Monday, December 31, 2007

Accelerated Weight Loss

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I want lose weight fast! What should I do?

A Practically everyone wants a better body. The problem is that many people also seem willing to try just about anything in order to obtain it. In fact, well-intentioned consumers spend billions of dollars each year on an assortment of pills, potions and unusual gadgets that promise to help zap off the fat and keep them fit.

Unfortunately, most of these products only end up slimming down the wallets of shoppers willing to hand over their hard-earned cash to buy them.

Nobody understands what it really takes to turn your weight-loss dreams into reality better than internationally renowned fitness guru and best-selling author, Brad Schoenfeld. As owner and operator of the exclusive Personal Training Center for Women in Scarsdale, NY, Schoenfeld knows that there is no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to slimming down or shaping up. He has personally devised a revolutionary system of training designed to help his clients simultaneously shed body fat and increase muscle. However, Schoenfeld will be the first one to tell you that it takes hard work to accomplish these goals.

"It never ceases to amaze me how many women ignore exercise when they are trying to lose weight,” he tells eDiets. “Rest assured, if you don't exercise, you won't reshape your body. It's that simple. Only by combining exercise with a sensible nutritional program can you reap optimal benefits.”

Schoenfeld also stresses the importance of adding variety to your exercise routine. Since the human body adapts to repetitive stress, he explains that your muscles become immune to exercises that you perform over and over again.

"Variety is the spice of fitness," he says. “This is a motto I live by, and one that I’m constantly preaching in my books and seminars and to my private clients.”

To help you get in the best shape of your life, Schoenfeld has an important list of Dos and Don’ts to share. If you want to accelerate the weight-loss process, do the following: Do consume at least 1,200 calories a day.
When you consume less than 1,200 calories a day, Schoenfeld says your body develops a starvation response, which will slow down your metabolism. Actually, he believes 1,200 calories should be a bare minimum. Many women will need to consume even more than that

Do consume frequent, small meals throughout the day that are well-balanced.
Eating frequent, balanced meals can help you to avoid hunger and fatigue by keeping your blood sugar stable. If you go for long periods of time without food, he says you are more likely to end up binge eating.

“When you go without eating for more than a few hours, your body senses deprivation and shifts into starvation mode,” Schoenfeld warns. “The importance of frequent feedings is even more pronounced when you’re trying to lose weight.”

Do boost your metabolism by doing the following things:
Drinking green tea. According to Schoenfeld, green tea has caffeine and other compounds that can increase your body’s metabolism by up to 4 percent per day. You can either consume green tea in pill form or by brewing green tea leaves into a beverage. If you do consume green tea as a beverage, though, he advises refraining from cream and sugar.

Exercise beyond your comfort zone. When it comes to working out, he firmly believes that nothing is more important than intensity. Since the human body strives to maintain stability, he says it is essential to push your muscles beyond what they are used to lifting.

Consume healthy omega-3 fats. These important fats are found in coldwater fish (salmon, tuna, trout), flaxseed and walnuts. According to Schoenfeld, you will slow down your metabolism if you avoid them.

Schedule the occasional cheat day to keep your metabolism stoked and your cravings in check. Believe it or not, Schoenfeld is a firm believer in the “cheat day.” He believes that scheduling cheat days for yourself is a great way to keep from feeling deprived.

Now that you’ve learned the golden rules of accelerated weight loss, keep in mind that there are certain things that can also sabotage your efforts. If you are trying to lose weight quickly, don’t do the following:

Don’t avoid strength training.
Many women avoid strength training, because they are afraid that it will slow down their weight loss and bulk them up. However, Schoenfeld says weight training is actually the most important thing a woman can do to achieve a fit body. Though participating in aerobic exercises may help trim body fat, only strength training can help you develop muscle tone.

“Although any type of exercise can be beneficial to losing body fat, resistance training is by far the most important activity in the shapeover process,” he says.

Don’t go on a severely restricted calorie diet, or a nutritionally limited one.
Severely restricting calories or limiting your nutritional intake is very unhealthy and will ultimately make you more likely to regain any weight you do happen to lose. He also says that whether people realize it or not, eating healthy is an integral part of the weight-loss equation

“In addition to playing a role in whether you gain or lose body fat, what you eat also fuels exercise performance and promotes the development of lean muscle tissue,” he says. “If you don’t supply your body with the proper nutrients, you’ll seriously compromise your workouts and results will suffer.”

Don’t let your diet and exercise program end the day of the big event.
Schoenfeld says too many people just use dieting and fitness as a way to get in shape for a special event like a wedding or high school reunion. He stresses that your exercise regimen and healthy eating plan should be a part of your lifestyle -- not just a temporary fix.

The unfortunate thing with many people is that they don’t continue their exercise program after they reach a certain goal,” Schoenfeld says. “Fitness is a never-ending endeavor. You can look as fit at 70 as you did when you were 20.”

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Happy New Years!

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shortcuts to Fitness

Ask Glen!

Q.Glen, Those Fitness and Exercise Short Cuts, Do They Work?

A. Spending 60 minutes every day devoted to exercise strains more than just the muscles. Most people already feel that 24 hours is never enough to get everything done. Finding that kind of time is the leading excuse for not exercising. In response to time pressures, shorter routines have been touted to give you all the benefits with less time commitment and even less sweat. But do they work?

Let's start with the joint recommendation of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. A headline message of their new "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005" states that you should "engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, above your usual activity at home and at work, on most days of the week."

This means devoting a minimum of 210 minutes of exercise spread out over each week to help avoid putting on additional pounds. This amount of exercise also is likely to give you some health benefits. If you want to get fit or lose weight or if you have already lost weight and want to keep it off, 30 minutes per day won't be enough. You need to double this to an hour of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. This means about 6 hours per week.

It's easy to see why any exercise shortcut sells if it promises results similar to those of lengthier workouts.

Popular shortcut workouts

Books and videos explaining and demonstrating quick workouts have been around for years. The latest programs to enter the field are the tailored studio workouts with trade names like Curves and The Blitz.

Curves is for women only and promotes itself as a place where women can get fit in a friendly atmosphere by exercising only 90 minutes per week. The basic workout is 30 minutes per session, with 3 sessions per week. The exercise routines include aerobics, strength training, and flexibility. To keep exercise intensity and heart rate up, women are encouraged to move quickly from one exercise to the next.

The Blitz is a derivation of Curves modified to have greater appeal to men. To attract men with varied interests, founder Scott Smith designed the workout to include components of boxing and martial arts with resistance and aerobics. Participants move rapidly from station to station using hydraulic equipment that increases resistance automatically as you speed up your body movements. Each Blitz session lasts 20 minutes and should be done 3 times per week.

The shortest workouts have been promoted by Jorge Cruise in a series of books describing 8-minute workouts, such as 8 Minutes in the Morning for Extra-Easy Weight Loss.But Cruise readily admits that this is meant to be an extra 8 minutes of exercise per day to help you lose weight. It is not intended to be the only daily exercise. Other "8 Minute" books focus on short sessions of resistance training to build strength and muscle endurance.

One of the simplest short workouts is outlined in the book Quick Fit: The Complete 15-Minute No Sweat Workout by Richard Bradley. He has taken a standard aerobic and resistance workout and just shortened it to 15 minutes. The first 10 minutes are a brisk walk outside or on a treadmill followed by 4 minutes of strength training and then 1 minute of cool down and stretch. He recommends this routine be performed daily.

