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For November 20, 2018

  • Weight training benefits children
    Weight training benefits children

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health)--Weightlifting programs can improve the muscle tone and endurance in children - and help them to feel good about their athletic performance, researchers conclude.

    They recommend that resistance training programs for children include a high number of repetitions lifting moderate weights rather than few lifts of heavy weights, noting that high-repetition, moderate-weight training "resulted in more favorable changes in upper body strength."

    In their study, Dr. Avery Faigenbaum and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, in Boston the Boston researchers assigned 11 girls and 32 boys between five and 12 years of age to eight weeks of weight training. Half of the children engaged in workouts consisting of six to eight repetitions of each exercise, using relatively heavy weights. The other half of participants completed an average 13 to 15 "reps," but with lighter loads.

    In their report, published this month in the electronic version of the journal Pediatrics (www.pediatrics.org), the authors conclude that weight-training programs "can enhance the muscular strength and muscular endurance of children."

    They also note that there were differences in outcome depending on the training regimen used. While leg muscle endurance improved in both exercise groups, children using high-rep, moderate weights experienced "significantly greater" gains in muscle endurance compared with children in the low-rep, high-weight group.

    And while leg muscle strength increased by 31 percent in children engaged in low-rep, high-weight workouts, the benefit was even greater-- nearly 41 percent - in children involved in high-rep, moderate-weight workouts.

    Most of the children appeared to show the greatest improvements in strength during the first four weeks of the program, with lower body muscles tending to be more responsive to weight training than muscles in the upper body.

    The Boston team conclude that children should begin weight-training using moderate weights and a single set of 13 to 15 repetitions per exercise. This type of program "not only allows for positive changes in muscular performance," they explain, "but provides an opportunity for each child to experience success and feel good about his/her performance."

    The researchers note that three major organizations - the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association - support children's participation in "appropriately designed and competently supervised" weight training programs.

    Source: Pediatrics 1999;104/1/e5.

  • Study Finds It's Harder For Women To Quit Smoking
    Study Finds It's Harder For Women To Quit Smoking

    December 20, 1999 The Medical Tribune

    New findings might help explain why women have a harder time quitting smoking than men. Apparently women tend to become more psychologically dependent on smoking.

    According to a study led by Thomas Eissenberg, of Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Psychology and Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, in Richmond, women find greater relief than men from withdrawal symptoms of smoking, including restlessness and difficulty concentrating.

    The study, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, looked at the subjective and physiological effects of smoking on a group of men and women who were experienced with tobacco products. Findings are reported in the December issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

    Physiologically, men and women experienced similar effects of smoking, including increased heart rate and blood pressure and a decrease in skin temperature. These effects are usually attributed to the nicotine in cigarettes.

    Subjectively, however, smoking had a more profound effect on women, and it may be harder for them to quit. After each of the two cigarettes that subjects smoked in the study, women reported that their desire to smoke was decreased compared with men, and their relief from withdrawal symptoms decreased significantly more than their male counterparts. This means that women may be getting more relief and feelings of satisfaction from smoking than men, which helps to explain why past studies have shown that women have more difficulty quitting smoking.

    The most common withdrawal symptoms that differed in ratings substantially between men and women were the desire to smoke, the urge to smoke, difficulty concentrating and restlessness.

    Eissenberg commented on the findings: ``It's a little-known fact that soon after smokers have had a cigarette, their reports' of various withdrawal symptoms will start to increase.'' Eissenberg reported that these effects are sometimes evident as soon as 10 or 15 minutes after smoking a cigarette.

    Another curious finding in the study was that compared to men, women take shorter, smaller puffs when smoking. There is no evidence, however, that this means female smokers receive less nicotine than their male counterparts.

    ``I'd certainly be able to entertain the hypothesis that women were receiving less nicotine, and that would mean that they have a lower level of physical effects as far as the response of the body to repeated administrations of the drug,'' said Eissenberg. ``But that doesn't mean that their psychological dependence is less. In fact, it may be more.''

    Eissenberg added: ``It seems to me and it's going to take more work that this study might be telling us that the response to nicotine is the same for men and women, but there are some other effects of smoking to which women are more sensitive.''

    Dr. Sheila B. Blume, clinical professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said she was ``delighted that the research is going on in this area. When I started in this field in 1962,'' she explained, ``we had no idea how addiction worked at all. But now, due to modern methods of neuroscience, it's understood that addictive substances share a final common pathway to the brain, probably to the part that nature put there or that evolved there to assure that we repeat the kinds of behaviors that keep us alive, such as finding food and water, and that give us a kind of pleasure.'' Substances such as nicotine stimulate this same area of the brain, said Blume.

