Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gold’s Gym Strengthens Global Presence - Forms International Franchise Council; Signals Importance of Growing Chain Outside the United States

“Gold’s Gym, the world’s leading authority on health and fitness, today announced the formation of its International Franchise Council, a committee designed to provide a forum for open dialogue between and among representatives from Gold’s Gym International and Gold’s Gym’s international franchise community. The primary purpose of the forum is for franchisees and the corporate office to have an ongoing discussion about positive business results and how to learn from past experiences for the benefit of the entire Gold’s Gym franchise system. ‘This signals an important moment for our company. It is an indication of the vital role the international community is playing in shaping our organization,’ said Joel Tallman, senior vice president of franchising and global operations for Gold’s Gym International. ‘We now have the Gold’s Gym Franchise Association in the United States and the International Franchise Council abroad. Taken together, some of the best minds in fitness around the world will collaborate to sustain our prominent place in the industry.’ Five individuals will head the International Franchise Council, including: Ian Rondon, Gold’s Gym master franchisee for Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Haiti, Ali Mahmoud, Gold’s Gym master franchisee for Egypt, and Jake Weinstock, Gold’s Gym master franchisee for Russia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Spain and Portugal along with James Weaver, CEO of Gold’s Gym International, and Tallman.

CDC Introduces New Website To Help Employers Combat Obesity And Reduce Health-Related Costs

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today unveiled LEANWorks!, a Website designed to help businesses address obesity. LEAN stands for Leading Employees to Activity and Nutrition. The new Website was announced at a National Business Group on Health meeting in Washington, D.C. ‘CDC LEANWorks! was developed in direct response to organizations asking CDC for help in addressing the obesity epidemic. Specifically they wanted to know what interventions were effective in helping employees maintain a healthy weight,’ said William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. ‘CDC has identified science-based interventions that work to prevent and control obesity. CDC LEANWorks! provides the tools that employers need to take action.’ The free Website was developed particularly for small and mid-size companies, which typically have more limited resources to devote to obesity prevention efforts. However, the tools and resources available on CDC LEANWorks! can benefit companies of any size. CDC LEANWorks! can help employers calculate the cost of obesity for their organizations and develop tailored approaches to help control these costs through interventions such as fitness classes, lunchtime health education sessions, weight management programs, and more.”


The Staycation – How about Going to Your Local Health Club?

“As the nation continues to experience significant economic concerns and the summer vacation season kicks into full gear, an ever-increasing number of consumers are seeking proactive solutions that gives them some quality time with their family and friends while also allowing them to relax, rejuvenate and do something good for themselves. We aren’t talking about an expensive summer vacation here. Instead many consumers have an affordable option very close to them that they can use to fulfill all their needs – their local health club. ‘A health club provides so much more than just a place to lift some weights or walk on a treadmill,’ said Jeff Zwiefel, Life Time Fitness senior vice president and exercise physiologist. ‘A person can certainly do those things but they also can go for swim with their kids, take a class with a friend or shoot baskets with a co-worker. A person also can relax in the sauna or whirl pool or enjoy a massage, manicure or pedicure in the spa. At Life Time Fitness, we strive to provide something for everyone and the scope and range of the programs our centers offer is second to none.’ ‘With the full range of options that exist today, it is easy for individuals and families do something that’s good for them financially, mentally and physically and it can work into everyone’s schedule’ said Zwiefel. ‘The secret simply lies in exploring some of the options that are close to you. Life Time Fitness upholds a commitment to and provides an environment for people of all ages and physical abilities to receive the variety and fun they need and a byproduct of this is it also will help them achieve long-term success in health and fitness, and feel good from the inside out.’”


For NYPD Commissioner, Being Fit Is Part of the Job

“Keeping fit is a requirement of Ray Kelly's job as commissioner of the New York City Police Department. He has worked out since he was a teenager, and stints at the Police Academy and in Vietnam with the Marine Corps reinforced his commitment to physical fitness. ‘Exercise became something you had to do. I developed an unconscious need for it,’ he says. Mr. Kelly is the only person in the NYPD to go from police cadet to commissioner. He was at the helm of the department during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and is credited with building one of the most successful local counter-terrorism units in the U.S. ‘This is a full-time, total immersion job,’ Mr. Kelly says. ‘But I still need to make time to work out, whether that's at 6:30 a.m. or in the evening.’ On average, Mr. Kelly works out four days a week for at least an hour at a time. He devotes 30 minutes to cardio exercise -- a knee operation three years ago forced him to switch from running outdoors to using a treadmill -- and the rest to weightlifting. He jogs if his knee doesn't bother him, but most often he walks on the treadmill at a speed of 4.4 miles per hour with a slight incline Mr. Kelly learned the fundamentals of strength training during his Marine Corps service.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Major New Report Establishes Effective Methods of Enhancing and Preserving Brain Power as We Age

“In 1900, only 4.1 percent of U.S. citizens were older than 65; in 2000 that number had jumped to 12.6 percent; and by the year 2030, 20 percent of our population could be in that category. Cognitive decline was long seen as an inevitable consequence of aging, but recent years have seen a surge of interest in activities and products touted to forestall this outcome. What is the truth? Is decline inevitable, or is there a possibility of retaining our faculties if we exercise them? And which kinds of exercises and products are effective, and which are merely hype? According to the most rigorous and comprehensive review of the scientific findings ever, there is clear evidence that cognitive-enrichment activities -- including intellectually stimulating pursuits, social engagement, and especially physical exercise -- may indeed preserve or enhance various aspects of cognitive functioning as we age. Your brain also stays in better shape if you work out. The authors of this report point to a recent study looking at 5,925 women over the age of 65. Researchers assessed their physical activity by asking the women how many city blocks they walked per day and how many flights of stairs they climbed daily. The women also responded to a questionnaire detailing their participation in 33 different physical activities. Looking at the cognitive function of these women 6 to 8 years later, the researchers found that the most active women had a 30 percent reduced risk of cognitive decline. Interestingly, walking distance was associated with cognition, but walking speed was not. It seems that even moderate levels of physical activity can serve to limit declines in cognition in older adults.”


Shifting America From Sick Care To Genuine Wellness

The problem is that we have systematically neglected wellness and disease prevention. Currently in the United States, 95 percent of every health care dollar is spent on treating illnesses and conditions after they occur. But we spend peanuts on prevention. The good news in these dismal statistics is that, by reforming our system and focusing on fighting and preventing chronic disease, we have a huge opportunity. We cannot only save hundreds of billions of dollars; we can also dramatically improve the health of the American people. Consider this: Right now, some 75 percent of health care costs are accounted for by heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and obesity. What these five diseases and conditions have in common is that they are largely preventable and even reversible by changes in nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle.”


Racquet Club Of St. Petersburg, Gold's Gym Form Alliance

“The Racquet Club of St. Petersburg has formed an alliance with the Gold's Gym at 203 38th Ave. N. For club members, benefits include discounted rates as well as access to Golds Gym's 21,000-square-foot, 24-hour fitness facility. The Racquet Club, at 170 40th Ave. NE, is a member-owned tennis club that offers a full range of tennis programs for players of all ages and skill levels. The facility boasts 14 lighted Har-Tru courts, three hard courts, a swimming pool, a clubhouse and a full-service restaurant. Gold's Gym features the latest in fitness equipment, a certified staff, personal training, and classes in yoga, Pilates, spinning and zumba.”


More Attacks on Prevention and its Role in Health Reform That Make No Sense

...Many studies show well-designed prevention programs are cost-saving. For example, a significant reduction in total health care spending is linked to community-based lifestyle interventions (primary prevention). Research shows that savings range from a short-term return on investment of $1 for every $1 invested, rising to more than $6 over the longer term. An investment of $10 per person per year in community-based programs tackling physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and smoking could yield more than $16 billion in medical cost savings annually within 5 years. This is a remarkable return of $5.60 for every dollar spent, without considering the additional gains in worker productivity, reduced absenteeism at work and school, and enhanced quality of life. Worksite health promotion programs, too, are effective at both primary and secondary prevention. A systematic review of more than 50 studies meeting rigorous guidelines for review by the U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services found strong evidence of WHP program effectiveness in specific areas: reducing tobacco use, dietary fat consumption, high blood pressure, total serum cholesterol levels, and days absent from work due to illness or disability, as well as improvements in other general measures of worker productivity. At Citibank, for example, a comprehensive health management program showed a return on investment of $4.70 for every $1.00 in cost. A similar comprehensive program at Johnson & Johnson reduced health risks, including high cholesterol levels, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure, and saved the company up to $8.8 million annually.”


