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Arthritis Patients Benefit from Weight Training

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A regular and systematic  weight-training regimen may help treat rheumatoid arthritis patients. A study of 28 patients found that weight training led to improvements in basic physical function, such as   lifting, carrying, walking, climbing stairs

Researchers said such high intensity exercising could play a key role in managing the condition.

BBC News reports:
“RA is mainly a disease affecting the joints, but a less well known symptom is that it also severely reduces muscle mass and strength and this occurs even among patients whose disease is well managed …

They found physical function improved by between 20 percent to 30 percent in the group doing weight training. Strength also increased by nearly 120 percent.”

Sources:
BBC News August 4, 2010
Arthritis and Rheumatism December 2009; 61(12):1726-34.

 
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Healthy Tips

Feel the Runner’s High

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Running is one of the best forms of aerobic conditioning for your heart and lungs. It can significantly increase your metabolic rate and the amount of calories you burn, leading to loss of excess body fat. Running is also beneficial for slowing down the aging process. Those who run regularly are less likely to experience bone and muscle loss due to the body’s positive response to additional physical demands.

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Running can also have many psychological benefits. Most runners typically report being happier and feeling less stressed from the grind of daily life. Why? Because regular exercise has the ability to alter mood, attributable to a surge in hormones called endorphins. These hormones create a sense of euphoria often referred to as a “runner’s high” and can result in an improvement in mood.

Here are some great tips, courtesy of running coach Chipper Robinson from Running on the Edge in Ramsey, N.J., on how to maximize your running experience:

* Incorporate cross training into your running routines. Add weight-lifting, bicycling, yoga, elliptical training, or swimming. Why? They make you fitter and less prone to injury.

*Exercise your abdominal muscles almost every day. A strong midsection (core) is a key component to running. In fact, it can often be the single most important factor for success in long-distance running.

* Change your intensity levels by running faster or farther. Alternate which one you choose to implement in various workouts. It prevents your body from adapting to routines.

*Pay attention to your shoes. Most shoes wear out after 300 to 500 miles. You often can’t see the wear, but, your knees, hips, and back will feel it. Visit a running specialty store for quality shoes and talk to your doctor for suggestions on the best shoes to get. Not just any shoe will do.

* Run on different surfaces. See how many different surfaces you can run on in a month: asphalt, gravel, trail, grass, track, treadmill, and beach. Each stresses your leg muscles in a slightly different way, helping to prevent overuse injuries. (If possible, avoid concrete, the hardest and most harmful surface for runners.)

* Keep a training journal. A journal can be a great way to maintain motivation and consistency. Keep it filled with running times, routines, motivational quotes, and how your body reacts to various routines. You should have a documented road map for reaching your running goals.

* Take some time off. You don’t have to run every day, every week, or even every month (as long as you’re performing other cardiovascular activities). For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular recovery periods. Performance suffers with too much exercise. Start slow and work your way toward higher mileages and/or more frequency.

* Introduce high-intensity interval training into your running routine. Alternate, pace, speed, tempo and rest periods during a single running session. For example, keep a steady pace for a mile and then sprint run for 30 seconds. Do this for several cycles and notice how your heart rate and muscle fatigue threshold increase.

Every great journey starts with a single step; now just put one foot in front of the other to see how far this new journey takes you. Welcome to the wonderful world of running. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the benefits of running.

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Source:
to your Health. April13. 2010

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Health Quaries

Some Health Quaries & Answers


Q: My baby is six months old and sleeps for eight hours in the night. I do not know if I am supposed to wake her up and feed her. She is breast fed

A: Consider yourself lucky if your baby has adjusted so quickly to night and day. Breast-feeding should be on demand (by the baby). If she sleeps all night, let her do so. However, if she stops feeding even during the day, and is inactive or lethargic, you need to show her to a paediatrician.

Hygiene products
Q: Are sanitary pads dangerous? Do tampons cause cance

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A: Sanitary pads are actually more hygienic than cloth as they are disposed of after use. They are not dangerous and do not impact body functions in any way. Tampons, which are inserted into the vagina, are preferred by many women as they are not bulky or messy. They should, however, be changed every four hours. If left for a longer period, bacteria belonging to the streptococci and staphylococci families can cause infection and release toxins. This can cause a fatal illness called toxic shock syndrome. Neither product has been associated with an increased incidence of cancer.

Unruly teen
Q: I have a teenage son who is very disobedient. Recently, he stopped attending classes. Subsequently, he was asked to leave school. He is also very suspicious and abusive towards his mother. I scolded him several times and even beat him on a couple of occasions. He reacted by attacking me with a stick. Is black magic the reason for such behaviour?


A:
It is better to look for a rational explanation than blame witchcraft or black magic. Your son is either a recalcitrant teenager or may be suffering from a psychiatric ailment. He needs professional evaluation, medication and counselling. With consolidated multi-faceted modern-day therapy, both problems can be tackled. He will probably do very well and be able to re-integrate into society.

