(ARA) – The crunch of pads followed by a tweet of a whistle, the thump of a basketball with a staccato of footfalls to accompany it, and even the thwack of a hockey puck against Plexiglass means one thing: school sports are in season.
Coaches, parents and players are all getting ready for the game and practices are hard and grueling. But many sports involve contact and potential injuries, so coaches and parents need to educate themselves about serious injuries like concussions.
At the professional level, more and more attention is being paid to the hard hits players are taking. The NFL is changing rules on helmet-to-helmet contact in hopes of reducing the number and severity of concussions suffered by players. But, head injuries also happen at much lower levels of play, and can be very serious.
“Coaches and parents need to understand the extreme care that is needed when returning younger athletes to a game or practice who may have experienced a sports concussion,” says Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Neurology Section and also director of the University of Michigan’s Neurosport program.
Signs of a concussion that can be observed during a game or practice are: * Behavior or personality change * False or imagined memories * Loss of consciousness * Empty stare * Disorientation
Athletes may also report the following when suffering a concussion: * Blurry vision * Confusion * Dizziness * Feeling hazy, foggy or groggy * Headache
The American Academy of Neurology’s website at www.aan.com/concussion offers two online safety courses created by the University of Michigan Neurosport program and endorsed by the Academy to help high school and youth coaches recognize the signs of concussion and what to do if a player gets a head injury during a game. Each 20-minute safety course is free and a printable certificate is available after passing the online quiz.
Coaches Cards are also downloadable from the Academy’s website providing easy-to-access information on how to spot a concussion and what to do if a player experiences one. Coaches and players are encouraged to keep these cards with their athletic gear for easy access.
Some states have passed laws on managing concussions. If you are a coach or parent of a younger athlete, make sure you educate yourself on the laws and concussion signs to keep the athlete safe.
“If for any reason you suspect an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and be sure the athlete is carefully evaluated by a person trained in concussion management, such as a neurologist,” Kutcher says. “Rushing this part of the process may lead to a serious setback, or worsen the injury.”
High school and youth sporting events are meant to get athletes playing the games they love. But, a head injury needs to be addressed very carefully in order to ensure the athlete returns to the field safely for many more games to be played, both now and well into the future.
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Unlike your money, where your fat is deposited is more important than how much you have. If it’s belly fat, that fat is actually deposited deep in your abdominal cavity. It’s not just under your skin and it’s more than muffin top filler. Instead, it fills in the spaces between your internal organs and has been associated with heightened risk for diabetes, cardiac disease, and cancer.
With two-thirds of the US population diagnosed with obesity, belly fat, also called visceral or liver fat, is a serious national health problem. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center may well have come up with an answer for those wanting to lose their dreaded fat.
Exercise physiologists at Duke compared three types of exercise common to gym goers—aerobic exercise, resistance training, and a combination of the two.
They discovered that aerobic training did the best job of ridding unhealthy visceral and liver fat, improving fasting insulin resistance, reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels—all key factors in cardiac disease and diabetes.
Remember, “aerobic” or “cardio” exercise means “with air,” while resistance training or “anaerobic” means “without air.”
Resistance training without aerobic exercise demonstrated no significant reduction in these factors. Weight lifting may be great for improving your strength and lean body mass, but when it comes to reducing belly fat, it’s aerobic exercise that will do it according to this latest research. In fact, the combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise showed no significant difference from aerobic training alone.
