HEALTH AND FITNESS 2008
Health matters, fitness trends and nutrition tips
Copley News Service
One of the most popular exercise machines in any gym, the elliptical trainer is a hybrid between a treadmill, stepper and cross-country ski machine.
-- Type of exerciser who benefits from using an elliptical trainer: Almost anyone of any size who wants a good cardio workout without pounding joints.
-- Number of calories a 150-pound person burns in an hour working out on an elliptical at moderate intensity: About 500 to 600.
-- How often you can safely work out on an elliptical trainer: Everyday use is OK, but adding other cardio and resistance exercise is recommended.
-- Things to check out before you buy: Biomechanically correct movement for your stride; adjustable incline; smooth motion; pedals wide enough for feet; upper-body option; adjustable resistance; noise factor.
-- Price of a solid, decently equipped elliptical trainer: $1,500 to $4,000. (CNS)
KEEP ON MOVING
Even if you don't meet the current recommendation to exercise for 30 minutes a day most days of the week, don't give up. Consumer Reports on Health says a study of 106 adults shows that exercising less frequently or in shorter stints also does some good. People who walked 30 minutes five days a week for three months saw a drop of six points in their systolic blood pressure, while those who walked just as long but only three days a week cut their blood pressure by nearly five points. (CNS)
If you spend your day glued to your desk, you could be at increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that causes swelling, pain and potentially fatal blood vessel damage. More often seen in passengers on long-distance plane flights, DVT can also occur in office workers who sit for at least three hours without getting up. Inactivity slows circulation which can lead to a blood clot. To avoid risk, take a walk every hour or so. (CNS)
SOUP IS GOOD FOOD
Start with a cup of soup and you might eat 20 percent less of your meal. Keep calories in check by sticking to broth-based soups instead of rich cream versions, ordering a cup, not a bowl, and seasoning it with herbs and spices instead of salt. (CNS)
OK, so you're not Minnesota Fats. You don't necessarily have to be good at billiards to enjoy the game. Not only will one hour of shooting pool improve one's coordination, but a 155-pound person will also burn about 176 calories. (CNS)
People who live near airports may have an elevated risk of high blood pressure due to noise pollution. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute found that among more than 2,000 men followed for a decade, those who lived in areas with the greatest noise from a nearby airport had a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. It's possible that the constant noise of planes buzzing overhead is a source of chronic stress for some of these individuals, which may raise their blood pressure. The study was in Epidemiology. (CNS)
Breads labeled "multigrain" or "7-grain" aren't necessarily whole grain, Consumer Reports on Health says. A true whole-grain food should have at least 2 grams of fiber per serving and list whole wheat, barley, brown rice, whole rye or rolled oats as the first ingredient. (CNS)
Emotional eaters -- people who eat when they are lonely or blue -- tend to lose the least weight and have the hardest time keeping it off, U.S. researchers report. They said the study may explain why so many people who lose weight gain it all back.
"We found that the more people report eating in response to thoughts and feelings, the less weight they lost," Heather Niemeier, an obesity researcher at Brown University, said. The study was in the journal Obesity. (CNS)
SIGNS OF IMMUNODEFICIENCY
Children who get frequent infections, such as ear infections, sinusitis or pneumonia, may have a more severe condition called immunodeficiency, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Patients who have immunodeficiency have infections that usually do not go away without using antibiotics and often recur within one or two weeks after antibiotic treatment is completed. There are several forms of immunodeficiency, and while some are very severe and life-threatening, many are milder but still cause recurrent or severe infections.
General guidelines for determining if a patient may be experiencing too many infections are:
-- The need for more than four courses of antibiotic treatment per year in children or more than two times per year in adults.
-- The occurrence of more than four new ear infections in one year after age 4.
-- The development of pneumonia twice over any time.
-- The occurrence of more than three episodes of bacterial sinusitis in one year or the occurrence of chronic sinusitis.
-- The need for preventive antibiotics to decrease the number of infections.
-- Any unusually severe infection or infections caused by bacteria that do not usually cause problems in most people at the patient's age. (CNS)
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