Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rates Of Severe Childhood Obesity Have Tripled

“Rates of severe childhood obesity have tripled in the last 25 years, putting many children at risk for diabetes and heart disease, according to a report in Academic Pediatrics by an obesity expert at Brenner Children's Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. ‘Children are not only becoming obese, but becoming severely obese, which impacts their overall health,’ said Joseph Skelton, M.D., lead author and director of the Brenner FIT (Families in Training) Program. ‘These findings reinforce the fact that medically-based programs to treat obesity are needed throughout the United States and insurance companies should be encouraged to cover this care.’ The research was published on-line and will appear in the September print edition. Skelton and colleagues compared data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They looked at the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in a study population of 12,384 children, representing approximately 71 million U.S. children ages 2 to 19 years.”

Area Businesses Look At Ways To Improve Employee Health

“If you want to live, don't take a seat. ‘The worst thing you can do is to say 'take a seat' when they walk in your office,’ Andy Wood told a group of about 45 people Tuesday at the Rochester Athletic Club. This was one of many simple and often free suggestions for businesses as well as individuals to reform their own health care. Wood, a Rochester native who worked for General Mills as director of corporate wellness for 25 years, suggested walking meetings and chair-less conference rooms as simple ways for a business to improve the health of its employees. ‘Move it or lose it’ is how RAC General Manger Greg Lappin phrased it. Lappin says this generation is unique compared to the extremely physical lives of the hunters and farmers of the past. ‘We by choice can lead a sedentary life,’ he said of today's ranks of office workers. And that is often cited as a major cause of a deadly and expensive epidemic of obesity and related health problems like heart disease and diabetes in the U.S. Obese workers cost employers significantly more each year in health care than their slimmer counterparts. And workers compensation claims are more than double for obese employees, he said. Looking at a person's overall health, more than 51 percent of it is simply about ‘what we do or what we don't do,’ Wood pointed out. About $1,000 a year is how much more a tobacco-using employee costs a business in health care over workers that do not use tobacco, he said. Obesity and using tobacco are equally bad, said Dr. James Seward, a retired Mayo Clinic physician and founder of EchoMetrics. ‘Studies have shown that the costs and impacts of smoking are equal to those of obesity,’ he said. So having a healthier workforce can save a company money on health care, but does promoting wellness through exercise programs, healthy snacks and other corporate actions pay off? ‘Every $1 of prevention will save you $3,’ said Seward, citing a recent study. That adds up to an estimated $1,500 to $1,800 savings per employee each year. Another study announced Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that obesity costs about $147 billion in health care spending each year. That's significantly more than the $93 billion a year spent on treating all forms of cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society.”

SNEWS Celebrates 25 Years Of Fitness With Industry Commentary, Vintage Photos

“A silver anniversary is nothing to gloss over, and the fitness industry has plenty to celebrate -- yes, even in times of adversity and economic hardship. Take a moment to realize it is indeed very youthful as far as industries go, and then just look at all it has accomplished in the last 25 years. When SNEWS® realized this year was its own 25th year as a news source, we decided it was a great time to also celebrate 25 years of fitness. OK, so we chose 1984 as a relatively arbitrary point for fitness, but before that there wasn’t much to speak of, other than Muscle Beach, and we found that the industry has evolved greatly since then. And what better way to celebrate 25 years of an industry than to talk to those futurists who opened stores, built gyms in their garages and tinkered with ergonomics in 1984 -- or even before in some cases -- to showcase what has been accomplished and what is on the horizon. In the SNEWS 2009 Fitness magazine, just out July 27, you’ll find a feature story with vintage photos from two to three decades ago, plus words from those who lived it 25 years ago. But that’s just the start: We have pages and pages of additional copy and even more photos online. You won’t want to miss it once you’ve taken a look at the new, all-digital 2009 magazine.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Praesidian Makes Investment in Health Club Industry

“Praesidian Capital Investors, a leading provider of mezzanine capital for small and mid-sized companies, has invested $10 million of senior secured debt in Meridian Sports Clubs California, LLC. Operating under the brand ‘Meridian's Bodies in Motion,’ Meridian operates 11 ‘upper middle market’ health clubs in California and one in Hawaii. Meridian's Bodies in Motion offers state of the art equipment, personal support and a social experience through a wide variety of group exercise programs, such as kickboxing, yoga, dance and cycling classes. The Company's staff of trainers and instructors consists of Olympic athletes, world champions and current contenders in their respective sports. ‘This is a business with a resilient and stable revenue base,’ said Jason Drattell, Managing Partner at Praesidian. ‘We are very pleased to be working closely with this proven management team, which has consistently grown sales, both organically and through acquisitions, while effectively managing costs.’ ‘We are very proud of what Meridian has accomplished to date and also very excited about our future prospects,’ said Chuck Grieve, chief executive officer of Meridian. ‘Praesidian understands our business and this gives me great confidence that they are the ideal partner to help us continue our growth.’ Duane Stullich, Managing Director of FocalPoint Partners, advisor to Meridian on the transaction, commented: ‘We take great pleasure in bringing talented management teams with good businesses together with knowledgeable and responsive investors offering both strategic and financial support. We believe this transaction positions Meridian for even greater success.’”

Seniors For The Gold: Senior Games Expected To Draw Record Number Of Octogenarian Athletes

“At 89, Harold Bach is preparing to do battle with the whippersnappers in the low end of his age group - the one that starts at 85. ‘I'm on the bad side of the bracket,’ said Bach, a retired mail carrier and Second World War veteran from western North Dakota. Even so, Bach has been training hard for the 2009 Summer National Senior Games in San Francisco, which begin Aug. 1 and run until Aug. 15. The events are open to men and women 50 and over who qualified in state competitions. A record number athletes are expected this year - a projected 12,750 so far, more than five times the number at the first event 22 years ago. More than 2,700 of the athletes are ages 70 to 89, and 63 are older than 90. ‘It keeps me young,’ said Roger Gentilhomme, 100, of Falmouth, Mass., the oldest participant at the Games, which are held every two years. He will compete in bowling and tennis. ‘My health is excellent and I'm fortunate to be able to compete,’ he said. The National Senior Olympics Organization, now called the National Senior Games Association, was founded in St. Louis in 1985. The first Games' ceremonies two years later featured Bob Hope and drew more than 100,000 spectators. Boomer fitness has become a growing trend as people over 50 embrace exercise as a preventative health care measure. ‘Younger people want to work out to look 15 years younger,’ said Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, who coaches octogenarians. ‘Older people exercise to be able to go to the store, work in their gardens, or play with their grandkids.’ Healthways Inc.'s SilverSneakers program, which gives insured seniors free access to fitness centres in the U.S., now has 900,000 members, a marked jump from 377,000 in 2006, according to spokeswoman Tricia Grayson. The average age of a person in the program is 72, and 17 per cent of participants are over 80 years old, she said. At least one member is 101. In an aging population, physical fitness is worth a little boasting.”

Employers See Well-Designed Worksite Health and Wellness Programs as Strong Value in Down Economy

“As politicians and policymakers debate how to structure and pay for clinical prevention and chronic disease services within new models of care--both at the work site or through new delivery systems--many are looking to mature employer-based health management programs as models. A new, in-depth survey of employers into the use of incentives in corporate wellness programs shows that smart investments in employee health programs are yielding results. Despite tight economic times, paying employees to participate in worksite health and wellness programs is almost uniformly believed among employers of all sizes, with and without programs in place, to boost program success and return value. Almost two out of three U.S. companies offer programs to keep employees healthy, and 66 percent of those offering programs also use incentives, with a healthy number showing an ROI of greater than $1 for each dollar spent."

Dancers Share How Taking To The Floor Keeps Them Fit

“Cardio salsa could be called Zumba's cousin. Salsa dancer Roberto Perez, of Syracuse, invented the cardio salsa class with a friend, Brian Bromka, to help novice salsa dancers stay fit. He claims the intense class burns 700 to 900 calories per session. He teaches a cardio salsa class at Pioneer Health Club in DeWitt, says staying fit means he can push his students without tiring himself. Asked what he does to stay fit, ‘I just dance,’ Perez says. But then he recites his laundry list of activities. ‘I play racquetball Tuesday and Thursday,’ he says.”

Being Active As A Preschooler Pays Off Later In Childhood

“Being active at age 5 helps kids stay lean as they age even if they don't remain as active later in childhood, a new University of Iowa study shows. ‘We call this effect 'banking' because the kids benefit later on, similar to having a savings account at a bank. The protective effect is independent of what happens in between," said lead author Kathleen Janz, professor of health and sport studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The UI team tested the body fat and activity level of 333 kids at ages 5, 8 and 11 using gold-standard technology: a special scanner that accurately measures bone, fat and muscle tissue, and an accelerometer that measures movement every minute. The kids wore accelerometers to record their activity level for up to five days, providing much more reliable data than relying on kids or parents to track minutes of exercise. The study, published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, indicates that kids who are active at age 5 end up with less fat at age 8 and 11, even when controlling for their accumulated level of activity. The average 5-year-old in the study got 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day."

