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Vigorous Exercise for Weight Loss

Vigorous exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. A study from University of Alabama in Birmingham shows that your body burns calories at an increased rate for up to 24 hours after you finish exercising vigorously for 40 minutes. (Obesity, November 2006). Less than 20 percent of the energy you burn during exercise drives your muscles; more than 80 percent is lost as heat. You can tell if you are exercising vigorously enough to raise your metabolism because your rising temperature usually will make you sweat. If your exercise causes you to sweat, it will keeps your metabolism elevated for several hours after you finish and you will burn more calories all day long. Exercising at a casual pace does not cause you to sweat and does not boost your metabolism.

Another study in the same issue of Obesity, from the University of California at Berkeley, shows that body fat is directly proportionate to the amount of exercise. The seven-year study followed 5417 runners who stopped running at various times during the study, 416 non-exercisers who began a running program, and 573 subjects who remained sedentary throughout the study. The researchers measured weekly running distance, weight, BMI and waistlines, and found that the gains and losses mirrored the changes in amount of exercise. If you are out of shape and want to lose weight, get a stress cardiogram and ask your doctor to clear you for an exercise program. Start slowly and then gradually increase the intensity of your exercise over several months.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: What's the best way to cycle up hills?

Many academic studies show that an even pace is best when you climb hills. In the laboratory, the steadier your pace, the more you avoid accelerating and decelerating and the less energy you burn, so you are more efficient. However, sometimes it is smarter to trust the experience of athletes and coaches, rather than the advice of pure scientists who do not compete. A study from the University of Liverpool shows that you will be more efficient and faster if you take hills at an uneven pace (International Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2007).

Experienced competitive cyclists were asked to see how fast they could ride on a hilly course, once at a constant power output, and once increasing power by five percent up hills and decreasing power down the hills. The overall mean power for both trials was the same, but the variable pacing was faster than the constant power output.

If you want to cycle on hills efficiently, don't sprint at the bottom and then fall apart before you reach the top. As you approach a hill that will take under a minute to climb, shift your gear to one lower than your normal one. Stay seated and spin at a relatively fast cadence for two-thirds of the hill. In the final third of the hill, shift up one or two gears, stand and push. You will pass the riders who pulled away from you at the bottom.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is orange juice a good source of soluble fiber?

No; a study from the Instituto del Frío in Spain shows that coffee contains more soluble fiber than orange juice (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 2007). Many people start the day with a glass of orange juice because they believe it is a health food, but it contains the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coca Cola.

Soluble fiber is beneficial because it is not absorbed in the upper intestinal tract. It goes to your colon where bacteria ferment it to form short chain fatty acids that are absorbed through your colon into your bloodstream. The short chain fatty acids travel to the liver to block the formation of cholesterol, and also lower high blood pressure by widening arteries. Better dietary sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley, beans, and many whole fruits and vegetables. More

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Recipe of the Week

Fresh Fruit Bowl

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June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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