Sunday, November 1, 2009

Odds and Ends

The purpose of the week’s end odds and ends is to give myself a little research break and just hit the highlights. I don’t always achieve my goal, but at least I have one!

Cholesterol Test – this regards a commercial I heard on the radio, maybe yesterday. The company was encouraging people to order the at home cholesterol test that would tell you your total cholesterol number. The company would also send you some free fish oil supplements with your purchase. Well, just knowing your total cholesterol is of little use and free supplements that are not regulated by the FDA for purity don’t impress me much. SAVE YOUR MONEY and let you doctor order your blood work.

Working Out is important. While I was doing my strength training today, I observed some mistakes that may be common and should certainly be addressed. I was working out at a coed gym, but the error was made by a woman. There are two very important things to remember when working out with weights and they are form and speed. Go slow! If the weights are causing you to lose form, for example, your shoulders are by your ears and you are going fast, then they are TOO heavy. Try to think of the muscles you are working and the body you would like to have. Keep your shoulders down or you are going to build them up so that they stay at your ears.

Staying Fit during the holidays can be a challenge. There are many demands on our time and there are many temptations to eat high calorie foods and skip our workouts. Interestingly, this is addressed in the current issue of Runner’s World magazine. Also interesting is how many times this issue cautions runners not to eat too much. But I digress. The advice to runners about keeping fit can be adapted to other types of physical activity as well. If you are working out every day, YOU GO, that is so cool, and pressure from work and family threatens to overwhelm you, then knock it down to five days. If you get mental as well as physical benefit from your exercise program, SAY SO. Advice from a sports psychologist in the magazine is noteworthy. Dr. M Sachs advises not deciding to quit running during the most stressful time of the year! And again, that applies to any positive coping skill. Do not give it up when you need it the most. Sachs also suggests that you tell people that you are a better, calmer, more relaxed person after your workout and everyone will be the better for it if you stick with your routine. Heck, he even suggests that you round your family up and head out the door to walk or run together.

Arthritis is inflammation of joints. There are 100 different types of arthritis. Most of us are family with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, lupus and gout are also forms of arthritis. Inflammation also has several different manifestations and is the body’s natural response to injury, assault, or disease. Signs of inflammation can include fluid, swelling, heat, redness or stiffness. Sometimes inflammation goes away on its own or with treatment of ice and anti inflammatory medicine. When it stays or recurs, then it is considered arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the one most familiar and probably the most common. It is also referred to as degenerative joint or disc disease (back). This is the wearing away of cartilage and happens most often from being overweight and or inactive, as well as aging and from injury. Most knee osteoarthritis for example is found in overweight persons or persons who played high impact sports that may trigger knee injury like football or basketball, while ankle OA may be more common in tennis and hip OA in dancers. (Side note: the systemic types of arthritis like rheumatoid are indications for the H1N1 vaccine)

Killers to worry you. The World Health Organization came out with another of its reports on what is killing most of the people in the world. There should be no surprises in this. We are being killed most often by what and how much we ingest and how little we do. Too much alcohol, any tobacco, too many calories and too many fat and sugar calories and not enough activity. The WHO points out high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and inactivity as major mortality risk factors. This crosses the borders of all income levels. Additionally, poorer countries suffer from diseases related to unsafe water and sanitation, unprotected sex and undernutrition.

And that ends our week and begins our November.

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