff

Aug. 4, 2007 - Simply going to the gym doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a great workout. Reading a magazine on the treadmill, skipping breakfast before aerobics class, and ditching the weight room altogether are all things people often do that diminish the value of their visit. Here are six of the worst exercise habits many personal trainers say they see every day-and the best ways to avoid wasting time at the gym: Read more:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Fast Food: 6 Ways To Healthier Meals

Fit fast food into your weight-loss or healthy diet plan. Make wise meal choices and practice moderation in portion control and menu selections.

Can fast food be part of a weight-loss or healthy diet plan? You might not think so. In fact, you might even think that you can't have a meal that's both quick and healthy.
But this isn't necessarily so. An occasional stop at a fast-food restaurant can fit into a healthy diet plan. The key is to choose wisely. Read more

China Bans Crude Birth Control Slogans

BEIJING - China's top family planning agency has cracked down on crude and insensitive slogans used by rural authorities to enforce the country's strict population limits, state media said Sunday.

Slogans such as 'Raise fewer babies but more piggies,' and 'One more baby means one more tomb,' have been forbidden and a list of 190 acceptable slogans issued by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Such slogans are often found painted on roadside buildings in rural areas. Read more

Fatter Australians Cause Hazard for Mortuaries

SYDNEY (Reuters) - More than two-thirds of Australians living outside major cities are overweight or obese, and extremely obese corpses are creating a safety hazard at mortuaries, according to two studies released on Sunday.

Nearly three quarters of men and 64 percent of women were overweight in a study of people in rural areas. Just 30 percent of those studied recorded a healthy weight, said research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
"Urgent action is required at the highest level to change unhealthy lifestyle habits by improving diet, increasing physical activity and making our environments supportive of these objectives," wrote the lead researcher, Professor Edward Janus. Read more.

Female Cancer Survivors Lack Frank Sex Talk from Doctors

Three out of four women treated for genital tract cancer feel their doctors should initiate more conversations about the cancer's impact on their sexual.

"We found that these women valued sexuality and participated in sexual relationships and activities at a rate similar to women who had not been through cancer treatment, but they were not adequately prepared for the sexual issues that their cancer or its treatment introduced," study author Dr. Stacy Lindau said in a prepared statement. The sexual problems included pain and limited lubrication. Read more.

Printable Workout Log

As you complete an exercise session, place an X in the appropriate box according to which day you completed it. Also, rank the level of difficulty for each exercise and write down what you liked and didn't like (if that applies). This information will teach you accountability and will help you reach your fitness goals. Print a log

Fast Food Facts

Fast Food Facts is your source for the most up-to-date nutritional information on your favorite fast food for dieting and weight control; sugar levels for diabetics; carbs (carbohydrate) for low-carb dieters; and health & nutrition class projects for students and teachers.

Create a Heart Healthy Diet

Create-A-Diet Activity. Please choose whether you want to create your diet using the Heart Healthy Diet or the TLC Diet. Read Dietary guidelines for each diet.

Healthy Recipes

http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/recipes.aspxThe American Council on Exercise and FoodFit have partnered together to bring you over 2,000 healthy, delicious recipes developed by FoodFit Executive Chef, Bonnie Moore, along with hundreds of recipes from FoodFit's Chef's Network.

These recipes rely heavily on seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein with a lowered use of fats and sweets. We hope this extensive database of recipes will help you make healthy eating an easy and enjoyable part of your life. Go to Healthy Recipes

Exercise Library

From basic to advanced workouts, proper form is essential. Choose from each category below to create your own workout depending on the amount of time you have and the equipment available to you.

