Monday, November 29, 2010

Vitamin C and Weight-Training

People usually eat more protein than they actually require.

But with vitamin C, it's a different story, says John Haberern, the editor of Fitness for Living.
Even if you consume a great deal, vitamin C is water-soluble and what you don't use is quickly excreted.

Vitamin C helps make collagen, the binding substance that holds cells together.

Let's suppose that you start using your arm muscles strenuously, as in lifting dumbbell or barbell. They suddenly start building additional new fiber and need more vitamin C to hold it together properly. But what happens if enough vitamin C isn't there to quickly manufacture as much collagen as is needed?

The muscles will keep attracting blood to their area, trying to extract enough vitamin C from it. They stay swollen with blood , and it is such swelling, creating unusual pressure on the nerves, that causes the stiffness and soreness.

To counteract the effect of stiffness and muscle soreness, you can take a tablet of vitamin C just before exercising: if you can take another one after a strenuous workout, so much the better.

Another frequent cause of prolonged swelling is rapture of the tiny capillaries in the muscles under pressure of unusual blood supply. Here again vitamin C plays a major role. It is well-known that vitamin C strengthens the capillary walls (especially in conjunction with the bioflavonoids) and prevents raptures. If the vitamin C is insufficient and the raptures occur, you then have within the muscle precisely the same condition that you get on the skin surface when you bruise yourself. A pool of static blood collects, attracting more blood that attempts to break it down and remove it. The pressure on the nerves is greatly increased and can be extremely painful.

What is there about lifting weights that makes it so effective in building muscles? Regular lifting of controlled loads, such as dumbbells and barbells, is one of the best ways to build muscular strength. This is "progressive resistance training" or "PRT."

When you lift a dumbbell, for instance, a series of large muscles contract to meet the overload of resistance that is being applied, and remain contracted throughout the whole range of the lifting movement. As the muscles work against the overload, their cells go through a complex chemical and physiological process that builds strength to meet future similar challenges of effort that might be needed.

If the overload is moderate and gradually increasing in amount, muscle strength will increase in a regular manner.

However, if the overload is beyond the current strength of the muscles and skeletal structure, something will give. A vertebra may compress, or the stressed muscle fibers may tear. In effect, you have a choice. You can do moderate lifting as a healthy exercise and become strong enough to meet the extraordinary lifting challenges that are bound to occur from time to time. Or you can shun lifting as hazardous or arduous---as most people do today---and run the risk of injuring yourself when the time comes that you have to lift something heavy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Keeping Fit With Less Effort

What's the least effort you can do to keep fit?

Answer: Most physiologists agree that to maintain fitness, you need to exercise at 65% of your maximum capacity for 15 minutes a day, three times a week.

What's your maximum capacity? A heart rate of 220 minus your age.

So if you're 40, a pulse of about 120 (220-40x.65) is what you should be tailoring your workouts to sustain.

There's no need to overexercise--so long as you're consistent. Rather than knocking yourself out on weekends trying to make up for lost time, you're far better off setting up a schedule that's leisurely enough to live day to day.

What should you do? Something you enjoy.

A lot of the agony of exercise for many people is mental. Take walks. Play tag with the kids.
Anything to get your mind off your muscles. If you enjoy dancing, great.

Studies have shown that layoffs as brief as 2-1/2 days can begin to reserve the effects of exercises--so if you take a weekend off, be prepared to get back into the swing of things first thing Monday morning.

TIDBITS. Exercise, studies confirm, is the key to the prevention of osteoporosis, the degenerative bone disease afflicting 25 percent of women over 50.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (in a past issue) reports that, while dietary calcium supplements help slow the age-related bone loss, regular jogging or walking enhances bone formation. Taking supplements without exercise is "like settling for half a loaf, " says JAMA.

One group of women (mean ages: 53) exercised three times weekly, increasing their bone mass 2.6 percent in a year; a sedentary control group had a 2.4 percent mass loss.

When you run long distances, you may also be giving your heart extra mileage. JAMA reports that marathon running, or other sustained exercise, increases the body's level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) which has been associated with lower cardiovascular death rates.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Test For Middle-Age Fitness

Traditional fitness tests become invalid when used on middle-age people.

Dr. Albert A. DeVries and Kenneth Lersten of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, said that the traditional tests rely on strength, speed, agility, power, balance, and coordination. Often those tests are hazardous for older people and produce invalid conclusions.

To get around that problem, investigators selected other standards to measure fitness. Those include blood pressure, maximal oxygen consumption, blood composition, nervous tension and muscle tone.

