New research supports the benefits of hiring a qualified personal trainer to help you attain your fitness goals.
Twenty men ages 18 to 35 were placed on a 12-week resistance-training program.
Half the group trained unsupervised and maintained their own workout logs. The other half received one-on-one supervision with a certified personal trainer.
In addition to keeping track of their workouts and charting their progress, the trainers provided spotting and advice to participants and made sure training loads were increased progressively.
Unsupervised participants made changes to their programs using the same principles and were self-motivated.
Both groups achieved significant strength gains; however, the supervised group also made significant improvements in body mass, fat mass and fat-free mass.
Researchers suggest that the trainer encouraged participants to use and tolerate greater training loads, thus eliciting greater gains than those who self-selected their training loads.
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:Prunes
Here are the top 12 exercise essentials:
From the golden, roasted turkey to the buttery mashed potatoes to the decorated cookies, the holiday season is a festival of favorite family foods.
For many though, it's also a guilt-ridden, downward spiral of diminishing willpower and unhealthy, unwanted pounds.
''But is needn't be that way," says Betsy Bowersox, M.S., R.D., a member of the American Institute of Wine & Food's ''Resetting the American Table'' movement. ''All foods can fit in a quality diet, and that includes holiday delicacies.''
''The secret is balance over a several day period,'' she says. ''Look back and assess your diet over the past few days. Were you on the party circuit last weekend? Then look ahead. Are there celebrations looming?''
You can make up for a feast of rich, higher-fat foods with lighter, lower-fat meals for the next couple of days. Or plan for tomorrow night's party with a low-calorie, low-fat breakfast and lunch.
''Most important, don't panic or feel guilty if your diet seems to have gotten out of hand. When you balance (your intake) over several days, you’ve got the time to regain control.''
Bowersox also advises making physical activity a regular habit as well. Beyond burning calories, exercise is essential for good health and well-being.
Bowersox offers several techniques to help you and your family emerge from the holidays in the same shape you are now, maybe even better.
When going to a party:
When the party is at your house and you're preparing the food:
''Experiment to see what is acceptable to your taste, but don't sacrifice a family-favorite holiday dish,'' Bowersox says. ''Traditional foods – passed on through generations - are an important part of the holidays. These foods are a gift and restriction or omission shouldn't be part of the gift-giving.''
''Practice portion control instead. A smaller serving of the real thing can be very satisfying.'' That doesn't mean, however, that you can’t introduce new, healthier traditions.
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.
Exercise not only helps keep you young, research shows that it may ward off one of the most dreaded diseases of the old - Alzheimer's.
The study compared the exercise habits of 126 elderly patients with Alzheimer's and 315 healthy older adults.
Researchers were particularly interested in the subjects' exercise habits between the ages of 20 and 59.
''The healthy individuals reported significantly more physical activity over the four decades than those with Alzheimer's disease,'' said Dr. Arthur L. Smith, a clinical research fellow at the University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
''The results suggest that lifelong regular exercise may be protective against the development of Alzheimer's disease.''
Running, swimming, tennis, weight training, biking and golf were among the activities favored by those who demonstrated a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's.
According to Smith and his associates, about four million Americans are believed to be affected by Alzheimer's disease, a number that will likely double by 2030.
In addition to exercise, previous studies suggest that individuals who possess intllectually demanding occupations and higher levels of education and social activity are at a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer's.
Source: American Academy of Neurology, 50th annual meeting, Minneapolis, Minn., April 28, 1998
Regular weight training does more than just build better muscles, it builds a better, healthier body.
Several new studies confirm the benefits of mild-to-moderate resistance training, which includes reduced blood pressure, lower LDL (''bad'') cholesterol levels and higher HDL (''good'') cholesterol levels, all of which improve cardiovascular health overall.
Weight training is also believed to improve the way the body processes sugar, which could reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Another study examined the effect of weight training on osteoarthritis, a common condition among older adults that affects balance and increases the risk of falling.
This study and others confirm that exercise of any kind improves strength, gait and ability to perform activities of daily living among older adults with osteoarthritis, and, in many cases, reduces the pain associated with the disease.
Source: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, February 22, 2000; Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, (35) 2000; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2000; 48: 131-138
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