Stability Ball TrainingLearn about the benefits of flexibility and mobility training on the stability ball. Download article Download workout

Resistance TrainingExercise bands are portable and easy to use as well as extremely effective for developing muscular strength and endurance. Download workout


Agility/Balance Top
Balance-training Exercises
Standing Yoga Poses
Jumping with Alternate Heel Touch
Hip Twist Jumps
Footwork with Stretch Band
Side to Side Shuffling

Arms Top
Triceps Kick-back
Bench Dip
Triceps Extension with a Towel and a Partner
Bent-over Row
Biceps Curl
Stretch Band Triceps Extension
Stretch Band Biceps Curl
Wrist Stretches
Overhead Triceps Extension on a Stability Ball
Inverted Wrist Curls
Single Arm Press with a Towel and a Partner
Overhead Triceps Press
Overhead Press
Biceps Curl with a Towel and a Partner
Wrist Curls

Back Top
Seated Row
Upper Back with Stretch Band
Quadruped Lift
Stretch Band Lat Pulldown
Back Extension
Seated Row with a Towel and a Partner
Lateral Shoulder Raise with a Towel and a Partner
Stretch Band Lateral Raise
Prone Back Extension
Scapular Retraction
Shoulder Shrug
Upright Row
Single-arm Lat Pull-down
Pre-Natal Spinal Rotation

Chest Top
Stretch Band Chest Press
Supine Chest Fly
Chest Press

Core Top
Stretch Band Reverse Crunch
Stability Ball Push-ups
Stability Ball Abdominal Roll-ups
Core Body Medicine Ball Exercises
Side Bridge
Single-leg Reverse Curl
Abdominal Curl

Legs Top
Terminal Knee Extensions with a Towel and a Partner
Stretch Band Squat
Double and Single-leg Bridge
Stretch Band Hamstring Curl
Stretch Band Leg Adduction
Stretch Band Leg Abduction
Single-knee to Chest
Double-knee to Chest
Active Hip Extension
Stability Ball Wall Squat
Heel Raise
Toe Raise
Backward Lunge
Hip Extension
Straight Leg Extension
Outer Thigh Lift
Inner Thigh Lift

Shoulders Top
Posterior Shoulder Extension
External Shoulder Rotation
Lateral Deltoid Raise
Front Deltoid Raise
Internal Shoulder Rotation

Exercise Versus Diet

In a recent study of 52 obese men with an average body mass index (BMI) of 31, Canadian researchers demonstrated the power of exercise as a weight loss tool.

One group of men dieted, consuming 700 calories per day less than they needed to maintain their weight. Another group walked or jogged on a treadmill at 80 percent of heart rate maximum for about an hour each day, long enough to burn off 700 calories.

After three months, both dieters and exercisers lost the same amount of weight - about 16.5 lbs, or eight percent of their body weight.

Exercisers, however, lost more abdominal fat (4.2 lbs) than dieters (3.3 lbs).
Exercisers also did not lose muscle mass the way dieters did, and got the added benefit of improved cardiovascular fitness.

A third study group kept their weight stable by burning off 700 calories per day with exercise, but making up for it with an extra 700 calories of food.
Although these men did not lose weight, they did lose visceral abdominal fat, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, July 18, 2000; 133, 2, 92-103

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Hungry? It May Be All In Your Head

How do you know when you're hungry? Or when you're full? Is it your stomach or your brain that gives you the signal?

Sure, that noisy growl or the pull on your waistband are telltale signs, but chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters are much more reliable - and quicker to respond.

For some time, serotonin has reigned supreme as the mood-regulating neurotransmitter. Several popular diet drugs operate on the premise that by increasing the amount of time serotonin hangs around in the brain, the easier it is to keep one's appetite in check.
But serotonin has some new competition: CART peptide, or cocaine-and-amphetamine-regulated transcript.

Yes, cocaine. Researchers at Yerkes Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta discovered the CART peptide while conducting studies on this narcotic.

They found that when normal rats were injected with CART they ate 30 percent less than usual. Researchers are hopeful their discovery may eventually lead to another anti-obesity drug.
Of course, what works in rats doesn't always work in humans, particularly since humans eat for numerous reasons, many of which have little or nothing to do with hunger.

But studies such as these remind us of how eager Americans are to solve their weight problems with a pill - and how anxious pharmaceutical companies are to develop one that will do just that.
We can't help wondering what would happen if they discovered a pill that made people want to exercise.Source: Synapse, April 29, 1998

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Lift Weight to Lose Weight

A new study confirms what many discovered long ago - strength training plays an important role in ridding the body of extra weight.
Sure, aerobic exercise burns calories, but the body’s metabolism quickly returns to pre-exercise levels, usually within 30 minutes or so.

