Monday, December 21, 2009


Basically, an accelerometer measure how much it is jostled during the day. So if you wear one on your torso, it can measure how active you are. However, it will not measure activities such as biking or weight lifting, since your torso will not move much doing those types of activities.

Davi Pogue's aticle "Getting Fit With 2 Bits of Help" summarizes the pros and cons of the Fitbit and DirectLife accelerometers.

The Fitbit not only tracks your torso motion, but will also track your sleep after you set to that mode of tracking. You can have the Fitbit wirelessly transfer its data to the web via the charging stand and software. This will occur everytime you pass within 15 feet of the charging stand. You have to analyze the data yourself, however. Fitbit doesn't provide analysis or guidance on the data.

The DirectLife device doesn't track your sleep or have wireless data download. You can download its data directly by connecting it to it USB docking cradle/charger that is connected to your computer. DirectLife does employ experts to look over your data, answer your questions and give moral support at a cost of $12.50 a month. This device may be more durable than the Fitbit, according to Pogue. It also cost a little less - $80 versus $100. It is also waterproof.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Want To Remain Physically Active - Buy A Dog!

New research at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Missouri

shows that it is healthier to have a dog walking companion than a human one.

Dog walkers increase their walking speed by 28%, compared with just a 4% increase among human walking companions. People who walk with their dogs are more physically active, and walk more often than people who have just a human walking companion. In another report, " Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound Program ," it is stated that " enjoyable interaction with a dog changes body chemistry that enhances a person's physical well being. Another study demonstrated that owning a dog prompts people to exercise more through dog walking, with the exercise promoting weight loss."

People companions, on the other hand, have a tendency to discourage one another from doing any exercise.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

EasyTone Walking Shoe

You have seen the TV ads with the young girl showing off her shapely rear end due to the EasyTone walking shoes that she is wearing. This is the subject of the NY Times article titled " Firm Body, No Workout Required? "

According to the article, the shoes work by creating the sense of instability in a similar way that an exercise ball does. To remain stable, you have to work your leg muscles harder. The EasyTone shoes appear to work the gluteal muscles about 28% more than regular shoes, and the hamstring plus calf muscles about 11% harder.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer

In a press release from the American Association for Cancer Research titled " Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer ", it is stated that "an increase in dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which mainly come from fish and seafood, may be beneficial in the prevention of distal large bowel cancer."

Exercise Reduces Death Rate in Prostate Cancer Patients

In a press release from the American Association for Cancer Research titled " Exercise Reduces Death Rate In Prostate Cancer Patients ", research shows that
  • Men who walked four or more hours a week had a 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality compared to men who walked less than 20 minutes a week
  • Men who walked 90 or more minutes at a normal to brisk pace had a 51% lower risk of death from any cause than men who walked less than 90 minutes at an easy walking pace
  • Men who engaged in five or more hours of vigorous physical activity a week were at a decreased risk of dying from their prostate cancer


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Weak Quads And Hamstrings Can Lead To "Runner's Knee"

"Pinpointing the causes of 'Runner's Knee' " , is a report on the results of research completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have experienced this myself when first starting a Fitness Program to improve my health.

According to one of the authors, Dr. Darin Padua, those that are most likely to suffer from this painful experience have weaker quads and hamstrings. This leads to a lot of force being focused on a small area of the knee rather than being equally spread out over the entire knee surface. Also, a person whose arches fall when bearing weight may allow the leg to rotate inwards, which allows the kneecap to track improperly.

You have a greater chance of developing Runner's Knee if
  • Your quads and hamstrings are weak
  • Your knee crosses over your big toe when squatting
  • Your arches collapse when landing from a jump
  • You do not bend your knees when you land from a jump.

