The Battle Going On Inside

Antioxidants vs. free radicals.

You hear it all the time: TV commercials and advertisements promote them and food-packaging labels claim to have them. They’re antioxidant, the greatest enemy to free radicals.

While antioxidants and free radicals are buzzwords these days, just what are they and what role do they play in your health?

Read on to find out what the hype is all about. (more…)


Not What the Doctor Ordered

The ugly truth behind pain pills addiction.

Abuse and addiction to prescription drugs is probably more common than you think. These medications have been around for thousands of years, and unfortunately, they’ve been misused just as long.

One of the main reasons people visit a doctor is for pain relief, and as many physicians’ first line of attack for pain is medication, accessing the drugs can be a cinch. As a result, such abuse is becoming increasingly common-especially among young people.

While not all pain-pill abuse is equal, it’s all dangerous. Keep reading to learn the difference between drug abuse, dependence, and addiction; what causes a person to abuse painkiller; signs and symptoms of this type of drug abuse; associated consequences; and hope for prescription pill addicts.


Prenatal Fitness: Aerobics to Zumba

Linda Rosier for The New York Times

Jen Gaum Bobker, in front, exercises, while Adrienne Morrison instructs Heather Perrin, at the Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel’s Exhale Spa.

Published: July 5, 2012

WHEN I learned I was pregnant with my daughter more than four years ago, I wondered if I could safely keep up with my daily exercise routine. I mistakenly thought my workouts would have to be drastically limited. Now that I’m expecting again, I know better: After receiving a doctor’s consent, pregnant women have plenty of ways to stay fit, particularly in New York City.

For starters there are classes for pregnant women at many yoga studios; swimming sessions through AquaMom; and toning-and-cardio workouts in Central Park with Strollercize. But moms-to-be don’t need to stick with special prenatal programs.

Erica Ziel, a California-based personal trainer and the creator of Knocked-Up Fitness DVDs, said that only sports like tennis, skiing, basketball and kickboxing should be avoided because of the quick, jarring movements involved and the risk of being hit. Running and using a stationary bike or an elliptical machine are considered safer ways to work out the heart and lungs. (more…)


The Air You Breathe

How the quality of the air you’re inhaling affects your exercise routine.

A key component of a healthy lifestyle is regular aerobic exercise. But when exercise is combined with air pollution, it can actually be doing more harm than good to your body. Over time, exposure to air pollutants from car and factory emissions can cause a variety of health problems. As a result, athletes are increasingly concerned about over-exposure to the increasing amounts of smog in their communities.

And for good reason. (more…)


Pale Is Beautiful

Understanding and avoiding sun damage.

While the rate of many types of cancer is declining, the risk for developing skin cancer is increasing at an alarming rate.

Today’s young adults are six times more likely to develop skin cancer than adults 40 years ago. The most dramatic increase is seen in young women in their 20s and 30s. What’s the reason behind this increase? It seems to be growing popularity of activities such as sun-tanning and tanning beds. While the media may say tanned skin is beautiful, the consequences of getting and maintaining tanned skin can be deadly.

Maybe it’s time to return to the Victorian days when pale skin was considered beautiful. Or maybe it’s time for you to understand the risks associated with excessive sun exposure and to do something about it melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer and the leading cause of skin-disease-related death when.

Who’s At Risk?

Anyone who soaks up the sun can wind up with skin cancer, but the following risk factors make you more likely to get melanoma:

  • being exposed frequently to strong sunlight
  • being fair skinned or having red or blonde hair or green or blue eyes
  • living in a sunny area of the country
  • using tanning beds
  • having suffered at least one blistering sunburn as a child
  • having a family member who had melanoma
  • having multiple birthmarks
  • coming in close contact with carcinogenic chemicals such as coal tar, creosote, or arsenic
  • having a weak immune system from medication or disease (more…)

Separating Fat from Fiction

Understanding the difference between saturated, unsaturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

When looking at a food label, one of the first things you may look at is the amount of fat. Most foods contain some amount of fat and some even contain several kinds of fat. What are the differences in the fats listed and are all fats bad for you? Are there fats that are okay to eat in moderation? How much fat should you consume each day? Big questions that require big answers.

First, the basics.