Slow and heavy strength training

Another time-saving approach to fitness suggests that once per week may be enough. In the book Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution by Adam Zickerman and Bill Schley, the authors suggest that lifting heavier weights in very slow motion, followed by 6 days of rest, puts less stress on the body while building lean muscle mass. With more lean muscle mass, you will burn more calories. Each repetition lasts 20 seconds, a 10-second lift followed by a steady 10-second movement in the opposite direction.

There is no evidence to support this approach compared with the more standard recommendation of at least 30 minutes of devoted exercise most days of the week.

Resistance training should be done with slow, mindful movements. Most people who lift weights or use resistance machines do perform the maneuvers much too quickly. However, we have tried this very slow and heavy technique, and 20 seconds seems an eternity. The usual recommendation for weight training is to lift quickly and then slow down as you bring the weight back to the starting position, aiming for a count of 5 seconds.

Do exercise shortcuts work?

Clearly any amount of exercise is better than none. In terms of health benefits and longevity, the intensity and duration of exercise do matter. Minimal physical activity does not improve longevity, although it does improve muscle tone and probably has some health benefits.

People who engage in moderately intense exercise that burns an extra 2,000 calories per week live an average of 2 years longer than comparable people who are sedentary. Even at high intensity, you can't burn much more than 15 calories per minute. Ninety minutes per week would only get you to 1,500 calories burned, but this still will be enough to keep off some pounds, decrease blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, and likely add high-quality time to your life.

Bottom line

Start with a program that is easiest for you and one that you are confident that you will maintain. If you are very sedentary, begin with minimal exertion. Work your way up to moderate intensity exercise, which means that you will notice a definite increase in your breathing and heart rate and you should break at least a light sweat.

If you choose one of the shortcuts, try to add a little extra, even if it just means 10 minutes of fast walking several times per week.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Breaking Your Bad Habits

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I want to eat healthy ! But eating junk food and unhealthy food is a habit!I can't change. How can I break a habit?

A. Habit, habit, habit! That's a word I hear an awful lot around these parts. Since we humans are creatures of habit, habit can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When it comes to creating a new healthy lifestyle and losing weight, habit becomes the enemy of change. As a matter of fact, it is old habits that keep most people stuck in the past. So let’s take a closer look at this ominous agent of resistance.

Let's begin with the basics. What is a habit? Technically speaking, behavioral psychology defines a habit as a link between a stimulus and a response. In other words, it is the mental connection that is made between something that happens (the stimulus) and your repetitive, automatic reaction to it (the response).

The repetition of this connection over time is how habits are formed -- they become entrenched in our lives and, thereby, effect the decisions that we make. In computer terminology, one might say that it's how we hardwire our thoughts and behavior into our brains.

For example, the stimulus may be the onset of stress. Stress just happens to be the "strongest emotional eating trigger, and the number one reason for weight-loss relapse," according to Dr. John Foreyt of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Stress comes from a variety of sources. Its introduction into your life may be due to a restricted diet, a disagreement with a spouse, a bad day at work or the simple tension that comes from being stuck in the house all day. For many people that I work with, the learned habitual emotional response to stress is eating.

Stress eating is very typical in overweight people. In psychology, learning to eat in response to stress is called classical conditioning. This occurs when you make the mental connection between a stimulus and a response for so long that, over time, it becomes unconscious repetitive behavior. As I mentioned above, this is how we hardwire our brains, and this is how habits are formed.

The most famous example of classical conditioning is that of Pavlov’s dogs. You may remember from basic psychology that, through conditioning, Ivan Pavlov linked feeding time with the sound of a bell and was able to eventually make his dogs salivate at the sound of the bell alone. When this kind of conditioning results in thoughtless, repetitive behavior, habit has taken hold.

To effectively interrupt and eventually eliminate a habit, you must weaken the bond that connects the stimulus to the response. This always begins with awareness. If you can isolate that one moment when the decision to eat is made, you can solve this problem

Those who struggle with weight control often react to food through learned, reflex responses that they have been unconsciously reinforced over time. The key to creating change for these people is to become more mindful and less mindless about the health choices they make. In reality, habits create mental resistance to change by concealing other options also available to you at the time. Because it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do one thing while your mind is telling you to do something else.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Happy Holidays!

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Slow and Steady is Best

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I I have been on a weight loss program for the past four weeks; today marks the 28th day. I exercise by walking and riding a bike for a total of 60 minutes-plus per day. The diet is low glycemic and balanced between protein, good carbs and the appropriate percentage of fats. My problem is for all the diet-sticking-to-it and the exercise I have lost only 6 pounds. That is good, but I thought I would experience a greater weight loss. What's your perception on this?

A. First of all, a big "Yes!" to you for your perseverance and for choosing a healthy avenue for change. You're definitely on the right track toward permanent weight loss, because slow, gradual weight loss is fat loss, not merely fluid loss that comes with radical diet plans. Losing too quickly often means regaining the weight quickly, too.

If you've lost 6 pounds in 28 days, that means you've created a calorie deficit of more than 500 per day. If you're replacing high-energy-density foods with low-calorie, high-fiber foods, then you're doing great. You're enjoying your food and maintaining your energy, enough to sustain 60 minutes of exercise daily.

Your weight is only one measure of your success on a weight-loss plan. By adopting new behaviors, well, that's the ultimate challenge. What's critical is how you think about "diet." The changes you're working on need to be maintained when you reach your weight goal. If you're looking at your new menu choices as temporary until you get to your weight goal, and if you return to what you normally ate (and lack of activity), then you'll soon gain the weight back.

Remember, even if your menu is healthy, if the portions are too large for your needs, you may not lose weight. To energize your weight loss, start building lean muscle with your fitness plan, using simple resistance exercises. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so as you lose fat stores and replace them with lean muscle, your body burns calories and you lose weight and can maintain the weight loss.

If you want to boost your weight loss, then boost your activity. Increase the intensity of your workout, and increase the duration. I notice you said that you accumulate 60 minutes of activity daily, and that's great. Try and boost your walking speed, and make it a power-walk by pumping your arms and breathing deeply as you stride Keep up the great work. Remember, you're not on a "diet," you're making permanent lifestyle changes. These positive changes mean you'll keep the weight off and improve your health, energy and mood. You're doing great things for your future.

Looking forward to seeing you online with Clean,Lean& Mean, and congratulations!

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Happy Holidays!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 10 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun


Q. Glen, I really do not like to exercise.How can I make it better?

A. There is something instilled in people who have found the secret to exercise... something that keeps them coming back for more. It has nothing to do with weights, cardio or stretching. You won't find it hidden under a bench press, climbing the Stairmaster or running on a track. The only place you will find it is inside yourself. It's called fun.
For many people exercise is a dreaded word. The only way they will ever break free from this notion is to change its meaning. The word exercise has been beefed up and disguised under sweatbands and health recommendations. But if you look closely, you will see exercise is nothing but a fancy word for playtime

Some people enjoy lifting weights. They like the feeling of letting go of their stresses by pumping their energy into lifting. While this is a great way to release the mind and let it escape for a while from everyday problems, it's not the only way. There are no limits to what you can do to get active. As long as you are having fun and moving, then you are accomplishing the true meaning of exercise.

Here are a few suggestions to help ignite your exercise fire so you can burn away all those previous misconceptions. The earth is your playground -- go have fun!

