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Children consuming sports drinks unnecessarily

A high proportion of 12-14 year olds are regularly consuming sports drinks socially, increasing their risk of obesity and tooth erosion, concludes a Cardiff University School of Dentistry survey.

Published today in the British Dental Journal, the survey looked at 160 children in four schools across South Wales and concluded that children are attracted to sports drinks because of their sweet taste, low price, and availability, with most parents and children not aware that sports drinks are not intended for consumption by children.

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Half of the children surveyed claimed to drink sports drinks socially and most (80%) purchased them in local shops. The majority (90%) also claimed that taste was a factor and only 18% claimed to drink them because of the perceived performance enhancing effect. Price was one of the top three recorded reasons for purchase and, of particular concern, 26% of children also cited leisure centres as purchase sources.

Maria Morgan, senior lecturer in dental public health at Cardiff University, said: “The purpose of sports drinks are being misunderstood and this study clearly shows evidence of high school age children being attracted to these high sugar and low pH level drinks, leading to an increased risk of dental cavities, enamel erosion and obesity.

“Dental health professionals should be aware of the popularity of sports drinks with children when giving health education or advice or designing health promotion initiatives.”

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) is calling for tighter regulation around the price, availability and marketing of sports drinks to children, especially surrounding the school area, to safeguard general and dental health.

Dr Paul D Jackson, President of the FSEM UK, said: “The proportion of children in this study who consume high carbohydrate drinks, which are designed for sport, in a recreational non-sporting context is of concern.

“Sports drinks are intended for athletes taking part in endurance and intense sporting events, they are also connected with tooth decay in athletesi and should be used following the advice of dental and healthcare teams dedicated to looking after athletes. Water or milk is sufficient enough to hydrate active children, high sugar sports drinks are unnecessary for children and most adults.”

Source: Science Daily.

Injured muscles ‘shocked’ back to health

Running barefoot helps optimize technique, reduces risk of injury, study shows

Scientists from the Universities of Granada and Jaén have demonstrated how barefoot running, when done properly, can considerably decrease the risk of injury as it produces significant changes to foot strike patterns, regardless of the speed of the runner.

Barefoot running appears to contribute to the acquisition of a more efficient biomechanical running pattern, allowing contact between the foot and the ground to begin in the metatarsal area (forefoot strikes). The use of standard modern footwear appears to favour the opposite technique; initiating contact with the ground at the heel area with a rearfoot strike, which produces significant impact peaks that negatively affect the runner’s health and athletic performance.

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There is currently a great deal of interest in the barefoot running trend, which is supported by a growing number of runners and researchers who are attempting to gain a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of locomotion. While not currently accepted as the norm, the practice is on the rise.

Footwear worn by human beings over recent millennia can be categorised as clearly minimalist. Its fundamental feature was the introduction of a protective sole. Over the last three decades, several advances have radically changed the design of functional elements in athletic footwear: cushioned midsoles, movement control technology, technology for optimizing shock absorption, etc. The advantages of these recent technological advances in athletic footwear are disputed in scientific forums.

A twelve-week program

The benefits of barefoot running are attainable only when one acquires certain techniques. Otherwise, barefoot running can give rise to other risk factors. One should therefore take precautions before starting to practice the activity.

A multidisciplinary UGR research team known as HUMAN LAB participated in the study. The team is located at the University of Granada’s Sport and Health Institute (iMUDS), which is equipped with the most up to date and advanced technology for conducting comprehensive analyses of the health and efficiency indicators of the runners.

The study has been published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science. The article compiles the results obtained by researchers following the development of a training program based on 12 weeks of barefoot running designed to test the effects produced on runners.

The study was conducted with 39 volunteer runners who took part in a program consisting of specific exercises, completed in progressively increasing volumes on grass. The exercises were based exclusively on continual running, separated intervals and sprints.

Following the training period, the researchers found that athletes who run barefoot significantly adjust the way their feet initially make contact with the ground. Thanks to the program, runners with a rearfoot strike pattern significantly adjusted their strike pattern towards a forefoot strike pattern, both at comfortable running speeds (rearfoot support dropped from 55.6% to just 11.1%) and higher speeds (rearfoot support dropped from 58.3% to 13.8%).

Other significant results pertain to injury risk. The researchers found that internal foot eversion remained constant while foot and ankle rotation, however, varied between a 5.5%-13.8% increase in external rotation.

