Thursday, July 27, 2006

How to Do Hindu Squats

First, watch the video (you may have to click on the arrow twice).

Note that I am doing them barefoot. If you like wearing shoes, that’s okay, too. Try them both ways.

Note also that at the bottom of my squat my heels come up and my thighs are against my calves. That is the proper form. If you cannot get all the way down or have a problem balancing, descend as far as you can and do them flat footed, if you have to. Then work on gradually squatting deeper and with proper form.

Breathing: Unlike breathing when squatting with a barbell, you exhale on the way down. Inhale deeply coming up and while drawing back your arms. Once you get used to breathing this way it will seem very natural.

Repetitions: Hindu squats can be done in one long set (which can build tremendous endurance) or broken up into sets. I like to mix mine with my weight training. Once you learn the right form, decide how you want to integrate them into your training.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hay Caliente!

We are having a heat wave where I live, north of San Francisco. We’ve had 11 consecutive days of 100-plus temperatures. It cooled a little yesterday, but our temperatures are still far above normal.

Unless you go before sunrise, it’s too hot to hike in the hills, our favorite form of cardio. So it’s off to the gym with its treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair steppers, and stationary bikes. The machines I refer to as instruments of unrelenting boredom. I’m kidding. We do prefer the great outdoors, but with such extreme heat they look pretty darn good.

Patty and I both use the treadmills. And I have to admit, the ones they have now are pretty slick. There are various programmed workouts you can do on them, such as hill running, random, fat burning, etc. You can also enter your bodyweight and fitness level. All this stuff goes into the computer and provides a read-out on a screen in front of you as you trot along. Want to know your heart rate? Just grip the handles and the contraption measures your pulse.

If it sounds like I’m falling in love, I’m not. This technology has its place. But our dog, Tyra, can’t go with us on a treadmill. There is not the scent of the woods or the sight of deer and birds or the sound of leaves in the wind. No, on most days, we’ll still take our cardio outdoors.

Patty has a fancy iPod and says listening to the beat of up-tempo music is a big plus on the treadmill. I believe her. Mostly, the music selection coming out of the gym’s speakers is dreadful, at least to people in my age group. Funny thing though, over the years I’ve learned to tune it out while pumping iron. But on a treadmill you naturally seek a rhythm, and that tends to bring the beat within the awful noise and often putrid lyrics to one’s attention.

I guess we’ll survive it. The forecast is for our normal temperatures to return in a few days. They’ve been saying that for 10 days now.

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Evidence that Light Drinking May be Heart Healthy

A study of men and women age 70 to 79 found that those who downed one alcoholic drink per day had a significantly lower risk of heart problems or death than those who didn't imbibe, researchers said. To learn more, go here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's Never Too Late to Start

If you're reading this blog you probably already know that exercise works wonders, even if you start at middle age or later. Here is yet a another study to support it, reported in Health Day. Check it out. It never hurts to reaffirm that by staying fit you're also being smart. Health Day.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Confused About Soy?

A recent post (6/22/06) reported on a study confirming the benefits of soy and heart health. But it seems not everyone agrees. For some, the jury is still out, according to some reports on WebMD.

I like soy milk and use it in shakes and, combined with nonfat milk, I pour it over oat cereal. I like the way it tastes. However, soy contains a specific estrogen-like compound, daidzein (which appears to be responsible for some positive effects of soy on cholesterol levels in women, one study shows).

But estrogen! Some guys hear the word estrogen and red flags go up. If I eat soy will I grow breasts? Another fear is that it can diminish one's libido. Enough! Enough! What is true? Is soy a miracle food that some experts have claimed or something to be avoided? My guess is that it falls somewhere between the two extremes.

Most of the scientific information that I have found casts soy in a positive light. But maybe it has been oversold as a miracle food and its benefits exaggerated. I certainly wouldn't use it to the exclusion of other sources, but soy remains on my own list of healthful protein. So far, I haven't developed female characteristics, my libido is just fine, and my cholesterol levels are right where they belong.

Any thoughts you'd like to share? Click on "comments."

To learn the latest on what the doctors are saying about soy, go

Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette

Tobacco will kill a billion people in this century if current trends hold, public health officials said today. That's a lot of folks.

Suspicious as I am about press release statistics (read Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Annoited for eye openers on that subject), is there anything good that can be said about smoking?

For the full story on the report, go here.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Was Benjamin Franklin right?

According to a report from HealthDay, moderate beer consumption may be a plus for both men and women. Story here.

Oh, I almost forgot:

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."