Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Get Fit While Giving Back By Participating In Shape's Annual Pilates For Pink

“Shape magazine encourages everyone to join the #1 active lifestyle magazine this fall as the annual Shape Pilates for Pink initiative kicks off! This Sunday, October 4th, the award-winning fundraiser will take over Union Square Park enabling one and all to get involved, get active and make a difference. Shape and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing and finding a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide, have teamed up to provide people across the country with a variety of ways to help to fight this life-threatening disease. Check out the event of the year, Pilates in the Park - - Union Square Park in NYC from 9am-5pm. This event includes challenging, motivational and beneficial classes instructed by the pros at Equinox Fitness Clubs, the exclusive health club partner for Pilates for Pink...

Moderate Exercise May Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

Ready for another reason to exercise? Men who exercise at even moderate levels may have a lower risk of prostate cancer than sedentary men, a new study suggests. Exercise has been shown to have numerous health benefits, but studies have come to conflicting conclusions as to whether a lower risk of prostate cancer is one of them. In this latest study, researchers found that among 190 men who underwent biopsies to detect possible prostate cancer, those who regularly exercised were less likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Men who exercised moderately -- the equivalent of three or more hours of brisk walking per week -- were two-thirds less likely than their sedentary counterparts to have prostate cancer. What's more, among men who did have cancer, those who reported as little as one hour of walking per week were less likely to have aggressive, faster-growing cancer. Dr. Jodi A. Antonelli and colleagues at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, report the findings in the Journal of Urology. There are a number of reasons to believe that exercise could help ward off prostate cancer. For one, physical activity tends to lower levels of testosterone and other hormones that help feed prostate tumor growth. Exercise may also bolster the immune system, which, by killing off abnormal cells before tumors can develop, is one of the body's lines of defense against cancer.

Sport & Health Buys Gainesville Gym

“Sport & Health will add another gym to its roster in Gainesville. The company bought the former World Gym retail space at 7500 Limestone Dr. -- a 15,000-square-foot club stocked with equipment, group exercise studios, indoor cycling and a smoothie bar. ‘We have been exploring the Gainesville submarket throughout the last year in search of an opportunity to fill in our footprint,’ said Mark Fisher, president and chief operating officer of the company. Its nearby clubs are located in Woodbridge, Dale City, Stafford and Fredericksburg. Sport & Health already has a banner on the front of the existing club, which is fully functional. The company expects a permanent sign to be affixed to the exterior within the next 30 days..

He Stands Firm In Face of Cancer

“The 78-year-old body-builder knows about being strong - and brave. Battling prostate cancer, Culberson stayed with his training and competed in the NPC Lakeland Classic Body Building and Bikini Championship at Florida Southern College earlier this month. ‘I thought he looked awesome,’ said Deb Callahan, owner of Deb's Gym, which sponsored the event. ‘He was an upbeat individual. He was built, and he looked healthy.’ Culberson took third in the 60-and-older class, out-muscled by 63-year-old and a 68-year-old. ‘I swept the field in the 70s,’ he said with a smile...

Obesity In Middle Age Bodes Ill For Old Age

“Women who are obese in middle age may live to be at least 70 but they are nowhere near as healthy as women who kept in good shape, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday. An ongoing giant study of American nurses showed that only about 10 percent who made it to age 70 could be considered in top shape. Women who steadily gained weight from age 18 on ended up in the worst shape, the researchers said. Most had some kind of physical or mental limitation, and more than a third had both chronic diseases and also mental or physical limitations. ‘Given that more and more Americans are surviving to older ages and, at the same time, gaining weight, our results might be particularly important with respect to clinical or public health policies and deserve further investigation and confirmation in additional studies,’ the researchers wrote in the British Medical Journal...

Losing A Few Pounds Helps Very Obese Kids' Health

“The bad news: Not all the benefits of a family weight management program for severely obese kids last longer than six months, according to a new study. The good news: As long as kids keep some of the weight off, they still see health benefits for longer than six months. ‘Modest weight loss is associated with real health benefits. That's the take-home message, it's worth doing,’ Dr. Marsha D. Marcus of the University of Pittsburgh, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters Health. Programs that focus on families with the goal of promoting healthier eating habits and more physical activity have been shown to help obese children lose weight, Marcus and her team write in the journal Pediatrics. While this weight loss is typically ‘modest’-from 5 to 20 percent of excess body weight-studies have shown that losing even a few pounds can improve health in overweight and obese children and adults...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anytime Fitness Expanding to Mexico

Anytime Fitness, the largest coed fitness franchise in the world, will soon be expanding into Mexico. The Minnesota-based fitness club chain has signed a master franchisee agreement with entrepreneur Rodrigo Chavez, who plans to open at least 100 new clubs within the next five years. ‘We are thrilled about Mr. Chavez’s plans for Mexico,’ said Anytime Fitness Vice President of International Development, John Kersh...

Michelle Obama: I'm in the Best Shape – at 45

She varies her 4:30 am workouts with Pilates, cardio, stretching, and weights. ‘I enjoy arm exercises because you can see what it's hitting,’ she says. A self-described ‘closet jock,’ Obama says she's been in the best shape during her 40s. ‘I've had more time [to work out] as my kids have gotten older. There was a period, actually right before the campaign started up, that I was really in tip-top shape. I was really there. And then my husband ran for president,’ she jokes. The key, she says, is moderation....,,20308816,00.html

24-Hour Gyms Bulk Up Area Fitness

“When you can't get back to sleep at 3 in the morning, you can read a book, watch a rerun of the Jerry Springer Show, or take mom's advice and count sheep. But now there is another alternative: Hit the gym. Round-the-clock gyms are part of a flurry of new fitness centers opened or opening in metro Toledo. The second metro Toledo locations of 24-hour fitness...

Extreme Wellness Hits New York in October

“With the national health care debate raging, obesity on the rise, and films like Food, Inc. dominating the headlines, web community has risen to the challenge with a free ‘mind-belly’ challenge. Teaming up with Whole Foods Market, Equinox, and Apartment Therapy's food blog,, the site is challenging readers to work out 20 days over the course of the month and achieve 10 food-related feats...

Sport & Health Upgrades and Expands with Zoom’s ClubCom HD Network

“Zoom Media & Marketing, the world’s largest and fastest growing fitness digital media company, today announced that ClubCom, LLC., Zoom’s digital media network subsidiary, and Sport & Health, the largest health club operator in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region with 23 locations, will be upgrading and expanding its ClubCom...

Old Is New Again

“It looks like a medieval torture device, or at least a relic from a civil war battle. But these iron cannonballs with handles are not only catching on as a fitness regime, but they're helping some people get their lives back. They are called kettlebells, and although they date back to the 1700s in Russia, their merit as a weight loss and strength training tool is gaining popularity with fitness trainers across the nation. Kim Vaccarello of Frederick enjoyed taking hip hop and jazz dance classes most of her life....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Defending AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers Extol Praise for Power Plate(R) Acceleration Training(TM)

“Fresh off of a 23-13 win over the Miami Dolphins and their unconventional wildcat offense, the San Diego Chargers attribute their season-opening success in part to Power Plate(R) Acceleration Training(TM). ‘We use Power Plate(R) machines in our daily routine: in our pre-workout for muscle activation, to stretch the players so they're loose and ready to play, and for regeneration since it alleviates soreness and allows them to recover faster after intense workouts,’ says Jeff Hurd, strength and conditioning coach for the San Diego Chargers...

Top 5 Weird Weight Loss Products [video]

“Chances are someone you know has tried a weird weight loss product. From the 1990s' ThighMaster to the 1950s' vibrating belts, entrepreneurs have long known that the public is willing to look a bit silly in order to lose weight. Now, with 21st-century technology, people have only found more mesmerizing exercises and unusual weight loss products. The following is a list of the most unusual, but catching fitness trends, along with comments from […]”

Excess Body Weight Causes Over 124,000 New Cancers A Year In Europe

“Dr Renehan, who is a senior lecturer in cancer studies and surgery at the University of Manchester (UK), and his colleagues in the UK, The Netherlands and Switzerland, created a sophisticated model to estimate the proportion of cancers that could be attributed to excess body weight in 30 European countries...

Weight Loss Influenced By Certain Personality Traits

“Hitomi Saito from Doshisha University, Japan, worked with a team of researchers to psychologically profile 101 obese patients undergoing combined counselling, nutrition and exercise therapy at the Kansai Medical University Hospital Obesity Clinic over a period of 6 months. Patients' psychosocial characteristics before and after attending the clinic were assessed using psychological questionnaires designed to identify patients' personality types..."

Law Firm Starts New Initiative On Health

“A local personal injury law firm has kicked of a ‘health initiative’ that is raising thousands of dollars for charitable causes as well as helping its employees get into shape...