Resistance training, according to the researchers at Johns Hopkins University, leads to increased calorie burning for up to two hours after the workout is over.

Carol A. Binzen and colleagues recruited 10 moderately trained women to perform three sets of 10 exercises at 10-repetition maximum with a one-minute rest period between each set.

Researchers found that fat oxidation was significantly higher after the strength-training session.
Unfortunately, because weight training often results in a corresponding increase in weight due to increased muscle mass, many women abandon their strength-training efforts, opting instead for strictly cardiovascular activities.

However, researchers suggest combining aerobic exercise with regular strength training for maximum benefit.

Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2001; 33, 932-938

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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The Five Worst Fitness Ideas of All Time

The old saying goes that with time comes wisdom.

That's certainly the case in the world of sports and fitness, where decades of research have increased our knowledge of how the body works and how best to train it.

Of course, that doesn't mean we've seen the end of whacky exercise ideas or outlandish weight-loss schemes (e.g., The Hollywood Diet, Electric Muscle Stimulation machines).But to show you just how far we've come, here are ACE's top five worst fitness ideas of all time.

1. Dehydration A common, pre-20th century belief was that you should withhold water or you'd get too heavy or sick.
2. Recreational drug use during competition In 1869 cyclists were known to use ''speed balls'' of heroin and cocaine to increase endurance. The use of caffeine, alcohol, nitroglycerin, ether, strychnine and opium also was common among athletes in the late 19th century.
3. All-potato diet Early 20th century scientist Horace Fletcher pushed this, along with excessive mastication of food - ''chewing your way to health.''
4. Physics for the bowels Applied by early 18th-century British trainers
5. Vibrating belts that proponents claimed would shake weight off

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Buyer Beware!

In their online Project Absurd report, the FTC offers a link to a consumer alert titled ''Avoiding the Muscle Hustle: Tips for Buying Exercise Equipment,'' which offers excellent advice to avoid being duped by overblown marketing claims.

The FTC advises consumers to:
Ignore claims that an exercise machine or device can provide long-lasting, easy, ''no-sweat'' results in a short time. These claims are false: You can’t get the benefits of exercise unless you exercise.

Don't fall for claims that a product can burn fat off a particular part of the body - for example, the buttocks, hips or stomach. Achieving a major change in your appearance requires sensible eating and regular exercise that works the whole body.

Read the ad's fine print. The advertised results may be based on more than just using a machine; they also may be based on restricting calories.
Be skeptical of testimonials and before-and-after pictures from ''satisfied'' customers. Their experiences may not be typical. Just because one person had success with the equipment doesn't mean you will, too.

Do the calculations when you read statements like ''three easy payments of ...'' or ''only $49.95 a month.'' The advertised cost may not include shipping and handling fees, sales tax, and delivery and set-up fees. Find out the details before you order.

Get details on warranties, guarantees and return policies. A 30-day money-back guarantee may not sound as good if you have to pay shipping on a bulky piece of equipment you want to ''return to sender.''

Check out the company's customer and support services. Call the advertised toll-free numbers to get an idea of how easy it is to reach a company representative and how helpful he or she is.
Source: “Avoiding the Muscle Hustle: Tips for Buying Exercise Equipment” on www.ftc.gov (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/musclealrt.htm).

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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The Top Ten Mistakes People Make in the Gym

This survey of 3,000 ACE-certified fitness professionals points out the biggest mistakes in the gym. In some cases, these mistakes may simply mean the difference between an effective and an ineffective workout. Other mistakes, however, can be more costly, leading to strain and injury.

ACE, America's Authority on Fitness, shares the following mistakes commonly made in the gym and offers tips to help individuals stay safe during their workout.

