Health Article Archives


5 ways to use less salt

Use less salt

Salt is essential to the body. The sodium in salt helps transmit nerve impulses and contract muscle fibers. It also works with potassium to balance fluid levels in in the body. But you need only a tiny amount of salt to do this — less than one-tenth of a teaspoon per day. The average American gets nearly 20 times that much.

The body can generally rid itself of excess sodium. In some people, though, consuming extra sodium makes the body hold on to water. This increases the amount of fluid flowing through blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure.

Most of the salt that Americans consume comes from prepared and processed foods. The leading culprits include snack foods, sandwich meats, smoked and cured meats, canned juices, canned and dry soups, pizza and other fast foods, and many condiments, relishes, and sauces — for starters. But enough of it comes from the salt shaker at home that it’s worth finding alternatives. Here are five ways to cut back on sodium when cooking or at the table:

  1. Use spices and other flavor enhancers. Add flavor to your favorite dishes with spices, dried and fresh herbs, roots (such as garlic and ginger), citrus, vinegars, and wine. From black pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric to fresh basil, chili peppers, and lemon juice, these flavor enhancers create excitement for the palate — and with less sodium.
  2. Go nuts for healthy fats in the kitchen. Using the right healthy fats — from roasted nuts and avocados to olive, canola, soybean, and other oils — can add a rich flavor to foods, minus the salt.
  3. Sear, sauté, and roast. Searing or sautéing foods in a pan builds flavor. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of many vegetables and the taste of fish and chicken. If you do steam or microwave some dishes, perk them up with a finishing drizzle of flavorful oil and a squeeze of citrus.
  4. Get your whole grains from sources other than bread. Even whole-grain bread, though a healthier choice than white, can contain considerable sodium. Bread contains quite a bit of salt — not just for flavor, but to ensure that the dough rises properly. You can skip that extra salt when you look for whole grains outside of baking. For example, instead of toast with breakfast, cook up steel-cut oats, farro, or other intact whole grains with fresh or dried fruit.
  5. Know your seasons, and, even better, your local farmer. Shop for raw ingredients with maximum natural flavor, thereby avoiding the need to add as much (if any) sodium. Shop for peak-of-season produce from farmers’ markets and your local supermarket.

For more information on lifestyle changes that will help treat high blood pressure, buy Controlling Your Blood Pressure, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Tap into the Amazing Healing Power of Yoga

Yoga man

Tone and strengthen your body while you lower blood pressure … ease back pain … reduce the risk of heart disease … and improve your memory with YOGA!

In today’s 24/7 world with shocking news bombarding us, electronic devices beeping for attention, and an inbox full of emails that seem to need an immediate reply, it’s no wonder stress levels are at an all-time high. In fact, research shows 90% of all doctor visits are linked to stress-related problems. Yoga can be a perfect remedy. It’s one form of exercise that helps relieve stress while improving strength, balance, flexibility, and overall health.

Yoga works across multiple systems in your body at one time to help:

  • Dramatically ease lower back pain and even alleviate arthritis pain
  • Lower the need for diabetes medications by as much as 40%
  • Rev up your immunity by raising levels of disease-fighting antioxidants in your body
  • Switch on genes that promote health — works even if you’re a beginner
  • Reduce depression, chronic pain, and even improve PTSD symptoms
  • Lower your risk of falling and help you regain your balance if you stumble

And you may even be able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and fight age-related declines in memory through the meditation component of yoga. In fact, yoga does so much for your health that studies show people who do yoga use 43% fewer medical services, and they save anywhere from $640 to more than $25,000!

Introduction to Yoga includes a Special Bonus Section at no extra cost that reveals:

  • 4 questions you must ask to ensure the yoga class you’re considering is right for you
  • 5 ways to spot a terrific yoga teacher
  • Dangerous poses you shouldn’t try unless you’re a yoga expert
  • How to avoid injuries in yoga class
  • Tips to help you do moves until you become more flexible

Introduction to Yoga

Order today and SAVE 30% off $29 cover price.