1. Dance
2. Play catch
3. Play tennis, soccer, football and every other sport in the book
4. Explore your surroundings… on foot
5. Ride a bike
6. Put music on, jump around and have fun while you do housework
7. Find a workout buddy
8. Join a league
9. Go people watching at the park or mall and literally shop 'til you drop
10. Jump rope

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Abdominal Fat and What to Do about It

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I am not that over weight but I do have some fat around my stomach, Is fat around the mid section dangerous?

A. Even if you’re not overweight, fat around the middle can be a health risk.

Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As women go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more than it does in men. Especially at menopause, extra pounds tend to park themselves around the midsection, as the ratio of fat to lean tissue shifts and fat storage begins favoring the upper body over the hips and thighs. Even women who don’t actually gain weight may still gain inches at the waist.

At one time, women might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of postmenopausal life. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal fat—particularly the type called visceral fat—is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

Abdominal fat locations

Generally speaking, abdominal fat is either visceral (surrounding the abdominal organs) or subcutaneous (lying between the skin and the abdominal wall). Fat located behind the abdominal cavity, called retroperitoneal fat, is generally counted as visceral fat. Several studies indicate that visceral fat is most strongly correlated with risk factors such as insulin resistance, which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes. Some research suggests that the deeper layers of subcutaneous fat may also be involved in insulin resistance (in men but not in women).

Where’s the fat?

Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where a woman’s fat ends up is influenced by several factors. Heredity is one: Scientists have identified a number of genes that help determine how many fat cells an individual develops and where these cells are stored (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 25, 2006). Hormones are also involved. At menopause, estrogen production decreases and the ratio of androgen (male hormones present in small amounts in women) to estrogen increases — a shift that’s been linked in some studies to increased abdominal fat after menopause. Some researchers suspect that the drop in estrogen levels at menopause is also linked to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes the accumulation of abdominal fat.

As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss. The most accurate measurement techniques, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, are expensive and not available for routine use. However, research using these imaging methods has shown that waist circumference reflects abdominal fat. It has largely superseded waist-to-hip ratio (waist size divided by hip size) as an indicator of fat distribution, because it is easier to measure and about as accurate. There’s also evidence that waist circumference is a better predictor of health problems than body mass index (BMI), which indicates only total body fat (as explained below).

Measuring up

Researchers have tried several ways of measuring the links between health risks and body weight or fat distribution:

Body mass index (BMI). A ratio of weight in kilograms to the square of height in meters, BMI helps identify people whose weight increases their risk for several conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. People with BMIs of 25–29.9 are considered overweight, and those with BMIs of 30 or over, obese. However, some researchers think BMI isn’t always a valid indication of obesity, because it gives misleading results in people who are very muscular or very tall. To calculate your BMI, go to or use this formula: Weight in pounds × 703 ÷ (height in inches).

Waist-to-hip ratio. To find your waist-to-hip ratio, divide your waist measurement at its narrowest point by your hip measurement at its widest point. As a marker of a person’s abdominal fat, this measure outperforms BMI. For women, the risk for heart disease and stroke begins to rise at a ratio of about 0.8.

Waist circumference. The simplest way to check for abdominal fat is to measure your waist. Run a tape measure around your torso at about the level of your navel. (Official guidelines determine the level at which waist circumference is measured by locating a bony landmark: the top of the right hipbone, or right iliac crest, where it intersects a line dropped vertically from the middle of the right armpit.) Breathe minimally, and make sure not to pull the tape measure so tight that it depresses the skin. In women with a BMI of 25–34.9, a waist circumference greater than 35 inches is considered high risk, although research suggests there is some extra health risk at any size greater than 33 inches. A study in the September 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in women, a large waist was correlated with diabetes risk — even when BMI was in the normal range (18.5–24.9). Since abdominal fat can be a problem despite a normal BMI, health assessments should include both BMI and waist circumference. The relationship between waist circumference and health risk varies by ethnic group. For example, in Asian women, a waist circumference above 31.5 inches is considered a health risk.

The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels. Subcutaneous fat located at the waist — the pinchable stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004 found that liposuction removal of subcutaneous fat (up to 23 pounds of it) in 15 obese women had no effect after three months on their measures of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, or response to insulin. Weight loss through diet and exercise, on the other hand, triggers many changes that have positive health effects.

Now for the good news

So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. In a study comparing sedentary adults with those exercising at different intensities, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that the non-exercisers experienced a nearly 9% gain in visceral fat after six months. Subjects who exercised the equivalent of walking or jogging 12 miles per week put on no visceral fat, and those who exercised the equivalent of jogging 20 miles per week lost both visceral and subcutaneous fat.

Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. A University of Pennsylvania study followed overweight or obese women, ages 24–44, for two years. Compared to participants who received only advice about exercise, those given an hour of weight training twice a week reduced their proportion of body fat by nearly 4% — and were more successful in keeping off visceral fat.

Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.

Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help. But drastically cutting calories is not a good diet strategy, because it can force the body into starvation mode, slowing metabolism and paradoxically causing it to store fat more efficiently later on.

Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For example, studies of the weight-loss medication sibutramine (Meridia), which was approved in 1997, have shown that the drug’s greatest effects are on visceral fat. Rimonabant (Acomplia) — not yet FDA-approved — is the first of a new class of drugs that block a receptor in the brain that increases appetite. Acomplia has been shown to modestly reduce the accumulation of fat at the waist.

Because levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, better known as DHEA, decline with age, many people believe that DHEA supplementation can reverse age-related changes, including increased abdominal fat. DHEA is converted in the body to testosterone and estrogen and regulates various functions. Some studies have linked DHEA to longevity in animals and people, and others have linked it to modest health benefits. But the results of a two-year randomized trial published in the October 19, 2006, New England Journal of Medicine showed that DHEA had no effect on aging markers, including body-composition measurements, in women and men ages 60 and over.

For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer

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Q. Glen, Does vitamin D help with prostate cancer?

A.( Yes )Vitamin D’s best-known role is to keep bones healthy by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium. Without enough vitamin D, the body can only absorb 10% to 15% of dietary calcium, but 30% to 40% absorption is the rule when vitamin reserves are normal.

Low levels of vitamin D lead to low bone calcium stores, increasing the risk of fractures. If vitamin D did nothing more than protect bones, it would still be essential. But researchers have begun to accumulate evidence that it may do much more. In fact, many of the body’s tissues contain vitamin D receptors, proteins that bind to vitamin D. In the intestines, the receptors capture vitamin D, enabling efficient calcium absorption. But similar receptors are also present in many other organs, from the prostate to the heart, blood vessels, muscles, and endocrine glands. And work in progress suggests that good things happen when vitamin D binds to these receptors. The main requirement is to have enough — but many Americans don’t.

Prostate cancer

Vitamin D has an important role in regulating cell growth. Laboratory experiments suggest that it helps prevent the unrestrained cell multiplication that characterizes cancer by reducing cell division, restricting tumor blood supply (angiogenesis), increasing the death of cancer cells (apoptosis), and limiting the spread of cancer cells (metastasis). Like many human tissues, the prostate has an abundant supply of vitamin D receptors. And, like some other tissues, it also contains enzymes that convert biologically inactive 25(OH)D into the active form of the vitamin, 1,25(OH)2D. These enzymes are much more active in normal prostate cells than in prostate cancer cells. Do the results from these experiments translate into clinically important effects? Possibly. Several lines of evidence are relevant.

