Friday, May 29, 2009

Julie Main 1956-2009: Cancer Survivor and Lifestyle Guru

“Julie Main will be lovingly remembered by many people as an amazing friend, mentor, and innovator, an astute businesswoman, and a compassionate boss. Active in numerous organizations, Julie was highly thought of and respected for her perceptive business acumen and foresight. One of the great legacies she leaves for us is the instrumental role she played in founding the Cancer Well-fit Program. Julie graduated from UCSB with honors and a degree in political science. After university, she forged a career first as the bookkeeper of the Santa Barbara Athletic Club (SBAC) and eventually as the general manager. She was the driving force in making SBAC a premier health and fitness club. Julie was also a boardmember of IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association), and then became the president of the association. When Julie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36, she did not let that stop her. At the time, she was the manager of the SBAC and missed only two weeks of work (and only because her doctors insisted)..."

Cybex In The Pink For Breast Cancer Month

“Medway exercise equipment maker Cybex International Inc. is introducing custom-made pink treadmills to help raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Cybex will sell the treadmills to health clubs and gyms and will donate 10 cents to the foundation for every mile logged on one of the machines during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The company said it wants to raise awareness about the benefits of exercise for the long-term survival rates of women who have been treated for breast cancer.”

Packing On Too Many Pounds During Pregnancy

“Eating for two? New guidelines are setting how much weight women should gain during pregnancy -- surprisingly little if they're already overweight. The most important message: Get to a healthy weight before you conceive, says the Institute of Medicine in the first national recommendations on pregnancy weight since 1990. It's healthiest for the mother -- less chance of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or diabetes, or the need for a C-section -- and it's best for the baby, too. Babies born to overweight mothers have a greater risk of premature birth or of later becoming overweight themselves, among other concerns. Meeting the guidelines could be a tall order, considering that about 55 percent of women of childbearing age are overweight, that preconception care isn't that common and about half of pregnancies are unplanned. What if a mom-to-be has gained too much? On average, overweight and obese women already are gaining five more pounds than the upper limit."

X-Sport To Add Car Wash To Its Offerings

“At X-Sport Fitness you can ride a stationary bicycle, play basketball, climb a rock wall and pump iron. Soon you'll be able to...wash your car? Aldermen at Monday's City Council meeting approved a special-use permit that will allow X-Sport Fitness to put in a car wash. The city approved a self-service car wash for what is now the fitness center's overflow parking lot at 230 N. Randall Road, said Matthew O'Rourke, planner for St. Charles.

Hartford Opens Gym For City Employees After Talk of Layoffs, Tax Increase

“As the city council prepared today to finalize just how high taxes will go, the third floor of City Hall was getting a new amenity. A gym. Cityline is waiting for details. But two days after he warned city department heads that layoffs could be coming, Chief Operating Officer Lee Erdmann told Cityline that the city is paying for the gym as part of its effort ‘to encourage employees to get physically fit.’ He said it could help reduce long-term health costs the city pays for its employees. Two councilmen said they had no idea a gym was being installed. After a quick visit to the third floor, frustrated Councilman Pedro Segarra said the city's taxpayers may be the ‘only ones ... with our own gym along with a very high tax increase.’ Councilman Matt Ritter said that, while he could stand to tone up a bit, a gym is not worth the taxpayers' money. ‘The third floor exercise room is part of the City's goal to promote health and wellness and focus on a healthy workforce. Studies show, on average, there's a 4-1 return on this investment in regards to less absenteeism, increased productivity, reduced workers comp claims and reduced medical claims costs. The approximate cost of the center is $18,000 from monies received from the Travelers Workers Compensation Program."

Movement Constant At The Gym

In nine years of operating the Cowra Health Club, owner Graham Parker has seen a lot of changes. Through six years of drought and now recession, his commitment to giving Cowra the best health and fitness experience possible hasn’t wavered. Graham marks the club’s ninth anniversary next week and says the high standard of the club and the provision of service is really thanks to Cowra. ‘It’s made possible thanks to the loyalty and support of our members and Cowra. We had 100 members before we even opened our doors on the first day,’ Graham said. ‘We now have 800 members and our next target is 1,000.” The gym has evolved and one major aspect he’s noticed is, in a busy world, the club is becoming a meeting spot. ‘People are using the gym to catch up with friends, especially if they are short of time.’

Thursday, May 28, 2009

America's Fittest Cities

“When it comes to healthy living, Washington, D.C., is seldom mentioned in the same breath as cities like San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, all of which are known for their active, health-conscious residents. But according to a new report, the city of pomp and politics is the healthiest in the nation. [...] Research has shown that investments in preventative health care can have financial rewards. A 2008 report issued by the nonprofit organization Trust for America's Health found that spending $10 per person on proven programs like smoking cessation and physical activity could save $16 billion annually in health costs. The money to pay for these programs may come from the fittest city, Washington, D.C. Despite the recession, which has led to municipal budget-cutting in cities across the country, this year's stimulus act includes $650 million for ‘evidence-based clinical and community-based prevention and wellness strategies.’ A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said that how the stimulus money will be spent or distributed has yet to be determined, but that a decision should be forthcoming in the next several weeks. That's perfect timing for cities at the bottom of the AFI ranking, since they now know where money needs to be spent. It's up to them, however, to take advantage. ‘The [index] is meant to build awareness of how residents must take personal responsibility for their health and get involved in their own community,’ says Thompson.”

Americans Score Low On Healthy Lifestyle

"...‘We are exercising less, we're more obese. It's not a good end-of-the-year report card. But we can do better next semester. We need to get back to the basics of healthy lifestyles and not taking the easy way out of pills, because they are not as effective as a healthy lifestyle in preventing cardiovascular disease and maintaining vitality through the middle and later years.’ Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, believes that changes in society that foster healthy lifestyles need to be enacted to help reverse these trends. ‘A consistent and compelling body of scientific literature makes clear that a very short list of lifestyle behaviors, dominated by dietary pattern, physical activity level and tobacco use, overwhelmingly influence both the likely number of years in our lives, and the quality of life in our years,’ Katz said. These regrettable trends are a dose of reality, Katz said. ‘We cannot, with any hope of success, devise a world that fosters ill health, and encourage people to navigate through it as if it weren't there. Eating well, being active, and in general taking good care of oneself and one's family must lie along paths of lesser resistance...’”

Exercise: A Pace for Fitness: 100 Steps a Minute

“A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but even if you take just 2,999 more within half an hour, you may be on the road to fitness. A new study finds that people who walk to keep in shape can achieve the right intensity if they take at least 100 steps a minute. The researchers, led by Simon J. Marshall of San Diego State University, equipped volunteers with pedometers that counted their steps as they worked out on treadmills at different speeds. They also measured the participants’ heart rates. A pace of 100 steps a minute or more, they calculated, was enough for the workout to be considered of moderate intensity. The study appears in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

To Keep Track Of Your Fitness Program, Write It Down

“When it comes to getting the most out of your fitness program, it may not be the number of reps you crank out or the amount of weight you heave. The secret to success may be a whole lot simpler - just write it down. Personal trainers have long had their clients track daily calories, log workouts and weigh themselves on a regular basis. But now research suggests that this advice actually leads to more weight loss and greater progress. Jotting down your workouts and meals helps keep you on target, experts say, and thanks to new technology, it's easier than ever to do..."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Companies Invest In Employee Wellness

“At Domino Sugar, workers have competed to lose weight. At Laureate Education, employees get a small subsidy toward a gym membership. At apparel designer 180s, workers are encouraged to work out at lunch. Even in a recession, employers say they are putting money into corporate wellness programs they hope will lead to healthier workers and healthier profits. For many businesses, doing so will be a matter of survival as the cost of health care soars along with chronic health problems, corporate wellness experts say. Experts contend that improving workers' health can also reduce costs associated with absenteeism and workers' compensation. Interest in starting workplace wellness programs has increased in the Baltimore area in the past year, said Tim Rhode, owner of local fitness chain MAC, who said the company's work site wellness consulting business is up. One of its clients, Baltimore-based Laureate, offers a $10 monthly subsidy to employees who work out at the MAC, a subsidy matched by the health club, and now has more than 300 of Laureate's 600 Baltimore workers enrolled, Rhode said. ‘What's driving that is a need on the part of the employers to make sure their employees are happy and healthy - and ready to work,’ said Rhode, who said that in the recession, companies may be more focused than ever on cost-cutting, but ‘the stakes are higher.’ Employers have begun embracing wellness programs, agreed Kenneth R. Huber, a senior vice president for the employee benefit group at PSA, ‘because of the crisis we're in. People have tight budgets right now and find it difficult to set aside money, but now more than ever it is critical to get at these costs.’ Baltimore-based 180s LLC, maker of behind-the-head ear warmers, gloves and sunglasses, is trying new ways to incorporate wellness into the workday through a partnership with the MAC. Last week, the company offered its 40 workers a free group ‘spinning’ class at MAC's new Harbor East facility. The apparel designer is considering occasionally offering other types of classes, perhaps in yoga or kickboxing. ‘The company is catching up with the lifestyle of wellness, as a lot of companies should be, and respecting that we do need time to go work out,’ said Keith Scully, 180s director of marketing. ‘The return is happier, harder-working associates.’”,0,3557524.story