Yoga book

  • 29 yoga moves with modifications
  • Covers 4 yoga practices — Loosening, Chair, Standing and Floor
  • Photos and instructions help you do each move correctly
  • Breathing techniques and meditation exercises help ease stress
  • How to choose the best type of yoga for you
  • And more!

If you’re not completely happy with An Introduction to Yoga, you can return it for a full refund. No questions asked.

Buy the Book

Here’s a breathing technique and yoga move to get you started. To get more, order your copy of An Introduction to Yoga now!

Release tension with Abdominal Breathing

Yoga woman

Abdominal breathing is a basic yoga breath that all beginners should start with. This technique gets you to breathe deeply to create abdominal movement. To start, lie on your back with one or both hands on your abdomen. Breathe slowly and deeply, drawing air into the lowest part of your lungs so your hand rises. Once you can do this breath lying down, you can give it a try while sitting or standing. Try this technique while you practice a posture, while meditating, or any time you want to calm down.

Ease into Yoga

Here’s a standard stretch that you’ll link with your breath for a more mindful practice. Starting position: Sit or stand with your feet slightly apart; arms relaxed at sides. Movement: As you exhale, slowly lower your chin toward your chest so you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your neck. As you inhale, raise your head backward, looking up to the ceiling. Go only as far as comfortable, feeling a gentle stretch in the front of your neck. That’s one rep. Do 3 reps. Where you’ll feel it: Back and front of neck.

Note: If you are elderly, have any neck problems, or have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before doing this move.

Be Careful Mixing Supplements and Medications

Download this article as a PDF

Know Your Terms


A supplement is something that completes or enhances something else when added to it. In the medical world, supplements are often taken to remedy deficiencies in a person’s diet. Examples include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs.


A medication is a substance used for medical treatment. Often, medications are prescribed and used for a directed period of time.

The Danger Zone

Taking prescription drugs and supplements together can be dangerous. Medications and supplements can interact in negative ways.

Research shows that supplements can prevent enzymes—substances in the body that accelerate chemical reactions—from breaking down a drug. When supplements stop enzymes from breaking down drugs, the medication can build up to potentially toxic levels that can lead to an accidental overdose. A supplement can also break down a drug at a faster rate, dissolving it before the medication has time to be effective.

It is important to check with your healthcare provider about the potential side effects of supplements when taken with medications.

Common Supplements with Negative Effects

Many supplements interact with prescribed medications. The following list features some of the more common over-the-counter supplements taken and the side effects they have on prescription drugs. You can always check to see what potential interactions your own prescriptions might have with supplements.


St. John’s wort is a popular herbal supplement used to counteract symptoms of depression. However, it can reverse the effects of drugs as varied as birth control pills, HIV medications, certain antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, and others.

2. KAVA:

Kava is commonly used to improve sleep, decrease anxiety and tame nervousness and stress. It should not be used with alcohol, other drugs or herbs, or any substance known to cause liver toxicity. Buprenorphine, which is often used in medications that combat opioid addictions, will negatively react with kava, often leading to respiratory distress or coma.


Vitamin E is said to help balance cholesterol and repair damaged skin. But Vitamin E has also been known to reduce the effects of cancer medications and increase the risk of side effects caused by blood thinners and immunosuppressants.


Melatonin is used to regulate the sleep cycle, manage high blood pressure, improve depression and more. However, more than 100 drug interactions can occur with melatonin. Patients using insulin or allergy medications, or those who have blood clotting disorders, should not take melatonin.


Ginkgo biloba interacts with more than 500 prescription medications. The supplement’s main usage is to counteract symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and aid in memory support. But gingko biloba will alter medications metabolized through the liver and cause dangerous and sometimes fatal effects.

Preventing Interactions

Talking with your healthcare provider is the best way to prevent having supplements interact with prescribed medications. Keeping an open line of communication between you and your physician will lower the chances of having a drug interaction.

Additionally, keep all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy. Your pharmacist can electronically screen and review your prescriptions. If you think you want to add a supplement to your diet, talk with the pharmacist before purchase. She or he can point you in the right direction to avoid possibly dangerous prescription-supplement interactions.

