Blog Archives & Categories
7/29/2011 | | Share

Exercising in the water has long been an option pursued by injured athletes. However, more and more attention is being given to the value of water exercise for healthy individual who are looking to improve their core strength and raise their heart rate while providing a valuable occasional break from the pounding of land-based activities. Here’s an article that provides a number of ideas from the July 24th issue of the Denver Post:

7/28/2011 | | Share

A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that the greater an individual’s total muscle mass, the lower the person’s risk of having insulin resistance, the major precursor of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance, which can raise blood glucose levels above the normal range, is a major factor that contributes to the development of diabetes. Previous studies have shown that very low muscle mass is a risk factor for insulin resistance, but until now, no study has examined whether increasing muscle mass to average and above average levels, independent of obesity levels, would lead to improved blood glucose regulation. In this study, researchers examined the association of skeletal muscle mass … MORE

7/27/2011 | | Share

When you decide what to eat, not only does your brain need to figure out how it feels about a food’s taste versus its health benefits versus its size or even its packaging, but it needs to decide the importance of each of those attributes relative to the others. And it needs to do all of this more-or-less instantaneously. A previous study (see Rangel and Hare in Science, 2009) showed that a specific area of the brain, the dlPFC, comes to life when a person is using self-control during decision making. The new study (July 27 issue of Journal of Neuroscience) goes a step further, showing that there seem to be ways to help kickstart the dlPFC through the use … MORE

7/27/2011 | | Share

What is protein? How much protein do we need? Is it possible to eat too much protein? These are important questions for people following a low carb way of eating, who usually are replacing part of their carbohydrate intake with protein. Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the human body, making up about 16 percent of our total body weight. Muscle, hair, skin, and connective tissue are mainly made up of protein. However, protein plays a major role in all of the cells and most of the fluids in our bodies. If you’ve got questions about protein, one of our Coaches found this excellent introductory article you’ll likely enjoy:

7/26/2011 | | Share

Call me odd (ok, you probably already do), but ever since I was a little kid, I got a charge out of seeing people making purposeful choices to improve their lives. And now, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to hopefully help make at least a small difference in the lives of so many incredible, amazing people across this great country. We’re not the biggest wellness provider (never will be – we’re too focused on each of you as individuals to offer the cheap, generic alternatives), but nobody – NOBODY – cares more about making a difference. And we’ll do (I’ll do!) everything possible to demonstrate that to each of you on a daily and even hourly basis. Blogs are … MORE

7/25/2011 | | Share

A positive outlook on life might lower your risk of having a stroke, according to new research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. In an observational study, a nationally representative group of 6,044 adults over age 50 rated their optimism levels on a 16-point scale. Each point increase in optimism corresponded to a 9 percent decrease in acute stroke risk over a two-year follow-up period. “Our work suggests that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health,” said Eric Kim, study lead author and a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Optimism is the expectation that more good things, rather than bad, will happen. Previous research has shown … MORE

7/24/2011 | | Share

When I look back at many of the biggest disappointments in my life, there’s an interesting trend developing — disappointment appears to be the catalyst for new – and better – discoveries. Details can wait for another day, but for those of you struggling with an injury that’s affecting your training, I was hoping this would be an encouragement to you. My past 2 1/2 seasons in triathlon have been pretty disappointing. Freak accidents (broken ankle while hiking with the kids last year and then a fractured fibula in a race early this year) have limited my running significantly, and essentially ended two seasons before they had a chance to get started. So I’ve spent more and more time on … MORE

7/21/2011 | | Share

The recent issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology included a study showing that caffeine reduces muscle activity in the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from a woman’s ovaries to her womb. “Our experiments were conducted in mice, but this finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant,” says Sean Ward, professor of physiology and cell biology, at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, who conducted the study. It was found that caffeine stops the actions of specialized pacemaker cells in the wall of the tubes. When inhibited, the eggs can’t move down the tubes as effectively.