Just Rewards? Healthy Workers Might Get Bigger Insurance Breaks

“Employers and health insurers could give larger discounts to employees who lose weight or lower their cholesterol under a health care overhaul proposal that's being assailed by AARP, the American Heart Association and other groups that fear it could result in higher premiums for people who don't achieve those fitness goals. The discounts are being pushed by Steve Burd, the chief executive officer of Safeway Inc., who has met with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill and says that rewarding healthy behavior has helped keep his firm’s health care costs flat while other companies’ have skyrocketed. But the proposal, which involves the sensitive issue of how aggressive employers can be in trying to induce workers to change their behavior to reduce their risks of disease, is greeted by skepticism by many patient advocates who think it could be coercive and unfair. ‘If you give one person a discount, someone else is going to end up paying more,’ said Paul Cotton, senior legislative representative, federal affairs, at AARP, one of more than 60 groups that's fighting the provision. ‘

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Planet Fitness Aims To Make Canada Judgment Free

“Painted on the wall of each Planet Fitness health club is a branded message to everyone who enters: Judgment Free Zone. This is the philosophy behind the no-frills fitness brand, which has grown from just four locations to over 280 gyms in the U.S. over the last six years and now has its sights set on Canada. Planet Fitness plans to open as many as 70 clubs this year and an additional 80 to 100 clubs in 2010, said brand manager John Craig. While the Canadian fitness club market may seem crowded already, Craig believes Planet Fitness has an unique selling proposition, targeting people who haven’t tried out fitness clubs before—not the typical gym rat. The club focuses on cardio fitness instead of free weights, aiming to create an inclusive atmosphere of its ‘Judgment Free Zone.’ The brand believes so much in this philosophy that it has trademarked the phase and written it next to the Planet Fitness logo on almost all of its communication materials. ‘We’ve brought a lot of people into health clubs that wouldn’t ordinarily go in,’ said Craig. Planet Fitness has also cut out many of the extras some clubs provide to offer a lower membership fee—memberships start at just $10 a month and the club’s top price-point is $19.99. Planet Fitness clubs don’t have pools, racquetball courts, juice bars, or child-care facilities, said Craig. Nor do they employ salespeople or up-sell members on services like personal training. One of the few frills the club provides are tanning beds. Craig said the chain will do local advertising through direct mail, on radio and TV in each market where the gyms open. He said there aren’t yet any plans to advertise the concept nation-wide.”

Nearly 10 Percent Of Health Spending For Obesity

“Obesity's not just dangerous, it's expensive. New research shows medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for an obese person than someone who's normal weight. Overall obesity-related health spending reaches $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago, says the study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs. Don't blame things like stomach-stapling for all those extra bills. They instead reflect the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments far more common for the overweight, concluded the study by government scientists and the nonprofit research group RTI International. RTI health economist Eric Finkelstein offers a blunt message for lawmakers trying to revamp the health care system: ‘Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health care costs.’ Obesity-related conditions now account for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998, the study concluded. Health economists have long warned that obesity is a driving force behind the rise in health spending. For example, diabetes costs the nation $190 billion a year to treat, and excess weight is the single biggest risk factor for developing diabetes.

Well-Placed Defibrillators Could Save Many Lives

“Placing portable defibrillators in schools and other busy public spaces could get timely, possibly life-saving, treatment to many people whose hearts stop beating, according to two studies published Monday. Most cases of cardiac arrest occur when the heart goes into ventricular fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disturbance in which the heart begins to quiver chaotically and can no longer pump blood around the body. An electrical shock from a defibrillator can restore the heart's normal rhythm and reverse cardiac arrest. In recent years, portable, layperson-friendly versions of the devices, called automated external defibrillators (AEDs), have been placed in a growing number of public places.

Phoenix-Area Projects Receive Gold Nugget Awards

“The Gold Nugget Awards, sponsored annually by the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, were announced this summer and included two Valley projects -- both developed, designed and built by Arizona firms. The top honor in the Outstanding Rehab Commercial or Industrial Project category was the Camelback Village Racquet & Health Club, 4444 E. Camelback Road. The developer was DMB Sports Clubs, the architect was Kendle Design Collaborative and the builder was Ryan Cos. US Inc.”

Exercise with Caution Through the Dog Days of Summer

“I am a major proponent of exercise but this is the time of year when I say be careful where and when you exercise. This is not the time of year that you want to go out in the middle of the day and push yourself to extremes. Depending on temperature, I recommend early morning or early evening. It tends to be cooler and there is usually not as great of an impact of the sun. But even if you use your head and limit your exposure it is still very important that you take in your fluids and make certain that you are well hydrated. It all comes down to common sense. Be aware of your environment and if you belong to an air conditioned health club. Take advantage of it.”

LCA-Vision Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

“LCA-Vision Inc. (Nasdaq: LCAV), a leading provider of laser vision correction services under the LasikPlus((R)) brand, today announced financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2009. Second Quarter 2009 Operational and Financial Results (all comparisons are versus the second quarter of 2008) Revenue was $31.7 million compared with $54.2 million; adjusted revenue was $29.4 million compared with $49.2 million. ‘We are actively adapting to the current economic reality by becoming more nimble and flexible in our operations and have established company-wide business priorities in an effort to improve procedure volume, reduce costs and conserve cash,’ Straus added. ‘For example, we are implementing strategies to increase patient acquisition through partnering programs such as our new marketing relationship with one of the world's largest airlines, which will announce our partnership next week, joining the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, or IHRSA, as an associate member with its 9,750 member facilities, and by capitalizing on our relationships with health and vision plans that reduce the out-of-pocket cost to the patient - a leading factor in the decision-making process. We also are addressing patient candidacy through our internally developed second-opinion screening tools approved by our Medical Advisory Board, and are energizing our LCA-Vision/LasikPlus(R) staff to become more results-oriented through training and increasing accountability.’”

Athletes and Dieters Reach Their Fitness Goals with new dotBARs - Meal Replacement Bars from dotFIT

“dotFIT Worldwide, the developers of‚Äîa world leader in personalized holistic health and fitness solutions for clubs and individuals‚Äîannounced the release of three new meal replacement bars. The scrumptious new dotBAR flavors are Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch, Mocha, and Cookie Dough. These bars feature the ideal blend of carbohydrates and protein for athletes, are high-protein, a good source of calcium and only 190 calories. 'We had dotBAR samples at iHRSA, one of the largest health and fitness industry tradeshows, and they were a huge hit,' said Neal Spruce, chief executive officer of dotFIT Worldwide. 'Numerous studies show that bars like those in the nutrition dotFIT line are critical both for pre/post-exercise for recovery, and during weight loss for calorie control and sense of being full.' dotFIT uses only quality ingredients that undergo rigorous testing, supported by scientific fact, not marketing hype. Through our exclusive delivery system, our products provide your body with the right nutrients at the right time for maximum benefit. All dotFIT supplements are manufactured with uncompromising standards in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices in an FDA registered facility.* And, our great tasting, high protein, healthy baked food products are formulated with quality ingredients to provide your body with balanced nutrition, energy and flavors that can only be described as‚Ķcrazilicious. dotBARs can be purchased online at, or in any of the hundreds of health and fitness facilities that carry dotFIT products across the US.”