Take a tech Timeout, Show your hands some love

Kessler Institute Offers 10 Tips to Prevent “Digital Injuries”

Acute pain in a male wrist. Man holds his hand, black and white image, pain area of red color

Originally posted on the Kessler Institute website. Download this article as a PDF

From smartphones and tablets to game consoles, people are hooked on technology. However, the ever-increasing use of these devices has resulted in a dramatic rise in injuries to the hands, wrists and elbows, as well as the neck and back.

“We are more connected than ever, and all of this connectivity involves the use our hands,” said Joseph Valenza, M.D., Director of Pain Management, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. “Overuse, however, can quickly lead to numbness, pain and loss of function. We’ve seen an alarming increase in tech-related injuries in recent years. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms of these ‘digital injuries’ and seek treatment before more serious complications arise.”

On average, adults respond to 40 emails each day, spend 23 hours a week texting, and plays games for more than 6.5 hours a week.1 Children are equally impacted with hours of computer-based schoolwork, texting and playing games. Considering the time people spend on these devices – and the force exerted on the fingers and hands – it’s not surprising that problems can develop.

“Whether typing or texting, playing games or surfing the internet, the use of these devices and our increasing dependency on them puts us all at risk,” noted Norma Glennon, OT, CHT, Kessler Institute. “The continuous pressure of hitting the keys, tapping a screen, or even holding a device can affect the nerves, muscles and tendons in the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder – and cause any of a number of what are called repetitive stress injuries.”

The more common Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) include:

  • “Texting thumb” or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, an inflammation in the tendons that leads to pain and cramping
  • Trigger finger” (stenosing tenosynovitis) causes the thumb or other fingers to lock or snap.
  • “Text claw” – from holding devices for long periods of time – causes pain, cramping and loss of hand and wrist function
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is marked by pain, swelling, tingling and numbness in the hand and wrist
  • “Tennis” or “selfie elbow”(epicondylitis) and “cell phone elbow” (cubital tunnel syndrome) produce aching, burning and numbness in the hand, forearm and elbow

Overuse can also lead to ruptured tendons and permanent loss of function, as well as “Tech Neck” and pain in the shoulders and back from hunching over and looking down at these devices.

Many of these tech-related injuries can be avoided by using common sense – putting down your device and taking regular breaks throughout the day. As a national leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Kessler Institute offers the following 10 tips to help prevent injury in tech-users of all ages:

  • Watch for early warning signs, such as a tingling sensation, pain or numbness in the hands, wrists or elbows, as well as the neck, shoulders and back.
  • If you experience pain, stop what you’re doing.
  • Rest the affected finger(s), hand, wrist, etc.
  • Change your habits and disconnect regularly.
  • Give your thumbs a break. Switch hands, use a stylus or the talk-to-text feature on your phone if available, and learn to use a softer touch.
  • Stretch and roll. Simple exercises, such as shoulder and wrist rolls or stretching your hands and fingers can help alleviate muscle fatigue.
  • Use a neutral grip with you wrist straight when holding your digital device.
  • Act ergonomically. Be mindful of your posture, hand and body positioning, and placement of devices.
  • Pay attention to play. Studies show that gaming affects people’s perception of pain; that is, they’re so intent on the game, they fail to notice any discomfort and continue playing.
  • Seek medical attention. Speak with your physician about which treatments may be most helpful in managing your symptoms/condition: ice or heat packs; splints or braces; anti-inflammatory medication; or physical, occupational and/or specialized hand therapies.

“The best ‘cure’ for tech-related injuries is prevention – using devices wisely, taking breaks, and listening to your body for signs of discomfort. Unfortunately, given the extent to which we rely on our mobile devices, we’re really just one click away from a ‘digital disability,'” said Dr. Valenza.

1Pew Research Survey

More than 92% of American adults own a cellphone and more than 2/3 of these are smartphones, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. In addition, 73% of adults own a desktop or laptop computer, and 45% use a tablet. Game consoles and MP3 players are each used by more than 40% of the population and another 14% use portable gaming devices.