Retro Workouts: Let's Get Physical Again

“The 1980's, that bygone era of big hair, big shoulders, big jewelry and general gaudy excess, seems to be inspiring the latest craze in back-to-basics fitness -- retro workouts. ‘Everyone enjoys the feeling of nostalgia while breaking an intense sweat,’ said Carol Johnson, who teaches Retro-Robics, a leg warmers optional old-style aerobics class in New York City. Johnson, group fitness coordinator with the Crunch fitness chain, conceived of Retro-Robics as ‘an homage’ to the decade that gave us Jennifer Beals' soggy, flash-dancing and turned Olivia Newton-John's workout headband into a must-have fashion accessory. ‘Dressing in old-style aerobic outfits is all the rage,’ said Johnson. ‘Jane Fonda's attire is signature; Richard Simmons is an icon.’ Music for the high-intensity cardio workout also harks back to everything from heart thumping aerobics mixes to Michael Jackson, disco, Motown, and Madonna. ‘The class is timeless,’ she said. ‘Good for the heart, spirit, and wallet.’ In fact the economic downturn may have helped spur the current craving for all things low-tech fitness. ‘The idea of retro is not so much turning the clock back as getting back to a basic callisthenic-type workout and away from technology,’ Cedric Bryant, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, said. ‘You can do very effective training with inexpensive basic tools.’ Rob Piela, personal training manager at Crunch, agrees. ’The body always works in the same three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse. Any of these trends come around, it's just reinventing for the sake of keeping peoples' interest peaked,’ he explained. Keeping interests peaked is the guiding principle of Eric Casaburi, an entrepreneurial Gen Xer who has parlayed his love of all things 80s into the Retrofitness chain of health clubs. Casaburi, 34, opened his first location in 2004. The retro-themed franchise has since grown to 50 centers nationwide, and 300 are planned in three years.”

Recession Not The Time To Trim Health Benefits

“While it may be tempting for employers to cut health benefit spending in these uncertain economic times, companies must balance current pressures with the short and longer-term need for organizational performance and employee productivity if they are to weather the storm. These findings and others are drawn from the 12th edition of The sanofi-aventis Healthcare Survey released today. The national survey of 2,090 health benefit plan members is the most comprehensive research to examine the attitudes and preferences of Canadians as they relate to their employer-sponsored health benefit plan. The survey also explores employee perceptions regarding the role of the public healthcare system and the workplace. The survey highlights the return the investment in health and wellness programs can generate for employers. Companies that offer health promotion programs are significantly more likely to have their health benefit plans rated as excellent or very good (65% vs 54%), have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs (82% vs 77%) and have employees who feel an obligation to help control benefit costs (66% vs 57%). And while employees must participate in wellness programs to benefit, many do not. In fact, only 35% of those with access to workplace wellness programs say they use the programs, either definitely (11%) or kind of (24%). Plan members said they would be more likely to change their health behaviour if their employer subsidized a gym membership (62%), provide small incentives (61%), offered healthy food choices (56%) or more flexible hours (55%), time at lunch or breaks for fitness activity (51%). ‘The take away here is that employers need to realize that just offering the wellness program is only a small part of the equation. They must be very strategic about ensuring program elements are relevant to and of interest to employees, and offering incentives to employees to engage in these healthier behaviours is critical - especially during challenging economic times,’ says Bonnett.”

Will Pilates Pull Us Through The Recession?

“The answer to a lost job is ... Pilates? The exercise regimen that uses springs, pulleys, ‘spine correctors’ and other specialized equipment to beat back the effects of gravity and age is helping some people defy the sagging labor market as well. Even the state of Minnesota is getting in on the act, recently shelling out thousands in re-training dollars to help a few of the newly laid-off get certified as Pilates instructors. The Mayo Clinic will launch its own instructor certification program next month, and Twin Cities area studios say they can't find enough qualified instructors to meet demand, which comes largely from aging baby boomers. Instructors can command anywhere from around $20 to $65 an hour. Nicole DePalma, laid off from the Minnetonka YMCA last year, is now a full-time Pilates coordinator for Life Time Fitness in Savage. ‘I'm thrilled,’ DePalma said. ‘It will be nice to pay bills again.’”

Piper, Life Time Shares Up On Consumer Confidence

“Piper Jaffray Cos. and Life Time Fitness Inc. were among several Minnesota companies to post significant stock price gains Tuesday, after a better-than-expected consumer confidence report buoyed the broader market. Health club chain Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM), meanwhile, was up about 6.9 percent, or $1.14 per share, to $17.66 per share.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boomers Joining Gyms to Put Some Hop in Their Hips

“With the baby boomers' impact on demography, people older than 55 make up the fastest-growing segment of the fitness industry, and more gyms are adding programming especially for them. In places where hip-hop once blasted as buff bodies hefted weights, a grayer clientele is signing up for yoga and aquatics classes or exercising on recumbent bicycles and elliptical machines designed for older bodies. ‘It's a natural trend as this segment of the population ages,’ said Joe Moore, chief executive of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. ‘We're seeing many [seniors] going to health clubs because of the health benefits and not just the aesthetics of looking better.’ The association estimates that there were nearly 10 million health club members older than 55 in 2007, up from 2 million in 1990. Nearly a third of the member clubs now have senior programming. Locally, gyms have added classes such as ballroom dancing in the past two years to attract seniors, and Sport & Health Club offers one called ‘Fall Proof,’ a fall-prevention workout. David von Storch, the owner of hip Vida Fitness, which has opened three luxury fitness clubs in the District in the past three years, kept seniors in mind when designing the facilities, adding workout studios with softer lighting and flooring, and endless pools at each location for joint therapy and recovery.

Despite Economic Slump, Gyms Not Throwing In Towel

“It may be called the Great Recession, but it hasn’t stopped the owners of Lady Wellness from following a decade-old dream to grow. CEO Terry Vanyo is looking to franchise the women-only fitness club nationwide. He’s already fielded some potential franchisees in California, Minnesota, Kansas and other areas of Illinois. ‘One of the reasons we did this is that we started getting a lot of phone calls from people who liked our business model,’ Vanyo said. ‘Franchising has become a big thing in our industry.’ Vanyo is right. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association says franchising is playing a major role in the success of the industry. Niche franchises like Curves, Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness have opened thousands of locations, spokeswoman Kara Thompson said. Rockford has all three of those chains, which were recently named in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2009. The publication cited fitness as one of the franchising opportunities with the most promise this year. ‘Franchising allows for the opportunity for major growth,’ Thompson said. ‘And once you have a successful business model, replicating what you’ve found to be successful makes it easier to grow and expand.’ Budget-friendly models that cater to specific demographics — like women — have found the most success, as have clubs that offer 24-hour access and low barriers to entry, like reduced or no sign-up fees and flexible contracts. Monthly dues typically range from $10 to $39 in those cases.

Corporations Push Wellness Programs as a Return On Investment

"An encumbrance historically, the federal government is finally catching on that the private sector is taking the initiative to attack health costs and that it needs to get out of the way. Federal law limits the amount of financial incentives companies can give employees for losing weight or kicking a smoking habit. It also treats subsidized gym memberships as taxable income. Health reformers want to remove the handcuffs. One of President Barack Obama’s eight goals for health legislation is investment in wellness and prevention. There is a flurry of legislation from both sides of the aisle. Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Max Baucus of Montana want to grant tax credits for corporate wellness programs. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is sponsoring the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act of 2009 to allow employers to subsidize health-club memberships up to $900 annually.”

MY DIET STORY: Grandma Find Motivation In Granddaughter's Eyes

“Then one day when my granddaughter was 3, she looked at me and said, "Memere, why can't you go and play at the park with me, like the other kids' grandmothers?" I then decided that I wanted to live and be healthy. I needed to be here for her. HOW I DID IT: I started working for Cybex in Medway, which makes exercise equipment. And in November 2007, I went back to Weight Watchers. Our CEO at Cybex paid half of the membership. Since then, I have lost a total of 90 pounds. I hit the gym five days a week and work out early in the morning at Planet Fitness in Woonsocket, R.I., or in the company gym during lunch time. The company gym has treadmills, arc trainers, bikes and strength equipment. I generally walk on the treadmill, setting it at a steep incline, for 35 to 40 minutes and then I'll use the arc trainer for 10 minutes. With a steep incline you can burn just as many calories walking as if you were running. I also do strength training. Most days I'm in the gym at 5 a.m. My husband thinks I'm nuts. I attend Weight Watchers meetings once a week on Saturdays in North Smithfield, R.I. The support group and leader help keep me motivated. SECRET TIP: Sometimes I sleep in shorts and a T-shirt so I can just get up, put on my sneakers and go.”

