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Danny M. O'Dell, MA. CSCS*D Strength coach

Danny M. O'Dell, M.A. CSCS*D

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Womens health

We are dedicated to improving women's health and offer strength and conditioning training information and suggestions to achieve this goal.

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Womens health articles

Health web sites

Osteoporosis information

Women's Health Web sites
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Healthline provides a very comprehensive overview of Type 2 Diabetes as a critical starting point for individuals and/or their loved ones.

Healthy Living

Health tips. Your free guide to ultimate health and fitness. Read on our health and fitness tips including information on healthy living, healthy eating, slimming tips, and how to lose weight quickly. Know more about various diets and diet myths, metabolism and health and nutrition facts.This excellent site is full of healthy information.



"Nutrition is a crucial aspect of athletic performance. Learn the secrets of knowing when, how and what to eat and drink and you will be amazed at the improvements in your performance and recovery times." Linda J. Kees, R.D., L.D.


Strength Training Woman is full of strength training exercises, routines, nutrition programs, fitness plans and strength training tools. Every thing you could possibly need to become a strength training woman is right here. This is a site for those women looking to tone up. Is that you?

Contact Lenses- Find the contacts you need at a discount price from Just Lenses. Contact lenses for less right to your door.

Diabetic Recipes

Great tasting healthy diabetes recipes and diabetic diet plan.

Elaine Mansfield

Here is an excellent resource for learning how to help prevent and deal with Osteoporosis by a leading expert in the field.

My personal thanks go to Elaine for allowing me to include this information on my site.
http://www.Womenshealth.gov/ The federal government source for women's health information.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The online source for credible health information from the US government.

http://www.highnrg.com/ The Internet's Premier Site for Women's Fitness with Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, CPT.


Vital Health Zone will help you discover how better to take care of yourself, from the inside and out. You will learn all about nutrition, food, exercise, diet and how everything is tied together to make you whole. Vital Health Zone aims to inform you about the best ways to stay healthy, through the foods you eat, the supplements you take and the lifestyle you lead.

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Eating disorders


Quick Links-courtesy of Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD.CSSD and others

Eating Disorder Advocacy Organizations
Organizations for Eating Disorder Professionals
Educational Web sites for the Public
Find a Treatment Professional, Facility or Support Group
Current Eating Disorders Research

Eating Disorder Advocacy Organizations-courtesy of Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD.CSSD

The Elisa Project
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
National Eating Disorders Association
Eating Disorders Anonymous
Eating Disorders Coalition

The following site contains a comprehensive listing of resources.


Organizations for Eating Disorder Professionals-courtesy of Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD.CSSD

Academy for Eating Disorders
International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals
Behavioral Health Nutrition
Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists

Educational Web sites for the Public-courtesy of Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD.CSSD

Something Fishy
Mirror Mirror
National Eating Disorder Screening Program
Gurze Books: Eating Disorders Publications & Education
Anorexia and Related Disorders
Eating Disorders & Education Network
Eating Disorder Hope Online Community

Find a Treatment Professional, Facility, or Support Group courtesy of Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD.CSSD

American Dietetic Association
Click here for a list of weekly meetings in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
EDReferral & Information Center
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
National Eating Disorders Association 

The following sections are taken DIRECTLY from the NOVA online resources page:

Help line

National Eating Disorders Association (800) 931-2237

Call for treatment referrals nationwide and answers to all kinds of questions regarding eating disorders.

Help Line | FAQs | Warning Signs | Links | Books | Get Real | Special Thanks | Credits

Go to the Frequently Asked Questions
Craig Johnson, Ph.D., answers some commonly asked questions about anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Complementary Medicine: Anorexia Nervosa
Low Self Esteem & Anorexia
Anorexia Treatment Overview
Anorexia FAQ Factors that Lead to Anorexia in Athletes
Eating & Impulse

Male Anorexia

The Male Battle With Anorexia
Boys Get Anorexia Too
Male Anorexia May be More Common then We Think

Warning signs of Anorexia Nervosa
(provided by Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc.)

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (i.e., no carbohydrates, etc.)
  • Frequent comments about feeling "fat" or overweight despite weight loss
  • Anxiety about gaining weight or being "fat"
  • Denial or hunger
  • Development of food rituals (i.e., eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate)
  • Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food
  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen despite weather, fatigue, illness, and injury, the need to "burn off"calories taken in
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
  • In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns

Of Bulimia

  • Evidence of binge-eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or the existence of wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food

  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives and diuretics

  • Excessive, rigid exercise regimen despite weather, fatigue, illness, and injury, the need to "burn off" calories taken in

  • Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area

  • Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting

  • Discoloration, staining of the teeth

  • Creation of complex lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions

  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities

  • In general, behaviors and altitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns

Bulimia Bulimia Nervosa

More informational sites that address eating disorders

Athletes & Eating Disorders
Binge Eating
Center for Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders
Family vs. Individual Treatment of Eating Disorders
Female College Athletes & Eating Disorders
Helping Someone With an Eating Disorder
National Institute of Mental Health:
Orthorexia Nervosa
Rumination Syndrome
Selective Eating Disorder

The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center provides information and treatment resources for all forms of eating disorders. If you need to find a treatment center or private practitioner specializing in eating disorders anywhere in the U.S. or internationally, this site may be the best resource of its kind on the Web.

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc.

EDAP, the largest, nonprofit organization devoted to the awareness and prevention of eating disorders, sponsors Eating Disorders Awareness Week each February. EDAP's Web site offers online treatment referrals, public prevention and awareness information, educational programs, videos, curricula, conferences, workshops, a newsletter, and a national speaker's bureau.

Something Fishy

Don't let the funny name fool you. This site is an extensive and well-organized resource for information on eating disorders and offers versions in French and Spanish. The Web resources list on this site is easily the most extensive on the Web, listing almost 100 sites focusing on eating disorders. For answers to a whole range of questions from What is an eating disorder? to What is the role of popular culture in forming body image?, head to Something Fishy.

Gürze Books

Gürze has published books on eating disorders for over 20 years. In addition to offering online shopping for books and films about eating disorders, Gürze's thorough site has links to eating-disorder treatment centers, information about conferences, and resources for teachers and discussion groups.

Academy for Eating Disorders

The Academy is an association of professionals looking to promote treatment, prevention, and research related to eating disorders. AED sponsors an annual conference for physicians on eating disorders.

ANAD is the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. http://www.anad.org/

Call the ANAD hotline 847.831.3438 between 9 am and 5 pm weekdays central time, or use our email: anadhelp@anad.org for more information. 
ANAD offers free, downloadable education materials on anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and other less well-known problem-eating behaviors.

Harvard Eating Disorders Center

Harvard's Eating Disorders Center is a national non-profit organization with a focus on eating-disorder research and education. The HEDC Web site includes a large amount of useful materials and referral information.

New Moon Publishing

New Moon publishes magazines and books geared towards empowering adolescent girls. The New Moon Web site is full of information for and by young women.

The National Women's Health Information Center

The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services has established this Web site to address a range of women's health issues. It is worth a visit to find out more about women's specific nutrition needs. 4women.gov is available in Spanish.

Eating Disorders/Disordered Culture

Eating Disorders/Disordered Culture is an exploration of eating disorders put together by two college women. This online community features over 30 personal stories written by young women who have struggled and continue to struggle with a range of eating disorders.

My Life With Eating Disorder

Read the story of one woman's battle with anorexia and take a tour through her virtual art gallery and poetry collection.

Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa. By Joan Jacobs Brumberg. New York: Vintage Books, 2000

Blending historic and contemporary issues, social history and science, this book, winner of numerous awards after it first appeared in 1988, should appeal to anyone interested in eating disorders.

Making Weight: Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape & Appearance. By Arnold Andersen, Leigh Cohn, and Thomas Holbrook. Carslbad, CA: Gürze Books, 2000

Besides Thomas Holbrook's personal essay on his battle with anorexia (see One Man's Battle), this authoritative book covers what the subtitle promises in a comprehensive yet engaging way. Includes sections on Ten Steps to Healthy Living and How Loved Ones Can Help.

Advice for Dancers: Emotional Counsel and Practical Strategies. By Linda H. Hamilton. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998

Among other issues of concern to dancers, Dance Magazine editor Linda Hamilton describes how dancers can reach their optimal weight without compromising their health or their careers. Includes tips on a sensible approach to weight loss.

Bitter Ice: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Obsession. By Barbara Kent Lawrence. New York: William Morrow, 1999

A moving and highly personal chronicle of a woman's struggle to cope with her husband's entrenched anorexia and the toll it took on their marriage and her sense of self.

Deadly Persuasion : Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising. By Jean Kilbourne. New York: Free Press, 1999

A scathing assault on advertising and its damaging effects on girls and women by a lecturer and documentarian, whose films include "Killing Us Softly" and "Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness."

My thanks and appreciation are graciously extended to NOVA online for the information provided above.

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Osteoporosis information

If you have been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, Explosivelyfit Strength Training has the training manual that will help you deal with, and manage the disease.

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Excess weight: I won't get fooled again

Normal knee range of motion or the lack thereof and the link with osteoarthritis

Urinary incontinence in older women may be less in those who exercise

Fat Loss Training by Craig Ballantyne

Women's Health Articles

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Adaptation of bone to exercise

Arthritis and fitness-they are not mutually exclusive

Bone Health Exercise Recommendations

Common sports injuries found in women

Getting Stronger

Heart Disease and Women-not a Good Combination

Improving Your Bone Mineral Density

Improving your lean muscle to fat ratio with strength training

Lifting Weights to Improve your Health

Normal knee range of motion or the lack thereof and the link with osteoarthritis

Nutrition and depression
by Jaklina Trajcevska

One minute movement

Osteoporosis and exercise

Osteoporosis and Diet
by Glenn Cardwell

Osteoporosis strength training

Osteoporosis: The risk factors

Osteoporosis: Questions and answers about bone health

Physical Fitness

Salt shaken by Glenn Cardwell

Steps to keeping the weight loss permanent

Strengthening your body provides specific health benefits

The Best Metabolism Raising Exercises

The Major Keys to Good Bone Health

The relationship of volume of resistance strength training and increases in the bone mineral density of post-menopausal women

Urinary incontinence in older women may be less in those who exercise

Vibration Training

Why am I getting shorter?