Easy exercise every day: Getting fit is all in a day’s work

Couple jogging

Becoming more active needn’t mean losing all your free time, here’s out to squeeze fitness into your daily routine, say HANNAH EBELTHITE and KATHLEEN ALLEAUME

(Full version of article was published in the September 2013 version of the U.K.’s Healthy Food Guide magazine)

As a nation, we all need to move more for the sake of our health but our best intentions are easily thwarted when we’re busy. At times it can seem hard to fit in 30 minutes a week, let alone on most days.

“The key is to find some easy, clever ways to sneak extra activity into your normal day,” says personal trainer Stuart Amory (

“If all you want to do when you get home is slump on the sofa you’re better off finding a class that’s on your route home or looking for ways of revving up your commute. If you’re a morning person, think about what you can fit in on your way to work. Then there’s your lunch break – an exercise opportunity just waiting to happen.

Read More

Better Balance – Easy Exercises to Improve Stability and Prevent Falls

Learn the steps that will keep you steady on your feet!

Discover how you can effectively safeguard and improve your sense of balance.

Inside Better Balance, you’ll discover:

  • Six illustrated workouts to improve balance
  • A step-by-step personal safety and home hazard checklist
  • Which medications raise the risk for falling?
  • Common health conditions that can affect balance
  • Which vitamin has been shown to cut the risk of fall by 17%
Read More

9 Complete Fitness Building Exercises from Harvard Medical School

At last! Workouts and exercises that will get you moving—and keep you motivated!

Jazzercise class

Inside Workout Workbook you’ll find…

  • 9 fitness-building workouts you can do in 40 minutes or less
  • 82 exercises that combine to work all parts of your body
  • What you should look for (and look out for) in choosing a gym
  • The bottom line on 12 new trends — from boot camp to Zumba
  • 10 key tips to help you avoid injury when working out
  • Tips for setting goals, measuring gains, and rewarding yourself
  • A Buyer’s Guide to the most useful workout gear and equipment

In one book, nine complete workouts that beat the boredom barrier and help you to greater fitness,  more energy, and a longer, healthier life!

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Scientists Find Exercise Benefits Lie In Molecule Called BAIBA

You can thank a little molecule called BAIBA for exercise’s health benefits.

Couple Biking

A new study in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that levels of the molecule BAIBA — short for beta-aminoisobutyric acid — increase during exercise, and this particular molecule increases the expression of calorie-burning genes in fat cells. In addition, rising levels of BAIBA during exercise was associated with benefits to triglyceride, fasting blood sugar and total cholesterol levels.

Researchers stumbled upon BAIBA when they were trying to find how exactly a protein called PGC-1∝, which is known to play a role in muscle response to exercise, sends signals to other tissues in the body. They found that when they forced the expression of this protein PGC-1∝, metabolites — including BAIBA — were then released from muscle cells.

“Our finding bolsters the underlying notion that signals generated in one organ — such as exercising muscle — are released into the circulation and influence other tissues such as fat cells and liver,” study researcher Dr. Robert Gerszten, of the Cardiology Division and Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.

Read More

Team-Based Learning in Exercise Science Education

By Brian B. Parr, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Brian B. Parr, Ph.D., is an associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina Aiken in Aiken, SC. He is an ACSM member and certified exercise specialist. Dr. Parr also chairs the ACSM Exercise Sciences Education Interest Group and has presented on teaching topics at ACSM and other professional meetings. 

This commentary, along with two others scheduled to appear in SMB this summer, relates to a special tutorial session on teaching innovations in exercise science that Dr. Parr and two of his ACSM colleagues presented as part of the program at the 2013 SEACSM Annual Meeting.

Think about the last time you took on a new task or assignment at work. Maybe you had to implement a new program or answer a question about a new product from a client. Did someone come to you and give you an organized lecture telling you everything you need to know? Of course not! You almost certainly did what any professional would do: you identified what you needed to know, sought the relevant information, and used that information to complete the program or provide factual information to your client. And more likely than not, you did this by working with others.

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CDC Physical Activities Guidelines

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases.

Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are more flexible than ever, giving you the freedom to reach your physical activity goals through different types and amounts of activities each week. It’s easier than you think!