Social Background Weighs Heavily On Teenage Diet

'It is evident that children are moulded according to their parents' expectations about behaviour,' says Dr Wendy Wills of the University of Hertfordshire, who led the research. Middle class families look towards their children's future, expecting young teenagers' tastes to develop and have a good body shape to actively participate in adult life...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paul Pierce's Campaign Fights Childhood Obesity

“Paul Pierce has launched a campaign to fight childhood obesity. The Boston Celtics star created ‘The Truth on Health Campaign’ as part of his charitable foundation. It includes a Web-based club that encourages kids aged 10-14 to make a one-year pledge to eat healthy and participate in an hour of physical activity each day. Pierce announced his plans at the Clinton Global Initiative this week. The Web site will include monthly challenges, healthy recipes and rewards programs. Pierce says he wishes he had known more about proper nutrition growing up. He has seen from his nephews how children are less active than when he was a youth.”

Zumba Fitness® Annual Convention Draws Thousands [videos]

"Zumba®, the acclaimed fitness-party workout that features contagious Latin rhythms and boasts a global following of millions, recently celebrated its second annual convention with a record-breaking 2,200 instructors from around the world in attendance. Reflecting the ever-expanding popularity of Zumba, the 2009 convention, held in Orlando, Florida over Labor Day weekend, boasted the largest instructor attendance to date. The event, which featured a jam-packed schedule of workshops, master classes and training sessions, culminated in an epic fitness-concert, the revolutionary and exhilarating Zumbathon...

Fitness Continues To Fly

"“It's pretty hard to have anything against fitness. With a population that is largely overweight, and millions of aging baby-boomers, fitness is increasingly seen as something vital to the nation. The continuous growth of the health club and health equipment industries over the past 20 years attests to the size of the demand. There are currently over 30,000 health clubs in the U.S., with nearly 50 million members. And it's not just the young and the beautiful who want to be healthy...

Virgin Active Opens Near Twickenham

“Gym chain Virgin Active is tackling a weighty issue - fatties living near to the home of rugby. The firm will open its 72nd health club next Thursday at Twickenham Stadium. England stars Andrew Sheridan, Simon Shaw and Tom Croft gave it a try yesterday. Virgin hopes to convert members to Rugby Fit, a new class being rolled out in its clubs nationwide. Virgin Active, 75% owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, is also opening 23 new clubs overseas.”

Brotherly Venture Offers Sports From The Outside In

"It’s a sun-drenched afternoon in Bedford Heights during my visit to the former Racquet Club East, now one of two indoor sports facilities run by Greg and Shaw Abrams. However, the region’s long months of inclement weather, along with what the brothers saw as a need for more youth and indoor sports facilities, led them to create Force Indoor Sports. Their venture has two locations – the former Force Fitness Center at 4505 Northfield Road in Warrensville Heights and the defunct racquet club at 26555 Richmond Road in Bedford Heights. Force Indoor Sports facilities are designed on the principle that any outdoor sport can be brought indoors, say the Pepper Pike natives. Both locations have rubberized turf fields designed to accommodate numerous athletic endeavors, including soccer and flag football, as well as ‘adult recreational’ activities such as kickball and dodgeball...

Fitness Continues To Fly

“Fit2Max, LLC unveiled their plans for expansion today for their next new division. After having success with their in home personal training division, Team Fitness America, they are launching the start of the FCM program. With Fitness Center Management (FCM), Fit2max will be placing qualified, certified, and background checked personal trainers into health clubs and small to midsized gyms that lack proper personnel or the means to drive more revenue to their business...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back to Basics: Yes, Sergeant!

“Mr. Roozen’s routines are as likely to incorporate logs, wheelbarrows and sandbags as circuit machines, Pilates equipment and other gym staples. ‘We’ll take a big, old tractor tire and a sledgehammer and hit the tire 25 times’ in a typical class, said Mr. Roozen, owner of Performance Edge Training Systems and director of certification for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He makes use of other low-tech equipment that has resurfaced in recent years, including kettle bells (borrowed from the early Soviet military); stability balls (popularized in Switzerland in the 1960s); air-filled balance boards (a physical therapy staple); and medicine balls (‘In ancient times, they’d fill an animal bladder with water or sand,’ Mr. Roozen said of the balls’ origins). While such rough-hewn techniques and gear may look old-fashioned, they comport with a modern shift away from developing individual muscle groups and toward so-called functional fitness, which refers to overall strength and comfort in performing everyday activities, like lifting, walking and reaching, along with cardiovascular health. Despite the popularity of the camp format, group strength training and conditioning classes are becoming more common in fitness clubs, too. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association reported in its annual survey that nearly a third of member fitness centers offered some form of so-called boot camp classes in 2008. Equinox fitness centers offer some 20 varieties of boot camp and, this summer, added four types of kettle bell workouts to their schedules. AYC Health and Fitness, a personal training center in Prairie Village, Kan., runs ‘30-minute express’ boot camps every morning, both on-site and at corporate locations. While less expensive than personal training, the classes often act as a ‘feeder’ for higher-end services, said the owner, Greg Justice. ‘It’s almost imperative that you have some type of boot camp offering,’ Mr. Justice said, ‘for pure and simple bottom-line dollars.’ Beyond convenience and economy, the retro fitness kick may also — like the revival of Pop Rocks and tie-dye — appeal to a taste for boomer nostalgia. ‘When’s the last time most adults jumped rope?’ Ms. Calabrese asked. ‘Second grade? We play tag. We play games. We do baton races, Indian runs, shuttle runs, all these things that go back to gym class.’”

Obese Kids With Big Bellies At Greatest Heart Risk

“Big bellies in obese kids mean greater heart disease risks, just as they do for heavy grown-ups, new research shows. Obese children with waists bigger than 90 percent of their peers had lower "good" HDL cholesterol, higher harmful triglyceride levels, and greater insulin resistance -- a risk factor for type 2 diabetes -- compared to obese kids with smaller waists, researchers found. This ‘tells us they are at more risk for heart problems later on in life,’ Dr. Reda Bassali of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta told Reuters Health. A large waist circumference is a well-established risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes in obese adults, Bassali and colleagues note in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity. To investigate whether the same might be true for kids, they looked at 188 healthy obese children 7 to 11 years old. Sixty percent were black, and 39 percent were boys. Thirty-five of the children were severely obese, while 119 had waist circumferences above the 90th percentile for children their age and sex. Compared with children with smaller waists, children with large waists were 27 times more likely to be severely obese, 3.6 times as likely to have low levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol, 3 times as likely to have high triglycerides, and 3.7 times as likely to have high fasting insulin levels, the researchers found. Checking waist circumference in obese children could be an effective way to identify those who are at greatest risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, they write in their report. For now, Bassali noted, it's likely not practical for busy pediatricians to check waist circumference for all their obese patients. However, ‘it's something to keep an eye on in overweight kids when we see that their waist circumference seems to be excessive,’ the researcher said. The only way to lose belly fat, he added, is to lose weight by eating less and exercising.”

All Gain, No Pain

“Almost everyone has an exercise that seems to hurt as much as it helps. Maybe it's the squat, known for its ability to make the back twinge and knees ache. Or the bench press, which has left more than a few rotator cuffs in tatters. Or maybe, it's a simple abdominal crunch -- it looks harmless enough but can send a neck into spasms. But don't give up on these high-powered moves. With a few easy adjustments, they can be incorporated into a workout with very little risk of injury. ‘I don't think there's any exercise that's inherently dangerous or shouldn't be done,’ said Adam Johnson, sports performance director at Santa Clarita's Velocity Sports Performance training facility. ‘If an athlete is doing things the right way, there's less of a chance of injuring themselves.’ The key is using the correct form, maintaining core stability and using a slow, controlled tempo, trainers say. Improper technique and a quick, sloppy pace shift the stress from your muscles - where it should be - to your joints and ligaments, which is a recipe for injury. ‘Anytime a joint feels stress, it's because the movement is being done incorrectly,’ said Ted Shankle, fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Hermosa Beach. To master the correct form, trainers recommend putting your ego aside and lifting no more than your body weight at first. Shankle also suggests trying weight machines, at least for the first week of a new workout program. ‘They help you line up and give you a lot of stability, so it's easy to do the movement the correct way,’ he said.”

Family Fitness Run To Fight Cancer

“To get its 11th anniversary celebration off to a running start, Family Fitness will host a 5K to benefit an organization committed to fighting breast cancer. The fourth annual Family Fitness 5K Run/Walk is set for a 7 a.m. start Saturday from the club at 333 FM 2004. Men and women will compete in age categories of 3 to 19 years old, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and older. There will be an overall man and woman winner in each age division, walker awards and the winning team of four. Proceeds of the run and carnival events planned after it will benefit the Mermaid Project, a local organization committed to providing free breast cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured women in Brazoria County.”