Women, Weight Loss and Muscle by Adrian Birkby, CSCS MPT


Why am I getting shorter?

Isaac Newton had part of the answer right when he developed his theory of universal gravity[1] . Gravity pulls on our aging body and this contributes to making us shorter. However, it is not just gravity doing its natural thing; it is also the loss of muscle and the dehydration of the discs in the spine leading to a gradual compression of the spine over the years.

After turning forty, people begin to lose about 0.4 inches in height every ten years until reaching their seventies. After this time, the rate of height loss is even greater and once it is gone, it is never coming back. There are things you can do to help slow down or prevent further loss.

Regular exercise leads the list along with stretching and getting the daily required amounts of calcium in your diet.

If the shrinking is greater than normal then a visit to the doctor is in order to check for signs of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis weakens the structure of the bone, leaving it weak and unable to carry a load. When this happens in the spine, the vertebrae begin to collapse. This is a potentially serious condition, especially for postmenopausal women where there is the danger of fractures in the hips, wrists and vertebrae if left unattended.

If you have concerns about your shrinking height, then see your doctor.


Steps to keeping the weight loss permanent

It is possible to lose weight and then maintain that weight loss if you follow a few simple guidelines. A recent study, conducted by Graham Thomas, PhD from Brown University, of 3000 participants registered with the National Weight Control Registry revealed their secrets to successfully keeping the weight from coming back. Dr. Graham evaluated questionnaires from participants who had been with the registry for at least the preceding ten years. Three quarters were women and almost all of entire group had a college education.

The objective of the questionnaire was to find out how this group was able to keep off the pounds they had originally lost. Many of these overweight respondents averaged 224 pounds before their weight loss. Out of an average of 69 pounds lost, most were able to keep off 51 of those pounds. This weight gain is not unusual because most people regain a certain amount of weight after losing it in the first place. So how did they do it?

Here are the strategies used by those who kept off most of the pounds to keep it from coming back listed in order of importance.

  • Keep a daily diary of everything you are eating or drinking.
  • Eat breakfast on a regular basis-don’t make excuses for missing it. Get up in the morning and eat. If you don’t feel like eating right after you get up then make yourself have something little that you like and train your stomach to eat in the morning. If you don’t have time to make one up then do it the night before.
  • Walking, when used as a weight control method, is an excellent low impact means of exercising. To get the most out of it, get about an hour per day.
  • Weigh yourself at least twice a week. Doing so keeps you on track and reminds you to back off the eating or drinking if the weight starts to climb again.
  • Use one of the free internet sites to keep track of the calories and grams of fat you take in each day.
  • Limit eating out and decrease your dependence on the fast food places to once a week, if even that often.
  • Stick to high quality food each meal and each day. Avoid splurging on the holidays and other special occasions.
  • Decrease television time to no more than ten hours a week. Less is even better.

In looking over the questionnaires, those who kept the weight off did so by limiting their calories to 1800 per day. They paid particular attention to the amount of fat calories and limited these to less than thirty percent of the entire calorie amount for the day.


Common sports injuries found in women

On many levels, men and women are equal except when it comes to injuries where a female is 2 to 6 times more likely to become injured than a man is. Of course, this depends on the sport.

Women are particularly susceptible to developing knee injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome , more commonly known as runner's knee. This injury comes about due to the degeneration of the cartilage under the kneecap. The ability of the cartilage in the knee joint to provide any type of shock absorption is compromised by this degradation of the tissues.

Another injury that shows up all too often is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament is one of the prime stabilizers of the knee joint and when it is damaged, the knee becomes unstable. These two injuries can put severe limitations on an athlete's participation in their favorite sport.

Furthermore, any injury to the weight-bearing joints of the lower torso, such as to the ankle and hip increases the risk of osteoarthritis in later years. There are several reasons that explain this difference in the injury rates between men and women.

It is more than obvious that anatomical differences exist between the two genders, but the causes are not solely anatomical in nature. Females generally have smaller and weaker muscles surrounding their knees. Additionally, the ligaments surrounding a females joints tend to be more lax thus allowing a certain amount of looseness to take place within the joint.

There are specific training programs designed especially for women targeting the ACL joint that help prevent these injuries from happening so frequently. It may be a wise choice on the parent's part to enroll their daughters into one of these programs. Check out your local physical therapist and see if they have the knowledge and skills to work with your child in this type of training.

One minute movement to a smaller waist line.

A small study of 169 adults conducted in Australia by researchers at the University of Queensland, Hurston, Queensland, Australia found that just one minute of standing and walking around made a difference in the circumference of the waist over a period.

They found that people who got up regularly to switch the TV channels by hand rather than using the remote had a stomach circumference that was on the average 2 1/2 inches smaller than those who used a remote. This is almost un-American to get up and switch the channel by hand. Perhaps that is why it was conducted in Australia because it is unlikely they would find 169 adults in the United States who would actually get up and manually change channels.

This same study revealed that these small amounts of activity also led to a lower body mass index, lower glucose and triglyceride levels in those who were physically active while watching different stations on their TV. This led the researchers to make further recommendations as to how to control the ever-expanding waistline of native Australians.

They recommended standing up when answering the telephone and walking around while talking. This is much easier to accomplish if you have a portable phone since most phone cords limit your mobility to within five or six feet. Not only can you walk around with your phone at home, you can do the same at your job if you use a speakerphone, which to many people is annoying and crosses the threshold of proper office etiquette.

They also suggested, while at work, taking the long way back to your desk. However, you probably ought to be holding onto some papers so looks like you are busy while wandering around the office, otherwise people may just think that you are lost or don't have anything to do, which is a possibility.

If you want to look really odd in your office, do a few stretches before you open up and read a new e-mail. All of these suggestions may be fine if you own the business or work with your wife but it's uncertain whether not most modern business offices would allow such shenanigans to go on.

The thought certainly is nice that small amounts of activity can help shrink your stomach but the suspicion is that combining more activity with less caloric intake would have an even a greater impact on your waistline.


Normal knee range of motion or the lack thereof and the link with osteoarthritis

A number of sources state the typical knee flexes anywhere from 130° up to, in rare cases, 160° and extends from 0° to 120°. It is my personal opinion that if your knee only extends 120° then you are going to have a noticeable limp.

Unless something unusual happened in your surgery, limitations on your range of motion (ROM) should no longer be present. Granted, some devices limit how far your knee will bend but your doctor probably told you this before you went into it. If this is the case, you are going to be limited as to how much ROM you will get back simply because of the artificial joints inherent characteristics.

Contractures and why you should make every effort to avoid them.

Joint contractures are common in those with muscular dystrophy, victims of burns, nerve damage, and possibly in this case, self-imposed immobilization due to a failure on your part to effectively work on regaining your range of motion.

One thing that you don't want to have happen after your surgery is over and you've been in a rehabilitation phase for 3 to 4 to 5 months is to find out that due to your inability to actively work the joints ROM, the normally elastic or stretchable type of connective tissues have been replaced by non-stretchable, inelastic fibers. I know that was a long sentence but reread it, especially the last portion about the stretchable and non-stretchable inelastic fibers.

If you find yourself in this position because you have not seriously worked on regaining your range of motion, then you only have yourself to blame for any future limitations and problems such as osteoarthritis.

In July 2011, a poster presentation presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine by doctors from the Shelburne Knee Center in Indianapolis, Indiana clearly showed that a lack of ROM was a predictor of future osteoarthritis. The authors found that patients who were able to obtain and then maintain normal knee motion had a lower incidence of osteoarthritis than patients who were unable to obtain normal range of motion or lost knee motion after the rehab was finished.”

Granted, this study focused on anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and not a total knee replacement, however if normal ROM is not present in the new knee then more uneven loads will be placed on its counterpart. This lopsided loading puts unnatural stresses on specific parts of the joint, which in turn causes greater wear patterns to show up on these areas. This can cause degeneration in the joint that later on in life develops into osteoarthritis.

By way of background, the authors reviewed numerous studies that linked range of motion loss with arthritic changes post-surgery. One study “found that flexion contractures were associated with osteoarthritis (OA) seven and thirteen years after surgery. Another study found that fifteen years after surgery, forty three percent of those patients who had radiographic evidence of OA had loss of ROM versus only fourteen percent of those with normal radiographs. Several studies have established that meniscectomy and articular cartilage damage are major risk factors for OA development."

In this study, conducted by the Shelburne Knee Center, 780 ACL reconstruction patients with at least five years post-surgery were re-examined for their current range of motion and (osteoarthritis) with radiographs . These evaluations were made according to the International Knee Documentation Committee objective criteria . “Normal extension was considered to be within 2 degrees of the opposite knee, including hyperextension; normal knee flexion was considered to be within 5 degrees of the opposite knee. Radiographs were rated as abnormal if any sign of joint space narrowing, sclerosis, or osteophytes was present.”

These are very narrow tolerances between knees and after a surgery, they may seem to be next to impossible to achieve, but obtain them you must!

Read carefully the following information because it may give you more incentive to regain your full range of motion after the surgery.

The doctors found that among the patients that had normal extension and flexion, 71% had normal radiographs with no signs of osteoarthritis within that joint.

The patients that had any ROM deficit showed only 55% normal radiographs. Of those patients with intact menisci, 77% of them with normal ROM also had normal radiographs, whereas 67% of the group who lacked normal ROM had normal radiographs.

Among the 780 patients with a medial meniscectomy who had retained normal ROM, 56% had normal radiographs. For those in the same group without normal range of motion, only 38% had normal radiographs. Similar findings showed up for patients that had undergone a lateral meniscectomy or in those with both menisci removed.

Approximately 92%, over 717, of the study group experienced hyperextension in their knees, with an average around 5°, this ranged between 1° and 14°. The doctors were able to detect the subtle degrees of differences between the knees by “holding the thigh in place with one hand and using the other hand to hold the ball of the foot to lift the heel off the examination table. This evaluation of passive knee extension should be compared to the other knee to feel subtle differences in extension, the researchers observed.”

“Using ROM as a predictor”

“The authors concluded that the data in this study confirm the importance of achieving and maintaining full and symmetric knee ROM, in order to lower the incidence of OA in the long term after surgery.”