Physical Activity Guidelines:

Children physical Activity

Click above to read Physical Activity Guidelines for Children up to 17 Years of Age

Adult physical Activity

Click above to read Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults 18 to 64 Years of Age

Older Adult physical Activity

Click above to read Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults (65 Years Plus)

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Why Should Pregnant Women Exercise?

By Lanay Mudd, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies
of ACSM.

Dr. Mudd is an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at Michigan State University. With a background in both kinesiology and epidemiology, her research focuses on maternal and child health benefits of physical activity during pregnancy. In this commentary, Dr. Mudd, an ACSM member, presents her views associated with the research which she and her colleagues published in the February 2013
issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE).

“It’s six o’clock, so should I sit on the couch and watch some TV or fit in a quick walk before dinner?” For many pregnant women, the answer is automatic – “I’m tired and I’m pregnant. I deserve to relax. What’s on TV?” Yet, research conducted over the past 18 years indicates that the woman who laces up her sneakers instead, can expect a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.

Read More

Train the Developing Brain: Beyond Sets and Reps

By Avery D. Faigenbaum, Ed.D., FACSM and Gregory D. Myer, Ph.D., FACSM

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Avery D. Faigenbaum, Ed.D., FACSM, is a Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at The College of New Jersey where his research interests focus on the health and fitness benefits of integrative strength and conditioning on children and adolescents.

Gregory. D. Myer, Ph.D., FACSM, is the Director of Research and the Human Performance Laboratory for the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Myer’s research interests focus on injury biomechanics, human performance, pediatric exercise science and preventive medicine.

This commentary presents Dr. Faigenbaum’s and Dr. Myer’s views associated with an article they coauthored with other colleagues and which appears in the September/October 2013 issue of ACSM’s Current Sports Medicine Reports. 

Nationwide, fewer school-age youth participate regularly in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and the decline and disinterest in play and games appears to progress steadily after age six. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is a
major public health concern and the World Health Organization now recognizes physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality for non-communicable diseases. Yet, despite the fact that schools are an ideal setting for public health initiatives, daily physical education taught by well-trained specialists is provided in only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools in the United States (for added information, see:

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Physical Activity, Skeletal Muscle, and Bone Interactions During Growth

By Joshua N. Farr, Ph.D., and Scott B. Going, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Joshua N. Farr, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology,Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Endocrinology, College of Medicine, MayoClinic, Rochester, Minnesota. His research focus includes clinical-investigative studies in osteoporosis as well as in bone biology using mouse and cell models.

Scott B. Going, Ph.D., an ACSM member, is Professor and Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at The University of Arizona, Tucson. His research includes studies on the effects of exercise and diet on soft tissue composition and bone in children and adults.

The following commentary reflects Dr. Farr’s and Dr. Going’s views relating to the research article that they and their colleagues authored and which appeared in the December 2013 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE).

The incidence of osteoporosis is projected to triple by year 2040, reflecting increased longevity and sedentary lifestyles. Despite considerable effort, our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that drive age-related bone loss remains incomplete. However, there is now nearly universal consensus that early-life experiences are important for disease risk. Indeed, osteoporosis is widely considered a pediatric disorder, waiting to manifest itself later in life. Thus, the peri-pubertal years are recognized as an opportune period to modify bone density, size, and shape – traits that tend to track throughout life. In girls, over 25% of adult bone mineral is laid down during just two years surrounding peak linear growth – this is as much bone as a woman will lose from age 50 to 80 years. But can building a stronger skeletal during growth counteract the inevitable loss of bone with aging?

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Strength Training Lowers Risk of Impaired Glucose Metabolism at the Population Level

By Karl Minges, M.P.H., and David Dunstan, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies
of ACSM.

Karl Minges is a doctoral student at Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. His research
interests broadly relate to diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the role of health behaviors in preventing
overweight/obesity. Mr. Minges completed the present work with the support of a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship
administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Professor Dunstan is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and heads the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He is an ACSM member whose research focuses on the role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

This commentary presents perspectives from Mr. Minges and Dr. Dunstan’s relative to issues central to their cross-sectional study that appears in the February 2013 issue of ACSM’s Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE).