What’s The Return On Fighting Obesity? [Op-ed]

“While recognition of childhood obesity is widespread, solutions to the problem are in surprisingly short supply. Having just closed one of the few pediatric obesity treatment programs in New England, I can identify one of the most cogent reasons for the shortage of such programs: ROI, or the return on investment demanded by health insurers. Our program, Great Moves, was co-founded with health care entrepreneur Stanley Goldstein in collaboration with Children’s Hospital. Families met once a week for five months. The kitchen in the center taught families how to cook. A gym attracted the children with Wii Fit, a version of Dance Dance Revolution, and a Sport Wall. Behavioral counseling was provided as were lessons on such issues as portion size, environmental cues that trigger inappropriate eating, and distinguishing between eating due to hunger vs. boredom. Initial meetings 18 months earlier with the insurance companies had suggested that, if the program worked - that is, for example, if the children’s body mass index numbers started to stabilize or fall rather than rise - insurers would discuss paying part of the program cost. When our first set of children completed the program in the spring, the results were not celebratory but adequate, with 70 percent of the children achieving this modest goal. Insurers responded by saying they would not pay for the program, not because the program did not work but because it did not meet their 12-month return-on-investment goal. This explains why so few programs exist to treat obese children: Sustainable funding for well-designed long-term pediatric obesity programs is nearly nonexistent. Insurers’ limited grants to foundations to support community action against pediatric obesity or their participation in initiatives such as President Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation do not constitute coverage, but rather goodwill and good public relations. Further, insurer payments to pediatricians to address obesity in their patients are both insufficient and to date largely ineffective. The question then remains: Who will be responsible for addressing - and paying for - the pediatric obesity epidemic? The changes being proposed to the US health care system should encompass long-term return on investment, meaning financial incentives for insurers to address longer-term health problems. Otherwise, the current short-term focus assures that the US health care system will be carrying this heavy burden of pediatric obesity well into the future.”

Training May Cut Risk Factors For Knee Injury

“Female athletes are at greater risk of a potentially serious knee ligament injury than their male counterparts -- but a fairly simple training regimen might help reduce those odds, a small study suggests. The injury in question affects the knee's anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. ACL tears are common in certain sports and are a particular threat to female athletes -- who have four to six times the risk of their male counterparts in the same sport. In the new study, Korean researchers found that among 22 high school basketball players they followed, girls who followed the training regimen for eight weeks showed changes in jumping ability that could lower their odds of tearing the ACL. The researchers, led by Dr. Bee-Oh Lim of Seoul National University, report the findings in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.”

Childbearing Increases Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome

“Childbearing is associated directly with future development of the metabolic syndrome abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease risk factors and for women who have had gestational diabetes, the risk is more than twice greater, according to a study co-authored by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. UAB Professor of Preventive Medicine Cora E. Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H., and colleagues used data collected in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study to determine the correlation between a higher incidence of the metabolic syndrome among women ages 18-30 at the start of the study who bore at least one child during the 20-year period following. ‘Our findings suggest that childbearing can contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome and that part of the association may be through weight gain and lack of physical activity,’ Lewis said. ‘And, although women with gestational diabetes had the highest relative risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, those with non-gestational diabetes pregnancies made up the larger at-risk group.’”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moves Look To Be Working Out

“Life Time Fitness Inc. is a company that shouldn't be doing well in this recession. And, for a while, it wasn't. After a disastrous fourth quarter that saw its stock tumble, the Chanhassen-based chain of upscale fitness centers has been intent on proving to Wall Street -- and to its customers -- that it's not a luxury good. As consumers pared back on ‘wants’ and focused on ‘needs,’ Life Time was determined to be needed. Like rock-climbing or yoga? Life Time added more than two dozen clubs to help members find a niche. It went social, cranking up a members-only website to allow them to connect with one another online, as well as learn about events at their clubs. And, it added a program that lets members get discounts at other businesses, such as Costco and T-Mobile. It also implemented moves more typical of companies in this recession: It cut staff -- its first layoffs in corporate history -- and scaled back expansion from about 12 new clubs a year to three. It has cut marketing costs and tried to keep costs down for luring new members. So far, the strategies appear to be working. The clubs had double-digit membership growth in the most recent quarter. Average revenue per membership, after falling each quarter last year, is on the rise again. And the stock, which bottomed out to an all-time low $7.07 in March, has quadrupled since then. ‘We have changed our strategies to do two things: always be cash-flow positive so we are in charge of our own destination,’ explained Bahram Akradi, the company's chairman and CEO. The second: ‘Deliver even a greater value to our customers -- so good that they really can't afford to give it up.’

Power Plate International Ltd Certified as Medical Device Manufacturer

“Power Plate International Limited, the leader in Acceleration Training(TM) exercise equipment, today received certification as a Medical Device Manufacturer within the European Economic Area (EEA). Going forward, new Power Plate(R) machines will carry the CE mark, showing they meet all essential European health and safety requirements. The classification as a Medical Device also opens access for medical professionals to prescribe exercise on a Power Plate(R) machine as an additional treatment option for wide range of patient groups. ‘We are delighted to have achieved certification as a Medical Device Manufacturer. The certification process included a review of the efficacy and safety of the Power Plate(R) machine for use as part of a treatment regime to improve or alleviate various conditions. This means healthcare professionals can potentially prescribe exercise on a Power Plate(R) machine as part of a wider treatment program to assist with the following conditions:

- Fall prevention

- Improving muscular strength and power

- Alleviating chronic pain

- Reducing the appearance of cellulite

- Aiding weight loss

- Increasing bone density and preventing bone mineral density loss

related to ageing

- Improving circulation and cardiovascular function

- Improving flexibility and range of motion

- Improving general wellbeing, fitness and daily life functioning in patient populations

‘We are looking forward to educating medical and healthcare professionals about the potential of exercise on Power Plate(R) machine to improve quality of life for a diverse range of people,’ says Mr Minter.”

15 Big Losers Gain Support Brentwood Health Club

“The Biggest Loser uses a little bit of peer pressure to encourage contestants to take off the weight and win prizes. Taking a cue from the hit reality television show, 15 ladies at the Athena Health Club and Day Spa are competing in their own "loser" style challenge in a 6-week program designed around fitness and nutrition. It worked for Yolonda Brooks Robinson, who dropped 22 pounds in the last cycle — the first time the program was instituted — winning her the top award in the weight-loss contest. But she's back again for round two because she says she still has a little way to go to reach her goal weight. ‘It's no surgery and no cheating. Instead it holds you to a personal level where you are responsible for your overall health,’ she said. Athena members in the program work out with exercise machines such as elliptical trainers, treadmills, weight machines and the like. They also participate in daily group fitness activities including Aqua Fit, kick boxing, indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates and the hot new fitness craze known as Zumba, a mixture of aerobics and dance. During this time, contestants also have one-on-one meetings with a registered nutritionist.”

A New Health Reform Strategy: Songs Could Lower Health Care Costs by Billions

I focus my songs on disease prevention because it’s better to stay well than to get well. And staying well can help Americans increase their life spans at the same time it reduces the nation’s total healthcare spending.’ ‘For example, obesity is an avoidable condition,’ Dr. Seibel continues. ‘Yet a study released this summer showed that obesity alone is responsible for over 9% of all U.S. health care spending. That’s why I have written songs like the ‘Phat Fat Rap,’ ‘Exercise,’ and ‘Don’t Be Afraid of a Squash’ to encourage exercise and eating habits that fight obesity....

TotalTrainer Launches Integrated Training and Nutrition Platform for the Club Fitness Industry

TotalTrainer LLC today introduced TotalTrainer, an on demand platform for the delivery of personalized fitness training and nutrition guidance, to help health clubs and gyms deliver optimal fitness results, maximize client satisfaction, and generate new revenues. Launched here today at the DEMOfall 09 conference, TotalTrainer addresses the two biggest requirements gyms and health clubs need to support their members in achieving their fitness goals: the need to provide dietary guidance, which accounts for approximately 80 percent of fitness results, and the need to provide cost-effective personalized training and nutrition services. Today, personal training costs an average of $600 a month, while the cost of a nutrition plan ranges from $300 to $800 a month. TotalTrainer makes integrated and personalized fitness training and nutrition support at a fraction of the cost, making it accessible to the average gym goer. At the heart of the TotalTrainer system is Nutri-Guru(TM), the system's virtual nutrition coach and artificial intelligence component that drives the TotalTrainer meal engine to dynamically generate virtually endless meal options that meet each user's specific preferences and diet parameters....