Source: Science Daily.

Creatine – Everything you need to know

Creatine is one of, if not the most popular sports supplements in the world for mass gain. Surveys performed on creatine use in athletes indicate that creatine is used by over 40% of athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and that athletes from about 20 different NCAA sports reportedly use creatine. Creatine use in power-sport athletes may be even more prevalent, with up to about 75% of powerlifters, boxers, weightlifters, and track and field athletes reportedly using the supplement. And a survey of gym/health club members conducted in 2000 reported that about 60% of members are creatine users.

Why is creatine so popular among athletes and gym-goers? Quite simply because it works, and it works well. Literally hundreds of studies have been done on creatine showing its effectiveness for increasing muscle strength, muscle power, muscle size, overall athletic performance and even enhancing certain areas of health.



Creatine is a nonessential dietary protein-like compound found in high abundance in meat and fish. It is synthesized in the body, primarily in the liver, from the three amino acids, arginine, glycine and methionine. Muscle tissue does not produce creatine, and therefore it must take up creatine from the bloodstream. Once inside muscle cells, creatine gets a high-energy phosphate attached to it and is then known as phosphocreatine (PCr) or creatine phosphate. It is this high-energy molecule that is one of the most critical components of creatine’s beneficial effects in the body. That’s because creatine donates its high-energy phosphate to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used by the muscle for the rapid energy it needs for muscle contraction, such as during weight-lifting. Supplementing with creatine is reported to increase the content of PCr in muscle by approximately 20% (see Figure 1). Having more PCr in muscle cells means more ATP can be rapidly produced during exercise, which can lead to gains in strength, power, speed and muscle growth.



Numerous studies have reported significant improvements in one-rep max strength of subjects taking creatine. For example, Belgian researchers reported in a 1997 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology that untrained subjects taking creatine while following a 10-week weight-training program increased their one-rep max on the squat by 25% more than those taking a placebo while following the same program. A 1998 study by University of Nebraska (Omaha) researchers found that trained collegiate football players taking creatine while following an 8-week weight-training program gained a 6% increase in their one-rep bench press strength, while those taking a placebo experienced no strength gains at all. A review on creatine printed in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that out of 16 studies investigating the effects of creatine on one-rep max strength, the average increase in strength was about 10% more in those taking creatine as compared to those taking a placebo (see Figure 2).

Studies also show that creatine enables subjects to complete more reps with a given weight. University of Queensland (St. Lucia, Australia) researchers reported that competitive powerlifters taking creatine while preparing for a competition increased the number of reps they were able to complete with 85% of their one-rep max by 40%, while those taking a placebo experienced no change in the number of reps they were able to complete with the same weight. In the 2003 review paper discussed above, the researchers determined that out of the 16 studies, the average increase in reps performed while taking creatine was about 15% more than those taking a placebo.

Source: Muscle and Fitness.


Protein in a mass- building or get-lean diet is a lot like a mutual fund or a 401(k) plan: You know you need it, but you’re not always sure which one to pick. There are simply so many of them. But just as diversifying your investment portfolio is crucial to long-
term wealth, so too is including a variety of different proteins in your daily meal plan.

The proteins found in whole foods like beef, poultry, fish, and dairy are vital, but so are those found in protein powders, bars, and ready-made shakes. Problem is, with the growth of the supplement industry in the past couple of decades, there seem to be just as many differ- ent proteins in stores as there are mutual funds on Wall Street. Therefore, we’ve put together this guide to navigating your way through the different tubs, bars, and shakes present in the protein marketplace today.



Assuming you don’t have ample time (or desire) to prep every meal and snack, convenience is a big deal. And that’s where meal- replacement bars come in handy. If you’re hurrying out the door for work, throw a bar in your bag. If you’re afraid of getting stuck in the office with nothing healthy to eat, keep a box of bars at your desk. Most bars on the market these days include protein, fats, and carbs, making a bar a small meal to tide you over until the next one. Plus, there are a number of low-carb bars available that include sugar alcohols, which aren’t readily absorbed in the body like regular sugars. Because the protein doesn’t absorb as fast as in liquid form, bars aren’t ideal pre- and post-workout, but otherwise, they’re fine to include in your diet in moderation.



