Tag Archives: Times Of India

High Heels are Heath-Wreckers

Like the tall Lara Dutta or the shorter Rani Mukerji, you might want to flaunt stilettos to look glamorous and sleek. But experts feel this style statement can cause serious harm to the body if proper care is not taken.
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“Increased pressure puts the forefoot at risk of injuries such as stress fractures, bunions and hammer toes. Knee pain is also common when high heels are involved,” says Ashish Jain, M.S. (orthopaedics), consultant joint replacement specialist at Max Hospital.

“The heel height causes increased strain on the knee joint and associated tendons. The quadriceps muscle group in the front of the thigh works harder, increasing pressure on the kneecap by up to 26 percent.”

“This can ultimately increase the incidence of osteoarthritis of the knee and quadriceps tendonitis,” Jain added.

Jain also spoke of other hazards
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He revealed that when the heel is constantly elevated, the calf muscle and Achilles tendon can contract and shorten. Wearing high heels habitually can result in a woman not being able to tolerate a flat shoe. On occasions, this can even require surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon.

Sometimes the tight fit of many heels will force the toes to conform to its shape. The pressure of the shoe itself can cause corns to form. Furthermore, the compression of the metatarsal bones can cause pressure on the nerves that run between them.

“The toenails are also at risk as the incidence of in-growing toenails and nail infections is higher in heel wearers. In-growing toenails can be very painful, unsightly and require surgery to correct,” Jain added.

Women feel high heels like gladiator sandals, tip toes and others add a touch of elegance and glamour to one’s overall style and the legs appear longer and slimmer. Thus, to look special in that chic footwear and not experience painful after effects, many are going in for dermal fillers.

“It has been observed that women are undergoing filler injections to plump up the underside of their feet, thus filling them out and providing padding inside the foot to relieve the pain that comes from wearing high heels,” said Satish Bhatia, dermatologist and skin surgeon, Lady Ratan Tata Medical and Research Centre.

“This trend is rising despite the fact that the effect does not usually last for more than six-seven months,” Bhatia added.

Given that certain industries like hospitality, aviation and fashion place a premium on height and appearance, wearing heels becomes a norm, thus making women opt for the expensive solution to ease pain arising out of use of high heels.

“The dermal filler injection is injected in the ball of the foot to ease the pain caused by wearing high heels. The injection costs between Rs.12,000 and Rs.15,000,” he added.

Rajesh Malhotra, professor of orthopaedics, AIIMS, threw light on a few other ways of curing the pain arising out of extended use of stilettos.

“The best way to avoid pain is that one stops wearing high heels at all because they are the cause of the problem. But if that is not possible then there are a few treatments,” he said.

“The entire body pressure is on the ball of the foot; so among many treatments one is that we put the metatarsal bar on the sole of the footwear so that the entire body weight is not on the ball of the foot, which results in less pain,” Malhotra told.

If it is very essential to wear heels, the maximum height advised by doctors is not more than an inch.

“The height of the heel also changes the amount of weight on the forefoot. A one-inch heel will increase the pressure by 22 percent, a two-inch heel by 57 percent and a three-inch heel by 76 percent. So anything not more than an inch is fine,” said Jain.

Source:
The Times Of India. June 12. 2010

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Etiquettes of Gymming

Don’t let your gym work against you. Watch out for these common pitfalls, suggests fitness expert Althea Shah.

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Like everything else, a workout also has its own set of etiquettes and rules which, if not followed, can send your regimen for a toss. Being able to drag yourself every day to the gym is good, but even more important is to have the correct know-how of the dos and don’ts while exercising. Althea Shah, fitness expert from Gold’s Gym India, Mumbai, lists the common dangers prevalent in the gym.

Out of form: All exercises are designed in a specific manner to provide optimal results. It’s common knowledge that lifting maximum weight (as per one’s capacity) during the last set of any exercise provides maximum benefit. It helps one attain ‘muscle fatigue’ which gives the ‘after-burn’ effect (calorie burn after finishing the workout). However, the worst thing that one can do is to compromise on the right ‘form’ so as to be able to lift that ‘extra’ weight.
Without the best form, workload goes waste or becomes unproductive. Those who swing weights while lifting and bend their backs during a bicep curl are at a high risk of injuries.