Washington’s New Power Game

“Baron Hill is in training, working on his jumper, pumping iron, doing rep after tedious rep on the weight machines to strengthen his bum knee. He swore 15 years ago that he’d never play competitive basketball again, but here he is at his health club, 55 years old, shooting baskets alone. Once, he was an Indiana high school legend, a member of the state’s hall of fame. Those pictures, though, are in black and white. Just your typical bourgeois midlife crisis, right? Not exactly. Consider who Hill is—an influential member of the U.S. House of Representatives, co-chairman of the Blue Dog Democrats. Consider too that the court he’s on isn’t at a local Y. He’s in Room SB-322 of the Rayburn House Office Building: the famous House gym. Outside D.C., Hill’s new regimen would seem absurd. In D.C., it’s just doing business. Getting his basketball game up to speed isn’t about him. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s somewhat about him, about his own political future. But it’s also for the 675,000 citizens of his Indiana district, the people he has been sent here to serve. The reason he’s playing basketball isn’t because he wants to be, but because the president of the United States plays basketball. ‘It’s because of him,’ the five-term Democrat admits. ’If I ever have an opportunity to play with him, I want to be able to halfway get around that court well enough.’ At the end of his workout, just like when he was a kid, Hill won’t allow himself to leave until he has made 10 straight free throws.”


New Gym Opens in Ada

“Gym 210’s membership roster is starting to get pretty lengthy down on the corner of 9th and Broadway. The loft-style gym is stocked with Precor circuit equipment, cardio equipment and a large collection of free weights, tanning beds and a juice bar. ‘We have a little over 1,000 square feet of free weights,’ owner and manager of the gym Shane Cristelli said. Gym 210 is offering free boxing, zumba, core, body weight, cardio kick boxing and a yoga/Pilates fusion classes to all members of the gym. ‘We spent a little extra just on the little things, like all the dumbells have the pyramid grip. They’re all TKO balanced dumbbells,’ Cristelli said. ‘Everything matches.’ Cristelli, a former Ada High School wrestler and all-around fitness buff, was intent on making his gym the kind of place anyone would like to work out. ‘We went everywhere and tried everything. We tried Nautilus, we tried Paramount, Hammer Strength, Life Fitness,’ Cristelli said. ‘This is a little different ball-game. This stuff is really, really nice. It’s super concentrated on the muscle groups. You just can’t miss. A beginner can come in here and do this stuff.’”


Nurses Ponder New Role In Prevention

“The focus on traditional care – procedures for treatment — is shifting to a new emphasis on prevention ‘There couldn't be more exciting times in healthcare reform than we have right now. It is truly a transformation,’ said Ann Marchewka, a nurse executive at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, N.H. ‘The most exciting thing about this is we are seeing a whole revision of health care as we know it.’ The potential shift from a procedure-based federal reimbursement system to an outcome-based system, nurses said, will require doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to put a new premium on prevention and disease management. Vermont's Blueprint for Health, a pilot program testing a more rigorous prevention strategy, could become the new norm under a federal health care reform package.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Workout of the Week: Hip-Hop Dance

“Becky Hamm, a lifelong dancer, has taught hip-hop for four years. Hamm teaches many other fitness classes, including weight training and Pilates. What is the Workout: Hip-Hop is an exercise class that also acts as a dance class. While there is a focus on dancing and following choreography, the main focus is on getting your heart racing and working your body. The workout mostly consists of doing a series of hip-hop dance moves at a fast pace. What does it cost: $15 for a drop-in class. Who does it?: My class consisted of about 20 people of varying fitness levels. According to Hamm, the class usually fills up and brings in everyone from young women to middle aged men. Most of the choreography is same from class to class, so it's fine to drop in like I did. Going to the classes regularly can you give you the upper hand in doing moves like ‘The Beyonce’ and remembering all of the choreography. The dancing portion of the class starts with a few simple moves. Hamm teaches the move before everyone tries it out. Usually we'd practice the move a few times before we'd start from the beginning of the dance or from a previous move. Then once the move was ingrained in our memories we'd move to the next step. Most of the moves were fairly simple and involved ‘pops,’ ‘stomps’ and moving our butts. Hamm said that having fun is her main inspiration for teaching hip-hop. ‘I'm inspired by the people that come,’ she said, ‘When I see people enjoying it, it inspires me.’”


Being Overweight Is A Health Concern, BMI Is Only Part Of The Story

“Being overweight is a health concern, but Body Mass Index doesn't tell the whole story because it is part of a larger picture, says a new advisory by the American Heart Association published this month. Lead author Dr Cora E. Lewis, professor of medicine and public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said that: ‘This larger picture includes important relationships between BMI and other health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and its risk factors.’ ‘Arguably, the most important relationship among the cardiovascular disease risk factors is diabetes, which is significantly more common in overweight than in normal-weight people,’ she added. Lewis and colleagues concluded that:

· Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.

· Being overweight usually precedes being obese, so everyone who is overweight, adults and children alike, should reduce weight by changing to a healthy diet and doing more exercise.

· More research is needed on the links between overweight and health and this should go beyond looking only at BMI and risk of death.

But the authors also warned that: ‘Meanwhile, we cannot afford to wait for this research to begin addressing the problem of overweight in our patients and in our society.’ ‘Both healthy eating patterns and physical activity have roles in managing weight and CVD risk and should be encouraged in all,’ they wrote, explaining that gaining weight is progressive while losing weight is very hard to manage.”


Muscle Beach Launched As Fitness Brand

“Multinational Brands, Wilbraham, MA, is launching a new franchise called Muscle Beach, which encompasses tanning salons, massage studios, sports beverage bars, sandwich shops, sports nutrition center, fitness equipment stores and fitness clubs, according to founder Daniel Tschirret, who started up Fitness Forum in Worcester, MA, and Chic Physique in Brookline, MA, in the 1980s. The Muscle Beach brand is structured as a dealership, rather than a franchise. In an e-mail to Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro, Tschirret says that Muscle Beach is combining the success of the Gold’s Gym licensing model with the added support of franchising but without the heavy-handed regulation, which will result in lower capital investment, shorter-term contracts, lower fees and fewer fees. He says it will also require less costly d├ęcor and equipment. Tschirret says he’s been contacted by several people interested in the brand. ‘Of those who have responded to our initial marketing campaign, some have been franchisees of other brands who have expressed interest in joining us upon the expiration of their contracts,’ he says. The company also has several letters of intent from independents. ‘Based on a steady flow of respondents, verbal commitments, and letters of intent, we realistically expect to have as many as 10 units in operation, both domestically and internationally, by the end of the year,’ he said. ‘With personal training studios and compact fitness centers representing just two of our 23 different operating formats, we’re confident that by 2015 we can achieve the number of units necessary to make us No. 1 worldwide in fitness.’ Because none of the agreements have been signed, Tschirret could not reveal which companies and individuals had expressed interest in converting or opening under the brand. Tschirret does not intend to open corporate facilities, saying, ‘We are not in the business of owning fitness businesses. Our primary focus is on assisting those who either currently own or would like to own their own fitness business, and who would like to do so under the umbrella of our legendary and prestigious brand.’ The company is interviewing single-unit and multi-unit operators, as well as area and master developers on an international basis.”


Exercise Test Predicts Heart Problems In Diabetics

The way the heart moves during exercise echocardiography, an ultrasound test performed during treadmill exercise, can help doctors identify diabetics who are at risk for heart attacks and related problems, according to a report in the journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound. Dr. Joselina L. M. Oliveira of Brazil's Federal University of Sergipe and colleagues observe that although the prognostic value of the approach has been established in the general population, less is known about its ability to predict heart problems in diabetics. To investigate, the researchers reviewed data on 193 diabetic patients who were followed for around 29 months after exercise echocardiography. Twenty-four patients experienced heart problems, including fatal and non-fatal heart attacks. Nearly 21 percent of patients with an abnormal echocardiography result experienced a heart problem compared with just 7 percent of patients with a normal result. On final analysis, patients with an abnormal echocardiography results were nearly four times more likely to experience a heart problem than those with normal results. A sedentary lifestyle was also a key predictor of heart problems, more than doubling the risk.”


Many Overweight Youngsters Underestimate Weight

“In a study of urban-living mostly African American adolescents, nearly 40 percent were overweight or obese, and 27 percent of these youngsters underestimated their weight, researchers report. Of the 448 students in grades 5 to 8, more than 62 percent of the overweight boys and nearly 31 percent of the overweight girls listed their weight as normal or underweight, Dr. Youfa Wang, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues found. The participants attended one of four Chicago Public Schools. Compared with boys and girls not trying to lose weight, those who said they were trying to lose weight were not eating a healthier diet or increasing their physical activities, Wang and colleagues report in BMC Public Health, a journal published by BioMed Central. Wang's team assessed the association between actual and perceived body weight, body dissatisfaction, and intended weight control among a subset of 196 boys and 252 girls who were an average of nearly 12 years old. Measurements of body mass index - the ratio of height to weight -- showed that 40 percent of these students were overweight or obese. As noted, 27 percent of these youngsters (36 percent of the boys and 21 percent of the girls) underestimated their weight. Still, the researchers found about 24 percent of the study group, and twice as many girls as boys, indicated dissatisfaction with their weight. Forty-three percent of the students they were trying to lose weight. Yet, again Wang's group did not find a greater vegetable and fruit consumption or level of physical activity this group compared with those not trying to lose weight. ‘In fact,’ Wang and colleagues report, ‘boys who reported trying to lose weight still spent more time watching TV than those who did not.’ These findings emphasize the need for improved guidance for youngsters trying to lose weight. Data showing gender differences in weight perception and common miscalculation of body weight, also indicate these children need a better understanding of what a healthy body weight is, Wang and colleagues note.”


