Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Now is a time to reflect on our accomplishments for the last year and to rededicate ourself to meeting our health goals. We can do it. We just takes one day at a time. Good luck in 2009. May you be your hightest and our best! Chanetc
Monday, December 29, 2008
Rowing in the New Year
Little used piece of fitness equipment packs a powerful impact-free, full-body workout
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Alex Dubrovsky rowed on Thanksgiving. He continued -- a half-hour here, 45 minutes there -- until Christmas Eve, logging 107,000 meters (66.5 miles).
And while Dubrovsky definitely broke a sweat, he never got his feet wet.
That's because the 43-year-old Great Kills man confined his workout to the indoors, rowing on an ergometer (aka erg).
He was one of more than 5,000 rowers nationwide competing in the 9th annual Holiday Challenge, which ran from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24. The event, sponsored by Vermont-based indoor rowing machine maker Concept2, dared participants to row between 100,000 and 200,000 meters during the holiday season.
"It takes me about 30 minutes to do 5,000 meters," said Dubrovsky, a Wall Street accountant and project manager who rows at home, as well as in three New York Sports Clubs, including the Travis facility.
The challenge is among several year-round online competitions that help motivate rowers by allowing them to download and record their stats -- an attached monitor calculates meters rowed -- to Concept2's online logbook. There, they can see how they measure up to other rowers worldwide.
"You're competing against others, but ultimately you're competing against yourself," said Dubrovsky.
Die-hard rowers who prefer the thrill of live competition head each year to the C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships set for Feb. 22 in Boston. Last year, the 2,000 meter indoor race attracted nearly 2,000 participants from around the world.
The Concept2 indoor rowers were designed by brothers Pete and Dick Dreissigacker, avid rowers who had backgrounds in engineering. The siblings missed making the 1976 Olympic Rowing Team, but went on to launch a racing oar company. In 1981, they created their indoor rowing machines.
Today, their rowers are found in Olympic training centers around the world, colleges, health clubs and cardiac rehab facilities.
"Roughly half of our sales are to individual home buyers and the other half is split between the various institutions," said Judy Geer, co-owner of Concept2 and a member of three former U.S. Olympic rowing teams, by phone from the company's Morrisville, Vt., headquarters. The privately-held company does not release its sales figures.
But for all the fanfare that devotees lavish on the machine, it remains one of the least used pieces of equipment in fitness centers.
Unlike the treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals that gym-goers clamor for, the erg -- a low-to-the ground, nearly 8-foot long machine attached to a flywheel -- can seem intimidating.
"They don't know how to use it and they don't know the benefits of it," said Rafael Rodriguez, fitness director for the Travis NYSC.
Indoor rowing involves four stages -- the catch, drive, finish and recovery -- which mimic moves a rower would experience on the water.
In the catch position, a rower sits on an erg with knees bent and close to the chest, body leaning forward, arms fully extended and hands grabbing onto the machine's handle to start the flywheel spinning.
"It's actually the first resistance that you're going to get when the oars hit the water," said Rodriguez.
The drive is the powerful motion of the quadriceps working to propel the motion of the back and arms to finish off the stroke.
During the finish, the rower draws the handle in toward the lap to end the stroke. Then, the rower goes into recovery by leaning forward, extending the arms and finally bending the knees to return to the catch.
"It's a very natural, coordinated movement," said Rodriguez. "It's not hard at all."
Thirty minutes of indoor rowing provides an impact-free, full-body workout that burns between 240 to 360 calories, explained Rodriguez.
Unlike traditional exercise machines that require you to set the resistance, the erg's resistance is determined by how hard you pull on the handle, noted Geer.
The faster you get the flywheel spinning, the more air resistance is generated, she explained, and the greater resistance the rower feels rowing. A lever on the side of the machine's flywheel increases or decreases the amount of airflow into the flywheel which adjusts the feel.
"Ten is like rowing the Titanic or a Carnival Cruise Line," said Dubrovsky. "Three is where you kind of get a pretty good sense of rowing."
With the Holiday Challenge behind him, Dubrovsky has already set his sights on a new goal for 2009: Hitting the 1 million meters mark.
Rowing on and off since 2004, he has already racked up 320,000 meters. Only 680,000 to go.
©2008 SI Advance
© 2008 SILive.com All Rights Reserved.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The reason that low fat gets the coverage is that it is old information and the producers of oils, meats, and butter, have little clout compared to the rest of the "value added" agribusiness. it is the giant grain and corn processors that dominate the food business. They can make something low fat by adding more sugar to hide the flavor loss. The buy low from the farmers and "add value" by processing the nutrients out, putting back synthetic vitamins and preservatives and sell it to us as a snack product, fast food, or a convenience food. Carb producers are the largest advertisers on television and the media. Coca Cola and Pepsi sells carbs, so does McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, and all of the other fast food franchises. Who could afford to carry article critical of carbs. Bob Greene, Oprah's fitness guru is sponsored by Carb companies. Oprah's media empire is subsidized by advertising, how could she criticize carbs. She weighs over 200 pounds despite all of the "good advice" that Bob Greene and Dr. Oz have given her, because they don't know the truth or refuse to acknowledge it. Unfortunately, these people have the national media and are still passing on advice that was never correct, but it was a hypothesis that became "gospel" because it did the least harm to agribusiness.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
TREATMENT OF INSULIN RESISTANCE
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Most people who develop diabetes in later life can be controlled so that they are not at increased risk for the many complications of diabetes such as heart attacks, strokes, blindness, deafness, amputations, kidney failure, burning foot syndrome, venous insufficiency with ulceration and stasis dermatitis. Late onset diabetes usually means that a person has too much insulin because his cells cannot respond to insulin. Too much insulin constricts arteries to cause heart attacks, and stimulates your brain and liver to make you hungry and manufacture fat. The insulin resistance syndrome (IRS) puts you at very high risk for a heart attack and is associated with storing fat in the belly, rather than the hips; having high blood triglyceride levels and low level of the good HDL cholesterol; high blood pressure and an increased tendency to form clots.
