Tuesday, November 25, 2008

International Experts Lead Educational Day For Health And Fitness Professionals

“Last week, Al Corniche Club was host to international health and fitness experts for the first Kuwait mini-IHRSA (International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association) conference. The four speakers delivered seminars to a wide range of Kuwait's health and fitness professionals and major players in the industry. Sharing the expertise they have gained across the world, they offered insightful statistics and helpful suggestions that may be used in Kuwait to improve health and wellness. Penny Hunking spoke about nutrition and its intrinsic link to fitness, Greg Boucher gave insights into the personal training industry, Lexie Griffiths gave an energetic seminar on the importance of children's activity programming and Doug Miller concluded with tips on how to make successful sales. Delegates at the conference came from many different health clubs in Kuwait including Fit4Fun, Platinum, Radisson SAS, Pilates & More, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Al Corniche Club. Kind sponsors of the first Kuwait mini-IHRSA conference were by Dia Behbehani (Technogym), Organic n More, Diet Care, Al Khaldiya (Life Fitness), Abhar Catering Co. & Olympia Co. (Cybex). Al Corniche Club General Manager, Gerard Oliver, was pleased with the success of the conference.’in the health and fitness industry, keeping up-to-date with developments, research and new techniques is vital. We were extremely happy to see so many professionals and companies in Kuwait taking the opportunity to educate and inform themselves further by contributing to the conference. We definitely hope to repeat the event next year.' Oliver said.”


Personal Behavior Changes Help To Avoid Diabetes - Foundation For Chiropractic Progress

“In recognition of November as National Diabetes Month, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress , a not-for- profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of chiropractic, emphasizes the role of proper diet, exercise and nutrition in preventing the onset of diabetes and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle while aggressively avoiding the use of pharmaceuticals. ‘Obesity, lack of exercise and diabetes are undeniably linked, but individuals can change their lifestyles and break this linkage,’ says Gerard W. Clum, D.C., president of Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward, Calif., and spokesperson for the Foundation. ‘Chiropractors, with an orientation to active, healthy lifestyles and personal behaviors, can help individuals to minimize the risk of diabetes - avoiding the complications of this disease, the need for prescription medications and the undesired effects related to these drugs.’ ‘As obesity numbers rise, it becomes more important than ever to maintain a healthy weight through a combination of proper diet and exercise,’ advises Dr. Clum. ‘A healthy diet emphasizing whole grains and non-starchy vegetables -- peppers, tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, and zucchini -- is a simple place to start. It's also important to make regular exercise a part of one's daily routine, a behavioral change that keeps on giving with lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar (glucose) levels--all remarkable 'returns on investment' of the effort involved.’”


IHRSA Joins Club Certification Effort

“The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is participating in the effort by NSF International, Ann Arbor, MI, to create a voluntary certification process for owners of fitness facilities. NSF International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that develops standards, product certifications and risk management for public health and safety. IHRSA will participate in the joint committee that is responsible for developing and approving the standards for fitness facilities. The American Council on Exercise is also participating in the process. IHRSA has stated that it has five guiding principles for its participation in the process. The association for for-profit facilities has said that certification standards should reflect responsible industry practices already in place and that the standards should be practical. In addition, the standards should help to increase confidence in the industry from consumers, the medical community, and employers, insurance companies and other potential third-party payers. The new facility accreditation standards are in the development process. NSF has said that the standards will contain recommendations on various components of facility design, from cleaning guidelines to court design specifications.
IHRSA is encouraging its member clubs to contact the association with input on pre-activity screening and orientation, staffing requirements, emergency and risk management procedures, and operational practices.”


Overweight Children Encouraged To Reduce Anger Expression By Exercising

“Regular exercise seems to reduce anger expression in overweight but otherwise healthy children, researchers said. The first published study on the topic looked at 208 typically sedentary 7- to 11-year-olds who participated in a 10-15 week afterschool aerobic exercise program or maintained their usual inactive routine. The Pediatric Anger Expression Scale, used to gauge common anger expressions such as slamming doors and hitting, was given before and after the program. ‘Exercise had a significant impact on anger expression in children,’ said Dr. Catherine Davis, clinical health psychologist in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. ‘This finding indicates that aerobic exercise may be an effective strategy to help overweight kids reduce anger expression and aggressive behavior.’ The finding fits with evidence that exercise reduces depression and anxiety in children and with what's considered common knowledge that exercise helps adults manage anger, she said. It also gives parents and other caregivers another reason to get and keep children moving. "I think it's reasonable to encourage children to exercise for a lot of good reasons," said Dr. Davis whose research on overweight children has shown regular physical activity not only reduces fatness but improves cognition and reduces insulin resistance - which can lead to diabetes. ‘I think if teachers could see that exercise helps kids control their behavior and get along, they would be the top proponents of physical activity for kids,’ said Dr. Davis, noting that other studies suggests overweight children are more likely to be bullies and to be bullied. High levels of anger and hostility have been associated with delinquency in children, cardiovascular disease in adults and metabolic syndrome - which can lead to heart attack, stroke and diabetes - in adolescents. The new finding, published in the November issue of Pediatric Exercise Science, appears to apply to overweight children generally, regardless of factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status or even fitness or fatness levels, the researchers wrote. In fact, even though all participants in the exercise portion lost a significant amount of weight, they remained overweight at the study's conclusion.”


World-class Body Bar Trainers Will Lead Conference

“Body Bar Systems, Inc., a premier fitness company specializing in products and educational tools for fitness enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, announced today that FTP (Fit To Perform) will be the exclusive provider of Body Bar® brand weighted bars to the fitness and club market in Japan. Body Bar classes led by world-class trainers Keli Roberts and Rob Glick will be featured during the FTP International Fitness Convention, November 24 and 25, 2008, in Tokyo, Japan. ‘We are pleased to partner with FTP Japan, a true leader in group fitness and education,’ commented Timothy Riley, managing director, Body Bar Systems. In 1991, in response to the need for new fitness instructors to have much more in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of their profession, international fitness presenter Phil Arney, M.Sc. and his business partner Jill Adams began to research, design and offer fitness instructor training programs in London, England. FTP first launched "Exercise to Music" (now known as "Group Fitness") and Gym Instructor courses, and quickly gained a reputation for producing highly skilled graduates – more than 4,000 of them - ready for hire into Europe’s top health club chains. Personal training, circuit training, water fitness, and a dozen other specialties were soon added to offer current instructors the chance to expand their careers. In 1998 FTP brought its top-quality instructor education courses to Japan. Since then FTP course directors have trained over 2,000 Japanese gym instructors, personal trainers, and Pilates instructors. Today FTP continues to focus its efforts in Asia, once again fulfilling its mission to provide instructors with the best the industry has to offer, preparing them to succeed in the exciting and ever-growing field of health and fitness. Body Bar Systems is a member of the IHRSA network, is a sponsor of the USA Women’s Wrestling team and sponsors several wrestling tournaments throughout the U.S”


Whelan In Bid For Health Club Chain

“JJB Sports founder David Whelan was being linked to a £100 million bid for the ailing sportswear firm's health club chain. Mr Whelan, owner of Premiership football club Wigan Athletic, sold his stake in JJB last year but is in talks with the club over buying the 54-strong chain, the Financial Times said. JJB is looking to generate cash to pay off a £20 million loan from failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. News of the talks emerged as rival JD Sports Fashion said it had spent £8.1 million on a 10% stake in JJB as a ‘strategic investment’. Wigan-based JJB said it had received an approach from a potential suitor on Monday. Mr Whelan was unavailable for comment. The fitness clubs, which are run alongside existing stores, have continued to deliver strong sales growth for the chain, despite tough conditions for the wider group. In the six months to July 27, the fitness clubs made profits of £7.8 million, although group losses hit £9.7 million and auditors said there was "significant doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern. JJB also said last month it had received an offer for its Lifestyle division, which includes Qube and Original Shoe Company - with JD Sports Fashion rumoured to be the potential buyer. JD's acquisition of a stake in the business means that JJB's rivals now own almost a third of the company. The move comes a month after billionaire Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International - owner of the Sports World chain - admitted a 22% interest in JJB. Shares in JJB have fallen around 75% over the past year amid bleak high street conditions. But Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan said the firm could be ‘massively undervalued’ if the group's disposals put its finances on a stronger footing.”


Monday, November 24, 2008

Gyms Weather Economic Storm

“If there's an economic slowdown, it's not apparent at places like the Hockessin Athletic Club, where people continue to plunge full speed ahead on their treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. The one spot where the slowdown may have been evident was in the orientation room, which appeared a little slower than usual. The company missed its goal for signing up new members by 50 percent in October, said co-owner Bob Carpenter. But revenue was still up from a year ago, in part because of robust activity in youth martial arts and dance classes and business at the pro shop. And new members appear to be coming in on target again this month, he said. ‘Anyone not living under a rock, they feel the stress’ of the slowdown, Carpenter said. ‘People said, 'I'm going to spend some money on myself.' It's medicine. It's good for you.’ Fitness club operators in Delaware say they're largely retaining existing customers, but new sign-ups have lagged. New and upscale clubs appear to be doing a little better. With only 15 percent of the population holding memberships to a health club, it's a lot easier to retain an existing customer than it is to get a new one, he said. Problems for the industry first appeared on the horizon last year. The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association reported that membership dropped in 2007 for the first time in more than a decade, from 42.7 million in 2006 to 41.5 million in 2007. Membership numbers were not available for Delaware, but the group said the number of Delaware health clubs has declined in the last few years. After growing from 38 clubs in 1996 to 98 in 2005, the number dropped to 88 in September 2007. Nationwide, clubs are offering deep discounts and specials to entice newly frugal customers to stay on. Rosemary Lavery, spokeswoman for the sportsclub association, said there are no indications of across-the-board membership drops, but some clubs have begun cutting back on ‘ancillary’ services, like massage and acupuncture, and limiting the amount of personal training sessions, she said. Lavery said clubs are advertising their services as a necessity, not a luxury. ‘It's a lifelong commitment, regardless of the economy,’ she said. ‘Maintaining your health is the most important thing you can do for yourself.’”