Increasing rates of type 2 diabetes (T2D) have global public health implications; furthermore, about 1 in 3 adults are afflicted with the precursor to T2D – impaired glucose metabolism (IGM). Thus, they are at risk of developing T2D and associated cardiovascular complications.

Read More

The new healthy eating plan that delivers results – in just six weeks!

Don’t wait another year — or another day! Keep that promise you’ve made to yourself!

Every day, you make dozens of decisions about what to eat. Will you cook at home or eat out? Snack from a vending machine or carry a healthy snack with you? Making good decisions about what to eat is essential to a healthy lifestyle. And now, putting those choices into practice and eating healthfully has never been easier! The 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating from Harvard Medical School will show you a gradual approach to a healthier diet. Read More

The AMA Says Obesity is a Disease; Now We Need to Inform Them How to Best Treat It

By Robert Sallis, M.D.

Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, is a past president of ACSM and chair of the Exercise is Medicine Task Force. He originated the EIM concept and has been its leading advocate from the beginning. Dr. Sallis earned an M.D. from Texas A&M University and completed his residency in family medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, CA. He has continued his medical career with Kaiser and now co-directs their sports medicine fellowship training program. Dr. Sallis is the founding editor-in-chief of ACSM’s Current Sports Medicine Reports journal. Exercise Is Medicine was launched in partnership with the AMA, and continues to work with AMA to find solutions to the obesity epidemic. 

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect author opinions and not necessarily the positions or policies of ACSM.

My first reaction to hearing that the AMA had voted to classify obesity as a disease last month was a positive one. That was until I heard the excited comments from those who will profit most from the increased use (and payment for) bariatric surgery and weight loss drugs. Right away these individuals and organizations began campaigns to gain more reimbursement for their treatments of this newfound disease. My concern is that pushing the same old overpriced treatments on patients is more likely to benefit the wallets of surgeon’s and pharmaceutical companies than the health of Americans. There must be a better way to deal with this newly labeled disease called obesity.

Read More

Exercise or Calorie Restriction to Lower Blood Triglycerides Levels?

Active Voice: Exercise or Calorie Restriction to Lower Blood Triglycerides Levels?

By Labros S. Sidossis, Ph.D., and Elena Bellou, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Labros Sidossis, Ph.D., is professor of medicine and nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, USA. A member of ACSM, he is Director of Obesity Research at the Sealy Center on Aging at UTMB. Dr. Sidossis also is Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece. His research interests include obesity and 

lipid metabolism, lifestyle interventions to promote health and brown adipose tissue metabolism.

Elena Bellou, Ph.D. is clinical dietitian and post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens. Her scientific interests relate to the regulation of human lipid metabolism, particularly effects of lifestyle interventions on lipoprotein triglyceride kinetics. 

In this commentary, Dr. Sidossis and Dr. Bellou present their views related to the research report which they and their colleagues published in the March 2013 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE).

Lifestyle changes are the first line of therapy for metabolic abnormalities such as hypertriglyceridemia,  or elevated triglycerides. Exercise is particularly efficient in improving the lipid profile in humans; even a single bout of exercise can acutely decrease the blood triglyceride concentration. However, for this to work, exercise should result in a negative energy balance. When food is increased to compensate for the energy lost during exercise, the hypotriglyceridemic effect of exercise is lost.

Read More

Strength Training Lowers Risk of Impaired Glucose Metabolism at the Population Level

By Karl Minges, M.P.H., and David Dunstan, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Karl Minges is a doctoral student at Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. His research interests broadly relate to diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the role of health behaviors in preventing overweight/obesity. Mr. Minges completed the present work with the support of a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship administered by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Professor Dunstan is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and heads the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He is an ACSM member whose research focuses on the role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. 

This commentary presents perspectives from Mr. Minges and Dr. Dunstan’s relative to issues central to their cross-sectional study that appears in the February 2013 issue of ACSM’s Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE).