For A Healthy-Sized Baby, Stay Active In Pregnancy

..Given the bad effects associated with heavy babies, even though the study only showed a difference among women who are pregnant for the first time, health care workers ‘should promote regular exercise during pregnancy for the purpose of prevention,’ the authors conclude. Exercise could help prevent fetuses from growing too large by helping maintain the body's ability to keep blood sugar levels under control, the researchers note. High blood sugar and diabetes that develops temporarily during pregnancy are risk factors for having a very large baby. To date, Owe and her team note, there have been no gold standard trials to investigate the effects of regular exercise in pregnancy on the risk of having an excessively heavy infant. ‘There seems to be an urgent need’ for them, they conclude.”...

£1 Million Gym Re-Furb For Health Clu

Fitness fans can take advantage of top-of-the-range equipment thanks to a £1 million refurbishment of a well-known Bracknell sports club. The Royal County of Berkshire Health and Racquets Club, in Nine Mile Ride, has re-opened its new gym, which is now full of the latest fitness equipment. As well as the gym, the club is in the process of refurbishing its changing rooms, which should be finished in the next few weeks. The new equipment includes members being able to save their fitness programme on USB sticks so they can take it home, a new aerobics studio which is running 105 new classes and “human sports” where members can use elastic equipment to do exercises using their own body weight. ....

New iPod Nano, Equipped With Video Camera, Might Not Be Welcome At Twin Cities Gyms

“When Brandon Layland works out at Life Time Fitness in Wayzata, he often carries his iPod Nano. Like many other gym rats, he regards his ultracompact Apple music player as essential workout gear. But Layland, 18, might have a problem if he upgraded to the newest Nano, recently released with a video camera. The video-taking capability has forced Chanhassen-based Life Time to restrict Nano use in its 84 facilities in 19 states for privacy-related reasons. Other fitness centers in Minnesota are considering similar Nano restrictions. Compact camera-equipped devices, such as cell phones, have been gadgets non grata at health clubs for years. The Life Time chain, for instance, has long forbidden their use in locker rooms because of the potential for compromising photos or video footage to be distributed online. And with the new Nano fitting this category, its use in locker rooms for any reason is forbidden, said spokesman Jason Thunstrom. Discerning whether someone is taking video or just queuing up a music mix can be difficult. The new Nano's use for music listening would be tolerated in workout areas, Thunstrom added, but shooting videos with it while exercising is a no-no. As other Twin Cities health clubs learn about the Nano's video features, they are beginning to formulate rules regarding its use."....

Zoom Media & ClubCom Bring UK Ad Sales in House and Names Jill Lee UK Ad Sales Director

‘The growing importance of health and wellness as a lifestyle coupled with the erosion of traditional media’s effectiveness creates an incredible opportunity for Zoom Media, with its unparalleled digital health and fitness network,’ said Lee. ‘Marketers who are not tapping into the consumer’s interest in fitness as a way of life, are missing an opportunity to connect with audiences in meaningful ways.’...

Courteney Cox Arquette Shaped Up for Her New Role With Power Plate(R) Equipment

“In her new show actress Courteney Cox Arquette plays a 40-year-old, newly divorced mom who is back in the dating game. In preparation for the role, Cox Arquette got into incredible shape by exercising on the revolutionary Power Plate(R) machine. ‘The Power Plate(R) machine has dramatically changed my workout. I know that every muscle in my body is being ignited in ways that you can't do with traditional training. Its uses are limitless. I love this machine!’ says Cox Arquette. Power Plate(R) technology provides one of the most efficient and dynamic total-body workouts in less than 30 minutes utilizing scientifically-proven Advanced Vibration Technology(TM) that triggers involuntary muscle reactions 25-50 times per second while you exercise. The result is a high-intensity exercise that increases strength, improves muscle tone and balance and helps reduce body fat. A recent study found that Power Plate(R) exercise helped participants lose more weight than traditional exercise. ‘My clients, like Courteney Cox Arquette, prefer Power Plate(R) machines to tone, tighten and get red-carpet ready in less time,’ says celebrity trainer Michelle Lovitt. ‘If your schedule doesn't always allow time for traditional exercise, Power Plate(R) Acceleration Training(TM) is great because you get a full, targeted workout in as little as three 30-minute sessions a week, and still see amazing results.’”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Health Care Costs Driven Significantly Higher By Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors

“Risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated blood lipid levels, can increase a person's healthcare costs nearly 1.6-fold, or about $2,000 per year. For each additional risk factor those costs rise an average of 24%, according to an illuminating article in a recent issue of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. A two-year study that compared annual healthcare costs for people with and without diabetes found both higher healthcare utilization a...

ILAM White Flag Award and IHRSA European Congress featured on RTE 1 Irish Prime Time National TV with Sportsco [video]

It starts at about minute 6:40, story ends at 12:00

Fitness First Helping People Get Fit For 10 Years In Clapham

“Fitness First Clapham is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month and boasts some of the most committed members in the UK. As well as the Fitness First gym in Clapham there are over 50 gyms in London that are available to members from Fitness First. ‘Many members have been coming to the club for years and we're thrilled so many people have made fitness a key part of their lifestyle,’ said general manager Freddy Hassan. Members at Fitness First Clapham are encouraged to stay motivated and keep their fitness levels on track with a special recognition programme called 'New You Achievement Awards'. This annual ceremony takes...

Round-The-Clock Fund-Raiser [UK]

“Members of a Congresbury health club ran around the clock to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer. Cadbury House Hotel, Health Club and Spa encouraged gym users to pound the treadmill for 30 minutes each and between them they covered a distance of approximately 180 miles. The event was part of Bristol Rotarians' Run for the Future, an annual 5km run across the Downs in Bristol,which raises money for the Bristol Urological Institute Prostate Cancer Charity Appeal. Money raised during the last three years is funding joint research between the Bristol Urological Institute at Southmead Hospital and the University of the West of England into earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Club Manager, Jason Eaton, said: ‘Everyone was really up for the challenge and it focuses attention on a really worthwhile cause.’ ‘As a gym we naturally encourage all our male members to get fit and look after themselves, but prostate cancer is one of those subjects men won't readily talk about. ‘If this challenge helps save just one life by raising awareness, then it's been worth the effort.’”

Boomers: Gen Xcessive

“Boomeritis. Coined by a local orthopedic surgeon, the informal term describes the swelling number of boomers - the oldest are 63 this year - plagued by twinges and pangs and even serious injuries that have not been seen at these levels before. This is the generation, 78 million strong, intent on staying forever young. Not everyone does Botox. Many in the over-45 crowd stay fit through rigorous exercise that can wear the kids out even as the costs to those seasoned bodies mount. Sore shoulders, inflamed tendons, arthritic knees. ‘Baby boomers are the first generation in droves trying to stay active in an aging frame.’ Yet over the last century, life expectancy has risen more than 50 percent...

Taunton Health Club Backs Polar Explorer [UK]

“The Taunton branch of the national chain of Spirit Health Clubs is backing polar adventurer Justin Miles in his next expedition. Justin Miles, who has recently moved to Wellington with fiance Justine Strawbridge, along with friend and fellow adventurer John Wilton-Davies will be attempting to be the first people to walk totally unsupported from the ice edge of the Antarctic continent to the South Pole and back. The mammoth 2,200km trek will also be the longest unsupported trek in polar history. When Mark Harrison, manager at the Taunton club, heard of Justin's plans he contacted him to find out more about his training. As they talked, Mark hit upon the idea that Spirit could sponsor Justin by offering him use of their facilities. "It's fantastic to see a local guy attempting something of this magnitude" said Mark ‘we want to help Justin succeed, so offering him use of the facilities here is the least we could do.’ ‘To get to the Antarctic and fail because of improper training would be foolish and irresposible’, Justin added. ‘Training hard and properly is important, and using the facilities at Spirit Taunton...

More Active Kids Have Easier Time Falling Asleep

“If you're one of those parents who likes to let their kids run themselves ragged so they fall asleep more easily, you may be onto something: the more activity kids get, the faster they'll drop off to sleep, according to a new study. The study, in 591 seven-year-olds, also found that kids who spent more time in sedentary activities took longer to actually fall asleep after they went to bed. Up to one in six parents of school-aged children report that their child has difficulty falling asleep, Dr. Ed A. Mitchell of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health by email. The study's findings, he said, emphasize that physical activity isn't only important for fitness, heart health, and weight control, but also for good sleep...

Bills Workout Program Announced

“The Buffalo Bills announced today a new partnership with Buffalo Athletic Club/Rochester Athletic Club. Buffalo Athletic Club/Rochester Athletic Club will be the Official Fitness Partner of the Buffalo Bills and the exclusive provider of the Buffalo Bills Workout Program. As part of the new agreement, Buffalo Athletic Club/Rochester Athletic Club hosted a Buffalo Bills Workout Program kickoff event for over 100 Buffalo Athletic Club/ Rochester Athletic Club trainers in the Buffalo Bills Field House at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills running back Fred Jackson was in attendance to show his support and speak about the program. The special workout program is officially endorsed by John Allaire, Buffalo Bills head strength and conditioning coach, who gave a brief presentation and explained the workout program in detail. The program launch coincides with the Bills first home game...