CEO Council - Health Care

“What should President Obama do? As he prepares to take office, the Wall Street Journal convened some of the country’s top CEOs and policy makers to come up with priorities for the new administration and Congress. [The #1 recommendation from the group was] ‘Fight Obesity: Use the presidential office to drive home the prevention message. Make reducing the obesity epidemic the top priority for the new surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while addressing race-based health disparities in obesity and other health care reforms.’ Jeffrey Kindler Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Inc: ‘We should be investing. We should obviously not spend money on wasteful things, but where we can invest in prevention, we must be doing so because we believe in the long run it will pay for itself. If we can’t measure that and define it, we won’t get anywhere.’ Denise Cortese, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic wrote: ‘This was an interesting discussion. It came up in the realm of prevention, but the obesity component so highly resonated with the group that it rose as a point all by itself. The issue of education, the issue of physical exercise, the issue of having physical activity as part of the school activities all became important components of this discussion, because the estimates of unfunded liabilities that we have in the future, particularly for Medicare, do not include the impact of obesity. No one's really estimated that yet.’ Senator Baucus - Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, seen as one of the top architects for health care reform efforts in the Congress, wrote: ‘I know the problem of obesity. I got to tell you, I think that it is tepid. I just don't think that a bully pulpit is going to be enough to sufficiently fight obesity. We're going to have to have incentives in here. We're going to have to have teeth in here.’ Jeffery Kindler wrote: ‘We have to really put our monies where our mouth is. If we believe that by investing in prevention and wellness, we will ultimately save money, increase productivity, increase jobs, improve the economy, then the Congressional Budget Office ought to be able to find a way to support that.’”


It's A Planet Fitness World

Judgment Free Zone Grows NH Franchise Into $48 Million Juggernaut
"[Planet Fitness] revenues increased 472 percent between 2004 and 2007 to $48.5 million in an industry that generated $18.5 billion in revenues last year. This year, the company expects revenues to reach near $100 million and net profit to hit $30 million. That growth landed it on Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing private businesses in the United States (732 overall and first among health clubs). So what's the secret? Low fees and a low tolerance for gym rat behavior. Planet Fitness's monthly fees range from $10 to $19.99 and, unlike many gyms, does not require a contract for regular members Mos. Planet Fitness also enforces a ‘Judgment Free Zone’ that prohibits grunting and dropping weights so their main clientele first-time and occasional gym users can feel comfortable working out. The company grew from five corporate clubs in NH in 2003 to 240 Planet Fitness franchises in 30 states (including 11 in NH), with 410 additional signed agreements. The club's members total 1.1 million people. In November 2006, the company acquired World Gym, a ‘muscle-head gym’ that is the antithesis of Planet Fitness, and its nearly 300 clubs, for about $10 million. Two years later, company executives are looking to sell all World Gym assets. ‘We were more excited about them than they were about us,’ says Mike Grondahl. Grondahl says the lesson was simple: ‘Never buy a competing brand.’ Instead, company founders are investing in successful Planet Fitness franchisees, a move that both helps individual franchises grow and provides the founders with an economic stake in that success. Mike Grondahl describes Planet Fitness as the ‘Wal-Mart’ of the fitness industry. Until recently, others hated them for their business model and their successes. Now, he says, ‘they accept us in the industry, but very reluctantly, like eating crushed glass.’ Unlike most other health clubs, Planet Fitness has no group exercise, no child care and no sales people. Clubs have cardio and lifting equipment in an open floor plan to allow minimal staff to keep watch over the club. When the New York Times wrote a front-page story about a former member being kicked out of a New York gym for grunting last year, Rondeau said it was the best advertising ever. ‘I wish it would happen again,’ he says of that story. ‘It just screamed everything we stood for.’ Planet Fitness clubs have an average member retention rate of 66 percent, below the 73 percent average for the 5,700 health and fitness facilities that belong to International Health Racquet and Sports Club Association, a trade association in Boston. Despite that lower retention rate, Planet Fitness's fee structure and offerings exposes them to a wider potential membership pool than most health clubs, Rondeau says. ‘People try to copy us but they can't,’ Grondahl says of their success. ‘It's a lot more complicated than it looks from the outside.’”

Business NH Magazine

High Blood Pressure Stalks Many Americans

“It's one of medicine's mantras: If you have high blood pressure, taking steps to lower it will have a dramatic impact on your risk of stroke, heart disease and more. But 70 percent of people with high blood pressure still aren't doing a good enough job controlling it, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. ‘High blood pressure is clearly associated with stroke, and it's a very preventable and treatable condition, but a lot of people still aren't doing what they should,’ said Dr. Keith Siller, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Care Center at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. Almost one in three American adults have high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. Diet, exercise, and blood-pressure lowering medications are all mainstays of blood pressure management. Many people have to take a combination of medications to properly control their blood pressure. To assess what measures those who've been diagnosed with hypertension are taking to control their high blood pressure, government researchers interviewed almost 25,000 Americans with high blood pressure. Almost all -- 98 percent -- said they were doing at least one thing to try to lower their blood pressure. Most also said they were taking some or all of the commonly recommended measures to control blood pressure. ‘The single most important thing people can do to prevent stroke is to manage their modifiable risk factors," said Dr. Bruce Silverman, a neurologist at Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Mich. ‘That means controlling blood pressure, quitting smoking, controlling blood sugar if you're diabetic, managing stress, exercising regularly, and watching your diet.’”


Exercise Keeps The Brain Young

Experiments In Mice Find Running Increases Production Of Neural Stem Cells
“In experiments in mice, exercise appears to reverse the decline in the production of brain stem cells usually seen with aging, Taiwanese researchers report. This remarkable restoration of the brain's ability to stave off aging appears to be due to exercise's ability to restore a neurochemical that is essential for the production of new brain cells. ‘As we age, the ability of producing new neurons is decreasing. However, moderate running can improve the production, survival and maturation of new neurons in the brain,’ said lead researcher Yu-Min Kuo, an associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the National Cheng Kung University Medical College in Tainan. ‘The younger one starts to run, the better.’ The report is published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.”


Globetrotting With Medway Exercise Equipment Maker Cybex

Cybex Cranks Out 20,000 Bikes And Treadmills Each Year

“These days, exercise bikes are expected to do much more, and some of the most advanced exercise bikes are made by a company called Cybex based on Trotter Drive in Medway. Cybex treadmills were once known as Trotter Treadmills, but the companies merged about 11 years ago and only the Cybex name survived. In Medway, the company makes about 20,000 exercise bikes and treadmills every year, about 40 percent of the company’s total sales, according to Arthur Hicks, the company’s president. Hicks said about 70 percent of what the company makes is sold in North America, about 55 percent of it in the U.S. The rest is shipped to every corner of the globe, where its strongest markets include the U.K., the Middle East, Japan, Korea and South America. ‘The emerging market is a great target for us, too,” Hicks said. “Poland could be a $1 million region for us.’ Part of that is because these aren’t the basic bikes or the noisy, bulky treadmills of old. The bikes and treadmills Cybex makes are commercial equipment like that you’d find in a gym or a professional sports team’s training facility. And while they tout them as being suitable for ‘those who never rode a bike before to those who are preparing for the Olympics,’ they certainly look like they mean business. Trotter Treadmills got its start in the late 1970s. ‘In the ‘70s, a treadmill was a piece of equipment for medical health. They were really basic, really durable and really ugly,’ Hicks said. And even though they’re probably lighter than my grandfather’s old exercise bike, Cybex bikes pack in a huge amount of technology to track heart rates and to keep tabs on things like how far you would’ve gone if you were on a real bike or actually walking or running. They can also be had with an ‘entertainment option.’ You guessed it: A TV complete with a headphone jack and a touch screen, so you don’t lose your balance while trying to work a remote control, I presume. That’s a sign of exercise equipment’s change from being something you’d find in a physical therapist’s office or a cardiac rehabilitation center to ‘more of a lifestyle,’ Hicks said. ‘I never thought I would be in the TV business. But there’s a broad base of users and to reach that audience, you have to keep things interesting.’”


Aquarobics May Help Ease Labor

Women Who Exercised During Pregnancy Needed Less Pain Meds, Study Found
“Doing aquarobics during pregnancy reduces the amount of pain-killing medication requested by women during labor, according to a Brazilian study that included 71 expectant mothers. Half the women were assigned to attend three 50-minute sessions a week of aquarobics during their pregnancy, while the other half acted as a control group. ‘We found no statistically significant differences in the duration of labor or they type of delivery between the two groups,’ study author Rosa Pereira, of the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo, said in a news release. ‘However, only 27 percent of women in the aquarobics group requested analgesia, compared to 65 percent in the control group. This represents a 58 percent reduction in requests.’ There's some debate about the wisdom of women exercising during pregnancy. The main concern is that exercise may interfere with fetal/placental demands and compromise fetal development or growth or increase the risk of abnormalities. Pereira and colleagues concluded that aquarobics had no harmful effect on the cardiovascular health of pregnant women and also confirmed the well-being of infants born to the mothers who did aquarobics. ‘We've shown that the regular practice of moderate water aerobics during pregnancy is not detrimental to the health of the mother or the child. In fact, the reduction in analgesia requests suggests that it can get women into better psycho-physical condition,’ Pereira said. The study was published in the journal Reproductive Health.”