First, the calcium connection. In 1998, Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-up Study of 47,781 men reported that a high consumption of calcium, either from food or supplements, was associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer; the risk was greatest in men taking more than 2,000 mg of calcium a day. Since then, other studies have confirmed a link between very high levels of dietary calcium and increased risk, but they have exonerated modest calcium consumption. The Harvard scientists speculate that the problem is not calcium itself but a relative lack of active vitamin D. That’s because high levels of calcium can reduce the body’s production of the active form of the vitamin.

Second, the sunlight connection. Prostate cancer is more common in North America and northern Europe than in the sunnier climates of Asia, Central America, or Africa. In the United States, the disease is more prevalent in African Americans than Caucasian Americans.

Of course, sunlight is just one of the many differences between these groups of men, and various genetic, dietary, lifestyle, and health care disparities could account for the prostate cancer gap. Indeed, early studies failed to demonstrate a clear association between blood levels of 25(OH)D and prostate cancer. But in 2005, a 13-year Harvard study of 2,399 men reported that those with high blood levels of both forms of vitamin D — 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D — enjoyed a 45% lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than those with below-average levels. And certain genetic variations in the vitamin D receptor appeared to enhance the protective effect of the vitamin.

Can vitamin D reduce your risk of prostate cancer? It’s too early to say — but it’s a possibility that requires additional study.

“D” right amount

Until 1997, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D was 200 IU for all adults. Faced with growing evidence of vitamin D deficiencies in Americans, the RDA for 51- to 70-year-olds was increased to 400 IU, and to 600 IU for people older than 70.

Is more better? New research suggests that it is, and many authorities are recommending 800 or even 1,000 IU a day. Remember, though, that you can get too much of a good thing. Like the other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin D is stored in the body’s adipose (fat) tissue. That means your body can mobilize its own reserves if your daily intake falters temporarily — but it also means that excessive doses of vitamin D can build up to toxic levels. At those extremes, vitamin D can raise blood calcium to levels that can cause grogginess, constipation, and even death. But it takes massive overdosing to produce toxicity, and doses up to 2,000 IU a day are considered safe.

Delivering D

Diet can help, but it’s very hard to approach the new goals with food alone. Fish and shellfish provide natural vitamin D (oily fish are best), but you’ll have to eat about 5 ounces of salmon, 7 ounces of halibut, 30 ounces of cod, or nearly two 8-ounce cans of tuna to get just 400 IU. An egg yolk will provide about 20 IU, but since it also contains nearly a day’s quota of cholesterol, you can’t very well use eggs to fill your tank with D. Other foods have even less D, which is why manufacturers fortify milk, some yogurt, some orange juice, and many cereals with vitamin D. In general, a serving will provide about 100 IU; that means drinking a quart of fortified milk to get 400 IU.

Most people require supplements to get the vitamin D they need. It’s the main benefit of a daily multivitamin; most provide 400 IU. Remember to read the labels carefully so you won’t get too little or too much. And although cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D, it has too much vitamin A for regular use.

Resource: Harvard Medical

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

End Your Weight Loss Struggles

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I always struggle with my diet! Do you have any suggestions?

A.We usually have the best of intentions when it comes to losing weight. But many of us find our efforts sabotaged by people, places, or things. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Plan: Eat a nutritious breakfast at home

Reality: Got up late, rushed out the door, stopped at the gourmet coffee shop for a latte and a bagel with cream cheese

Plan: Refuse second helpings or dessert at the holiday dinner

Reality: Aunt Bessie baked your favorite pie; it would feel rude not to have some

Plan: Walk three times a week

Reality: It's either too hot, rainy, cold, windy, snowy... whatever

Each of these situations contains a barrier that can be successfully eliminated using these strategies:

  • Be assertive
  • Ask for support
  • Set realistic goals
  • Plan

Know your barriers

You can probably list in a snap the reasons you want to lose weight: be healthier, look better, have more energy, feel better about yourself. But did you ever think about why you don't want to lost weight? There are usually some reasons for not wanting to diet or change our eating habits. Think a minute. Are any of these on your list?

  • It's too much effort.
  • I'll be hungry.
  • I'll have to give up my favorite foods.
  • It'll make me tired and irritable.
  • I'm not sure I'll be comfortable in my new body.

Come up with as many as you can and then use the following strategies to eliminate them.

Be assertive

When you're in an Aunt Bessie-like situation, don't allow others to make food decisions for you. Be honest, direct, and tactful about what you want and don't want to eat. Replace passive responses with assertive ones and take control. Here are some examples.

Scenario Passive Response Assertive Response
Aunt Bessie brings out a homemade pie she baked just for you "You shouldn't have. I guess one small piece won't hurt."

Afterwards: Feelings of guilt, anger
"Thank you. Your pies are delicious, but I'm full and will take a piece home."

Afterwards: Feeling in control; didn't hurt aunt's feelings
Your spouse wants to take you out for your favorite dessert "What a nice idea. I love their cakes."

Afterwards: Feeling lethargic, disappointed in yourself
"Let's take a walk around the lake instead. It's beautiful out."

Afterwards: Feeling happy, lighter, in control

Ask for support

People around you can make it difficult for you to lose weight. They often use high-calorie treats as a sign of affection. Time together always includes food. Family members, friends, and co-workers may not know how to react to you or help you. They may wonder if your relationship will change or if they have to match your self-control.

Let them know how they can support you. Be specific. Here are some examples:

  • Tell them you'd appreciate compliments for your efforts.
  • Ask for non-food treats such as flowers, tickets to a special event, or time together every time you've lost another 5 pounds.
  • Ask them to take a walk with you after dinner each day as exercise.
  • Request that snack foods be kept out of sight.

Above all, ask them not to make comments about what and how much you eat.

Set realistic goals

Successful weight loss involves setting realistic and specific goals. Too often people make statements such as "I want to lose weight." But it's too vague and doesn't include any concrete steps to achieve your goal. It's more helpful, for example, to say, "I will go food shopping weekly and purchase the healthy foods on my list. This will help me make healthier selections during the week." By working on another small step or goal each week, you will begin to achieve your overall goal of losing weight.

Plan, plan, plan

Many people feel overwhelmed with all the tasks involved when trying to change their eating habits. It seems like so much work! But if you break things down into small, manageable steps, you'll be more successful. Choose one behavior or goal a week to work on and ask yourself what you need to do to achieve it.

Goal Specific Steps
Buy healthier foods Learn to read labels and compare the calorie and fat contents and serving sizes of foods
Take time for breakfast at home Get up 15 minutes earlier; have quick, healthy foods on hand such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, whole-grain bread or cereal, fruit, nuts
Eat smaller portions Keep measuring cups and spoons handy to measure serving sizes and become more aware of how much you are eating

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Women's Exercise Myth's

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I am a Women, I want to lift weights. But will my muscle turn to fat if I stop lifting? and will I start to look like a man if I lift to much?

A.Weight training is an enormously beneficial activity for men and women alike. It burns fat, protects against osteoporosis, improves posture, prevents age-related loss of muscle, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar control. Unfortunately, many women are scared away from this extremely beneficial activity due to a number of highly misleading myths.

Ladies, today I'm going to blow these myths out of the water so you can go ahead and start lifting your way to a leaner, firmer, healthier, and sexier body!

Myth 1: Weight Training Makes Women Look Like Men

When women think of weight training, they typically conjure up images of professional female bodybuilders strutting masculine-looking physiques on a contest stage. Understandably, a lot of women simply do not consider bulging muscles, razor sharp definition, and a network of veins reminiscent of a road map as attractive and feminine traits.