Increasing rates of type 2 diabetes (T2D) have global public health implications; furthermore, about 1 in 3 adults are afflicted with the precursor to T2D – impaired glucose metabolism (IGM). Thus, they are at risk of developing T2D and associated cardiovascular complications.

Read More

Why is Core Strength so important?

What if you could banish low back pain … prevent falls … and increase flexibility in just minutes a day?

You can do all the above — and more — thanks to a new Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. Gentle Core Exercises brings you the safest, gentlest, and fastest ways to strengthen and tone important core muscles.

Read More

Personal Trainers as Professionals

An Article by Richard T. Cotton, M.A.

American College of Sports Medicine: Active Voice – Sports Medicine Bulletin

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Richard Cotton is ACSM’s National Director of Certification and Registry Programs. He has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 30 years. Cotton earned a B.A. in education from Wayne State University, Detroit, and an M.A. in exercise science from San Diego State University. He holds ACSM certifications as Preventive and Rehabilitative Program DirectorSM and ACSM Exercise Specialist®. He frequently serves as an expert source on behalf of ACSM in print, broadcast and Web-based media.

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Commentary on Doping in Sports

By Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACSM

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACSM, FACP, FCP, FACPM, chairs ACSM’s Communications and Public Information Committee. He is a clinical associate professor of medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and past chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List Committee.

The Lance Armstrong scandal sits among the most high-profile, unprecedented doping scandals in United States sports history.

The evolving story is about more than understanding the complexities of banned substances, drug testing and prosecutions. The real story is about the regrettable messages that this scandal sends to our youth who seek nothing more than fair and ethical competition.

It is more than the tragic story of a gifted athlete—Lance Armstrong—who finally has admitted to his use of a variety of performance-enhancing drugs and methods. It is more than his accepting a lifetime suspension in cycling, losing numerous records including seven Tour de France titles and countless millions in prize money and endorsements, and apologizing to his family and fans.

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Resistance Training in Healthy Older Adults – Do We Need to Supplement Dietary Protein?

Resistance Training in Healthy Older Adults — Do We Need to Supplement Dietary Protein?

By Lex B. Verdijk, Ph.D. and Luc J.C. van Loon, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Dr. Verdijk is a researcher and Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Movement Sciences at Maastricht University Medical Centre+, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the role of exercise and nutrition in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass and function, with special interest in the aging human.

Dr. van Loon is a Professor of Physiology of Exercise at the Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, the Netherlands. An ACSM member, Dr. van Loon leads the M3 Research Unit at Maastricht University. The main fields of investigation in his research unit include human skeletal muscle metabolism, exercise metabolism, sports nutrition, adaptation to endurance and resistance type exercise training, and the use of combined physical activity and/or dietary (lifestyle) interventions to improve health and/or functional performance in chronic metabolic disease (obesity and type 2 diabetes) and aging.

This commentary presents Dr. Verdijk’s and Dr. van Loon’s views on the topic of a research article which they and their colleagues published in the March 2013 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise®, “Protein supplementation during resistance-type exercise training in the elderly”.

Muscle mass, strength, and function progressively decline with increasing age. This process has been termed “sarcopenia”, and ultimately results in physical disability, loss of independence, and reduced quality of life. Since both decreased physical activity and inadequate food intake play a key role in the development of sarcopenia, exercise and/or nutritional interventions are considered important tools in its treatment. Resistance type exercise training is currently regarded as the most effective intervention strategy to counteract loss of muscle mass and function with aging. Although several studies have suggested that protein supplementation may be of additional benefit, there is no clear evidence that older adults should combine resistance training with protein supplementation to optimize the effects of exercise. Inconclusive findings are likely caused by differences in the populations studied, the amount, type, and timing of supplements, and duration of the intervention programs.

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Barefoot Running – More than just Foot Strike?

An Active Voice Sports Medicine Bulletin

By Janet S. Dufek, Ph.D., FACSM and Traci L. Delgado, SPT

American College of Sports Medicine.