Exercise Makes Even More Sense As You Grow Older

“Geneva Lindsay works out six days a week to stay healthy, to maintain muscle, to keep the pounds off and because ‘I look in the mirror and I see something good. And I feel good.’ And whether you're 24 or, like Lindsay, 74, those reasons make sense. In fact, the older we are, the more exercising makes sense. Falling, for example, is a major hazard. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and serious injuries in people over age 65, a third of whom fall each year. Exercise can prevent falls by improving the ability to regain balance. Common health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity also benefit from exercise. Lindsay does her best to avoid all those. Six days a week, she's at Genesis Health Club's West 13th location at 5 a.m., waiting for the door to open. She works out about 2 ½ hours a day. ‘I love it,’ she says. ‘And it's good for me.’ Genesis offers FitLife classes for members who are 50 and older. ‘We don't want to call them seniors, because I don't think they really are seniors,’ says Lindsey Hagen, public relations director for Genesis. ‘We really want to cater to the baby boomers. We're really trying to go after the 50-plus market.’”

Working Out in China

When New Zealander Matt Lewis opened his first gym in Beijing, his staff had no idea how to work the expensive new weights machines imported from the United States. And among the first 50 members were women who would turn up for group fitness classes in their high heels. ‘People had no idea,’ he says. ‘It was all new for them.’ As other industries have struggled with the recession, Lewis has led the expansion of the Chinese fitness industry to the point where an estimated 2.9 million Beijing citizens now belong to a gym. In 2001, the city had two Western-style fitness clubs; now it has more than 400. In New Zealand, too, the big gym chains have reported membership growth of between 3 and 10 per cent, year on year, and record growth in the first three months of this year. Fitness NZ boss Richard Beddie has described the industry as ‘recession-proof’.

Mom And Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise

“It's natural that a woman might be skeptical about exercising while she's pregnant. So many changes are occurring in her body, it makes sense to have second thoughts about whether exercise might harm her or her unborn child. But it turns out that a thoughtful exercise program is good for both mother and child, according to medical experts. ‘We know that women who exercise during pregnancy have less chance of developing certain conditions like gestational diabetes,’ said Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. ‘Not only that, exercise maintains musculoskeletal fitness. Women can cope with the anatomical and physiological changes of pregnancy better when they're in good shape. They also tolerate labor better and recover more quickly from delivery.’ The baby also benefits. One study found that when an expectant mother works out, her fetus reaps cardiac benefits in the form of lower fetal heart rates. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day most days of the week. First, though, all women should consult a doctor to make sure it's OK. When choosing what sort of exercise to pursue, a woman should take into account the shape she was in before becoming pregnant, said Dr. Thomas Wang, a family practitioner for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

Getting Healthy, With a Little Help From the Boss

“Get ready to get well. Boss’s orders. Once upon a time, corporations offered generous health benefits as a way to woo employees into their ranks. Now, most companies have turned from amorous suitors into stern parents — shifting more costs, and more responsibilities, to their employees. According to a January survey by the benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates, nearly two-thirds of large employers planned to transfer more costs to employees. At the same time, one-third planned to put greater emphasis on wellness plans — programs that encourage employees to adopt healthier lifestyles. (So long, Big Macs). Congress is climbing onto the wellness bandwagon, too. Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is a leader of the Congressional health reform movement, recently proposed giving tax incentives to companies that offer comprehensive wellness programs to their employees. The focus on healthier lifestyles makes sense. Unhealthy employees use significantly more medical services than healthy ones and cost employers more money. ‘If you are an employer who wants to keep providing health care coverage, you have to target employees’ exercise, diet and nutrition habits’, says Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe, chairman of the health policy and management department at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama Team Exercises Hill Power

“It was just another day of doing business in Washington. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), discussed some long-delayed bridges in Hill’s district and agreed to travel to Kentucky to meet with local officials about the span over the Ohio River. Except that when Hill and LaHood met a few weeks ago, there was nary a staffer, necktie or notepad in sight. Hill took the opportunity to corner LaHood after the two worked out on treadmills in the House gym. ‘The one thing I can do is fill potholes,’ joked LaHood, who is back in his old Rayburn stomping grounds three mornings a week for anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes on the treadmill. ‘So some of the guys talk to me about projects in their districts. If they didn’t, I’d wonder about them.’For all the attention paid to see-and-be-seen lunch and dinner spots, there is perhaps no more intimate place in the capital (and the Capitol) where work and play mix among the powerful than behind the locked, unmarked and utterly unremarkable doors of SB-322 in the Rayburn House Office Building sub-basement. The House gym — or Members’ Wellness Center, as the on-duty attendant calls it upon picking up the phone — offers a sanctuary for any current or former member of that chamber to escape staffers, constituents and reporters. But the gym, along with its Senate counterpart across the Capitol, has offered something else in the Obama era: a target of opportunity. As past members of the House, LaHood and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel exercise their gym privileges a few times each week. And as a former senator, Vice President Joe Biden occasionally returns to work out with his old colleagues in the Russell Senate Office Building. In doing so, they are able to pick up valuable intelligence and discuss legislation in an informal setting that lends itself to easy dialogue. ’People are more frank when they’re wearing their gym clothes,’ said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), for years a House gym regular who finally, 10 years after being elected to the Senate, made the switch to the facility in his own chamber. For members, the access to such top officials is just as invaluable — giving them a chance to emphasize, in person, the importance of issues that may determine their electoral fate.”

Sharing Fitness Goals

“A gym with a mission to improve the health of people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, and to integrate them with the general population, has helped 550 people keep fit since opening in 2007. ‘We were able to create an atmosphere that met the needs of people with cognitive and emotional challenges and that was so appealing that community members are paying us to be part of it, which is unusual,’ she said. The gym is also seeking more members from the community at large, she said. In a depressed economy, it's hard to think in the long term, Ruhe said. ‘But if you look at the health care system, the only thing that's viable is if we figure out a way to do prevention," she said. ‘People shy away from it because it's hard. Getting people to lead healthy lives is difficult, but we have a model that's working.’ It may take years to see results, but if health programs are discontinued now, there will be a big problem later, she said.”

Local Gym Goes Above And Beyond For School District

“In an act of giving that must have seemed like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter all rolled into one, the Richmond Community School District received a donation of 64 pieces of exercise and cardio equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars from the Life Time Fitness location in Rochester Hills. The equipment was donated by the Life Time Fitness Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that provides financial and in-kind support to non-profit organizations that support the health and well being of children and families. When different Life Time Fitness locations purchase new machines, instead of selling off the used equipment, they donate it to local communities. The Richmond school district just happened to be in the right place at the right time. ‘We were pleased to provide equipment to Richmond Schools in support of their physical education and athletic programs,’ said Cheryl Anderson, Life Time Fitness Foundation administrator. ‘As an organization dedicated to helping individuals establish and lead healthy and active lifestyles, we are proud to help benefit youth programming in this area.’”

Recession Is Bad for Health

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says a new survey of its members suggests the recession and fears of money problems are having negative and potentially serious effects on public health. And the American Heart Association says in another survey that it is concerned that people are cutting back on exercise and eating more low-cost fattening foods to save money, which could worsen the nation’s obesity problem. ‘We’ve made dramatic gains in recent years in our fight against heart disease and stroke, but trends like these threaten to reverse these gains,’ says Timothy Gardner, MD, president of the AHA. ‘We need to remind people that even in hard times, their health is important.’ Sandra Fryhofer, MD, an Atlanta internist, says corporate downsizing and the resultant loss of health insurance is literally killing people. ‘Now patients have to be proactive,” she tells WebMD. ‘Take a walk instead of worrying. Some people are saying they can’t pay, and we just try to do what we can. A lot of people have had to be put on antidepressants. I tell them to eat the right foods and exercise, even if they have to give up their [health] clubs.’ Kara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, says membership has dropped 2.4% since 2007, to 45.5 million. However, “More and more people are realizing that money spent on a health club membership is not just ‘money spent’, it’s an investment in, and commitment to, their health,” she tells WebMD. ‘The return on investment is high, and the benefits of exercise are innumerable.’ Gardner says employers can save $16 for every $1 they invest in health and wellness.”

