Friday, May 23, 2008

An Old Friend Shares a Secret Workout

As you will see, Pat Cunneen understands the progressive resistance exercise concept. His plan follows:

Easy Exercise for People Over 70

(You do not need expensive equipment)

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5 pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute and then relax. Each day you will find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10 pound potato sacks, then try 50 pound potato sacks, then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100 pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

On the serious side, Pat, in his seventies, still competes in triathlons.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stop the Presses!

According to Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard, in a very important way our brains may be improving with age. Excluding diseases such as Alzheimer's, Carson suggests that forgetting where you left your car keys or people's names at a party may be good not bad. Can it be so? You're probably a skeptic. I don't blame you if you are. But it's worth checking out the story, don't you think? Go to: Older Brain may Really Be a Wiser Brain. Hey, I bet you knew it all the time!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gym Equipment Dangers Lurking

I dodged colds and the flu the past winter season. Of course summer colds happen too. But there are fewer of them going around. So how did I get so lucky?

Though not 100 percent perfect, pneumonia and flu shots offer pretty good protection. I recommend them. Colds are a different matter, and there are all kinds of myths about them. Even today, many people think you get a cold by being cold. You don’t.

You catch colds from rhinoviruses entering your body through your eyes or nose. Shake hands with someone with the virus, then rub your eye or nose with your hand . . . and welcome to seven days of congestion, sneezing, and feeling lousy.

Some people think Echinacea and other herbal stuff strengthens their immune system and will ward off the viruses? I’m a skeptic, but to each his own. Most of what I read these days (from medical people not charlatans) is that the best known cold preventative is frequent hand washing and keeping your hands off your face.

A 2006 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found rhinoviruses on 63 percent of gym equipment at fitness centers they tested. Further, they found that disinfecting the equipment twice a day didn’t do anything to reduce the virus count. My advice is to train yourself not to touch your face between exercise sets, since most colds are transmitted through hand to nose contact. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after your workout – and before touching your face. And how about those workout gloves you wear? The gym’s bugs love ‘em. They provide nice warm and sweaty conditions for viruses. Keep those babies away from your face.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Eating Out: A Stroke of Genius

The people at Wellsphere have come up with a great new service, one of those neat items that makes you wonder: “Why didn’t someone think of this before?"

Here’s the deal: Restaurant chains, for the most part, are fighting legislation that would require them to show the nutritional information of their dishes. Eventually, they may lose the battle, but you don’t have to wait for that to happen.

Wellternatives – a new free healthy eating service recommends healthy alternatives for your favorite dishes at hundreds of thousands of chain restaurants. They designed it so that anyone can use a cell phone to receive suggested ‘Wellternatives’ along with calorie and nutrition information. It’s free. It’s quick. It's fun and easy to use, and works from any cell phone! They also added Wellternatives to their website, along with complete menu listings and ratings.

I just tried it myself and it worked like a charm. I typed in “Chili’s burger” and immediately the nutrition data popped up, along with a healthier alternative on the same Chili's menu. Wow! It’s a great service. Give it a try with your cell phone by sending a text to 878787 with the word ‘diet’ followed by the name of the chain restaurant and menu item, or visit Wellernatives on the web.