On a personal note, my knees have improved after doing six weeks of the Wall Squat or Wall Slide exercise, which increases the strength of the quads. I no longer experience knee pain after doing aerobic and strength exercises.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Long-Term Physical Activity Has An Anti-Aging Effect

In a news release from the American Heart Association titled "Long-term physical activity has an anti-aging effect at the cellular level", it is shown again that physical activity is beneficial to developing a long and healthy life.

Researchers reported that long-term exercise training activates an enzyme called telomerase. This enzyme protects our cells from cellular deterioration and programmed cell death. This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Are Flexibility Exercises Necessary?

In a report released by The American Physiological Society titled "A Simple Way for Middle Aged and Older Adults to Assess How Stiff their Arteries Are: Reach for their Toes", it is stated that "stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening." "Arterial stiffness increases with age and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and death".

Dr. Kenta Yamamoto states, "findings suggest a possibility that improving flexibility induced by the stretching exercises may be capable of modifying age-related arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults. We believe that flexibility exercises, such as stretching, yoga and Pilates, should be integrated as a new recommendation into the known cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise."


Thursday, November 26, 2009

High Salt Intake Linked To Strokes And Cardiovascular Disease

According to a paper published in the British Medical Journal, eating high amounts of salt is linked to higher risk of strokes and cardiovascular diseases. A 5g lower daily salt intake would reduce stroke by 23%, and total cardiovascular disease by 17%. The World Health Organization recommends that daily intake should not exceed 5 grams.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moderate-to-Heavy Exercise May Reduce Risk Of Stroke For Men

A press release from the American Academy Of Neurology titled "Moderate-to-Heavy Exercise May Reduce Risk Of Stroke For Men", states that men who participated in moderate-to-heavy intensity activities were 63% less likely to have a stroke than men with no physical activity. Moderate-to-heavy intensity activities include jogging, tennis and swimming compared to light intensity activities such as walking, golf or bowling. Exercise did not have a protective effect against stroke for women.


Ginkgo Biloba Doesn't Prevent Cardiovascular Events

According to an article published by the American Heart Association titled "Ginkgo Biloba Doesn't Prevent Cardiovascular Events But May Have Potential Peripheral Artery Disease Benefits", Ginkgo Biloba
  • doesn't prevent cardiovascular death, heart attacks or strokes, and should not be recommended as a way to prevent them.
  • Further research should explore its potential benefit to people with peripheral vascular disease.
The article also stated that the herb has no effect on dementia.
I have tried ginko biloba myself, but stopped using it. It gave me migraines and heart palpitations.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Can Meditation Curb Heart Attacks?

Meditation may reduce the risk of heart attacks according to this interesting article titled "Can Meditation Curb Heart Attacks?" Research shows that meditation does reduce blood pressure and stress.

Other research by Dr. Sara Lazar shows that meditation physically improves the cerebral cortex, which is involved with decision making, working memory and brain-body interactions. This research is summarized in the article "Meditation May Alter Brain, Delay Aging."


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Exercise Makes Us Less Anxious

In this New York Times article titled "Why Exercise Makes You Less Anxious," researchers report that exercise not only stimulates new brain cells, but these new cells are resistant to stress. It also takes at least six weeks of exercise for the effect to develop.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Active Video Games Can Equal Moderate-Intensity Exercise

In an article released by the American Heart Association titled "Playing Active Video Games Can Equal Moderate-Intensity Exercise," states that one-third of Wii Sport and Wii Fit Activities provide energy expenditures equal to moderate-intensity exercises.

The most effective exercise is the single-arm stand, and boxing is the most effective sport activity, according to the article.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recommendations For Cancer Prevention

The American Institute for Cancer Research summarizes The Expert Report on the recommendations for cancer prevention. The top 5 recommendations are:
  1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
  2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
  4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
  5. Limit consumption of red meats and avoid processed meats.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

"How Longest-Living Among Us Do It"

In a CBS interview, Dan Buetther talks about his new book titled "Blue Zones". Dan discovered that there are communities of people worldwide that live an extra decade or more than the rest of us. They are located in:

  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California

Some of the key elements to their longer life are

  • Avoiding high-impact exercise in favor of low-impact, enjoyable physical activity
  • Surrounding yourself with the right kind of people
  • and avoiding meat and eating nuts


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spice Turmeric May Protect Against Breast And Colon Cancer

In the American Institute for Cancer Research article titled "Can Curry Kill Cancer Cells?", research has seen evidence that the spice turmeric, which contains the active ingredient curcumin, may reduce the formation of breast and colon cancer cells.