Research Considers Lean Mass Better For Developing Bones

“South Dakota State University research shows that a child with leaner body mass, or muscle, builds bigger bones than a child who weighs the same but has a greater percentage of fat. ‘We were interested in the relative influence of lean mass, which is muscle, versus fat mass on how bone grows as kids grow,’ said Howard Wey, an associate professor in SDSU's College of Nursing. Wey and professor Bonny Specker, director and chair of the Ethel Austin Martin Program in Human Nutrition at SDSU, are continuing to study the issue. They have analyzed data Specker and her team have assembled by taking bone and body composition measurements of rural Hutterite children in South Dakota. ‘There's a little bit of controversy because weight itself has a positive influence on bone,’ said Wey. ‘Heavier individuals tend to have more bone just to support their weight.’ The SDSU study was designed to look deeper at that issue to see whether there are differences in how lean mass and fat mass correlate with bone development. Wey presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore in early May. ‘A larger child is going to have larger bones just because he's heavier,’ Wey said. ‘But if you have two kids at the same weight, the one whose weight is dominated by fat mass is more likely to have smaller bones than the one whose weight is dominated by lean mass. Smaller bones are weaker than larger bones.’”


Burn Notice: How Accurate Are Devices That Track Calories Use

“Activity monitors using accelerometers can aid in weight control by estimating the calories you expend during the day, according to companies that sell them. Scientists say that the gadgets can be good motivators, but that you shouldn't count on them for an accurate estimate of daily calorie burn. ‘You can get a pretty good group [average] measure, but on an individual basis you may be off by 20% to 30% or more,’ says Patty Freedson, chairman of the kinesiology department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The rate of error is likely to be consistent for a given person, so the devices ‘will be accurate in showing improvement’ in physical activity levels, she adds. BodyMedia says unpublished data, some of which the company sponsored, show that 75% of armband users will have an error of 10% or less using the armband, and 95% will have an error of 20% or less. Even if these devices can't perfectly estimate calorie burn, they can be good motivators, scientists say.”


Underweight And Extremely Obese Die Earlier Than People Of Normal Weight, Study Finds

“Underweight people and those who are extremely obese die earlier than people of normal weight - but those who are overweight actually live longer than people of normal weight. Those are the findings of a new study published online in Obesity by researchers at Statistics Canada, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and McGill University. ‘It's not surprising that extreme underweight and extreme obesity increase the risk of dying, but it is surprising that carrying a little extra weight may give people a longevity advantage,’ said David Feeny, PhD, coauthor of the study and senior investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. ‘It may be that a few extra pounds actually protect older people as their health declines, but that doesn't mean that people in the normal weight range should try to put on a few pounds,’ said Mark Kaplan, DrPH, coauthor and Professor of Community Health at Portland State University. ‘Our study only looked at mortality, not at quality of life, and there are many negative health consequences associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.’ ‘Good health is more than a BMI or a number on a scale. We know that people who choose a healthy lifestyle enjoy better health: good food choices, being physically active everyday, managing stress, and keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in check,’ said Keith Bachman MD, a weight management specialist with Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute.”


Can't Stop Eating? For Some People, Obesity Is Not a Simple Failure of Self-Control

“Imagine feeling hungry -- starving, even -- all the time, no matter how much you eat. So hungry that you would shoplift, sneak, steal or secretly order takeout food to sate your appetite, without regard for consequences. Kate Kane doesn't have to imagine; she knows. Washington Post readers met Kane in November 2004 when Ranit Mishori, a physician who frequently writes for the paper, reported on Kane's struggle with hyperphagia, or excessive eating. As Mishori noted, Kane's ravenous desire for food is a key symptom of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a genetic disorder that affects not only appetite but also muscle tone, metabolism, stature and cognitive ability. About 4,500 Americans are known to have the syndrome, but experts believe it may be undiagnosed in as many as 25,000 others. Kane's father, Jim Kane of Towson, this month helped organize a conference for researchers who work with genetic disorders that are characterized by hyperphagia. The event's prime goal was to have participants join forces to learn what causes hyperphagia, in hope of eventually devising a treatment or cure. Those who gathered in Baltimore for the conference, including researchers from the National Institutes of Health, have another aim, though, one with far broader implications. If they can tease out the physiological, genetic and chemical causes of hyperphagia among people with disorders, that knowledge may prove a potent tool in combating obesity in the general population. ‘The main message is that hunger and obesity are not just a matter of self-control,’ says Janalee Heinemann, director of research and medical affairs for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. ‘It's a pretty big, complex puzzle. Each system [of the body] plays into this and makes a difference, and each person is different.’ ‘In my more naive days, I thought we just needed to find the right pill,’ Heinemann says. Now, given what she's learned about the complex nature of b’th PWS and obesity, ‘I don't think there's going to be a pill.’”


At 90, Everett Nurse Stays In The Swim

It's a Monday morning. Teresa Schmierer is in the pool. A boom box blasts out Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine: ‘Come on, shake your body baby, do the conga.’ Water aerobics instructor Melodie Nelson, who's poolside demonstrating high kicks and arm circles, takes a break to change the music. It's a birthday surprise for Schmierer, a switch from the hard-driving Latin beat. ‘OK Teresa, memory city,’ Nelson says as she changes the CD. The place quiets down. A dozen or so people in the pool hear a dreamy tune from another time. It's the Glenn Miller Orchestra's ‘Moonlight Serenade.’ In 1939, when the song was a hit, Schmierer was 20 years old. On Friday, the Everett woman will celebrate her 90th birthday. Classmates jumped the gun Monday. They brought a big cake decorated with an American flag, and later took Schmierer out for lunch. ‘She is so remarkable, with the best attitude about life,’ said Kim Pontrello, a friend who's been taking water aerobics classes with Schmierer for more than a decade. They keep moving in Nelson's class three mornings a week at 24 Hour Fitness near Silver Lake. Before the health club opened last year, they met for years at a similar club on Everett's Evergreen Way. As the class friendships flourish, age is irrelevant. Schmierer is turning 90. Pontrello and Nelson are middle-aged, and others in class are young enough to be Schmierer's grandchildren. ‘Some people go to exercise classes because they want to look good. I want them to feel good,’ said Nelson. She shared that some in the water aerobics group have survived heart attacks, major surgeries, diabetes and other chronic ailments. ‘When most people start winding down, at 75 years old she started pushing herself to exercise. Over the years, she has been the one person in the pool who is always there,’ said Pontrello, who has pictures of other pool parties, including Schmierer's ‘great at 88’ birthday two years ago.”


Tim Johnson, the Walking Congressman

“It was the middle of the afternoon, during the start of the workweek, and the representative from Illinois’ 15th congressional district, Tim Johnson, was walking in circles. Yes, there he was, going round and round and round and round. Had it been someone else, this behavior might have been cause for alarm. But for those who work in or around the Longworth House Office Building, seeing Johnson in perpetual, circuitous motion is a familiar sight. ‘You can sit in your office with your feet up like a big shot, or you can get fit,’ says the 62-year-old congressman. ‘And I think all of our brains operate better; really, I think human beings work better [with exercise].’ Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), the founder of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, says that even the least exercise-inclined member would be hard-pressed to finish his day without extensive exercise, what with all the walking to and from hearings and meetings and floor debates. Some time ago, a health care company handed out pedometers to lawmakers, Wamp says, finding that the average member took about 11,000 steps a day. (Medical experts have usually put 10,000 steps as the daily benchmark for active adults.) But nobody — nobody! — on the Hill has shown the same Forest Gump-like, single-minded commitment to perambulation as Johnson.Between chatting about legislation with his staff and chatting with the folks back home, it’s not unusual for the work walking (or working walk) to go on for several hours each day, which keeps Johnson from being one of the more social members of the caucus. Wamp, whose office is on that floor, regularly sees Johnson rounding the corners. He compliments his Republican colleague on being ‘very efficient’ in using ‘all of his free time to move.’ ‘The most effective antidepressant in the history of the world is sweat,’ says Wamp. ‘We all need to sweat more, and Tim Johnson is a great example of how you can integrate physical activity into your work.’ Johnson estimates he spends two to three hours a day reading, and every week, his staff stuffs his House gym locker with a voluminous stack of materials to prepare for floor activity. He wakes each morning at 6 o’clock and walks around the park while reading the newspapers his staff delivers to his apartment the night before. The expressions ‘exercise junkie’ and ‘health nut’ seem to fail to capture the man from Urbana, who has two treadmills, two bikes, multiple gym memberships and an indoor swimming pool.”