How effective is aerobic training compared to resistance training? In this Duke University study, aerobic training burned 67% more calories than resistance training did. The researchers used 12 miles of jogging per week at 80% maximum heart level as the standard, and used three sets of 8-12 reps three times per week as the standard for resistance training. How much exercise you do, the miles you put in, appears to determine how many calories you will burn.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Georgia State University offer the following to help determine heart rate training ranges:
How to Determine Your Heart Rate Training Range: 1. Heart Rate Reserve: The Karvonen Formula • Find your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) • Find your Predicted Maximal Heart Rate (HR max) • HR max = 220 – age • Find your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) • HRR = HR max – RHR
Find the lower limit of your Heart Rate Training Range: • Multiply your HRR by 50% and add your RHR • HRR x .50 + RHR = Low Target Heart Rate
Find the upper limit of your Heart Rate Training Range: • Multiply your HRR by 85% and add your RHR • HRR x .85 + RHR = High Target Heart Rate
2. Percent of Heart Rate Max: • Find your Predicted Maximum Heart Rate (HR max) • HR max = 220 – age
Find the lower limit of your Heart Rate Training Range • Low Target Heart Rate = HR max X .50
Find the upper limit of your Heart Rate Training Range High Target Heart Rate = HR max X .90
So, how can you create an effective aerobic exercise routine to help you in your fight against dreaded belly fat? Assuming your are healthy enough to do cardio training, keep in mind you want to use large muscle groups repetitively for a sustained period of time, 30-60 minutes three to five times per week, preferably high intensity interval training style.
A word about high intensity interval workouts (“H.I.I.T.”). These up and down, slow and fast, reps increase your resting metabolic rate in the 24 hours following high intensity exercise, which will burn even more calories than lower intensity exercise. Lower intensity exercise will burn more calories during the exercise but fewer afterwards.
Walking, cycling, treadmills, stair climbers, swimming, ski machines, ellipticals, steppers, rowing machines, jogging, aerobic dance are all examples of terrific aerobic exercise methods. Prefer outdoor cardio workouts? Try cross-country skiing, cycling, inline skating, or running. Kickboxing your thing? Jumping rope? Circuit training? All great aerobic exercise and all aimed at reducing that unhealthy deposit of belly fat.
(ARA) – For many men, starting a weight loss regimen may seem unnecessary and cumbersome. If you’re like a lot of guys, you may be thinking that losing weight is a matter of staying active, and watching what you eat is more work than it’s worth.
While men might think that weight loss plans are something better suited for women, the statistics show men are more likely to be overweight than their female counterparts. Where 72 percent of American males are overweight, 64 percent of women can be considered overweight, according to the most recent prevalence and trends report on obesity published in a 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Seeing the need to provide men with a no-nonsense approach to losing weight, Weight Watchers recently launched its first national advertising campaign targeted directly at men. If you’re a man who would like to shed a few pounds, but has previously been averse to trying a weight loss plan, it may not be as bad as you might think. Here are a few myths about male weight loss that may cause men to avoid eating healthier and the truth behind them.
Myth: Men only need to exercise to lose weight. Reality: Unless you are working out for hours each day, simply working out and not worrying how many calories you consume is not a good plan for shedding pounds. The fact is, burning calories through exercise takes a lot longer than it does to consume them. A 200-pound man will burn about 450 calories during a three-mile run, according to Runner’s World. An average hamburger or piece of cake contains about the same amount of calories.
Myth 2: Low-fat or low-carb automatically means healthier. Reality: While overloading on fats and carbohydrates will likely lead to weight gain, both play an important role in healthy eating. Fats and carbohydrates are also not created equal – for instance, trans and saturated fats can increase your cholesterol while unsaturated fats can have the opposite effect. The key to healthy eating is getting the right balance of both.
Myth 3: Losing weight means you have to eliminate alcohol. Reality: It’s true that consuming too many alcoholic beverages can lead to weight gain, but consuming in moderation can be part of a healthy diet, as long as you count those calories along with what you are eating.
Myth 4: Watching what you eat means you have to give up red meat. Reality: Some cuts of meat may contain a lot of fat, but there are also a lot of lean red meat options, which contain beneficial protein, iron, zinc and vitamins.
Myth 5: Weight loss works the same for everyone. Reality: Your ability to lose weight depends on many factors, and every person’s metabolism is unique. Men generally tend to lose weight faster than women due to their body composition and men also tend to be more physically active, therefore burning more calories.
While you might think that following a weight loss plan is a lot of work, it’s never been easier, as a plan like Weight Watchers Online For Men allows men to follow the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program entirely online and offers mobile applications that can help you keep track of what you are eating when you are on the go. To learn more about the men’s plan, visit www.weightwatchers.com/men.