Some side-effects of turmeric, however, are increased bile flow, which may aggravate gall bladder problems, and stomach upsets if used in too high a concentration. Also, it is best to use turmeric rather than curry. Some curry's contain very little turmeric.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Balance Exercises

Those over 65 are the most susceptible to falls. Many of these falls can be fatal. You can find a nice collection of illustrated Balance Exercises at that link. These exercises will help you maintain your stability and coordination while standing still or walking. The collection includes:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Healthy Bones

Some surprising results of a study to determine what is the best exercise to increase bone density in the article titled "The Best Exercises For Healthy Bones."

Believe it or not, the best exercises to increase bone density is brisk walking (truely brisk walking and not just a fast stroll) and hopping about 40 times a week. Running, cycling, swimming and weight lifting seem to have little effect on bone density.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Many Health Benefits Of Flax Seed

A great article on the heath benefits of flax seed titled "The Benefits Of Flaxseed."

There's some evidence that flax seed can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Excess Body Fat Causes Over 1000,000 Cancers Each Year In US

The American Institue For Cancer Research yesterday issued a press release titled "Excess Body Fat Alone Causes Over 1000,000 Cancers In US Each Year."
The estimated number of cancers that are linked to excess body fat include:
  • Endometrial Cancer - 20,700 cases
  • Esophageal Cancer - 5,800
  • Pancreatic Cancer - 11.900
  • Kidney Cancer - 13.900
  • GallBladder Cancer - 2,000
  • Breast Cancer - 33,000
  • and Colorectal Cancer - 13,2000

Use this Body Mass Index Calculator to determine your healthy weight.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Exercise Doesn't Lead To Weight Loss

In the article "Why Doesn't Exercise Lead To Weight Loss?", which is a summary of a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine titled "Beneficial Effects Of Exercise: Shifting The Focus From Body Weight To Other Markers Of Health", it is shown that exercise has many health benefits, but does not usually lead to weight loss.

The main reason is that most people do not change their eating habits. The formula is simple. If you eat more calories than you use for energy, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you use for energy, your weight will remain the same. To lose weight, you have to take in less calories than you use for energy.

30-minutes of running only uses about 300 calories (Calorie Chart). This can easily be replaced with one Gatorade.

However, exercise can burn away fat, but must be in combination of a proper diet. Believe it or not, a low intensity exercise will burn a higher percentage of fat calories than a high intensity exercise. According to the report, heart rates between 105 and 134 beats per minute represents the fat-burning zone. Some of the Benefits To Exercise are:

  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Decrease in your resting heart rate
  • Decrease in the "bad" cholesterol and an increase in the "good" cholesterol
  • Increase in your body's ability to deliver nutrients to your tissues
  • An increase in your body's ability to remove toxic waste from your tissues
  • And an increase in longevity and overall health


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Increasing Demand For Alternative Medicine

I started using the services of a younger doctor after my older doctor sold his practice. I immediately noticed a big difference. The younger doctor openly talked about
  • Alternative Medicine
  • and the use of herbal remedies

Not only did he talk about it, he didn't discourage it.

This is the topic of the CBS article "Demand Fuels Alternative Medicine Classes". Who are against alternative medicine? I suspect that it is the older medical establishment and maybe the pharmaceutical companies.

