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Fitness for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Exercise is now recommended as part of the treatment for cancer by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Society of Clinical Oncology, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Cancer Society, Oncology Nursing Society, the Commission on Cancer, and the Cancer Foundation For Life. A regular exercise program reduces carcinogenic inflammation, strengthens the immune system, and improves mental processing by lowering cancer-inducing insulin-like growth factor 1, DNA damage and gene mutations, and increasing apoptosis.

Stress Fractures – Prevention and Treatment

If you are an exerciser and develop a sharp pain on a bone that hurts when you press directly on that spot and does not hurt to touch an inch away, you probably have a stress fracture. Stress fractures are very common injuries, particularly in runners.

Sarcopenia of Aging: Loss of Muscle Size and Strength

Aging causes you to lose strength, no matter how much you exercise. Muscles are made up of hundreds of thousands of individual fibers, like a rope is made up of many strands. Each muscle fiber is innervated by a single motor nerve. With aging you lose motor nerves, and with each loss of a nerve, you also lose the corresponding muscle fiber that it innervates.

How Exercise Prolongs Your Life

Several recent studies show that exercise helps to prolong your life by strengthening heart muscle, increasing the ability of the heart to pump increased amounts of oxygen through the body, reducing belly fat, and increasing the diversity of bacteria in your colon.

How to Do Interval Training

If you want to improve your level of fitness, you can try interval training, the technique used by athletes in sports requiring speed and endurance such as cycling, skiing, running or swimming. They exercise very intensely, rest, and then alternate intense bursts of exercise and rest until their muscles start to feel heavy or tired.

Brain Benefits from Exercise

Three new studies help us understand the many good things that exercise does for your brain. The first study shows that a regular exercise program alters blood flow to the brain to improve mental function in older people who suffer from mild cognitive impairment that often precedes dementia. The second study shows that exercise can improve thinking skills in people of all ages. The third study shows that exercise-induced muscle changes may help to boost mood in older adults

Carbohydrate Loading DOES NOT Work

"Carbohydrate loading" the night before a big race can harm your performance and your health. More than forty years ago, I reported the case of a marathon runner who had a heart attack after carbohydrate loading in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Oxygenated Water: Good for Fish, Worthless for Humans

Do you believe ads that claim oxygenated water cures tiredness, improves memory, prevents diseases, treats lung disease, helps you to exercise longer and makes you a better athlete? These and all of their other claims are not supported by scientific evidence. Lungs are the only organ humans have to provide adequate oxygen to the bloodstream. Water is not broken down into hydrogen and oxygen in your digestive tract; it is absorbed, used and excreted as water.

Arm Exercises: Many Conductors Have Long Lives

Pablo Cassals, Nadia Boulanger, Arturo Toscanini, Arthur Rubinstein and Paul Paray all conducted major orchestras into their nineties, and Walter Demrosch, Arthur Fiedler, Serge Kousevitsky, Leopold Stokowski, Sir Thomas Beecham and Eugene Ormandy conducted into their eighties. The constant exercise involved in the act of conducting may be a strong part of the reason for their long lives.

NSAIDs Interfere with Exercise Training

Some athletes and exercisers use pain medication, such as ibuprofin (Advil, Motrin) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), because they think it will help them to recover faster from muscle soreness so they will be able to do more training and become better athletes. NSAIDs do not prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

Cycling Cadence

Cycling is a power sport. The stronger you are, the faster you can go on a bike. Power = [force that your feet apply to the pedals] x [cadence, or how fast you spin your pedals]. Cadence is the number of pedal revolutions per minute (RPMs). Fatigue for a bicycle rider comes primarily from how hard you press on the pedals, not how fast you turn them.

Lactic Acid is Good for You: Why Everyone with a Healthy Heart Should Do Interval Exercise

Athletes use interval training to make themselves faster and stronger, and everyone with a healthy heart can benefit from this technique. A typical interval workout for non-competitive exercisers would be a session of jogging, walking or cycling in which they sarm up by moving slowly for about 10 minutes, pick up the pace until they feel a slight burning in their muscles (this usually takes 10-20 seconds), slow down as soon as they feel this muscle burning, and go slowly until the burning is gone and breathing is back to normal.

Exercise Improves Gut Bacteria

Many studies show that exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, and it may do so by changing the bacteria in your colon. A recent study from Finland shows that exercising for just six weeks can increase healthful anti-inflammatory bacteria in your colon.

You Can’t Be Too Fit

Dramatic results in a new study from the Cleveland Clinic show that you can't be too fit, and that not exercising is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes or heart disease.

Cooling Down After Intense Exercise

"Cooling down" means that after you exercise intensely, you slow down and exercise at low intensity for a while before you stop exercising for that session. The scientific literature is controversial on whether cooling down helps to reduce next-day muscle soreness to help muscles to recover faster.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

To make muscles stronger, you need to exercise intensely enough to damage the muscles. You can tell that you are damaging muscles when you exercise vigorously enough to feel soreness in those muscles eight to 24 hours later, which is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.

