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Everyone Should Train like an Athlete

All exercisers should follow the principles of training used by competitive athletes. You will gain far more health benefits from intense exercise than from more casual exercise, and you will gain more strength and muscle growth. Athletes do not do the same workouts every day. If they did, they would not gain the increased strength, speed and endurance that are necessary for competition. They take an intense workout in which they feel a deep burning in their muscles, feel sore on the next day, and take lighter workouts until the muscle soreness goes away. Then they take their next intense workout.

THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF TRAINING - BACKGROUND BEFORE PEAKING: Never try to exercise at an intense pace when you start a new program. For example, if you are starting a stationary bicycle program, ride at a very slow pace every day until your muscles start to feel sore or tight and then stop. In the first six weeks, limit your workouts to no longer than a half hour. Only after you can exercise at a casual pace for 30 minutes every day should you try to increase the intensity of your workouts. You may also want to check with your doctor before you start exercising intensely. Intense exercise can kill people who have blocked arteries leading to their hearts, and many people do not know that they have this condition until it is too late. Even regular exercisers can suffer from blocked arteries and not know it.

My PRINCIPLES OF TRAINING report continues at the bottom of this eZine.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: How common is trichomonas?

From a single sexual contact, you can acquire a sexually- transmitted parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, and it increases your susceptibility to becoming infected with HIV. Trichomonas infections stay with you until you are treated. In women, it commonly infects the vagina and urinary tube to cause vaginal irritation, discharge and odor; burning, discomfort and frequency urinating; and even high fever and severe belly pain. In men, it can cause an irritation inside the penis or burning with urination or during ejaculation.

Trichomonas is more common than chlamydia and gonorrhea combined. Thirteen percent of women 50 and older are infected (presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for STD Research, July 12, 2011). Testing is done on samples collected from routine pap smears and urine, vaginal and urethral smears. The most dependable test yet, called APTIMA, has just been approved by the FDA, with a cost of $50 to $100. The treatment for an infected person and all of his or her partners is metronidazole pills in a single 2 gram dose, or 500 mg twice a day for seven days. Treatment does not provide immunity; a treated person will be re-infected after a single exposure to an infected person.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Should I take calcium pills?

Taking calcium pills both with and without vitamin D is associated with a 15 percent increased risk for heart attacks and strokes (British Journal of Medicine, April 19, 2011; American Heart Journal, 2008;156:556-63). Taking one gram of calcium daily for five years markedly increase heart attacks and strokes (BMJ, January 15, 2008). Treating 1000 people with calcium or calcium and vitamin D for five years would cause an additional six heart attacks or strokes and prevent only three fractures.

Calcium in pills, unlike calcium in foods, causes a rise in blood calcium levels that can damage arteries by:
• increasing clot formation, a major cause of heart attacks and strokes (J Bone Miner Res, 1997;12:1959-70),
• thickening neck artery plaques (Atherosclerosis, 2007;194:426-32), and
• calcifying main arteries (J Bone Miner Res, 2010;25:505-12).

A review of 11 controlled studies involving about 12,000 patients found that taking calcium pills (at least 500 mg/day) without also taking vitamin D is associated with almost a 30 percent increase in heart attack risk (British Medical Journal, July 29, 2010). Furthermore, most people take calcium supplements to help prevent or treat osteoporosis. Taking calcium pills without vitamin D pills has not been shown to reduce bone fractures.

I believe that you should get your calcium in food, not pills. If you feel that you need to take calcium pills, take 1000 mg of calcium with 1000 IU of vitamin D. Excess calcium in the blood blocks the conversion of inactive vitamin D to active vitamin D. Lack of active vitamin D, by itself, can increase risk for heart attacks.

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Recipe of the Week:

Any Vegetable Curry

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

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July 17th, 2011
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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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