Here are some of the supplements that have helped me with my doctors approval:

  • Lecithin - it contains choline. One of the good things that it does is prevent and dissolve gall stones. When I started getting gall bladder pains, I started taking 1 tablespoon a day of lecithin rather than run to a surgeon. The pain went away, and I started sleeping well again at night. I love this stuff!
  • L-Carnitine - Can be important if like me, you don't eat very much meat. It helps increase endurance and stamina by transporting fatty acids into muscle cells. This is especially important for the heart muscle.
  • Phytosterols - Helps to reduce the absorption of animal based cholesterol, and may help with enlarged prostate symptoms.
  • Artichoke Extract - Helps to reduce cholesterol, and increases bile flow.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fitness Levels Decline After 45

In a report published in the Archives Of Internal Medicine titled "Role of Lifestyle and Aging on the Longitudinal Change in Cardiorespiratory Fitness", it is stated that the decline in fitness levels accelerate after the age of 45.

However, the longitudinal study also shows that the decline in fitness level can be slowed by


Monday, October 26, 2009

Body Mass Index Calculator

The Body Mass Index Calculator or BMI Calculator can be used to determine your level of weight fitness.

The Body Mass Index formula is:

The BMI result is categorized as

  • Severely Underweight if it is less than 16.4
  • Underweight if it is from 16.5 to 18.4
  • Normal if it is from 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight if it is from 25 to 29.9
  • Obese Class I if it is from 30 to 34.9
  • Obese Class II if it is from 35 to 39.9 and
  • Obese Class III if it is 40 and over.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walking Shoes Vs Running Shoes


  1. How To Buy Walking Shoes
  2. How To Buy Running Shoes
  3. Choosing The Correct Athletic Shoes
  4. Walking Jogging Running

The basic differences between a walking shoe and a running shoe are:

  • Walking shoes have a flat heel, while a running shoe has a more elevated heel
  • The heel on a running shoe is more cushioned
  • Walking shoes are designed for an impact of about 1.5 times your body weight, while a running shoe is designed for 3 times your body weight
  • Walking shoes are more flexible and designed for easy roll from heel to toe


  • Your shoes should bend at the ball of the foot and not in the middle of the arch
  • If you have a flat foot, you should look for a straight shoe with a support post in the middle of the inside part of the shoe. This will prevent your foot from turning inward.
  • A high arch foot is rigid and has little shock absorption capability. This puts more pressure on the ball and heel of the foot, as well as on the knees, hips and back. You should look for a semi-curved or curved shoe. You should not need a medial support on your shoe.
  • You should shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are the largest. Our feet swell throughout the day.
  • Wear the same socks that you wear while exercising.
  • You should make sure that you leave enough space past your largest toe.
  • You should wear both shoes before you purcahse them to make sure they are comfortable
  • You should bend and twist the shoes to make sure that they are designed properly.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lack Of Sleep Can Be Deadly

In addition to possibly causing serious accidents, the lack of sleep over a long period of time can also be linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and shorter lives according to the article "Lack of Sleep Could Be Deadly" by Tina Hesman Saey.

You may also find this collection of videos by Harvard Sleep Lab scientist Dr. Robert Stickgold and colleagues interesting: Healthy Sleep. These videos summarize the need for sleep, and the consequences of the lack of sleep.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Does Exercise Keep Us Healthy?"

As pointed out in the article "Does Exercise Really Keep Us Healthy?" by Gina Kolata, exercise is only a part of the fitness equation. Exercise alone will not lose weight or make you super healthy. However, exercise in combination with a proper diet, moderate alcohol usage and a life without smoking will increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Also, moderate-intensity exercise 30-minutes each day is adequate. It's really a matter of just moving as often as possible. Waste products and toxins can only be removed from our tissues if we move. The only pump to remove these substances from our bodies is the contraction and expansion of muscles. That's the pump, and the only pump.
If you don't move, waste products will not be removed from your tissues. It is as simple as that.
And, an accumulation of waste products in your body eventually leads to poor health or worse.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Toenail Fungus

In The New York Times article "Alternative Medicine Cabinet: Thyme for Toenails", Anahad O'Connor discusses the possibility that Thymol may help cure toenail fungus. Thymol can be found in Vicks VapoRub. This may be a good alternative for some people who do not want to expose themselves to potential serious side effects of some prescription drugs.