Turn A Job Loss Into A Health Gain

"So you've lost your job. As tempting as it might be to descend into an extended pity party, health experts suggest you turn the bad news on its heel instead. As they say in optimist circles: When life lands you in the unemployment line, get busy working. Those quads. Those abs. Those triceps. 'Look at this as an opportunity, not a loss,' suggested Liz Lonergan, co-owner of The Center For Body and Soul in Palos Heights. The recession may be taking a toll on the nation's workforce, but many newly displaced workers are taking advantage of the downtime to reverse the damage that a sedentary, vending-machine-packed lifestyle inflicted on their bodies. They may have lost their jobs, but they're determined to reclaim their health. And kudos to them. Scott Johnson is 25. Many of his contemporaries still can't find jobs, even though they graduated college a couple of years ago. So they've developed a different kind of work routine: They head to the health club each day and vent their stress. 'Exercise makes you feel better,' said Johnson, manager of Cardinal Fitness in Orland Park. 'It's a good way to get your mind off things and to feel like you're accomplishing something.' Even an hour or two walking the treadmill or lifting free weights can make a huge difference in your psyche, he said. 'Anything positive you can put into your life is good,' Johnson said. Exercise, said Lela Iliopoulos, will help you sleep better and thus control stress levels.",072609vickroy.article

Fit For Life More Seniors Are Turning To Fitness Trainers As Enforcers Who Will Help Them Become Healthier

Health Club Chain A Thriving Business

"This Blackhawk resident sees her name in lights nearly every day. She's Kathy Barney, owner of Kathy's Ladies Health Clubs in San Ramon and Pleasanton. If you're traveling near the intersection of Crow Canyon Road and San Ramon Valley Boulevard, you can't miss the colorful sign. Kathy got into the health club business in 2003 when several Butterfly Life franchises in the area became available after the closing of the Linda Evans fitness centers. She changed the name of both franchises to Kathy's in 2008. Her husband, Ray, sold his San Jose business, Speed Merchant, about three years ago, and has been working with her ever since.'Ray's the business mind and I'm more the customer service person,' Kathy said. The clubs each have about 1,300 members with women who come from the San Ramon Valley as well as Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Livermore and Tracy. Kathy and Ray are excited about one of the latest fitness dance crazes, Zumba.'It's exercise in disguise,' said Kathy. A fusion of Latin and international music, it's high-energy and fun, she said. Although the two health clubs offer Zumba as one of 40 free-with-membership classes, beginning last year they have occasionally scheduled a Zumba evening that is coed and open to nonmembers (naturally, since it's a ladies health club). 'It's a lot more intense than our regular Zumba classes,' Kathy said. 'We bring in master instructors from Campbell, a disc jockey and bongo players, and the lighting is like a Latin nightclub in a way.'"

Prevention Is Key Part Of Any Real Health Reform

"In a nutshell, our problem is that our health care system is built on the concept of providing disease care, not wellness care. We reward fixing what’s gone wrong, rather than rewarding behaviors that prevent things from going wrong in the first place. Study after study shows that preventive measures like a better diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation and programs to reduce stress can have a positive effect on health and even reduce and reverse the progress of chronic disease. Today’s Americans stand to benefit from this increased synergy, especially the theme of prevention, when you consider that an estimated 40 percent of premature deaths are caused by lifestyle choices like poor eating habits, smoking and inactivity. Prevention was also the major theme in the recent health issue of Time magazine (June 22, 2009), which cited the 1,100-bed Cleveland Clinic as a model of high-quality care based on the concept of wellness. Dr. Delos Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, believes healthy behavior should be rewarded and people should think about health as a self-responsibility and an investment. The idea of wellness as an investment makes sense. After all, sick employees cost employers in terms of higher insurance premiums, sick days and lower productivity. Conversely, by preventing preventable diseases, we could save billions … plus save lives."

Muscling In

"Mall landlords didn't want to hear from Eric Casaburi, chief executive officer at Retro Fitness, three years ago as he tried to expand his Colts Neck-based health and fitness company. 'You're a fitness center? We don't want you in here,' Casaburi was told. Times have changed. The recession and hard-hit national retailers, who are averse to expanding or are closing stores, are delivering a one-two punch to landlords. 'Now I'm getting e-mails from the same guys two or three times a week,' Casaburi said. Now fitness and health businesses are taking advantage of lower rents and mall vacancies to expand, he said. 'The health-club operators are very wise and they are very entrepreneurial,' Lanyard said. 'They recognize a window of opportunity.' It's a reversal. In good times, landlords frowned upon health and fitness clubs. The businesses used up valuable parking spaces, taking then away from other tenants. In some cases, anchor tenants had restrictions against health clubs placed in their own leases. Landlords would rather wait for a national or regional retail tenant, Lanyard said. Now they are lowering rents and making improvement dollars available as a means to entice prospective tenants, he said. 'Landlords are taking a second look at health clubs, appreciating the fact that health clubs could be a draw for shopping centers,' Lanyard said. Health club chains, such as Retro Fitness, L.A. Boxing and Planet Fitness, are among the companies that have grown as a result of the changed landscape.

Friday, July 24, 2009

CYBEX Announces Second Quarter Results

“Cybex International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBI), a leading manufacturer of premium exercise equipment for the commercial and consumer markets, today reported results for its second quarter ended June 27, 2009. Net sales for the second quarter of 2009 were $27.8 million compared to $33.1 million for the corresponding 2008 period. The Company reported a net loss for the second quarter of 2009 of $2.1 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, compared to net income of $.1 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, reported for the corresponding 2008 period. For the six months ended June 27, 2009, net sales were $56.7 million compared to $72.9 million for 2008."

Planet Fitness Plans 70 New Gyms

“Planet Fitness is expanding its operations with 70 new facilities planned across the country over the next year. Recently, the health club opened in Orlando; Manassas, VA; and Newark, DE with deals in the works for Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Southern California. 'We’re expanding because we believe the demand remains strong for our gyms,’ explains John Craig of Planet Fitness. ‘Another factor [is] the softness in the commercial real estate market is resulting in some of the most attractive terms we’ve ever seen.’ With many fitness clubs closing up shop around the country, the expansion is counter-intuitive to market conditions. Planet Fitness, however, is a gym whose monthly fees range from $10 to $20 per month and the company seems to feel this strikes a chord with a recession-minded public."

Preschool Obesity Rate Stable At 1 In 7: US Study

“The U.S. obesity epidemic, which afflicts all age groups, has stabilized in the past five years among preschool-age children at about one in seven children, government researchers said on Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 14.6 percent of 2- to 4-year-old children were obese in 2008, about the same as in 2003 and compared to a 12.4 percent obesity rate in 1998. ‘These new data provide some encouragement but remind us of two things -- one, too many young children are obese, and two, we must not become complacent in our efforts to reduce obesity among young children,’ said Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. The author of the study, CDC epidemiologist Dr. Andrea Sharma, said reducing obesity rates required ‘policy changes that promote physical activity and good nutrition.’ She urged ‘greater consumption of water and fruits and vegetables and lower consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods high in fats or added sugars.’”

Obesity And Migraine Sufferers More Emotionally Traumatized Than Those With Life-Threatening Conditions

“Need another reason to commit to a healthy diet and exercise? Think migraines are just headaches? Migraine and obesity sufferers feel more emotional pain than those dealing with life-threatening conditions like congestive heart failure, prostate cancer, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. In fact, they tend to feel more pessimistic than those diagnosed with depression. In a study about healthcare influencers, AdSAM®, a non-verbal process of measuring emotional response, and TNS Healthcare found that people who suffer from some severe diseases accept and handle them better than other types of sufferers. ‘People suffering from prostate cancer, seem to cope better than those suffering from migraine headaches,’ said Jon Morris, Ph.D., the president of AdSAM® and a communications professor at the University of Florida.

Feel The Beat - Heart Monitors Pound Out The Data To Help You Get The Most Out Of A Workout

“Looking for a workout buddy who's always available for a run, offers plenty of motivation and never leaves you in the dust? Forget your flaky gym pal and strap on a heart-rate monitor to give you the real inside track to fitness. Heart-rate monitors measure and record your heart rate while giving you instant feedback about the work level of your heart. The fitness of the heart is the key to aerobic endurance, and monitors are an effective aid for tracking and developing your progress on the path to increased fitness. ‘It's kind of like a tachometer in your car, which measures the RPMs of the engine and tells you how hard the engine is working,’ says Pete McCall, exercise physiologist with the San Diego-based American Council on Exercise. ‘The heart-rate monitor tells you how many beats per minute your heart is working, so you know how intensely you're exercising.’

Data Show Manhattan Is Svelte and Bronx Is Chubby, Chubby

“More than 62 percent of Bronx residents are overweight or obese, higher than the rate in any of New York City’s other four boroughs, while the comparable figure for Manhattan was just over 42 percent — the lowest of any of New York State’s 62 counties. The city’s other boroughs had overweight and obesity rates more closely in line with the statewide average of nearly 60 percent: 58.6 percent in Brooklyn, 57.7 percent on Staten Island and 57.6 percent in Queens. These figures — contained in a report released on Tuesday by the office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, and based on 2003 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System designed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — do not surprise experts.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Save Money With Your Gym Membership Card

“As most of you know, I exercise at the Club One gym daily. It is a great facility. I also enjoy being part of the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association). This is a global trade association that most of the major gyms belong to. You need to ask the front desk staff at your gym to put a new IHRSA sticker on your membership card every year. As a consumer advocate, I always tell my readers to show the IHRSA sticker when you get to the front desk of a new gym. If they are part of this association then you get 50% off the daily guest pass fees. Not all of the front desk staff will tell you about the IHRSA discount unless you ask for it. You work hard for your money, now is the time to let your gym membership work for you.”

