November, 2011

Running: Pick Your Podcast

November 27, 2011

Running: Pick Your Podcast Good music is sometimes the key to getting through a workout comfortably.  You can pick tunes with a tempo that matches your cadence for a smooth run.  Turning up the volume on rock classics can get you up and over hills.  And listening to your new favorite song, well, that will just make you happy.  And workouts are easier when you are happy.  But what other options are out there when you’re feeling less than inspired by the tracks on your iPod?  Here’s a few suggestions that are not so musical, but still stimulating and motivating.  The best part is that they’re all available for free at the iTunes store.   1. Nutrition Diva’s Podcasthttp://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/ Monica Reinagel is the Nutrition Diva.  She’s got a whole bunch of letters after her name.  She’s a board-certified licensed nutritionalist, and a professionally trained chef among other things.  Her resume is quite impressive, but don’t let that steer you away with the thought that this podcast will be a tedious listen.  She manages to take complicated nutrition topics, and break them down into memorable bite-sized chunks of information.  She cleverly presents her information with plenty of examples and quick stories, leaving the listener with some solid takeaway knowledge that they won’t soon forget.  Each podcast is about 5 minutes long, so load up a handful of them before you head out for a run or bike ride…you’ll be surprised at how much you learn with such little effort!   2.  Radiolab: www.radiolab.org The two hosts of this radio show weave stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries.  One story that sticks out in my mind was called “Damn It, Basal Ganglia.”  I feel the need to push up the bridge of my proverbial glasses and adjust my pocket protector for admitting that I often geek-out on stories like this.  But just read the description of this story!  How could you not be curious?  Radiolab stories are about an hour long, so if you aim to go running for 45 minutes, you’ll want to tack on some additional mileage just to hear the stories’ conclusions!   3.  NPR StoryCorps Podcast: http://www.npr.org/series/4516989/storycorps StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record and share the stories of their lives.  Each story is only about 5 minutes long, and I’ve never heard similar stories despite having been a listener for several years.  I remember listening to one story that was a son interviewing his dad (who had Alzheimer’s).  It was both fascinating and heartbreaking to hear the dad ask the son, “What’s your name again?” after reminiscing in detail about some memories they shared.  Some episodes will shock you, others will humble you, but they will all hold your attention and inspire you to keep going!   4.  The Moth: http://themoth.org/ The Moth podcast is stories told live from the stage in New York.  It’s real people telling their true stories, however embarrassing, unbelievable, or unusual they may be.  Averaging about 15 minutes, these stories are the perfect length to become engrossed in during a short workout.  In one podcast, a woman gets swept up into a cult and doesn’t even realize it.  In another story a young woman meets her brother for the first time at their father’s funeral.  Most stories are either hilarious, or super-emotional.  Since they are recorded live, you feel like you are right there alongside the storyteller.   Try downloading some of these podcasts before your next run.  Hopefully they will be just what you need to keep your mind distracted from how hard you’re working.   And if you have a favorite podcast you listen to while exercising, please feel free to post it in the comments section below.  
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You Don’t Have to Lose Muscle with Age

November 11, 2011

In the wake of a 100 year old marathoner , Dr. Mirkin gives us insight into Sarcopenia, or muscle loss with aging.  Reprinted with permission from Dr. Mirkin's newsletter.  To learn about Dr. Mirkin and read more health articles, visit drmirkin.com. Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine November 13, 2011 Sarcopenia: Muscle Loss with Aging Competitive masters athletes, 40 to 81 years old, who trained four to five times per week did not lose any muscle size or significant strength with aging (The Physician and Sportsmedicine, October 2011;39(3):172-8).  This shows that loss of muscle size and strength in older people is caused by lack of exercise, not just with aging.  The athletes did gain fat in spite of exercising.  Those in their 70s had almost as much strength and thigh muscle size as those in their 40s. MOST PEOPLE LOSE MUSCLE: Recent studies show that after age 40, men lose more than eight percent of their muscle size each decade, and this loss of muscle increases after age 70.  The people who lose the most muscle are usually the ones who die earliest. They are also most at risk for falls and broken bones. HOW EXERCISE PREVENTS MUSCLE LOSS WITH AGING:   Muscles are made up of thousands of individual muscle fibers.  Each muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve.  With aging, humans lose the nerves that innervate muscle fibers, and with each nerve loss, they lose the associated muscle fiber so muscles become smaller. We used to think this happens because of aging.  However, this new study and others show that lifelong competitive athletes do not lose the nerves that innervate their muscles with aging. They retain the nerves and therefore retain most of the muscle fibers that they would have lost if they were inactive. MESSAGE:   If you exercise regularly, continue to do so. If you don't, check with your doctor and then get instructions on how to start an exercise program.
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You Don’t Have to Lose Muscle with Aging