Ladies, please know that if you do not intend to become a competitive bodybuilder, your chances of looking like this are somewhere between zilch and zero. Regardless of what bodybuilding magazines would have you believe, the vast majority of professional female bodybuilders are using anabolic steroids. In their natural state, even the most athletic women simply do not produce the amount of muscle-building testosterone that healthy males do. And without male-like levels of testosterone, it's nearly impossible to build a male-like body. Testosterone plays such a critical role in muscle growth that even men with deficient levels of testosterone have a hard time building large muscles!

The other thing to remember is that the pictures of female bodybuilders you see in magazines are typically taken at contest time. Since one of the judging criteria is muscle definition, these women have dieted down to extremely low body fat levels. By shedding so much fat, their physiques take on a hard, striated appearance that few women would consider feminine, even on someone with relatively small muscles.

However, this incredibly lean condition is maintained for only a very brief period. Bodybuilders slowly diet down to very low body fat percentages, strut their stuff on contest day, then promptly return to a more normal body fat level after the contest is over by increasing their caloric intake.

Most of the women I train and consult with do not want rock hard, super lean physiques. Nor do they want flabby physiques that bulge in all the wrong places. Instead, they want a body that resides somewhere between these two extremes: a body that looks firm, toned, shapely and healthy.

Guess what? The very best method for getting such a body is weight training. No other form of exercise can tone muscles so quickly. No other form of exercise allows you to shape and sculpt your body into a symmetrical masterpiece. For example, do you have wide hips, carrot-shaped thighs, and narrow shoulders? No problem -- start doing weight training exercises that emphasize your shoulders and lower thighs, and watch as your hips begin to "appear" smaller and smaller! Do you have a flat saggy butt that seems to have given up in the fight against gravity? Don't worry -- several weeks of dedicated squatting, lunging and dead lifting will quickly turn that problem around!

The bottom line is that your body contours can be dictated by either fat or muscle. Which would you rather have?

Myth 2: Muscle Turns Into Fat When You Stop Weight Training

This is the bit where even the most serious scientists can't help but burst out laughing. You simply cannot turn muscle into fat. It is as likely as transforming a block of cheese into a bar of gold. Muscle and fat are two entirely different entities with starkly different functions and structures. You simply cannot turn one into the other.

Despite the utter absurdity of this myth, it just refuses to die.

Here's what will happen if you stop weight training. First of all, your muscles will gradually lose their attractive toned look. An intelligently implemented weight training routine is a lifelong endeavor, not a quick fix. The benefits last only as long as you keep training.

Depending on your dietary habits, you may also gain some fat due to the reduced calorie expenditure that occurs after you stop training. Again, the answer is simple. Keep training and eating right! That way, you'll keep reaping the immense benefits that weight training has to offer.

Myth 3: Women Don't Need to Do Weights. They Get All the Benefits they Need from Walking, Jogging or Aerobic Classes

Aerobic activities cannot even begin to replicate the effects of weight training. As mentioned, weight training is unrivaled in its ability to build muscle and strength. Aerobic activities simply cannot provide the same level of progressively increasing resistance that tones and strengthens muscles. In fact, an excess of aerobic activity can cause loss of precious muscle tissue; compare the stringy, emaciated physique so typical of marathon runners with the far more attractive and athletic-looking physiques of sprinters.

Furthermore, most popular aerobic activities tend to work the lower body but place no meaningful stress on the upper body. Don't settle for an attractive set of legs but a flabby set of upper arms that jiggles in a most unflattering manner whenever you wear sleeveless outfits!

One very important benefit of weight training is its ability to fight off potentially debilitating loss of bone. Similar to muscle, bone loss worsens with age, and bone fractures are a common cause of debility and death in elderly citizens. Weight training has been shown to improve bone density in a manner that aerobic activities simply cannot hope to rival. The reason is that weight-bearing activities cause the tendons of your muscles to pull against bones during lifting. The body's response is to strengthen your bones, which enables them to more easily withstand future stresses of a similar nature. Further amplifying the bone-building advantage of weight training is the fact that most aerobic activities fail to impose any significant resistance upon the upper body.

An optimal fitness regimen includes both weight training and cardiovascular activities. Both have their unique benefits so don't neglect either of them!


Most women do not even begin to appreciate the huge advantages that weight training can bestow. An intelligently implemented weight routine is a key component in achieving a strong physique that radiates a healthy, toned appearance. So ladies, start hitting the gym and become the envy of all your friends who still believe the erroneous myths about women and weight training!

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Breathing Techniques Help Control Stress

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Do breathing techniques control stress

A. Breathe in deeply to a count of four and out again slowly. There. Don’t you feel calmer? Yes.........................

Most of us are familiar with the term “fight or flight,” also known as the stress response. It’s what the body does as it prepares to confront or avoid danger. The brain signals hormones that rouse us to action. Breathing quickens to take in more oxygen, the heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, muscles tighten, and senses sharpen.

When appropriately invoked, the stress response helps us rise to many challenges. It allows us to avoid an impending accident and help rescue people in a disaster. But trouble starts when this response is constantly provoked by less momentous, day-to-day events, such as money woes, traffic jams, job worries, or relationship problems.

Health problems are one result. A prime example is high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. The stress response also suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. Moreover, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. Often people try to relieve the pressure by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, or develop bad habits like smoking or overeating.

We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them. One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. It’s a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.

In meditation, for example, heartbeat and respiration slow, the body’s rate of oxygen consumption drops steeply, and blood lactate levels, which some researchers believe are linked to panic attacks, decline markedly. Blood pressure stabilizes in healthy people and drops in people with hypertension.

Breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response. The first step is learning to breathe deeply.

The benefits of deep breathing

When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises. It’s an inborn skill that often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap into one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms.

Yet for many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow “chest breathing” seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety.

Breathing engages the diaphragm, a strong sheet of muscle that divides the chest from the abdomen. As you breathe in, the diaphragm drops down, pulling your lungs with it and pressing against abdominal organs to make room for the lungs to expand as they fill with air. As you breathe out, the diaphragm presses back up against your lungs, helping to expel carbon dioxide.

Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm’s range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs — with its many small blood vessels that are crucial to carrying oxygen to cells — doesn’t get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious.

Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.

Practicing breath focus

Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations. It’s especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach.

First steps. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Start by noting the difference between breathing normally and breathing deeply. First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath: Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural). Alternate normal and deep breaths several times while paying attention to how you feel. Shallow breathing often feels tense and constricted, while deep breathing produces relaxation.

Practice deep breathing for several minutes. Put one hand on your stomach just below your navel. Feel the hand rise about an inch each time you inhale and fall back the same amount each time you exhale. Your chest will rise slightly in concert with your abdomen. Remember to relax your belly so that each inhalation expands it fully.

Breath focus in practice. Once you’ve taken the steps above, you can move on to regular practice of breath focus. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps a focus word or phrase that helps you relax. For example, imagine that the air you breathe in brings peace and calm into your body. As you breathe out, imagine that the air leaving your body carries tension and anxiety away with it. As you inhale, try repeating a phrase to yourself, such as “Breathe in peace and calm.” And as you exhale, say: “Breathe out tension and anxiety.” To start, 10 minutes of breath focus is a reasonable goal. Gradually increase your session to 20 minutes.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Exercise — No Pain, Big Gains

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Do I have to have pain in order to gain health benefits when I exercise?