CYBEX Announces Date and Conference Call for Second Quarter 2009 Earnings Results

“Cybex International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBI), a leading manufacturer of premium exercise equipment for the commercial and consumer markets, will discuss its second quarter ended June 27, 2009 in a conference call on Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Company plans to release earnings that same day. Those who wish to participate in the conference call may telephone (888) 245-0987 from the U.S. or (913) 312-0866 for international callers. A live webcast of the conference call will be available at or On CYBEX's website under the category Company, click on Press, scroll to the bottom and select Q2 Earnings Release Conference Call. Please visit the website at least 15 minutes early to register for the teleconference webcast and download any necessary software. Real Player or Windows Media Player is required to listen to the webcast. A replay of the call will be available until July 30, 2009 by dialing (888) 203-1112 or (719) 457-0820 for international callers. The access code for the replay is 3999344.”

Physical Activity In Children Improves Their Sleeping Patterns

“A research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that every hour of the day children are inactive adds three minutes to the time it takes them to fall asleep. The study indicates that children who fall asleep faster also sleep for longer. Although, it appears one is not the direct consequence of the other. Research shows that approximately 16 percent of parents of school aged children report that their child finds it difficult to get to sleep. There is a connection between poor sleeping patterns in children and inferior school performance. It is also linked to an increased risk of overweight and obesity. The authors comment these findings will validate what many parents already believe: that tiring out a child with plenty of physical activity will increase the likelihood that she or he will sleep well. They write in conclusion: ‘This study emphasizes the importance of physical activity for children, not only for fitness, cardiovascular health and weight control, but also for sleep.’”

Prevention Saves Lives and Dollars

“Prevention measures are the most proven and effective way of keeping costs low and improving Americans' health. Yet, it seems these measures are at the front of the line to get eliminated in the rush to "cut costs" from the health-care reform package. Prevention measures didn't even get the respect of a cost score from the Congressional Budget Office. This is a totally backwards way of thinking. A report released last year by the Trust for America's Health showed that for every dollar we invest in prevention, we save $5.60. If we invested $10 per person in prevention, we would save $16 billion nationwide within five years. That is an astounding rate of return -- not only in dollars, but in health, peace of mind and improved worker productivity. As a purely political point, prevention is also overwhelmingly popular. A study released in June by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health showed that ‘more than three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) support increasing funding for prevention programs that provide people with information and resources and creating policies that help people make healthier choices. Investing in prevention is popular across the political spectrum, with 86 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of Independents supporting investing more in prevention.’”

Prehypertension, Obesity And Kidney Disease Risks

“People with prehypertension are not at increased risk of kidney disease if their body mass index (BMI) is under 30.0 kg/m2, a first-ever examination of the combined effect of blood pressure and body weight on the risk of kidney disease shows.”

Osteoarthritis A Major Consequence Of Obesity Epidemic, Claims Charity In New Report

“Obese people are four times as likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee as they are to develop high blood pressure or type-2 diabetes, according to a leading arthritis charity, launching a new online report on the subject. But whereas high blood pressure and diabetes may be substantially improved on losing weight and are relatively easy to control with therapy, the changes resulting from osteoarthritis are irreversible, as worn cartilage cannot currently be repaired. However, according to Professor Alan Silman, medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, there is good news for the obese and overweight whose knees become painful due to osteoarthritis as a result of their weight. ‘Research shows that losing weight, however modest, when combined with exercise, is a panacea at every stage,’ said Professor Silman. ‘Achieving a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing the disease in the first place, relieves existing symptoms and helps to prevent further deterioration. And weight loss and exercise has been shown to achieve the same level of symptom relief as joint replacement surgery.’”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wellness Rio 2009 Exceeds Expectations

"The first edition of the Wellness Rio 2009 with presentations, round tables, workshops, and a Trade Show received 30,000 visitors in three days, at the Convention Center SulAmérica. From 25 to 27 of June, more than 830 professionals discussed the issues focused on quality of life, health, and life style. Among the speakers, Jason Conviser, PhD from the American College of Sports Medicine, and Dr. Jô Fulan, how present "Strategic Planning in Career," one of the most successful presentations. The former Brazilian soccer coach 4 times champion for the World Cup, Carlos Alberto Parreira was also among the speakers."

Saying Yes to Yoga?

“Yoga has become a very popular form of relaxation and exercise. But as with any physical activity, you can still injure yourself if you don't prepare and practice properly. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these suggestions to reduce your risk of injury from yoga:

· Check with your doctor before beginning yoga to be sure it's safe for you.

· Make sure your yoga studio offers qualified instructors. Always ask questions of your instructor if you're not sure how to perform a pose.

· Be sure to warm up before yoga to prevent strains and injuries.

· Wear yoga-appropriate clothing that won't restrict your movement.

· Start out slowly learning the basics. Never push yourself to the point of pain.

· Drink lots of fluids, particularly if you try Bikram ("hot") yoga.”

Studies Affirm Value Of Healthy Lifestyle

“All that heart-healthy advice about eating the right foods, exercising and losing weight pay off in real life for both men and women, two new studies show. The reports, both originating at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and published in the July 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on different aspects of cardiovascular risk in two large groups: the 83,882 women in the second Nurses' Health Study, and the 20,900 men in the Physicians' Health Study I. Both arrived at the same conclusion: Do the right things, and you get measurable benefits. ‘Previous studies have shown benefit from individual lifestyle factors,’ Djousse said. ‘We looked at all of these factors together.’ While the clear message of both studies is that ‘a healthy lifestyle prevents a number of illnesses,’ what is often overlooked is that the choice of a healthy lifestyle is not a purely individual decision, said Dr. Veronique L. Roger, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, who wrote an accompanying editorial. ‘There is a shared responsibility between the individual and the community,’ said Roger, who read off a dictionary definition of lifestyle as ‘a typical way of life of an individual, group or culture.’ ‘The reality is that society has engineered physical activity out of our lives,’ Roger said. ‘And it is difficult for me to tell someone in Nebraska to follow the Mediterranean diet, which is anchored in the culture of that society.’”

A Different Approach to Healthcare [video]

Safeway's CEO has developed a plan that rewards health behavior

Spirit Health Club Scoops Top National Award [UK]

“The Spirit Health Club, at Taunton’s Holiday Inn, was judged Club of the Year with less than 1,000 members in the Fitness Industry Association’s annual Fitness, Leadership and Management Excellence awards. Club manager Mark Harrison and deputy manager Nick Denslow collected their glass trophy at a gala dinner at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton. Our picture shows staff and members celebrating the success.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Requires Attitude Change For All

“Until the mindset of America shifts dramatically, no health care reform bill will ever work. What has undermined our current health care system isn't a question of private vs. universal coverage. And it's not a question of how many diagnostic tests doctors should be ordering. It's a question of how we approach our health altogether and what we're willing to do to prevent disease in the first place. If health care reform is to work for America, each of us must take the reins and affect change – change within our own lives and change within our own communities. Change must happen within households across America; within small businesses and large corporations; within industry and the medical community; within the government; within neighborhoods nationwide – and within each of us. For the truth of the matter is that meaningful health care reform is a Rubik's cube of change. All the twistings and turnings don't spell success, and the cube isn't whole until all the parts are lined up correctly. Doctors, the health care industry, the government, the school system, the media, the hospitals, and parents all must come together in alignment around wellness, prevention, healthy lifestyles, and the promotion of exercise. And the hands that are shaping this cube have to be the individuals themselves. The time for change is about a generation overdue. America – and Americans – must reinvent how we live if we really want health care reform to work this time around. It will take all of us. And the time for action is now.”

Anytime Fitness Recognized as Fastest-Growing Fitness Franchise by Club Business International

Even an economic slowdown can’t stop the rapid growth of Anytime Fitness. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association’s annual IHRSA Global 25, published in the July issue of Club Business International, found Anytime Fitness added 369 units in 2008—more than any other club company in the industry. That growth has continued in 2009. After opening its 1,000th location in January, Anytime Fitness now has more than 1,200 locations worldwide, including new clubs in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. ‘The tremendous growth of Anytime Fitness, with their successful 24-hour business model that utilizes quality fitness equipment and leading technologies in a friendly, welcoming environment demonstrates that the public will respond if you make it easy for them,’ said Joe Moore, President and CEO of IHRSA. Since its launch in 2002, Anytime Fitness has grown to become the world’s largest co-ed fitness chain. The company, which ended 2004 with only 58 units, had 977 locations at the end of last year, an increase of 1,584%. ‘We expect to finish 2009 with approximately 1,500 clubs and see opportunities for even greater growth internationally in the coming years,’ says Jeff Klinger, Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder. ‘Whether it’s New York or New Delhi, there’s a market for a convenient and affordable fitness options in a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere.’ In addition to topping the IHRSA Global 25 list for unit growth in 2008, Anytime Fitness also topped the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s ‘Fast 50’ list of the fastest-growing private companies in Minnesota for 2008 and earned ‘Franchisee Satisfaction’ honors from Franchise Business Review for the fourth consecutive year.”