Fitness Clubs Fight Unhealthy Economy

“At a time of year normally noted for people getting ready to make resolutions to get in better shape, local fitness centers are seeing declines in membership because of an unhealthy economy. To counteract the trend, Chillicothe Fitness and Racquet Club is looking to offer its customers new specials as early as the first of the year. Manager Michele Young said some of the club's members have lost jobs, and that obviously has affected their ability to maintain a membership. Those types of factors are beyond the facility's control, and Young said all operators can do is control the product they offer to the community to keep membership up. ‘We try to offer great rates and good customer service to keep our members,’ she said, adding that operators hope word about the facilities and services offered will circulate to attract new members. Elsewhere across the country, USA Today recently reported that cash-strapped customers have cut spending on spas and gyms. Beyond deep discounts, some of those gyms are adopting a recession spin: touting services as stress reducers, not indulgences, and highlighting the economic benefits of ‘wellness.’ Businesses listed on Web site SpaFinder's directory service are slashing prices, said President Susie Ellis. The number of discount deals offered on its Web site and in its e-mail newsletter is up 25 percent to 30 percent versus a year ago. Spa and health club sales for 2008 aren't in yet. But on the gym front, signs of trouble started last year. Membership dropped in 2007 for the first time in more than a decade to 41.5 million from 42.7 million in 2006, said the International Health and Racquet and Sportsclub Association.”


Friday, November 21, 2008

elements™ for Women Announces Expansion Into Vibrant, Emerging Latin American Markets

“Miami-based fitness brand elements™ has entered into a deal with prestigious development firm Feher & Feher in Mexico to launch the upscale brand in the Latin American markets. Considered one of fastest-growing economies in the world and the forefront of the lifestyle industry, entry into Latin America will significantly expand elements’ global reach within the fitness category. ‘Our Miami headquarters and multi-lingual staff uniquely position elements to lead and support growth in Latin American countries. We believe that Latin America is the next great growth area for the fitness industry and are working closely with global partners such as IHRSA to ensure that the brand can develop quickly in strategic locations,’ said elements™ brand director, Christopher Palumbo. elements™ already has franchises in development in several world markets such as India, Canada, and Eastern Europe. The brand continues to expand into lucrative international fitness markets and strengthen global ties. The elements™ international franchise division is also currently in talks to announce signature clubs in Kuwait, Dubai, Australia, and nearly every major city of Canada by the end of the year. Palumbo states, ‘U.S. fitness brands do extraordinarily well with international consumers. It is the theory that ‘geography builds credibility’. By partnering with elements™, these international locations will build fast credibility and association.’ The elements fitness brand differs from other health club providers with its balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle: body, beauty and mind. Relying on expert guidance and support, elements™ creates a platform for women to come together in an environment of health and wellness. The brand also features an online magazine and media channel, elements living, a full-service interactive diet program, BalanceD™, and a full retail line. Teaming with elements™ in this expansion into Latin America is the international franchise agency Feher & Feher. The Mexico-based firm will assist in the translation of websites and manuals into Spanish and Portuguese, as well as work with elements™ on local cultural marketing translation and international franchise consultation.”


Switching Seasons Means Kicking Up Your Activity

“In the past few weeks, I've had numerous people come up to me and say, ‘Now that fall is here, I can't seem to get into a regular exercise program!’ When there is a shift in weather, there is a definite shift in lifestyle, just a natural effect. Unfortunately, for many people the after-dinner walks in the spring and summer dissipate and outside activities such as gardening and swimming are pushed aside until warmer weather returns, typically half a year away. Therefore, if you find that fall brings you indoors and you're more prone to sit versus doing a sit-up, perhaps you should approach exercise with a different mind-set. When you go to the gym or go out for a walk, it is conscious exercise. In other words, you have set aside your specific days and times to walk, go to yoga class or whatever activity fills your calendar, you're there. Exercise has become more of a conscious commitment, which means we no longer seek out everyday opportunities for moving our body, also known as subconscious exercise. Let me explain: When I was younger, I played outside; we didn't have video games or computers. My mother cleaned our house, hung laundry out to dry and did some yard work. All of those activities fall under the category of subconscious exercise. Today, kids don't play outside like they used to, many are in organized sports and then its homework (typically three to four hours worth) and sedentary activities. In households where both parents work, typically they do not clean their own homes, mow their own lawns and they certainly don't hang laundry outside. In other words, subconscious exercise is minimal, if at all.We have certainly watched the girth of our nation expand along with hours that people sit. Therefore, we have to find creative ways to become more subconsciously active, but it can only happen when conscious exercise commitments come in to play. Take a look at your lifestyle: How many hours of conscious exercise are you getting? Ideally it should be about three hours a week (180 minutes), which really isn't that much when you consider the average American spends about 170 minutes a day watching TV and 101 minutes driving, according to a 2006 International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association report. If you are able to commit to conscious exercise, it will be enhanced by including subconscious exercise habits, which was the norm 25 to 30 years ago. Find the areas in your life where you can naturally become more active. If you can strike a balance between conscious and subconscious activity, your body will thank you!”

Naperville Sun

The Fitness Pioneer

“The latest Madonna song is pounding through the speakers at California Wow Xperience as hundreds of young bodies shake and shimmy. On the walls of the cavernous Ho Chi Minh City space, flat screens feature the Fashion TV channel as a style guide. A disco or nightclub? No, it's the newest arm of Asia's pathbreaking gym impresario. Eric Mark Levine, the creator of California Wow, calls it the place ‘to see and to be seen.’ Bridging exercise and entertainment was the concept Levine used to start his first fitness spot in Hong Kong 12 years ago. His latest incarnation has opened two spots in the former Saigon this year. All told, 143,000 people work out at centers under Levine's brands in Asia today--a figure he says is growing 40% a year. A publicly traded piece of it in Thailand reported revenues of $25 million and scant profits of $148,000 for the first six months of 2008. Modern workout clubs can be found across big Asian cities today--not just California Wow, but others such as Fitness First, True Fitness and Celebrity Fitness. They're now part of the urban middle-class experience, though still less so than in the U.S. Levine, born in Canada 53 years ago, founded his first fitness centers there but saw the payoff from their mainstream appeal in California in the early 1990s. There he helped build a chain that was sold in 1995 to Mark Mastrov's 24 Hour Fitness. This established a pattern in which Levine, now a resident of Thailand, lays tracks for the 50-year-old San Franciscan, with whom he often partners. Mastrov returns the favor: ‘Eric is opening up clubs in Asia more than anyone. He is the pioneer in Asia.’ First there was California Fitness in Hong Kong. ‘I saw a lot of people so well dressed, brand-name conscious, and there was no major fitness center except those in the five-star hotels. I thought: 'This is the place I want to start!'’ California Fitness had opened three other spots in Hong Kong and Singapore and was headed to other venues when it, too, was sold to Mastrov's company. Levine took his burly body and infectious ‘Wow!’ chatter on to Bangkok. In 2001 he started again with California Wow, this time with Mastrov as a partner from the start. The fitness club business is notoriously volatile and California Wow is not immune. A foray early on into Seoul was sold to a Korean company, which then folded. Even health brands can be churned by their owners. But Levine is pumped to expand Cali Wow (as it's familiarly called) farther into Southeast Asia and beyond into India and the Middle East within a year. For those who prefer a more zenlike experience, his centers already include Planet Yoga areas that offer a sweaty ambience called ‘hot yoga,’ which is said to especially focus the mind. It also seems to have drawn a lawsuit from Bikram Yoga, a yoga outfit out of Los Angeles whose founding yogi--Bikram Choudhury--alleges Levine & Co. breached an agreement and then infringed on his copyright. The case is due for trial soon. Neither that nor the bad karma of a looming recession in much of Asia daunts California Wow. In fact, partner Mastrov says, people tend to go to the gym more when there is a business slowdown.”


Self Weighing Could Help Teens Achieve Healthy Weight Control

“Overweight teens who weigh themselves at least once a week are more likely to engage in other healthy weight control measures than teens who step on the scale less frequently, according to a new small study. Self-weighing can be a successful tool for adults, but some concern exists that recommending the behavior could backfire with teens who struggle with obesity. ‘The fear is that an excessive focus on weight from frequent self-weighing may place teens at greater risk for engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors and for developing an eating disorder,’ said Mary Alm, Ph.D., lead study author, with the University of Minnesota. However, that was not the case for study participants. The study, published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, followed the behavior of 130 teens who were in the 85th percentile for body mass index (BMI) during the past two years. Of the teens, 43 percent weighed themselves frequently and 57 percent were infrequent self-weighers. Frequent self-weighers had a lower average weight, 180.3 pounds, whereas the infrequent weighers averaged 187.6 pounds. Frequent weighers were more likely to have lost 10 pounds in the past two years. The study also suggests that frequent self-weighers tend to eat fewer calories, consume less fatty food and junk food, and are more likely to stick to a structured diet.”


Precor Names New England, New York Metro Home Fitness Dealer

“Precor has selected a group including HEST Fitness Products ownership and a longtime Precor sales executive to represent Precor home fitness equipment in New England, the New York metro area and northern New Jersey. Plans call for eight to twelve licensed Precor Home Fitness locations to be launched before year-end. Proven through a pilot project in the Seattle area, the Precor Home Fitness retail environment offers a deeper customer experience and leverages the power of Precor's market recognition. The ownership group, headed by Bruce Thaler of HEST Fitness Products of Texas, includes Mike Connolly, a highly regarded Precor veteran responsible for Precor dealer relations in the New England area for 15 years. HEST currently operates a successful chain of 14 fitness equipment stores throughout Texas. ‘We're looking forward to collaborating closely with this new group, which has substantial financial and management capabilities, and a tremendous understanding of our products and customer,’ said Precor Vice President of Sales Larry Domingo. ‘Together, we're committed to launching the Precor Home Fitness model in these markets, and recharge the connection between the customer experience delivered at the retail level, and expectations of the Precor brand,’ Domingo added.”