Fitness Chainin Top Health

“DUNCAN Bannatyne’s Darlington-based health club chain has more than doubled profits as credit-crunched clients treat themselves at home rather than spending their money abroad. The Dragons’ Den star’s Bannatyne Fitness, which has around 60 clubs in Britain, made a pre-tax profit of £9.7m last year - up from £4.3m in 2007. The company said it was dealing with the economic gloom by working to ensure health club membership remained a central part of its customers’ lives. The weak pound and increasing numbers of people opting to holiday at home were boosting trade, the company said. Duncan Bannatyne’s reputation as a philanthropist was confirmed by the accounts, which showed the company donated £74,681 to charity last year, up from £72,382 in 2007.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

elements™ Announces Expansion Into Canada with Downtown Toronto Location

“Upscale women’s fitness brand elements has announced its expansion into Canada with a flagship center-city Toronto location. The club, expected to open early 2010 will be the first upscale women’s-only fitness experience for in the Toronto market. ‘Toronto is a great city for elements… it has many similarities to New York, and a full service brand like elements can really be developed to its fullest – we are planning a real showcase location with some greatn surprises here. This is the first of several planned Canadian clubs, we are quite excited about it. The buzz we have been receiving from Canadian fitness professionals tells me we are on to something really good,’ said Chris Palumbo, founder of the elements for women brand. 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.”

Crossfit's Workouts Develop 'Elite Fitness'

“Andy Petranek tells CrossFit students they may puke. He tells them they may cry. But, as the rules clearly state on a white board in the middle of the CrossFit gym, they ‘will not quit. Ever.’ He means it. CrossFit L.A., Petranek's Santa Monica fitness facility, is not a destination for people who want to lift weights while socializing, or watch the nightly news while doing the treadmill. Rather, it's for people who don't mind a little suffering with their sweat session. ‘This program is based on what develops elite fitness,’ said Petranek, a former Marine who has participated in three 300-mile Eco-Challenges, adventure races that incorporate trekking, whitewater canoeing, horseback riding, kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering and mountain biking. ‘What is elite fitness?’ he asked. ‘It's the ability to go out and do anything.’

Jeter Opens Gym For Children

“While Derek Jeter and the Yankees have kept fans' heart rates up all season long -- particularly over the team's current six-game winning streak -- Jeter took some time yesterday morning to increase the heart rates of several children who participate in his "Turn 2" foundation, which helps children attain healthy lifestyles as well as promotes academic achievement. Several high school students were chosen to participate in a light exercise session at the 24 Hour Fitness-Derek Jeter Gym in Midtown, which recently opened. Jeter watched as the students did jumping jacks, pushups and other exercises with help from a trainer. It is the second such gym Jeter has opened, with another one set to open in the fall. ‘One reason why I decided to do this is because helping the kids is something that means a lot to me, and I want to share that with everybody,’ Jeter said. ‘You don't have to be a professional athlete to keep yourself in great shape.’ With the black steroid cloud hanging over major league baseball, including the recent suspension of Manny Ramirez and admission by Alex Rodriguez that he used performance enhancers, Jeter stressed how important it is for kids to stay healthy the right way. ‘Our foundation throughout the years has preached prevention of drugs and alcohol to promote a healthy lifestyle,’ said Jeter. ‘This is a part of it --staying in shape, working out and exercising helps your health and makes you feel good about yourself. It is one of the main reasons I wanted kids to get an opportunity to do that today."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Networking An Added Benefit Of Gym Membership

“Most people hit the gym to get in shape. At Form & Fitness in Mequon, small-business owners are not only slimming their waistlines, but they're also helping each other fatten their bottom lines. Form & Fitness is a personal training studio at 1214 W. Mequon Road in Mequon that has become the gathering place for CEOs and entrepreneurs who have formed friendships and talk business during their workouts. The gym might be the last place you'd think of people networking and building business relationships. But the smaller size and friendly atmosphere at Form & Fitness makes it conducive to networking. ‘The way we set this studio up, it's one big open room, so everyone has to intermingle,’ says owner Ben Quist, who also owns and operates the much larger Form & Fitness Health Club in Grafton. ‘In the end, 250 to 300 people all know each other. It's an interesting effect.’ Georgia Rapkin, a Mequon acupuncturist, has been working out at Form & Fitness for four years. The chance to connect with other small-business owners has been a big attraction. Besides, Rapkin says, she's more committed to working out regularly because of the camaraderie at the gym. ‘Of all the things I've had to give up because of the economy, this is one thing I'll never give up,’ Rapkin said. ‘It's valuable to me socially, and it's valuable to my business.’ Because Rapkin's acupuncture practice coincides with health and wellness, clients of Form & Fitness often seek her services or refer business her way. The gym also benefits because Rapkin refers some of her patients there. With so much networking being done these days on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, networking in a venue like the gym provides solo practitioners like Rapkin with the opportunity for personal interaction. ‘Twitter is the new high-tech tool. You can't see anybody on Twitter,’ Rapkin said on a recent morning at the personal training studio. ‘You need that human connection to inspire you toward new ideas or new ways to market your business.’

Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks

"Getting in shape really does help you live longer, new research says. People with high levels of physical fitness, called cardiorespiratory fitness, have a lower risk of dying from all causes of death, including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, than people with low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness."

Boost Fitness, Pediatrics West To Help Fight Obesity In Area Youths

“Boost Fitness announced that it has created a special exercise program for obese youths as part of the Healthy Eating Lifestyle Program (HELP) created by Pediatrics West. Pediatrics West, a private, independent pediatric practice based in Westford, received funding for HELP from Partners Community Healthcare, Inc.'s (PCHI) System Improvement Grant Program. ‘Obesity has become an epidemic in America, affecting nearly one in four children,’ according to Mark Federico, owner of Boost Fitness. ‘By helping young people change their lifestyle, we believe we can help them avoid diabetes, heart disease and other major health problems that result from obesity.’ According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on statistics for 2003-2006, 16.3% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese."

Striking a Pose for Girth

“Typically, yoga studios are not havens for the plus-size set. The ancient practice might be based on philosophies that stress self-acceptance and noncompetitiveness, but that can be hard to consider when entering a studio filled with lithe, limber bodies twisting like taffy and gliding effortlessly into handstands and backbends. ‘I go to those classes and I walk out feeling horrible,’ said Ms. Ayers, a 35-year-old massage therapist. ‘When you are a larger person, there are certain things your body is not going to do, no matter how skilled you are. I’m actually fairly flexible. But I go into a regular class and it becomes clear that no one is going to help me modify a stretch to help my body. You either do it or you don’t.’ Then Ms. Ayers found a posting on Craigslist for Buddha Body Yoga, one of many yoga classes for people of size that have sprouted up over the last decade, including MegaYoga at East West Yoga in Manhattan, HeavyWeight Yoga in Austin, Tex., and Yoga for Round Bodies at Whole Life Yoga in Seattle. Buddha Body Yoga is not for people of all shapes and sizes. ‘It’s only for big people,’ said Michael Hayes, the owner of Buddha Body Yoga. ’I’m not interested in teaching small people,’ said Mr. Hayes, 49, who has been teaching the Manhattan class for five years. ‘There are so many other classes for them.’

Baghdad Residents, Health Club Fanatics?

The popularity of health clubs reflects slowly changing attitudes in a country where healthy living has never been a priority. The new gyms are very different, with nonstop loud music, mirrors covering most of the walls and supplementary protein formulas for sale. Working out has become one of the few diversions available to young Iraqis. Baghdad has no functioning cinemas or discos and no Western-style cafes where men and women can meet or surf the Web over a cappuccino. Stage productions are rare and mostly restricted to matinees. ‘Where else would the young people go?’ said Ahmed Sami, manager of the Dragon Gym in Karradah. ‘They come here, work out and go home to eat dinner and sleep.’ Ali Abbas, 31, who owns the Dragon Gym, says his business is up by about 80 percent since 2003.”

Cobourg West Students Keep Moving At Good Life Fitness

“The students and staff of Cobourg District Collegiate Institute West brought their boundless energy to a unique fundraising initiative last week. On Friday, May 8, the West took over Good Life Fitness in the Northumberland Mall for a 'Moveathon'. From 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., the visitors from the West kept the cardio machines at Good Life moving by splitting into teams and taking turns on the stationary bikes, tread mills, ellipticals, and step machines. ‘For a first time event, it was extremely successful,’ said West teacher Katrina Read, who spearheaded the event and credited the students and staff as well as Good Life Fitness for making it happen."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Staying Fit During the Summer Months at the Gym

“Memorial Day is Monday May 25, 2009, known as the ‘unofficial start of summer.’ While this brings a cheer for some and a sigh of relief for others, it invites the days of school ending, vacations, perhaps flexible work schedules, and more time to go to the gym! It is alwasy great to be a member of the gym in the summertime (and all year for that matter). Yes, it is sunny and warmer outside, but some days it gets really hot and sticky and it is better (and safer) to be inside and working out. While it is great to switch up your gym routine, be careful not to completely abandon it for the summer months. Exercise is not something you can save or preserve. In order to maintain everything you have worked for, you need to continually maintain yourself and continue to workout. Here are a few tips to give you a head start for a healthy and fit summer: Maintain your gym membership - keep your memebership up to date and renew it if necessary.