Fitness Guru Lalanne, 95, Still Inspiring

“Jack LaLanne will turn 95 years old on Saturday. According to his Web site, the ‘Godfather of Fitness’ is still going strong, performing 1½ hours of weight lifting and a half-hour swim every day. LaLanne has been a well-known celebrity since 1951, when his popular television fitness show began running for an unprecedented 34 years. He even has a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in the legendary sidewalk outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater. LaLanne advocated for getting regular exercise and eating healthy, natural foods long before it was trendy. Additionally, he designed a number of fitness machines and devices that we now take for granted. He created the first Smith cage, a machine that is found in almost every health club in the country. LaLanne also designed the...

New Way To Calculate Body's 'Maximum Weight Limit'

“George Fernandez, a professor of applied statistics and director of the Center for Research Design and Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno, set out to give people a simpler way of calculating their healthy weight, and one that wouldn't require charts or online calculators. In addition, he doesn't think the ‘range’ approach sticks in individuals' minds. ‘We need a Maximum Weight Limit, or MWL,’ he said, ‘one number that we know we can't go over, just like a speed limit.’ So, using SAS software and statistical procedures, he discovered a much simpler way of calculating a Maximum Weight Limit, which closely corresponds to weight recommendations listed on BMI charts. But, you don't need to calculate or know your BMI, nor do you need a chart or online calculator to figure out your Maximum Weight Limit. Fernandez will present his Maximum Weight...

Soda Tax: It’s The Real Thing

“As calls mount for soda to be taxed because of its link to the nation’s obesity epidemic, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent tried this week to tar the tax as socialist, taking a page from the Republicans single-word playbook against health care reform, bailouts, and even President Obama’s back-to-school speeches. Kent told the Rotary Club of Atlanta that proposals to tax sugary drinks and trash food were ‘outrageous’ because ‘I’ve never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink.’ Kent added, ‘If it worked, the Soviet Union would still be around.’ Kent is clearly worried because Obama, in the current issue of Men’s Health, said soda taxes should be explored. ‘There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda,’ Obama said. ‘And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is a high correlation...

UCLA Study Directly Links Soda With Obesity

“Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California” was conducted in 2005 by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. It involved 4,000 adolescents and 43,000 adults. Among the key findings of the study are: 10.7 million Californians drink one soda or sugar-sweetened beverage a day; 41 percent of California children, 62 percent of adolescents and 24 percent of...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weight Loss Is Good For The Kidneys

“Losing weight may preserve kidney function in obese people with kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate that taking off the pounds could be an important step kidney disease patients can take to protect their health. More than a third of US adults are either obese or overweight. Weight loss can improve a number of health problems; for example, it can improve control of diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce the effects of heart disease. To see if losing weight might also have beneficial effects on the kidneys, Sankar Navaneethan, MD, (Cleveland Clinic), and his colleagues analyzed the studies that examined the effects of weight loss interventions in obese kidney disease patients. The investigators searched the medical literature and identified data from thirteen relevant studies that assessed the impact of diet, exercise, and surgical procedures on kidney function. The analysis revealed that weight loss attained through diet and exercise reduces proteinuria (excess excretion of protein in the urine a hallmark of kidney damage) and may prevent additional decline in kidney function in obese patients with kidney disease. Studies also showed that surgical interventions normalize the filtration rate of the kidneys in obese patients with high filtration rates (a risk factor for the development of kidney disease). While the findings imply that weight reduction may prevent the progression of kidney disease in obese kidney disease patients, the authors noted that there were only a small number of studies available for analysis and additional high-quality long-term studies on this topic are needed.”

Better Business Bureau: 10 Tips To Find A Club That Fits You

“Who doesn't want to lose weight and get fit? If your plans include joining a health club, the options may be overwhelming -- everything from specialized high-tech weight-training facilities to YMCA all-purpose gyms. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota has 10 tips to help you select a fitness facility that best meets your needs. 1. Determine your fitness goals. What are your fitness goals (build endurance, increase strength, become a better tennis player?) and how will you accomplish them (swimming, weight-training, yoga?). If you have a serious health condition, consult with a medical professional when setting your fitness goals. 2. Consider your budget. What monthly amount can you comfortably devote to physical fitness? 3. Shop around. Ask friends and coworkers to recommend facilities and pick three that appear to align with your fitness goals and budget. 4. Check out the facilities. Visit each club on a day and time that you plan to use it to see how crowded it is. Is it conveniently located? Do you like the equipment, classes, amenities (child care, personal trainers) and hours of operation? Are you comfortable with the atmosphere and clientele? Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, work-out area and locker room, as well as staff member availability. 5. Talk to members. Are they satisfied? Have they experienced any problems? 6. Interview staff. Are staff members friendly and helpful? Ask about their qualifications, certification and education. 7. Review the contract. Walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign on the spot. In fact, take a sample contract home to read it thoroughly. Does it list all services and facilities and the hours of operation? Is everything that the salesperson promised in the contract? What is included in the monthly fee and what's extra? What's the total cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges? 8. Membership details. How long is the membership term? Can you go month-to-month? Some facilities give customers several days to reconsider after signing the contract; if so, get it in writing. 9. Cancellation policy. What are your cancellation rights if you move away, are injured, or the club closes? Will the unused portion of your membership be refunded? Those details should be in the contract. 10. Check licenses. Find out if the club meets state bonding and licensing requirements. Check with the BBB for a report on the facility before making a purchasing decision.”

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Partnership Between Usda, Nfl, And Dairy Farmers For National Nutrition And Fitness Campaign

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture will work with the National Football League (NFL) and the nation's dairy farmers to promote good nutrition and fitness in the nation's schools. The collaboration will help support President Obama's effort to promote good nutrition and physical fitness for America's children. ‘Childhood obesity is a very serious issue that endangers the long-term health and welfare of our nation's youngsters,’ said Vilsack. ‘To reverse this dangerous trend and give our kids the opportunity to eat smarter, exercise more and lessen their risk of disease, both the public and private sectors will have to work together to marshal their combined expertise and resources.’ Vilsack met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Thomas Gallagher, chief executive of Dairy Management, Inc., which runs the National Dairy Research and Promotion Program. The NFL and DMI are launching Fuel Up to Play 60, an innovative nutrition and fitness program based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, in some 60,000 schools this fall. The social marketing program empowers students to assume leadership in being more active and eating more healthy foods. The campaign will inspire kids to ‘fuel up’ with the nutrient-rich foods they often lack—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low- or no-fat dairy products—and ‘get up and play’ with 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Student teams will evaluate their school's ‘wellness’ and choose the healthy eating and physical activity programs on which the school will focus.”!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/09/0454.xml

Fighting Loss Of Muscle Function In Obesity

“Experts at The University of Nottingham are working on ground-breaking research to determine, for the first time, precisely what damage obesity can inflict on the muscles in our body. It is hoped their research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), will lead to more effective treatment strategies for the obese to minimise muscle complications. Professor Paul Greenhaff in the School of Biomedical Sciences along with Professor Michael Rennie in the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health has been awarded nearly £600,000 to carry out the research. Professor Greenhaff said: ‘This work is essential because it will further our understanding of the health consequences of obesity which is all the more important given the purported obesity epidemic threatening to face the western world in future years.’”

Obama, Baucus Pitch Healthcare Reform Plan

“President Barack Obama pitched his U.S. healthcare reforms to college students on Thursday as Senator Max Baucus launched a tough sales job after his highly anticipated plan drew heavy grumbling from fellow Democrats and no support from Republicans. Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, hopes for broad backing from Senate Democrats for his $856 billion 10-year proposal to rein in healthcare costs and reshape the way Americans get insurance coverage. Obama, pushing his top domestic priority with frequent public and media appearances, fired up enthusiasm for his overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry at a rally at the University of Maryland near Washington. ‘We are closer to reform than we have ever been but this is the hard part,’ he declared. Students were a key base in his presidential campaign last year and are an important target of his healthcare and economic policies. Obama said he would ‘seek common ground’ and his door was always open to negotiate with Republicans but that he would not waste time with those trying to kill his healthcare overhaul. ‘I never said change would be easy,’ he told the cheering crowd of 15,000 people packed into a college basketball stadium. ‘Change is hard. It has always been hard. Civil rights was hard. Getting women the right to vote was hard.’ Obama's overhaul has been besieged by critics and slowed by intense political battles in Congress, with the insurance and healthcare industries lobbying hard against parts of the plan. Opinion polls show Americans are also divided over the president's moves, which are designed to rein in costs, improve care, regulate insurers and expand coverage to many of the 46 million people in the United States who now have none. Advocates of a healthcare reform hoped the long-awaited Baucus plan could break the stalemate in Congress and serve as a framework for a compromise. But the proposal, one of five healthcare bills pending in Congress, drew a tepid response from Democrats after its release on Wednesday. Many doubted it would create enough competition in the insurance market to lower costs make cover more affordable for lower- and middle-class Americans. After months of closed-door negotiations by three Republicans and three Democrats on his panel, the Baucus plan drew no Republican support and was sharply criticized by party leaders as a costly, big-government program. The Baucus bill would create state-based exchanges where individuals and small businesses shop for insurance. But instead of a government-run public option favored by liberals to create competition in the insurance market, it calls for the creation of non-profit cooperatives. The Baucus proposal is the only pending congressional bill that does not have the public insurance option. All three bills passed by committees in the House of Representatives include a government-run plan. ‘I fully support the public option. The public option will be in the bill that passes the House of Representatives,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The legislation will be considered by the Senate Finance Committee next week and the finished product will be merged with a bill passed by the Senate Health Committee for action by the full chamber, probably in October.”

HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Cornerstone Funding of the $650 Million Recovery Act Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative

“Creating ways for healthful lifestyle habits to be the natural first choice for Americans is the goal of a $650 million initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, decrease obesity, and decrease smoking in U.S. communities. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a funding opportunity for communities and tribes to apply for $373 million in cooperative agreements for the comprehensive public health initiative, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, to be led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ‘This initiative will make disease prevention and health promotion top priorities in states and communities across the country,’ Secretary Sebelius said. ‘Preventing disease is vital as a strategy to improve our nation`s health and reduce health care costs.’ Communities Putting Prevention to Work will change systems and environments-for example, improving access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity-and putting into place policies, such as clean-indoor-air laws, that will promote the health of populations. Funded entities will have two years to complete their work. The $373 million in cooperative agreements will be awarded to communities through a competitive selection process. The cooperative agreements will support evidence-based prevention strategies foryouth and adults and will promote partnerships across communities and sectors. The remainder of the funds for this initiative will be made available in the coming weeks to states, territories, and organizations to support, extend and evaluate the reach and impact of the community projects. Funded projects will emphasize high-impact, broad-reaching policy, environmental, and systems changes in schools (K-12) and communities. For example, communities will work to make high-fat snack foods and sugar-sweetened beverages less available in schools and other community sites and to use media to promote healthy choices. In addition, funded communities will be encouraged to provide quality physical education in the nation`s schools and enact comprehensive smoking bans.”

Trust for America's Health Applauds HHS Announcement of Prevention and Wellness Fund of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

“Trust for America's Health (TFAH) applauds today's announcement of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) Prevention and Wellness Fund by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The landmark $650 million Communities Putting Preventionto Work initiative will provide funds for communities around the country and to every state to institute or expand innovative, proven disease prevention programs that address physical activity, nutrition, obesity, and tobacco use. ‘This represents one of the greatest advances for prevention and wellness this country has seen in decades,’ said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of TFAH. ‘We know that investing in prevention can have a big payoff. The Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative will help Americans avoid needless suffering, significantly reduce health care costs, and contribute to a healthier, more productive workforce.’ ‘With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese and one in five Americans still smoking, this initiative is tackling two of the biggest health crises in the United States head on. This strategic investment will reduce rates of preventable diseases and give millions of Americans the opportunity to live healthier, higher quality lives. Evidence-based community prevention programs have shown success in improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and preventing tobacco use by making healthy choices easier choices for Americans,’ Levi stated. ‘The ARRA Prevention and Wellness Fund is an important down payment toward improving health in America. Health care reform must take this down payment and move it forward, to allow hundreds of additional communities around the country to benefit from these programs. Real health reform must start with prevention in order to be successful. The future health and wealth of our country demands we improve the health of Americans, not just how we pay for our care,’ Levi continued.”

Gold's Gym Celebrates Grand Opening In Old Bridge

“The new Gold's Gym at the Shoppes at Old Bridge on Route 9 north celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 12 with incentives, fitness demonstrations, a live broadcast by The Breeze 107, hors d'ourves and a fountain flowing with sangria. Anchoring shops such as Banana Republic, The Gap and Panera Bread, The Gold's in Old Bridge offers a large free-weight section, strength machines, state-of-the cardio machines with individual video screens, group exercise, pilates/yoga and spinning studios, cardio theater, child care, free towel service, and a well-equipped functional gym. Considered a "playground for grownups,'' the functional gym enhances total fitness by pitting one's own body weight against a variety of apparatus, including ropes, pulleys, medicine balls, resistance bands and steps. ‘This is the gym of the future,' said owner Mark Steinfield, who also has Gold's locations in Long Branch, Point Pleasant Beach and Howell. ‘Many gyms are more affordable, but you get what you pay for. We concentrate on service.'”

Color-Coded Chart Improves Parents' Understanding Of Body Mass Index (BMI)

In the study, published in the September/October 2009 issue of journal Academic Pediatrics, a sample of 163 parents of children seen at pediatric clinics at UNC and Vanderbilt University were tested to assess their understanding of BMI, their health literacy and their math abilities. ‘Childhood obesity is an American epidemic that bears enormous health and economic costs to everyone,’ says Perrin, also a Research Fellow at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. ‘Health professionals need more effective ways of communicating our messages to parents if we want to stem this tide. We have to keep trying to help people understand the concerns their children face now and in the future.’ The BMI portion of the test included some questions that parents were asked to answer using a standard BMI chart and other questions in which they were asked to use a color-coded BMI chart. While the standard chart expresses BMI only in terms of percentiles and their ranges (for example, it shows that a 6-year-old boy with a BMI of 20 falls above the 95th percentile for weight), the color-coded chart uses familiar stop light colors. Green indicates the healthiest zone for BMI, yellow indicates more risk, and red indicates unhealthy BMI zones. Parents were more than four times as likely to answer the same questions correctly when using color-coded BMI charts than when using standard charts. The color-coded charts were most helpful to parents with the lowest math abilities (those at the kindergarten through 5th grade level). In this group correct answers increased from 51 percent to 81 percent when they used color-coded charts. The study concluded that parents consistently performed better with color-coded charts than standard BMI charts, with those of lowest math skills reaping the largest benefit. ‘This study shows the value of simplified communication tools. It's important that parents - all parents - understand what their doctors are telling them. It's one step in a long road to preventing obesity, but parents often don't know when their children are overweight or gaining weight too fast, and they don't want a complicated chart,’ Perrin said. The color-coded chart used in the study was developed by UNC researchers in the Department of Pediatrics and at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.”

Macon Health Club To Stay Open

"The Medical Center of Central Georgia will continue to operate the historic Macon Health Club, hospital officials said Thursday. Late last year, the hospital had signaled its intent to close the club in spring. The hospital offered health club members an opportunity to take over the club or make a counter proposal, and the intervening months have been spent in negotiations. The club now operates at a $100,000 loss, which Medical Center officials say isn’t sustainable in tough economic times. The hospital already identified about $43 million in cost savings through a self-evaluation process last fall that resulted in more than 200 layoffs. ‘No one wanted to see another shuttered building downtown,’ said Tom Sands, chief professional services officer for the Medical Center. ‘But we agreed that we had to stop the bleeding. ... The good news for members and the community is the downtown fitness center will remain open because community groups came together and addressed the challenge in a collaborative way.’ The health club is more than a century old and offers steam rooms, workout facilities, classes and a swimming pool, among other amenities. Its operating expenses run about $270,000 a year, hospital officials have said. Sands said the key to the hospital’s decision to keep the club open was a commitment from the Macon Health Club Inc. board and NewTown Macon to help raise funds for capital improvements there."

