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For July 13, 2020

  • Children and the Need for Physical Activity
    Children and the Need for Physical Activity

    Children in the U.S. today are less fit than they were a generation ago and showing early signs of cardiovascular disease such as weight gain, higher serum cholesterol, and cigarette smoking.

    Inactive children, when compared with active children, weigh more, have higher blood pressure and lower levels of heart-protective high-density lipoproteins. Even though heart attack and stroke are rare in children, evidence suggests that the process leading to those conditions begins in childhood. The 1987 National Children and Youth Fitness Study indicates that at least half of youth don't engage in physical activity that promotes long-term health and that less than 36 percent of elementary and secondary schools offer daily PE classes and that most classes were unlikely to foster lifelong physical activity.

    A fitness testing program sponsored by the Chrysler Fund Amateur Athletic Union, which tracks fitness among 9.7 million youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17, shows that children are getting slower in endurance running and are getting weaker. Since 1980 there has been a 10 percent drop off on scores for distance runs and an 11 percent decline in youngsters who achieved at least a "satisfactory" score on the entire test.

    An estimated 2.1 million adolescents age 12 to 17 are smokers. Nine million American children under age five live with at least one smoker and are exposed to second-hand smoke for virtually the whole day. It is estimated that 3,000 American young people become smokers every day.

    Children spend an average of 17 hours a week watching TV in addition to the time they spend on video and computer games. Inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults. Healthful lifestyle training should begin in childhood to promote improved cardiovascular health in adult life. The following good health practices should be promoted among children:

    • regular physical activity
    • a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet after the age of two
    • smoking prevention
    • appropriate weight for height
    • regular pediatric medical checkups

    Copyright 1998 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Read More...
  • Exercise As An Antidepressant
    Exercise As An Antidepressant

    Exercise is being touted as a viable component for treating depression, schizophrenia and alcohol addiction, according to a report published in the American Psychological Association.

    This is a review of studies going back to 1981, so it�s not new research. One thing that�s interesting is this review finds non-aerobic exercises such as weight lifting to be just as effective in treating psychological ailments as aerobics.

    The researchers say most regular exercises, including simply going for a 20-minute walk three times a week, is apparently more effective than placebo pills in reducing symptoms of anxiety in some patients.

    In my view, this study almost nailed it, but not quite. In my book, drawing on the best research, I contend exercise is a placebo. And while it makes you feel better, let�s not give it more curative power than it deserves.

    Just taking the time off to go exercise is something that can be psychologically good for you � because you�re taking a break from what�s bothering you.

    If you enjoy exercising, do it, and you�ll probably feel better. But this isn�t true if you hate it. The main point in my book, "Eat, Drink and Be Merry," is to embrace those activities that you have fun doing because, ultimately, they�ll be the most beneficial.

    Source: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, June 1999.

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  • The Supermeal
    The Supermeal

    Remember how Mom always used to warn you "Skip breakfast and you're asking for a tidal wave of neuropeptide Y two hours after lunch"? Okay, maybe she didn't put it so technically. But she undoubtedly said that breakfast is the most critical meal of the day.

    Nutrition researchers, of course, reached the same conclusion long ago. Skipping breakfast, they found, can slow your metabolic rate. In fact, studies from the Mayo Clinic show that breakfast eaters burn up to 150 more calories per day than do those people who don't eat breakfast. Also, "eating breakfast is a good way to short-circuit after-lunch cravings," says Dr. Wayne Callaway, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. Researchers have found that when underfed lab rats are finally given a meal, levels of neuropeptide Y -- the neurotransmitter that triggers the snacking impulse -- skyrocket, causing the animals to binge even though they're full. And studies of school kids have shown that skipping breakfast can turn your thinking to mush. Breakfast truly is, as the Zulus call it, indlakusasa, or the "strength meal." Here are some simple ways to maximize its benefits.

  • Follow the 25 percent rule.
  • Breakfast should account for at least a quarter of your daily calories, says Callaway. Some men do better by dividing the day's allotment into thirds, while others prefer a breakfast-lunch-dinner ratio of 30-40-30. No matter which pattern works best for you, he says, if you can adhere to it for three weeks, your appetite will naturally "lock on" to the routine. How much food are we talking about? Consider this example: If a 30-year-old man weighs 160 pounds, stands 5 foot 10, and works out regularly, he'll burn about 2,640 calories a day. He could eat 2 pieces of whole-grain toast with a teaspoon of margarine and 2 tablespoons of honey (322 calories); 1 cup of Wheaties with a half-cup of skim milk (144 calories); 5 strips of bacon (163 calories); 1 banana (116 calories); 1 cup of coffee with whole milk (20 calories); and 4 ounces of orange juice (56 calories). The total: 821 calories, or 31 percent of his daily fuel requirement.

  • Eat carbs first.
  • When you sleep, your body is in a fasting state; to fuel metabolism and brain function, it uses carbohydrates stored as glycogen. So when you wake up, "your body still has plenty of fat to burn, but what you don't have is very many carbohydrates," explains James Hill, Ph.D., the associate director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado in Denver. Refuel with a breakfast that is high in carbohydrates -- whole-grain cereal and toast or a bagel, plus a piece of fruit.

  • Choose whole grains.
  • High-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates contain more nutrients than refined, processed ones do, and they'll make you feel fuller for longer periods. Select whole-wheat toast, hot oatmeal, or a cold cereal, such as bran flakes or shredded wheat, with at least five grams of fiber per serving.