Michelle Obama: Health Care Reform Won't Be Easy [Video]

“As the debate over health care reform escalates on Capitol Hill and in the White House, first lady Michelle Obama told ‘Good Morning America’ in an exclusive interview that "no system is going to be perfect" and ‘it's not going to be easy.’ The first lady talks about the health care challenges facing the U.S. The argument between Republicans and Democrats centers around the Obama administration's proposal for a government-sponsored health insurance plan, or ‘public option,’ that would compete with private insurance. Despite the contention over the merits of the plan and as how it would be funded, the first lady told ‘GMA’ she thinks success is possible now because ‘more and more people are ready for this kind of reform.’ ‘The country has moved to another point in time,’ she said. ‘It's not going to be easy, but you have more people who are ready to try to figure it out. And hopefully that will ultimately make the difference this time around.’ The first lady acknowledged that her involvement in promoting nutrition, wellness and prevention ‘is to me one of the true keys of changing the health paradigm in this country.”


Bally's Founder Don Wildman Speeds Up at 76

“Malibu resident Don Wildman, possibly one of the fittest septuagenarians on the planet, has always had that galvanizing effect on people. Founder of the company that became Bally's Total Fitness, the giant health-club chain, Wildman not only made a career out of telling people to get fit, he fit the part himself, packing his life with daily workouts and an endless parade of grand physical challenges -- world-class sailing races against Ted Turner, 90 holes of golf in a day, nine Hawaii Ironman triathlons. The activities didn't retire when he did 15 years ago. He picked up big-wave surfing, helicopter snowboarding and stand-up paddle boarding, once paddling the length of the Hawaiian Islands. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, he leads "the Circuit," a grueling two-hour weight workout at his gargantuan home gym that has become legendary in Malibu. He rides seven days a week and paddles three. "I don't rest," he says.


Over the 'Weight War'

“Her victorious battle in the 'weight war' a few years ago is now the strength behind the opening of her health club at Marks Street in Suva. Director and mother of two Seeta Singh believes her customers need to know what they get is solely based on first hand experience rather than direct routine schedules of health tips from books that may or may not work for different people. She knows what it is like to be overweight. He's lived that life and come off a better person. What she offers are basically designed for those who are still fighting the embarrassment of dealing with their weight, especially for those who have lost the confidence of attending a gym and facing the world full of well built women and men....


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Power Plate(R) Opens Cutting-Edge Studio in L.A.

“Power Plate(R) North America (PPNA), the global leader in Advanced Vibration Technology,(TM) is bringing the hottest trend in fitness and beauty to the greater Los Angeles market via a brand new, state-of-the-art Power Plate(R) studio opening this month for the summer in Brentwood, Calif. In addition to showcasing the sleek, user-friendly machines, ‘Power Plate(R) - The Experience’ will provide group classes and private training sessions for the public, celebrities and media. ‘My clients, like Courteney Cox, prefer Power Plate(R) machines to tone, tighten and get red-carpet ready in less time,’ says celebrity trainer Michelle Lovitt who will teach group classes and private sessions at the studio. ‘If your schedule doesn't always allow time for traditional exercise, Power Plate(R) acceleration training is great because you get a full, targeted workout in as little as three 30-minute sessions a week, and still see amazing results.’”


Health And Fitness Club Members Going Online To Share Insight

Recently, I was asked by IHRSA to discuss the research that I have been conducting on UK members opinions towards health and fitness clubs. For some time, I have been tracking the opinions posted by gym members on review websites. They also interviewed me about how pervasive this trend of publishing unprompted gym reviews will become.

The full interview is available on the IHRSA website and can be found at this link.

Experts: Most Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Stopped In Childhood

“An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition medical experts blame on a culture steeped in junk food and inactivity that has led to more obese kids. Aggressive early treatment and lifestyle changes can help, and even snuff out disease symptoms, but more sweeping health care system changes, including better health insurance for older teens and people in their 20s, are required for young diabetics to age into healthy older adults, experts say. ‘It's really stunning how the percentages for type 2 diabetes are going up in younger and younger Americans. Clearly, diabetes is following obesity, and both have huge ramifications on long-term health,’ says Siri Atma Greeley, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. About 150,000 children in the USA have been diagnosed with diabetes, most with type 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the number of children with type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in the past decade, says Ann Albright with the CDC. About 3,700 youth were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from 2002 to 2003 — that's about five in every 100,000 children, according to the CDC. Type 2 is especially affecting Hispanic, African American and American Indian youth. Why a child's body stops using insulin properly — called insulin sensitivity — isn't clear, but Sothern says her government-funded study suggests a child's current body fat is the strongest predictor of poor insulin sensitivity. While the majority of chubby kids don't get diabetes, if a child has a family history, or a mother who had gestational diabetes was obese while pregnant or did not breast-feed, they can be at risk, Sothern says. You top that with high-calorie, high-fat eating habits and a lack of exercise, and you can push an at-risk individual over the edge and into diabetes earlier in life, says Rebecca Lipton, associate professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Chicago.”


Obesity May Reduce Brain Gray Matter In Postmenopausal Women

“Results from a small study of postmenopausal women suggest that obesity might relate to a reduced volume of gray matter in the brain. However, whether the results have relevance in a woman's day-to-day life is unclear. ‘A subset of women from the Pittsburgh Healthy Women Study (HWS) who had been followed for an average of 15 years was invited to participate in brain imaging studies,’ said lead author Isabella Soreca, M.D., an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. ‘We found that those who had gained the most weight had lower gray matter volume.’ The study appears online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.”


Exercisers Picking Up Good Vibrations

“There's a whole lot of shaking going on in gyms these days. The machines responsible may look like locker room scales on steroids, and the idea of using them to jiggle the flab away may seem a bit wacky. But experts, celebrities and true believers say that squatting and pressing atop these vibrating platforms can perk up tired bodies and ignite weary workouts. ‘Vibration training improves muscle tone and increases core body temperature because it allows for stimulation of the neurological system,’ David Harris, director of personal training for the Equinox Fitness, said in an interview. Over 100 gyms in the United States and more than 80 countries worldwide feature the vibrating platforms, according to Patty Stapleton, spokesperson for Power Plate, the California-based company which manufactures them. Model and television presenter Heidi Klum, actors Clint Eastwood and George Clooney, and entertainers P-Diddy and Madonna are among its celebrity users, according to the company. ‘Many people are using the machines to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness’ Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), said in an interview.”


Nautilus Health Club At Crowne Plaza Hotel Opens A New Multi Sports Area


June's Rainy Days Help Local Businesses

“New Yorkers who want to exercise on rainy days are making this a good June for Chelsea Piers. Every day, the sports facility on the Hudson River gets two or three end-of-school field days that need to move indoors due to bad weather, said Chelsea Piers exec Dana Thayer. At its health club, tours and appointments for potential members are up one-third over June 2008.”


Friday, June 19, 2009

Positive Vibes Stretch Into New Business Venture

“Think positive, forget about stress and be healthy. That’s at least part of the focus behind Loveland Yoga and Core Fitness, a new business in downtown Loveland opened by Christi Sullivan. Sullivan worked at Orchards Health Club for seven years as the group fitness manager before venturing out on her own, which she admits is a leap of faith in this economy. But hey, think positive. ‘We are in a recession and I’m like, ‘Here we go, let’s do this,’ Sullivan said. ‘But people need a place to go and forget about all that stuff. This gives them a new outlook.’ So far, Sullivan said her yoga classes are growing and she feels good about the business. The classes are a variety of yoga styles, and all are heated to 80 degrees. But it’s not just yoga at the studio. Sullivan also is a certified CHEK practitioner, or Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology, and she is a holistic lifestyle coach. She works with athletes and people who just want to get in shape on training, eating and healing. It’s a whole body, holistic approach to health, training and wellness. Often in her work, Sullivan said she would suggest to her clients to take yoga classes, which was the impetus for the idea of combining her practitioner work with a yoga studio.”


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Global Weight Loss Market Worth US$586.3 Billion by 2014

“According to a new market research report, 'Global Weight Loss and Gain Market (2009 - 2014)', published by MarketsandMarkets, the total global weight loss market is expected to be worth US$586.3 billion by 2014, out of which the North American market will account for nearly 43% of the total revenues. The global market is expected to record a CAGR of 10.1% from 2009 to 2014. Browse 143 market data tables and in-depth TOC on weight management market. Early buyers will receive 10% customization of reports While marginal weight loss can be attained through personal efforts, weight and obesity problems require the intervention of weight management products and services. This market is driven by the growing demand for weight management services, the increasing incidence of child obesity, the increasing popularity of organic and healthy food, the emergence of Asians as big spenders on health and fitness products, and the rising health and fitness consciousness amongst women. The primary targets are individuals wanting to maintain their weight and body fitness, and those looking to lose weight quickly. The food and beverage (F&B) market is the largest segment and is expected to reach US$215.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 10.8%. Devices and accessories and services markets are estimated to record revenues of US$180.8 billion and US$ 181.6 billion respectively on account of the demand for fitness services. However, drugs, supplements and cosmetics markets are estimated to be only US$ 7.9 billion in 2014. However, this market presents immense opportunities as no blockbuster drug has yet been introduced in the market. The North American market is the largest geographical segment; and is expected to be worth US$253.7 billion by 2014. Its 11.5% CAGR for 2009 to 2014 is driven by the greater availability of weight management products and services. The second largest segment is Europe, with a CAGR of 10.2%. It is expected to reach US$196.3 billion by 2014. The report is titled 'Global Weight Loss and Gain Market (2009 - 2014)' and was published in June 2009. This report aims to identify and analyze products and services that specifically enable weight reduction and management. The report segments the global weight management market as follows: […]- Weight management devices and accessories market - Cardio-equipment, weightlifting equipment, sports equipment, home gyms and multi-stack gyms, and accessories market.”