Losing weight doesn’t have to mean giving up the foods you like for the latest fad diet, but simply being more aware of what you are putting into your body. Finding a plan that can more easily help you track your progress can make your weight loss goals achievable.
(NewsUSA) – Summertime plans may include a 21-hour flight to the “Land Down Under,” a drive from Boston to grandma’s house in Phoenix, a 10-hour train ride through the Grand Canyon or a cross-country bus trip to Orlando.
Itinerary aside, extended travel in a plane, car, train or bus can increase the risk of developing blood clots.
“Standing and stretching the legs every two to four hours is advised for travelers at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT),” said Dr. David Stone, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. Vascular surgeons encourage exercise during travel to maintain healthy veins and arteries.
With extended travel, a blood clot can potentially form in the veins of the leg. If the clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it causes a pulmonary embolism.
Each year, 300,000 to 600,000 Americans die of a blood clot in the lungs, according to 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. Risk factors for the under-diagnosed, preventable condition are:
* Vein injury, including major surgery
* Slow blood flow from limited movement
* Increased estrogen levels from medications
* Chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer treatment or inflammatory bowel disease
* Family history of DVT
* High blood pressure
* A catheter in a central vein
* An inherited clotting disorder
Almost anyone can be affected. In 2003, 39-year-old NBC News reporter David Bloom died of a blood clot after weeks of traveling around Baghdad in a cramped military tank.
“Whenever traveling in confined places, persons at risk of developing DVT should raise and lower their heels and toes and tighten and release their leg muscles,” said Dr. Stone. “This helps to promote blood flow to the legs. Also, drink plenty of water, and wear loose-fitting clothes.”
Vascular surgeons suggest a regular exercise routine, a healthy body weight and not smoking as preventive measures against DVT. Ultrasound tests can detect DVT.
Since half of DVT patients never experience warning signs, early detection is important.
Anticoagulant medication can help treat DVT. Visit the Society for Vascular Surgery website, VascularWeb.org, for more vascular health information.
San Diego Fitness Psychology – Are You Mentally Tough?
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
It’s been said, “Great attitude, great results. Good attitude, good results. Average attitude average results. Poor attitude, poor results.” When it comes to athletic performance and fitness training, it’s what makes the difference in your results.
Let’s take a look at a few key points to remember in going from good to great in your attitude. As Winston Churchill, not especially the fittest guy in the gym, once noted, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” When it comes to mental toughness, the psychological edge that helps you cope better than your opponent (or hit your number of reps), attitude is all there is. Remaining determined, focused, confident, resilient and in control under internal or external pressure—that’s what mental toughness, great attitude can do for you.
Among the elite, truly world-class, athletes that I’ve been privileged to work with and help develop mental toughness, I’ve found that self-belief, motivation, focus, thinking confidently, overcoming self-critical negativity and personal composure are critical components in any performance improvement plan.
So how can you get in that cool-headed zone that allows you to perform optimally in the gym or in competition? Be like the finest athletes and train your brain while you train your body as follows:
Positivity: If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. You can program yourself to stay positive. Oscar Wilde once noted, “If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.” Make this your focus when it comes to performance. Everyone talks to him/herself so do so in an affirming manner. Use confident goal oriented statements, such as “You will, You can, You are going to…” The second person sounds like a coach talking with you.
Visualization: See your set done before you begin. What steps are you going to take to lift, lunge, pull, push? Once it’s done in your mind, it’s easier to have your body repeat it. Visualization in any sport is a given in practice today. Picturing yourself overcoming anticipated obstacles, imagining the great feeling of success, the looks on the faces of others who celebrate your accomplishment, how you will look in the mirror, maybe even the shame you’ll feel in giving up, all help move you through the actual event. It may be a form of meditation, mental calmness, rehearsing composure, a “if plan A doesn’t work, I already know what plan B is,” approach that will take you through a tough workout. In other words, “nothing new on race day.” Visualize yourself performing the way you want to with energy, confidence and success.