1. Not stretching enough: Stretch immediately following an aerobic activity while your muscles are warm and pliable to prevent injuries.
2. Lifting too much weight: Never lift more than your muscles can handle. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective -and safe - way to increase muscle strength.
3. Not warming up prior to activity: Muscles need time to adjust to the new demands aerobic activity places on them. Start slowly and gradually increase intensity.
4. Not cooling down after any type of workout: Take a few minutes to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles. This improves flexibility and helps prepare the body for your next workout.
5. Exercising too intensely: It's more effective to sustain a moderate workout for longer periods of time than to exercise intensely for only a few minutes.
6. Not drinking enough water: Don't wait until you’re thirsty to drink water - you're already on your way to dehydration. Keep a water bottle close at hand during exercise and throughout the day.
7. Leaning heavily on a stairstepper: Leaning on the stairstepper is hard on both the wrists and the back. Lower the intensity to the point at which you can maintain good posture while lightly resting your hands on the rails for balance.
8. Not exercising intensely enough: Exercise intensely enough to work up a light sweat and get your heart beating in your training zone.
9. Jerking while lifting weights: When you have to jerk the weight, it's likely you're jerking other muscles as well. This can lead to strain and injury, with the muscles of the back being particularly vulnerable. Control the weight, don't let it control you.
10. Consuming energy bars and sports drinks during moderate workouts: Unless you're working out for longer than two hours per day, you don't need to supplement with high-energy bars and drinks. (High-energy is often a code word for high-calorie.)

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Children Follow Mother's Example (Even In The Womb)

If a child shows an aversion to certain foods and flavors, chances are good her mother doesn't like them very much either.

A new study suggests that pregnant mothers can influence the taste preferences of their children by eating or avoiding certain foods during pregnancy and/or while breast-feeding.

It is well established that flavors of foods and spices are transmitted from mother to child via amniotic fluid and breast milk. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia wanted to know if the early exposure to these flavors influenced a child's acceptance of similarly flavored foods later on.

Forty-six pregnant women consumed either carrot juice or water for four days per week for three consecutive weeks during their last trimester and then again during the first two months of breast-feeding.

Group 1 drank carrot juice during pregnancy and water during lactation; group 2 drank water during pregnancy and carrot juice during lactation; and the control group drank only water throughout the course of the study.

When the babies were about one month old, they were given two bowls of cereal, one prepared with water, the other with carrot juice, and their reactions and preferences were recorded.
The children that had been previously exposed to the carrot juice, whether in the womb or through breast-feeding, appeared to enjoy the carrot-flavored cereal much more than the babies whose mothers drank only water.

Source: Pediatrics 2001; 107, 6, e88

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Many Teenagers' Diets Lack Major Nutrients

U.S. researchers report that the dietary habits of teenagers leaves many of them deprived of many vital nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C and E, and calcium, iron and zinc.
Of the 400 teenagers surveyed, about one-third took vitamin supplements, but these tended to be the ones who also consumed healthier diets.

It's not tough to find the cause of these nutrient deficiencies: diets heavy on fast food and fat, and light on fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
Lead researcher Dr. Jamie Stang of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis believes these results confirm that most teenagers have not absorbed the message about the importance of good nutrition.

She suggests abandoning the ''because it's good for you'' approach in favor of demonstrating the link between good nutrition and sports performance.

Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2000; 100, 905-910

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Good Nutrition Starts Early

Despite improved eating habits, more American children are overweight than ever before.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Theresa A. Nicklas of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, tracked seven groups of 10-year-olds between 1973 and 1994, as a part of the Bogalusa Heart Study in Louisiana.

They found that children in the 1990s were eating more healthy foods such as fruit and chicken, and eating fewer fats, desserts and candy than previous generations.
Caloric intake remained relatively constant over the course of the study, at around 2000 to 2,200 calories per day.

So why are so many more children overweight today than 20 or 30 years ago? Lack of physical activity, researchers speculate, with more time spent in front of the television and less out on the playground.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, 2001; 153, 969-977.

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AHA Sounds Alarm on High-Protein Diets

The American Heart Association (AHA) wants consumers to be aware of the dangers of high-protein diets.

The AHA's Nutrition Committee reviewed five of the most popular high-protein diets: the Atkins diet, Protein Power, Stillman diet, Sugar Busters and the Zone.
They concluded that although these diets may promote quick weight loss, at least temporarily, the long-term consequence of eating a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol is an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Proponents of these diets suggest people can lose weight and lower their cholesterol while eating unlimited amounts of red meat and high-fat dairy products.