If you have any of these signs, check with your doctor who will order a blood test called HBA1C. If it is high, you have diabetes and can usually be controlled with diet and/or medication. You should learn how to avoid foods that give the highest rise in blood sugar. When you eat, blood sugar level rises. The higher it rises, the more sugar sticks on cells. Once stuck on a cell membrane, sugar can never detach itself. It is converted to a poison called sorbitol that damages the cell to cause all the side effects of diabetes mentioned above.
Avoid the foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. These include all types of flour products: bread, spaghetti, macaroni, bagels, rolls, crackers, cookies and pretzels; refined corn products and white rice; and all sugar added products. Eat lots of vegetables, un-ground whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Eat fruits and root vegetables (potatoes, carrots and beets) only with other foods.
There are two type of drugs that are used to treat diabetes: those that lower blood sugar and raise insulin, and those that lower blood sugar and lower insulin also. As I mentioned earlier, insulin is a bad hormone, so the safest drugs are those that lower both insulin and sugar. Virtually all diabetics should be on Glucophage before meals. It prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high and sticking to cells and has an excellent safety record. However, eating a few bagels will produce such a high rise in blood sugar that Glucophage will not be effective. So Glucophage is used in addition to avoiding foods that cause a high rise in blood sugar. If HBA1C cannot be controlled with diet and Glucophage, your doctor will usually add Avandia 4mg or Actos 30mg. They are essentially the same and can cause liver damage, so liver tests must be done monthly, at least for the first few months.
You should be seen monthly and get either a HBA1C (which measures blood sugar control over the past two months) or fructosamine (which measures control over two weeks). Each time that your HBA1C is above normal, you should yell at your doctor to change your drugs and he should yell at you to change your diet.
If your HBA1C is still not under control, you need to take a bad drug that raises insulin levels. I usually start with Glipizide XL. If that doesn't control your HBA1C, I raise the dose, and if that still doesn't work, you will need to inject yourself with insulin.
1) K Rett. The relation between insulin resistance and cardiovascular complications of the insulin resistance syndrome. Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S8-S16.
2) J Tooke. The association between insulin resistance and endotheliopathy Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S17-S22.
3) B Balkau, E Eschwege. Insulin resistance: an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease? Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S23-S31.
4) M Kobayashi. Effects of current therapeutic interventions on insulin resistance. Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S32-S40. 5) CA Reasner. Promising new approaches. Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S41-S48.
5) CA Reasner. Promising new approaches. Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism, 1999, Vol 1, Suppl. 1, pp S41-S48.
-- Checked 10/8/08
Monday, November 17, 2008
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine November 16, 2008
Inflammation: More Important than Cholesterol?
At the American Heart Association conference in New Orleans, researchers from the Jupiter study reported that statin drugs caused people with normal cholesterol but with high C-reactive protein levels to suffer 54 percent fewer heart attacks,
48 percent fewer strokes, 46 percent fewer angioplasties or bypass operations and 20 percent fewer deaths from any cause than those taking placebos (NEJM November 9, 2008). The results were so dramatic they made the front page of the New York Times, Washington Post and many other newspapers.
A C-reactive protein test (CRP) measures inflammation.
Inflammation is caused by anything that keeps your immunity active such as chronic infections or anything that damages tissue such as smoking, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Last week I reported a theory to explain why eating mammal meat causes inflammation and is associated with increased risk for premature death, cancers and heart attacks. Meat contains a molecule called Neu5Gc that humans do not have, so the immune system of humans attacks this protein as if it was an invading germ and eventually attacks the host itself to destroy the blood vessels and increase risk for heart attacks and strokes.
Many scientists feel that inflammation is a stronger predictor of heart attacks than high cholesterol levels. At present, statins are prescribed to treat people with heart disease or high cholesterol. This study shows that they prevent heart attacks in people with high CRP and normal cholesterol levels, presumably because statins reduce inflammation. About 7 million people in the US have normal cholesterol and high CRP. Treating them with a brand-name statin would cost each $116 a month or $9.7 billion a year, and prevent about 28,000 heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths each year. Rather than just writing a prescription, I think doctors should ask why a patient's CRP is elevated and try to lower it with lifestyle changes or treatment
of any underlying chronic infection.
If you read my book "The Healthy Heart Miracle" (first published in 2003), you know this already.
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