Program Aimed At Healthy Weight Loss

“In an effort to help local residents find a program that truly works for them, Curves Health Club and Fitness Center in Huntsville is kicking their 30-Day Diet Program into high gear during the month of September in a celebration of Women’s Health and Fitness Day on Sept. 30. Participants of the new weigh-management plan attend one free class at the Curves Health Club in Huntsville where they learn ways to eat healthy and stay fit in order to lose weight and keep it off. The class, which will be held Sept. 27 from 2-5 p.m., is open to both members and non-members of the Curves Health Club and Fitness Center. Tish Humphrey, director of Curves in Huntsville, said the plan is designed to help women, men and children lose weight without losing muscle, which she said is one of the drawbacks to many other diets on the market. ‘In a conventional diet, you do lose muscle, so we really push exercise with our diet and our cycle to show you how to maintain muscle while you are dieting,’ Humphrey said. ‘We really talk about the healthy eating to keep the weight off, which is something I think any woman can relate to. We know how to lose weight, but we know how to gain it better.’ While the 30-Day Diet Plan is available every month, Humphrey said the national health club and fitness chain is promoting it especially hard this month in order to spread the word about the program’s success to those outside the Curves membership.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Les Mills: Changing Lives [video]

"LES MILLS® group fitness classes are creating life-changing fitness experiences every day around the world. Les Mills International has announced a milestone: its eight group-exercise-to-music programs are now available in 13,000 health clubs in more than 75 countries. An estimated six million people attend the classes every week. 'Behind our fast global growth are the inspiring stories of class members all over the globe who regularly email to tell us we've helped them change their lives,' says founder Phillip Mills. 'Their stories remind us what our core purpose is - to create healthier lives through fitness. It's extremely rewarding to be able to help people achieve that.' Pharmacy Technician Cassi Bussick from Reno, Nevada, knows this better than most. She decided to change her life when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Cassi had also hit almost 230 pounds on the scales. After her treatment was completed, a friend encouraged Cassi to try a LES MILLS BODYPUMP® class with her. 'That was definitely the wake-up call I needed in life. I went on to lose a total of 100 pounds. BODYPUMP® saved my life on many levels. I can honestly say that I love to work out.' Behind Cassi's inspiring story are literally millions of individual people who've achieved better lives through the LES MILLS® group-exercise-to-music programs. Her commitment to a healthier lifestyle continues today - she's now a qualified LES MILLS® instructor, teaching BODYPUMP®, BODYVIVE® and BODYFLOW® classes, and continues to inspire others to create positive change in their lives. Says Cassi: 'LES MILLS® programs truly are life-changing fitness experiences! I am living, breathing proof of that.'"

Proposal's Cost Savings Seem to Be Elusive

The latest health bill to emerge from the Senate contains a slew of measures designed to control costs. But it would be years before they kick in, and many may only put a dent in spending. Taming health spending is one of President Barack Obama's top objectives for the sweeping legislation, along with extending coverage to the nation's uninsured. A major source of that spending comes from the ballooning cost of the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly, which is cited by congressional budget crunchers as the biggest long-term contributor to the nation's deficit. A health-care reform sign is carried into a hearing room in Washington before Sen. Baucus unveiled new legislation. Mr. Obama and lawmakers have pledged to rework the system so it pays doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers for the quality of service they provide and reduces their incentives to perform unnecessary tests and procedures. But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, the architect of the bill unveiled Wednesday, conceded that under his legislation, such changes would be slow in coming. 'This is going to take time, the Montana Democrat told reporters Wednesday. 'It's not going to be accomplished overnight.' The bill would cut $409 billion from Medicare over the next decade, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. It also creates an independent Medicare Commission that would have new powers to eliminate wasteful spending in Medicare that would save about $23 billion over a decade. The Senate Finance Committee staff said the most-powerful mechanism in the bill to lower health spending was a 35% tax on insurance companies for particularly generous health plans they would offer, defined as those worth $8,000 a year for an individual and $21,000 a year for a family. Health policy experts said such plans encourage liberal use of health services, and that taxing them would discourage employers from offering them. The proposal would also limit the amount consumers could contribute to flexible spending accounts, which allow the use of tax-free money to pay for medical expenses such as prescriptions and doctor visits. That amount would be capped at $2,000 a year starting in 2013, and the restrictions on what would be covered could become tighter."

An Average Joe Breaks the 'Fat' Stigma

"Some people think it's a curse to look average. Joe Melin looks average and couldn't be happier about it. Melin, 32, is six-feet-three-inches tall, so he'll always stand out in a crowd, but it was the 365 pounds he had packed onto his frame that set him apart. When his body started to break down, he took action, and he's lost more than 100 pounds in the past year and a half. 'When you're overweight, you always have to get past that stigma first, that's a fact,' he says. 'After I hit the big 3-0, I started to feel, physically, things that weren't there before and it scared me,' he says. 'I was starting to have pain in my kidneys and stuff, plus, I was getting winded simply by going up stairs. I was going down a bad path.' Melin was also feeling that his life had lost momentum. 'There were things that I wanted to have at this point in my life that I didn't have - the standard wife and kids and white picket fence - and I realized that, where I was at, that was never going to come together.' Melin knew he couldn't make the change alone, so he asked a colleague at Citytv, where he is a writer and producer, to recommend a health club with good trainers. 'I needed someone to push me, to give me that level of accountability, plus, the financial investment would add another level of accountability.' In February 2008, he started working out three times a week with personal trainer Jayleen Gordey at Body By Bennett. He also sat down with a nutritionist to talk about food.By last December, he had lost about 85 pounds, but financial constraints prompted him to stop working with a trainer and he began to exercise on his own. By the time he reconnected with Gordey three months later, he was surprised by how much the gap had cost him. He had been able to maintain his weight loss by running on a treadmill about three times a week, but he'd stopped all strength training and had lost quite a bit of muscle strength. 'It magnified the point that structure is very necessary for me.' The last time he weighed himself, in early September, Melin tipped the scale at 253 pounds. He credits Gordey for being instrumental to this achievement. 'I've taken control of my life, and there's definitely a confidence that comes with that, that I didn't have before.' Everyone, including his mom, asks him when is he going to stop, meaning, 'What's his goal? What weight does he want to get down to?' Melin tells them he's already reached his goal: a lifestyle change which, unlike a diet, has no end. Melin vows he will never be fat again."

Raintree Athletic Club's Yoga Center -Yoga for People Living with Cancer

"Faith Brandt, Director of the Yoga Center at the Raintree Athletic Club has announced that a new class will be offered this October for the community, Yoga for People Living with Cancer. Ms Brandt joined Yoga Center in 2000 and is an active certified yoga instructor. 'I want to provide a place for people living with cancer to have the opportunity to learn how to center themselves through adaptive yoga. It is a practice in nurturing and grounding oneself', stated Ms. Brandt. Recently, Ms. Brandt observed the community's need for a yoga class that would assist those who are living with cancer. She found a common experience among people who were diagnosed with cancer and in their subsequent surgeries and therapies. 'I imagine people diagnosed with cancer might feel scared, upset, exhausted and ungrounded' stated Ms. Brandt. She established that an adaptive form of yoga can assist such individuals to find solace, in connecting with their breath and body which allows them to bring calm and quiet to their mind. Adaptive yoga enables students to feel more comfortable in their bodies and can encourage the student to discover a deeper connection to the peace within themselves. Each Yoga for People Living with Cancer class will be adapted to support individual physical needs and will focus on the strengths of each person. Students will need to be dressed in comfortable layered clothes and need to bring a water bottle and towel. It is recommended that students bring their own yoga mat due to lowered immunities from Chemotherapy, although community mats are available. Classes will begin Wednesday October 7th at 1:30pm 2:45pm at the Raintree Athletic Club Yoga Center and will meet the same time each Wednesday thereafter. Martin Johns the General Manager of the Raintree Athletic Club stated, 'We wish to be the leader in community based wellness programs, and to attract the non-traditional health club member by offering a comfortable and health oriented facility.'"

Planet Fitness Coming to Wilmington's Shipyard Center

"Planet Fitness will open a health club at Wilmington’s riverfront Shipyard Center in December. The New Hampshire-based health club has 281 locations nationwide, including a Newark club that opened earlier this year. The 18,500-square-foot fitness center will open in the former site of L.L. Bean. The addition of a health club is part of Shipyard Center developer Pettinaro Company’s strategy to reposition the center as a multi-use project, said Rob Stenta, leasing director with Pettinaro Company. The center was originally devised as an outlet mall."

Family Fun this Sunday

"A family fun day is taking place at David Lloyd’s Health Club in Great Sankey in aid of The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. The foundation will be celebrating ‘One World Peace Day’ on Sunday with lots of the attractions including a giant obstacle course, climbing wall, bungee trampolines, paint balling, a surf simulator, Thomas the Tank Engine inflatable for tots, children’s entertainers, crazy hog and barbecue, craft stands, a football competition and more. The fun day is sponsored by Warrington Borough Council, Halliwell Jones and David Lloyd Health Club. Entry is free."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chasing Kids Not The Workout It Seems - Many Moms Aren’t As Active As They Think, Research Finds

“Busy moms who chase after young children may feel like they are run ragged by the end of the day. But unless they’ve managed to squeeze in an actual workout, they may not have engaged in as much physical activity as they think. In a study of 58 women with children under age 6, only about a third of the mothers got an average of 30 minutes or more a day of moderate or greater intensity physical activity. And yet overall this group of women, most of whom also worked outside the home, believed they were getting upwards of an hour of activity daily. ‘There was this ongoing theme of the women reporting more activity than they actually were getting,’ says study author Kelli O'Neil, a personal trainer who is on the exercise science faculty at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Federal physical activity guidelines released last year recommend that adults get at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous activity. The guidelines also recommend activities to strengthen all major muscle groups at least two days a week. In the study, the women wore a device to monitor their physical activity for a week. They also completed a questionnaire about their exercise involvement. Much to the surprise of many participants, results showed that running after kids didn’t account for as much physical activity as the women thought. ‘The most physical activity actually came from sports and exercise,’ says O’Neil, who completed the research while studying at the University of Iowa. She presented it at a meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. ‘The women who are meeting physical activity guidelines report higher levels of sports and exercise,” she says, ‘and those are planned behaviors.’ Gyms that offer child care are a plus, provided the children go for it. Otherwise, moms — and dads, too — who like to exercise at a health club may need to get creative, exercising in the early mornings or evenings when a partner or someone else can watch the kids, or during lunch hour at work.”