Tai Chi May Ease Arthritis Pain, Disability

Practicing the controlled movements and deep breathing of Tai Chi may reduce arthritis pain and related disabilities, according to findings from a multi-study review. Tai Chi, an exercise form that originated in China, involves gentle, gliding motions that can be performed regardless of physical ability. After reviewing studies of Tai Chi involving a total of about 300 subjects with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, Amanda Hall, at the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues found that the practice reduced pain levels. Tai Chi likewise reduced pain-related disability associated with daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of chairs, and completing household, shopping, and leisure activities. These findings suggest Tai Chi ‘is as effective in reducing arthritic pain and disability as other clinical exercise programs,’ Hall told Reuters Health. Previous research showed Tai Chi to be beneficial in reducing pain and improving physical function, and the current analysis helps quantify the effect, Hall and colleagues explain in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.


The Great Indoors - Fearful Of Skin Cancer And The Sun's Damaging Rays, Some Fitness Fanatics Are Heading Inside

Diane Dalpe, an aspiring health nut from Arlington, was confused. ‘All the advice says, walk, walk, walk,’ she said, ‘but then the doctors tell you to stay out of the sun.’ Dalpe, 56, could head outside in a wide-brimmed hat, pants, long sleeves - and apply the recommended shot glass of sunscreen - but, she admitted, ‘it gets to be a little ridiculous.’’ What’s a person to do? Exercise in the great indoors, that’s what. True, she misses out on the scent of the flowers and freshly cut grass, the sounds of the birds, the feel of the fresh air. But that’s what those nature programs on TV are for. ‘It’s an Earth experience,’ Dalpe says of the gardening and outdoors shows she watches from the comfort of her home treadmill. There are no statistics on the number of people who’ve decide to exercise indoors exclusively to avoid the sun’s aging and cancer-causing rays. But local dermatologists report growing concern about outdoor exercise among their sports- and fitness-minded patients. ‘It’s a real issue,’ said Dr. Jeffery Dover, a director of SkinCare Physicians in Chestnut Hill. ‘I talk about [sun damage] all the time with my patients who run. Some of them are very smart about it,’ following sunscreen guidelines and other advice, ‘and some are not, and they don’t look so good.’


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bill Would Impose Tougher Regulations On Personal Trainers

"The association lobbied against similar legislation introduced in 2008 and 2009 in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana and the District of Columbia. The difference is that the other states required personal trainers have a state-issued license. IHRSA officials say that’s unnecessary because the industry has gone to great lengths to regulate itself. There are currently 10 fitness trainer certification agencies that have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Getting trainers or gyms to shell out more money and navigate more red tape for state licenses would be burdensome and costly, according to an IHRSA new release issued earlier this year. ‘That could have the dual effect of reducing the number of fitness professionals providing personal training services, and, in turn, the number of consumers pursuing physical activity,’ said Amy Bantham, IHRSA’s deputy vice president of government relations.”


E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits

“E-mail messages suggesting small ways to eat more healthfully or boost physical activity can significantly improve health habits, a new study has found. Participants in a worksite e-mail program walked more, ate more fruits and vegetables and consumed less saturated fats and trans fats than workers who didn't receive the e-mails, according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. People whose dietary habits and physical activity levels were below recommended levels at the start of the study realized the greatest improvements, the researchers reported. ‘What this study really tells us is that this particular program is effective,’ said the lead investigator, Barbara Sternfeld, a senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente research division in Oakland, Calif. ‘It gets the behavior change that we're looking for.’ What's more, the program appeared to have a lasting effect. ‘Our data show, at least four months later, the behaviors were still sticking,’ Sternfeld noted.”


Obesity/overweight Rates Have Doubled In South Carolina Since 1990 - June Proclaimed Obesity Awareness Month

“In South Carolina, where Gov. Mark Sanford has officially proclaimed June as Obesity Awareness Month, obesity rates have more than doubled since 1990,’ said Erika Kirby, director of DHEC's Division of Obesity Prevention and Control. ‘Sixty-five percent of South Carolina adults are obese or overweight, and more than 31 percent of high school students in the state are overweight or obese.’ Kirby said in some South Carolina communities, rates of overweight and obesity are now more than 40 percent among children and adolescents. ‘Obesity is a complex condition, influenced by behavioral, environmental and biological factors, that increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some forms of cancer, and other chronic diseases,’ Kirby said. According to Kirby, a resource called "Options for Action" has been developed to guide implementation of the state's obesity plan. ‘It serves as a valuable tool that can provide guidance to communities as they become more supportive of healthful nutrition and physical activity,’ Kirby said. For more information about South Carolina's obesity prevention partnership, ‘Eat Smart, Move More SC,’ and the "Options for Actions," see DHEC's Web page.”


Fitness Equipment Dealer FitnessBlowout.com Fights Childhood Obesity

“1 out of 3 kids in the United States is now considered overweight or obese, and fitness industry pioneer Jim ‘Super Gym’ Rosen, President of FitnessBlowout.com, wants to change that. The father of six is currently planning a one-of-a-kind family sports and fitness complex in the Los Angeles area which will feature top-of-the-line exercise equipment including treadmills and ellipticals, nutrition classes, thirteen sports and arts academies lead by top certified coaches, LA's only indoor/outdoor basketball/volleyball/soccer/gymnastics gymnasium, a rock climbing wall, Endless Swimming Pool trainer, baseball batting cage, top of the line fitness equipment, interactive sports video game arcade, clinics, leagues, summer camps and more. ‘My wife and I have always instilled a strong passion for exercise and sports participation in our kids to help improve their self-esteem, confidence and overall health,’ said Jim "Super Gym" Rosen, President of FitnessBlowout.com. ‘After witnessing the overwhelming epidemic of childhood obesity that is afflicting our country, I wanted to do my part to help other kids find a better quality of life, as I have done for my own children.’


Fit Line Launches CYBEX FT-450 - Changes the Functional Training Landscape

“Fit Line has announced the availability of Cybex FT-450 for the Indian market. Cybex FT 450 comes with a stabilization pad which sets this machine apart from any other Cable Pulley machines. Moving the pad just a few inches creates an entirely different effect on the muscles. Because of the versatility in training that it offers, this feature has made this product a very popular machine among athletes across the world. Available at all thirty Three (33) stores of Fit Line in India, the Cybex FT-450 is a total training solution, offering more training options and versatility than any product in its class. The product is available at Rs 5,95,000/-. ‘Whether training is for the upper body, lower body, isolated, or fully integrated, the only limitation to the FT-450 is the user's imagination’, said Mr Harmeet Luthra, Director, Fit Line, exclusive dealer for Cybex in India.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Boulder's Newest Gym Unites Climbing And Fitness

“Boulder climbers may never have to go outside again. The city's third major indoor rock-climbing gym, Movement Climbing and Fitness, is set to open July 25 at 2845 Valmont Road, just two blocks north of the Boulder Rock Club. The 22,000-square-foot complex will be home to the city's tallest roped climbing wall, at 40 feet, and will offer a total of 17,500 square feet of climbing surface area. But co-owners Mike and Anne Worley Moelter stress that Movement isn't just a big rock wall. It will also feature yoga and spinning studios, plus a complete line of Technogym cardio and weight equipment. And a 25-person staff will provide fitness instruction, climbing coaching and childcare. ‘We wanted to make a place for people of all levels of fitness, from professional athlete to beginner, to come,’ Anne Worley Moelter said. ‘Not just climbers, but anybody.’ The Moelters, who have 25 years of combined climbing experience, have both served as directors of USA Clilmbing and worked at Boulder Rock Club and The Spot Bouldering Gym. In designing Movement, they traveled to an estimated 80 gyms domestically and internationally. ’We got to cherry-pick the things we liked from all those gyms, and put them into ours,’ Mike Moelter said. Movement will be the first climbing gym in Boulder to build walls high enough to host competitions through the International Federation of Sport Climbing.


Technogym Supplies Fitness Equipment For Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games

“Technogym will be sponsoring the fitness equipment for a 1000-sqm gym during the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (Singapore 2010) from 14 to 26 August 2010. As Singapore 2010’s Official Fitness Equipment Sponsor, Technogym will provide fitness equipment for cardiovascular, strength, weight and weight resistance training at the Youth Olympic Village (YOV). On top of that, the company will be providing an integrated solution such as the design of the gym layout, trainers, technicians, installation and maintenance services. ‘After being an official supplier to the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Turin 2006 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, we are very proud to support the first Youth Olympic Games. It is fundamental to share with the younger generation the values of Olympism as well as to promote regular physical exercise,’ said Nerio Alessandri, President and founder of Technogym.”