Committee chairman Dr. Robert H. Eckel, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, refutes this idea, saying that once a person stops losing weight or begins to regain, cholesterol levels begin to rise, sometimes to an even higher level than before the diet.
The committee's advisory paper will be published later this year in the AHA’s journal, Circulation, and is designed to guide physicians when advertising patients about diet and weight loss.
Source: American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org

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Stay Fit to Stay Alive

Being sedentary and out of shape may have a more detrimental effect on one's health than other well-known risk factors such as smoking, hypertension and heart disease, according the results of a recent study.

Researchers from Stanford University Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System studied more than 6,000 men for an average of six years. The average age of participants was 59.

More than half had experienced an abnormal exercise-test result and/or had a history of cardiovascular disease; nearly one-third had suffered a heart attack, and many had risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and a history of smoking.
The remaining men were apparently healthy without a history of cardiovascular disease.
During the study period, more than 1,200 patients died, most of whom were older. After adjusting for age, however, researchers concluded that exercise capacity was a more powerful predictor of mortality than any other risk factor.

They also found that as exercise capacity improved, patients experienced corresponding improvements in survival rates.

In a corresponding editorial, Dr. Gary J. Balady of Boston Medical Center compares these new findings with Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest. Balady urges physicians to go beyond identifying risk factors and to encourage and prescribe increased physical activity as an essential step in reducing one's risk of death.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2002; 346, 793-801, 852-854
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How Much Water is Too Much?

While dehydration is a more common concern for exercisers, some experts think the public should be aware of the danger of drinking too much water, which can lead to a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia.

Characterized by an abnormally low blood concentration of sodium, it is most often seen at extremely high-endurance events such as ultra-marathons.
Hyponatremia is more common among women than men, and was responsible for the death of a 43-year-old woman running in the Chicago Marathon last year.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headache and disorientation, and bloating in the face and hands.

Research suggests that drinking about two cups of fluid two hours before exercise and another six to eight ounces every 20 minutes can help optimize performance.
Some exercisers may opt to measure the amount of fluid they lose by weighing themselves before and after exercise to determine the number of pounds lost through perspiration. For every pound lost, experts recommend drinking one pint of fluid during exercise.

Sports drinks may also be a good choice because they help replace lost sodium and have been shown to enhance performance during prolonged exercise.

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Work Stress Equals Fewer Workouts

Demanding bosses and looming deadlines make it difficult for employees to stick to their exercise regimens, according to the results of a new study.

Researchers at Middlesex University in the U.K. surveyed more than 200 employees of a computer company about their exercise intentions and then again a week later to see how well they followed through on those intentions.

Fifty-four employees were classified as having a high-stress job, which was defined as having high demands and little control over their work.
Not only did these workers express lower self-confidence in their ability to stick to an exercise program, they also exercised less frequently than did their colleagues.

Furthermore, the employees who said they intended to exercise but were unsuccessful were most likely to cite work demands as the reason they didn't make it to the gym.
Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Payne believes ''people in high-strain jobs may not have the time for exercise or they may be too fatigued to exercise because they need more time to recover after the working day.''

She hopes that employers will come to recognize exercise as a priority and actively encourage it.
Source: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2002; 7, 342-353

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Exercise Essentials

We recently asked 36,000 ACE-certified Fitness Professionals to name their single most important exercise items.
Some answers were obvious (my body), while others were more abstract (daily goals, plenty of space).

Here are their top 12 exercise essentials:

1. Good shoes
2. Fun or appropriate music
3. Free weights
4. A positive attitude
5. Comfortable clothing
6. Lots of water
7. A supportive sports bra
8. Safe, well-made equipment (e.g., cardio machines, heart-rate monitors
9. Weight-training gloves
10. Enough time
11. A workout partner
12. Fresh, clean air and/or sunshine

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.