“Poster presenter Dr. Urch said the take-home message is that “something as simple as symmetric ROM correlates very well with having normal radiographs at 10-year follow-up. Regardless of the status of the meniscus at the time of surgery, better motion—particularly extension—was associated with better radiographs long term. Motion is a simple but very important concept that often gets overlooked.”


  • This study found there was an association between range of motion and radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis after ACL reconstruction surgery.
  • Working on, achieving, and then maintaining full and equal range of motion between the two knees may help lower the chances of developing osteoarthritis long-term after surgery.
  • Regardless of the condition of the knee cartilage at the time of surgery, better motion, especially in extension, was associated with better long-term radiographs.

The 2011 Best Poster Award went to a prospective study examining the link between the loss of normal knee range of motion (ROM) after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and the incidence of arthritic changes observed on radiographs.

Poster 410, “Loss of knee motion after ACL reconstruction is associated with arthritic changes after surgery,” was authored by K. Donald Shelbourne, MD; Tinker Gray, MA, ELS; Heather Freeman, PT; and Scott E. Urch, MD. Article about the presentation written by Terry Stanton, the senior science writer for AAOS Now.

Terry Stanton is the senior science writer for AAOS Now.

The radiographs taken: :45˚ posterior weight-bearing view bilateral symmetry, a basic body plan in which the left and right sides of the organism can be divided into approximate mirror images of each other along the midline, a view from the top of the knee, also called the merchants view, that is obtained within the vent 45° and with the x-ray beam directed through the knee from the head to the toe, and the lateral or bottom view which is taken from the side of the knee and shows the height of the patella in relation to the knee joint.

http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/29/5/600.short Single knee, unilateral, ACL injury, no evidence of pre-existing osteoarthritis condition before surgery, no draft care after ACL surgery.


Improving your bone mineral density

Over time your bones gradually lose their strength and become porous and brittle. This can lead to bone fractures, and depending on the circumstances, a hospital stay.

The bones in your body are constantly evolving by a process known as remodeling, in which the old bone material is replaced by new bone material. A young person has the ability to make bone faster than it is broken down and it is this capability that causes bone mass to peak in the mid thirties. After that, the remodeling process is slower and bone may be lost than gained. This can lead to osteopenia and the more serious condition known as osteoporosis. It is this latter stage that can lead to fractures. Women automatically lose bone integrity due to menopause.

Menopause causes a decline in the production of the hormone estrogen an important ingredient for bone health. Bone loss can rapidly accelerate anywhere from one to three percent a year until age sixty. At this point bone loss decreases but doesn’t stop completely.

Men also lose bone density, but not at the higher rates of a female. Moreover the onset of the men’s osteoporosis generally shows up a decade later than a woman’s.

Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about a family history of having small bones, being thin, Asian, and white. These are uncontrollable factors that contribute to a higher risk of osteoporosis in these select groups. But there are steps you can take to help protect yourself.

Being mindful of preexisting conditions, (darest I say this during the current health care debate?), there are some things that can be taken to reduce your bone loss. The number one suggestion, if you are a smoker, is to quit smoking. Since the early 60’s we have known about the dangers of smoking.

Smoking reduces your bodies’ ability to absorb calcium in your intestine and calcium is a prime mineral necessary for building strong bones. Smoking, at least from a woman’s standpoint, may inhibit the amount of estrogen that is produced by her body.

Osteoporosis: Questions and answers about bone health

Osteoporosis, a disease of the bones, causes a loss of structural integrity. Simply put, your bones get weaker and weaker by becoming brittle, more porous, and prone to fracture.

Controlling bone loss begins early on in life with good nutrition and exercise. Using weight bearing exercises and adding strength training to your daily activity loads the bones. This makes them adapt and become stronger. Absorbing enough calcium and vitamin D throughout your life is another preventive measure.

Limiting alcohol consumption and cutting out smoking will contribute to your bone health. Certain medications stop or slow down the deterioration within the bones. One potential benefit of being over weight is that it loads the bones and makes them compensate by becoming stronger. It is a commonly known fact that fat tissue produces estrogen. This hormone has an important part in the development and upkeep in the bone mineral density of the skeletal bones.

Women are well aware of the part estrogen plays in keeping their bones healthy. Once menopause arrives, their estrogen production slows to a near stop. This leaves the bones susceptible to osteopenia [ 1] or osteoporosis. However, being overweight is not the answer to better bone health as obesity carries major debilitating health risks such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke…the list is nearly endless. If you are over weight, then start now and take steps to get rid of the excess fat.

Thinner, to a point, is healthier. If you have been at or under 127 pounds most of your life you probably have a lower bone mineral density. This can predispose you for osteoporosis later on in life because your bones have not had to adapt to a heavy load, which will make them stronger.

In this case adding a special emphasis on load bearing exercise such as running, jogging, skipping rope, weight lifting, or walking will be to your benefit. In the case of a thin or smaller sized woman, if you have had fractures in the past and are now entering menopause now would be a good time to get a baseline bone density screening.

Urinary incontinence in older women may be less in those who exercise

A study published a few years back found that women who exercised on a regular basis were less likely to develop urinary incontinence. Researchers tracked the exercise habits of over 30,000 women and then reported the outcomes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The findings were clearly in favor of the women who regularly worked out an average of one hour a day. The risk of them developing urinary incontinence was between twenty and twenty five percent less than those who were inactive.

The scientists theorize regular exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles help support the functions of the bladder. Maintaining a healthy weight for your height and age certainly benefits your overall health it did not seem to be a factor in this study.

Researchers determined that it was the amount of regular exercise that counted the most toward limiting urinary incontinence.

If you are amongst those with this condition, take heart, because in the gym when women start skipping rope the problem seems to resolve itself. They may only be able to do five to ten hops at the beginning, but after sticking with it for a while these few hops turn into the hundreds. Moreover, all the hops are without incident.

The best way to begin with the rope is to start out with three to five hops, all the while monitoring your body and then jump a few more times. Continue with this as you gradually add more skips and practice more bladder control at the same time.

For those of you who are reluctant to start an exercise program due to a lack of control, speak to your doctor and find out what they recommend in your individual case. Between the two of you, there may be a solution that will help manage or correct the problem.

Salt shaken by Glenn Cardwell

Think of salt and health and the first, and possibly only, association you can make is to link salt and high blood pressure. That's understandable as anyone with hypertension is told cut out salt and choose salt-reduced foods. Having high blood pressure also increases the chance of having a stroke.

Salt, sodium?
It can get confusing when the words salt and sodium get interchanged. The easy thing to remember is that salt is sodium chloride, and it is the sodium part that seems to be the problem. About 10% of the sodium in our diet is found naturally in food; another 10% or so is added at the table or in the kitchen. Guess where the other 80% comes from? More on that later.

Salt effects more than blood pressure
Salt may be causing more problems than high blood pressure. A high salt diet is also known to be associated with osteoporosis because the extra sodium causes calcium to leach from the bones.

Collaborative work between researchers from Australia, New Zealand and the US found that high salt could be having an effect at the level of the artery wall too. Previous research on salt reduction in high salt consumers had shown an improvement in artery function. This was a small study of 34 adults designed to see if the opposite could happen, that is, did adding extra salt to the diet for four weeks cause artery damage?

The answer was "Yes". The extra sodium in the diet caused artery walls to stiffen as well as causing an increase in blood pressure. What was interesting about this study was that the effect of the extra salt was independent of blood pressure. So, if you eat plenty of salt-laden foods, but your blood pressure is fine, you are likely to still be causing artery damage. Put another way, don't wait for the doc to tell you that your blood pressure is high before you eat healthy and cut the salt.

What does it all mean?
We fret so much about fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids and anything that hints of grease, yet not give even a sideways glance at the salt content of foods. I have met only two people who know the definition of a low salt food (one that has less than 120 mg sodium per 100g) and very few people know that "non-salty tasting" foods like bread, cheese and breakfast cereal can pack a fair sodium punch. I don't want to unduly worry you, but I do think it is time to take note of the one food additive that can definitely affect your health.

Just don't expect me to be perfect. I love olives and cheese.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010; 91: 557- 564

Salt on the wane

When I tell people that the most dangerous food additive they are likely to eat is salt they get really disappointed because they expect me to say an artificial sweetener or flavour, neither of which probably has any effect on their health. Salt is off the radar; no-one cares about salt.

It's easy to tell people to stop sprinkling salt on their meals, but in reality this does little to reduce overall salt intake as 80% of the salt in the diet has been put there by food manufacturers.

At the Public Health Association of Australia annual conference recently in Canberra, we were told that the Heart Foundation's tick program has reduced salt levels by 12% on average in foods with the tick. Kelloggs' 12 most popular cereals have dropped their sodium by 40% on average. For example, the Cornflakes people ate in the 1980s had one and a half times more salt than the Cornflakes today. Yikes!

By 2013 all the major bread manufacturers will reduce their salt content to a maximum of 400mg/100g. This is a significant step because bread is the main salt source in many people's diet.

Even Smiths crisps have dropped their salt by 17% and Vegemite has gradually got less and less salt over the last two decades. I'm not suggesting that bread, crisps and Vegemite are, or will become, "low salt", just that they have a lot less salt than before. Good to see the food industry taking a step in the right direction.

Fitness tip: Question worth its salt

Alice in Canada asked about the difference between sea salt and other salts on the market, like garlic salt, rock salt and the regular salt. There are two main differences - flavour and price. You are still getting sodium chloride, which is 40% sodium and 60% chloride, with the sodium part being the concern when we get too much. Now, I know there is plenty of hype around different versions of salt, and some may have a sprinkle of other minerals (eg magnesium); just ignore the claims and have a small amount of whatever type you choose.

Glenn Cardwell, Australias own accredited practising dietitian.

Strengthening your body provides positive and specific health benefits

It doesn’t seem to matter what mode of resistance you use to initially get stronger, i.e. machines, bands, or even your own bodyweight, it all counts. However if your goal is to become as strong and powerful as possible and build up useable lean muscle then you will be well advised to use free weights.

Let’s take a brief look at several important reasons to resistance train, beginning with your bone health.