Fitness Options Not Limited To 9-To-5 With Rise Of 24-Hour Gyms

“Alli Elliot shimmies from side to side as she follows her virtual aerobics instructor. The woman on the screen calling out exercise commands is tough, but perky. "I like that the instructor is always smiling," said Alli, a 13-year-old cheerleader at Arlington Middle School. "When you look at her, it's like she's smiling at you. It makes you want to do it better." The program, on a life-size screen in an aerobics studio, is like a personal training session without the pricey fees. Most importantly, Alli, with her busy cheerleading schedule, can use the studio at anytime. Aerobics Anytime, at 5959 Airline in Arlington, is one of the newest additions to the 24-hour gym scene. The studio, developed by Eads entrepreneur Don Furr, merges exercise with computer science. Clients use an electronic key system to scan into the space whenever they wish. A variety of weights and steps are available to increase the intensity of their workout sessions. When clients are ready to begin, they step onto a marked space on the floor that triggers an "air-powered switch" and a 20-minute workout video appears on the screen.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Workout in the Water

“Hey, swimmers, don't limit yourself to lanes, the aquatic version of a hamster wheel. And landlubbers, give up the notion that strength training and cardio are best done on terra firma. Aqua aerobics, or aquatic fitness, is no longer the domain of people recovering from injuries, trying to exercise despite limited abilities or struggling with chronic conditions such as arthritis. Pool workouts are hot, especially group exercise classes. The latest ones incorporate Pilates, kickboxing and strength training, targeting all muscle groups and building endurance. ‘Working out in the water is excellent cross-training,’ says Julie Seamster, an aquatic fitness instructor at California Family Fitness in Sacramento. ‘On land you're using gravity, but in water you're using the water's properties -- it's heavier than air, and you have resistance in all directions.’ Water also provides bones and joints with a break from constant pounding -- a big boon for those who run or play sports such as soccer, volleyball and basketball. "You can exercise at a high intensity with zero impact," says Niecia Staggs, a masters swim coach at Equinox. ‘You also have the challenge of maintaining core stability,’ says Doris Dodge-Thews, a master trainer with 24-Hour Fitness. ‘Any time you're in water, you challenge the core to maintain any movement.’


Fit and Over 50

Gene Woodard was concerned about her weak upper body strength and poor balance. She also was diagnosed as pre-osteoporosis. Woodard turned to WellBound Health & Fitness, a health club near 114th Street and West Dodge Road that focuses on baby boomers and seniors. Exercise made a big difference in the life of the 75-year-old Omahan. ‘I couldn't stand on one leg for 10 seconds. Now I can almost indefinitely,’ she says. ‘I can now carry an armload of groceries.’ Woodard says she has more stamina, more mental alertness and more energy. Her bone density has improved to the point that her doctor said it was OK to give up her medication. Some members tell WellBound's director, Michelle Streif, that they can use less medication after exercise, which saves them money. ‘A big absorption of the health care dollars is by inactive boomers and seniors, mostly due to medications,’ she says. ‘However, they should talk to their doctor first before cutting back on medications.’ Streif, who is a fitness trainer specializing in older adults, says WellBound members give a myriad of reasons why they join. She remembers a recently widowed woman who set as a goal to run a half marathon with her daughter. ‘They came here to get in shape. She has now run two of them.’...


What's Missing From Healthcare Reform Talk

‘Third, these federal debates almost never talk about diet and exercise - but these two 'preventive' measures, more so than almost any other, can dramatically affect healthcare costs and health status. Everyone is 'for prevention' when we talk about healthcare delivery itself, but when it comes to doing something about the two most preventive measures of all - eating better and getting up off of the couch - we seem to take a pass. Why?’


West-Side Genesis Health Club To Add Tennis Center

Rodney Steven II has plans for a new $2 million tennis center at his Genesis Health Club at 854 N. Socora. ‘It’s going to be pretty huge,’ Steven says. ‘A full-service tennis facility has never been on the west side — ever.’ The 35,000-square-foot addition will be west of the current Genesis space and house six indoor courts. Steven has seven acres at the site. Most of the property already has proper zoning for his plans. ‘We could build the facility today without rezoning or anything,’ he says. But there are three small pieces of land where homes used to be, and Steven needs to rezone those properties for how he wants to configure the new space. The issue goes before the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on Thursday. Steven expects to begin building sometime in July. He’s two weeks from beginning construction on a $7 million fitness and tennis center in Salina. ‘They don’t have one indoor court in the whole city of Salina,’ Steven says. He says the two projects will dovetail nicely and be less expensive since he can use a lot of the same plans and materials. Steven has been thinking about a west-side tennis center for a decade. ‘I’m so excited I’m finally pulling the trigger on it,’ he says. Steven remembers growing up and having to drive from the west side to Rock Road to play tennis. ‘It’s tough on a family,’ he says of all the driving. Plans call for the new facility to be ready at the first of the year. ‘I know it’s going to be a good investment,’ Steven says. ’Tennis is something that’s going to be around forever.’”


Iowa Initiative Promotes Healthy Lifestyle

“Tami Finley knew she had to make changes in her life earlier this year when she found out she had diabetes. She started eating better, checking labels for calories, fat content and carbs. In addition, she began taking water aerobic classes at the Life Fitness Center in Bettendorf. Her efforts got a boost in April when the Bettendorf Library, where she works, started a program that encouraged employees to lose weight by eating right and working out. To date, Finley has lost 12 pounds and plans to keep at her efforts. And she now has one more incentive to do so. Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge announced a new statewide initiative that challenges Iowans to set personal exercise and nutrition goals. The program, dubbed “Your Heart is in Your Hands,” allows participants to track their progress online and rewards them for meeting their goals with gold, silver and bronze medals. ‘You can walk down the streets and see people are heavier and less fit,’ Judge said on Friday. ‘We need to change that.’ The challenge, aimed at combating heart disease, started last week and already nearly 3,000 people have signed up for it.


Oklahoma Doctor Says Campaign Needed For Prevention

“A robust public health campaign that encourages people to take better care of themselves should be included in health care reform legislation this year, the dean of the public health college at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center said here last week. Dr. Gary Raskob also said that ‘an investment in prevention is absolutely critical.’ Raskob testified before the Senate committee that has developed a draft of health care legislation and has begun intensive hearings into all aspects of the complex issue. President Barack Obama has been pushing congressional leaders to get a major bill done this year, and those leaders are looking for political consensus on some of the more controversial elements. Much of the attention has focused on the insurance part — whether individuals should be required to buy health insurance, employers should be required to provide it or a government health care plan should compete with private ones. Lawmakers also are trying to figure out how to pay for any additional government costs. Obama recently left open the door to taxing the health care benefits that employers provide to workers. But there also has been a focus on containing costs by motivating people to quit smoking, start exercising and develop better eating habits....


Friday, June 12, 2009

Study Finds 4 Things That Keep Old Minds Sharp

Some people seem to be able to keep their wits well into old age. But what's their secret?New research reveals a host of factors that may contribute to a sharper mind late in life, including exercise, education, non-smoking behavior and social activity. While other research has shown that genetics play a role in whether people get dementia, the study adds to a growing body of research that is uncovering ways you can up the odds of keeping your brain healthy and your memory sharp now and later. The study tested the cognitive ability of 2,500 people aged 70 to 79 over eight years. More than half of the subjects showed normal age-related decline in mind function and 16 percent had a considerable decline during the course of the study. But 30 percent of participants did not show a change in their cognitive skills, and some even improved on the tests. The researchers then looked to see what could account for this difference. EXERCISE: They found that people who exercised moderately to vigorously at least once a week were 30 percent more likely to maintain a sharp mind than those who did not work-out as often. EDUCATION, NOT SMOKING, and SOCIALIZING ‘Some of these factors such as exercise and smoking are behaviors that people can change,’ said Alexandra Fiocco, a study author and research at the University of California, San Francisco. ‘Discovering factors associated with cognitive maintenance may be very useful in prevention strategies that guard against or slow the onset of dementia.’ The results were published in a June issue of Neurology. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study supports past research that has pointed to exercise as a way to protect your brain and prevent the development of cognitive disorders. Exercise stresses your body, and causes it to release certain growth factors that can strength neurons and keep them healthy.


SOKO Fitness & Spa Group, Inc. Opens Yoga Wave II Fitness Center

“SOKO Fitness & Spa Group, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SOKF) today announced the grand opening of Yoga Wave II Fitness Center at No. 124 Huigong St. Shenhe District, Shenyang, the biggest city in Northeast China, on June 1st, 2009. Yoga Wave II Fitness Center is a 32,200 sq. ft. club that has a full-time Yoga master from India on staff. This center is owned by Shenyang Letian Yoga Fitness Center, which also owns Yoga Wave Fitness Center. SOKO holds a 51% ownership interest in Shenyang Letian Yoga Fitness Center. Members of Yoga Wave and Yoga Wave II can use both facilities at their convenience. Shenyang Letian is member of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the fitness industry's only global trade association, representing over 9,750 health and fitness facilities and over 740 suppliers in 78 countries.”


