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Should You Carry Weights during Exercise?

The only advantage to exercising while carrying weights is that you can get more exercise while moving slowly. To strengthen your heart, you have to exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart rate at least 20 beats a minute above resting.

Helmets Save Lives

A study from Imperial College in London shows that increased use of helmets by bicycle riders has markedly reduced head injuries (1). Do you know why woodpeckers don't damage their brains when they peck on wood? Their skulls fit so tightly that they don't allow the brain to move inside. Human skulls are enclosed...

Lifting Weights Won’t Make You Musclebound

Training for strength improves coordination. Your brain is a master switchboard that coordinates your muscles. Lifting weights does not interfere with brain function; it improves coordination in events that require strength, such as playing sports, working as a carpenter, opening a stuck door or beating a drum.

Electronic Ab Machines

Your brain does send an electrical impulse along nerves that enter muscles to cause them to contract. The electrical impulses generated by ab machines are so weak that they can't possibly cause contractions that strengthen muscles significantly. If they did give you enough electricity to strengthen your muscles, they would give you a very painful shock.

Spot Reduction Doesn’t Work

You'll see lots of exercise programs, devices and machines in television commercials that claim to get rid of fat from your belly. While they can strengthen your belly muscles, there is no such thing as spot reduction. When you take in more calories than your body burns, you store them as fat. Some people...

Slow Lifting

If you want to become very strong, you have to lift weights heavy enough to make your muscles burn. It doesn't make any difference whether you move the weights slowly or rapidly. Just exercise intensely enough so your muscles feel sore the next day.

Spinning Classes

Whether you're out of shape or very fit, spinning classes can help you improve. You ride a stationary bicycle in a group, with a leader who tells you what to do and plays lively music to set the tempo. Many health clubs and gyms offer these classes, and I recommend them to all of...

Mamo Wolde, Olympian

Mamo Wolde died recently at age 71. At 36, He won the 1968 Olympic marathon and the 10,000-meter silver medal in Mexico City. He spend the last part of his life in prison. He was buried with a guard of honor of some of the greatest distance runners who ever lived. In 1960, his...

Hypothermia

In 1812, Napoleon attacked Russia with 453,000 men, but after he withdrew from Moscow, the harsh cold winter reduced his "Grande Armee" to fewer than 10,000 fighting men. The vast majority of Napoleon's soldiers were not killed by the Russians. They died of hypothermia, a severe drop in body temperature. If you dress properly...

Triathalon Training

Will training for a triathalon make you a better cyclist? World-class triathletes are slower runners, swimmers and cyclists than athletes who compete in only one sport. A study from the University of Toulon-Var in France shows that swimming before cycling slows you down (Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, August 2005). Well-trained male triathletes pedaled...

How to Jump Higher

When Kent Benson, the former National Basketball Association player, came to the University of Indiana he could jump only 9 inches off the ground. That's an embarrassing jump for a seven-foot All-American. One year later, he was able to jump three times that high because he had a good coach. How high you can...

Sit Ups for Belly Strength

Sit ups strengthen your belly muscles, provided that you know how to do them. Lie on your back with your knees bent with your soles on the floor. Place your hands on your chest and slowly raise your head off the ground. Then, slowly raise your shoulders off the ground to a height...

How to Pedal a Bicycle

You should pedal with the ball of your foot, not your arch. The ankle is the fulcrum for the force you generate with your feet. The ball of your foot is further away from the ankle than your arch so you generate far more force with the ball of your foot. As you straighten your...

Jump Higher

When former NBA player Kent Benson arrived at the University of Indiana he could jump only nine inches off the ground. That's an embarrassing jump for a seven-foot All- American. One year later, he was able to jump three times that high because he had a good coach. How high you can jump is determined...

Exercising in Air Pollution

It's healthy to exercise and harmful to breathe polluted air. Many people wonder if they will do more harm than good by exercising on days when the air is heavily polluted. The worst time for pollution is when clouds cover the sky and automobiles fill the roads. Automobile exhaust fumes are the principal source of...

Muscle Stimulating Machines

Advertisements on television claim that you can wrap a special belt around your belly, plug it into an electric outlet, turn on the electricity, and then watch your belly muscles contract to give you rock-hard belly muscles. You can bet that the beautiful people who demonstrate the machines on television didn't get their belly muscles...

Ankle Weights Won’t Help You to Run Faster

Ankle weights do not help you run faster or jump higher. To run fast in competition, you have to run fast in practice. Ankle weights slow you down because they interfere with your coordination and make you work much harder to raise your knees. To jump higher, you have to strengthen your leg muscles...

How to Avoid Overtraining

Athletes and serious exercisers can get into an overtraining syndrome in which they become injured or suffer frequent infections, feel exhausted, don't perform up to their usual levels, and even lose interest in training.  One of the most difficult problems for athletes is knowing when they are training too much.   You make a muscle stronger...

Does Ultra-Endurance Exercise Harm the Heart?

Research evidence shows that exercise strengthens the heart, prevents and treats heart attacks and strokes, and prolongs lives (Circulation, 2018;137(18):1896-1898). The more frequently people exercise, the less likely they are to die of heart disease (JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, 2017;10:1461-1468), but there is some evidence that a person can increase heart attack risk by exercising...