    Eissenberg said that further study on the topic is needed. He added that he hopes to see enhancements of the popular nicotine replacement products, such as patches, gum, sprays and inhalers. Eissenberg emphasized that relapse prevention is another key area to address when researching the best ways to help people quit smoking.

    Blume, too, stressed the significance of quitting smoking and added that due to its obvious addictive effect, it should be done with medical or group support assistance: ``When women are ready to quit, they should get some help with it. Don't try it on your own.''

    Nicotine & Tobacco Research (1999;1: 317-324)

    Copyright 1999 Medical PressCorps News Service. All rights reserved.

  • Natural Relief for Migraines
    Natural Relief for Migraines

    (Prevention, August 1999) - Get a whiff of this finding by Alan Hirsch, MD, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, IL. In his study of 50 migraine patients he found that the scent of green apples made headache pain fade.

    Migraine pain was found to improve more during an attack when the subjects sniffed tubes containing a green apple smell than when sniffing unscented tubes (data presented at the 1997 annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Headache).

    "It could be a distraction effect, so that the subjects were thinking about the smell instead of their pain. Or it could be that the smell actually reduces muscle contractions in the head and neck, reducing the pain," explains Dr. Hirsch.

    Why green apples? Previously, Dr. Hirsch found that the smell reduced anxiety. "Since people with migraines say their headaches worsen when they're anxious, we thought the odor might be helpful." Other pleasant smells might bring relief equally well, and the effect may work on other forms of pain also, he says.

  • Dan Wirth - Flat vs. Incline Bench, Which Will Make You Stronger?
    Dan Wirth - Flat vs. Incline Bench, Which Will Make You Stronger?

    This article was written in response to the following question: Dan, how do you feel about the Incline Bench compared to the Bench Press when it comes to developing great upper body strength?

    Ah, the infamous Incline Bench Press. The great and almighty 45 degree sports specific force producer! Seriously, the Incline Bench is a great exercise, but, not one that should use a full periodization schedule. Meaning, it is not my "major stimulator" or Primary Strength Exercise (PSE) for the upper body.

    PSE�s are complex movements that utilize more than one muscle group. They are the exercises that will use a full periodization schedule working from higher volume and lower intensity phases into maximal strength and power phases. This would be in contrast to a Secondary Strength Exercise (SSE) like the Incline Bench, or an Assistive Strength Exercise (ASE) like a Dumbbell Curl that would not use a full periodization schedule and would not work into maximal strength and power phases!

    By major stimulator, I am simply talking about exercises that you can inherently lift the most weight with therefore creating the highest neuromuscular or contraction activity in the muscle groups being used (notice the plural use of the word �groups�, the Bench is not just a chest exercise, but more on that later!)


    The Bench Press is inherently set up so that you should be able to push more weight than you could with an Incline bench (barring any injuries or biomechanical problems). If you took one thousand athletes or fitness buffs and tested them on the Bench Press and the Incline Bench Press, about 97% of them, not all but most, would be able to Bench Press more than they could Incline Bench. This is especially true for the 35-45 degree Incline Bench Press which is pretty close to the optimal angle of release for a shot putter and a close representation of the pushing angle after the initial contact phase of a football lineman.

    It is for this reason, and this reason only, that the Bench Press is my upper body Primary Strength Exercise. The angle of the Incline Bench is what makes it a great exercise but it is also what keeps it away from PSE status. PSE�s for me are the Power Clean, Squat, and "Flat" Bench in athletic based programs. And, I substitute the Deadlift exercise for the Power Clean in programs for people who want to develop great strength.


    We could use the Power Clean and the Squat as further examples of Primary Strength Exercises. In most strength and conditioning programs, in sports where strength and power output are vitally important, the Squat exercise is the major stimulator as opposed to the Front Squat, or the Barbell Step Up. The same thing applies with the Power Clean versus the Power Snatch for example. This is not taking anything away from the Incline Bench, Power Snatch, and Front Squat exercises. Many times I emphasize these lifts in my strength and power programs, but, when I am focusing on absolute strength and power increases during certain training cycles it is the Power Clean, Squat and Bench that I use.

    When I mentioned neuromuscular activity levels earlier, many research buffs would like to bring to my attention an occasionally found research example of the Decline Bench exercise having a higher neuromuscular activity than the Bench Press (found through EMG testing). I would say yes, this is true in some cases. However, the Decline Bench has some problems with it�s limited range of motion. But, that�s another story.

