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Why Weight Lifters Need Endurance

In a weight-lifting contest, the competitors lift a heavy weight once, rest, then try the next heavier weight one time, until they reach their maximum. Since they compete by lifting a weight just once, why do they train by lifting sets of three, six or ten repetitions? Muscles are made up of thousands of individual fibers. To become very strong, you have to strengthen as many fibers as possible. The first time that you life a heavy weight, you use only about one percent of your fibers. As you continue to lift the weight over and over again, you bring in more fibers. Then lactic acid starts to accumulate in muscles, causing a burning in your muscles, and fewer muscle fibers to contract at the same time.

Weight lifters have to train by repeating multiple sets with heavy weights to strengthen as many fibers as possible. In practice they lift very heavy weights three times, six times or even 15 times in a row, even though they lift heavy weights in competition only once. If you want to increase your endurance in any sport, make your muscles as strong as possible.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I have constant itching but can't see anything on my skin. How can I find out what is wrong?

Itching can be caused by nerve damage associated with diabetes or lack of vitamin B12, skin diseases, an allergy to something touching the skin or inside your body or a hidden tumor or infection. Often doctors cannot find the cause. When more than one person in a family itches, a common cause is scabies, caused by a parasite that burrows into your skin. You usually cannot see the bug that causes scabies. Sometimes the only way that you can see it is in a piece of skin that has been removed from the body and has been placed under a microscope. The doctor suspects scabies when you have little bumps between your fingers, in your armpits and groin, your belt line and your back and chest. You also may see three or more bumps in a line. The most common treatment is to cover the entire body for 12 hours with a prescription cream containing permethrin. If you still have itching, your doctor may prescribe a pill called Ivermectin.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: My husband was told he is at risk for a heart attack because of high homocysteine. Is this a concern for women also?

Yes. Women with high blood levels of homocysteine are as likely as men of the same age to develop a heart attack or form clots. Lack of any one of the vitamins B12, folic acid or pyridoxine can raise blood levels of homocysteine to cause plaques and clots to form in arteries. Folic acid is found in the germ in whole grains. Flour that includes the raw germ turns rancid very quickly, so to prolong shelf life, the miller usually removes the germ before grinding. Lack of folic acid causes homocysteine to accumulate in the bloodstream and increase risk for heart attacks, clots, birth defects and strokes. A few years ago the United States Congress legislated that folic acid must be added back into all commercial flour. This may be the major reason for the recent decline in the US heart attack rate. You can get a blood test to check your homocysteine level. If it is high, your doctor will recommend that you take high doses of vitamins B12, folic acid and pyridoxine.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Someone told me that whole grains are very high in calories. I don't want to stop eating them, but should I be concerned about the calories?

Whole grains contain the same amount of calories as refined grain products, ounce for ounce, but they fill you up more quickly. Most people who can easily eat 2-3 cups of pasta find themselves full and satisfied after about 1/2 cup of cooked whole grains. Read why WHOLE grains are better than any flour; Basic cooking instructions for whole grains; and LOTS of great recipes using whole grains

Here are a few of Diana's favorite recipes with whole grains:
Tropical Wild Rice Medley
Summer Barley-Bean Salad
Lemony Quinoa Soup

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

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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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