Archive for July, 2010

By Sylvia Anderson, IH Editor — Published: July 22, 2010

It’s the constant battle – tea or coffee? Caffeine is bad for you, right? Tea is better for cleansing, while coffee just gives you a buzz? But what if I like the taste of coffee better? And I can’t do without my morning Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino!

Whoa, whoa, whao – slow down! The good news is whichever you prefer, new research says that BOTH coffee and tea are good for your heart.

With the ever increasing addiction to caffeine, many wonder if the substance offers any health benefit or simply harm to your body. Increased consumer consumption of both products has caused increased research interest in the potential health benefits and hazards of caffeine.

A recent study from the Netherlands suggests that tea and coffee may support heart health, a significant concern among both men and women worldwide. The study examined 37,514 participants’ questionnaire responses regarding their daily coffee and tea consumption. Over the study’s 13 years, 1,881 incidences of cardiovascular disease were reported, with 563 strokes and 1,387 cases of coronary heart disease.

According to the study’s findings, consuming between three and six cups of tea a day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease by about 45%. In addition, the study suggests that drinking coffee may offers similar heart benefits; up to a 20% reduction in heart disease risk with 2-4 cups consumed daily.

Black tea was the most commonly consumed tea among the study’s participants. The benefits to the heart have been attributed to the antioxidant properties found in tea and coffee. In particular, health benefits have been linked to flavonoids found in teas.  These studies were published in the Journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

One of the limitations of this study was that researchers were relying upon self-reported consumption data. Additional research is needed to fully understand not only consumption levels and their links to health status, but of the potential health benefits of caffeine as consumed via tea and coffee.

So, go ahead – brew or steep to your heart’s content!

Life is a sport. Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

An article from Lipids in Health and Disease 2010

Background

The weakening of the cardiovascular system associated with aging could be countered by increasing levels of physical activity and functional fitness. However, inconsistent findings have been found, and the variety of characteristics of exercise used in previous studies may partly explain that inconsistent results.

Objective

To investigate the training effect of sixteen weeks of moderate intensity, progressive aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health of older women and men.

Methods

Sixty three sedentary individuals (mean (SD) age 76 (8) years) were randomly assigned to control (n = 31) or exercising (n = 32) groups. The training group was separated to aerobic (n = 18) or strength-based (n = 14). Training took place three times a week. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period.

Results

Exercising group attained after treatment significant differences on body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and 6-minute walk distance. The control group only had significant differences on waist circumference.

Conclusion

The training programs produced significant benefits on metabolic health indicators of sedentary older women and men.

More good evidence on why its soooo important to exercise!

Me, I prefer strength based exercise.

Life is a sport.  Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

1. Quit Eating So Much Junk (be honest)
2. Exercise more and harder (dont fool yourself)
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 every day!  (yeah, really!)

Sorry,  there is no secret!
Life is a sport. Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris

From Dr Mercola.com

New research shows that a twice weekly hip strengthening regimen proved effective at reducing or eliminating the kind of knee pain referred to as patellofemoral pain (PFP) in female runners.  Stronger hips may correct running form errors that contribute to PFP.

The study used a pain scale of 0 to 10, with 3 representing the onset of pain and 7 representing very strong pain. The injured runners began the six-week trial registering pain of 7 when they ran on a treadmill, and finished the study period registering pain levels of 2 or lower.

According to Science Daily:

“PFP, one of the most common running injuries, is caused when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap. Runners with PFP typically do not feel pain when they begin running, but once the pain begins, it gets increasingly worse … PFP essentially wears away cartilage and can have the same effect as osteoarthritis.”

Vigorous physical activity in young children results in stronger hip bones.

More than 200 six-year olds participated in a study. Researchers measured bone mass and analyzed the structure of the hip and thigh bone. Physical activity was assessed for seven days.

According to Science Daily:

“The results showed that there was a relationship between time spent in vigorous activity and strength of the femoral neck, both in terms of shape and volumetric mineral density. This was independent of other factors such as diet, lifestyle and physical size.”

Poor form during exercise can end up frequently hurting your knees and cause you to develop problems like patellofemoral pain (PFP) which frequently occurs in female runners. PFP occurs when your thigh bone starts rubbing against the back of your knee cap while running.According to a pilot study, this type of pain can be reduced or even eliminated simply by strengthening your hips.Granted, this was a very small, preliminary study, but your body almost always has the innate ability to rebalance itself when something is out of alignment, so the theory is quite plausible.The key is to determine which area needs to be strengthened to correct the imbalance.In this case, the theory that strengthening your hips to improve your gait, which in turn might correct the form error that contributes to PFP, makes sense, as stronger hips will help reduce the severity of the “q” angle on your leg alignment. The q angle is more severe on women because the distance between a woman’s femur bones is greater for child-bearing reasons.  This ends up putting more pressure on women’s knee joints. The hip-strengthening exercises prescribed during this study involved single-leg squats and resistance band exercises, twice a week for 30-45 minutes, for six weeks. The results were surprisingly positive as the majority of the runners no longer experienced onset of pain when running at the end of the trial.