    Now, this brings me to a very important point: The Bench Press is not just a chest oriented exercise. It is a Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps exercise. And, this is precisely the reason why most people can lift a heavier poundage with this exercise! The strength of those three muscle groups combined is ultimately stronger than a lift like the Decline Bench which is primarily only a chest developer or the Incline Bench which activates the shoulders even more than the chest.

    Finally, my upper body strength philosophy is pretty simple. Use the Bench Press as your PSE for the upper body. And use the Incline Bench as your SSE on heavier upper body days, or use the Dumbbell Incline Bench as an ASE on lighter upper body days.

    One final note about anyone doing heavy pressing movements: You have to consistently work the posterior head of the deltoid along with performing stabilization exercises such as external rotators in order to keep the shoulder joint healthy. This will ensure you can keep on benching injury free!

    Dan Wirth M.A., C.S.C.S.
    Fitness Director (Fitrex.com)
    Director of Strength and Conditioning
    The University of Arizona
  • Ergogenic Effects Of Creatine
    Ergogenic Effects Of Creatine


    Objectives. - In the last few years many athletes and persons engaged in recreational sports activities have begun using creatine supplementation. Creatine feeding is possible by oral administration of creatine monohydrate. The objectives of this paper are to recall the mechanisms by which creatine might improve performance, to discuss the known effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance, and to examine its side effects.

    Topics. - The rate of turnover of creatine for a 70 kg male has been estimated around 2 g/d. Creatine is partly supplied by the diet that provides I g/d through meat and fish. Recent studies have shown that ingestion of about 20 g of creatine monohydrate per day is able to modulate total muscle creatine, free creatine and phosphocreatine. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of recent knowledge on the effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance. Many studies demonstrate that creatine supplementation has beneficial effects on performance of short-duration exercises, during repeated isokinetic or isometric contractions of the quadriceps muscle, jumping or high-intensity cycling exercises. The beneficial effects of creatine supplementation on performance capacity are strongly related to the efficacy of the treatment for enhancing muscle creatine pool. If is thus clear that phosphocreatine stores play a key role for ATP resynthesis during muscle contraction and recovery. The improvement in performance following creatine supplementation is dependent on the characteristics of the exercise. It has been suggested that human skeletal muscles have an upper limit for total creatine concentration. In contrast with sedentary subjects, in athletes and well-trained subjects who have high initial total creatine concentrations in skeletal muscle, only a slight improvement in exercise performances is expected. Taken together, the results of most studies published to date suggest that only performances of repetitive high-intensity exercise bouts are positively affected by creatine supplementation. During this type of exercise, the expected increase in total creatine contributes to the fast resynthesis of phosphocreatine during recovery. Until recently, it was well accepted that except for a slight increase in body weight, no adverse effects have been associated with creatine supplementation. However, a recent report described a clinical case of renal dysfunction that was associated with oral creatine supplementation.

  • Salt in your diet.
    Salt in your diet.

    Many people regard salt as just another item on the list of "bad foods" that should be avoided in our diet. They mistakenly believe that excessive salt, or sodium, intake will lead to high blood pressure, or hypertension.

    When people talk about salt in the diet they are usually referring to table salt or sodium chloride. In fact, sodium chloride is just one of many salts that are in our food.

    Chemically a food is described as a salt when it shares common chemical characteristics. We can recognize these chemicals on food labels when we see the tags --ide (as in chloride), --ate (as in borate) or --ite (as in sulfite). If you take a look at the labels on prepared foods you can understand why we don't need to add table salt to our diet. If we don't have a diet high in fresh foods there's a good chance we've already consumed far more salt than we need.

    Interestingly, research has shown that salt has little or no effect on most people with normal blood pressure as well as many people with hypertension. There are, however, many individuals who are salt sensitive. They react unfavorably to salt in any form because it puts strain on the kidneys, increasing blood volume. If the arteries are unable to dilate sufficiently to accommodate this increased blood volume, blood pressure will rise.

    Depending on who you ask, most health promotion educators recommend that adults limit sodium intake to 1000 milligrams per day--that's about one teaspoon. To reduce the amount of salt in your diet, minimize the amount of canned and processed foods, smoked meats, condiments, chips, and soft drinks you consume.

    Of course, it's always a good idea to discuss health concerns with your physician, but moderation seems to be the key in most dietary matters, including salt.


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