Blacks Have Highest Obesity Rate, Whites Lowest, CDC Says

“Blacks were 51 percent more likely and Hispanics were 21 percent more likely to be obese than whites, a disparity that may be linked to cultural attitudes, income and education levels, a U.S. government study found. Thirty percent or more of blacks in 40 states met standards for obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In Alabama, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio and Oregon, 40 percent or more of blacks were obese. The prevalence of obesity, a major cause of diabetes, stroke and heart attacks has more than doubled in the past 30 years in the U.S. Certain ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected, said David Katz, the founder of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Members of those groups are less likely to live in neighborhoods with fresh produce and streets that are conducive to walking, he said. “As public health people focused on obesity, we have to ask ourselves, do we look at the disparities in obesity as the icing on the cake, and try to get at the cake?” said Katz, who wasn’t an author on the CDC report, in a telephone interview today. “The differences in education, income, empowerment, resources and community need to be fixed, and it’s not going to happen fast.”

Improved Recovery In Patients Who Exercised Prior To Stroke

“In the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, the researchers reported that stroke patients who had previously exercised regularly before a stroke occurred were significantly more likely to have milder impairments and, thus, were better able to care for themselves, compared to patients who rarely exercised. ‘It appears that exercise is very beneficial to people at risk of developing a stroke,’ says Mayo Clinic neurologist James Meschia, M.D., the study's lead investigator. ‘Many studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of developing a stroke in the first place, and this study suggests that if an active person does have a stroke, outcomes can be improved.’”

New Gold's Gym Could Help Struggling Local Economy [video]

“While the state of the economy remains a source of consternation, one new local business isn't sweating it. Gold's Gym is opening its first Madison-area fitness facility on Monday in Fitchburg. The new, $6 million gym has country club features, like VIP locker rooms, inside a traditional health club setting. The equipment and workout routines at the gym do more than just get people’s blood flowing, they also help get tax revenue flowing into the city’s coffers. Gym owner Eddie Dail said that he thinks his business will succeed despite the gloomy financial climate. He said that they plan to open four more locations in the area. ‘I think the economy works well for us.

A Simpler Exercise Gadget

“Sometimes personal technology for exercise can get a little cumbersome, as pointed out today by Daneille Belopotosky over on the Gadgetwise blog. In one of my early runs, I set out with a bulky GPS watch that communicated with a heart monitor that was strapped to my chest, a foot sensor that beamed information to an iPod Touch in an armband that occupied the greater part of my upper arm, and headphones. I have to admit, I was a little geeked out. One way to simplify is the Nike Sportband, a streamlined and sporty way to collect your workout data. Danielle writes about it in the latest Marathon Tech Review.”

Technogym Joins Hands With The ’Road To Awareness Bike Ride 2009’

“As part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts divisional fundraising campaign titled Road to Awareness Bike Ride 2009; Technogym creates a wellness competition at the lobby of Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers on Saturday, 25th July, 2009 for charity with the aim of raising funds for the street children of Egypt. On the day, the competition will commence at 11am until 4pm. All participants will get to enjoy healthy snacks and summer coolers throughout the day from Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers. The competition will be run by Technogym equipment on Treadmills, Bikes, Flexability and Wellness tools. Technogym will also provide the Aspiration map online program for all the participants and visitors to learn more about their aspiration. Furthermore, exciting wellness prizes will be offered to the 3 fastest biking winners.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Exercise And Longevity: Get Moving

“You may have heard the advice ‘If you exercise, you'll live longer.’ The good news -- or the bad news, if you hate doing anything more active than downloading iTunes -- is that it's true. Research backs this up. A 2007 study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found that fitter people lived longer, even if they had extra pounds around the middle. Among 2,603 adults 60 and older enrolled in that longitudinal study, the fittest people (those who did best on a treadmill test) also had the lowest risk factors for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. Most of the negative changes to our bodies over time can be chalked up to two things, says Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, head of the department of kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: normal aging and disease-related aging (that is, changes accelerated by illnesses and conditions such as diabetes and heart disease).,0,6577878.story

San Mateo County Fitness Centers Stay Afloat During Economic Storm

“Given the dismal state of the economy, it may be surprising to hear that gyms and weight-loss programs in San Mateo County have managed to survive the downturn with their client bases intact. But though people often consider canceling their gym memberships when they lose a job or look to do some belt-tightening, many Peninsula fitness centers continue to see their members stream in to burn calories and release endorphins. ‘We have been very lucky that the recession has not hit us very hard,’ said Kelly Murray, manager of Equinox, an upscale fitness center in downtown San Mateo, adding that membership has actually increased in recent months. The common wisdom is that people need to exercise to maintain both their physical and mental health, and a survey of local gyms and fitness centers indicates that area residents have taken the message to heart. This is good news for the health and fitness branch of the local economy, which is fairing better than other sectors during what may be the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Healthy Habits May Cut Price Of Insurance

“Workers who quit smoking, lose weight, and eat right could have their health insurance premiums cut by as much as half, possibly saving them thousands of dollars per year, under a measure inserted with little notice this week into the Senate healthcare overhaul bill. The move represents a potential breakthrough on one of the most controversial elements of healthcare overhaul: how to get Americans to improve their well-being without turning government into a medical version of Big Brother. Under the plan, individuals would have a strong financial incentive for jumping on a treadmill or signing up for smoking cessation classes, moves that would not only prolong their lives but also reduce the financial burdens of behavior-related disease on the healthcare system. ‘Money talks,’ Senator Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican who helped broker the deal reached Monday night, said in an interview. ‘People react to incentives that involve cash.’

Lower IQ Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Deaths 

“Intelligence appears to be one reason why poor people are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, Scottish researchers say. They analyzed data on 4,289 former U.S. soldiers, and found that IQ accounted for more than 20 percent of the difference in heart disease and stroke deaths between people of high and low socioeconomic status. This was in addition to well-established cardiovascular disease risk factors such as obesity and smoking. The study appears in the July 15 issue of the European Heart Journal. ‘We already know that socioeconomically disadvantaged people have worse health and tend to die earlier from conditions such as heart disease, cancer and accidents,’ study leader Dr. David Batty, an epidemiologist at the Medical Research Council's Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, said in a news release.

A Heavy Burden - Obese Kids Do Worse At School

“Physically fit elementary- and middle-school students perform better academically than their out-of-shape classmates, according to a new city study. The report found that students who placed in the top third of the school system's fitness scale had higher math and reading scores on average than students in the bottom third. In particular, the kids who rated among the top 5 percent for fitness -- on measures that included strength and aerobic capacity -- scored an average of 36 percentage points higher on state reading and math tests in 2007-08 than did the least-fit 5 percent. ‘The clear associations between fitness and academic achievement highlighted in the report underline the importance of educating the whole child,’ said Santiago Taveras, an interim schools deputy chancellor. Despite the importance of the link between mind and body, there has been only a slight improvement in the city's childhood obesity rates since 2003. According to Department of Health data, the percentage of obese kids edged downward through 2008, from 24 to 21 percent, while the percentage of overweight kids declined even less -- from 19 to 18 percent. Those figures put the city 4 percentage points above the national average in both categories. ‘When four out of 10 school kids are overweight or obese, the city has a problem,’ said Dr. Thomas Farley, the city's health commissioner.”

Obesity Contributes To Rapid Cartilage Loss

“Obesity, among other factors, is strongly associated with an increased risk of rapid cartilage loss, according to a study published in the August issue of Radiology. ‘We have isolated demographic and MRI-based risk factors for progressive cartilage loss,’ said the study's lead author, Frank W. Roemer, M.D., adjunct associate professor at Boston University and co-director of the Quantitative Imaging Center at the Department of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine. ‘Increased baseline body mass index (BMI) was the only non-MRI-based predictor identified.’ The best way to prevent or slow cartilage loss and subsequent disability is to identify risk factors early.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From Excess to Exercise: Group Helps Men and Women Live Sober Through Sweat [video]

“More than 13 years ago, as Scott Strode was struggling to get his drinking and drug use under control, the gym in Boston where he boxed offered refuge. ‘All the guys in the gym were sober because they were training for fights,’ says Strode, 37. ‘It was a place I could go where I knew there wouldn’t be any pressure to use or drink.’ Now, a sober Strode is recreating the benefits of that safe space for others committed to living sober lives. He’s the founder of Phoenix Multisport, a Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit that hosts more than 35 athletic activities a week, ranging from running to mountain climbing to biking to yoga, events free to anyone in the area who wants both a good workout and sober social network. There are no prayer groups or serenity chants at Phoenix, no chain smoking and coffee drinking."