A. Most men & women know that exercise is good for them. But if exercise means a trip to the gym or a 5-mile run, exercise becomes a "spectator sport" for too many . Vigorous exercise is great for guys who are so inclined, but for many others, there is a kinder, gentler way to exercise for health.

The aerobics doctrine

The scientific study of exercise blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s. Researchers used a tool called the maximum oxygen uptake test, which measures the amount of oxygen sucked up by the lungs, pumped by the heart, and delivered to the muscles during maximal exertion on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. Improvements in the maximum oxygen uptake — also called the VO2max — quickly became the gold standard for judging the benefits of exercise.

Research showed that the biggest improvements in the VO2max depend on exercise that is intense enough to raise the heart rate to 70% to 85% of its maximum heart rate for 20 to 60 minutes continuously, at least three times a week. The aerobics doctrine was born along with the no pain, no gain school of thought.

Aerobics – a hard sell

The aerobics doctrine gained acceptance just as Olympic champion Frank Shorter and marathoner Bill Rodgers proved that Americans could run. Running became the symbol of aerobic exercise and the marathon took over as the icon of success. Despite extraordinary individual achievements, however, the aerobics revolution did not succeed in getting our nation off its collective duff.

The aerobics doctrine inspired the few but discouraged the many. A relatively small number of lucky people discovered the benefits (and pleasures) of aerobic exercise. But by proclaiming that the only way to really benefit from exercise was through aerobic training, doctors discouraged people who found aerobic activities, such as running, too difficult. According to the "gospel of aerobics," golf was the perfect way to ruin a 4-mile walk. But we now know that's wrong.

The benefits of moderation

New studies show that it's possible to attain nearly all the health benefits of exercise without high-intensity activity that leaves you drenched in sweat. That means moderate exercise, such as walking, biking, and gardening can help you get fit. Exercise intensity is less important than the overall amount of time spent exercising, and intermittent exercise is as effective as continuous activity. In fact, golf is beneficial, as long as players walk the course and play two to three times a week.

Research involving more than 320,000 people from around the world proves that regular moderate exercise can reduce risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, blood pressure and body fat, which we expect will improve health and reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.

Although we don't have the advantage of randomized clinical trials that evaluate the effects of exercise on cardiac events and mortality in healthy men and women, doctors have data from 48 trials of patients with proven coronary artery disease. About half of the 8,940 patients studied were randomly assigned to receive the best medical and surgical care available, while the others got the same standard of care and participated in a cardiac rehabilitation program based on moderate exercise. The exercisers came out on top. They enjoyed a 26% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease and a 20% reduction in the overall death rate. It's powerful evidence that exercise protects the heart — and what's good for ailing hearts should be at least as beneficial for healthy ones!

Summary of the research

Group Activity Benefits
10,269 Men & W0men ages 35-74 Walking at least 9 miles a week

Climbing at least 55 flights of stairs a week
22% lower death rate

33% lower death rate
73,743 American women ages 50-79 Walking for at least 2.5 hours a week 30% lower risk of cardiovascular
44,452 American male health professionals Walking at least 30 minutes a day 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease
39,372 American female health professionals Walking at least 1 hour a week 51% lower risk of coronary artery disease
72,488 American female nurses Walking at least 3 hours a week 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death; 34% lower risk of stroke
30,640 Danish men and women ages 20-93 Spending 2-4 hours a week on light leisure-time activity 32% lower mortality rate

If reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease were the only benefit of moderate exercise, it would still be vitally important. But moderate exercise also helps:

  • Promote weight loss – Exercise, along with diet, is essential for losing weight.
  • Decrease the risk for stroke (by 21%-34%), diabetes (by 16%-50%), dementia (by 15%-50%), fractures (by 40%), breast cancer (by 20%-30%), and colon cancer (by 30%-40%).
  • Slow the physiologic changes associated with aging.
  • Increase life expectancy – A 2005 analysis of data from the famed Framingham Heart Study reports that people who exercise regularly live an additional 3.7 years, compared with sedentary individuals. Walking at a 17-minutes-per-mile pace (about 3.5 miles an hour) was sufficient to produce this extraordinary gain. Another 2005 study showed that moderate exercise (walking 8.6 miles a week at 40% to 55% of maximum) will increase the VO2max, though not to the same degree as aerobic training.

We know what you're thinking: There must be some catch. There isn't. To get the astounding health benefits of exercise merely takes walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 40 minutes a day, with the goal of covering about 2 miles. If you need to lose weight, build up to 4 miles a day. Remember you can divide your walking into 8- to 12-minute segments throughout the day if that's more convenient. And you can substitute other activities, such as climbing stairs, gardening, biking, dancing, swimming, playing racquet sports, or yes, even golfing — as long as you walk the course.

The bottom line

Moderate exercise is the key to exercising for health. But many people will get extra benefits by adding exercises for strength, flexibility, and balance — not necessarily at a gym under the watchful eye of a trainer ( But this will help ), but at home in just a few minutes a day. And a prudent diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle to prevent many of the chronic illnesses that plague modern societies. Medical science continues to make astounding advances. It has taken the collective effort of many dedicated scientists to bring us back to the wisdom of Hippocrates. Some 2,400 years ago, the Father of Medicine said, "If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Balancing Act

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Sometimes I seem off Balanced! Should I have my Balance checked?

A. Yes. You probably have a pretty good idea of your health status. You may be able to reel off your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and maybe even your body mass index. But have you had your balance checked lately? Most likely not!

Try this. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes. Then stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. Lift one foot about six inches off the floor and hold that pose for 30 seconds.

If you felt a little wobbly, you’re not alone. Balance tends to erode with time. For weekend athletes, lost equilibrium can mean more spills on the slopes or wipeouts in the surf. For the sedentary, it can bring a surprise encounter with the sidewalk.

Even if a fall doesn’t injure much more than your pride, it sets the stage for subsequent stumbles. One fall increases the chance of the next, as does the mere fear of falling. Every year, more than a third of people over 65 — and half of those over 75 — take a tumble. Falls account for about 300,000 hip fractures annually. For older people, they’re the leading cause of death from injury and a major cause of disability.

Yet falls aren’t an inevitable consequence of growing older. It’s possible to regain equilibrium and compensate for permanent balance deficits.

Here are a few simple exercises that have improved strength and balance even in frail nursing-home patients. You can do them at home in a few minutes (as shown in the illustration below).

Balance exercises

Plantar flexion

Stand straight, holding on to a table or chair for balance. Slowly stand on tiptoe, as high as possible. Hold position. Slowly lower heels to the ground. Repeat 8 to 15 times. Rest a minute; then do another 8 to 15 repetitions. Add modifications as you progress. (Hold chair with one hand, then one fingertip, then no hands; then, if steady, do exercise with eyes closed.)

Knee flexion

Stand straight, holding on to a table or chair for balance. Slowly bend knee as much as possible so foot lifts up behind you. Hold position. Slowly lower foot all the way back down. Repeat 8 to 15 times on each leg. Rest a minute; then do another 8 to 15 repetitions. Add modifications as you progress (same as those for plantar flexion).

Side leg raise

Stand straight with feet slightly apart, holding on to a table or chair for balance. Slowly lift one leg to side, 6–12 inches. (Keep back and knees straight throughout the exercise.) Hold position. Slowly lower leg. Repeat 8 to 15 times on each leg. Rest a minute; then do another 8 to 15 repetitions. Add modifications as you progress (same as those for plantar flexion).