  • Have some java.
  • Caffeine increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved in mental acuity, says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., a cognitive-science researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wurtman, the author of Managing Your Mind & Mood Through Food, calls caffeinated beverages "probably the most potent mind-alerting component of breakfast." Just a cup or two should do the trick.

  • Catch a protein lift.
  • Wurtman believes that a breakfast delivering at least an ounce of protein can enhance mental function by providing the brain with tyrosine, a chemical necessary for alertness. You can get that from one cup of yogurt or from a two-egg omelet.

    From Mensjournal.com, by Jim Thornton

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  • Children and the Need for Physical Activity
    Children and the Need for Physical Activity

    Children in the U.S. today are less fit than they were a generation ago and showing early signs of cardiovascular disease such as weight gain, higher serum cholesterol, and cigarette smoking.

    Inactive children, when compared with active children, weigh more, have higher blood pressure and lower levels of heart-protective high-density lipoproteins. Even though heart attack and stroke are rare in children, evidence suggests that the process leading to those conditions begins in childhood. The 1987 National Children and Youth Fitness Study indicates that at least half of youth don't engage in physical activity that promotes long-term health and that less than 36 percent of elementary and secondary schools offer daily PE classes and that most classes were unlikely to foster lifelong physical activity.

    A fitness testing program sponsored by the Chrysler Fund Amateur Athletic Union, which tracks fitness among 9.7 million youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17, shows that children are getting slower in endurance running and are getting weaker. Since 1980 there has been a 10 percent drop off on scores for distance runs and an 11 percent decline in youngsters who achieved at least a "satisfactory" score on the entire test.

    An estimated 2.1 million adolescents age 12 to 17 are smokers. Nine million American children under age five live with at least one smoker and are exposed to second-hand smoke for virtually the whole day. It is estimated that 3,000 American young people become smokers every day.

    Children spend an average of 17 hours a week watching TV in addition to the time they spend on video and computer games. Inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults. Healthful lifestyle training should begin in childhood to promote improved cardiovascular health in adult life. The following good health practices should be promoted among children:

    • regular physical activity
    • a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet after the age of two
    • smoking prevention
    • appropriate weight for height
    • regular pediatric medical checkups

    Copyright 1998 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Read More...
  • Hate Exercise? Positive Thinking Can Help
    Hate Exercise? Positive Thinking Can Help

    How to Make Exercise Feel Easier

    (Prevention, August 1999) � Exercise feels good, right? Not for everyone -- especially if you're overweight or just starting out. You're hot and sweaty, your heart is racing, and you're breathing like a freight train.

    And if you perceive this experience as negative, chances are you're not going to stick with it, says Joanne Kraenzle Schneider, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a registered nurse. But she suspects that if you shift your thoughts to more positive ones, you'll be more likely to continue exercising.

    Makes sense, and a small pilot study she did supports this. More research is needed. In the meantime, when you're out for a walk or in an aerobics class and find yourself saying or thinking negative things, counter them with positives. Below are some common reactions to exercise and ways to look at them positively.

    What You Think During Exercise How To Respond
    "I'm bored." Visualize a positive experience such as a favorite vacation, a get-together with friends or a childhood memory. Or focus on the details of your surroundings.
    "I hate to sweat." "Sweating's a good thing. It's cooling my body because I'm working hard, which will make me healthier."
    "I'm sore."* "I'm challenging my body to use different muscles I'm not used to using. I'm making progress and building muscles."
    "This is tiring." "I need to push through it. I'll feel energized later."
    "I don't like when my heart pounds so hard." "My heart is getting stronger. It's pumping blood and oxygen to all my muscles so they can work harder."
    "I don't like feeling hot." "I'm working my muscles and burning calories."
    "I don't like feeling short of breath." "This indicates I'm doing what I should be doing. My muscles need oxygen to move so I need to take in more oxygen."
    *Note: This refers to muscle soreness or achiness, not sharp pain or pain in your joints. If you're experiencing the latter type of pain, stop exercising, and see a doctor if it continues.
    Read More...
  • Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility
    Sports Bras: Getting Some Visibility

    You probably know that sports bras have become highly visible lately.

    This is because Brandi Chastain, exuberant over making the winning kick for the United States recently in women�s World Cup soccer competition, tore off her blouse and exposed a black sports bra.

    It turns out that Chastain helped design the $40 sports bra, which all the women on the USA team wear. Apparently, this has resulted in a lot of interest in the specially-designed bras that give firm support to reduce bouncing of the breasts while running.

    As more women become more serious about exercising, manufacturers are appealing to them by pointing out that properly fitted bras for exercising can control breast motion, feel comfortable and look good.

    And there are some other issues involved. Without motion-controlling support, some women start lactating when engaged in strenuous exercise. Nipple irritation can occur using flimsy leotards for support.

    And, of course, if women are more comfortable while they exercise, they are probably going to exercise more often.

    In one of the few studies I�ve seen on the subject, 27 women marathon runners were mostly pleased with wearing commercial bras, although they did report some chafing.

    But its questionable how much this trend has caught on. Among women athletes at the University of Washington, only 10 percent reported wearing a sports bra, according to a report in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

    I would say this is a choice best left up to the woman involved, since some sports are more rigorous than others. In volleyball, for example, some players wear front-latched bras to prevent scratches or pain from repeated diving and rolling on the floor.

    There is some evidence that breast injuries can be avoided by strong support, including wrapping elastic bandages around the breasts.

    Use your best judgement here. A blend of comfort, support and style would make the most sense � especially if you tend to rip your blouse off when winning a contest.

    Source: The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Vol. 10, No. 11.

    Read More...
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