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Slow Lifting

A technique called super-slow weight lifting can help older people become very strong. When you move very slowly with a weight, your muscles fatigue and weaken so that the weight feels much heavier than it is. Moving a weight very slowly in sets of ten causes the same amount of damage as moving a much heavier weight rapidly, and causes the same type of muscle damage. Lifting lighter weights slowly is far less likely to cause injuries than heavy lifting. You can become just as strong using the slow lifting technique, and you are more likely to stay injury- free.

However, if you are training for a sport that requires fast movements, the super-slow training method may not be your best choice. Training is specific. You have to exercise against resistance moving fast to be able to use your muscles quickly. Slow lifting can make you strong, but it is not the best way to prepare you for fast-moving competitive sports such as tennis, ping-pong, cycling, basketball or volleyball.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are colon cleansers necessary for good health?

No! Regular use of colon cleansers or laxatives can harm you by blocking the absorption of nutrients from your colon into your bloodstream. There are two absorption systems in the digestive tract. First the food that you eat passes from your stomach to your upper intestines, where secretions from your stomach, liver, intestines and pancreas break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into their building blocks. Only these building blocks -- basic sugars, amino acids, fatty acids and glycerol -- are absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream. The food that is not broken down cannot be absorbed so it passes to your colon.

Bacteria in your colon convert undigested starches into short chain fatty acids that heal ulcers, prevent colon cancer and other cancers, reduce the pain of arthritis, prevent the arterial damage of arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, and even lower high blood pressure. Colon cleansers or laxatives reduce the absorption of these beneficial short chain fatty acids. Promoters who recommend these products claim that they remove old stool that gets stuck and rots in your colon, but this is ridiculous. Undigested waste products stick together by a physical process called surface tension, so they cannot pass by older stool. If you are often constipated, see report #G211.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: My teenage daughter wants to know if the exercise she does now will help her bones stay strong when she’s sixty.

I’m glad she’s concerned, because if a woman lives long enough, she can expect to have osteoporosis. Lifting weights during adolescence can help prevent osteoporosis when women are older. A woman’s bones are strongest when she is 20, and after that, she loses bone continuously for the rest of her life. If an elderly woman breaks her hip from osteoporosis, she has a 20 percent chance of dying from complications within the year. The stronger and larger a woman’s bones are when she is younger, the stronger they will be when she is older.

A muscle can only be as strong as the bones on which it attaches. Lifting weights when a woman is young enlarges her bones and makes them stronger. Just exercising will not strengthen bones. Female marathon runners who stop menstruating because they do not eat enough food to meet their calorie requirements, develop osteoporosis even if they run more than 100 miles per week. To help build bone, exercise must be done against resistance. All women can gain bone by lifting weights at any age.

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Recipes for refreshing soups for hot days – served cold!

Gazpacho
Black Bean Gazpacho
Chilled Red Pepper Soup
Yet Another Gazpacho

Recipe List

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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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