Precor Selects Sport Chalet for California, Arizona and Nevada

“Global fitness equipment leader Precor has named leading West Coast sporting goods retailer Sport Chalet to represent Precor's line of premium home fitness equipment throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. Sport Chalet's 55 stores are distinguished by a specialty retail approach that features top brands within each sports category. Sport Chalet currently offers an entry-level selection of home exercise equipment, with Precor cardio and strength brought in as the premier exercise equipment offering. Precor equipment will be distributed though the Sport Chalet network in a phased roll-out beginning with 15-25 locations before the end of the year.”


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Dieting Cheat Sheet

“Are you overweight? Have you just lost weight? With the holidays here, watch out. It is not going to be easy. A recent study conducted by Brown Medical School and reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that people who were formerly overweight, even though they exercised more and paid more attention to weight and eating during the holidays, still gained weight. Imagine if they didn't pay attention! According to Hollie Raynor, Ph.D., R.D., a psychologist at University of Tennessee and study co-author, ;There are more temptations around that encourage eating, so putting things in place to minimize the temptations is important -- and if they were not there, the holidays could be even more challenging.’ Here is a ‘cheat sheet’ to help you get a jump-start on that New Year's resolution. If there was ever a time to increase your exercise, it's now. Try going to the mall a few times a week - just to walk. Join a gym for the month. Even if you're visiting family, make sure to investigate a month- or week-long membership. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Passport Program gives members of participating IHRSA clubs guest privileges at over 3,000 clubs worldwide. Find a club by going to www.healthclubs.com/passport. Have a bit of extra cash? Hire a personal trainer three days a week for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Look for someone who is certified by one or more of the following organizations: American Council on Exercise (ACE), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). See if you can work a deal that gives you 20 sessions for $1,000. This could be the best holiday gift you ever give yourself. Plus, if you prepay the trainer you'll be less likely to cancel the sessions. There's nothing like money to get us motivated.”


Yoga In A Chair - Modified Moves Help With Flexibility, Relaxation

“If the idea of getting down on the floor to strike a yoga pose makes you say, ‘Ouch!’ instead of ‘Om!’ you can bypass mats and go directly to chairs at Urban Active. The Louisville-area health club offers a 45-minute ‘Ch. Oga’ class -- the name rhymes with yoga -- and it's literally yoga in a chair.‘It's a very beginner yoga class,’ said Jill Correll, an instructor at the club's St. Matthews location. ‘We don't get down on the floor. We do not take off our shoes.’ ‘They're doing the same poses that you would do in a regular yoga class; they're just modified, and that's to incorporate the chair,’ said Tara Schwartz, a group fitness director for Urban Active. The chairs come in handy when participants are asked to do some of the more challenging moves, such as balancing on one leg. Any Urban Active member can participate, but the class is aimed at older people, new exercisers and anyone who's overweight, Schwartz said. Some participants are from the Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program, which provides free health-club memberships to older adults enrolled in certain health plans. Experience is not needed to take the class. ‘It doesn't matter what level you're at,’ Schwartz said. ‘You can start and stop at any time.’ Potential benefits of taking Ch. Oga include better strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and posture, she said. The class also can be soothing. ‘For that time that you're in the class, you're focused on breathing, you've kind of let everything else go, and it's kind of just about body awareness, about where you are right then,’ she said. ‘And the breathing is huge. If you can assist someone in breathing properly, that can relieve their stress.’ ‘It's different than anything we've done before, but they're very good at explaining it,’ said Selene Spiegel of Prospect, Ky. She takes the class with her husband, Sandy, 82, and likes the idea of having a chair, ‘in case you can't do it all.’ Though there are a few tricky moves, they're not mandatory.’ ‘You do what you can, and you don't worry about it,’ said Sandy Spiegel. He said the class is helping him cope with rheumatoid arthritis by keeping him limber. For Phillips, his classmate, Ch. Oga is more about ‘deep relaxation.’ After taking it, she said, her ‘road rage’ disappears and she's more productive. ‘You get more done after you spend time here,’ she said. ‘You're just more centered.’”


No Sweat: Obamas Work Fitness Into Daily Routine

“Both President-elect Barack Obama and the future first lady have exercise routines that would put most people to shame. Michelle Obama used to join a friend for 4:30 a.m. workouts, and Barack Obama usually starts his day in the gym. Michelle Obama has hosted ‘The View,’ been interviewed on ‘60 Minutes,’ graced the cover of Newsweek and hit the campaign trail, all with her buff arms bared. ‘One of the things I always talk about is got to exercise,’ the 44-year-old mother of two told an overwhelmingly female crowd at a campaign event last year in Chicago. That's sure to continue when the Obamas and their girls — 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha — move into the White House, which has plenty of places for them to stay active. Fitness is a tradition for residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. President George W. Bush is an avid mountain biker, former President Bill Clinton jogged around Washington and former President George H.W. Bush liked to golf and jog, play tennis and pitch horseshoes. ‘Most of my workouts have to come before my day starts,’ Barack Obama, 47, told Men's Health magazine in an interview for its November issue. ‘There's always a trade-off between sleep and working out. Usually I get in about 45 minutes, six days a week. I'll lift one day, do cardio the next.’ His preference, he said, would be to work out for 90 minutes. On the campaign trail, even during the busiest periods, Obama made it a priority to start the day with a workout. That often meant a small motorcade of Secret Service agents and reporters following him to a local gym. The president-elect has said his favorite fitness activity is basketball, and the game became a kind of campaign ritual. He got in the habit of shooting hoops with friends on the days of primary elections, and that carried over to such major events as his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention and Election Day. Michelle Obama is equally devoted to her fitness routine, telling People magazine this summer that she manages a 90-minute workout three times a week. Friend Sandy Matthews, who used to work out with her at 4:30 a.m., said the future first lady is a fan of cross-training, a mix of strength and cardio exercises usually involving weights, the treadmill, the stair-stepper or a spin bike.”


Obama Picks Daschle As Health Secretary-Official

“Barack Obama has chosen former U.S. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle as his top official to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, two Democratic sources said on Wednesday. As Health and Human Services secretary, Daschle will play a central role in the president-elect's plans to extend healthcare coverage to the 47 million Americans -- nearly one-sixth of the population -- who lack medical insurance. Daschle, of South Dakota, was an early supporter of Obama's, encouraging the first-term senator from Illinois to make his presidential run. He is currently head of Obama's healthcare policy group as the president-elect prepares to take office on Jan. 20. Daschle would be a high-profile pick to head an agency that oversees existing healthcare programs like Medicare, which are expected to see their costs balloon as the U.S. population ages. Daschle, who was elected to the Senate in 1986, was the top Democrat in the Senate between 1994 and 2004, and majority leader when Democrats controlled the chamber between 2001 and 2003. He was a member of the House of Representatives for eight years before becoming a senator. Since losing his re-election bid in 2004, Daschle has worked as a public policy advisor for the law firm Alston and Bird. He was not immediately available for comment. Daschle was reported to be a candidate for Obama's chief of staff before that job went to Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel.”


The Government's Obesity Strategy, More Of The Same Rhetoric - British Medical Journal

Nigel Hawkes chronicles a decade of the UK Government's attempts to tackle obesity, including its latest bid to turn the tide on obesity ‘which is so smothered in jargon’ that it is hard to understand. He says: ‘The danger of wrapping an issue such as obesity up in the language of sociology and systems analysis is that it all begins to seem impossibly complicated.’ ‘It is as if one needs to solve all the problems of society in order to tackle one relatively small sub-problem.’ ‘So the Government's strategy includes food supply, education, the design of towns, primary care, walking kids to school, tackling false perceptions, counselling, old Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all.’”


Sport Supplement May Help Shield Seniors From Falls

“The dietary supplement beta-alanine (BA) -- widely used by athletes and body builders -- improves muscle endurance in the elderly, according to U.S. researchers. The finding ‘could have importance in the prevention of falls, and the maintenance of health and independent living in elderly men and women,’ said study author Jeffrey Stout of the University of Oklahoma. BA is an amino acid that helps form carnosine, which plays a major role in normal muscle function during intense exercise. The more BA, the higher carnosine levels in muscles, the researchers said. In this study, Stout and his colleagues assessed the fitness levels of 26 elderly men and women before and after they took BA supplements or placebo pills for 90 days. They found a 67 percent improvement in the fitness levels of those who took BA, compared to a 21.5 percent improvement in the placebo group. ‘Our data suggest that 90 days of BA supplementation increased physical working capacity in elderly men and women,’ the study authors wrote. ‘These findings are clinically significant, as a decrease in functional capacity to perform daily living tasks has been associated with an increase in mortality, primarily due to increased risk of falls.’ The study was published online this month in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.”


