Monday, 26 February 2007

Pregnancy hormone may help treat MS

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The symptoms of multiple sclerosis have been noted to ease for women during pregnancy, and scientists believe it's due to the hormone prolactin. In MS the human body attacks the myelin that surrounds nerves, and it's been thought that during pregnancy the immune system no longer attacks the myelin. Now, though, according to data published in the Journal of Neuroscience, it seems the body could be repairing myelin as well. This means that prolactin could be used in the future as an official treatment for MS -- although it does have a tendency to increase inflammation, so that would need to be addressed somehow.

So far the theory has only been tested in mice, but researchers are optimistic.

Dressing for the gym

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Fitness fashion is a huge industry, which offers a tremendous variety of options. No matter where you exercise, you're bound to find lots of people looking a lot of different ways. In the gym I attend, styles run the gamut. I see elderly men in bikini bottoms, women in thong leotards with leg warmers, sweatsuits with holes in them, and then the fanciest Nike and Under Armour gear you can buy. There is always something new and exciting to see as I turn a corner, wardrobe-wise.

I personally dress for comfort and function. I'm never fancy, but I'm neat. If I could interview everyone else in the gym I'm sure I'd hear the same response. But does it really matter what you wear? Kinda. But only in a way that certain pieces of clothing can hinder your ability to perform your workout. Dress in heavy clothes, you may get too hot to work to your potential, or they may cause you to pass out. Too tight clothing might restrict your movements. Extra long pants could get stuck in a pedal. Too-short shorts could prohibit you to go through a full range of movements ... while still maintaining your dignity.

For the most part, function is key when dressing for the gym. High fashion is irrelevant. Wear what you feel comfortable in, and wear what will be most conducive to getting you through your workout safely. If your budget doesn't allow for super stylish brands, don't sweat it. The most stylish thing you could do is be at the gym. And when you're exercising, you're always looking great!

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Why women tolerate their husbands

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Reading the recent blog here on That's Fit about "Why men ignore their wives" prompted me into a little fun research myself. So if men ignore their wives, why do women put up with it? The websites were endless. WOW. It seems that women tolerate a lot of certain behaviors from their spouses like being ignored, being fussed at or looked down upon and even being abused physically because of cultural beliefs, economic factors and personal fears. There is the disgrace of being a statistic, of being a divorcee. With our divorce rate hovering somewhere between 50 percent and 60 percent it is not hard to see that men and women really can not get along. Maybe the high divorce rate can be contributed to being ignored. wink wink...

But one study in particular stood out to me on why divorce rates are climbing. It emphasized that attraction in the work place between men and women has always been relevant but men had always held the dominant jobs in the work force. But that statistic is changing with women bosses increasing and more jobs like doctors, lawyers, police officers, fire fighters, and even politics with many women now leading in congress and the senate. Women are beginning to have equality in leadership roles. Many women who do well professionally find few men who are secure enough to be with them.

Being a man and being masculine are two different things. A man is a boy who has reached a certain age. A masculine man is a boy who has finally matured as an adult. Some men never reach that maturity. So I guess women have to look at being ignored by their husbands the same way they look at th eir children that ignore them when asked to do their chores.

Hitting stuff is great for the body and mind

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Kickboxing aerobics and tae-fitness classes have been the rage for the past few years. To some, they are a bit more fun and interesting than the traditional dance aerobics style group fitness classes. Instead of screaming "reach", instructors yell "punch" and the students go wild. Men are more inclined to venture into these fighting style classes as well. All good news.

As a competitive kickboxer of a little more than a decade I understand the lure. I was compelled toward the sport as a teen, and finally found a legitimate trainer at age 20. My first fight came soon after. I didn't invent kickboxing so I can truly brag about it. It works every muscle in your body from head to toe. It offers the benefits of intense cardiovascular training, builds strength, and increases flexibility. Not to mention it burns a bazillion calories. Oh! And so far, fighting is the most fun thing I've ever done in my life.

Back to those classes. I'm a fan of anything that makes people huff and puff, but if you're into that you may want to take it further. Find a class that utilizes equipment such as heavy bags, focus pads or kicking shields. Hitting the air is fun, but hitting an actual heavy bag is amazing. To me, hitting willing opponents........PRICELESS!

To find a martial arts school near you, visit

Continue reading Hitting stuff is great for the body and mind

Daily Fit Tip: Be a food snob

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In this modern world, we are generally confronted by two food choices: fast, cheap, convenient but overly processed and ultimately unhealthy prepared foods, or slow, expensive, freshly prepared food. Those who habitually choose the latter are called food snobs, and while some might think them elitist for choosing quality over quantity, I have to disagree. I think we should all be eating foods that are fresh, if for no reason but our health. I'm not saying we have to eat filet mignon every night -- being a food snob CAN be affordable. But if we choose the meals we make ourselves over the ones we pick up at the drive-thru window, I think we'll all be healthier and happier. Plus, if we spend more on food, we're les s likely to eat tons of it, right?

Finding a way

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November 26th I brok e my left foot. I broke it bad. In fact, I broke two bones in the foot, and tore both a muscle and ligament. When I do it, I do it right I guess. Sentenced to crutches for 10 weeks, I was given a grand opportunity to practice what I preach. Being Miss. Fitzness Trainer, I'm constantly telling others to 'find a way' to make it happen. Stop making excuses I say. Now it was my turn to find a way.