No-Frills Fitness Club Pumps Up In Lean Times

At the moment Planet Fitness seems to be a lot healthier than Planet Real Estate. The company’s revenue doubled to $4 million in 2008 from $2 million in 2007. Bates, a Vietnam era Navy SEAL veteran who runs the day-to-day Planet Fitness operations, said he expects revenue to climb another 30 to 40 percent in 2009. Nationwide, since Planet Fitness began franchising in 2003, 245 gyms have opened in 29 states. The average Planet Fitness has about 6,000 members. Planet Fitness does not have any of the special services common in upscale gyms. Gone are the aerobics classes, yoga studio, personal trainers and spin classes. Bates said that 75 to 80 percent of gym members use just cardio equipment and weights, but that typically 80 percent of staff is taken up with extra classes and services. ‘The cost of your dues is subsidizing the sales and staff and overhead and salaries to support amenities that 20 percent of the members use,’ Bates said. Thus far the recession has had a mixed impact on the fitness club industry. Many clubs are reporting increased activity as out-of-work members have more time to exercise. But overall membership is down 4.2 percent from 2007, according to Kara Thompson, spokeswoman for International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. ‘Planet Fitness has a very simple business model that has been incredibly successful, and should do even better in tough economic times,’ said Thompson. Bates said Planet Fitness has been “a beneficiary of people migrating down” to more affordable gyms. “It’s a discretionary expense for people, and we’re cheaper,” said Bates.”

Gold's Gym Debunks America's Most Common Fitness Myths

“As Americans hit the gym this summer to continue to tone up for the beach, Gold's Gym, the world's leading authority on health and fitness, is exposing some of the most common myths about getting in shape and offering the must have nutrition and fitness facts to help everyone reach their individual goals. From muscle soreness after a workout, to the timeless argument of running on a treadmill versus running outside, the fitness experts at Gold's Gym have put together a list of the top myths surrounding diet, exercise and fitness to help Americans maximize their gym experience. ‘There is so much conflicting information about how to get in shape that it's no wonder people can get confused,’ said Robert Reames, Personal Training and Obesity expert of the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute. ‘We want to give Americans the clear cut answers to these common myths so that they can focus on reaching their goals and achieving lasting results.’ Reames has identified the seven most common gym myths, and reveals the truth behind these misperceptions.”

People Who Bike Or Walk To Work Are More Fit, Less Fat Than Drivers

“Trying to get fit but can't work it into your daily schedule? Incorporating even relatively short bouts of exercise into a daily commute appears to deliver significant rewards, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Researchers looked at the health and fitness levels of active commuters people who walk or ride a bike to work at least part of the way compared to those who drive or take public transportation. Men and women who were active commuters performed better on a fitness test, according to the study published in the July 13, 2009, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. And men who walk or bike have lower obesity rates as well as healthier triglyceride levels, blood pressure and insulin levels, said study author Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D., nutrition associate professor in UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health. ‘We don't know why women don't reap all the same health benefits as men,’ said Gordon-Larsen, an obesity epidemiologist.

Schoolteacher and Pilates Instructor Says the Exercise's Benefits Extend to the Classroom

In America, Pilates' exercises and emphasis on the links between mental and physical health that helped prevent and heal injuries became popular among dancers in particular and women in general. Ashley Cooley, 32, of Corinth, a certified Pilates instructor and second-grade teacher at Hilltop Elementary in Argyle, has been taking the Pilates message to kids. Not only does she teach Pilates to her own 2-year-old, Zooey Bella, and 11-month- old, Quincy, at home, she has given free Pilates lessons to kids ages 7-10 during the school day for the last three years. She added a free after-school class at the start of 2009. She believes the program has helped them in many ways. ‘I have found it has an incredibly positive effect on my classes. They are more ready to focus and do better work after a series of Pilates exercises. The kids enjoy the routine and challenge,’ she said.‘As a teacher, I recognize and appreciate the effect it has on them, promoting calm and concentration.’

Obesity Threshold Is Lowered For People In India

“Standards used around the world to tell when someone is overweight or obese are based on data from white people. These state that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more are overweight and obese if it goes above 30. BMI is calculated using weight and height. In India those limits have been lowered to 23 for being overweight and 25 for being obese, to reflect the risks for their own population. They also have lower thresholds for waist circumference measurements. The move has led to an extra 70 million people being re-classified as overweight or obese. This means that doctors in India are encouraged to intervene earlier, sometimes with drugs or surgery.”

How to De-Stress a Recession-Riddled Life

“Recessions are bad for the stress level, as many in the midst of the current economic situation know and surveys prove. Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly half of the 1,791 adults polled for the American Psychological Association's latest Stress in America survey said that their stress had increased in the past year. As a result, more than half reported fatigue, 60 percent said they were irritable or angry, and more than half said they lie awake at night because of stress. Other researchers have found that stress adds years to a person's life but that those who cope with it effectively have higher levels of what's known as ‘good’ cholesterol. To de-stress, people are supposed to exercise, eat right, find a way to calm down. But it's crucial to find the technique or techniques that work for you, Rosch said. ‘You have to find out what works for you so that you will practice and adhere to it because it relieves tension and makes you feel better,’ he said. ‘Jogging, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and listening to music are great for some but dull, boring and stressful when arbitrarily imposed on others.’”

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Direction Working Out For Gym

“Through $1.4 million in facility upgrades and a change of athletic programming, Germantown Athletic Club has turned one of the darkest times for the U.S. economy into one of its brightest. The workout facility has increased its membership revenues nearly 60% from last fiscal year to about $2.1 million in the year that just closed on June 30. It has posted record-busting membership figures. A record 1,200 new members were added from October 2007 to October 2008. The club got 731 new members this January alone. It signed up 680 new members in May and June figures are projected to be on par with that. ‘When I arrived, the facility just needed a facelift,’ says GAC director Derek Chaput, who took the job in August 2007.’ ‘It needed a new direction and we really had to change the product we put on the table.’

'80s-Themed Fitness Chain Dials Up "867-5309"

“For a good time, or at least a good workout, gym rats can now call 867-5309. The rapidly expanding health club chain Retrofitness has acquired the rights to the phone number made famous by '80s one-hit wonder Tommy Tutone. It also recently inked original MTV veejay Martha Quinn to be the voice of its fall radio campaign. The '80s-themed chain has 50-plus locations in Florida, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., and more than 100 in development in Chicago, Tampa, Florida, and other major markets. Each is decorated in bright color schemes (neon yellow, black checkered floor tiles) and includes a ‘retro cardio’ movie theater featuring flicks like ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’ and ‘Sixteen Candles.’ For Retrofitness founder Eric Casaburi, the number 867-5309 -- which served as the title and refrain of the hit song also known as ‘Jenny,’ a track that peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 -- was a must-have for his growing Gen X-targeted fitness centers. ‘We want to keep the brand as fun as possible,’ he said. ‘The devil is in the details, especially in branding. This was a cool detail that people will appreciate when they see it. Plus it's easy to remember.’ Retrofitness secured the rights to the number in late June. The phone number had been auctioned off in February on eBay for a bid in excess of $350,000, but the deal fell apart. Casaburi was approached by the owners of the number, and he acquired it for an undisclosed sum.”

Being Active May Help Lift Sense Of Hopelessness

“More active men seem to have a rosier outlook on life, new research from Finland shows. Dr. Maarit Valtonen of Kuopio University Hospital and colleagues found that men who spent less than one hour a week doing moderate to vigorous leisure-time physical activity were 37% more likely to report feeling hopeless than men who logged at least 2.5 hours weekly. Feeling hopeless has been linked to worse heart health and greater risk of dying, the researchers note, independent of the effects of depression. To investigate whether physical exercise might influence hopelessness -- just as it has been shown to help reduce depression -- the researchers surveyed 2,428 men, 42 to 60 years old, about their mood and physical activity levels and tested their fitness...."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Crunch Gym Announces Gym Shorts Film Contest for $10,000 Grand Prize

“Crunch announced the launch of Gym Shorts, the brand's first ever film contest. The gym known for fusing fitness and entertainment, has decided to do just that, by asking for 30 second to three minute videos based on ‘No Judgments’, the company's mantra. One lucky winner will receive a grand prize of $10,000 along with a one year membership. "To us, no judgments is about feeling free to be who you are and getting just what you want out of exercise, and we want to give the Crunch community a unique way to express what this powerful idea means to them," said Christina DeGuardi, vice president, marketing, Crunch. ‘Gym Shorts is for anyone and everyone who has something to say about no judgments, and we're looking forward to capturing this philosophy through film.’ Video submissions will be accepted from July 15, 2009 through August 31, 2009. At this time, Crunch will determine up to 25 finalists which will be presented to the public on It will be up to the fans to vote for their favorite video and determine the winner of the $10,000 grand prize and trip to New York City for the premiere screening event. Participants can upload up to three videos about what ‘No Judgments’ means to them to Crunch facilities are not available for filming and all entries must include one or more of the key words in the Crunch philosophy. Crunch, who has teamed up with IdeaWork,, to create a micro-site for the contest, will provide a creative toolbox, including Crunch logos, fonts and color palette. After launching a new website last year,; Crunch is planning on using the winning videos as creative content on the site. For a brand that brought DJ's into the gym, innovative classes like Pole Dancing and AntiGravity Yoga, Gym Shorts is another unique way Crunch hopes to engage members and continue to make fitness fun.”