Planet Fitness Coming to Staples' Plaza in Stratham

“Area residents might find themselves with fewer excuses for not hitting the gym next year. A new Planet Fitness will be opening next to Staples in the Parkman Brook Shopping Plaza on Portsmouth Avenue if all goes according to plan, said John Craig of the Brand Development Department at Planet Fitness. ‘That strip is an attractive place to be,’ he said. ‘It's been on our radar screen for a long time, but now seems to be the time.’ Stratham in particular is a central location for the region, with access to routes 101, 108 and 33, he said. ‘We've been looking at Stratham for years,’ said Craig. Craig said the lease has not yet been signed, but the deal is progressing smoothly. ‘It's not etched in stone, but we are pretty darn close to finalizing the deal,’ he said. ‘There are some minor things to be worked out.’ If Planet Fitness signs the lease agreement with Northstar, owners of the shopping plaza, the gym will open in January 2010. ‘A lot of work goes into putting one of our clubs together,’ said Craig. The fitness center will take up 17,000 square feet of the left side of the building, which is a typical size for a Planet Fitness. ‘It will look cool like all of our clubs,’ Craig said.”


Fitness Center Changes Name

“Changes inside a familiar Rosemont fitness club have prompted changes outside the club as well. Willow Creek health club officially changed its name to Rosemont Health and Fitness last week and installed new signage outside the facility on Higgins Rd. between Mannheim and Scott. Club Director Doug DuBrock said the new name more accurately reflects changes that have been occurring inside the state of the art, village-owned health club for the last four or five years. He said the old name brought some confusion to local residents in understanding that the fitness center is open to the public and that it is owned and operated by the village. DuBrock said that, though it was only a secondary consideration for the change, the old name was often confused with Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. The health club sits adjacent to Willow Creek which flows through Rosemont. New signs were installed last week, but DuBrock said a grand reopening celebration will wait until next fall when activity picks up at the club as colder weather forces exercise activities inside. DuBrock also clarified that the club is open to the public at large, not just to Rosemont residents, and is not a part of the Rosemont Park District.”


VIDA Fitness Expands with New Spa & Health Club at Renaissance Washington DC Hotel in Penn Quarter

VIDA Fitness, the creatively designed Washington, DC fitness center and spa with locations at the Verizon Center and the Metropole in Logan Circle, has announced the grand opening of its third location in the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel. Located at 999 9th Street, NW, this Washington DC hotel health club is across from the DC Convention Center in the bustling Penn Quarter District. The luxurious 10,000-square-foot VIDA Fitness Renaissance incorporates its popular wellness spa services with the latest cutting-edge strength programming, personalized fitness and circuit training. Included at this new location is VIDA Fitness’ Zen Spa, featuring a European steam room, sauna and endless pools. Members and guests can also experience the flagship location of Aura Spa – a 4,000-square-foot Washington DC hotel day spa that offers relaxation and detoxification treatments. Available spa treatments include skin care, facials, body treatments and massage therapy, all complemented by state-of-the-art amenities, four full treatment rooms and a spa concierge. Monthly memberships and day passes are available to the general public and hotel guests have complimentary full access throughout the new facility.


Curves' Efforts Keeping It In Good Shape

“Curves fitness center in Iona-McGregor has maintained its solid standing after a rough patch caused by the slumping economy. Revenue took a big hit between 2006 and 2008 - from about $218,000 to roughly $139,000 - as membership shrank. But, rather than wholesale changes, those losses were met by minimal staffing cuts and no reduction in services for members. In fact, the business is even enjoying a mild growth spurt, thanks to an insurance-related program the owners began highlighting in January.”


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Barack Obama Says Shape up Now

“President Barack Obama eats his vegetables and exercises every day — and he really wants you to do the same. From the White House garden to his picks for top health jobs, Obama is telling America’s McDonald’s-loving, couch-dwelling, doctor-phobic populace that things are about to change. Don’t be fooled by the presidential burger runs. Obama and Congress are moving across several fronts to give government a central role in making America healthier — raising expectations among public health experts of a new era of activism unlike any before. Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas. The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie. Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul. To some, it smacks of a ‘nanny state on steroids’ — but for others who fret that America is turning into one big Overeaters Anonymous meeting, Obama’s prescription is like a low-fat dream come true. ‘He has expressed more interest in preventing diseases and promoting health than any previous president. It is not a breath of fresh air. It is a tornado,’ said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. ‘That contrast is breathtaking. This is really a rare opportunity to make progress on so many issues.’ Obama has been leading the charge. He secured $650 million in the economic stimulus package for prevention programs, and brought corporate executives into the White House last month to highlight their success at lowering insurance costs by investing in wellness. ‘All this [is] designed to save taxpayers money, save businesses money and ultimately make the American people healthier and happier and make sure that we’re getting a better bang for our health care dollar,’ Obama said after the meeting. Barack and Michelle Obama sweat through a morning workout before most Americans step out of bed. They receive almost as much attention for their toned bodies as they do for their policies, which for the first lady includes an early concentration on healthful eating. She made headlines worldwide for planting a vegetable garden. And they marked their first Easter at the White House by organizing an Egg Roll that focused on exercise. Former President George W. Bush was equally devoted to fitness but never gave it as prominent a role in policymaking as public health experts expect from Obama. ‘I was always struck by President Bush, who was in terrific shape. It was a lost opportunity on his part,’ said Kenneth Thorpe, an Emory University public health professor and leading advocate of chronic disease care. ‘President Obama is very physically fit, and this is very much part of his personal philosophy, and he has made it a centerpiece of health care reform.’”...


Gold's Gym Plans Three Area Fitness Center Sites

“Owners of the Green Bay-area Gold's Gym franchise are changing plans for a 55,000-square-foot building in Ashwaubenon and are instead opting for three smaller area locations. The move to three 20,000-square-foot locations is expected to cost about $2 million per building, said Jamie Nelson, one of four co-owners of Gold's Gym in the Green Bay area and Fox River Valley, and will give the gym facilities in areas where market research showed a need for them. ‘It's really a drastic turn in the philosophy we were going to bring to that market,’ said Nelson. Gold's now operates a location at 790 Hansen Road in Ashwaubenon. ‘We felt we could change our approach and go into more user-friendly fitness centers by making our clubs smaller, a little more efficient and placing them in neighborhoods,’ Nelson said. ‘Also, with the economy where it is at, it makes them a lot more cost effective.’ He said single monthly memberships will run between $19 and $27, and would have been higher with one central location — probably around $50. Each gym location is expected to employ about 30 people.New locations in Howard, east De Pere and Ashwaubenon (near the existing Gold's location, but at a lower rental rate) are slated to open later this year and into 2010, Nelson said. ‘It's very feasible we could do three clubs over the next 18 to 24 months,’ he said. Locations were selected after studying where their customers were coming from and where the need for facilities existed. He said Gold's Gym has evolved in the last 20 years and now sports a female membership rate of about 62 percent in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. ‘Nationwide, Gold's gym is a majority female,’ Nelson said. ‘It's been a big change over the last 15 years. … We became way more family focused.’”


Joining A Gym Can Help Your Career, Too

“I am about to reveal one secret of the old boys' network that has the potential to impact your professional success in ways you can't even imagine. Join a gym. Good gyms have loyal followings, personal trainers, group exercise classes and locker rooms with steam rooms and saunas. Put yourself on a schedule and go two to three times a week. Stick with it and wonderful things will begin to happen. You'll look and feel better. You'll develop relationships with the trainers and with other gym members. You will be a part of a community of like-minded people, the ones who like to keep in shape. Some of the best networking I've done has been in the locker room. I'd been playing phone tag with the CEO of a company for about a month. One day, as I stepped out of the steam room, wrapped in my most professional towel, there she was. We talked and then scheduled a follow-up meeting. The benefits to your physical health and to your networking reach will increase the longer you maintain and consistently use your gym membership. The hardest part is the commitment. ‘We have found that physical fitness and exercise are the most important things we can do to stop surviving and start thriving,’ my friend Jennifer Sorochinsky told me. You have a lot of options in Rochester. Check out the numerous YMCAs, private clubs, area franchises and community centers. Remember that your fitness goals come first. Meeting people and developing relationships will naturally lead to professional networking. All you have to do is give it time.”


BMI Doesn't Tell The Whole Story, Health Risks Begin In Overweight Range

“Being overweight is a health concern, and using only body mass index (BMI) to determine weight classification may not give an accurate picture of a person's health, according to an advisory published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The advisory recommends doing research on overweight and health, beyond studies that focus solely on the relationship between total body mass index and risk of death. ‘Meanwhile, we cannot afford to wait for this research to begin addressing the problem of overweight in our patients and in our society,’ write the advisory authors. An increasing number of children are overweight, which puts them at risk for developing higher than normal blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. ‘Weight gain is progressive and weight loss difficult. Although a young child is unlikely to have a heart attack, overweight children are likely to become overweight or obese adults, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular events as they mature. Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is of high importance for all Americans,’ said Lewis. Physical inactivity and excess weight increase risk of death and other adverse health outcomes; so overweight and obese persons in particular would benefit from adopting a physically active lifestyle and healthy eating habits.”