Schools To Get Free Fruit, Vegetables From EU

“Millions of school children will receive free fruit and vegetables from next year under a scheme approved by European Union agriculture ministers on Wednesday to promote healthy eating and tackle child obesity. The scheme, authored by EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, earmarks 90 million euros ($114 million) a year to help pay for and distribute fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, starting in the 2009/2010 school year. EU countries will get half their costs paid by Brussels and have to foot the bill for the other half themselves. They will be able to restrict national programmes to EU-grown fruit or import, depending on price, availability and seasonality. More economically disadvantaged areas, along with "outermost regions" such as Madeira and overseas French territories like Martinique, will get 75 percent of the bill paid by EU money. Although the scheme is voluntary, EU countries will also be able, if they wish, to require compulsory parental contributions for their national programmes, as well as add extra cash themselves from national coffers. ‘Giving kids good habits at an early age is crucial as they will carry these into later life. Too many of our children eat far too little fruit and vegetables and often don't realise how delicious they are,’ Fischer Boel said in a statement. ‘You only have to walk down any high street in Europe to see the extent of the problems we face with overweight kids. Now we can do something about it,’ she said. Many EU countries already have fairly successful subsidised fruit and vegetable programmes in schools but others, such as in central and eastern Europe, lack such schemes. One of its main aims is to halt the EU's alarming trend in obesity, especially among children. An estimated 22 million children in the EU are overweight. More than 5 million of these are obese and this figure is due to rise by 400,000 every year. Most Europeans fail to meet the World Health Organisation's recommendation of 400 grams for daily fruit and vegetable consumption, with the downward trend particularly evident among the young, European Commission experts say. Greece has by far the highest daily intake of fruit and vegetables in the EU, then Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Denmark; Slovakia ranks bottom of the table, while France and the Netherlands just about reach the WHO target.”


Implementing A Ban On Fast Food TV Advertising Would Reverse Childhood Obesity Trends

"A ban on fast food advertisements in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18 percent, according to a new study being published this month in the Journal of Law and Economics. The study also reports that eliminating the tax deductibility associated with television advertising would result in a reduction of childhood obesity, though in smaller numbers."


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Luxury Fitness Centers Pumping Up Dallas Presence

“Dallas residents may have a hard time finding an excuse not to be in shape, given a building boom for fitness centers. Dozens of centers are opening across the Dallas area, with the growth led by luxury newcomers such as Equinox and the Sports Club/LA. In addition, existing clubs, such as 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness, are expanding. ‘Dallas-Fort Worth should soon become the healthiest city in the country because every major fitness chain has decided to expand here,’ said Vaughn Miller, president of developer Henry S. Miller's retail division. ‘You won't be able to drive a mile without running into a health club. The fitness expansion craze reminds me a little of the video store craze of the '90s, but hopefully it will turn out with a healthier result.’ The Dallas-Fort Worth area has more than 100 commercial health clubs, almost double the number five years ago, estimated Jeff Kittleson, a senior vice president for real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis. Texas has more than 2,000 fitness centers, ranking No. 2 after California, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Officials of the Los Angeles-based Sports Club Co. and New York-based Equinox Fitness Clubs think the luxury fitness market is underserved here. The two clubs, which boast celebrity members, cost hundreds of dollars to join plus monthly dues of about $130 for amenities such as a spa, dining options and child care, compared with monthly dues of less than $50 at some other clubs.”


Gyms Deals In Genesee County Area Offer Healthy Options For Your Workout -- And Your Wallet

“Fitness centers and health clubs (including new ones that have recently opened) are advertising good deals, often with low monthly fees and without contracts, to entice us to get off the couch and onto the treadmill. So if you're ready to lace up your sneakers and grab that water bottle, how do you choose the right gym, the best gym for you? If you're cost conscious (and who isn't these days), you'll first probably want to consider the money you'll spend. Is there a joining fee (sometimes these can be pricey) or a cancellation fee and what about the monthly fee? What about contracts? Will you be locked into a year or more term or can you go month-to-month? Michigan-based Fitness USA, including its location on Miller Road in Flint Township, cut its pricing in half to $19 a month in July and did away with contracts. It charges a $49 initiation fee. ‘I think these are uncertain times,’ said Tom Vaught, Fitness USA's executive vice president. ‘I think it's important particularly in Michigan to not get involved in a contract.’ Vaught said he made the change to respond to the economy and make fitness affordable to more people. ‘Five dollars a week is less than it costs for a combo meal at McDonald's,’ he said. Once you've gotten the pricing points, what does your membership include? Are there classes and do they cost extra? What about personal trainers? Maybe your barrier to hitting the elliptical machine is no baby-sitter. A number of gyms, including some locally, offer child care services. A club's location also is important, experts and club members say. If the gym is a far drive from your house or work, you may skip it. And skip it. See the pattern? You also want to consider the hours of a facility and make sure they jive with your schedule and when you'd want to use the center. Rosemary Lavery, a spokesperson for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, said figuring out what kind of facility you want such as a women's only or 24-hour facility will help in your decision making. ‘You want to make sure you have all the right information,’ Lavery said. ‘If you're not comfortable, don't sign anything on the spot.’”


Elderly Cancer Survivors' Physical Function Improved By Home-Based Diet And Exercise Intervention

“A home-based program to improve exercise and diet led to significant, clinically meaningful improvement in body weight and physical function among older long-term cancer survivors in preliminary findings from the RENEW (Reach-out to ENhancE Wellness) trial, according to Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's Department of Behavioral Science. The data are being presented at the seventh annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Conference.”


Weight Loss, Quality Of Life Improved By Physical Activity After Bariatric Surgery

“A new study by researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine suggests increased physical activity after bariatric surgery can yield better postoperative outcomes. According to the study, published online by the journal Obesity, previously inactive patients who became physically active after bariatric surgery lost more weight and achieved greater improvements in quality of life than those patients who remained inactive. ‘Bariatric surgery is quickly emerging as a standard treatment for severe obesity, although weight loss outcomes vary. These results suggest that patient behavior, particularly physical activity, may promote both enhanced weight loss and greater improvements in health-related quality of life following bariatric surgery,’ says lead author Dale Bond, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. Overall, researchers observed a positive relationship between changes in physical activity and improved bariatric outcomes. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of those individuals who went from being inactive before surgery to highly active one year afterward lost an additional 13.2 lbs, reduced their BMI by two more units and lost eight percent more of their excess weight compared to those who remained inactive after surgery. This group also increased their daily physical activity duration from an average of less than 10 minutes before surgery to approximately two hours postoperatively.”


Obesity Rates Continue To Climb Throughout The Western World

“In a current health news report titled ‘Obesity: An Ounce of Prevention,’ Vision.org life and health writer Alice Abler explores the history of obesity research and awareness, exploring what individuals can do to avoid becoming a future obesity statistic. Beginning with former United States Surgeon General David Satcher's 2001 ‘Call to Action,’ one of the first public discussions of obesity statistics as a public threat; Vision.org discusses the high obesity rates that plague the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia; and ends with some of the latest health news on obesity research. Paradoxically, obesity rates are a major social issue, yet each individual holds a personal key to reversing these unhealthy statistics. The good news is that despite the implications of current obesity rates, obesity research and obesity statistics, there are practical ways of breaking the cycle. Each of us can flex our power on an individual level by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Vision emphasizes that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ and stresses the need to educate and prepare the next generation to take care of their health and ensure they understand the value of maintaining a healthy weight. The role of parents cannot be overemphasized in setting an example of good health, and long-term healthy weight is a result of healthy eating and healthy activity. Vision suggests that the family unit is the ideal training ground for children, and that teaching them about health is of primary importance. The obesity rates of the future, whether disturbingly high or comfortably low, hinge upon what we model for our children today.”


A Quarter Of Children Who Sleep Fewer Than 10 Hours A Night Become Overweight By The Age Of 6

“Between the ages of six months and six years old, close to 90 percent of children have at least one sleep-related problem. Among the most common issues are night terrors, teeth-grinding and bed-wetting. For the majority, it's simply a stage that passes. But at least 30 percent of children in this age group have difficulties sleeping six consecutive hours - either because they can't fall into slumber or they can't stay asleep. While the effects of lack of sleep on learning are well documented, researchers at the Université de Montréal have found sleepless children can become overweight and hyperactive. Jacques Montplaisir, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and director of Sleep Disorders Center at Sacré-Coeur Hospital said that 26 percent of children that sleep fewer than 10 hours a night between two and half years and six years are overweight. The figure drops to 15 percent of those that sleep 10 hours and falls to 10 percent among those that sleep 11 hours. The research team analyzed a sample of 1,138 children and found: 26 percent of kids who didn't sleep enough were overweight, 18.5 percent carried extra weight, while 7.4 percent were obese. The relationship between sleep and weight could be explained by a change in the secretion of hormones that's brought on by lack of sleep. ‘When we sleep less, our stomach secretes more of the hormone that stimulates appetite,’ Montplaisir explains. ‘And we also produce less of the hormone whose function is to reduce the intake of food.’”


15.6% Of Hawaii's Public High School Students Obese - 5,600 Students Attempted Suicide Within Past Year

“The latest Department of Health (DOH) data report on youth shows that an estimated 7,300 of Hawai'i's public high school students are obese (15.6%). Additionally, an estimated 5,600 students reported attempting suicide within the past year, a statistic that shows Hawai'i's youth are at greater risk than the national average. However, the findings of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) showed Hawai'i youth's decline in risky health behaviors, such as tobacco, alcohol and other drug use. ‘While the survey shows Hawai'i's youth are doing well overall, we are concerned as public health professionals about some key findings, particularly, poor nutrition, obesity and youth suicide,’ stated Director of Health Chiyome Fukino, M.D. ‘These results show us that we need to continue to stress primary prevention in the community and classrooms.’ Overall Hawai'i's high school students report drinking less milk, eating fewer fruits and vegetables, and being less physically active than students in the U.S. mainland. (See attached Table 1.) Data from the YRBS illustrates the need for the continued implementation of policies and programs that promote good nutrition and physical activity.”