Exercise to Help Prevent a Heart Attack

The same training principles that improve athletic performance in competitive athletes also help to prevent heart attacks and prolong lives. The SUN Study on 18,737 middle-aged people showed that those who exercise intensely have half the rate of heart attacks as those who do the same amount of exercise less intensely.

Exercisers Should Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet

A study of 798 asymptomatic and apparently healthy master athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes, rowers and hockey players), 35+ years old, who exercised fairly vigorously 3-7 days a week, found that 10 percent had greater than 70 percent blockage of the arteries leading to their hearts. Exercise helps to prevent heart attacks, but exercise does not prevent plaques from forming in arteries.

Lifestyle Can Override Genes

Studies in the new field of Epigenetics are showing that lifestyle factors can change the way your body responds to your genes. In one of these studies, researchers were delighted to find a set of identical twins with vastly different lifestyles. They found that a lifetime of exercise is likely to give you the body characteristics of a healthy athlete, while an inactive lifestyle can give you body characteristics associated with increased risk for many diseases.

Weak Muscles Increase Risk for Dementia

Many studies show that having excess fat in your belly is associated with increased risk for dementia, but a new study shows that as a person ages, lack of muscle size and strength appears to be an even stronger predictor of dementia than having excess belly fat.

How Inactivity Can Cause Heart Failure

People who lie in bed without moving day after day suffer progressive weakening of their heart muscle. Eventually the heart becomes too weak to pump enough oxygen to the brain, they stop breathing and die from heart failure. A recent study on mice shows how this is likely to happen.

Lack of Vitamin D May Harm Exercisers

A study in mice suggests that having low levels of vitamin D may harm athletes and exercisers by limiting how long they can exercise. Many exercisers and competitive athletes are vitamin D deficient even if they live in the sunbelt.

Running Stride Length and Speed

Your most efficient stride length is determined by what feels most comfortable to you. You cannot run faster by consciously trying to increase your stride length. When you run, your foot hits the ground with great force. The tendons in your legs absorb some of this energy and then contract forcibly after your heel hits the ground, so you regain about 60 to 75 percent of that stored energy. When you try to take a stride that is longer than your natural one, you lose a great deal of this stored energy, tire much earlier and move your legs at a slower rate.

Should Runners and Cyclists Lift Weights?

A review of many scientific articles shows that runners and bicycle racers can run and cycle faster with added strength training because it makes them stronger, so that they can run and cycle more efficiently with less effort. However, the improvement in racing performance with added weightlifting is small, and sometimes nonexistent, because lifting weights does not improve VO2max (the ability to take in and use oxygen).

Physically Active Jobs vs Leisure-Time Exercise

A review of 17 studies, covering almost 200,000 people, found that men who work at the most physically active jobs have an 18 percent higher risk of premature death compared to people with less physically-demanding jobs. The authors did not find that women who had to keep moving at work had shortened life spans, probably because work-related physical activity for women is usually not as demanding as it is for men.

Keto Diet Not Likely to Help Athletes

A low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic diet impairs performance in sports that require speed. On a low-carbohydrate diet, you can't train very fast and you can't move as fast in races. Your body uses primarily carbohydrates and fats, and a small amount of protein, to supply you with energy when you exercise. A ketogenic diet means that you try to get your body to use fat as the prime energy source for your muscles.

Warming Up

Warming up before you exercise helps to prevent injuries and lets you jump higher, run faster, lift heavier or throw further. Your warm-up should involve the same muscles and motions you plan to use in your sport. For example, before you start to run very fast, do a series of runs of gradually-increasing intensity...

Some Health Benefits of Exercise May Come from Changes in Colon Bacteria

A six-week program of exercise markedly increased the types of healthful colon bacteria and their functions in healthy but previously sedentary people. At the end of the six-week exercise program, the lean group had more of the healthful types of colon bacteria that ferment unabsorbed soluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

More Reasons to Exercise as You Grow Older

Muscles are made up of thousands of muscle fibers just as a rope is made up of many strands. Each muscle fiber has a nerve that innervates it. With aging you can lose nerve fibers that, in turn, cause you to lose the corresponding muscle fibers, but exercising against resistance will make the remaining muscle fibers larger so they can generate more force. The repetition of a regular and consistent training program teaches your brain how to contract your muscles more efficiently.

Fruit Beats Sports Drinks for Exercisers

Many studies show that you can exercise longer and more intensely and recover faster when you take a source of sugar during vigorous exercise. Dozens of brands of sports drinks are promoted to fill this need, but a new study from Appalachian State University shows that a banana appears to offer superior results, specifically helping athletes to recover faster from intense exercise.