Hip flexion

Stand straight, holding on to a table or chair for balance. Slowly bend one knee toward chest, without bending waist or hips. Hold position. Slowly lower leg all the way down. Repeat 8 to 15 times on each leg. Rest a minute; then do another 8 to 15 repetitions. Add modifications as you progress (same as those for plantar flexion).

Hip extension

Stand 12–18 inches from table or chair. Bend at hips and hold on to chair. Slowly lift one leg straight behind you, keeping leg straight. Hold position. Slowly lower leg all the way down. Repeat 8 to 15 times on each leg. Rest a minute; then do another 8 to 15 repetitions. Add modifications as you progress (same as those for plantar flexion).

Anytime, anywhere

These types of exercises also improve your balance. You can do them almost anytime, anywhere, and as often as you like, as long as you have something sturdy nearby to hold on to if you become unsteady.

  • Walk heel-to-toe. Position your heel just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step. Your heel and toes should touch.
  • Stand on one foot (while waiting in line at the grocery store or at the bus stop, for example). Alternate feet.
  • Stand up and sit down without using your hands.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Raising Your “Good” Cholesterol

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Q. Glen, How do I raise my Good Cholesterol?

A. For years now, everyone's attention has been on the "bad" cholesterol — LDL, or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The goals were to get it below 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), then 100, and now, for high-risk patients, down to the 70 mg/dL range.

Often lost in the shuffle has been the "good" cholesterol — HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. HDL particles act as good scavengers to take away fat from arterial walls before it becomes imbedded into plaque.

Risk of heart attack declines 1% to 3% for every 1% increase in HDL. But the treatments available to raise HDL have been overshadowed by statins and their dramatic ability to lower LDL. Now, however, as more and more people get their LDL way down, interest in raising HDL is growing. Moderate to intense physical exercise (as advised by your doctor) and one to two alcoholic beverages per day can increase HDL a little. But it usually takes medication to reach more desirable blood HDL levels.

Promising new agents that can raise HDL are in human research trials, and may be on the market soon. But there are other medications that have been available for years, so you don't have to wait until the FDA approves these newer drugs to raise your HDL.

The two main classes of existing drugs are "fibrates" and niacin and related compounds. The best known fibrate is gemfibrozil (brand name: Lopid). This pill is usually taken twice per day a half hour before meals in a dosage of 600 milligrams.

Here's the good news: Pooled data on gemfibrozil and other fibrates show they lower total cholesterol by about 25 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol by about 12 mg/dL, and triglycerides by about 70 mg/dL. HDL goes up by a little more than 4 mg/dL. Together, these effects lead to a reduction in risk of cardiac problems of about 25% from fibrates.

The problem has been that about one-third of patients have side effects. About 12% of patients have gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. Rashes are also common. Less common problems include liver and muscle damage.

Good news, bad news

Niacin is also a good news-bad news story. The good news is that these drugs lower LDL by about 21 mg/dL, and raise HDL by nearly 7 mg/dL on average. Side effects are common, though, particularly with older preparations of niacin. Most people taking the "immediate release" forms of niacin get flushing, versus only about 25% of patients taking newer preparations in which there is "sustained release" of the drug. Gastrointestinal symptoms, skin, muscle, and liver problems are other major side effects.

These relatively high rates of side effects tell you why doctors have loved pushing statins to reduce LDL for the last decade — hardly anyone has side effects, and both patient and doctor can point to lower and lower LDL results and declare "victory." However, the war against heart disease still hasn't been won, so many physicians are starting to add these HDL-raising therapies to the statins that their patients are already taking.

As bothersome as these side effects can be, there are a variety of tactics that can be used to minimize them, and most patients can learn to take fibrates or niacin without problems.

Just over the horizon are treatments that can lead to much greater increases in HDL. Five to 10 years from now, many of us will probably be using such new HDL-raising treatments. For people with coronary artery disease and those at high risk of heart attacks, the need to reduce heart-attack risk shouldn't wait. If your LDL is already low, but your HDL is also very low (for example, below 35 mg/dL), talk with your doctor about strategies to help raise that HDL level.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Breakfast — Don’t Leave Home Without It

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, Is Breakfast that important?

A.Yes, Eating a nutritious breakfast is a great way to jump-start the day, yet a tasty breakfast might not be finding its way onto your kitchen table. Rushed morning routines, trying to lose weight, and lack of appetite early in the morning are all reasons people skip breakfast. Nevertheless, mounting evidence supports the idea that breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast benefits

Studies examining eating habits suggest that the regular consumption of breakfast can:

  • Reduce risk of obesity and high cholesterol
  • Decrease insulin resistance (a condition that increases risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease)
  • Improve performance on memory-related tasks
  • Minimize impulsive snacking and overeating at other meals
  • Increase intake of essential nutrients that are rarely replenished by other meals of the day
  • Enhance school performance in children and young adults

Although it would seem to make sense that skipping breakfast would save calories, data suggest otherwise. In a study of nearly 3,000 adults who lost and kept off at least 30 pounds for longer than one year, close to 90 percent reported eating breakfast on most days of the week. Interestingly, the breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers consumed almost the same total daily calories; the breakfast skippers made up the missed breakfast calories throughout the day. In addition, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that breakfast skippers are 4.5 times more likely to be obese than are breakfast eaters.

Quality counts

Before reaching for that doughnut or pastry, keep in mind that what you choose for breakfast is just as important as eating breakfast. Think of breakfast as the perfect opportunity to start accumulating the minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables and three servings of whole grains recommended for optimal health. Furthermore, the National Academy of Sciences recommends that adults consume 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day. This presents quite a challenge for those choosing low-fiber breakfast options or for those skipping breakfast altogether. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds are the best sources of dietary fiber. High-fiber foods have the added benefit of warding off mid-morning snack attacks by creating a feeling of fullness. Likewise, adding some protein such as seafood, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, egg, or egg substitute can also aid in suppressing hunger.

Beating the breakfast blues

Breakfast can be one of the most monotonous meals of the day, but with a little creativity, the first meal of the day can be one of the best. Variety can beat breakfast boredom, so don’t be afraid to include some unorthodox breakfast foods for a change of pace. Additionally, if you have abandoned breakfast due to a busy lifestyle, some of these breakfast ideas can be packed up and taken along for a delicious grab-and-go breakfast treat.

Tips and ideas

No Time for Breakfast?

  • Wrap a whole-grain tortilla around peanut butter and a banana and serve with low-fat milk or soy milk.
  • Stuff a whole-wheat pita with low-fat cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese and canned sliced peaches.
  • Plan ahead and place whole-grain cereal (at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving) with dried fruit and nuts in a sealed bag. Grab in the morning along with a carton of low-fat yogurt or low-fat milk.
  • Try some whole-grain crackers, string cheese, and grapes.
  • Mix instant plain oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts, and a dash of cinnamon.
  • Spread peanut butter and jam on whole-grain bread and have with a piece of fruit and low-fat milk or soy milk.
  • Munch on a handful of unsalted mixed nuts served with an individual portion of low-sodium vegetable juice.
  • Top a whole-wheat English muffin with soy sausage patty and a slice of low-fat cheese.
  • Take along a piece of fruit, low-fat milk or soy milk, and a homemade muffin made on the weekend and stored in the freezer. (Substitute at least half the flour in recipes with whole-grain flour and supplement the batter with vegetables, nuts, and/or fruit.)

