Saturday, June 30, 2007

Walking Lunges

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There are many varieties of lunges (all of them good), but I like walking lunges best. They are great for building muscular quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Walking lunges look simple to do; nevertheless, there are some things to know to get full benefits.

In the beginning, get comfortable doing them by traveling short distances with bodyweight only. Then, gradually, increase the difficulty by traveling farther and/or carrying a weight. If you carry a weight, you can hold two dumbbells, arms down and vertical, or carry a barbell across your back and shoulders; or in front above your chest, with elbows high, as you would doing a front squat.

Form (Patty, aka Mrs. Gray Iron, demonstrates):

1) Take a fairly big step forward so that your ankle and knee are in a vertical plane, and the knee of your trailing leg almost touches the ground. Keep your chest high and look ahead. In other words, maintain an erect posture. Don’t bend over;

2) Drive off the heel of your forward foot as you take the next step;

3) Keep moving forward. Don’t stop after each step.

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's Never Too Late

Suppose that you have punished your body for years by eating too much and all of the wrong things. Is it too late at middle age or more to undo the harm you may have done to yourself? Many mature adults think it is and continue harming themselves, figuring, why bother to change habits now? The damage has already been done.

But that's not true, according to a study at Medical University of South Carolina. Older people who adopted a healthy lifestyle basically caught up within four years, and their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been practicing healthier habits all along.

Read more here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

U.S. Issues New Standards for Dietary Supplements

In a recent report from Reuters, we learn that the makers of vitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements must meet new government standards to show the products are free of contamination and contain exactly what the label says.

The Reuters story is worth reading. Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Click on "comments" below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summertime Smarts: Sunscreens

It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere. I'm not anti-sun, and from what I can gather, a certain amount of sunshine is very healthy. But how much is enough? And when does it become unhealthy? Generally, I think a little goes a long way. Here are a few guidelines:

1) Fair skinned types can tolerate less sunlight than darker skinned people, but you can get too much no matter what your complexion is;

2) Getting sunburned is bad for anyone at any age;

3) Basking for long periods with unprotected skin to get a tan is very bad;

4) Stay away from tanning salons;

5) If you're going to be in the sun during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., use a serious sunscreen.

In selecting a sunscreen, take note of the following:

The SPF number is an indication of protection against UVB rays only. Sunscreen products labeled "broad-spectrum" protect against UVA and UVB radiation; however, there is no standard system for measuring UVA protection. So look at the ingredients. Products with an SPF of 15 or higher that contain avobenzone (Parsol 1789), zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide are likely to be effective against the entire spectrum of UVA rays. Also, check the expiration date. Most sunscreens expire within two to three years.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Training Tip from Doctors

At first glance, this may seem almost too basic to mention. Yet after years of training and watching others train, I can say without question, the following is worth remembering: Go here.