Breast Cancer Prevention Differences In Postmenopausal Women Following Calorie Restriction And Exercise

“Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have identified pathways by which a reduced-calorie diet and exercise can modify a postmenopausal woman's risk of breast cancer. The results, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, suggest that both caloric restriction and exercise affect pathways leading to mTOR, a molecule involved in integrating energy balance with cell growth. Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway is a contributing factor to various human diseases, including cancers. Diet and exercise reach mTOR through different means, with calorie restriction affecting more upstream pathways, which could explain why caloric restriction is more efficient in delaying tumor growth than exercise in animal models. ‘One of the few breast cancer modifiable risk factors is obesity,’ said lead author Leticia M. Nogueira, Ph.D., a research graduate assistant at the University of Texas. ‘Our study may provide a good scientific basis for medical recommendations. If you're obese, and at high risk for breast cancer, diet and exercise could help prevent tumor growth.’”


Monday, November 17, 2008

Gyms, Spas Stress Value Of Fighting Stress In Hard Times

“As cash-strapped customers cut spending, spas and gyms are doing all they can to keep a place in people's budgets. Beyond deep discounts, some are adopting a recession spin: touting services as stress reducers, not indulgences, and highlighting the economic benefits of ‘wellness.’ A Gold's Gym program — deemed ‘Fat-O-Nomics’ — centers on money people can save by shedding excess weight. One stat: Being 50 pounds overweight burns nine extra gallons of gasoline per year. ‘The cost of a lot of goods has gone up,’ spokesman Dave Reiseman says. ‘We're aware that there are stories out there asking, 'Is the gym membership worth it?' The Westin New York in Times Square has turned layoffs into sales opportunity. A ‘pink slip pick-me-up’ spa promotion gives 20% off a facial from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. ‘If you're unemployed, you need a pick-me-up — and you need to look good on your interviews,’ spa director Nicole Morris says. As spa owners ‘feel the pinch’ of consumer cutbacks, they're also all aggressively touting good, old-fashioned discounts via e-mail blasts and website updates, says Larry Oskin, spokesman for the Day Spa Association. Businesses listed on website SpaFinder's directory service are slashing prices, President Susie Ellis says. The number of discount deals offered on its website and in its e-mail newsletter is up 25% to 30% vs. a year ago. Spa and health club sales for 2008 aren't in yet. But on the gym front, signs of trouble started last year. Membership dropped in 2007 for the first time in more than a decade to 41.5 million from 42.7 million in 2006, says the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Debbie Goldman of Manhasset Hills, N.Y., is keeping up her gym routine, but saving. She was an off-and-on-again member of upscale gym chain Equinox for more than 10 years, but when she got her $1,500 yearly renewal bill in September, she decided it was ‘too extravagant in these times.’ She opted for an LA Fitness chain offer of two years for $1,200. To cater to current clients — and lure new ones — Equinox is one of the gyms playing up ‘mind-body balance’ in stressful times.”


Larry King And Health Leaders Address Child And Adult Obesity In Our Communities

“Healthcare leaders gathered at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California Health Science campus to discuss the critical issue of obesity and the challenges it brings to uninsured, under-insured, and lower-income communities. According to LA Public Health, one out of every five adults in LA County is obese (2005). ‘Obesity is the most common answer I am hearing to my questions about the state of poor health in the United States, especially in our young kids. It is critical for us to better educate families on how to eat better and give people better tools to help themselves. To hear that our kids' lifespan is going to be shorter than their parents' due to poor eating habits is unthinkable. We have to do something,’ said Larry King, talk show host and founder of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. The Southern California Health Leadership Panel's meeting - Health Crisis: Obesity and its Effect on Public Health Care Systems. What's Next? - was hosted by Larry King and the Larry King Cardiac Foundation in partnership with Los Angeles-based COPE Health Solutions, the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Healthcare Network and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Today's panel is meant to raise awareness of a health crisis that is preventable if children and adults have access to knowledge and health care critical to maintaining a healthy way of living. Being overweight or obese accounts for an estimated 3.43 billion in health care expenditures annually, or 9% of total health care costs (LA Public Health, 2003).”


Les Mills, Toned?

“New Zealand–based Les Mills is becoming a global fitness phenomenon by not operating gyms, manufacturing equipment or even making garments. Les Mills has found an unexploited slice of the fitness industry and attached its brand to it. It collects fees from thousands of gyms around the world, has raised the popularity of group fitness classes, and has attracted a loyal following amongst gymgoers and trainers alike. By any measure, the rise of Les Mills is impressive, but it’s not without its challenges. Les Mills’ products—choreographed fitness moves with accompanying music—are a global fitness phenomenon. Around the world, gym and fitness center customers are jumping, leaping and stretching to classes designed and produced by this Kiwi business. At face value, Les Mills has exploited changes in the macro environment (the desire for personal fitness and well-being, the combination of popular music with exercise, the growth of solo exercise). But there is so much more to this story. Not only has Les Mills directly contributed to the growth of the group fitness market, but it has also accessed economies of scale, operated strategically to position itself structurally, and played a very smart game with its customers. Much of this depends upon judicious use of its brand. Not content to be a mere supplier of routines and prerecorded music to gyms and trainers, Les Mills has built a consumer-facing brand. As a result, within a great many gyms today, a tiny but critical part of the gymgoing experience—the classes—are branded Les Mills. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association magazine has described Les Mills as ‘doing for group exercise what McDonald’s did for hamburgers.’ And the analogy runs deep. Production costs are (one assumes) very low because of massive economies of scale (designing and recording one ‘class’ for hundreds of thousands of gym patrons). So far, despite low costs, customers have shown they are willing to pay more for a tried-and-trusted brand.”


Kids Are Active But Not Eating Their '5-A-Day' According To UK Study

“Most children are still failing to eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day, though their levels of physical activity do meet current Government recommendations, according to the SPEEDY study (Sport, Physical activity and Eating behaviour: Environmental Determinants in Young people). The original results for the study are published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. The aim of the SPEEDY study was to generate valid data about current diet and exercise patterns, and the factors that are most strongly associated with them. The authors sought to better understand why some children have a healthier lifestyle than others so that they can promote changes in important health behaviors. They write, ‘Our results showed that more than two-thirds of children adhere to the physical activity guideline of accumulating at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, but that daily consumption of fruit or of vegetables was only reported by 56.8% and 49.9% of the children, respectively.’”


Health Tip: Exercising With Back Pain

Proper Activity Can Help Prevent A Relapse
“If you have chronic back pain, it can periodically put you out of commission and onto the couch. Once you're feeling better, exercise can help prevent another bout with an aching back. You should always check with your doctor before you begin any new activity. But here are some general guidelines about exercise and back pain, courtesy of the University of Michigan Health System:
• Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming or biking generally are safe for a sore back.
• If your muscles feel sore or tight, take a warm shower before exercising.
• Wear loose clothing, and don't wear shoes.
• Stop any exercise that causes pain
• Avoid exercises such as sit-ups, hip twists, toe touches, or any that involve backward arching.
• Avoid impact sports such as soccer, football and volleyball.
• Avoid any activity that may stress your back, such as lifting heavy weights.”


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Buzz: New Gym Hopes To Go The Distance

“One would expect that if three marathoners got together to open a health club, it would be well run. That’s the intention of three athletic women who will helm the new Lake Park Swim & Fitness, an upscale full-service gym with a pool that opens Monday at 5 a.m. in Menasha. The gym’s three operating partners — Megan Collins, Felicia Christianson and Jane Dias — intend to give the place a new management style as on-site owners. ‘We’re focusing on service and making it a place where members have a sense of belonging,’ Collins said. Right now, they’re putting final touches on the facility at 730 Lake Park Road, the former Athletica Fitness, which operated from September 2003 to May 2007 before going into receivership and closing. The gym had been financed by the city to be a draw for lot sales in its upscale Lake Park Villas residential development and was previously run by the city’s development partner, Wisco Enterprises. The three new owners, plus six silent investors, put $875,000 into the purchase of the land, building and equipment. They brought the opening cost to nearly $1 million by sprucing up the facility, making some fixes to the pool and turning the separate clubhouse into a child care building. So far, they say response to the reopening has been positive. ‘We sold 300 memberships the first day, many of them to previous members,’ said Collins. They now have about 350 individual, couple and family memberships. Dias said that translates to about 450 members. ‘What we’re doing differently is memberships are month-to-month and don’t require a contract,’ said Christianson. Nationally, health clubs have seen a slight dip in membership numbers in the most recent statistics available. Total memberships nationwide dropped about 3 percent to 41.5 million in 2007, the first decline in a decade, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a trade group representing health clubs. ‘Some clubs are affected, but it’s a statistically insignificant change because revenues have gone up from $17.6 billion in 2006 to $18.5 billion in 2007,’ said IHRSA spokeswoman Kara Thompson. ‘We’re seeing members put more money into non-dues items, like personal training, massage and nutritional counseling.’ She said even in this tough economy, many people view gym memberships as a preemptive measure to avoid chronic problems down the road. ‘It’s not a luxury,’ she said. “It’s an investment in their health.’”


Unique IHRSA Event To Be Hosted By Al Corniche Club

“In conjunction with IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, Al Corniche Club has organized a cutting edge, informative conference for Kuwait's health and fitness professionals. On the 18th November, 2008, Al Corniche Club will host four international health and fitness experts to deliver seminars designed to improve the awareness of health and wellness in Kuwait and offer those in the industry valuable insights of how to build on their expertise and advance their businesses. This event is sponsored by Dia Behbehani (Technogym), Organic n More, Diet Care and Al Khaldiya (Life Fitness) and will be attended by representatives from health clubs across Kuwait including Platinum, Radisson SAS, Pilates & More and Hilton Resort. Anyone involved in the health and fitness industry: school teachers, dietitians, personal trainers, group fitness instructors, sales executives and health club representatives are welcome to attend this unique and educational conference. The event will allow professionals an opportunity to engage in a range of topics from how to build a motivated personal training team, how to create a successful children's programme, how to drive sales to the importance of healthy nutrition. This exclusive event has been organized to benefit health, fitness and educational professionals in Kuwait. It is hoped that this initiative will be the first of many events to educate and inform individuals of better lifestyle options.”