Economic Toll Of Obesity And Inactivity Exceeds $41 Billion In California

“The excess weight and inactive habits of many Californians don't only exact a personal toll, they're saddling businesses and taxpayers with more than $41 billion in annual costs, according to a report released today. ‘We think mostly about the health implications,’ said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, speaking of the 59 percent of Californians who are obese or overweight, and the 48 percent who are physically inactive. ‘But there's also this enormous burden on the already-burdened California economy,’ said Goldstein, whose center released the data. If the trend continues the economic toll of excess weight and inactivity will rise to $52.7 billion in 2011, the report noted. Half the costs were attributed to health care expenses, and half to lost productivity, such as absenteeism. The figures alarm state Controller John Chiang, who is grappling with California's devastating $26.3 billion budget shortfall this fiscal year. ‘These figures demonstrate the real and very unsettling financial impact of the obesity epidemic on a California economy already in crisis,’ he said. ‘We need to stop unnecessary use of precious dollars in this area as quickly as possible.’ ‘The idea of health being a priority and not an afterthought hasn't been on the agenda,’ Goldstein said. And the national debate over health care reform needs to include prevention as a primary tactic for controlling costs, he said. ‘This is the cutting-edge of health care,’ he said. ‘Make prevention and wellness the cornerstone of a new national health care system.’

New National Adolescent Weight Control Registry Will Recognize Successful Teen Weight Loss Efforts

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 16 percent of children ages 6-19 years are overweight or obese - a number that has tripled since 1980. n an effort to combat this epidemic of pediatric obesity, researchers at The Miriam Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University - led by Rena Wing, PhD, and Elissa Jelalian, PhD - have launched a landmark new study to better understand not only how teenagers lose weight but also how they keep it off. The new Adolescent Weight Control Registry (AWCR) is the pediatric partner to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), the largest prospective study of long-term successful weight loss maintenance that was developed to help identify and study the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is currently tracking over 5,000 adults who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time.”

Workouts Keep Rita in Shape at 90

“At 90 years young, a sprightly Mrs Spence can be found working out twice a week on exercise machines at Springs Health Club in Crossgate, South Shields. Not one content to see the grass grow under her feet, problems with arthritis persuaded the lively OAP to climb on the treadmill and step her way to a healthier life. Mrs Spence, who played golf regularly until she was 80, said:’"It's far too easy to just sit around.’ ‘When I developed arthritis in my ankles 10 years ago, I realised I needed to keep in shape and on the move, and started to go to Springs, where I was one of the first people to use the health club.’ ‘I go about twice a week and use the treadmill and other exercise machines at the gym.’ ‘I normally stay for up to two hours, and I find it really improves my arthritis, and helps me maintain my health.’”

Study Examines Effects Of Stress On Weight Gain In US Population

“Stressing out can cause people to gain weight, according to a study appearing in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. This new study is believed to be one of the first of its kind to look at the relationship between weight gain and multiple types of stress - job-related demands, difficulty paying bills, strained family relationships, depression or anxiety disorder - in the U.S. population. ‘Today's economy is stressing people out, and stress has been linked to a number of illnesses - such as heart disease, high blood pressure and increased risk for cancer. This study shows that stress is also linked to weight gain,' according to Jason Block, M.D., M.P.H., who conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar® at Harvard University. Block practices internal medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

1 in 4 Illinois Adults is Obese -- a Record

“For the first time, at least one in every four Illinois adults is obese. The alarming statistic was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today in an annual update on obesity rates across the country. The CDC found that in 2008 Illinois was among 32 states where 25 percent or more of adults were, to put it bluntly, fat. Officially, obesity counts as having a body mass index – a ratio of weight to height – of 30 percent or higher. To put that in perspective, two decades ago no state counted more than 15 percent of adults as obese. That hurdle was passed in 1991 by four states, including Michigan. In 1996, three states, including Indiana and Kentucky, passed the 20 percent mark. In 2001, Mississippi became the first state where at least 25 percent of adults were excessively heavy.

Anytime Fitness Is On The Move

“Two years ago, Anytime Fitness franchise owner David Galloway had his sights set on the Avenues at Westchase. But the high rent and the lack of space forced him to look elsewhere for a place to open his business. Now, Galloway is back in Westchase, where he wanted to be all along. ‘We did a lot of research,’ Galloway said. ‘We did the demographics. There's about 10,000 residents in a 1-mile radius.’ ‘And we (wanted) to put our gym in the middle of our competition, Snap Fitness, the YMCA and Lifestyle,’ he added. Originally based in Citrus Park in August 2007, the health club outgrew its facilities in little more than a year and a half. It currently occupies a smaller space inside the Avenues shopping center until the club moves into its permanent facility at 9602 W Linebaugh Ave. on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Team Gold's Gym Continues to Lead the National Fight Against Diabetes

“Gold's Gym, the world's leading authority on health and fitness, has continued its fight against obesity and the diabetes epidemic by once again supporting the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure. For the fifth year in a row, the company is the Tour de Cure's top national fundraiser and, along with its franchisees, employees, members and local communities, has raised more than $350,000.

Diet, Smoking, Exercise Key In Colon Cancer Risk

“People who want to reduce their risk of colon cancer may want to start exercising more and cutting down on red meat and alcohol, a new research review suggests. Such measures -- along with not smoking -- may be key lifestyle choices in preventing the cancer, according to the analysis, which looked at more than 100 previous studies on colon cancer risk factors. Overall, researchers found, high intake of red and processed meats, smoking, obesity and diabetes were all linked to a 20 percent increase in the risk of colorectal cancer. In contrast, people who exercised the most had a 20 percent lower risk of the disease than their sedentary counterparts. Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity, and both can be prevented or managed through a healthy diet and physical activity -- further highlighting the importance of lifestyle choices in colon cancer risk, the researchers report in the International Journal of Cancer. As important as diet and exercise were, drinking habits emerged as the most significant lifestyle factor, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Rachel R. Huxley of the George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia.”

Weight Loss Effective In Preventing Falls For The Obese

“In addition to greatly improving overall health and longevity, losing weight is an effective fall prevention strategy for persons with obesity, according to a new study from the American College of Sports Medicine. ‘Studies have shown that obese persons fall nearly twice as much as non-obese individuals,’ Madigan said. ‘Falls have also been reported as the most common cause of injury for the obese. Losing even just a small amount of weight can improve balance and potentially reduce this risk.’

A Running Shoe With a Greener Footprint

“A new shoe promises to help runners leave a greener footprint. As the Green Inc. blog reports today, running shoe maker Brooks now offers a marathon shoe made up of various recycled materials. The Green Silence marathon racing shoe, made by the running gear company Brooks and scheduled for release in February 2010, sports heel cups reinforced with recycled CDs; shoelaces, mesh, lining and stitching made from discarded water bottles; outsoles made from recycled rubber; and a collar stuffed with foam from old sofas. To learn more about the Green Silence shoe, check out the full post at Green Inc., “Recycled CDs and Sofa Foam for Your Feet.”

Gold’s To Open Second Tulsa-Area Gym

“Gold’s Gym will open its second Tulsa-area fitness complex this month, renewing a planned corporate expansion in the Sooner State. The Irving, Texas-based chain will provide a soft opening of its estimated 46,000-square-foot Broken Arrow center later this month at 2360 W. Kenosha St., leading to an Aug. 22 grand opening, said Marketing Manager Michelle Micheletti.
The Marshall Co. of Corpus Christi, Texas, which handles construction contracts for Gold’s parent Cresta Development, built the two-story Broken Arrow facility.

New Culprit Behind Obesity's Ill Metabolic Consequences

“Obesity very often leads to insulin resistance, and now researchers reporting in the July 8 issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have uncovered another factor behind that ill consequence. The newly discovered culprit - a protein known as pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF for short) - is secreted by fat cells. They also report evidence to suggest that specifically blocking that protein's action may reverse some of the health complications that come with obesity.”