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Exercises You Can't Do Without

We asked 17,000 ACE-certified Fitness Professionals to name the one exercise they couldn't do without.The overwhelming winner was the multi-purpose squat, which strengthens all of the major muscles of the lower body, including the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
Here are the rest of the top choices, which can be used together to create a challenging and effective fitness program:

Abdominal exercises

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Three Weeks to a Healthier Heart

Just three weeks of healthy eating and daily moderate exercise can significantly reduce a man’s risk of heart disease by lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles put 11 obese men on a three-week health kick consisting of a very-low-fat, high-fiber diet and daily 45- to 60-minute walks on a treadmill.
At the end of three weeks, participants hadn't lost a significant amount of weight, but the seven men who previously had high blood pressure now had normal blood pressure, and the entire group reduced their cholesterol levels by an average of 19 percent.
Insulin levels dropped 46 percent and free radicals by 28 percent, both of which are associated with heart disease.

''This is the first study to show that this type of diet and exercise can reduce oxidative stress, lower blood pressure and improve risk factors for other chronic diseases in a very short time,'' wrote lead researcher R. James Barnard.

Source: Circulation, 2002; 106: 2530-253
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Top Six Fitness Myths

With so much health and fitness information coming from so many different sources, it's no wonder people are confused.

What does it take to get fit? Will crunches get rid of my spare tire? What’s the best way to lose weight? These are the types of questions ACE-certified Fitness Professionals hear on a daily basis.
More than 1,500 ACE-certified Professionals responded to our request for the most pervasive myths and misconceptions about exercise.

Here are their top six responses.

  • Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles.
  • Spot reducing is possible.
  • No pain, no gain.
  • Exercise requires a hefty time commitment.
  • If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.
  • There’s a magic bullet (quick fix) out there somewhere.

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.
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Dangerous Potatoes

What may seem like a harmless way to store potatoes may actually be a breeding ground for deadly bacteria.

Researchers investigating an outbreak of botulism in the United States in 1994 traced the source to a bacteria-produced toxin that formed when baked potatoes were stored in aluminum foil at room temperature.

Botulism can cause severe nerve damage and paralysis of both skeletal and respiratory muscles and, in extreme cases, even death.
Researchers recommend avoiding aluminum foil when cooking potatoes unless they are to be eaten or refrigerated immediately.

Source: The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 1998; 178, 172-177

Eating Fatty Fish Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

Two new studies offer more evidence that eating several servings of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids each week may reduce the risk of heart disease and death.

The first study, conducted by researchers from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, compared 94 men who died suddenly from heart disease with 184 healthy men.
They discovered that men without heart disease were 81 percent less likely to experience sudden death if they had high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, regardless of other risk factors such as age or smoking habits.

Found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to lower the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm and to reduce blood cholesterol and clotting.
A second study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at data from 85,000 women involved in the Nurses Health Study and found those who consumed at least five servings of fish per week lowered their risk of coronary heart disease by more than 33 percent and cut their risk of fatal heart attack by 50 percent.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, and 50 percent of people who die suddenly of cardiac causes had no previous signs or symptoms of heart disease.
''Mounting evidence suggests that there is an inverse association between fish intake and heart disease in women and men,'' writes study author Dr. JoAnn E. Mason.
''We recommend that people eat more fish as part of a healthy diet.''

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2002; 346, 1113-1118; The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 287, 1815-1821.

Top Seven Healthiest Foods

Researchers at Tufts University in Boston have come up with a way to calculate the antioxidant properties of fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants are believed to provide a protective effect against conditions such as heart disease and cancer by interfering with the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are also believed to help retard the aging process.

The seven foods listed below provide additional individual benefits as well. Prunes, for example, are frequently used to relieve constipation, while spinach may be helpful in avoiding memory loss and staving off Alzheimer’s.

Consumers are urged to not only eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but to choose nutrient-rich sources such as these:

This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.Click here to order your subscription today.
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Take The First Step, I Did It So Can You!

If we don't take the first step to our physical and spiritual destination no one will take it for us. We build our future and walk the path that we've chosen, the rest is simply excuses for our inabilities to reach our goals - don't let that happen to you. Take the first step and live the life that you've always dreamed, I did it and so can you! Read my bio.