Lifting too much:
Never lift more than what your muscles can handle. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective way to increase muscle strength. When helping somebody with his workout, align your body such that it allows you to aid the lifter, without any risk of injury.

Keep it clean: Always wipe the equipment with a gym towel before and after use as it helps prevent spread of diseases. Though there’s a lot of etiquette emphasis on wiping equipment (such as the cardio machines) after use, it is also imperative to take your health in your own hands and wipe it before use as germs could still be transferred from adjacent machines.

Don’t go barefoot: The human traffic in locker rooms, combined with absence of sunlight, creates a perfect environment for germs to flourish. Always wear footwear to avoid athlete’s foot, a fungus infection that usually starts with itchy scales and blisters between the toes. Footwear will also keep you from slipping on wet tiles.
Those frequenting jacuzzis and pools are at high risk of catching contagious skin infections such as dermatitis. Chlorine in the water kills most germs, but if it doesn’t contain enough chlorine, you could catch a hair-follicle infection which needs antibiotic treatment.

Junk the mobile: Gym is for working out. So do just that. Smsing and chatting on phone not only wastes time, but the smart ones who try to multi-task their workouts with cellphone activity are at high risk of injuries. Treadmill accidents account for more than onethird of the reported injuries, with people either tripping or falling off them. Learn to use the machine first and refrain from checking your cell phone while working out. Also, be careful not to go too close to someone lifting heavy weights. He/she might, by mistake, drop them on your feet.

Fit to size: The gym equipment is designed to accommodate a wide range of body types and sizes, so it’s imperative that you adjust it to your size. Not doing so reduces the machine’s impact on your muscle. The muscle, hence, goes partially trained, leading to sluggish contribution in muscular growth.

Don’t jerk:
When you jerk the weight, it’s likely that you’re jerking other muscle groups as well. This can lead to strain and injury. The back muscles are particularly vulnerable to such injuries. Remember: control the weight, don’t let it control you.

Right equipment:
Before using any equipment, check that there are no loose nuts or screws on the machine. If the machine rattles or works with a jerk during exercise, stop immediately. Also, check cables of weight machines to ensure they aren’t frayed or damaged, and are covered with a protection sleeve.

Source: The Times Of India

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Ways to Improve Your Adolescents’ Health

Simple, low-cost steps like wearing a pedometer to encourage walking or meditating for a few minutes every day can enhance adolescents’ health, say researchers.

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According to Dr Vernon Barnes, physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia‘s Georgia Prevention Institute, these types of side-effect-free steps can quickly help lower blood pressure, heart rate and even weight, neutralizing today’s unhealthy, upward trends among young people.

In one of three studies presented at the American Psychosomatic Society Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore, Dr Barnes said a positive attitude and family environment increases the effectiveness of the interventions. The research comparing breathing awareness meditation to health education and life-skills training discovered that all methods improved blood pressure.

Dr Barnes, who has studied the effect of mediation on cardiovascular health for over a decade at MCG, has documented the improved stress reactivity in black adolescents with high normal blood pressures as well as lower blood pressures in black, inner-city adolescents who meditate twice daily.

Meditation also sharpens the mind for education.

Dr Barnes said: “When you come to school with a stressed mind, you can’t do as well.

The benefit of calming your mind is preparing it to learn.”

A review of school records showed meditating adolescents miss fewer days and generally behave better, he pointed out.

Another study demonstrated that the blood pressure of students in a high school-based walking program decreased after just 16 weeks compared with non-participating peers. Dr Barnes, part of an adult team competing with a group of high school students to see which can walk the farthest, said the pedometer inspired adolescents to walk.

He said: “You think about it: that little extra walking will hopefully benefit your health.”