Injury prevention in the running community is paramount for sports medicine practitioners. As running fads populate, it is important to understand underlying biomechanical processes in order to provide appropriate intervention and rehabilitation therapies to minimize and recover from injury. One of the techniques utilized in the prevention of running injuries is to modify the gait pattern, with one particular contemporary trend increasing amongst runners, i.e., barefoot (or minimalist footwear) running. There is growing evidence to suggest that barefoot running results in changes in how you run (kinematics) as well as the forces (kinetics) associated with running.

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ACSM Fitness Resolution: Every Body Walk!

December 16, 2013)


Around the start of each New Year, advice abounds to help people adopt healthier lifestyles. The American College of Sports Medicine offers science-based guidelines: adults should get 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to maintain health; double that to lose weight. Kids need an hour almost every day. (For details, see Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.) Given that physical activity has been shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, let’s resolve to help everyone get a healthy dose.

This year’s advice focuses on how to achieve those physical activity goals, involving individuals, families, communities, workplaces and other organizations, and carves out a role for Congress as well. ACSM is a lead partner in the burgeoning collaborative known as Every Body Walk! (, which touts walking and walkability for health and a slew of other reasons: economics, environmental benefits, student achievement and more. Walking (and rolling, for those who use wheelchairs) is available to nearly everyone, costs nothing, and integrates easily into everyday life. These points were made abundantly clear at the recent 2013 Walking Summit, where Dr. Bob Sallis, Past President of ACSM, reported the discovery of a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems: “The drug is called walking … its generic name is physical activity.”

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Walking As A Way of Life: Moving for Health & Happiness

Excerpt taken from the new booklet –

Walking As a Way of Life: Movement for Health & Happiness.

Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis, a family practitioner at a Kaiser Permanente clinic in Fontana, California. It’s been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety and osteoporosis, Sallis told leaders at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.

“The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.”

Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better.

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The Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise

This week marks the start of the annual eat-too-much and move-too-little holiday season, with its attendant declining health and surging regrets. But a well-timed new study suggests that a daily bout of exercise should erase or lessen many of the injurious effects, even if you otherwise lounge all day on the couch and load up on pie.

To undertake this valuable experiment, which was published online in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at the University of Bath in England rounded up a group of 26 healthy young men. All exercised regularly. None were obese. Baseline health assessments, including biopsies of fat tissue, confirmed that each had normal metabolisms and blood sugar control, with no symptoms of incipient diabetes.

The scientists then asked their volunteers to impair their laudable health by doing a lot of sitting and gorging themselves.

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Walking – It’s Easy

It’s Easy, Inexpensive, Effective and Often Ignored

A survey presented at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C. stated that 94 percent of those polled acknowledged that walking is good for their health and 79 percent admitted they should walk more, yet one third don’t walk for 10 minutes at a time over the course of a week.

How many minutes do you spend walking per week and what’s the longest you walk at one time?

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Commuting’s Hidden Cost

My twin grandsons, now 13 years old, walk nearly a mile to and from school and play basketball in the schoolyard for an hour or more most afternoons, when weather and music lessons permit.

The boys, like their father, are lean, strong and healthy. Their parents chose to live in New York, where their legs and public transit enable them to go from place to place efficiently, at low cost and with little stress (usually). They own a car but use it almost exclusively for vacations.

“Green” commuting is a priority in my family. I use a bicycle for most shopping and errands in the neighborhood, and I just bought my grandsons new bicycles for their trips to and from soccer games, accompanied by their cycling father.

My son used to work in New Jersey, which entailed a hated commute by car that took 50 to 90 minutes each way. He quit that job when his sons were born and, working part-time from home, cared for the boys. He now commutes to work in the city by foot and by subway, giving him time to read for pleasure.

As you’ll soon see, the change has probably been good for his health, too.

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Improving sleep

Can’t fall asleep? Trouble staying asleep?

Discover the steps and strategies you can take now to regain the joy and benefits of a good night’s rest!

Inside the Improving Sleep you’ll discover:

  • How sleep loss harms your health
  • Why a drink before bed is not a good idea
  • Medications that may affect your sleep
  • Ways to cure insomnia without drugs
  • How to reset your internal sleep clock
  • Information on narcolepsy, somnabulism, apnea and other sleep disorders
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