Dietary fat is found in plant- and animal-based foods. Fat is a macronutrient, along with carbohydrates and protein, that gives your body the energy it needs to function. Therefore, while you may run from all things fat, some fat is essential for good health. In fact, many vitamins require fat in order to dissolve and give you nourishment.

However, too much fat can lead to an array of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer. Because of these risks, it is important to make sure you eat healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats. Now to figure out the difference. (more…)


Does organic food turn people into jerks?

Monika Graff / Getty Images

Vendors offer organically grown produce at the Union Square farmers market in New York City.

By Diane Mapes

Renate Raymond has encountered her fair share of organic food snobs, but a recent trip to a Seattle market left her feeling like she’d stumbled onto the set of “Portlandia.

“I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn’t find one so I asked the produce guy,” says the 40-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. “And he was like, ‘If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We’re organic.’ I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like ‘You didn’t bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn’t bring your own bag.’ It was like a ‘Portlandia skit.’ They were so snotty and arrogant.”


Do ice baths really prevent muscle aches?


In general, the researchers said there is very little quality research on the topic of so-called cryotherapy, despite the treatment’s popularity to prevent or reduce muscle soreness days after exercising.

“It’s a typical intervention in sports medicine in the elite arena and the professional arena and it gradually started to filter down,” said Chris Bleakley, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Bleakley and his colleagues collected existing data on 366 people from 17 studies for their report in the Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

The researchers found that most of the studies on this topic only looked at a handful of athletes and were poorly designed. The lack of data meant they were only able to draw a significant conclusion from 14 studies that compared cold-water baths to doing nothing or just resting.

In the studies, people were asked to get into a cold-water bath that was about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit after exercising. They stayed in the bath from anywhere between five and 24 minutes.

Overall, the baths lessened the soreness the athletes experienced over the next four days between 15 percent and 20 percent, according to Bleakley.

But he told Reuters Health that it’s important for people to know that the improvement was only in soreness. It does not mean the muscle was any stronger.

“It’s purely a subjective feeling of less soreness,” he said.

And even though the studies, collectively, were able to report some improvement, they were not able to come up with a standard method of treatment.

“If you’re looking for the single prescription, it’s not available yet. And frankly it’s going to be different under different situations,” said Dr. Thomas Best, co-director of Ohio State University Sports Medicine, who was not involved in the research.

Best told Reuters Health that the new report does not answer how often an athlete should do the treatment, how long they should stay in the cold water or how long they should wait after they finish exercising.

He added that the average athlete should be careful before they think the results apply to them. (more…)


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Enjoy the luck of the Irish today when you’re celebrating in your Saint Patricks Day finest!

Please remember that no matter what oversized shamrock lenses you may be looking through, drinking responsibly is the only real way to have fun – and to avoid potential diet downfalls and hangovers that prevent you from doing anything next week. We simply wish you the best memories of shared laughs with your friends, even under the pretence of large amounts of green alcohol (because who honestly knows the story of Saint Patrick? Did you know he wasn’t even Irish? That’s just silly.)

Have a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s Day weekend everyone!

Cheers! From The Trainer Guy team!


On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

What you should be doing to prep for your next race.

If you’re a runner or an aspiring runner, races are what it’s all about for you. Running a race can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep running. At the same time, preparing for a race will require lots of training and practice. Whether your goal is to run a 5K, 10K, a half marathon, a full marathon, or longer what can you do to get your body and mind ready?

To run your fastest and farthest, use these tips. (more…)


Vitamin D warning: Too much can harm your hear

When it comes to the heart, vitamin D can be a double-edged sword.

Image: Vitamin DFeaturePics stock
By Linda Carroll

msnbc.com contributor
updated 11/16/2011 3:50:04 PM ET 2011-11-16T20:50:04

When it comes to the heart, vitamin D can be a double-edged sword.

Scientists have long known that low levels of the nutrient can hurt the heart, but new research shows that higher than normal levels can make it beat too fast and out of rhythm, a condition called atrial fibrillation, according to a report presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

The study, which followed 132,000 patients at a Utah based medical center, found that the risk of newly developed atrial fibrillation jumped almost three-fold when blood levels of vitamin D were high. (more…)


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