When it comes to building muscle, nothing beats whey. It’s the best protein for stimulating muscle gains before and after workouts. The best whey powders on the market contain whey protein isolate (WPI) and/or whey protein hydrolysates (WPH)—these are the purest forms of whey, they digest the quickest, and they get to your muscles fast.

Source: Mensfitness.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Exercise

Q: How accurate are the calorie-burning counters on cardio machines?
A: Not very. They tend to overestimate calorie burn by a fair amount — up to 30 percent, depending on the machine. Stationary bikes, treadmills, and machines that allow you to enter your weight tend to be more accurate; ellipticals generally exaggerate results. To determine how many calories you can burn based on your weight for more than 220 physical activities, go to –

Q: Should I eat before or after a workout?
A: After. You want to replace the carbohydrates and glycogen (stored glucose that’s used for energy) that were depleted or you’ll be more susceptible to injury and burnout. And the sooner you eat, the more likely those nutrients will go to the place where they were expended and are needed most. Research suggests that a snack with a carb-to-protein ratio of four to one is the most beneficial.

Q: Why do I feel sore two days after going to the gym?
A: This is called “delayed-onset muscle soreness.” Muscle structure is broken down a little during strength-training, and soreness is a sign that your body is rebuilding. As much as you may want to just sit on the couch, it helps to move: Activity increases blood flow to the area, delivering nutrients that help repair muscle.

Q: Can I tone muscle without lifting weights?
Any exercise that involves pushing or pulling against a resistance — such as yoga,Pilates, push-ups, planks, and using resistance bands — is good for muscle toning and endurance.


Q: Why do men lose weight faster than women?
Men naturally have a higher “VO2 max,” which is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during exercise. And the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn. Also, pound for pound, men have more lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest than fat tissue does.

Q: Should I work out every day?
A: It’s okay to do cardiovascular exercise daily, but you shouldn’t strength-train every day — your muscles need time to recover. In general, it’s good to take one day off entirely each week: Remember, exercise is stressful on the body, plus you don’t want to burn out mentally.

Q: How often do I need to buy new workout shoes?
The general rule is every 500 miles, but sneakers tend to last longer if you’re using them on cardio and weight machines versus pounding the pavement with regular outdoor runs.

Source: Webmd.

Cross-Training to Reduce Injury

Do you know how common back injuries are in the sport and that a lot of the top players are walking wounded?

In golf, you’re only swinging in one direction. Hundreds of times a day when you count time on the driving range practicing. This puts a lot of repeated pressure on the spine, and among elite golfers back, hip, and knee injuries are common. Take this same idea and apply it to a major league pitcher or professional tennis player … and they have a lot of similar problems, as well as adding in shoulder and elbow issues.

Enter Cross-Training

Elite-level athletes and their coaches know the importance of cross-training to stay injury free. Time spent practicing and perfecting your sport must be incorporated into training for balance.

And I literally mean balance. BOSU training is popular with athletes because as you stand on an uneven surface your entire body must respond to maintain its position. Squats are hard, but one-legged squats while standing on a BOSU are really hard. You won’t be using just your glutes to move up and down; everything will be contracting rapid-fire to keep you standing upright.

Choices for Cross-Training

When thinking about cross-training you should consider your preferred sport and where you are injury-prone. Here are a few suggestions for you:

Running: Quite possibly the most injury-prone sport there is, runners often suffer from leg and back problems. Cross-training for runners should include time in the weight room strengthening both inner and outer leg muscles. Runners should also consider other sports like biking and swimming to give their body a break from all the impact.

Tennis: You predominantly twist in one direction with tennis causing a lot of torque on the knee, the spine, and of course, the dreaded tennis elbow. Focus on working towards balance with activities such as yoga or Pilates. A great cross-training for tennis is a group exercise Spin class that will keep your cardio endurance up, but keeps wear and tear to a minimum.

Weight training: A lot of people love to push iron around and build sculpted muscles. This causes a lot of wear and tear on the joints and can cause injury over time. Make sure you’re building the opposing muscle groups evenly (i.e., don’t over train your chest and ignore your back). The best cross-training option is to leave the gym behind and hit the great outdoors. Activities like hiking or swimming at the beach are perfect, using your muscles in a more natural movement pattern to develop balance throughout your frame.

Source: lisajohnsonfitness.