Post-Workout Snack May Hamper Weight Loss

It's Smart For Athletes, Not So Smart For Average Gym-Goer, Studies Show

“Elite athletes are advised to ‘fill the tank’ with an energy bar or sports drink soon after a workout. But for mere mortals -- folks who are simply trying to keep their weight in check or stave off heart disease -- adding calories right after burning them up could negate the benefits of the sweat, researchers say. ‘If people are going to go out and exercise to benefit their health, they should not be eating back the calories immediately upon finishing, or within a couple of hours of finishing,’ said Barry S. Braun, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. ‘In order to maintain the benefits, you need to be in this calorie deficit.’ ‘Athletes are always advised to do exactly the opposite,’ he continued. ‘That's great for athletes, but for the other 99.9 percent of the world, that's probably the wrong thing.’ Braun is co-author of two papers appearing in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and one paper published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that detail the findings.”


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Australian Health Club Chain Fights 3000% Hike In Music Royalties

“We've seen plenty of occasions where, in an attempt to offset falling revenues from music sales, the recording industry chooses to attempt to extract royalties from 'performances', which have actually added value to the music. In yet another such situation, Australian health clubs are faced with a 3000 percent rise in their royalty rates for playing music during exercise classes from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). Currently, the rate is $0.90 per class, with an annual cap of $2,654 ($0.80/$2,302 USD); the proposed increases are to $31.67 ($26.89 USD) per class with no cap, or a monthly fee of $26.08 ($22.55 USD) per member. The drastic nature of these increases has prompted one Australian fitness club chain has partnered with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) to resist the changes. The chain's president said of the action, ‘We have no choice. If we don't fight this, we won't have an [Australian health club] industry left to fight for.’ While an increase of 30 times would undoubtedly negatively impact the clubs, it seems somewhat hyperbolic to suggest the industry would disappear as a result. More interesting is IHRSA president Joe Moore's observation that the change ‘has serious implications for clubs in other countries’ - that is to say the change, if successful, would be used to argue for similar rises in performance royalties across the world - a tactic we have already seen from bodies purporting to represent musicians. One factor neither side is really discussing (beyond the "our industry will collapse" rhetoric) is the potential consequences of these royalties being sufficiently high to cause health clubs and similar businesses to seek out alternative sources.”


Finding Franchise Opportunities In Today's Economy

“Tough economic times are not only upon us, they're likely to stick around for awhile. While the fundamentals of the U.S. and global economies are struggling as 2008 draws to a close, the election of a new U.S. President could have a powerful positive impact on the current crisis of confidence - and pry loose some of the financing from nervous lenders. The shakeup in the economic environment also means opportunities for those smart enough to figure a way to find the nuggets and prosper in these troubled times. For franchisees, whether single-unit owners just starting out or multi-unit operators with a healthy cash flow, knowing where to look is the key to success. Personal services have remained strong so far, and look to continue. These include childcare and supplemental education (art, math, gyms); senior and elder care (home healthcare, nursing, assisted living placement, and legal services); as well as fitness centers for adults (whether a traditional health club or the growing number of concepts providing one-on-one personal trainers).”


Baby Boomers Are Back

“It is widely known that Baby Boomers fueled the growth in health clubs in the 1980s, and it appears that they are coming back. In 1993, there were roughly 1.3 million health club members who were 55 and older. In 2004, that number increased to 10.2 million. In 2005, nearly 20 percent of health club members were 55 or older, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. There are nearly 80 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. today. The oldest members of this group are now nearing retirement. Boomers are an important group in the health and fitness industry, not only because of their numbers but also because they are highly motivated. This personality trait shows up in their drive to exercise, stay healthy and compete. To understand how much Baby Boomers still love to compete, pick up a copy of Masters Athlete magazine. Several sports journalists in the Chicago area launched this magazine and the accompanying Web site www.GeezerJock.com in October 2004. They decided to focus on people 40 and older who still enjoy competing. Every issue profiles older athletes -- some are in their 90s -- who do amazing things. But, of course, this competitive drive comes at a price: injuries. In fact, it’s so common that a new term has been invented to describe the injuries these older athletes suffer: ‘boomeritis.’ As an employee or owner of a fitness club, why should you care? Because Boomers are very motivated to exercise for health reasons. They don’t want to end up sitting in a wheelchair when they hit 70, or suffer a stroke or heart attack. To attract individuals from this lucrative market to your club, consider the following six ideas: 1. feed that competitive drive, 2. offer training and conditioning advice, 3. make sure you have ample cardio machines, 4. provide health checks, 5. establish flexible membership plans, and 6. promote your personal training services.”


Excess Weight Ups Risk of Death, No Matter Where It Collects

“Whether you're shaped like an apple or a pear, if you're overweight, you have a higher risk of dying than someone of normal weight, a new European study says. But, those who tend to collect their weight around the middle -- apple-shaped -- face an even higher risk of death than those whose excess weight tends to settle in their hips and thighs -- pear-shaped. ‘We found that a large waist circumference is related to a higher risk of death even for individuals who have the same BMI [body mass index, a ratio of weight to height],’ said the study's lead author, Dr. Tobias Pischon, of the German Institute of Human Nutrition. ‘Therefore, you could say that adipose [fat] accumulation in the abdominal region is even more detrimental than just having an elevated BMI level,’ he added. Previous research had linked abdominal fat with a higher risk of chronic diseases. But past research generally hadn't assessed the risk of death in those who were overweight and those who were overweight with more abdominal fat, according to background information in the study. The new research, published in the Nov. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, included almost 360,000 people from nine European countries who were part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Dr. Marc Siegel, an internist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, said, ‘Fat is a problem. Obesity of all kinds correlates with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. But, abdominal fat is a more rudimentary indicator of risk.’ ‘The bottom line is, if you want to live a long and healthy life, eat right, exercise and reduce stress. Fat is bad for you, period,’ Siegel added.”


Can Diet and Exercise Beat a Tummy Tuck?

“Several dozen would-be cosmetic-surgery patients gathered at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan recently to hear a lecture on the latest procedures by a prominent plastic surgeon. But the surgeon, Dr. Gerald Pitman spent the first 20 minutes of his talk trying to discourage the audience from having cosmetic operations in the first place. ‘Ask yourself ‘Can you avoid it?’, Dr. Pitman said to the audience last month. ‘What kind of lifestyle changes can you make?’ Dr. Pitman often asks the same questions during initial consultations with patients at his Upper East Side office, to find out whether they have tried diet and exercise to improve satisfaction with their appearance before choosing surgery. In fact, he has asked some patients whose extra weight could make surgery risky to get in shape before he operated on them. He has referred some patients to a swimming coach. ‘Some people think liposuction and tummy tucks are alternatives to diet and exercise,’ Dr. Pitman said. ‘They are not.’ During the lecture, he endorsed a number of behavioral changes that might improve both health and appearance. For example, resistance exercises, which help retard osteoporosis, may have a secondary benefit. ‘You will look better because your posture is better,’ he said. Ditto for aerobic exercise for heart health. ‘When you do aerobic exercise, you release endorphins,’ Dr. Pitman said. ‘You feel better, so you look better.’”


Text Messaging May Help Children Fight Off Obesity

"Self-monitoring of calorie intake and expenditure and of body weight is extremely important for the long-term success of weight loss and weight control," said Jennifer R. Shapiro, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine and principal investigator of the new study, which is published in the November/December 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Traditionally, paper diaries are the tool most often used for self-monitoring. While a paper diary can be very effective, Shapiro and her colleagues had a hunch that the same concept might work better in children if they could report their self-monitoring via cell phone text messaging - and receive feedback messages in return. ‘Cell phone text messaging is something that's very familiar to most children now, since they've grown up with it,’ Shapiro said. ‘By using this technology, we were hoping to make self-monitoring seem more like fun to them and less like work.’ Fifty-eight children aged 5 to 13 and their parents participated in Shapiro's study, which was conducted at UNC Hospitals, and 31 families completed the study. The participating families were randomized into three groups: one that reported self-monitoring via cell phone text messaging, another group that reported self-monitoring in a paper diary, and a no-monitoring control group. The study results show that children in the text-messaging group had a lower attrition rate from the study (28 percent) than both the paper diary (61 percent) and the control group (50 percent). They also had a significantly greater adherence to self-monitoring than the paper diary group, 43 percent versus 19 percent. The study concludes that cell phone text messaging may be a useful tool for self-monitoring of healthy behaviors in children, and suggests more broadly that novel technologies may play a role in improving health.”