Jogging is heartening. Within three months after leaving the hospital, probably one-third of all heart patients can start jogging, says an Oregon cardiologist.

Dr. Waldo E. Harris recommends an exercise program which he developed over a four-year period on a group of 32 men. They were tested and evaluated from the time they were permitted to sit on a chair just days after the attack. All of them have since returned to their jobs and many jog over two miles, 3 or 4 times a week.

The Best of Three. What produces the greatest gain in physical fitness--running, exercise on the treadmill, or exercise on a stationary bicycle?

That was the question answered by researchers at Harding College at Arkansas, U.S.A. After extensive studies of the three activities, a trial group was given tests in maximal breathing capacity, vital capacity, working systolic blood pressure, resting diastolic blood pressure, and lean body mass.

Although the study showed that all groups had significant gains on most of the tests for fitness improvement, the running group showed the greatest improvement. Bicycling was second and treadmill work third.

All improved more than a control group which did no exercise.

Running means more blood. Fitness for Living Magazine reveals that total blood volume (TBV) in 14 previously sedentary males (ages 26 to 64) increased by about 6 percent after running 47 times during a 16-week period.

In a control group the TBV did not change significantly.

There's a surprising link between long hours of sleep and a rise in heart disease fatalities, according to Fitness for Living Magazine.

The American Cancer Society, in the same report, revealed that350,000 men and 450,000 women who slept 9 or more hours nightly had higher death rates from heart disease than those who slept only 7 or less hours.

The article suggests that a longer, more active day restricts heart disease.

TIDBITS. Fat people don't necessarily eat more: They exercise less.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dangers of Overeating

Do you know that dyspepsia or indigestion is simply the irritation due to too much food or drink? It is not a disease, and medicine only adds insult to injury, claims Dr. Peter P. Chase in his book, Your Wonderful Body.

Dr. Chase says that most cases of indigestion do not require, and are not benefited, by medicine. Where the indigestion is due to ulcers, medicine or surgery may be required.

Another medical practitioner, Dr. Victor Heiser, in You're the Doctor, illustrates the danger of overeating as follows:

"It is as though you owned a boiler designed to burn a ton of coal a day, the amount sufficient to generate steam enough to run your plant. Instead of following instructions, you constantly burn two tons daily. The safety value is then always blowing off unused steam. You are not only wasting your coal but burning out the boiler. Something similar to this is taking place in the bodies of people who overeat."

Overeating leads to obesity and, consequently, to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, among others.

To avoid overeating, eat healthy food (organic raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fresh fruits) and exercise regularly. Stick to this regulated system of diet, exercise, etc. and you'll not only improve your overall health but live longer--and happier.

Preservative May Affect Memory. Sodium Nitrate , the preservative found in hot dogs, bacon, bologna and other prepared meats, significantly alters the memory process, even in low doses, according to animal experiments. This raises the possibility that sodium nitrate may alter memory processes in human beings. However, since sodium nitrate is also suspected of being a cancer-causing agent, it is unlikely that it should be tested on humans.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vitamins, Anyone?

Many nutritionists believe that most people should take multivitamins as supplements to diet.

A few years ago, California Institute of Technology, aided by Lockhead Aircraft Corporation, offered proof that most people can benefit from extra vitamins the year round.

They tested a group of healthy men whose ordinary diet was as good as average. Each man was given tablets five days a week for a whole year. Half the men were given multivitamin tablets, while the other half were given placebo (fake tablets of no value).

For the first few months there was no discernible difference between the two groups.

But during the following six months, the men who had been receiving multivitamin tablets forged ahead. They were absent less and scored higher in merit-rating.

The multivitamin tablets seemed to have the greatest effect on the workers' emotional well-being. They seemed happier, more alert.

And speaking of vitamins, do you know that daily doses of folic acid (a B vitamin) can save or prolong the lives of heart and artery disease patients? This was revealed by cardiologist Dr. Kurt A. Oster.

Folic acid counteracts the damage to heart and arteries caused by an enzyme in homogenized milk xanthine oxidase or XO. It neutralizes XO and restores a substance--plasmalogen--that repairs the damage and stops the fatty buildup.

Here's more...If you start taking vitamin and mineral supplements, you could also stop taking sleeping pills, or any other kind of psycho-active drugs such as sedatives or tranquilizers.

"These drugs have the potential to cause intellectual impairment in a person of any age," says Dr. Richard W. Besdine, a professor at Harvard Medical School. A scientific study on the tranquilizer Valium has proven him right: Valium "impairs" memory.