So, if knee pain is bothering seek out a “qualified ” professional who can evaluate you to find your imbalances and prescribe an appropriate exercise program for you.  Hint – if your laying on a table or the floor doing various leg lifts you are in the WRONG place!

Life is a sport. Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

By Catherine Lewis, IH Editor

Let’s face it, organic seems to be the way to go these days, whether its fruits, vegetables, meat or dairy. Unfortunately, organic often comes at a hefty price. If you want to go organic but can’t afford to go “all the way” due to the confines of your pocketbook, you can still get the health benefits of organic foods by knowing which foods to focus on. If you want to go “semi-organic,” you need to learn which foods have the most contaminants and which do not necessarily need to be 100 percent organic.
Some of the foods that are the most contaminated when it comes to pesticides include fruits. Fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries and other berries contain pesticides that remain on the fruit even after you wash it. Although these foods are considered “good for you” they contain pesticides that may negate their health benefits. And while you could peel certain fruits to ensure reduced exposure to pesticides (such as apples or pears), you then miss out on the important nutrients those skins provide.
Fruits such as pineapple, bananas, kiwi, mangoes and oranges do not carry the same content of pesticides because of their relatively thick skins. If you want to go semi-organic, you do not need to worry so much about getting the full organic versions of these fruits.
Vegetables are another type of food that many people shop organic. But if you can’t quite afford to choose organic with all of your veggies, there are some that are lower on the pesticide scale. Onions, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage all have a fairly low “pest threat” and therefore require less pesticide to begin with. Sweet peas and eggplant are two of the vegetables least likely to have pesticide residue. Sweet corn and sweet potatoes are two other options for semi-organic consumers.
But, on the other hand, there are certain vegetables where you would definitely want to choose the organic variety. These include peppers, celery, carrots, kale, leafy greens and regular potatoes.
When it comes to meats, you should look for organic meats and poultry as the regular versions often contain growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticide residue (from the grain fed to the animals) and other harmful chemicals. The same goes for milk and other dairy products. For your best health, it would be wise to invest in organic meats and dairy.
Fish is one food that you might not think you have to worry about when it comes to organics, especially “wild” fish. After all, how could something grown in the wild be non-organic? It may seem like a backwards way to go about it, but wild fish are not included on the USDA’s list of organic foods. It actually comes down to what the fish eat: in a controlled fish farm environment, the farmers can ensure the fish are fed only organic nutrients. But in the wild, that same guarantee does not exist. Currently a limited amount of seafood is being sold as organic at stores in the United States, usually because it was certified by other countries or by third-party accreditation agencies.
One type of food you might not think to go organic with is bread. Organic breads do not contain the additives and preservatives that regular breads do, which mean fewer chemicals to which you and your family are exposed. Remember that if you go for organic breads, they will not last as long as breads that are filled with preservatives, so choose a smaller loaf if you don’t think you can finish it before the mold sets in. Want to go a health step further? Opt for whole grain breads when going organic.
Similar to breads, cereals are another item in which you want to go organic. The amount of chemicals in regular cereals, not to mention the sugars, is frightening. If you want to feed your family healthy cereal, look for organic versions. Most are available at your local grocery store or health food store.
It’s true . . . organic foods are more costly and can be out of the price range for some people. But, the good news is that you do not have to go organic all the way to enjoy the benefits of organic foods. By choosing some foods that are organic and others that are still considered “healthy,” you are well on your way to improving your health and well being, as well as that of your family.
Life is a sport! Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris

Great post by my good friend Adam Brush

Just so we’re on the same page, baseball is a rotational sport. So while recently looking over a collegiate baseball summer training program I couldn’t help but notice Olympic lifts were included. Really?
Olympic lifting is a sport in and of itself that includes lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. These lifts require a tremendous amount of technique and demand a high level of skill specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
So why are these movements/exercises finding their way into the world of baseball training? I know, I know Olympic lifts can create powerful hips; and they do…in the sagittal plane of motion – which is not the motion dominated in baseball. Baseball is dominated thru the transverse/rotational plane. I’ll say it again – from hitting, throwing and running – baseball is a rotational sport requiring rotational power training.
Structurally, Olympic lifts can create abnormal and high levels of joint stress – particularly thru the shoulders and wrists- (let’s not forget about the shear force that can be placed on the knees). I think we would all agree that the knees, shoulders and wrists are rather important to a ball player, and we wouldn’t want to risk an off-season injury.
I’m not against Olympic lifts – I MIGHT incorporate them(MAYBE) if an athlete has a good base and understanding of Olympic lifting. However, I haven’t seen too many baseball players having exposure, or even master these lifts. Therefore I ask myself how important is it to teach and incorporate a potentially “risky” movement in order to develop sagittal plane hip power when baseball is dominated by rotational hip power. In other words what’s the reward:risk ratio?
Now, Im not saying we shouldnt do any sagittal plane power training. I just believe that in order to save the shoulders, wrists and knees a safer alternative, such as box jumps, can be performedBUT IN CONJUNCTION with rotational power training. Furthermore, you may find that you are working with limited time so wouldnt you rather spend your time training for baseball than teaching exercises specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
Go hard in the yard.

Life is a sport,

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and dont forget to rotate!)

Chris