New Taxes Loom to Pay for Health-Care Overhaul

"...The Senate report also suggests limiting the amount that workers can contribute to flexible spending accounts -- tax-free accounts workers use to pay for prescriptions and other medical expenses -- or possibly eliminating them altogether. Nonprofit hospitals that don't provide enough charitable care or meet other requirements would pay new taxes. Also on the table are several taxes aimed at encouraging healthier behavior. The committee is proposing to increase the tax on alcohol, and eliminate the current tax variances between beer, wine and alcohol. The committee also proposed levying the first federal tax on sugary beverages. That would apply to soft drinks, fruit and vegetable drinks, energy and sports drinks, iced teas, iced coffees and flavored milk and dairy drinks. It wouldn't apply to drinks sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners...."

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Colleges Generate Sweat Electricity in Gym

“The University of Oregon - one of its school colors is, after all, green - is the latest in a growing number of college campuses and exercise clubs across the country where workouts produce watts. Splitting the $14,000 cost with the local utility, Eugene Water and Electric Board, the school has retrofitted 20 Precor elliptical machines to generate electricity using technology from of St. Petersburg, Fla. The power from each machine in the Student Recreation Center goes through a converter that turns DC into AC, and a meter to keep track before it flows into the grid. The amount of electricity produced is small. The university estimates that 3,000 people a day on 20 machines would generate 6,000 kilowatt hours a year, enough to power one small energy-efficient house in the Northwest. But it fits in with other sustainability projects, such as solar panels on the rec center roof, and a high sense of being green among the student body..."

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Launches New National Adult Fitness Test

“The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) launched its new national Adult Fitness Test. The online self-test, available at, measures overall fitness levels by assessing aerobic fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition. The Adult Fitness Test was launched at Results Gym in Washington, D.C., with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, Acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee and The Biggest Loser contestant, Bernardo "Bernie" Salazar. Council member and fitness expert Denise Austin led a group of adults through a demonstration of the test. ‘The Adult Fitness Test has been adapted from the youth fitness test many of us remember taking in school,’ says Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Working Together Can Make Exercise Fit

“Whether you're a fitness buff or exercise novice, there's one easy way to help you stick to an exercise routine and make it more effective: Work out with a buddy. A recent survey conducted on behalf of 24 Hour Fitness found that 80 percent of the individuals surveyed agree that they are more likely to stick to an exercise plan if they have a partner to work out with. While starting and sticking to a workout routine is the important first hurdle, working out with a partner can also make fitness efforts more effective. Not only can having a partner motivate you to workout (83 percent of respondents agreed), the majority of respondents believe that having a buddy join you can encourage a healthier lifestyle (82 percent), can make working out safer (82 percent) and, most importantly, can make fitness more fun (78 percent). Also, working out with a partner may offer benefits far beyond just the physical ones. A majority of respondents (85 percent) wish they could get their friends and family more involved in staying fit and believe that working out together is a good way to build emotional bonds and spend time together..."

Regular Activity Considered Way To Keep Joints, Body Limber

“Artificial knees, a couple of spinal fusions, a new hip and bilateral carpel tunnel can't prevent Cecile Beecroft from exercising regularly. If anything, the diagnosis of osteoarthritis 25 years ago galvanized her resolve to stay active. ‘The only reason I'm upright and mobile is exercise,’ she says. ‘If it weren't for the exercise, I wouldn't be able to move.’ Finding out she had osteoarthritis at age 32 made Beecroft of Sioux Falls realize that regular activity was the only way she would be able to participate in her life. Exercise keeps your joints moving and your body limber, the 57-year-old says.

Obesity Charity Launches First Awareness Week

“The country's pre-eminent obesity charity, the National Obesity Forum is staging its first consumer awareness week in November this year. National Obesity Week, (NOW!)is an initiative to raise awareness of personal weight status. While the obesity epidemic increases, research* has highlighted that nearly half of adults have an inaccurate picture of their own weight. Dr David Haslam, National Obesity Forum (NOF) Chairman and Clinical Director explains: ‘We recognise that before an individual can choose to make changes to their lifestyle, they must first really know if they have a weight problem. Our aim is to find and support the half of the population that believe that their weight 'is about right', but are in danger of developing serious health problems or perhaps are already not enjoying the benefits of good health.

24 Hour Fitness Expanding

“24 Hour Fitness has leased the former CompUSA store at Pearl Highlands Center in Pearl City [Hawaii] with plans to open the chain's ninth club in the state by the end of this year. Wendy Yellin, a 24 Hour Fitness spokeswoman, said the planned club will have the latest in exercise equipment and feature a pool, sauna, spa, full-size basketball court, dedicated cycling room and other amenities. 24 Hour Fitness has another gym not far away near Pearlridge Center, though Yellin said she wasn't immediately sure whether that location will stay open or be closed. The new club will be the first built by the company in Hawai'i in about eight years.”

Parents Concerned, But Confused About How To Fix Childhood Obesity

“Food, fitness or family…which one is most to blame for childhood obesity? New research from Mintel shows today's parents aren't sure, and they're feeling overwhelmed and worried as they try to prevent obesity in their own children. In an exclusive consumer survey of American parents, Mintel found confusion over whether diet or exercise is most important for keeping kids at a healthy weight. Nearly three quarters of parents (72%) believe kids have too much access to junk food, while 69% feel that a lack of exercise is more to blame for obesity. In addition, two in five parents (40%) are concerned that their children might develop obesity. ‘Parents aren't sure where to focus first to ensure their children's health-diet, exercise or both simultaneously,’ states Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel. According to Mintel, parents need help when it comes to promoting healthy eating with their children.

Power To The People: How a Vibrating Plate is Helping Celebs Stay in Shape

“Cher turns back time in her Vegas shows, there's a miracle machine at home helping her 62-year-old body squeeze into the outfits she wore two decades ago. Asked by Oprah Winfrey to spill her secret, she confessed it was 'running and walking... and the Power Plate'. There is hard medical research to add to Cher's endorsement. Researchers at the European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam have found that the vibrating Power Plate (above), used with a calorie-controlled diet, was 2.7 times more successful at achieving long-term weight loss than a diet combined with conventional fitness. So how does it work? You stand on a platform that vibrates between 30 and 50 times a second, stimulating your muscles to contract and relax. The high-speed training means you see the benefits of an hour-long workout in just 20 minutes. 'We have intensive classes, which burn 275 calories in 25 minutes, and have women who dropped two dress sizes,' says Nahid de Belgeonne, director of London's Good Vibes centre.”

Link Between Individual Stress And Teens Being Overweight Or Obese

“Stress may indeed be a direct contributor to childhood obesity. That's according to a new Iowa State University study finding that increased levels of stress in adolescents are associated with a greater likelihood of them being overweight or obese. The study of 1,011 adolescents (aged 10-15) and their mothers from low income families living in three cities -- Boston, Chicago and San Antonio -- was posted on the Web site of the Journal of Adolescent Health, which will publish it in the August issue. Forty-seven percent of the teens in the sample were overweight or obese, but that percentage increased to 56.2 percent among those who were impacted by four or more stressors.‘We found that an adolescent or youth who's more stressed -- caused by such things as having poor grades, mental health problems, more aggressive behavior, or doing more drugs and alcohol -- is also more likely to be overweight or obese,’ said lead author Brenda Lohman, an Iowa State assistant professor of human development and family studies (HDFS).”

Genetic Fitness May Explain Why Intelligent People Are Often Healthier

“UK and US researchers found that more intelligent people are often healthier, and suggest that this could be due to what they describe as a genetic ‘fitness factor’ whereby both body fitness (health) and brain fitness (intelligence) are influenced by genetic differences among people. The study was the work of scientists at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, the University of Delaware, in Newark, US, and University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, US. The paper is to be published in the journal Intelligence where an early corrected proof issue was put online on 28 April.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

ACSM Addresses U.S. And World Business Community At NASDAQ Stock Market Close

“The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the world's largest sports medicine and exercise organization, rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ stock market last week (Wednesday, May 6), using the international platform to promote the health benefits of physical activity, especially for businesses and employers in the U.S. and worldwide. As one of the world leaders in the science and medical aspects of health promotion and disease prevention related to physical activity, a delegation of ACSM health experts participated in the closing bell ceremony in New York City and addressed corporate leaders gathered at NASDAQ and worldwide through business media coverage of the event. Remarks by ACSM President Mindy Millard-Stafford, Ph.D., FACSM focused on the profound health benefits of physical activity, as well as ACSM's commitment to improving health in order to contribute to stronger economies and countries worldwide. ACSM also used the opportunity to introduce to a new audience Exercise is Medicine TM (EIM), an international public health program which calls for exercise to be a standard part of health care. EIM encourages the public and patients to speak with their doctors about an appropriate level of exercise, plan their exercise regimen, track it and stick to it. (Watch this video about Exercise is Medicine TM) ‘ACSM's opportunity to close the NASDAQ was a historic moment of recognition for this organization's dedication to physical activity and public health,’ said Millard-Stafford. ‘Physical activity is part of the equation contributing to optimal health. Our members' research has proven that fitness improves the health of citizens worldwide in addition to increasing worker productivity and job performance.’”