Control: Staying on top of your attitude means seeing the connection between your goals and your thoughts. Is your attitude helping you feel the way you want to feel? It is helping you engage in your workout the way you want to? Is your thinking bringing you closer to your goals and dreams or further away? Are you expecting the best from yourself? If you are not moving yourself into the direction you want, try a technique called thought stopping: immediately STOP any negative thoughts by screaming to yourself as loudly as you can STOP! Once you see the red light in your head, move to a healthier set of beliefs. Ask yourself “what are the positives I see” or “how can I gain an advantage here”? It’s just a picture frame you need to change to see the picture totally different. It’s not the situation, it’s how you think about it.
Mental toughness is the key ingredient in not letting anything or anyone break you. It’s not letting anything external affect you.
Now, go hit the treadmill, resistance training, Body Pump group ex, Zumba or whatever your physical challenge is…mentally tougher than you ever thought you could be.
(ARA) – Susan Fishelberg grew up on processed food packaged for speed and convenience, so it’s no wonder she quickly developed a weight problem as a child. She spent her adult years trying to shake those pounds, falling time and again for the quick fix and “miracle” cure.
Fishelberg counted points, ate premade, portion-controlled meals and gobbled up 100 calorie snacks that were passed off as “healthy” and “natural,” though she had no idea what exactly was in them.
She kept her calories as low as 1,000 per day. She hit the gym with reckless abandon.
It all worked — for awhile.
When the pounds inevitably began to creep back, she worked out harder.
“I would get up every day and work my butt off, figuring that’s the way you lose weight,” says Fishelberg, of Plainview, N.Y. She attacked the elliptical trainer with a vengeance, pushing her heart rate until she felt nauseous.
Fishelberg finally decided to talk to a personal trainer and nutritionist at Life Time Fitness. Their advice shocked her: She needed to slow down, and eat.
Metabolic testing showed that Fishelberg, who is petite but about 17 pounds over her desired weight, needed to increase her calorie intake and decrease the pace of her exercise. She was starving herself fat on diet food.
Fishelberg is not alone. Almost one-third of U.S. adults are overweight, another third are obese. Americans spent an estimated $46 billion on diet products, much of it wasted on prepackaged food and fads. Forbes Magazine examined menus from the most popular diets and discovered dieters also spent 50 percent more per week on food, but 97 percent gained all the weight back in five years.
Now Fishelberg thinks she’s found the key. Working with her Life Time trainer and nutritionist, Fishelberg underwent an assessment that measures a person’s resting oxygen rate to help them tailor their exercise to fit their body. With help, Fishelberg received a personal program – she won’t call it a diet, it’s a new healthy lifestyle – and in 13 weeks has lost 11 pounds and, more importantly, 5 percent of her body fat.
Fishelberg replaced packaged foods with organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish. She takes herbal supplements to help with stress. A typical day’s menu might include a protein shake for breakfast, a snack of organic beef jerky and pistachios, a lunch of tuna, avocado, salad and a tortilla, another snack and salmon and broccoli for dinner.
Now on her new program, Fishelberg has learned that “I don’t have to kill myself. My trainer sends me emails telling me what kind of cardio to do every week, and how many minutes I should work in each zone. Sometimes she says, ‘I don’t want to see you in the gym on Monday, and Tuesday I only want you doing yoga.’ I feel happy.”
Stories like Fishelberg’s are common according to Tom Nikkola, director of nutrition and weight management for Life Time Fitness.
“The misconception is that it’s just about counting calories,” says Nikkola. “When people rely on processed foods, such as frozen or packaged meals, as the foundation of their diet, it’s pretty hard to make a conscious decision to improve consumption habits because most of those foods are designed to keep you eating them – and craving more.
“There is also the outdated concept that a healthy diet is a low-fat diet,” he adds. “When people are eating a lot of low-fat foods, their blood sugars are going to be up and down all day, and that’s going to contribute to cravings. Instead, if they would just focus on eating quality foods, they would be a lot more satisfied.”