Increasing your bone mineral density (BMD) is of paramount importance in preventing fractures that may occur if you fall. This increase in BMD comes through the use of an exercise protocol featuring either high repetitions, 10-20, with a load that is between 30-75% of your tested one repetition maximum (1RM) or loads between 80-90% for three to five sets of four to eight reps. The rest periods vary from one to four minutes between each set.

The best exercises to use in making your bones stronger are structural, multi joint, large muscle group exercises such as the squat, bench press, deadlift and the military press to mention just a few. Not only will these types of exercises produce stronger muscle contractions they also help keep you from falling.

Strength training helps reduce the chances of a fall by improving the strength of the muscles, increasing your bodies balance properties, and developing agility and coordination abilities.

The myth of using cardio machines to lose weight continues unabated, perpetuated by clueless trainers. Sadly enough, this isn’t the most productive course of action to take if you are trying to lose your unnecessary body fat.

Here is the reason it isn’t the best; while mindlessly riding a machine you are not building up your lean muscle mass. You need resistance to make your muscles adapt and grow. Once you get off the machine your body returns to its normal state relatively quickly. The residual effect of this type of exercise does not effectively carry over during the next few hours in contributing to a faster metabolism. Weight training does and it does so for hours afterwards.

Resistance training is well suited to altering the ratio of fat to lean muscle in your body.

Resistance exercise, on the other hand, helps increase your lean muscle mass. This is important because muscle tissue is much more active than fat tissue. Muscle is constantly twitching and moving. This movement burns calories for hours after the exercise is finished.

The Mayo Clinic states that pound for pound, muscle tissue burns more than three times the calories than fat does to maintain and keep itself going. Moreover, this is precisely why increasing your lean muscle mass will enable your body to be more effective and quicker in burning more calories per day.

Not only will increased lean muscle burn more calories it also contributes to keeping your back from being injured. How many times have you heard about or seen someone with a big gut hanging complaining about their back hurting. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having an extra twenty to thirty pounds of fat sticking out in front will put a tremendous strain on the abs and low back muscles.

Those who exercise regularly generally develop stronger abdominal and low back muscles and thereby decrease their low back pain. It takes some time to lose the load out front but the effort is well worth it in the end.

Even if your back isn’t giving you problems now, strengthening it will certainly help protect it and potentially stave off any future issues. A strong back allows you to live life easier because the constant pain is not present.

Developing stronger muscles simply makes life easier. Carrying the groceries, pushing the lawn mower, or simply taking a walk in the woods is more enjoyable if you aren’t laboring every step of the way.

Find a qualified experienced trainer and get started on making your life better through improved health.

Set aside some time every day and do something positive for yourself, it’s like putting money in the bank for a rainy day. It will pay off.

Exercising in the fat burning zone or are you wasting your time? Hint: it’s the latter

More than a decade and a half ago scientists issued a report. In it, they stated that performing high intensity aerobic exercise burned mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel as opposed to using stored fat as the fuel source during lower intensity exercise sessions.

Needless to say, personal trainers, looking for an easy buck, who did not read the rest of the report, jumped on this partial fact. Taking this to the absurd end conclusion you’ll lose more weight laying on the couch clicking the channel changer in the low intensity fat burning zone of nothingness than by being active.

This report stated that your body does burn more calories from fat during low intensity activity. However, it quickly added this important fact, the greater the intensity of the exercise the more overall calories that are consumed in the process. The more calories burned the greater the weigh loss.

As in all cases of exercise, intensity is the key ingredient to success.
Exercising at a higher intensity creates magnified hormonal changes within your body. These changes cause fat burning to continue after the session is over during your recovery time. Some experts believe this revved up action goes on for up to five hours afterwards.

You won’t lose as much fat tissue by working out slowly in the fat burning zone, as you will by going faster and including strength training into your program. Nonetheless, more time will come off the paid session with your trainer by riding slowly as they stand by saying “good job.”

Do yourself a favor and find a trainer who knows what is going on and is knowledgeable about current training methods.

Improving your lean muscle to fat ratio with strength training

If you are serious about altering your lean muscle to fat ratio then strength training will be part of the plan. It’s time to put aside all the malarkey of doing cardio in the fat burning zone and get down to the business of reconstituting your body. One of the consistent myths of strength training, especially for women, is that doing so will cause unsightly muscle gain.

Muscle mass, either in a man or woman, is difficult to add in any great quantity. For men this change comes about a bit faster because of the larger amounts of testosterone in their body. Women have less than 10-30 times of this hormone than do men so their muscle gains will not be as prominent.

Rest assured a woman can exercise with weights and not become humongous. The added benefits of using weights or other resistance training gear are numerous.

Women who strength train two to three times a week will realize an average loss of up to three or more pounds of fat a week and a gain of almost two pounds of muscle during the same time. Of course, this depends on the weight when starting out the program.

This added lean muscle is metabolically more active than fat thus more calories are expended throughout the day, which means more weight is coming off in a healthy manner. According to Wayne Westcott, PhD, a strength training research scientist from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts each pound of muscle you gain results in an additional 35-50 calories burned per day over and above your normal metabolism.

Figure it out; adding three more pounds of muscle will burn from 105 to 150 more calories per day. Multiply these numbers by the days in a month and you have made excellent progress in your weight loss program. This weight loss is healthy and more likely to be maintained.

So why wouldn’t a person want to improve their lean muscle mass by following a strength training program?

Osteoporosis strength training

High impact exercise such as these listed builds stronger bones

Vertical jumps
Skipping rope
Jogging in place
Knees semi straight hops in place
Ankle hops
March around your home or gym with dumbbells or extra weight on your shoulders
Weight bearing aerobics

Walk with a set of dumbbells. Avoid repetitive motion injuries by switching up on your method of carrying the extra weight on your walk or run.

There is a delayed response of up to six months before changes in your bone mineral density will be noticeable. Weight bearing and bone load bearing lowers your risk of fractures.


Practice your balance every day.

Osteoporosis and exercise

Osteoporosis is estimated to affect upwards of 13-18% of the female population and those with osteopenia affecting another 37-50% of the females in our Country. Either of these conditions puts a woman at risk of suffering compression fractures in the spinal column and adds to the chances of breaking other bones in the body. But there is research that reveals exercise, bone density and fracture risk have a positive interrelationship.

The stress placed on the skeletal structure has a direct affect on the density of the bones. Stronger muscles make stronger bones, thereby leading to the conclusion that exercise is one of the keys to denser bones. According to the leading experts in the field of exercise and osteoporosis, specific sites on the body respond differently to the physical loads imposed by physical activity.

In the case of women the most positive effect for hip bone strength is weighted squats. Yes I can hear many of you saying squats are bad for your knees, your back, your whatever…blah, blah, blah. But if you want a strong body with strong bones then squats are the main exercise of choice.

Each exercise must be done correctly. If you don’t know how to do a specific movement then find a knowledgeable strength coach who will teach you the proper form.

Intensity of the load is a critical factor in your exercise program-soup cans won’t cut it here. Neither will light little dumbbells, you have to go heavy (within your capability) in order to get strong bones. Make note of the fact that well planned exercise training programs prevented or reversed an average of nearly 2% bone loss per year.

These programs were established with training guidelines leading to temporary muscle fatigue and with loads that stimulated bone growth. Added to the high load factor were the low repetitions and a built in long recovery time or rest period between sets of exercises.

High impact exercises, such as skipping a rope, and jumping are alternate means of effectively building strong bones, but only after a multiple months of low impact training.

Remodeling your bones will take up to six months before measurable and noticeable changes take place; just keep at it. Dense bones lower the risks of sustaining a fracture. But it you are susceptible to falling due to a lack of balance then this issue must be addressed.

Some simple but effective balance exercises are those of walking on your toes or heels for a distance that is comfortable to do.  Do these next to a railing or a wall. If you begin to fall you’ll have something to catch yourself on. Other good exercises are standing on one foot, or squatting on one leg if you are strong enough to do so. It may be better to do the one leg squats onto a sturdy chair that is pushed up against a wall so it doesn’t move as you sit on it. Or next to a counter top so you’ve got a place to grab onto if you can’t do them.

Additional balance exercises that have proven beneficial are those conducted standing on one foot while swinging your arms in the normal walking pattern or with your eyes closed. Make sure that you are near a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture in the event you begin to fall you will be able to catch yourself.


The path to increased bone mineral density lies in a strength program that is basic in nature and features high loads that stimulate the muscular growth in the hips, back, and arms. The program should be safe for all except those with severe osteoporosis. Before starting out on a new exercise program always consult with your doctor first.

Bone disease: a disease occurring among women after the menopause in which the bones become very porous, break easily, and heal slowly. Defined as a bone mineral density below -2.5 standard deviation of the young adult mean (The essentials of strength training and conditioning. 2000)


Defined as a bone density between -1 and -2.5 standard deviation of the young adult mean.

Elaine Mansfield, February 2006 Strength and Conditioning Journal

Five Incredibly Good Steps by Glenn Cardwell

Excess weight: I won't get fooled again

People have been concerned about excess weight since 1864 when William Banting published his book Letter on Corpulence. At that time only the rich could afford to be overweight. Now everyone can. As you can only make money from selling a product, not common sense, it is no wonder that people are confused. History has taught us that there has never been a weight loss breakthrough. It is reasonable to suggest, there is unlikely to be a healthy, simple new idea or product that will cause body fat loss in most overweight people. You can buy:

  • Books
  • Products (creams, tablets, drinks)
  • Cellulite creams
  • Exercise machines

but all these will prove disappointing. Remember Cellesene, the cellulite removal pills that every woman with a less-than-perfect thigh needed in 1998? With its mixture of gingko biloba, red clover, evening primrose oil, and fish oils, Cellasene enticed vulnerable overweight women. It claimed to assist weight loss and help get rid of the mythical cellulite (which, incidentally, is just body fat). There is no easy solution for overweight. It is going to be a lot of hard work.

2. Food freedom

All of the evidence suggests that weight control can only be achieved by getting the right balance of healthy eating and activity. It becomes a self-managed lifestyle. Weight loss success requires a change in attitude and lifestyle. This is the fundamental reason why success is so rare.