Running Medcentral Fitness Center New Outlet For Groves

“When MedCentral Health & Fitness Center manager Brady Groves talks about helping members clear physical and psychological hurdles, he's speaking from experience. Some 30 years ago, he plowed through both kinds of roadblocks as an undersized, 151-pound center on the Malabar High School football team. ‘Some people put up psychological barriers about exercise,’ Groves, 48, said. ‘Maybe they're struggling with depression or a spouse doesn't want them to exercise at night. A lot of people are resistant to change, so we teach them to get through those barriers.’ Groves spent six years in sales and marketing for MedCentral. He has wasted no time putting his creative skills to work since taking his new post at the fitness center in late June. ‘Quest to be your Best’ is one of the programs started under his watch. It's targeted toward diabetics and pre-diabetics, with members of Groves' staff working in concert with the social services and food/nutrition arms of the MedCentral health system to help clients with their fitness needs and goals. ‘This program is for people who might be thinking, 'I can't change my lifestyle; I can't get motivated to exercise,' Groves said. ‘Working with various departments at the hospital we can bring all the pieces together.’ A sports medicine clinic is also located inside the West Fourth Street complex, where those rehabbing from an injury are given a 30-day membership to the fitness center to encourage the continuation of a wellness lifestyle. ‘We call ourselves a medically-based clinic,’ Groves said. One of his biggest challenges is convincing individuals and area companies that fitness is a necessity not a luxury. ‘Do you spend that $62 on a family (gym) membership or put it in the family van?’ Groves said. ‘I got that question answered as companies that were subsidizing fitness memberships for their employees cut costs. It was OK to be a member when those employees were only paying half-price, but now there is more strain on the family budget.’ ‘We're trying to show companies that exercise is still important. Promoting wellness is something I've been doing for more than six years. I like being around this environment. I like seeing people get through their barriers.’”


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chocoholics Benefit From A Brisk Walk

“Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a walk of just fifteen minutes can reduce chocolate cravings. The benefits of exercise in helping people manage dependencies on nicotine and other drugs have previously been recognised. Now, for the first time, newly-published research shows that the same may be true for food cravings. Following three days of abstinence, 25 regular chocolate eaters were asked to either complete a 15-minute brisk walk or rest, in a random order. They then engaged in tasks that would normally induce chocolate cravings, including a mental challenge and opening a chocolate bar. After exercise participants reported lower cravings than after rest. Cravings were not only reduced during the walk, but for at least ten minutes afterwards. The exercise also limited increases in cravings in response to the two tasks. Professor Adrian Taylor comments: ‘Our ongoing work consistently shows that brief bouts of physical activity reduce cigarette cravings, but this is the first study to link exercise to reduced chocolate cravings. Neuroscientists have suggested common processes in the reward centres of the brain between drug and food addictions, and it may be that exercise effects brain chemicals that help to regulate mood and cravings. This could be good news for people who struggle to manage their cravings for sugary snacks and want to lose weight.’”


Change4Life: The Healthy Living Revolution Starts Here, Dept Of Health, UK

“We all need to be more active and eat more healthily to halt the rising tide of obesity. If we do nothing, by 2050 90-percent of today's children will be overweight and at risk from serious diseases - that's the message issued today by Health Secretary Alan Johnson as he launched the Change4Life coalition. Change4Life is a lifestyle revolution involving thousands of local organisations and charities which will help mums, dads and families eat well, move more and live longer. Under the banner Change4Life, the Government is aiming to galvanise support from everyone in the country from grassroots organisations to leading supermarkets and charities. Through Change4Life, the Government is aiming to reduce the number of people who are obese or overweight and prevent the problem escalating to a point where the experts say it is likely to cost the NHS an estimated £50 billion by 2050. Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: ‘Obesity is the biggest public health challenge the country faces. If we don't take action now we will condemn our children to reduced life expectancy.’ ‘It's unprecedented for supermarkets to join the Government and pledge to cut prices on healthy food. I am today challenging every CEO of every company who can influence what we eat and how we exercise to come forward and tell us how they are going to help beat this national epidemic. Obesity affects us all so everyone must get involved.’ More than 12,400 grass roots organisations, charities including Cancer Research, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation, Tesco, Asda, PepsiCo, Kelloggs, ITV, the Association of Convenience Stores and the Fitness Industry Association have signed up. Through the Advertising Association the Government is talking to a number of companies including BSkyB, Kraft and Unilever and is talking directly with a further 50 organisations. There are no limits to the number who can participate.”


Artery Plaque In Obese Kids' Similar To Middle-Aged Adults

“‘There's a saying that 'you're as old as your arteries,' meaning that the state of your arteries is more important than your actual age in the evolution of heart disease and stroke,’ said Geetha Raghuveer, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and cardiologist at Children's Mercy Hospital. ‘We found that the state of the arteries in these children is more typical of a 45-year-old than of someone their own age.’ Researchers used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the inner walls of the neck (carotid) arteries that supply blood to the brain. Increasing carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) indicates the fatty buildup of plaque within arteries feeding the heart muscle and the brain, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. The children's ‘vascular age’ - the age at which the level of thickening would be normal for their gender and race - was about 30 years older than their actual age, Raghuveer said. The children were deemed at high risk for future heart disease because of obesity, abnormal cholesterol, and/or a family history of early heart disease. ‘Vascular age was advanced the furthest in the children with obesity and high triglyceride levels, so the combination of obesity and high triglycerides should be a red flag to the doctor that a child is at high risk of heart disease,’ Raghuveer said. Further studies are needed to determine whether artery build-up will decrease if children lose weight, exercise, or are treated for abnormal lipids. Some studies have shown that CIMT can be reduced when children at extremely high risk are treated with cholesterol-lowering statin medications, and that exercise can improve blood vessel function in children with a high BMI.”


Outcomes For Patients With Heart Failure Improved By Exercise

“Working out on a stationary bicycle or walking on a treadmill just 25 to 30 minutes most days of the week is enough to modestly lower risk of hospitalization or death for patients with heart failure, say researchers from Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). The findings stem from the HF-ACTION trial (A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes Exercise TraiNing), the most comprehensive study to date examining the effects of exercise upon patients with heart failure. The study was reported as a late-breaking clinical trial at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008 by Christopher O'Connor M.D., director of the Duke Heart Center and principal investigator of the trial, and David Whellan, M.D., of Thomas Jefferson University, co-principal investigator.”


A Leading Seaman is to set a Guinness World Record on a Treadmill at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on the 28th of November 2008

"Leading seaman HMSHKW Bandara of the Sri Lanka Navy is to set a Guinness World Record by running 258km at a stretch on a Treadmill for 24 hours at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on the 28th of November 2008 at 1600 hrs."


Exercise to Beat Arthritis Pain

“Arthritis is a rheumatic disease that affects the body's joints and connective tissues. Exercise is a relatively easy way to help control its symptoms. The University of Virginia Health System lists the benefits of exercise for people with rheumatic disease:
· Keeps joints from feeling and acting stiff.
· Strengthens muscles surrounding the joints.
· Improves joint flexibility and alignment.
· Reduces joint pain and swelling.
· Strengthens bone and cartilage tissue.
· Makes you more physically fit overall.”


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Congratulations To Baltimore’s Lynne Brick! First Woman To Be Inducted Into The BCCC Hall Of Fame!

“The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce announced it will induct Lynne Brick into its Business Hall of Fame at ceremonies on November 20, 2008 at the Hunt Valley Marriott. ‘Lynne Brick embodies the spirit of health & fitness in Baltimore County.’ Keith Scott, President, Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce. ‘As a woman, a business owner, and as someone who grew up in Baltimore County, I am truly honored to be inducted into the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame. Brick Bodies’ core purpose for the past 24 years has been to help people change their lives. One of the ways we have tried to do this is to serve the Baltimore County community.’ says Lynne Brick, BSN,President/Owner Brick Bodies Fitness Services, Inc. Lynne Brick is the co-founder and owner of Brick Bodies/Lynne Bricks Health Clubs. She is the 2004 Earnst and Young Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year & 1990 IDEA (The Association for Fitness Professionals) Instructor of the Year. This past July, Lynne was a 2008 Women in Business Bravo Award winner. She is s three-time winner of the Maryland Top 100 Women Award. An internationally acclaimed fitness expert and motivational speaker, Lynne has presented in over 30 countries around the world. She is featured in over a dozen exercise videos including the highly acclaimed Buns of Steel series. She was the 1994 BodyLife Germany International Presenter of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Directors of IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. ‘Lynne Brick is one of the pioneers of the fitness. She is one of the most respected business women in the industry.’ Joe Moore, Executive Director of IHRSA.”


Channel Your Exercise

“Although once upon a time, a single TV in a gym would have been a luxury, now it's odd not to find several sets and frequently a bunch of machines with their own personal TVs. Gold's Gym has recently introduced the idea of the Cardio Cinema, where movies play on a large screen in a darkened room set up like a theater, only with bikes, treadmills and ellipticals instead of cushy seats. Increasingly, gyms are also offering equipment such as Expresso Bikes, which have screens that riders can use to watch regular television programming or take a virtual-reality ride through a choice of environments (including outer space!). If that's what it takes to get the general population moving, Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, is all for it. ‘The perception is exercise is work; it makes me sweat,’ he says. ‘So if we have to use TVs as a puppy dog, it's a necessary evil.’ Diane Whaley, a sports psychologist at the University of Virginia, says there are two goals for any exercise session: to be enjoyable and effective. And while getting engrossed in television seems to help with the former, it can take away from the latter. ‘You have to find out what will result in a good workout, not just going through the motions,’ she says. Although Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychologist at Brunel University in London, firmly believes that distractions reduce pain during exercise, his groundbreaking investigations of the effect of visual stimulus have him worried that television can be too great a diversion. ‘Watching TV while you exercise is such a distraction that it diminishes the quality of exercise. When you combine video with audio, it requires more from your brain,’ he says. ‘The very best thing would be edited highlights of athletes to inspiring music,’ he says, offering as an example ‘I Feel Good’ by James Brown coupled with carefully selected Olympic moments. And even though experts believe the trend toward more screens will continue, especially using new interactive technologies to give exercisers more game-like experiences, there's one part of the gym that everyone agrees should stay TV-free: the weight room.”