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Jogging for Fitness

Most runners should train the same way that competitive runners do, even if they jog only for fitness. Here's a program that you can follow even if you do not plan to compete. First get a physical exam to assure that you are healthy. Then start out by running every other day until your legs feel tired or hurt. Gradually work up to the point where you can run for thirty continuous minutes.

Then start your training program. Plan one fast and one long workout a week. The other workouts should be at a slower pace and can be skipped if you feel tired. Your fast run can be on Wednesday and your long run on Sunday. Wednesdays, start out slowly and gradually increase the pace until you start to feel uncomfortable as you breathe hard and your muscles start to hurt. Slow down until you recover and gradually pick up the pace again. Repeat until your legs start to feel heavy.

Each week try to improve by spending more time running fast and less time running slow. Take the next day, Thursday, off because your legs will be sore. On Friday and Saturday, jog slowly a short distance. On Sunday, try to run for 30 minutes, and each week, extend the time running until you can stay out for 60 to 90 minutes or more of brisk running. Take the next day off. Then jog slowly on Tuesday and try to run fast again on Wednesday. The same principles can be applied to any endurance sport you use for fitness, such as cycling, rowing or swimming.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is food more fattening at night than in the morning?

Probably. For four to six hours after you finish eating a meal, your body produces a lot of energy to help digest, absorb and process the food. And this extra energy produces heat and uses up extra calories that otherwise may have ended up in your body as fat. When you exercise, your body produces extra heat because more than 70 percent of the energy use to power your muscles is lost as heat. Your temperature continues to stay elevated and you to burn more calories for several hours after you finish excising. If you are active after you eat, your body burns more calories than if you are inactive after you eat, so most people are far more active after they eat breakfast than after eating supper and therefore the food that you eat in the morning is less fattening than what you eat in the evening.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: My grandson has very flat feet. How can I persuade his mother that he needs special shoes?

In previous generations flat feet kept many men out of the army. Now we know that flat feet help you run faster and jump higher. Most people with flat feet have normal arches. Their arches appear to be flat because during running and walking, their feet roll inward so far that they touch the ground and you can't see them. During running, your foot strikes the ground with a force equal to more than three times body weight. Landing flat footed transmits this force up your leg to damage muscles, bones and joints.

Feet are supposed to be shock absorbers. Instead of landing on the whole bottom of your foot, you land on the outside bottom of your foot and roll inward toward your arch. This is called pronation, which helps to prevent injuries by dissipating the force of your footstrike and keeping it from being directed at any one part of your leg or foot. The more you roll in, the harder you foot hits the ground to drive you forward with greater force and help you run faster. Almost all sprinters and halfbacks have pronated flat feet.

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It's oyster season . . .
Two wonderful new RECIPES using oysters and one with mussels:

Oyster Stew
Louisiana Oysters and Shrimp
Mussels with Tomatoes and Basil

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

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June 27th, 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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