Gold's Gym Body Success Challenge competitors lose 469 lbs

“The results of Gold's Gym Saipan's “2009 Body Success Challenge” were recently announced and more than $10,000 in cash and prizes were awarded. The 32 individuals who completed the competition lost a combined total weight of 469 lbs. The Body Success Challenge was primarily a three-month weight loss competition where substantial cash and prizes were awarded to men and women who lost the most weight as a percentage of their original starting weight. In addition, there was a “Most Amazing Body Transformation” category that awarded prizes to the person who lost the most fat, gained the most lean body mass (muscle), and had the most visibly impressive body transformation based upon their before and after photos. Of the 60 initial competitors, 32 completed the competition by weighing-out and taking their ‘after photos’ exactly three months after their initial weigh-in date.

Weight Called Growing Threat

“State health officials have made some progress in getting people to quit smoking, but they're losing the battle of the bulge. South Carolinians are smoking less than last year, but they're getting fatter, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jenny Sanford, who leads a program called Healthy South Carolina Challenge, drew attention to the news this week. While Gov. Mark Sanford deals with debates over the rising cost of health care, the first lady is trying to keep more people healthy in the first place. ‘Poor lifestyle choices are the primary cause of many chronic diseases that not only decrease quality of life but place an enormous financial strain on our state and its businesses,’ her office said in a statement. Smoking, inactivity and obesity are the easiest targets for officials trying to improve health. ‘Changing individual behavior is the most bang for the buck we can have,’ said Khosrow Heidari, director of chronic disease epidemiology for the DHEC's Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention.

Urban Active Launches Bridal Bootcamp For Summer Weddings

“Urban Active’s Bridal Bootcamp will help brides tone and tighten their bodies, and lose weight to look fabulous in their dream gowns! All bridesmaids, maid of honors, mothers and sisters of brides are both invited and encouraged to join this bootcamp as well. Urban Active’s Bridal Bootcamp will meet 9 times in June for 75 minute grueling full body workouts that includes: cardio and strength training with kettle bells, TRX suspension straps, medicine balls, Spinning and many more exercises/programs geared to jump start your body and have it burning fat! This program works for all skill and fitness levels. Upon completion, all attendees will also be given written workouts so they can continue this fitness regime on their own. Brides to be (and/or their bridal parties) will meet on Mondays and Thursdays starting June 1st from 6:30 PM – 7:45 PM at Urban Active Palumbo located at: 3001 Blake James Drive in Lexington ~ For more information please call 859.269.2492 Urban Active is the Hottest Name In Fitness with 32 Health & Fitness Lifestyle Clubs in the tri-state region of Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, with aggressive plans to develop 20 more facilities in the next 3-4 years, mainly in the Mid-South, Midwest and Eastern Seaboard markets. Urban Active’s mission statement is: ‘to create active communities through innovative fitness.’ UA does this by offering a combination of the latest in fitness, innovation and passion for wellness that takes the concept of ‘Health Club’ to the next level.’”

Idaho Athletic Club buys Rocky Mountain Fitness in Eagle

“On May 18, Idaho Athletic Club will shut down its Eagle location and take over the 50,000-square-foot Rocky Mountain Fitness across the street as part of an acquisition. The new club at 875 E. Plaza Drive will be known as Idaho Athletic Club Eagle and reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, said chief financial officer Shaun Wardle. Idaho Athletic Club’s 11,000-square-foot club at 950 E. Riverside Drive in the Eagle River business complex will be shut down, he said. ‘It was a nice strategic move,’ Wardle said. ‘Frankly, the Eagle community isn’t large enough for two large-scale facilities. We’ve had plans to expand our Eagle facility. We feel that this move will provide the best service to the community.’ Wardle said current Rocky Mountain Fitness members will receive credits toward memberships at the new club based on the value left on their existing memberships. ‘We’re currently working through lots of membership issues,’ he said. ‘Because it is a little different, we’re having some people who don’t understand it upfront.’ Darren Blaser, president and owner of Rocky Mountain Fitness, could not immediately be reached for comment. The company also operates a fitness center on Parkcenter Boulevard. Blaser took over Rocky Mountain Fitness from Reid Merrill in spring 2008, Wardle said. Wardle said Idaho Athletic Club is looking for a new tenant or owner of the Eagle River facility, though not another health club.”

Obama Taps NYC Health Commissioner To Head CDC

“President Barack Obama has selected New York City's health commissioner to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Thomas Frieden has served as commissioner for the past seven years. He has led a campaign to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, boosted the number of New Yorkers getting HIV tests and helped to distribute millions of free condoms. In a statement announcing Frieden's appointment, Obama said the new CDC chief had been a leader in the fight for health care reform. Obama also said Frieden's experiences confronting public health challenges in our country and abroad will be essential in his new job. Frieden does not require Senate confirmation.”

Fitness Trends May Be Shifting

“There's some good news for people who work out at Sioux Empire Fitness in Sioux Falls, which had its business license pulled earlier this month. The buildling's landlord says the club will reopen at 9:00 Friday morning under new ownership and management. While the big fitness clubs are usually busy places, the fitness world may be changing. ‘When you are competing with the big Avera's and Sanford's, same style of that gym, it's competition. We have created a style of gym that's 24 hour fitness; people that don't want swim pools, racquetball and basketball courts and we feel that's the direction this industry has swung,’ Tom Tryon with Tryon Gym said. Some believe there's a growing taste for smaller gyms and few amenities. Fitness 19 is tucked into a strip mall in southwestern Sioux Falls. There are no locker rooms or showers, no pool or basketball courts.

Cornyn and Harkin: Jumpstart Workplace Wellness

“When General Motors spends more on health care than steel and Starbucks more on health care than coffee beans, something is seriously askew. Corporations are spending untold tens of billions on illness, hospitalization, absenteeism and lost productivity. Wouldn’t it make better sense — and better profitability — to shift a large share of those health care dollars toward wellness and disease prevention? Many forward-thinking business leaders say just that. They view skyrocketing health care costs as a clear and present danger to global competitiveness. And they are eager to integrate wellness programs — employee gyms, nutrition counseling, smoking-cessation programs — into their workplaces. But not all businesses can afford the upfront costs to do this. That’s why we introduced the Healthy Workforce Act, with strong support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Heart Association, the National Business Coalition on Health and many others. Our bipartisan bill would provide a 50 percent tax credit to businesses that offer a qualified, comprehensive wellness program to their employees. We are especially interested in making it affordable for more small businesses to offer wellness programs. Chronic diseases account for more than 75 percent of current U.S. medical expenditures. This includes heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stress and depression — many of which are preventable by changes in diet and lifestyle. Yet less than 3 percent of our health care spending goes toward prevention and wellness.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Healthy Start: Preventive Healthcare in Form of Free Teen Gym Membership

“Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers ( is again offering its Free Summer Teen Membership program from June 15 to August 15 for Alachua County 13- to 17-year-olds. More than 1,700 teens took part in the inaugural program last year, which grants the teens free access to the Gainesville, Fla. gym's three locations.Christine Lehnick, a 10-year gym member and a mother of four, including a 16- and 13-year-old, said she is looking forward to the program's start so her children can learn the proper ways to exercise from the staff at the health clubs. ‘My 16-year-old wants me to let him stay after school so he can hang out and lift weights at the school's weight room, but I won't let him because he hasn't been shown the proper way,’ Lehnick said. ‘I want him to (take part in the free teen program) so the properly trained staff can show him how to do it the right way.’ Originally intended to combat teen obesity and further the gym's mission of ‘keeping Gainesville the healthiest community in America,’ the free teen gym memberships ( also became a way to ensure that all teens in the area had access to summer recreational activities in spite of the state of the economy, said Joe Cirulli, the health club's owner.

How Green Is Your Workout?