Chesapeake Gym's Buff Up The Fitness Choices

“When it comes to fitness, residents in Chesapeake have plenty of state-of-the-art facilities where they can sweat while listening to their own tunes or watching a movie. The newest Gold's Gym, which recently opened in Western Branch, is the first Gold's to be built from the ground up and has many environmentally friendly features.

For a Frugal Dieter, Weight Loss on a Sliding Scale

“If you become one of the lucky losers, you’ll need to fight hard to protect your losses. One way is to exercise — a lot. ‘Diet is a key for losing weight,’ Mr. Hill said. ‘But physical activity is the key for keeping it off.’ To maintain their weight, members of the National Weight Control Registry ideally exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day. Another key is to enlist the support of family and friends. If your buddies are mocking you for eating a salad while they’re inhaling beer and pizza, Mr. Hill said, it’s going to be tough to succeed.”

Health Club Media Network Acquires the Alloy Fitness Network

“Health Club Media Network (HCMN), the nation's largest provider of advertising and marketing opportunities for national brands in health clubs, announced today its acquisition of the Alloy Fitness Network from Alloy Media + Marketing. The transaction includes an undisclosed cash sum plus certain future contingent payments. The Alloy Fitness Network includes contractual agreements for media panel placements in over 700 health clubs in 120+ DMAs across the United States. ..."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fitting in Fitness

“Think you're too busy to exercise? Meet a pilot, a mother, a chef and an executive who really do have good reasons to slack off, but still make time to get fit. It's so easy not to do it. Long work hours, running around after the kids or being on the road means there's always an excuse not to throw on a pair of trainers or some speedos, or jump on the bike. We know the drill - at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days, according to the national physical activity guidelines - but actually carving out the time to exercise is often too hard an ask. Lack of time is the most common reason we give for not exercising, according to Jane Martin, senior policy adviser with the Obesity Policy Coalition. The result? More than 70 per cent of people over 15 are sedentary or achieve only low exercise levels, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Health Survey for 2007-08. Yet US President Barack Obama - presumably busier than most of us - still manages to hit the gym for an hour or so most days. OK, he has a team of aides organising his schedule around his routine exercise. But there are plenty of other seriously busy people who make exercise a fundamental - not optional - part of their lives. We spoke to four of them about how they find the time to squeeze in regular exercise, their tricks for sticking to it and how they keep motivated.”

Milwaukee Employers Strive For 'Well City' Designation

“Quarles & Brady has converted its old smoking lounge to a multitasking fitness station. A workstation with an adjustable desktop, a computer and Internet access is positioned over a treadmill that lets employees walk as fast as 2 mph while accomplishing such low-impact work tasks as managing e-mail or listening in on a Web conference. The hardest part is stepping off when you're done, says Tonya Tougas, who uses the law firm's Walkstation about once a week. ‘It's surprisingly easy to get into the rhythm of just walking and doing your normal work,’ says Tougas, Quarles' administrator of compensation and benefits. ‘Your upper body really isn't moving much, so you can type and read and do things that you would normally do. And you don't even think about your legs moving, to be honest with you.’ Quarles has offered this form of exer-work or work-ercise for about eight months to its 483 Milwaukee employees. More recently, it installed two such stations in its Chicago office, where it has 120 employees."

The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics

“Using a flood of new tools and technologies, each of us now has the ability to easily collect granular information about our lives—what we eat, how much we sleep, when our mood changes. And not only can we collect that data, we can analyze it as well, looking for patterns, information that might help us change both the quality and the length of our lives. We can live longer and better by applying, on a personal scale, the same quantitative mindset that powers Google and medical research. Call it Living by Numbers—the ability to gather and analyze data about yourself, setting up a feedback loop that we can use to upgrade our lives, from better health to better habits to better performance..."

Snap Fitness To Add Two More Locations

“Snap Fitness, a 24-hour fitness facility that opened in Wichita Executive Centre in late March, will add a second location this fall. Justin Desterhouse, a partner at the facility, said a third location could open in early 2010. The second one, in Kellogg Crossing shopping center at 600 S. Tyler Road, will open in late September or early October, he said. ‘We're hoping to get another one on the east side, maybe the beginning of next year.’ Snap Fitness is a chain of compact fitness centers with more than 1,600 locations. ‘It's one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country,’ Desterhouse said.”

Weighing An Ounce Of Healthcare Prevention

"In all the ways the Obama administration and others are proposing to cut healthcare costs, including a single-payer option, limiting malpractice claims, and increased use and uniformity of electronic medical records, there is one that everyone - patients and doctors both - can utilize immediately: preventative health. The next time you talk to a doctor, ask ‘How much of what you see in a day is preventable?’ Whether the doctor is an internist, cardiologist, endocrinologist, or orthopedist, you may be surprised by the answer. I am not suggesting that if we just took better care of ourselves we would eliminate the need for a medical profession, but preventing illness has always been less expensive and more effective than trying to treat it. And the biggest threats to our health are largely preventable: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Healthy Workers Are Productive Workers

“A growing body of evidence concludes that employers who support employee efforts to achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle through health and wellness programs in the workplace reduce absenteeism, and improve workplace efficiency and morale. The Wellness Councils of America cites five important reasons why every business should consider developing and implementing a health promotion initiative. Reduced health care costs. The average workweek is getting longer (not shorter!) Technology brings different kinds of illness and injury. Employee stress levels are on the rise. The Wellness Councils of America goes on to state key employee improvements that contribute to a positive work environment and enhance productivity..."

Behavior: Money Not a Motivator in Losing Weight

“Losing weight is so hard you cannot even pay people to do it. Researchers studied 2,407 overweight and obese people enrolled in weight-loss schemes at their jobs. Participants were divided into three groups. The first received $60 for keeping a 5 percent weight loss for a year. The second agreed to pay about $100; the money would be returned if they lost 5 percent of their weight, and they would get bonuses for losing more. The third, a control group, was offered only $20, a reward for staying in the program for a year. The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that money had very little effect. The group that was offered $60 lost an average of just 1.4 pounds, while the controls lost 1.8. Those who made the $100 deposit dropped an average of 1.9 pounds more than the controls, but, the authors write, people motivated enough to risk their own money would most likely have lost weight with any program. The researchers acknowledge that this was not a randomized controlled experiment. Still, they write, it is informative about how programs work — or fail. One of the authors, John Cawley, an economist at Cornell, said that while money was ineffective in these cases, there is surely some amount of money that would persuade most people to lose weight. But no one knows what that amount is.”

Obama Chooses Technogym: Wellness? Yes We Can!

“The US President Barack Obama has chosen Technogym’s MADE IN ITALY vision of wellness. During his stay in Italy at the G8 summit in Aquila in July, the American leader will be able to enjoy working out between meetings and talks with world leaders thanks to the Technogym MADE IN ITALY equipment installed in his private suite in L’Aquila. The Technogym technicians, together with staff from the White House, are already hard at work fitting out Barack Obama’s personal gym, as the President is a well-known physical exercise fan. A latest generation treadmill based on the same technology supplied by Technogym to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Kinesis Personal, the first fitness machine to become a recognised icon of contemporary design, will be waiting for the American President. Given the minimal amount of time that the President will have free between his many commitments these machines have been chosen for carefully focussed exercise sessions aimed at releasing the tension of the G8 summit which is likely to be particularly tense and demanding given the topical issues on the world agenda.”

Fix Your Workout

A guide to fix your gym work out, including relieving stress on arrival, how much is too much exercise, how to correct the effects of drinking the night before, the correct body temperature to start working out with, tips to help you focus and how to combat that end of week feeling.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Health Club, Camp Help Kids Fight The Battle Of The Bulge

“Hours on an elliptical machine might work for some fitness gurus, but belly dancing is the best way to stay healthy this summer for 15-year-old Beth Pessoa. ‘It's different, but it's really fun and a good workout,’ she said. ‘There's a lot of moving your hips, and your stomach and sides start to burn after a while.’ Pessoa discovered the routine because of a free membership offered by Butterfly Life Women's Fitness Center in Janesville to teenage girls this summer. The center is just one of the ways for teens and kids to stay active. Wisconsin's percentage of obese and overweight children (10-17) is actually lower than 38 other states and Washington, D.C., according to a report released Wednesday by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But Rock County Health Officer Karen Cain said developing healthy habits early in life creates a better chance at continuing that lifestyle. Offering free summer memberships was a small way of contributing to that effort, said Bonnie Smith, owner of Butterfly Life. ‘I think it's something we really needed in the community, and we can offer something different than just going out and running around on their own,’ she said.