Irregular periods
Q: I am 21 years old and have irregular periods, which occur once in 40-50 days. Is that dangerous? Can I make my periods regular?

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A: Cycles are very individual, and can occur once in 24-60 days and you can still be normal. Keep a diary and track your periods. Check if they occur “regularly” at some odd interval like 33 or 52 days. They may seem irregular when in fact they are not. In that case, you need not worry. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the next period, so it is the first part of your cycle that is prolonged. You may be functioning normally but with a longer cycle. After maintaining records for six months, if you find that you still have irregular periods, consult a gynecologist. An ultrasound scan and a few blood tests to evaluate hormone levels are usually all that is necessary. If any abnormality is found, it can be usually be corrected with medication while you are still young.

Broken bones
Q: My son has osteogenesis imperfecta and his bones break frequently. He has had several surgeries, and his legs are now deformed. He has also not gained enough height. I have decided that natural therapy is best as it does not involve intervention, and have put him on calcium supplements alone. Will this work?


A:
Osteogenesis imperfecta is due to a genetic defect as a result of which bone collagen — or the building blocks of which bones are made — are ill formed and inadequate. The condition is not due to a deficiency of calcium. To manage it well, the individual deformities should be minimised and functional ability maximised at home and in the community.

Physiotherapy and functional aids like braces are useful to maintain mobility. Fractures and deformities, unfortunately, will occur and require surgical correction. Medications called biphosphates and calcitonin can be used to strengthen the bones. You need to follow the advice of your orthopaedic surgeon.

Adolescent exercise
Q: I am 15 and my height is 5 feet 4 inches. I exercise regularly in the gym and have developed arm muscles and a six-pack abdomen. But I am afraid I will remain short.


A
: Your lifestyle is commendable, considering the epidemic of adolescent obesity. Even 10 years ago, children and teenagers were not encouraged to do weight training. That’s because the ends of their growing bones are not yet fused, and any injury might prove costly. And gyms were not geared for teenagers. Supervision or training by qualified personnel was rare and there were no light weights. Now, however, the scenario is changing. Teenagers are advised to combine running, jogging, swimming and other forms of aerobic exercise with mild, supervised strength training. They should, however, avoid competitive weight lifting, power lifting, body building and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity (that is, at around 21 years). They can follow a general strengthening programme which should address all major muscle groups and exercise through the complete range of motion.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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News on Health & Science

Exercise Can Cut Cancer Risk by 40%

lift weights, strength training Men with stronger muscles from regular weight training are up to 40 percent less likely to die from cancer, according to new research.
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The findings suggest that muscular strength is as important as staying slim and eating healthy when it comes to protecting your body against deadly tumors.

A team of experts tracked the lifestyles of over 8,500 men for more than two decades. Each volunteer had regular medical check ups that included tests of their muscular strength. The men who regularly worked out with weights and had the highest muscle strength were between 30 percent and 40 percent less likely to lose their life to a deadly tumor.

Even among volunteers who were overweight, regular weight training seemed to have a protective effect, although the researchers stressed that keeping a healthy weight was still crucial for avoiding premature death.

But they added, “In the light of these results, it is equally important to maintain healthy muscular strength levels.”

Researchers said it’s possible to reduce cancer mortality rates in men by promoting resistance training involving the major muscle groups at least two days a week.

Resources:
The Telegraph May 26, 2009
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18, 1468, May 1, 2009

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Daily Exercise Cuts Heart Risk in Diabetics

Patients with type 2 diabetesshould do at least two-and-a-half hours per week of moderate-intensity or one-and-a-half hours per weekof vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, plus some weight training, to reduce their cardiovascular risk, researchers suggest.
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“Given the observed increases in type 2 diabetes in adults over the last few decades in developed countries, and the increasing numbers of overweight and obese individuals throughout the world, we must look at ways to reduce the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, and exercise is one of those ways,” said Thomas H. Marwick, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in Brisbane, Australia.

According to an American Heart Association scientific statement, diet and exercise can prevent or slow the development of type 2 diabetes and produce clinically significant improvements in blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk factors in people with the condition.

To improve cardiovascular risk, type 2 diabetes patients should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 90 min/week of vigorous-intensity exercise, or some combination of the two.

Patients should exercise on at least three non-consecutive days each week to maximize benefits. Individual sessions should be at least 10 minutes each or longer.

Resistance training should be encouraged, and should be moderate to high-intensity 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions at a weight that can’t be lifted more than 8-10 times, with 1-2-minute rest periods between sets.

Exercise counseling is needed to assess and adjust levels of physical activity and provide motivation and support. Telephone counselling is economical, practical and effective.

Source:The statement was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.