Not interested in traditional breakfast foods?

  • Choose whole-grain varieties (check ingredient list for the words "whole" or "whole grain" in the first ingredient) of breads, tortillas, crackers, bagels, or pita breads and top or stuff with any of the following:
    • Salmon spread made with low-fat cream cheese, canned salmon, and your favorite herbs
    • Hummus with grated carrots and raisins
    • Leftover skinless chicken or turkey with light mayonnaise and cranberry chutney
    • Bean spread with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber slices
    • Avocado, baby greens, roasted red pepper, and a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes
    • Low-fat feta cheese with walnuts and dates
    • Scrambled egg substitute or eggs with salsa
  • Freezer pops made from a mixture of low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, or soy milk mixed with 100-percent juice and fruit slices
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa and cut-up vegetables
  • Grilled cheese sandwich made with whole-grain bread and low-fat cheese or soy cheese served with fruit. (For variety, stuff with grilled or sautéed vegetables made on the weekend and frozen as individual servings.)
  • Celery and sliced apple with peanut butter
  • Vegetables with low-fat dip and a hard-boiled egg
  • Soy hot dog or veggie burger in a whole-grain bun with lettuce, tomato, your favorite condiments, and a side of baby carrots
  • Pizza made with whole-grain pita bread, spaghetti sauce, and low-fat cheese served with fruit
  • A bowl of vegetable soup and whole-grain crackers. (Try low-fat pureed soups in a travel mug if eating on the run.)

No appetite in the morning?

A lack of appetite in the morning may be the result of a large meal or snack consumed the night before. Perk up your morning appetite by eating lighter and earlier in the evenings. If a large breakfast is still not appealing, perhaps a breakfast smoothie may be the answer. Try blending a mixture of either low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, or soy milk with fruit, 100-percent fruit juice, and your favorite spices or flavor extract. Oat bran, wheat germ, or ground flax seed can be added for extra fiber.

So start your day the healthy way by fueling up with a nutritious breakfast!

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fabulous Fiber

Ask Glen!

Q. Glen, I keep hearing about eating enough Fiber! Is it that good? and what foods can I get it from?

A. Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. It moves through the digestive system, absorbing water. This helps eliminate food waste from the body more quickly. Since fiber is not absorbed, it is not a nutrient. Rather, we refer to fiber as a "component" of food.

Fiber is found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, dry beans and peas, nuts, seeds, bread, and cereals. (It is not found in animal products — meat, milk, eggs.) Fiber can also be added to foods during processing.

Fiber’s health benefits

Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble, which dissolves in water, and insoluble, which does not. Although fiber does not nourish our bodies, it has other ways of promoting good health as the chart below illustrates.

Soluble Fiber Insoluble Fiber
Name Pectins, gums, mucilages Cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin
What it does Dissolves in water, forming a gel in intestines Holds on to water, moving waste through intestines
How it promotes good health Binds to fatty substances in the intestines and helps carry them out as waste, lowering LDL or bad cholesterol

Regulates the body's use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.
Helps push food through the intestines quickly, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation.
Where it's found Dried beans and peas, lentils, oats, barley, apples, bananas, citrus fruits, berries, pears, carrots Whole-wheat products, wheat and corn bran, brown rice, oats, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, fruit skins (apple, peach, pear)

Let's talk numbers

How much fiber do you need each day? The current recommendation for adults is 20 to 35 grams. Children over age 2 should consume an amount equal to their age plus 5 grams a day (so a four year old, for example, should get 9 grams a day). The average American falls short of the ideal and eats only 10 to 15 grams of dietary fiber a day.

To get more fiber add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet with these easy tips:

  • Add some berries on your breakfast cereal or try an apple with peanut butter for a snack.
  • Have vegetables at each meal; sauté with a little olive oil, steam, grill, or just enjoy them raw.
  • For an afternoon snack dip baby carrots and celery sticks in hummus.
  • Cook with beans; add them to your soups, pasta dishes, or try them on a salad.
  • Choose whole grain breads (100% whole-wheat) and whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice.

Start slowly when you up your fiber intake. This will help relieve the bloating, cramping, and gas that some people experience when eating more fiber. Be sure to drink more water as well to help the fiber pass through the intestines more easily. Getting fiber naturally from foods assures you all of the other phytonutrients as well. Fiber-only supplements, however, are available for a fiber boost.

Label reading 101

You can figure out how much fiber a food contains by reading the package label. Keep in mind that the amount of fiber listed is based on the serving size, not the entire package. Foods that are an excellent source of fiber contain 5 grams or more per serving. See the chart below for examples of the fiber content of various foods.

Food Serving Size Grams of Fiber
Bran cereal 1/3 cup 8.3
Quinoa 1/2 cup 5
Bran flakes 3/4 cup 5
Bulgur (cooked) 1/2 cup 4.1
Oatmeal (cooked) 1 cup 4
Brown rice 1/2 cup 3.5
Cream of wheat, instant 1 cup 2.9
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 2
Raspberries 1 cup 8.4
Prunes, stewed 1/2 cup 8
Blackberries 1 cup 7.6
Apricots, dried 1/2 cup 4.8
Pears 1 medium 4
Blueberries 1 cup 3.9
Apple 1 medium 3.7
Strawberries 1 cup 3.3
Banana 1 medium 2.8
Artichoke 1 medium 6.5
Winter squash (cooked) 1 cup 5.7
Collard greens (boiled) 1 cup 5.3
Snow peas (edible pod peas) 1 cup 4.5
Spinach (cooked) 1 cup 4.3
Broccoli (raw; cooked) 1 cup; 1/2 cup 2.6
Kidney beans, red, canned 1/2 cup 8.2
Baked beans 1/2 cup 7
Navy beans, canned 1/2 cup 6.7
Refried beans (edible pod peas) 1/2 cup 6
Chickpeas, canned 1/2 cup 5.3

Juice vs. the whole fruit

Juice is the concentrated form of fruit. Even though no sugar is added to the juice, it has more sugar than the whole fruit. Juice also lacks the fiber that naturally occurs in fruit. In general, the closer foods are to their natural, unprocessed state, the better. The chart below provides some examples:

Food Serving Size Grams of Fiber
Apple with peel One medium 4
Apple without peel One medium 2.1
Applesauce 1/2 cup 1.5
Apple juice 1 cup 0.25

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !

Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!

Any questions?

Ask Glen!

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About Me

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Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
Is the Founder of Fitness Builders 4 Life,the WorkOut GEM,G350,G180, G90, Eat 4 Life, Clean, Lean & Mean & Ask Glen. The mission of the Fitness Builders is to provide the community with health education and to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. By educating the community on healthier lifestyle practices it is the intent of Fitness Builders to reduce the ravages of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle or self inflicted diseases. Glen is also a AMA Certified Nutrition Specialist and a ACE, ACSM, NASM Certified Personal Trainer has 30+ years in Sports, Exercise Science and Nutritional Food Management, Learning and Mentoring Men and Women on a more Mental & Physical Healthy Life Style consisting of a low fat, low salt, Low carbohydrate, high protein, organic nutrition which also includes moderate exercise and mental awareness. Stay Informed, Live long and be Mentally and Physically Healthy! Any questions? Ask Glen!

Any Questions? Ask Glen!