November 11, 2011

In the wake of a 100 year old marathoner , Dr. Mirkin gives us insight into Sarcopenia, or muscle loss with aging.  Reprinted with permission from Dr. Mirkin's newsletter.  To learn about Dr. Mirkin and read more health articles, visit drmirkin.com. Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine November 13, 2011 Sarcopenia: Muscle Loss with Aging Competitive masters athletes, 40 to 81 years old, who trained four to five times per week did not lose any muscle size or significant strength with aging (The Physician and Sportsmedicine, October 2011;39(3):172-8).  This shows that loss of muscle size and strength in older people is caused by lack of exercise, not just with aging.  The athletes did gain fat in spite of exercising.  Those in their 70s had almost as much strength and thigh muscle size as those in their 40s. MOST PEOPLE LOSE MUSCLE: Recent studies show that after age 40, men lose more than eight percent of their muscle size each decade, and this loss of muscle increases after age 70.  The people who lose the most muscle are usually the ones who die earliest. They are also most at risk for falls and broken bones. HOW EXERCISE PREVENTS MUSCLE LOSS WITH AGING:   Muscles are made up of thousands of individual muscle fibers.  Each muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve.  With aging, humans lose the nerves that innervate muscle fibers, and with each nerve loss, they lose the associated muscle fiber so muscles become smaller. We used to think this happens because of aging.  However, this new study and others show that lifelong competitive athletes do not lose the nerves that innervate their muscles with aging. They retain the nerves and therefore retain most of the muscle fibers that they would have lost if they were inactive. MESSAGE:   If you exercise regularly, continue to do so. If you don't, check with your doctor and then get instructions on how to start an exercise program.
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A Rainy Day Drink That Won’t Destroy the Results of Your Hard Work

November 5, 2011

  You’re relaxing at home on a rainy gray morning after a nice trail run, and you get that craving for a sweet, rich, comforting mug of hot chocolate.  But what do you do if you don’t eat sugar?  Make a cup of tea perhaps, maybe some roasted brown rice, peppermint, or chai flavored?  That could be good, but sometimes you just want something with a little bit more body.  Adding milk to tea works for some people, but if you’re lactose intolerant, that won’t work for you.  I discovered a satisfying concoction that I’d like to share with you.  It’s sugar and dairy free, and super-easy to prepare. Start with a brewed cup of chai tea.  I used Zhena’s Gypsy Tea (Coconut Chai Black Tea) because that’s what was in my cupboard, but you can pick your favorite Chai tea.  Once it’s steeped the way you like it, remove the tea bag, and stir in about a tablespoon of unprocessed cacao powder.  (This is not the same as hot chocolate mix, it’s pure roasted chocolate beans with no added sweeteners.  Make sure that the only ingredient listed is “cocoa.”)   Add in a big splash of full fat coconut milk and stir.  This drink satisfied that rainy-day-comfort-drink urge.  The healthy fat from the coconut milk distracts you from the fact that this beverage isn’t very sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter drink, just add a dollop of honey!   You can read up on the benefits of cocoa at Live Superfoods.  There's more to cocoa than just antioxidants!  A summary of the benefits of coconut milk can be found at HealthMad.   What do you like to drink on a rainy day?  Do you just give up and make a Starbucks run?  Or do you have a secret comforting, yet healthy drink that you like to whip up?  Please feel free to share your recipes in the comments section of this blog.  
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Power Up with Pomegranate!

November 5, 2011

Power up with Pomegranate

By Sandy Baird, DC, ART

Research has shown that the antioxidant content of pomegranate juice can reverse atherosclerosis, lowering one’s risk of heart disease.  Let’s take this one step further.  Instead of drinking a blood-sugar-spiking 8oz. glass of pomegranate juice, cut open the cheery red fruit and eat its arils (the red pods nestled within the white pulp.)  You’ll still reap the full benefit of the antioxidants, plus you’ll get an added dose of insoluble fiber.  Not to mention the gustatory experience you will get to enjoy when you crunch into those arils, and their juice bursts out into your mouth.  Some people are shy about preparing and eating a pomegranate because it looks confusing and they’re not sure which parts are edible.  Never fear, because there is an easy way to prepare this superfood of a fruit.   Fill a medium sized bowl with cold water.  After rinsing your pomegranate, set it “tuft” side up on a glass (or any other material that won’t stain) cutting board.  Make one cut through the tuft from top to bottom, splitting the fruit in half.  Make one more cut through each of those halves, again cutting right through the tuft.  Working with one wedge at a time, hold it over the bowl of water, bend the peel away from the arils, and start to gently loosen the arils from the pulp.  Don’t worry if any pieces of pulp fall into the bowl.  Keep pushing the arils out into the bowl.  It may take you a minute to get your technique down to the point where you aren’t crushing the arils with your fingertips, but after you’ve determined the right amount of pressure, the process can become somewhat meditative. After you’ve freed all the arils from the rind, toss the rind into your compost pile, and then give the bowl a good shake.  Separate the lingering arils from the chunks of pith that may have fallen in the water.  Now for the best part…the pulp and any rotten arils will float right up to the top of the bowl.  Skim them off, add more water and then shake the bowl again.  Skim one last time and you’re left with your reward, a glimmering pile of fresh juicy arils. The little seed inside the aril is edible, so your work here is done!  Dig in with a spoon, or keep them in the fridge to use in recipes.  If you cut open a few pomegranates at a time, you can prepare a good sized pile of arils that you can freeze for later use, and you only have to wash your cutting board once!   If you’d like to read more about the health benefits of pomegranates, a well-written article may be viewed in the Life Extension magazine.   References:   1. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1062-76.   2. 9. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.  
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