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.