It is very easy to assume that excess body fat will respond to food restrictions (dieting). This has never, ever worked. The first step to successful weight control is in the head. First there must be acceptance that all the food available is 'good for you'. That is, there is no 'good' food or 'bad' food. Most of the foods that people label as 'bad' are extremely palatable and desirable so it is unrealistic that these foods can be deleted from the diet.

If all food is seen as 'good' then food loses its power to make people feel ashamed or guilty. This is a freedom from the power of food. The trick is to learn to eat foods in the amounts that are good for health. Plenty of fruits and vegetables ... you know the rest of the story. Most people have the view that "There is no such thing as a food that's good or bad for health; it is your overall diet affects your health". This is a good platform on which to base food choices.

The research evidence to date indicates that how you view your food may well have started in childhood. If certain foods where often banned, withheld when you were ban, or given only as rewards, then these foods became highly desired. These foods are usually snack foods, confectionery, ice cream or fast foods. You aim is to reduce the status of these foods so they no longer have a power over you.

There are many people who believe we should ban or tax 'unhealthy' food. The Dietary Guidelines for Australians states: "The guidelines apply to the total diet, and it is not appropriate to use them to assess the 'healthiness' of individual food items". Deeming a food to be unhealthy runs counter to the guidelines developed by the National Health & Medical Research Council. It also encourages shame and guilt.

3. Food strategies

There is one immutable law of body fat loss:

The kilojoules consumed has to be consistently less than the kilojoules burned.

How you achieve the immutable law of body fat loss is by:

  1. Burning more kilojoules via exercise;
  2. Consuming less kilojoules by eating less; or
  3. A combination of the two

Successful people achieve lower body fat levels by choosing technique #3. Those that lose weight for a short time only do so because they cannot make the change permanent.

It is now well established that the fat in food is quite easy to convert to body fat while carbohydrate and excess protein are generally used for energy production. Here, it must be noted that carbohydrates include sugars and starches, therefore sugar in modest amounts is unlikely to be fattening.

Fat also has a poor feedback mechanism on appetite so it is easy to over-consume fatty foods before they satisfy the appetite. Carbohydrate and protein are much more efficient at telling the body when it is full so they tend not to be over-consumed.

There is also evidence that we are conditioned to eat the same volume of food each day, so if the meals are high in fat more calories are consumed than if they were high in carbohydrate, protein or water (eg fruits and vegetables are around 90% water).

Why reduce fat intake?

  • Fat is energy (calorie) dense having twice the calories as carbohydrate or protein.
  • Fat is easy to convert to body fat.
  • Fat is less satisfying to the appetite compared to carbohydrate and protein.
  • Fatty foods (eg pastries, cakes) generally have a low water content. High water content foods seem to have a greater ability to satisfy the appetite than high fat foods.
  • Keeping the fat, especially saturated fat, intake low may be the best nutrition strategy for long-term body fat loss.
  • Saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease

Why encourage carbohydrate foods?

  • They satisfy the appetite better than fatty foods.
  • They are your major source of antioxidants through fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • Minimally processed carbohydrate foods are difficult to over consume

4. Activity is paramount

It is important that the body receives daily activity. This sometimes confused with exercise, with the impression that there needs to be set times of vigorous activity. Activity means that the body is on the move frequently through the day. It might take the form of walking, jogging, swimming, or going to the gym, but it may take the form of walking around the office every 30 minutes, doing some stretches in your chair, gardening or lifting some light weights.

For successful long-term weight loss, it is likely than 60 minutes of daily activity is required.

Why activity helps control weight:

  • The more activity done, the fitter a person becomes. Improved fitness makes the body a more efficient 'fat burner'.
  • Any activity that increases muscle mass eg bike riding, swimming, light weight-training tends to increase basal metabolic rate and a higher BMR means more calories burned during the day. Weight bearing activity also increases bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Moderate activity tends to 'dampen' the appetite so that less food is eaten. Higher levels of activity may increase appetite but only to match the calories 'burned'.
  • Improved fitness helps deal with the stresses of life such that food or alcohol are less likely to be used as a 'crutch'

5. Self management

It is important that an overweight person 'owns' both the problem and the solution. This is a problem that won't disappear by throwing money at it. Money can buy good advice to start on the road to success, but it isn't the means to success. Once personal responsibility for weight control is accepted then:

Look in the mirror. Be realistic about an achievable goal weight.

  • Also, be realistic about how long it will take to reach that goal weight. Most successful people take 6-12 months, often longer. One kilo a month doesn't sound like much, but that is 12 kg a year and most people would be very happy with that result.
  • Get support. Most successful people engage supportive people to give encouragement and help avoid saboteurs (those people, often family members, who don't like to see someone successfully losing body fat).
  • Be unwavering in the determination to succeed. 'Just do it' is the single solution to almost everything, not just selling running shoes.
  • Self-management is the most successful means of achieving weight control. It is free of charge, that's why no-one can sell it and no-one can buy it. And that's why it is not often discussed.

Glenn Cardwell

PO Box 1068, Bentley DC 6983, Western Australia
Phone: (+61) 8 9367 3556
E-mail: "glenncardwell.com";glenn@glenncardwell.com

The relationship of volume of resistance strength training and increases in the bone mineral density of post-menopausal women

Resistance training is an effective modality for maintaining bone mineral density. For women entering the post-menopausal phase of their life, the concern about an osteoporotic fracture is a serious possibility.

In a recent article published in the NSCA call for abstracts, the authors (Aaron Thomas and Matthew R. Rhea) “noted that research has yet to identify the dose-response relationship between resistance training and bone mineral density for such a population.”

A meta-analysis research examined the affect of resistance training on bone mineral density among this category of women who were not taking replacement hormone therapy. A review of the previous studies identified the dose-response relationship of the volume of resistance exercise that is necessary to derive maximal skeletal benefits. In studies shorter than 30 weeks, individuals performing between 20 – 40 sets per week showed the greatest benefit in bone mineral density change. However, in studies that lasted longer than 30 weeks, 50 – 60 workout sets per week were needed to reach maximal benefit.

The best metabolism raising exercises

Maintaining a fast metabolism, i.e., how fast our body uses the calories that it takes in each day is one of the factors that determine how we age. Staying powerful, strong and trim is a part of this equation and a challenge that becomes more difficult the older we become. Some people just give up trying and quit. An increase in muscle contributes to a faster metabolism.

Most people are aware that muscle is healthier for us than an excessive accumulation of fat mass. This is a foregone conclusion that is indisputable by any rational human being. The greater the lean muscle mass or fat free mass we have in our body the faster the metabolic rate will be, up to a certain point. This does not mean to cut out all fat. Obviously our bodies need fat because without it we wouldn’t survive long.

How you get this increased lean muscle mass is another matter entirely. It is a journey that takes time and effort. However that pathway to success can be made a lot smoother with good directions. And those are forthcoming.

Training your large muscle groups is the answer to the question of which exercises are the most productive in manipulating your body composition percentages. If you are serious about making these important changes then you’ll be doing the following ten hard core external load resistance movements for three to four sets of eight to ten repetitions. Don’t dilly dally between sets. Keep moving.

  1. Military presses for your shoulders, triceps and upper back.
  2. Pull downs or chin ups for your upper back and biceps.
  3. Bench presses for your chest, triceps and shoulders.
  4. Barbell rows hit the upper back hard and are very efficient in rounding off the upper torso musculature.
  5. Squats are absolutely the most effective exercise known to mankind. These work the entire body. Specifically the legs, buttocks, abs and back.
  6. Dead lifts are next in line as the most effective in burning calories during exercise. These target the abs, legs, lower back and shoulders.
  7. Back extensions for the lower back.
  8. Sit ups, crunches or curl ups for the abdominal muscles.
  9. Laterals for the oblique's.
  1. Calf raises for that strong powerful look to the lower legs.

Between sessions of strength training perform a series of 360’s, also known as bridges or planks for several sets of five to ten. Establish and keep each position for five to ten seconds. Hold only as long as the form is kept perfect. Longer holds may sound good but if they are done correctly then the purpose is defeated. Remember this: Practice makes permanent. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

Once you get moving with these exercises you will see your body composition change to the good.

Physical fitness

Physical fitness is defined in many different ways. Most definitions center on the ability of the persons capacity to move about in their daily lives. Health related fitness, when compared to athletic fitness, pertains to disease prevention and relative generalized health promotion activities.

This state is achieved when the individual is able to perform daily activities with vigor and demonstrates the traits and capacities of a healthy lifestyle that is associated with low risks of a premature development of hypokinetic diseases. The diseases that accompany inactivity such as obesity, cardiovascular impairments, sarcopenia, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and diabetes to name but a few that have adverse impacts on our lives.

As can be seen there are differing ways to describe physical fitness but there is relative unanimity of agreement when it comes to the operational definition of physical fitness: It goes without argument that acceptable levels of physical fitness include movement-related traits and performance indicators. The components of fitness encompass cardio respiratory endurance, body composition (lean muscle compared to fat tissue percentages) strength of the neuromuscular systems, strength endurance and flexibility.

The better each of the foregoing parts of the fitness continuum fit together the healthier will be the person.

Getting stronger

It may come as a shock to you but you don’t need a lot of fancy machines, stability balls, balance pads or hundreds of dollars worth of supplements each month to get strong. What you do need, along with a plan, is the desire and persistence to keep working out with weights -that’s all. Pure and simple isn’t it?

While there may be a bit more to the equation than offered up above it’s still a lot simpler than most commercial training facilities will have you believe. Take a look at what you already may have in your training arsenal:

  1. If you can walk, jog, run or ride a bicycle then you have your cardio component covered.
  2. If you can bend over or move in various directions the flexibility portion is available and
  3. If you have a set of barbells from one to three hundred pounds the resistance piece is in place.

Each of these three parts is essential to a well rounded fitness program and neglecting any one of them will make your efforts at becoming fit unbalanced.

For example, if you are able to run miles on end but can’t carry your groceries from the car to the house then all the cardio work you have faithfully performed over the years is wasted. You need strength to maintain a healthy living from day to day.

Further more if you are unable to bend over and pick up the newspaper from the walk or have a hard time tying your shoes because you can’t reach down that far then your flexibility is in dire shape and needs to be addressed.