Kennedy Panel Introduces Health Bill

“After a year of deliberation, the Senate health committee led by Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts today formally unveiled its healthcare overhaul bill. But it's only one of several competing bills that Congress and President Obama will eventually try to reconcile. House Democratic leaders today offered their own proposal that includes a new tax on employer-provided health benefits to help pay for expanding coverage to the uninsured, and a requirement for all individuals to purchase affordable coverage, with an unspecified penalty for those who refuse and a waiver for those who cannot cover the cost. The Affordable Health Choices Act includes the following five major elements: 1. CHOICE, 2.COST REDUCTION, 3. PREVENTION: The best way to treat a disease is to prevent it from ever striking, which is exactly why The Affordable Health Choices Act will give citizens the information they need to take charge of their own health. The bill will make information widely available in medical settings, schools and communities. It will also promote early screening for heart disease, cancer and depression and give citizens more information on healthy nutrition and the dangers of smoking. 4. HEALTH SYSTEM MODERNIZATION, and 5. LONG TERM CARE AND SERVICES.”


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Poll Finds Disease Prevention is Top Priority for Americans in Health Reform

“Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a new public opinion survey today which finds that Americans rank prevention as the most important health care reform priority, and overwhelmingly support increasing funding for prevention programs to reduce disease and keep people healthy. In the poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, 70 percent of Americans ranked investing in prevention between an eight and 10 on a scale of zero to ten, where zero means not at all an important health care priority and 10 means very important. Forty-six percent rated prevention as a 10 out of 10. Overall, prevention was rated higher than all other proposals, including providing tax credits to small businesses and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage based on health status. ‘This survey underscores what I have been saying from the outset: If we pass comprehensive health reform that extends coverage but does nothing to reform our broken system by emphasizing prevention and public health, then we will have failed. And we do not intend to fail,’ said Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)...


Exercise May Be The Best Investment In A Recession

“The FIA is meeting at a time when the latest industry statistics - according to the Fitness Index - show the fitness industry to have been more resilient to the downturn than most thought. Unlike many sectors, the industry has not gone cap in hand to the Government but instead has been developing partnerships that matter. The NHS Change for Life campaign is an excellent example of how people's behaviour can be nudged, slowly, towards making better choices. This campaign has been adopted to enhance local initiatives that establish a link between health and some form of activity. Private hospitals and health insurers are involved, too. There is Nuffield Hospitals' purchase and refocus of the former Cannons chain, while Bupa has linked up with David Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First. Meanwhile, PruHealth has been rewarding about 200,000 policy-holders for engaging in healthy behaviour. In the public sector, many health clubs have embraced their local Primary Care Trust (and its money) to deliver GP referral schemes, Swim for Free and Healthy Heart initiatives, to name but three...


Old Man And The Gym: 82-Year-Old Trainer Still Going Strong

“OK, so what do you call an 82-year-old who’s pumping iron, puffing away through push-ups and pull-ups, revving up the elliptical machine and maintaining balance on a trampoline? Answer: personal trainer. No records are kept, but Commins might be the oldest personal trainer in the nation. He gained accreditation in 1985 after completing classes at California State University, Sacramento, following retirement as a middle school industrial arts teacher. After working in health clubs for years, schooling gym members in the fundamentals of fitness, Commins is starting to ease back a bit. He has a handful of clients who come to his humble home gym, and he serves as an on-site trainer when he and his wife, Rona, go on cruises. ‘I think I can be an inspiration to people,’ said Commins, smiling but sans boastfulness..."


Monday, June 8, 2009

Athletes Work Out Ways To Stay Fit In Recession

“Renee Roberts joined a gym in 2000 and made a commitment to get fit. ‘I was out of shape and needed help,’ the Smiths Station, Ala., 39-year-old said. Despite the penny-pinching the economy has forced many Americans to adopt, Roberts never considered cancelling her membership to Fitness Plus in Phenix City. Going to the gym motivates her to stay healthy. ‘If I stay home I won’t work out,’ she said. According to an American Heart Association study released last month, more than half of Americans are having trouble taking care of their health because of the economy. Despite the AHA reporting that 25 percent of those holding a gym membership cancelled it in the last six months, locally owned gyms haven’t seen the same trend. ‘We thought we were,’ said Fitness Plus owner Carl Kinzalow. ‘October, November and December were the worst three months we’ve had in the history of this club. We’ve been open 20 years.’ Kinzalow added that their current numbers are in line with last year’s at this point. Sara Bull, general manager of Fitness for Women, echoed Kinzalow’s remarks. ‘Nothing’s really changed dramatically here,’ she said. ‘Actually, sales have gotten extremely better here in the gym.’ They both said that offering reasonable rates and a comfortable environment have contributed to maintaining membership. Kinzalow said they have cancellations due to military members relocating, ‘but as far as somebody just walking in the door and saying ‘Because of economics we need to cancel this membership,’ we just haven’t had that.’ Some gym owners think the poor economy is why some members keep working out. ‘Basically, my theory on it all is, the economy is tough, life’s tough right now, but the best thing to do is come work out and relieve stress,’ said Bull. ‘Everybody’s numbers are up,’ said Jason West, manager of Gold’s Gym on Manchester Expressway. ‘There’s no better way to relieve stress (than working out).’ Cutting their gym memberships didn’t even cross the minds of some working out at Fitness Plus. ‘I’m retired and I have the money,’ said Cecelia Little, 66, of Phenix City. It helps that she’s on a month-to-month gym plan and didn’t have to sign a contract, she added. Steve Green, 42, of Phenix City said he works out to slow the aging process. He said he goes to the gym because ‘I rest when I’m at home.’


Reject the Recession and Build a Thriving Health Club

“In a time when many health clubs across the country are struggling, everything in the media focuses on downsizing, rising costs and economic problems, it can be hard to avoid that sinking feeling in your stomach. But as health club owners you really have two choices: You can let the negative media send you into full panic mode or you can view the economic downturn as an opportunity to increase your market share. This is a time in the economy when market share can be seized and fortunes made. While some health club owners are giving up and closing their doors, their competitors are seizing opportunities in the market place. Here are some thoughts on how you can thrive in the health club business during tough times: 1. Keep Marketing Your Health Club…and Keep Marketing, 2. Don't Be Afraid To Discount Membership Fees, 3. Leverage the Internet For Marketing And Exposure, 4.Form A Health Club Think Tank For Some Possibility Thinking, 5. Tap Into A New Niche For Your Club, 6. Reach Out To Your Existing Member Base, 7. Make Improvements In Your Health Club Operation, 8. Survey Your Members, 9. Keep an Eye On Capital, 10. Get Some Help And Keep Your Eye On The Ultimate Goal - Now is a great time to sharpen your own skills. Take some classes, read some books and network with others in the health club industry so you can learn from them. Get involved with IHRSA and other groups and make sure you are on top of your game. Look for joint venture opportunities. Make yourself more efficient by outsourcing services that consume your valuable time. Also, determine your priorities. Where should you be spending your time? What can you do to make your health club bigger, better and stronger? Leave the worrying to your competitors and instead seek out opportunities with your health club and stay positive. When you put the right energy and focus into your health club--despite the economy--the results can be extraordinary. Now, let's go build a thriving health club.”


The Best Industries for Starting a Business Right Now [Slideshow]

“Yoga Products and Services - Amid a recession, are we getting more in tune with our inner spirit? Perhaps. Americans spent $5.7 billion on yoga products, equipment, and clothing in 2008--87 percent more than they did in 2004, according to a study from Yoga Journal. Nearly 14 million Americans say a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. And as the industry continues to expand, there is ample room for new products. One promising opportunity: creating appealing men's yoga apparel.”


Getting Obese Mice Moving and Curing Their Diabetes

“Mice lacking the fat hormone leptin or the ability to respond to it become morbidly obese and severely diabetic - not to mention downright sluggish. Now, a new study in the June Cell Metabolism shows that blood sugar control in those animals can be completely restored by returning leptin sensitivity to a single class of neurons in the brain, which account for only a small fraction of those that normally carry the hormone receptors. ‘Just the receptors in this little group of neurons are sufficient to do the job,’ said Christian Bjorbaek of Harvard Medical School. What's more, animals with leptin receptors only in the so-called pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons spontaneously increase their physical activity levels despite the fact that they remain profoundly obese. While understanding exactly how the POMC neurons act on other organs remains a future challenge, the discovery suggests that drugs designed to tap into the pathway - turning up or down the dial, so to speak - might have benefit for those with severe diabetes and obesity, according to the researchers. Such drugs might even encourage obese individuals to get moving. ‘This gives us the opportunity to search for drugs that might induce the desire or will to voluntarily exercise,’ Bjorbaek said.”