Health

The Importance of the Warmup and Cooldown

Question: “I fit my aerobic workouts into a very tight schedule. How important is it to spend time warming up before and cooling down after exercising? I often do neither.” Warming up prior to engaging in more vigorous exercise serves several important functions. From both a mental and physiological standpoint, it prepares the body for …

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It’s Hard to Eat Healthy

“Ba da ba ba ba.” in 2003, faced with slumping sales, McDonald’s commissioned a jingle. The fast-food giant recruited the era’s biggest music producer, Pharrell Williams, and pop icon Justin Timberlake to create “I’m Lovin’ It.”  The catchy hook became the heart of McDonald’s first worldwide campaign. It was sung in 20 languages throughout 120 …

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Rethinking Obesity

Tammy Dolan had always been a “heavy kid.” Still, she never considered herself “really big.” Then came college and weight gain. She graduated and was ready to face the world. But, “I wasn’t happy with myself,” said the 39-year-old from Centerville, Crawford County. She tried dieting and exercise but couldn’t lose the pounds. After consulting …

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Harness the Power of Habit to Achieve Fitness Goals

Question: “One of my 2021 goals is to lose a few pounds and get in better shape. However, I am hesitant to go to a gym because of the pandemic, and I am simply not into exercise classes. What is the solution?” The process of changing outcomes begins with changing habits. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines …

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How Can I Improve My Flexibility?

Question: “I am becoming less flexible as I get older. Simple tasks such as bending over to pick up a bag of groceries have become more difficult. What can I do to improve, or at least maintain, my flexibility?” Your situation is not unusual as most people become increasingly less flexible as they get older. …

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How Many Calories Do I Require Each Day?

Question: “How can I determine how many calories are required daily to maintain my present weight?” Calories are units of energy obtained from the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that we eat and drink. Maintenance calorie requirements can vary widely from one individual to the next due to a variety of factors that include age, gender, …

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Improving Muscular Fitness: The Basics

Question: “I am a 40-plus-year-old who has never lifted weights, but I want to get stronger and more toned. Can you provide some guidance?” When we speak of getting stronger and more toned, we are really talking about improving muscular fitness, which comprises three primary components: strength, endurance and power. Strength is the maximum force …

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Combating the Middle Age Spread

Question: “I am experiencing the ‘middle age spread’ and want to flatten, tone and tighten up my stomach. What machine or exercises would you suggest?” Popular infomercials would have you believe that using a single abdominal machine for a few minutes a day can provide you with washboard abs, but it is not that simple. …

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Exercising in the Heat: Tips to Stay Safe

Question: “My primary forms of exercise are jogging and biking. Are there any special precautions I should take when exercising in extremely hot and humid conditions?” Four primary factors—air temperature, humidity, wind velocity and thermal radiation—interact to determine the level of heat stress imposed on the human body when exercising outdoors. For example, jogging on …

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Rating the Aerobic Exercises

Question: “Which aerobic exercise is most beneficial in terms of burning calories and improving fitness? How do you rate them? I want to get the most benefit for time invested.” The key to realizing the many benefits aerobic exercise has to offer, including calorie burn, can be summed up in one word: consistency. It is …

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Mysterious Melanoma

In 2010, Thomas Lauritzen and his second oldest daughter both began treatment for melanoma, diagnosed with the condition only a month apart. “Our melanomas were almost identical in size and in the same location (shoulder blade area),” Lauritzen said. The father and daughter would spend the next year going to UPMC for infusions of the …

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Diet or Exercise: Which Is More Important for Weight Loss?

Question: “I have been exercising and trying to improve my diet to lose weight but am not having success. When it comes to weight loss, is diet or exercise more important?” Adequately answering this question requires a clear understanding of why we pack on extra pounds, what must be done to lose excess weight, and …

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The Home Gym

Question: “I want to get stronger, but I don’t like the gym scene. Can I build significant muscle mass at home without weight machines?” The short answer to your question is “yes,” assuming that you incorporate the essential elements of a successful strength (resistance) training program into your workouts. The first step in the process …

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Key Elements to Getting FIT(T)

Question: “Recently, I have begun running 10K races. I enjoy running and want to improve my race times. Aside from mileage, what other factors should I consider when making my workout plan?” To improve aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a workout regimen that adheres to the FITT-VP principle of …

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Physical Activity vs. Physical Fitness

Question: “I do not enjoy nor have the time to do formal workouts on a regular basis, but I think that I am an active person overall. I walk, hike and enjoy gardening. How hard do I need to exercise to get any benefits from the activity?” What we are really discussing here is the …

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How to Set SMART Fitness Goals

Question: “I would like to get in better physical shape. I’ve tried to do this in the past but have always had trouble staying with an exercise program for any length of time. Any suggestions to help me stick with it?” Transforming fitness resolutions into reality will not occur by chance. That is where the …

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Tips for Meeting Your 2020 Weight Loss Goals

Question: “I have been a yo-yo dieter for many years—losing weight, gaining it back, then switching to another diet and repeating the process! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose 15 pounds over the next year and maintain the weight loss. Can you provide helpful tips that will finally enable me to achieve …

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Is Exercising Dangerous in Cold Weather?

Question: “Is it dangerous to exercise outdoors in extremely cold temperatures? I like to walk and jog year-round and am worried that breathing frigid air can cause lung damage.” The human body is designed to function in cold weather and has mechanisms that ensure the air we breathe is at body temperature and humidified when …

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Is it Really Better to Give than to Receive?

Dr. Gary Swanson has been the recipient of two gifts given in his honor: a goat donated to a family in Africa and trees planted along the streets of Detroit. As someone who likes goats and hails from Detroit, he appreciates the thoughtfulness behind these gifts. But, research shows it was the gift giver who …

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Climbing Past the Weight-Loss Plateau

Question: “I’ve been on an exercise plan for several months and have lost 20 pounds. I still hope to lose 5 more pounds but seem to be stuck at my present weight. Why is it so hard to lose those last few pounds, and what can I do to reach my target weight?” You are …

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A Deeper Look at Health

When Kelle Cunningham had her first appointment with David Lobur, M.D., it was unlike anything she had ever experienced. They talked for 90 minutes. “He wanted to know all about my health history: How I was born? What I did. He just wanted to know everything about me, which I never had happen before,” says …

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Is It Possible to Target Areas of Unwanted Fat?

Question: “I’ve been on a diet and lost several pounds but still want to get rid of unwanted fat in a few areas, primarily on the back of my arms and hips. How can I target these areas?” Targeting specific areas of the body for weight loss, commonly known as spot reducing, has been a …

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