Spring time in this great Country of ours is a time for renewal, a time to get away from the winter doldrums and start going again on your fitness aspirations. You do want to be in better shape don’t you?

Here is a quick and down to earth training program that most anyone will be able to follow. If in doubt though check with your doctor and run it past them. In most cases you will be able to do this program without much difficulty.

At the get go this program will take up approximately five minutes of your time each day. I realize that five minutes is not much but the idea is to get used to doing something for yourself every single day. Pick a time that you know you can set aside every day. It can be five minutes as soon as you wake up or just before going to bed. Some people find that by exercising just before bedtime that it keeps them awake. So you might want to take this into consideration.

Once you have decided on this particular time slot stick with it. The first time you make an allowance for not exercising in ‘your time slot’ the next excuse for missing soon appears. It won’t be long before you are no longer exercising. This is the slippery slope of foregoing a session.

The five day per week program will change the training emphasis every week. During the first week you do your strength training three times, your cardio twice and your flexibility every day. On the next week do cardio three times and strength training twice with flexibility every day. Keep a work out logbook.

On the strength days work the major muscle groups, i.e. shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, legs arms and abdomen for two to three sets of eight to ten repetitions. Work quickly and keep your heart rate up in the target zone for your age.

When working on your cardiovascular choice of exercise add only ten percent to the time or distance every other week depending on your progress.

Emphasizing your range of motion at the end of each training session will result in noticeable range of motion increases. Hold each stretch for around ten to fifteen seconds but not in positions of pain. Mild discomfort is the lesson to be learned here.

Women, Weight Loss and Muscle

When people want to loose weight the normal approach is to cut back on eating and hit the cardio with a vengeance. Usually after about 4 weeks, burned out, with limited results and a new found hatred of cardio they pack it up, put back on the weight plus a little more. Everyone knows someone who fits into this category, if that someone is unlucky enough to be you then fear not, help is at hand.

It’s common knowledge that in order to loose weight, more calories must be burned than consumed. It is possible to do this by cutting calories realistically (and not starving yourself) and burning more calories doing cardio. However this requires discipline and once a routine is left, the weight sneaks back on. There is hope. Many people who want to loose weight don’t even think about gaining muscle. For every extra pound of muscle you gain up to an extra 50 calories a day are burned. Unlike fat, muscle takes up about one third of the volume.

This idea is easy to present to men, after all with the exception of certain athletes, what man doesn’t want to gain a few pounds of muscle? However women are frequently lied to in this area and are scared of weight training because they think they’ll bulk up. The truth is a woman could put on five to ten pounds of muscle and no one would be the wiser especially if it replaced 5 – 10 lb of fat. The added muscle would add to her feminine figure and not turn her into the female equivalent of Arnold Schwartzenager like fitness myths would suggest.

It is very hard for a woman to gain that kind of bulk; for a start in comparison to men women have a lot less testosterone, an essential hormone in muscle building. Furthermore estrogen inhibits muscle growth. Women can and do body build but most women don’t have the required genetics, and the ones that do work very, very hard at it, eat a lot of extra calories and some use steroids.

Unfortunately because of such myths when a woman goes to her local gym to loose weight, the trainers there will often put her on an endurance program using high reps and low weights. If a man went with the same goal he would probably be put on a hypertrophy (muscle building) program.

According to clinical studies women on average have 55% of the upper body strength and 77% of the lower body strength of men. Scientifically speaking there are no exercises than men can do that women can’t.

Therefore why does the fitness industry continually prescribe high reps and low weights when goals of weight loss and figure enhancement could be reached quicker using lower weights and moderately heavier weights? Why are women singled out to inferior programs to men? Is it psychological? Are our trainers receiving a poor education? With a properly prescribed and supervised program two to three brief (twenty to twenty-five minutes), intense sessions a week is adequate to make a real figure transformation in as little as ten weeks. Let’s stop the discrimination!

Adrian Birkby, CSCS MPT

Heart disease and women-not a good combination

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease, in women, is the leading cause of death at a staggering 27.2 percent. Heart disease is followed by cancer and stroke. Diabetes comes in at number seven.

Preventing the onset of this disease makes sense. Studies have shown that eating a diet such as the Mediterranean Diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and olive oil is beneficial to your heart health.

Emilia Klapp, RD, BS, wrote Your Heart Needs the Mediterranean Diet to help cut back on the incidence of heart disease. Learn how the Mediterranean’s have kept a healthy heart for centuries. This is a must read if you are truly interested in maintaining a healthy heart.

I highly recommend this book. Click Here! and get your copy right now.

Heart disease and women-not a good combination

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease, in women, is the leading cause of death at a staggering 27.2 percent. Heart disease is followed by cancer and stroke. Diabetes comes in at number seven.

Preventing the onset of this disease makes sense. Studies have shown that eating a diet such as the Mediterranean Diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and olive oil is beneficial to your heart health.

Emilia Klapp, RD, BS, wrote Your Heart Needs the Mediterranean Diet to help cut back on the incidence of heart disease. Learn how the Mediterranean’s have kept a healthy heart for centuries. This is a must read if you are truly interested in maintaining a healthy heart.

I highly recommend this book. Click Here! and get your copy right now.

Lifting weights to improve your health

The many benefits of resistance training run the gamut of reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels to increased bone density. Changes are commonly noted in the body composition leading to increased lean body mass. Daily living activities are made easier with increased strength, agility, balance and coordination that come from more astute body awareness. Psychologically, there are improvements seen in ones self body image, self esteem and self confidence arising from lifting weights and exercise.

Before beginning a strength training program a person should have conference with their doctor to make sure their body is up to the task of the more strenuous exercise methods such as resistance training. Problem areas often appear in those over forty with cardiovascular issues, obesity, high blood pressure, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic problems, and in the case of a woman pregnancy.

Basic rules, such as follow, apply when beginning a new program. Warm ups and cool downs are essential to improved health and need to be included in each session. Start out slowly and don’t overdue it the first time.

If you get really sore the first few times it is unlikely that you’ll want to continue on further. Progression is the key phrase in this case. Steady progress is better than intermittent starts and stops. Be persistent by sticking with it. Use correct lifting techniques at all times-it’s not worth getting hurt. Be appropriately attired with good supportive shoes and comfortable clothing.

Correct training involves, at a minimum, holding onto the bar in a solid manner so it doesn’t slip away and injure you in the process. Lift while in a stable position and that is not meant to mean while standing on a stability ball to show off. Keep the weight near the center of your body because in doing so you are also keeping the center of gravity in its proper spot. Avoid momentum as you lift.

There is a time for using momentum but it’s not at the beginning of your training. Devote a substantial amount of the session to developing your lower torso and not just the mirror muscles of the upper chest and biceps. Each exercise is best performed through out its full range of motion.

Breathing is an important part of life just as it is in lifting. The Valsalva maneuver is one that is used by experienced lifters. My advice to you is avoid it due to the increased blood pressure levels seen in those who do use it. It is better to breath in as the weight is being assisted in its path by the forces of gravity and then when going against gravity to slightly blow it out. The glottis should not be closed during the breathing process as this rapidly turns into the Valsalva maneuver if you continue to push the breath against the closed glottis.

In order to see productive results from your efforts it will be to your distinct advantage to train on regularly scheduled training days and times. Once you miss one session it is easy to miss the second and third ones as well. It won’t be long before you aren’t even going to the gym any longer. It’s one thing to be persistent and stick with it but it’s another matter if you are ill. Don’t infect everyone else in the weight room just because you ‘have to lift’.

Along the same lines as not lifting when you’re sick it’s just as important to maintain a high level of good nutrients in your daily eating habits. Remind yourself of your individual goals and don’t compare your lifting with others in the gym. Some are going to be pretty strong in relation to you.

Arthritis and Fitness-they are not mutually exclusive

Arthritis is a progressive degenerative joint disease that affects millions of Americans, as they grow older, each year. It primarily affects the load bearing joints of the body, in most cases the neck, shoulders, back, hips and knees. Progressive changes may begin in the third decade with definite symptoms presenting during the early to late forties. A few people may become arthritic sooner.

Generally speaking if the symptoms appear early in life it is normally the result of a traumatic injury to the joint due to an accident or some other trauma to the area. Young women may experience the disease due to muscular imbalances, genetics, or misalignments of the bones.

Other contributing factors are obesity-we are a nation of fat people getting fatter by the day-joint loading and lack of muscular strength around the joints. Extra weight causes higher joint compression loads and with the added shear forces of movement an accelerated and destructive wear pattern to begins to develop. Repetitively loading the joint in this manner may lead to arthritis or other degenerative changes to occur.

Building and maintaining strong muscles around these susceptible joints can be a hedge against the onset of arthritis. Strength adds dynamic stability and helps lessen the impact of movement activities by lowering the force directly transmitted to the joint.

The question now arises as to which exercises are the best to use if you have arthritis. Moderation is the key-if it hurts then stop and reevaluate what you are doing in the gym or at home. I am not referring to the hurt of muscle soreness that is a separate issue altogether. Joint pain is the pertinent point to keep in mind here.

Using too little weight in your exercises will not elicit strength gains nor will it help to properly lubricate the joint. Too much will overload the area and impede your progress by causing inflammation and pain.

Loading the knee joint with leg extensions is not recommended. Another reason not to do this particular movement is the joint opens up with the weight positioned at the end of the lever arm, i.e. your foot where the weight is situated on the machine. If you have spinal stenosis then excessive back extensions are contraindicated as well. A well-designed strengthening exercise program will work wonders for your body.

Speak to your health care provider before beginning any new exercise program.

Keep the exercise repetitions in the moderate ranges of ten to twelve for two to three sets. Keep the weight load on the moderate side as well; usually this will be in the 60-75% of your one repetition maximum effort. For example if you are presently squatting three hundred pounds then a recommendation for weight would be in the area of 180 to 225 pounds for your two to three sets of ten repetitions.

Cardiovascular conditioning also has a high priority for arthritis suffers. Without a strong heart, the rest of the body will never become totally fit. Stationary bikes, rowing machines and water exercise protocols are gentle on the body, yet still produce heart healthy benefits.