Thanks to the greening of the fitness industry, folks who aren't quite ready to give up their gym memberships can feel better about the hours they spend on the elliptical machine while watching overhead televisions or listening to their iPods. Keeping pace with society's environmental concerns, health clubs are going the extra mile to clean up their image as gluttonous energy consumers. For several years, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association has offered sessions at its annual trade show on how to operate an environmentally friendly facility. Participation has been so high that the March 2009 trade show will feature an entire educational track on "going green," which includes measures such as installing low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets to achieve water savings of 25 percent to 60 percent and buying cardiovascular equipment and appliances that bear the federal ENERGY STAR label for energy efficiency. ‘Going green is an advantage as far as cost but clubs are also seeing it as a competitive advantage because more consumers are insisting on eco-friendly facilities,’ says IHRSA president Joe Moore"

Sweat Etiquette

“Whether you are well known around the gym floor or just starting out your membership, there are guidelines everyone should abide by when using the facility’s equipment or services. Even in a place where profuse sweating, little clothing and grunting are perfectly acceptable, etiquette in the gym is still important, experts say. Show your respect for others by following some simple rules, as mentioned by gymgoers and Sports Barn employees. Clean equipment when complete. Imagine getting ready to use the leg press, only to find a puddle of sweat on your seat. It appears that the guy who ran around the track for 40 minutes before heading to the machine forgot to clean up after himself. To keep gym equipment sanitary, employees at the Sports Barn and other gym establishments ask visitors to get a towel or cloth and wipe off the machine once they are finished using it. ‘You want it to look the way you would have wanted it (to look) when you came walking up to it,’ said Bob Merz, assistant operations manager for the Sports Barn downtown."

Teens Not Urged To Activity By Pedometers/Texts

“Increased physical activity may help adolescents with type 1 diabetes better manage their disease, but wearing a pedometer and receiving motivational text messages do not appear to get them moving, study findings suggest. The 78 teenagers, 11 and 18 years old boys, were randomly assigned to wear pedometers and receive weekly text messages to encouraging them to get more physical activity, or they were assigned to standard care. At the end of the 12-year study, the intervention group was not significantly more or less active than the standard care group, reports Kirsty H. Newton, a diabetes nurse specialist at University of Otago Wellington, in New Zealand, and colleagues. The ‘gadget appeal’ of the pedometers quickly wore off, Newton's team notes in their study, published in the journal Diabetes Care. Over the course of the study, 37 percent of the pedometer/text group stopped wearing the pedometers. "

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bozeman's Ridge Takes Part In Get Active America! [Video]

“You know you're supposed to do it. You know it's good for you in a lot of ways, but fitness and exercise sounds like a trip to the dentist for a lot of people. That's why The Ridge Athletic Club is opening up its doors for International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association's campaign Get Active America! The principle focus of the event is to get across the idea that it's not where you start but where you finish that matters. ‘There's a fair amount of anxiety associated with starting a fitness program. People think it's not for them or the kind of person that they could be, but once they get in here and see that they're just like everybody else and that there's no one judging them they get going and can't live without it and pass it on,’ owner and general manager of the Ride Athletic Club Steve Roderick said. Throughout the week, Ridge members will have the opportunity to invite a friend or family member to their club at no cost. During this time, members and guests will have access to the clubs' trainers, equipment and a variety of group fitness classes. In addition, local residents that weekend can participate in the clubs' open house and take exercise classes and use the facilities at the Ridge for free. Visitors who would like to join The Ridge during Get Active America! Week will benefit by receiving fifty dollars off the joining fee.”

Curves International Recognized as 2009 Franchisor of the Year

“The American Association of Franchisee and Dealers (AAFD) announced Curves International, Inc., as AAFD’s Franchisor of the Year for 2009. Curves International is the franchisor of Curves fitness centers, the world’s largest fitness network with nearly 10,000 franchisee-owned fitness clubs serving four million women worldwide.Curves is also one of the fastest growing franchise companies in history. Notwithstanding the challenges of rapid growth and dynamic involvement in multiple channels of distribution, the Company has embraced a collaborative culture with its franchise network and has enjoyed a very positive relationship with its members as a result. AAFD Chairman Robert Purvin cited Curves’ exemplary franchise culture as the primary focus of the AAFD’s recognition. ‘Curves management has encouraged and supported the organization of an independent franchisee association, including a willingness to engage the association’s elected leadership.’"

Obama Wants Skinnier Feds

“President Barack Obama wants to get the fat out of the bureaucracy — literally. The president was holding a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday with CEOs of companies that have found innovative ways to lower health care costs and improve employees' health. ‘As a result of many successful programs at businesses across the country, workers have become more engaged in their own health care, productivity is increasing, absenteeism is dropping, and employers are passing some of their health care savings to their workers,"’ the White House said in a fact sheet. ‘Employers are discovering that improving quality of care can reduce health care costs. Small actions in the workplace can generate large benefits.’ And smaller waistlines. The White House said Obama ‘will direct the Office of Personnel Management to work with the Office of Health Reform, the National Economic Council, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Management and Budget to examine successful employer wellness and prevention practices that lower health care costs and improve employees’ health and to explore the feasibility of developing such a plan for federal employees and their workplaces. ‘The president hopes that by encouraging more employers to adopt similar programs, we can improve the productivity of our workforce, delay or avoid many of the complications of chronic diseases, and slow medical cost growth,’ the statement said.”

22-Year Study Finds Canadians ‘Inactive’

“After following a group of more than 800 healthy Canadians between 1981 and 2003, the researchers found that almost 56% were consistently inactive and only 12% of participants remained active over the two decades. ‘Women and older participants, compared to men or their younger peers, were less likely to follow a consistently active lifestyle,’ lead author and University of Montreal professor Tracie Barnett says. Among participants active at the beginning of the study, those with less education and lower household income were also less likely to be active, compared to participants with university education and a higher family income, Ms. Barnett said.

Mass. Health Model Inspires Key Senator

“A key Senate leader appears to be leaning toward proposing a new tax on employer-provided insurance benefits and creating a new federal agency modeled on one in Massachusetts to make it easier for individuals and small groups to buy insurance. Yesterday, the committee debated how to pay for subsidizing insurance for the uninsured, which could cost as much as $1.4 trillion over 10 years. The panel's chairman, Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a Democrat, pointed to the tax exclusion, a rich source of cash. Senators will also consider other options, including ‘sin’ taxes on soda and alcohol and limiting tax breaks for other health benefits, such as tax-preferred health accounts."

Teachers and Students Save Time, Money and Get Fit This Summer

“The summer months have finally arrived, which means vacations, picnics and spending time outdoors. It also means Students and Teachers will be looking for a place to work out for the season. That’s why one local fitness club is offering new members the opportunity to slim down, tone up and stay in shape this summer without spending a lot of time or money. Right now at Snap Fitness, Students and Teachers can take advantage of a special Summer Savings. ‘Summer is a time when students and teachers look to get involved with a fitness program near their home,’ said Benjamin J. Carey, Chief Marketing and Operations Officer. ‘The nice thing about our club is the quaint and personal atmosphere, and the fact that we are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.’

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be Fit For Life™ Women’s Health Club Of Raleigh Brings Zumba® Gold To The Triangle

"According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the average adult (18 years and older) needs 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days a week in order to be healthy. Many women site uninteresting exercise routines and a lack of time as key reasons why getting and staying in shape moves to the bottom of the to do list. Sunita Shouse, owner of Be Fit For Life™ Women’s Health Club Of Raleigh remarks, ‘Because so many women are simply dissatisfied with traditional workout regimes, they become inactive. Being in motion while rushing around town isn’t being active, it’s just being busy. Zumba® Gold makes it easy for women, who have put off fitness for a while, to ease back into a fitness program that is low impact yet high energy. The Zumba ® Gold event, like other exclusive offerings that we provide at Be Fit for Life ™, is open to non-members as well."

Weight Watchers, Gym Help Dieter Exceed 40-Pound Goal

“Jane Doyle, 40, of Dublin, Ohio, says she gained a lot of weight in her 30s because she ate ‘whatever wasn't nailed down’ during two pregnancies and afterward. Her bad eating habits continued when her daughters were babies. ‘Everybody would go to bed, and I would stay up and eat alone so I wouldn't be judged. I'd eat dried roasted peanuts and drink a few beers. Then I'd eat chips, cheese and Doritos.’ Then in January 2008 at 223 pounds, she resolved to lose 40 before she hit 40. Doyle looked for an inexpensive way to accomplish her goal and decided to join Weight Watchers online for $16.95 month and get a gym membership for $49.95 a month. She wound up losing a lot more than that: She now weighs 161 pounds. She committed herself to following Weight Watchers and going to the gym five or six times a week. At first, she did the elliptical machine and treadmill. ’I was the big girl at the back who wore baggy clothes. I didn't want to talk to anybody or be seen.’ After a few months, she started going to group fitness classes — aerobics, Pilates, yoga and weight training. ‘Those classes are what did it for me. I wouldn't be in this story if I hadn't started going to the classes.’ Exercise and eating right go hand in hand, she says. ‘If I work out six, seven or eight hours a week — why would I put junk food in my body? Since I've stopped eating so much fast food, I don't crave it like I used to.’ Doyle says her weight loss has trickled into every aspect of her life. ‘I think my relationship with my husband is better; I'm better with the kids; I'm better with other people.’”