7/17/2011 | | Share

Many women indicate losing or even maintaining weight after menopause is difficult, and now a study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge sheds light on why. Scientists have found that women have a lower metabolism after menopause. The research shows that postmenopausal women burned 100 to 150 fewer calories a day just resting and doing everyday activities, and they were less physically active, for an overall average decrease of 200 calories a day burned after menopause. The lower metabolism could be tied to lower estrogen levels, not muscle loss, says lead researcher Jennifer Lovejoy, formerly with Pennington. And it looks as if lower estrogen may increase appetite and cause cravings for carbohydrates and fats, she says. So watch … MORE

7/14/2011 | | Share

A new study, lead by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that neutralizing sodium’s impact on the heart isn’t just tied to cutting intake. Rather, they found that it’s important to increase consumption of a key mineral found in many fruits and vegetables: potassium. Potassium has been found to offset sodium’s impact on blood pressure. The study found that people with the highest ratios were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack compared with those with the lowest ratios. They also were 46% more likely to die from a heart-related death compared with those with the lowest ratios.

7/13/2011 | | Share

A study was published today that noted the standard advice to “drink 8 glasses of water/day” is a bunch of baloney. I agree – kind of. It should be obvious to anyone that the amount of fluid necessary varies by individual based on a number of factors from exercise levels, sweat rates, etc. However, what’s missed in the discussion (and the research) is the fact that we’re likely to drink about 8 glasses of SOMETHING each day. If it’s not water, it’s likely to be soda (uggh), coffee (affecting depth of sleep), fruit juice (good in small amounts, but high in natural sugar and calories), or energy drinks (say it ain’t so!). If we reach instead for a glass of … MORE

7/12/2011 | | Share

Salt – it’s critical to life. But generally we take in FAR more than we need. The recommendation for sodium in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the American Heart Association is 2,400 milligrams (mg) daily for adults. This is about the amount in 1 teaspoon of salt (2,300 mg to be exact). The average American consumes 5,000 mg of sodium daily — twice the necessary amount. If you’re looking for bring more wisdom to your salt intake, here is a link that provides some valuable tips:

7/11/2011 | | Share

Endurance athletes have known for years that additional sleep enhances recovery and thus overall performance. Now, a new study in the July 1st, 2011 journal SLEEP confirms it extends further. It demonstrated that sleep extension is beneficial to athletic performance, reaction time, vigor, fatigue and mood in collegiate basketball players. The study is the first to document sleep extension and the athletic performance of actively competing athletes. Objective measurements included accuracy (9% improvement in both free throw and 3 point percentage) as well as sprint times. Ratings of physical and mental well-being during practices and games was also enhanced.

7/08/2011 | | Share

The latest review of obesity (BMI > 30) rates, broken down by state are now available. Where is your state? 1. Mississippi (34.4%); 2. Alabama (32.3%); 3. West Virginia* (32.2%); 4. Tennessee (31.9%); 5. Louisiana (31.6%); 6. Kentucky** (31.5%); 7. Oklahoma** (31.4%); 8. South Carolina* (30.9%); 9. Arkansas (30.6%); 10. Michigan* (30.5%); 11. Missouri* (30.3%); 12. Texas** (30.1%); 13. Ohio (29.6%); 14. North Carolina (29.4%); 15. Indiana* (29.1%); 16. Kansas** (29.0%); 17. (tie) Georgia (28.7%); and South Dakota (28.7%); 19. Pennsylvania (28.5%); 20. Iowa (28.1%); 21. (tie) Delaware (28.0%); and North Dakota (28.0%); 23. Illinois** (27.7%); 24. Nebraska (27.6%); 25. Wisconsin (27.4%); 26. Maryland (27.1%); 27. Maine** (26.5%); 28. Washington (26.4%); 29. Florida** (26.1%); 30. (tie) Alaska (25.9%); and Virginia … MORE