Constant evaluation during the exercise session will quickly reveal any aches or pains the movements are causing. Pain is not the answer to the question. Exercise should not cause joint pain. Pain means the joint did not like the exercise. Listen to your body and make it happy by selecting appropriate exercises. Pain means no gain.

Nutrition and Depression by Jaklina Trajcevska

Depression is a real illness which affects so many people. In fact, many people will, at some stage in their life feel the effects of some form of depression.

Depression usually occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The imbalance occurs with serotonin - an important neurotransmitter, which helps to transfer messages throughout the structures of the brain's nerve cells. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that controls how we feel - happy or sad. If the levels of serotonin are awry, depression can result.

Anti-depressants work by regulating the amount of serotonin, to keep the brain functioning properly and keep depression at bay.

The advice below may be a means to assist those with mild to moderate depression, who are not already taking medication, but it can be an adjunct to conventional treatment, for those taking medication.

Please consult your medical practitioner if you would like to try any of the following (as it may interfere with your medication - either anti-depressants or other medication).

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is another useful nutrient and is the precursor to tryptophan - this means your body needs to have enough Vitamin B6 in order to make tryptophan (which is an essential amino acids - meaning the body cannot manufacture it and it is necessary to be taken in from foods ingested). Vitamin B6 can be taken in the form of a supplement or through foods high in vitamin B6, such as: yellowfin tuna, beef liver, potato, fortified cereals, banana, chicken breast.


There are some foods which actually help the body make "happy hormones" - these foods are: low fat meat (chicken / turkey especially), milk and other low fat dairy, eggs. The happy hormone is tryptophan, an essential amino acids which helps to regulate levels of serotonin in the brain and has the effect of making a person feel happier.


Study after study has shown that moderate and regular exercise will help with mild to moderate depression to the same level as medication. The only hard thing to do is to actually get up and do the exercise, which is hard if you feel even a little down. Just try to do it and you will soon start to feel a little better with each session.

Avoid Refined Sugar to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

If your sugar levels are erratic from high intakes of highly refined and sugary foods, this will wreak havoc on your emotional stability.

Foods that contain high levels of sugar (or are highly refined carbohydrates) make your blood sugar levels go too high very quickly and then drop again very quickly. This is not good for healthy individuals, but worse if you have any type of mental or physical affliction, due to the detrimental effects of the sugar fluctuations.

It is well known that not having stable and consistent sugar levels is not beneficial in many ways and can make a person feel anxious and nervous (low sugar levels), while high sugar levels can create artificial euphoria and feeling like one is "drunk". Keeping your sugar levels consistent, by eating wholesome, healthy foods, with a little, low fat, good quality protein at each meal, will really go a long way to ensuring your depression is not exacerbated.

Always eat breakfast - have some cereal, milk and fruit, or eggs and fruit. Try to make sure you eat some healthy snacks in between your main meals (good snacks are some crispbread with some hommous or some low fat cheese and tomatoes or some nuts and fresh fruit).


Get a regular routine going - try to do the same things at the same time - this will help you by ensuring your life is stable and consistent.

Have Medical Tests

There are several health conditions that can have depression as a symptom - so you should ensure that you have had a full medical check up to rule out any of those conditions.

For more information about health and nutrition, visit: www.vitalhealthzone.com

Jaklina Trajcevska is the creator of http://www.vitalhealthzone.com, an informational web site which aims to educate people about nutrition and health. Jaklina Trajcevska is passionate about nutrition and health and has a BSc degree.

Here is a progression to follow for developing your push up power.

Exercise prescriptions for bone growth stimulation*

Programs designed to stimulate bone growth, also known as bone mineral density (BMS), will incorporate the following characteristics:

  • Volume
  • 10 repetitions for 3-6 sets
  • Load
  • 1-10 rep maximums at 80%-90%
  • Variation
  • Undulating periodization patterns
  • Exercise selection
  • Structural, multi - joint, large
  • muscle groups
  • Rest
  • 1-4 minutes between sets

*Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Baechle, T. R., Earle, R. W. Human Kinetics 2001

Please take note of the recommended intensity (load) levels-all are above 80% 1RM. In order to grow healthy bones the muscles have to be stressed and soup cans just don’t cut it here.

Bone Strengthening Summary:
The greater the magnitude or intensity, the higher and faster the power output and the direction of force all contribute to the successful laying down of new bone growth.

Here is a brief table that lists the Surgeon Generals recommendations for helping build and maintain your bone mineral density:



Vitamin D (IU/day)

Physical activity

Bone density testing

Patients at
increased risk


Children and adolescents


1-3 years old



Moderate to vigorous activity 60 minutes per day. Emphasis on weight bearing activities.

As clinically indicated in high risk patients

Frequent fractures, anorexia, amenorrhea,
chronic hepatic, renal, gastrointestinal,
autoimmune disease,



Excess thyroxine replacement,
Antiepileptic medications,
Gonadal hormone suppression,
Immuno suppressive agents (Cancer Chemotherapy)


4-8 years old



See above

See above

See above


9-18 years old



See above

See above

See above




18-50 years



Moderate activity 30 minutes daily. Emphasize weight bearing, fall prevention programs, modifications for the frail elderly and the spine fracture patients

As clinically indicated in high risk patients

Individuals with risk factors in the risk factor for fractures


51-70 years



See above

See above

See above


Greater than 70 years



See above

See above

See above

The major keys to good bone health Danny M. O'Dell

*Exercise plays a highly beneficial role in maintaining bone integrity and preventing fractures by increasing the strength of the bones.

*Bone mineral density is directly related to long term physical activity via load bearing, impact exercise regimens.

*The loss of bone mineral density weakens the bones and makes them susceptible to a fracture.

*The sites most frequently fractured are in the hip, spine and wrist.


Take care of your health by exercising, eating right and having yearly full physical exams.


Osteoporosis and Diet by Glenn Cardwell

Every day your bones are in a constant state of flux - some bone is manufactured and some bone is broken down as your bones are modeled and remodeled. Early in life, more bone is made than is broken down, hence bones get bigger and stronger. Bone mass increases rapidly from puberty and peaks when people reach their thirties. Later in life the trend tends to be the opposite - more bone gets broken down than is formed so bones become weaker.

If this happens too quickly, osteoporosis (brittle & weak bones) occurs, making them more likely to break as a result of a fall or minor injury. Although osteoporosis is mainly seen in older women, it also occurs in men. During a lifetime women lose up to 50% of their bone mass and men 20-30%. The key to long-term bone strength is to ensure maximum bone mass during adolescence and as a young adult, then to do everything possible to minimize bone loss with age.

Nutrients & Bones

Although activity will help minimize bone loss, you should also ensure an adequate calcium and vitamin D intake. The research suggests that a high calcium intake will slow the rate of bone loss and reduce the chance of bone fractures. A diet low in calcium has been implicated in the cause of osteoporosis.

About 70% of our calcium comes from the dairy foods milk, cheese and yogurt. Around 20% of all the calcium we eat is absorbed from our digestive system. And yes, you can easily absorb the calcium from milk. Vitamin D is required for the normal absorption of calcium from the intestine. Around 15-30 minutes of sunlight daily helps the body produce enough vitamin D. Good food sources of vitamin D include oily fish (eg tuna, sardines, mackerel), cod liver oil, liver, eggs, cheese and margarine.


Women lose up to 50% of their bone mass over a lifetime. For men the figure is 20- 30%.

Strength training and exercise will minimize bone loss and improve bone strength.

Adequate dietary calcium helps protect against brittle bones.

How much calcium do you need each day?

Girls 8-11 900 mg
Women 12-15 1000 mg
Women 16-54 800 mg
Women Pregnant 1100 mg
Women Nursing 1300 mg
Women 54+ 1000 mg

Boys 8-11 800 mg
Men 12-15 1200 mg
Men 16-18 1000 mg
Men 18+ 800 mg

Getting more calcium into your day

*Add yogurt or milk to soup.
*Use low-fat milks in baking and mix low fat milk with mashed potato
*Melt cheese on toast, baked potatoes or pasta dishes.
*If you don’t like plain milk, blend it with fruit for a smoothie, have hot chocolate or add some flavoring, i.e. Milo, Nesquik, AKTAVITE, Ovaltine.
*Commercial flavored milks are a convenient snack. Many are made on fat reduced milk, check the ingredient list on the label.
*For those who don’t eat dairy foods, choose a calcium fortified soy beverage.
*Go easy on salt and salty foods. Too much salt in food causes extra calcium to be lost in the urine. Choose salt reduced varieties of food.
*Too much caffeine can also reduce calcium absorption. Five cups of tea or coffee a day is ok.

Calcium in foods

Milk & Soy foods Calcium (mg) per 250mL

Skim milk 375
Heart Plus 310
Calcium Plus 510
Hilo milk 310
Whole milk 295
Flavored milks 300
Sustagen, 250mL 400
Sustagen Sport, 200mL with water 400
So Good, regular & Lite 290
Tofu, firm (calcium coagulant) 100g 160
Tofu, soft (calcium coagulant) 100g 80

Yogurt Calcium (mg) per 200g
Plain, natural 290
Low fat, natural 360
Whole, fruit flavour 260
Low fat, fruit flavour 320

Cheese Calcium (mg) per 30g
Cheddar 240
Edam 260
Processed 200
Camembert, brie 150
Ricotta 100
Cottage cheese 30

Dairy desserts Calcium per serve
Ice cream, 1 scoop 65
Custard, 100 mL 150

Other foods Calcium per serve
Almonds, 20 g 6
Brazil nuts 30g 55
Peanuts 30g 20
Peanut butter, 1 tabsp 10
Sardines + bones, 100 g 350
Salmon + bones, 100 g 370
Prawns 100g 150
Meat, chicken, 100g 20
Baked beans, 1 cup 90
Kidney beans, chick peas 1/2 cup 60
Soy beans 1/2 cup 80
Tahini, 1 Tabsp 65
Sesame seeds, 3 Tabsp 30 g 40
Broccoli, 1 cup cooked 30
Bread, 1 slice 20
Pasta, 1 cup 10
Rice, 1 cup 5
Egg 35
Milk chocolate, 50 g 125
Dark chocolate, 50 g 25
Fresh fruit, average 20
Fruit juice, 250 mL 25

Fats & oils Calcium per serve
Butter, marg 0
Cream, 1 Tabsp 15


If are just beginning to exercise you will soon learn that balance plays a big part in correctly performing the movements. One of the easiest ways to test your standing balance is to follow the Tai Chi test.