Going 10 weeks without working out was not an option. Sure I could lift weights, but cardiovascular workouts are a definite must for me. Now what? I absolutely could not partake in my favorite workouts; kickboxing, running, jumping rope. I couldn't even swim! So I had to search around the local gym. Fortunately I am a member of the Gainesville Health and Fitness Center which is probably one of the most beautiful and complete gyms in the country. If it weren't.....I would have been screwed. GH&FC has two kayak machines. Whoopee! I mean that both seriously and sarcastically. Grateful to have something to do to make me huff & puff without putting pressure on my boo boo, and annoyed because it's one of the most boring and tedious things I've done in my life.

First day I lasted 10 minutes and cursed like a sailor. Second day I begrudgingly conquered 20 minutes. Argh! Of course it was also the ONLY machine in this monstrous gym with no television attached. It was awful! Nonetheless. Because I felt obligated to all those nice folks I told to find a way, I stuck it out....and cursed a lot. I'm glad I did.

Continue reading Finding a way

Cholesterol plays a role in Alzheimer's Disease?

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By now, most of us know that lowering cholesterol (the LDL kind, anyway) is better for overall health. There are many new studies and reports that are linking cholesterol to specific female afflictions, however. These are yet further reasons why monitoring cholesterol intake is very important.

In the upcoming issue of Harvard's Men's Health Watch, the interwoven play among cholesterol levels, psychological function, and neurologic disorders in men are pondered at length.

The result? Well, there are loose (b ut tightening) controls on high cholesterol levels being linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment. Then, there are studies that state the opposite. What to believe? That is unsure right now, but one thing is pretty certain from all this recent data -- HDL (good) cholesterol levels appear to help preserve mental function in older people (as in, trying to battle Alzheimer's Disease.)

107 year-old attributes long life to lack of sex

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There's thousands -- maybe even millions -- of theories on what helps you live longer, healthier lives. Some are based on scientific evidence, and others...well...just aren't.

Such is the case with Chan Chi, one of China's oldest people, who at 107 years of age, still enjoys the occasional cigarette. So how has he lived this long? According to Chan, "I don't know ... Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have lived a sex-less life for many years -- since I was 30."

He also cites a low-fat diet and regular dawn exercises as factors in his longevity.

But after over a century of life and nearly 80 years of abstinence, there's one last vice Chan would like to give up: smoking. I think he'll succeed. If there's one thing this man has, it's the willpower to quit.

Is it child abuse? UK boy could be removed from family over obesity

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Here's a debate we may be seeing more of if we can't slow the trend of childhood obesity. An 8-year-old boy British boy may be removed from his family today because authorities feel his family isn't doing enough to help him lose weight. At 14 stones (196 pounds) the child is morbidly obese, and his doctors fear that he faces imminent health problems, and even his family admits he has difficulty walking.

The family is condemning authorities, saying they weren't given enough direction or support to help the boy lose weight. They also say that, though he lost 14 pounds over the last year, he should have lost much more based on his diet.

The family says they'll be devastated if authorities remove him. Child protection authorities claim that he'll be unhappy, unhealthy, and that his care amounts to child abuse. Either way, it's a heartbreak for everyone involved. What do you think? Should his parents be given more support to help him lose the weight? Or should he be removed for his own safety?

Nutritional support for stress management

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Does nutrition have a direct impact on stress levels? You bet it does, as you can't fight the effects of stress without giving your body the best fuel to fight with. In addition to the right kind of eating for stress reduction, there are several nutritional supplements that can aid in stress reduction -- do you take any of them?

Foods that help the body adapt to stress include proteins, Carbohydrates, Walnuts, Vitamin C, Almonds, Pine Nuts and the B Vitamins. All of these substances increase the body's toolkit for fighting stress from many angles.

While there are good nutritional benefits for fighting stress, there are a few areas of nutrition to stay away from when it comes to stress fighting. White sugar, stimulating beverages (soft drinks) and alcoholic beverages need to be stayed away from during times of extreme stress since these substances lessen the body's toolkit to take on stress.

Breath test shows promise in diagnosing lung cancer

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Could the future of diagnosing lung cancer be as simple of a breath test? U.S. researchers say that it's possible, and that they've developed a test that proves it.

Researchers know that cancer tumors create compounds that are different from healthy tissue. In theory, those compounds should be exhal ed with the breathe of lung cancer patients. The researchers in this study developed a hand held device with 36 small spots of different compounds that would react to those exhaled by someone with lung cancer. The device found 3/4 of the patients with lung cancer, and it cleared 72% of healthy patients. Researchers admit that the test isn't accurate enough yet, but that it proves such a test could work.

Early diagnosis of lung cancer is critical, since most cases aren't discovered until they've spread. A simple, inexpensive, non-invasive test such as this one could save thousands of lives every year.

Jumpstart Your Fitness: By getting your sweetie onboard

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Sadly, my weight seems to go up and down with my relationships, and I should probably get a grip on that. The people we spend time with can have a huge impact on how we live and what we eat, and getting your significant other onboard with your efforts towards a healthier lifestyle, complete with weight-loss and a fitter physique, is key to your success.

So what if you're dealing with a TV loving nacho addict with an exercise al lergy? Try these tips:

Continue reading Jumpstart Your Fitness: By getting your sweetie onboard