I developed the problem of toenail fungus about 15 years ago. There is no quick cure.
I haven't tried Thymol or any of the prescription drugs. I have tried most of the over-the-counter drugs, vinegar and even Epsom salt soaks. The one thing that has really helped me is to blow dry my feet and toenails after every shower, or whenever my feet get wet.

After several years of keeping my feet dry, the fungus is slowly receding. I may give Thymol a try.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Abdominal Exercises

In the article "New Study Puts The Crundh On Ineffective Ab Exercises" by Mark Anders, the traditional crunch is not even in the top ten most effective and best Ab exercises.

According to a study conducted by Peter Francis, Ph.D., of the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University, the top five Ab exercises are

  1. The Bicycle Maneuver, which is also the Pilates Criss Cross
  2. The Captain's Chair Exercise, which is also known as the Power Tower Knee Raise

These exercises, especially the top three, require constant abdominal stabilization, as well as body rotation.

I do the Exercise Ball Crunch daily, and really like this exercise. At first, I questioned the use of the exercise ball. However, I find that this exercise keeps the abdominal muscles constantly working throughout the workout. And, it is easy to do. I actually enjoy doing it.

The Pilates Criss Cross is difficult to do, but is the most effective Ab exercise tried.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Is It Too Late To Start An Exercise Program?

Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center wrote a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine that it is never too late to start a fitness and exercise program: "Physical Activity, Function, and Longevity Among the Very Old.' "

Previously sedentary 85-year old individuals were put on a 4 hour per week fitness program. Their 3-year survival rate was double that of inactive 85-year old individuals.

The 4-hours of activity does not have to be done all at once. A 15-minute stroll a few times a day is sufficient to show a physical fitness benefit as long as it totals to, at least, 4-hours per week of activity.


Exercise And Mediterranean Diet Reduce Risks Of Alzheimer's Disease

Research conducted by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas and his colleagues at the Columbia University Medical Center shows that eating properly and being physically active reduces our risks of Alzheimer's disease: "Exercise and Mediterranean-type Diet Combined Appear to be Associated with Lower Risk for Alzheimer's Disease."
Results of the study indicate
  • Living on a Mediterranean style diet reduces our risks of Alzheimer's disease by about 40%.
  • Being physically active reduces our risks of Alzheimer's by 33%.
  • If we combine a Mediterranean-type of diet with a physically active life style, we reduce our risk of the disease by 60%.

A Mediterranean Style Diet is high in

  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • With Small Amounts of Red Wine

As Dr. Scarmeas states, good health and fitness really do come down to eating properly and staying active.


Interview With Exercise Scientist Steven Blair

In an interview with The New York Times writer Marilynn Larkin titled "The Power of Everyday Activity", exercise scientist Steven Blair discusses the benefits to exercise.
Why is fitness so important?
According to the results of a 27-year Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study,
  1. We can reduce our mortality risk by 50% with 30 minutes of moderate intensity workouts on 5 or more days of the week.
  2. If we increase our workout time to 60 minutes of brisk walking each session, we get another 10 to 15% reduction in mortality risk.
  3. The new recommendation from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine also suggests that we should perform 8 to 10 muscular strength and endurance workouts on 2 or more nonconsecutive days each week. Weight resistance should be used that allows 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.
  4. Adults over 65-years old should also include flexibility and balance workouts in their fitness program.

At a minimum, states Mr. Blair, we should eat properly, minimize fat and alcohol intake and accumulate 30 minutes of brisk walking on at least 5 days per week in our exercise programs.