“It all works together, which makes sense,” he said, looking at the effectiveness of the techniques over just a few months. While decreases in blood pressure were small – a 2.5 point reduction in pedometer wearers compared to a 3.5 point increase in the control group – it’s good momentum.

Dr Barnes said: “If you could maintain that decrease into your adult years, it may decrease cardiovascular disease risk.”

Researchers also reported reductions in anger and anxiety after a dozen, 50-minute classes on the topics taught by health teachers. Psychosocial factors such as anger are known to contribute to a wide range of health problems including elevated blood pressures and heart disease in adulthood. But Williams LifeSkills workshops helped adolescents learn to analyse a situation before responding, to listen and empathize or even stand firm when necessary.

Source: The Times Of India

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Hourglass Figure not Always Healthy

Having an imperfect body may not be all that bad, says a new article, which claims that ‘imperfections’ come with substantial benefits for some women.
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The report has been published in the December issue of Current Anthropology. The hormones that make women physically stronger, more competitive and better able to deal with stress also tend to redistribute fat from the hips to the waist, according to Elizabeth Cashdan, an anthropologist at the University of Utah.

So in societies and situations where women are under pressure to procure resources, they may be less likely to have the classic hourglass figure.

Cashdan’s hypothesis aims to explain a peculiar observation. Women around the world tend to have larger waist-to-hip ratios—more cylindrical rather than hourglass-shaped bodies—than is considered optimal.

Medical studies have shown that a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 or lower is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease. Studies have also shown that men prefer a ratio of 0.7 or lower when looking for a mate.

The preference makes perfect sense, according to evolutionary psychologists, because the low ratio is a reliable signal of a healthy, fertile woman.

But in data that Cashdan compiled from 33 non-Western populations and 4 European populations, the average waist-to-hip ratio for women is above 0.8. If 0.7 is the magic number both in terms of health and male mate choice, why are most women significantly higher? That’s where the hormones come in.

Androgens, a class of hormones that includes testosterone, increase waist-to-hip ratios in women by increasing visceral fat, which is carried around the waist. But on the upside, increased androgen levels are also associated with increased strength, stamina, and competitiveness. Cortisol, a hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations, also increases fat carried around the waist.

“The hormonal profile associated with high WHR (waist-to-hip ratio) may favour success in resource competition, particularly under stressful circumstances,” writes Cashdan.

“The androgenic effects—stamina, initiative, risk-proneness, assertiveness, dominance—should be particularly useful where a woman must depend on her own resources to support herself and her family,” the expert added.

In other words, trading the benefits of a thin waist for better ability to collect resources may be a good deal in certain societies and situations. And there is evidence that male mate preferences may reflect this trade-off, according to Cashdan.

Source : The Times Of India

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Get Fit with this Easy Rule: Walking

The deceptively simple path to a fit body  begins with the easiest activity in the world: walking.

Every get-fit plan should start with a basic 30-minute daily walk for 30 days. It will prime your body for the muscle-toning and stamina-building exercises you need in order to go from couch potato to hot property. Cheat or skip this simple step and you run the risk of injuring yourself and falling off the fitness wagon.

First things first
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According to experts, an out-of-shape muscle is deficient in two things: tiny power house factories (called mitochondria) that generate juice for your workouts, and contractile proteins that give the muscle strength. And walking for 30 minutes a day – or for 10 minutes three times a day – for a month replenishes mitochondria and contractile proteins, so your body will be ready and able to build on your fitness routine. Find out how an “easy” walk can still help you lose weight.

Take the next step :
When you’re ready to expand your exercise program, follow these guidelines for sculpting a lean, healthy body:

– After 30 days of walking, add 10 minutes of resistance training, focusing on the large muscle groups of your body (back, abs, quads, glutes, shoulders, and hamstrings) every other day.

– The next month, add another 10 minutes of resistance training, hitting your remaining muscle groups (chest, shoulders, and arms) every other day.

Congratulations! After 90 days, you’ll be ready to pull out your cutest workout gear and showoff your fit body. Add 21 minutes of stamina-building exercise to your routine three times a week.

Source: The Times Of India

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