The Sickness Crisis: America Would Save Over $700 Billion Annually Through Prevention and Health Promotion

"According to every major health organization, many costly and disabling conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic infectious diseases are linked by common preventable risk factors -- smoking, poor dietary habits, physical inactivity and poor hygiene. Yet, prevention and health promotion are seldom, if ever, factored into the fractious debate about overhauling our health care system. The system is set-up to detect disease and treat acute illness, not to promote health, well-being and prevention. ‘America will never win the battle over health care costs if it doesn't address the sickness crisis in this country,’ says Dr. David Ostreicher, a leading public health professional and author of a new book, ‘Brush Your Teeth! And Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy.’ Dr. David Ostreicher says, ‘There is no health care crisis, America has a sickness crisis. We are too sick with avoidable illnesses and our present policies, recommendations and legislation do nothing to address this.’ Dr. Ostreicher adds, ‘The answer is not to spend more money on health care. The only answer is to stop getting sick with the most common, avoidable illnesses.’ Lack of physical activity costs America over $75 billion a year, according to the World Health Organization, and excessive dietary salt costs America $20 billion, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Below is a chart illustrating the annual cost savings of $720 billion based on research from prominent national and global health organizations:” [see article].

Fitness Club Gets Pumped Up

“Robious Sports & Fitness Club will be getting a new owner and a million-dollar upgrade. Boxwood, a Richmond-based merchant bank, purchased the 20-year-old club from CJW Medical Center for an undisclosed price. CJW is a part of the Hospital Corporation of America. First Market Bank provided the financing. In 2009, Chesterfield County assessed the land and buildings — on Koger road behind the Chesterfield Towne Center mall — at $7.4 million. Boxwood is in the process of hiring a firm to design a master plan, which will call for $1 million to $1.5 million in renovations to the facility. The renovations ‘could include an expanded child-care area, additional indoor tennis courts, new carpet, and a whole new look and feel around the facility,’ said Patrick Galleher, a principal at Boxwood, adding that the work may start within a few months. ‘We may potentially put in a 24-hour area where members can come in and out with key-card access,’ Galleher said. The health club industry is highly competitive, but one of the few to see growth in the past few years around Richmond. Both Gold’s Gym and American Family Fitness have expanded locally, and several upstarts have also found new niches. (You can read about one new style of gyms here). Galleher said Robious S&F has several strong competitive advantages, including tennis and racquetball facilities, as well as training and summer camps and a swimming pool. The facility is spread over 11 acres and encompasses 70,000 square feet in Midlothian. ‘It’s a lot more family oriented, like a country club without the golf course,’ he said, adding that the club doesn’t compete with Gold’s and has a more convenient location than a new American Family Fitness gym. Memberships cost between $70 and $100 a month.”

Obesity Contributes To High Health Care Costs In State

“Oklahoma has the sixth-highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, according to a report by the Robert Wood Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. About 29.5 percent of Oklahomans are obese, and the rate of obese adults increased in the state for the third year in a row. ‘I don’t think anyone can point to one single answer of why we have health problems,’ said Judy Duncan, director of physical activity and nutrition for Strong and Healthy Oklahoma. ‘It’s a complex question that does not have one single answer. It took a long time for us to get here and change is not going to happen overnight.’ Medical costs associated with obesity are direct and indirect, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Direct medical costs include preventive, diagnostic and treatment services related to obesity. Indirect costs includes morbidity and mortality costs. Oklahoma spends an estimated $854 million annually on obesity-related health care, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Obesity can cause more than 30 chronic health conditions, said Landon Norton, nutrition coordinator for Strong and Healthy Oklahoma. ‘The two biggest things associated with obesity are the financial impact and the health impact,’ he said. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are major health conditions that can develop from obesity. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found obesity in early adulthood is associated with both a higher risk and earlier onset of pancreatic cancer. One possible solution to lessen obesity is to focus on wellness. Stanley Hupfeld, president and CEO of Integris Health, said the hospital offers a number of programs that contribute to wellness. ‘The thing about wellness is the payback for wellness is very far in the future,’ he said. ‘If you change your lifestyle today you won’t see the impact of cost for years to come. So you have to believe in wellness.’”

Shockwave Treatment May Not Be Best for Shoulder Pain
 - Comparison Study Finds Supervised Exercise Has Better Results

“Shockwave treatment is widely used to treat shoulder pain, even though a number of studies have suggested that it's not effective. To investigate, Norwegian researchers studied 104 men and women, aged 18 to 70, who'd had shoulder pain for at least three months. The study patients were randomly selected to receive either radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment (low to medium energy pulses delivered into the tissue) once a week for four to six weeks, or supervised exercise consisting of two 45-minute sessions a week for up to 12 weeks. All of the patients were told not to use any additional treatments except analgesics, including anti-inflammatory drugs. The participants were assessed at six, 12 and 18 weeks, and their pain and disability were measured using a recognized scoring index. After a period of 18 weeks, 64 percent of those in the exercise group and 36 percent of those in the shockwave therapy group had reduced pain and disability scores. More patients in the exercise group were able to return to work, while more patients in the shockwave group required additional treatment after 12 weeks. ‘Supervised exercises were more effective than radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment for short-term improvement in patients with subacromial shoulder pain,’ the Oslo-based researchers reported. The findings, published online Sept. 16 in BMJ, support results from previous trials that recommended exercise therapy, the study authors said.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exercise Can Extend Survival Even In 'Oldest Old’

“Even in the ‘oldest old,’ a little physical activity goes a long way, extending life by at least a few years for people in their mid- to late 80s, Israeli researchers found. The three-year survival rate was about three times higher for active 85-year-olds compared with those who were inactive. Getting less than four hours of exercise weekly was considered inactive; more than that was active. The results ‘clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old. Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start,’ the researchers wrote in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, which published the study.
They noted that exercise reaped benefits even for previously sedentary 85-year-olds; their three-year survival rate was double that of inactive 85-year-olds. Oldsters didn't have to be super-athletes to live longer; walking at least four hours weekly counted, even if it was just in 15-minute strolls a few times daily. ‘As little as four hours a week was as beneficial as more vigorous or prolonged activity,’ said study author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs, a geriatric specialist at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. Active octogenarians also reported less depression and loneliness and a greater ability to perform daily tasks. Similar benefits have been shown in people in their 60s and 70s, but there has been little research about exercise benefits in people in their 80s.”

24 Hour Fitness® Helps the Biggest Loser Contestants Reach Their Fitness Goals During Their “Second Chance” Journey

“Season eight of NBC’s popular unscripted reality series ‘The Biggest Loser’ will give contestants the support they need to achieve their fitness goals, and one player will win the $250,000 grand prize. With some high-tech help from the bodybugg® calorie management system, words of encouragement from an accomplished athlete, and an innovative group exercise routine, the contestants will have the tools and guidance to transform their lives through nutrition and exercise. ‘Setting fitness goals is the first step in the weight-loss journeys of the season eight ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants,’ said Tony Wells, chief marketing officer for 24 Hour Fitness. ...

LifeSpan TR4000i Treadmill Named Best Treadmill by Health Magazine

“The LifeSpan TR4000i treadmill was awarded Best Treadmill in Health magazine’s America’s Healthiest Fitness Buys for 2009. The LifeSpan TR4000i treadmill was rated #1 over all other treadmills. Treadmills were reviewed and judged by a panel led by Lynn Allen, consultant for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). Judges were impressed by the TR4000i’s innovative console, most notably its ability to save exercise data and transfer results to a personal online health and fitness management account to track progress. The Best Treadmill award praised the TR4000i’s USB feature which integrates with the Lifespan Fitness Club, an exclusive online health and fitness management solution that tracks physical activity and vital stats uploaded from a USB device or entered manually. A LifeSpan Fitness Club membership is included with each purchase of a TR4000i treadmill. Users access their accounts from the internet, which is like having a virtual personal trainer with you at all times. Users also use the LifeSpan Fitness Club to set goals, create a customized exercise plan, and compare progress to their goals.”