5 Ways to Get More Exercise – Without Really Trying

1. Get a Pull-Up Bar

Now, before you hit that little X to get off of this webpage ASAP, hear me out!!

Pull-up bars are not just for bodybuilders or CrossFitters. No, no, no! You absolutely need to have one in your home, too.

Let me tell you, if you slump at a desk all day long, like I do waaay too much, you reallyshould be doing pull-ups.

Pull-ups help to counteract that computer-hunch, they improve the health of your back, they build your arm strength, they work your core muscles better than crunches, and on and on. They are awesome!

And before you tell me how you could NEVER pull yourself up, I was the same. I could barely do one pull-up in the beginning, but it’s amazing how doing them consistently builds your strength.

So, how can you increase physical activity — without really trying?
Start out by doing one or two reps each time you pass your pull-up bar throughout the day.

If you can’t do one pull-up, you can jump up into position, then lower yourself as slowly as you can, and you will get there eventually.

We have one like this pull-up bar in our home, and it’s great… these don’t damage your doorframe to install, and they can be removed in a flash when you have guests coming over 🙂

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2. Squat For 10 Minutes

As you probably know, in many countries the deep squat is just part of their everyday life. Most Westerners however, haven’t done even one single squat in years.

But, we should be.

Physical therapists say we should be able to hold the squat position for 10 whole minutes. For most of us that is crazy talk! But, we can accumulate those 10 minutes one minute at a time.

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3. Get a Kettlebell

If you’re on my weight loss program, you will know how much I love my kettlebell.

4. Stand Up More

Sitting down constricts your circulation, slows your metabolism, and switches off your muscles. Even if you do one hour of exercise every single day, it still couldn’t make up for the dozens of hours you spend sitting down.

But, the solution is really very simple, just stand up!

5. Change Your Attitude

In our modern world we tend to think that saving effort is always better. But, that is not the case when it comes to physical activity.

The truth is, we do need to put in some effort, but we need to stop thinking of exercise as something that requires a change of clothes and a warm-up.

Get it into your head that you just need to move a bit more every single day and you will soon be getting more exercise without really trying.

These are just a few simple tricks you can add into your daily life, that will have you in better shape in no time. And, no changing rooms required, that’s the best part!

Source: Diet Rebel.

It is hands down the best piece of equipment I own. In fact, it was the only piece of equipment I actually shipped across from the UK to Canada.

It will revolutionize your workout… I know that sounds O.T.T., but I am totally serious!

So, how can you increase physical activity — without really trying?
The kettlebell is great for doing full workouts, but what I love about it most is that you can pick it up anytime and just give your heart rate a little boost.

Ours sits in our basement living room, so that it can be picked up and used anytime of the day. I love that, because it doesn’t require any effort whatsoever to get organized to “workout.”

Source: Diet Rebel.


Exercise training in heart failure

Heart failure is a common endpoint for many cardiovascular diseases. This syndrome is characterized by reduced cardiac output that leads to dyspnea, exercise intolerance and later death. More than 20 million people worldwide are estimated to have heart failure and this situation will get worse since the prevalence of heart failure will rise as the mean age of the population increases.

Over the last years a lot of effort has been done to understand the mechanism involved in heart failure development. Despite heart failure seems to be a multifactorial syndrome, a common point observed by several studies was the accumulation of “bad” (or misfolded) proteins in cardiac cells of both humans and animals with heart failure. Proteins are like workers responsible for many chemical reactions required keeping our cells healthy. They are constituted by a sequence of amino acids that determines the protein “shape” (structure), which is critical for proteins function. During the evolution process, our cells developed a protein quality control system that refolds (when it is possible!) or degrades misfolded proteins, allowing them to keep only the “good” (correctly folded) proteins.


In the current study from K. G. Jebsen — Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in collaboration with Professor Patricia Brum’s research group at University of Sao Paulo, Luiz Bozi and colleagues discovered that misfolded protein accumulation in a rat model of heart failure was related to disruption of the cardiac protein quality control system. Since there is no pharmacology therapy targeting the protein quality control system, Luiz Bozi and colleagues investigated whether aerobic exercise training, an efficient therapy for prevention and treatment of a variety of cardiovascular diseases, would reestablish the cardiac protein quality control system and improve cardiac function of heart failure rats.

Source: Science Daily.

Running. Cheaper than therapy!


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