Small Changes Can Mean Big Savings on Healthcare Costs

“In a tough economy, everyone needs to cut back on unnecessary expenses and save money wherever possible. Healthcare is often one of the largest expenses a family faces, but there are ways to cut healthcare costs without shortchanging your health. Don't ditch your gym membership. While it may seem like an easy cost to cut each month, losing the membership to the gym can be counterproductive. Check with your health plan and visit to find out how you may be able to save money on your gym membership through your insurance provider. Many doctors estimate that at least 60 percent of office visits are because of stress. Additionally, medical costs for people who are obese can be at least 25 percent higher than those who are not obese. Because of this, many health insurance providers offer discounts and reimbursements on your membership to help ensure you get healthy and stay healthy.

Brunswick Appoints Kristin Coleman As VP, General Counsel And Corporate Secretary

“Brunswick Corp. (BC: News ) announced that it has appointed Kristin Coleman as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Coleman will assume her duties May 20. Coleman, who most recently was vice president and associate general counsel for Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, previously, had been with Brunswick from 2003 - 2008. Prior to joining Brunswick, Coleman was an attorney with Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in Chicago.”

Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows

“Exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity and ward off diabetes, but taking supplemental antioxidants such as vitamins C and E actually blunts that benefit, researchers report. Exercise helps increase the body's sensitivity to insulin by making reactive oxygen species, or ‘free radicals,’ which antioxidants work against. These free radicals are thought to damage cells and speed the aging process, but they are also used by the body to prevent cell damage after exercising, the researchers say. ‘When you exercise you do improve your insulin sensitivity, and if you are at risk for diabetes improving insulin sensitivity is good,’ said researcher Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, the Mary K. Iacocca Professor at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School. Part of the reason that exercise improves insulin sensitivity is that it causes oxidative stress on the muscles. The muscles respond to this stress by creating free radicals, Kahn said. ‘If you take antioxidants like vitamins C and E, you block the oxidative stress response, but you also block the beneficial effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity,’ he said.

Greenbrier's Curves Donates To Haven's Gift

“Curves of Greenbrier took a detour for a month and instead of charging their new patrons a joining fee, they simply asked them to donate food. More than 500 pounds of food was collected. Many of the existing members of Curves also jumped in to contribute groceries to help with the effort. The food was given to Heaven's Gift, a clothing and food bank located in the Professional Plaza on Business Park Road. Although Curves of Greenbrier has been in the Greenbrier Crown Plaza on Wilson Farm Road for 10 years, Almond has owned the Curves business just since January. She decided to not only boost her membership but do something that would benefit the community as well.”

Lose Weight Faster with a Lunch Hour Workout; The Logistics

“The lunch hour can be an hour of great productivity, if used wisely. A lunch hour filled with exercise can make all the difference in obtaining a fitness or weight loss goal. Here are come methods, and things that need to be considered in order to successfully fit a workout into a lunch hour. Purchasing a gym membership in close proximity to the workplace is a great way to make a lunch hour workout easy to pull off. If the gym is close, a whole 40 minute workout routine can feasibly be fit into the break in the day (ten minutes travel each day). Throw in a quick shower and change and there should still be time for a good, solid, 30 minute workout..."

10 Ways To Cut Your Insurance Costs

“In light of the economic doom and gloom, more than five million Brits are planning to slash their insurance costs in 2009 by reducing their policies or even cancelling them completely, according to insurance provider LV=. But while it might seem pointless to pay money for something you’ve never claimed on, ditching your insurance cover could backfire. Step eight: keep in shape Heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure are all associated with obesity, so the more overweight you are, the ‘riskier’ you will be classed as by your insurer. This is reflected in your premiums, which are ‘loaded’ accordingly. A body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 is deemed healthy, but if your BMI is over 30 you can expect to pay considerably more. The same applies, if you’re below 18.5 and underweight. Some insurers reward you for leading a healthy lifestyle. For example, Prudential’s ‘Vitality’ programme offers a discount on various things such as gym membership and travel, as well as lower life and critical illness premiums, if you can demonstrate you are leading a healthy lifestyle. ‘You can reduce your premiums on your insurance by up to 2% a year by leading a healthy life; moreover, in November last year, Pru launched what’s known as ‘premium locking’, where the policy locks in at the lower premium until it ends,’ explains Carr.”

Free Course To Help Children Lose Weight And Get Fit

“Children in St Albans have the chance to lose weight and get fit for summer thanks to a free lifestyle course for them and their families. There are still places left on the 10-week Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It (Mend) programme due to start this month. Mend said one in three children were above the healthy weight range for their age and height. The course is aimed at overweight seven to 13-year-old children and their families, and aims to help them get fitter, healthier and happier in time for the holiday season. The Mend Programme in St Albans, which starts on May 26, is part of a national network of over 300 courses, which have already helped over 10,000 families improve their diets and activity levels. A limited number of places on the course at Charters Health Club, valued at up to £400, are available free of charge thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits

“In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sweeping new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation. A web of federal rules limits what employers and insurers can do now. Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria. In addition, lawmakers said they would make it easier for employers to use financial rewards or penalties to promote healthy behavior among employees. Two Democratic senators working on comprehensive health legislation, Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee, and Tom Harkin of Iowa, have taken the lead in devising such incentives. ‘Prevention and wellness should be a centerpiece of health care reform,’ said Mr. Harkin, who regularly climbs the stairs to his seventh-floor office on Capitol Hill. The White House agrees. One of President Obama’s eight principles for health legislation is that it must ‘invest in prevention and wellness,’ a goal espoused in almost identical words by Republican senators like John Cornyn of Texas and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. Frank B. McArdle, a health policy expert at Hewitt Associates, a benefits consulting firm, said, ‘Wellness and prevention programs have become a mainstream part of the benefits offered by large employers, and it’s virtually certain that Congress will include incentives for such programs’ in its bill..."

New Teen Fitness Network Magazine

“The first issue of the NEW Teen Fitness Network Magazine has hit newsstands! Teen Fitness Network Magazine is your source for health club memberships, special fitness programs, health and nutritional information and practical advice directed toward teens who want to live a healthy life. With musical superstar Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers gracing the cover, teens are sure to be screaming for this issue! This stunning issue features 20-pages of Vemma and Verve prominently positioned throughout the publication, including several eye-catching full page ads. You'll also find expert advice intended to help combat teen obesity and physical inactivity. Teen Fitness Network Magazine debuted at the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) Convention on March 17th. Can be purchases at, Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart newsstands. This first-of-its-kind teen-focused publication is another highlight of Vemma and Verve as superior products they are and further the incredibly important mission of fighting the battle against teen obesity.”

Virgin Active Seeks To Grow La Dolce Vita

“Virgin Active, the health club operator in which Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group has a controlling 76 per cent stake, is to open 25 clubs in northern Italy over the next three to four years as it boosts international expansion. The group, in which Bridgepoint and Permira, the private equity firms, have minority stakes, has secured most of the targeted sites in Italy after signing deals with developers of several mixed-use property schemes. Virgin Active, which entered the Italian market in 2004, is already the country's biggest health and fitness club operator, after opening four clubs last year, taking its total to 13. The new Italian clubs were among ten sites added last year, taking its total to 179..."

GJ Bulks Up On Gyms

“It may be the clanking of barbells, or the first splash into the pool that draws you to the gym, and with the recent influx of fitness facilities in the Grand Junction area, it’s likely you can find one that fits with your lifestyle. In the past three years, the number of gyms in the Grand Junction area has doubled, giving gym rats a healthy selection to choose from. Anytime Fitness, in the Shoppes at Orchard Mesa, is the newest gym in town. The gym is part of a wave of ‘neighborhood gyms’ that have fewer amenities but are conveniently located and more personal. Anytime Fitness gives keys to its members, enabling them to access the club anytime, even when it’s not staffed..."

New Study Finds Power Plate(R) Exercise Aids in Weight Loss, Reduction of Harmful Visceral Fat

“New research presented at the 17th European Congress on Obesity (ECO) suggests that exercise done on Power Plate(R) vibration plate exercise machines in conjunction with a healthy diet may help people lose weight and trim harmful belly fat. The study(i), conducted at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, found that overweight or obese people who regularly undertook Power Plate(R) exercise were more successful at long-term weight loss and shedding visceral or belly fat (which is associated with a higher susceptibility to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes) than those who combined dieting with a more conventional fitness routine and those who simply dieted.