Pick up an accurate stop watch and then do the test at least three times in a row to get the best result. Start with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Just relax with this position. Now close your eyes. Can you still stand without wavering back and forth? If so then you are ready to move onto the actual test.

Cross your arms over one another at the chest. Close your eyes and put all the weight on either your left or right foot. Once this is done then raise the opposite foot up. With the foot up off the ground begin the timer. Keep this position as long as you can without touching the floor with the raised foot or moving it around to maintain your balance. Check your timed results against the chart.

If you were able to balance for: Then you have the balance of a person of this age:
2.5 60
3.7 50
7.2 40
15.1 30
22.1 20

Reference and chart adaptation: Reader's Digest Tai Chi for every body.

How did you do? If not very well then keep practicing and it will get better.

Osteoporosis: The risk factors

Some risk factors are under your control whereas others are not. Here is a brief list for your consideration.

1. Gender-of the ten million people with osteoporosis in the United States 80% of these are women. Particularly affected, and at increased risk for the disease, are Caucasian and Asian women.

2. As you grow older your risk increases.

3. Your diet and health history habits make contributions to the disease. Drinking alcohol and smoking, along with a lack of calcium and vitamin D and exercise hasten the onset of this bone weakening condition.

4. Other health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis seem to predispose a person to osteoporosis.

5. Medications such as thyroid medication and oral steroids can damage the bones.

Adaptation of Bone to Exercise

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA.CSCS*D

Background information-briefly stated

Bone is considered a connective tissue that when stressed, deforms and adapts as a result of the load. To meet the strain imposed upon the external structure caused by the bending, compressive, torsional loads and the muscular contractions at the tendinous insertion point’s osteoblasts migrate to the surface of the bone.

At the point of the strain, immediate modeling of the bone begins. Proteins form a matrix between the bone cells. This causes the bone to become denser due to the calcification process occurring during the growth response to the load.

The new growth occurs on the outside of the bone to allow the manufacture of new cells to continue in the limited space with in the bone itself. This outer layer is commonly known as the periosteum.

Adaptations take place at different rates in the axial skeleton (skull/cranium, vertebral, ribs, and sternum) and the appendicular skeleton (shoulder, hips, pelvis and the long bones of the upper and lower body-essentially the arms and legs). This is due to the differences in the bone types- trabecular (spongy) and cortical (compact) bone.

The stimulus for new bone formations.

Minimal essential strain (MES) refers to the threshold amount of stress applied to the structure which is necessary to elicit growth of new bone material. A force exceeding MES is required to signal the osteoblasts to move toward the periosteum and begin this transformation. MES is thought to be 1/10 of the breaking force needed to fracture the bone. Training effects have a positive relationship to bone density just as sedentary living habits play a role in the loss of bone density.

Training to increase bone formation

Programs designed to stimulate bone growth, also known as bone mineral density (BMS), will incorporate the following characteristics:

1. Specificity of loading
2. Proper exercise selection
3. Progressive overload
4. Variation

Specificity of loading will see the exercise patterns emphasizing specific areas in need of assistance. New or unusual forces in varying angles of stress will enable your bones to adapt to the greater intensities. Military presses, bench presses, upright shoulder shrugs, push ups, chin ups, plus other similar exercises would help develop stronger upper body bones. Lower body exercises selections would be along the lines of these types of movement patterns: squats, calf raises, dead lifts, and straight leg dead lifts.

Exercise selection promotes osteogenic stimuli (factors that stimulate new bone formation) and will exhibit these characteristics: Compound exercise muscle movements consisting of multi joint, structural loading and varying force vectors. Such exercises are the squat, dead lift, military press and the bench press along with the Olympic style moves.

Progressive overload

Greater than normal loads force the body to adapt in a positive manner regarding new bone formation. This response is greater if the load changes are dramatic and repetitive in nature. Younger bones may be more receptive to osteogenic changes in the load variance than older bones.

Variations of exercise selections

The body adapts quickly to imposed loads per the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Loads) principle. In order to prevent accommodation the exercises need to be varied on a periodic basis. There are many individual differences in the same exercise. As an example the squat has at least seventy variations! And these variations do not include any machine versions.

Mechanical load consists of the following:

Magnitude of force

Magnitude of the load density or the intensity of the load will generally be above eighty to ninety percent one to ten repetition maximum in order to see improvements in the tissue response.

Speed of force development

The rate or speed of loading means how fast the force is being applied to move the load in a concentric muscle contraction (force applied against a weight with the muscles shortening). Think speed during the lift.

The direction of forces

Varying the direction and pattern of movement will stress the bone and the attaching musculature. Full range of motion in all exercises ensures to a certain extent that the forces are applied as required.

Volume of force applied

The first three mentioned above are primarily responsible for bone mineral improvements. Typically the repetitions do not need to exceed thirty to thirty five to see improvements IF the load is within the correct intensity zone (80%-90% 1-10RM).

Exercise prescriptions for bone growth stimulation*

1. Volume 10 reps for 3-6 sets
2. Load 1-10 RM at 80%-90%
3. Rest 1-4 minutes between sets
4. Variation Undulating periodization patterns
5. Exercise selection Structural, multi-joint, large muscle groups

*Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning
Baechle, T. R., Earle, R.W. Human Kinetics 2001


The greater the magnitude or intensity, the higher and faster the power output, and the direction of force all contribute to the successful laying down of new bone growth.

Exercise suggestions

Before engaging in any new exercise program consult with your primary health care provider.

To increase your lean body mass, add strength and power, follow these guidelines for the suggested group of exercises:

1. Full body resistance training program on a schedule of at least two times per week, with three times to optimize the results.
2. Utilize correct exercise technique at all times
3. Three sets of ten to twelve repetitions each exercise unless other wise noted.
4. Work to rest ratio is 1:2, meaning if you work out for ten seconds you then rest for twenty seconds.
5. If you are able to add weight after completing the series three times, then do so the next session.
6. If you have added weight then do only ten repetitions and work up to twelve.

Warm up for 5-8 minutes
Calf raises
Dead lifts
Military presses
Shoulder shrugs
Abdominal work-15-20 reps for two sets
Bench presses
Bar bell rows
Barbell curls
Triceps extensions
Abdominal work again to end the session-15-20 reps for two sets

Vibration Training

Vibration loading has been successfully used in the astronaut program to help prevent bone loss and to enhance recovery from sprains and tendonitis in normal and athletic individuals. Recent research has centered on the use of whole body vibrations to increase bone integrity, balance and muscular strength.

This research has demonstrated that whole body vibrations in the 25-40 Hz ranges improves explosive power in those who are physically active. Additional findings have shown this type of training to be beneficial to older adults with balance problems and for increased bone formation in postmenopausal women.

How it works: A platform generates vibration which is then transferred to the body and the muscles, causing them to contract in a reflex. This also stimulates circulation tremendously. Tendons are stretched, and even deep-lying muscles such as the pelvic floor muscles, the muscles around the spinal column and in the face are reinforced by this reflex activation. Without using additional weights, and without having to put any additional strain on the body, the experts at Power-Plate have developed several training schedules enabling everyone to improve their looks, health and general well-being. Anyone can use the Power-Plate, whether top athletes, untrained, elderly or overweight.

Technical information supplied by power plate usa. I can't seem to get the link to work so am removing it. If you want to look at the machine just cut and paste the name.


This list of contraindications is not absolute. If one of the conditions listed below applies to you we strongly advise that you consult with your physician before using the Power Plate.

  • Pregnancy
    Acute thrombosis
    Serious cardiovascular disease
    Recent wounds from an operation or surgery
    Hip and knee implants
    Acute hernia, discopathy, spondylolysis
    Severe diabetes
    Recent infections
    Severe migraine
    Recently placed IUD's, metal pins, or plates

Research is still being conducted on the effects of vibration on certain medical conditions. This list may soon be reduced. Practical experience indicates that there are a number of cases where it is beneficial to integrate Power Plate training into ones treatment. This should always be done under the supervision of a doctor, physician or trained professional.

Bone Health Exercise Recommendations

The mode of exercise should be a combination of weight bearing and endurance activities such as stair climbing, tennis, jogging and jumping. Add in regular sessions of resistance training to round out the weeks program.

The intensity level of all these exertions has to be in the moderate to high ranges in order to engage the bone loading force mechanisms leading to high quality rebuilding of these tissues.

The resistance training level of intensity will be in the 80-85% areas for the majority of the selected movements. The selected exercises are those that involve the major muscle groups that focus on the shoulders, chest, upper back and the legs front and rear. Repetitions will be in the 6-8 range for two to four sets with two to three minutes rest between sets.

These exercise sessions need to be at least as frequent as 3-5 times per week for the weight bearing endurance activities and 2-3 times per week for the resistance ones in order to elicit a positive effect on the skeletal structure.

Once these regimes are in place the desired time spent on each one per session is 30-80 minutes per day. This will be a combination of both types of exercise and not just one of the two recommended modes.

Discover how this woman found the secret to better bone health through strength training. Read what her trainer says about this incredible transformation in her bone density. Personal information has been left out to preserve the identity of these people.

From: Blake
To: Danny@explosivelyfit.com
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 7:49 AM
Subject: osteopenia success through strength program

Good morning Danny! I just found your site this morning, browsing around. I thought I would share a successful, true story of a lady I have personally trained over the last year.

She just turned 49 years old. She experienced early menopause a few years ago. She has a small frame (5'6 125 lbs). She had a physical with a bone scan in 2001. She scored in the osteopenia range in both the lumbar and hip areas. She had another bone scan in September 2006. She had experienced an average -2.6% bone loss in all areas (BMD). Instead of going on med's, she got the approval of her doctor to work on a program with me that has included strength training (free weight, olympic lifts and variance training), supplements- calcium/mag/vit d, strontium lactate, whey protein, multi vitamin, and 5 servings of vegetables daily. She has been very consistent with all requirements of the program.

She had another bone scan completed in May of 2007 (covered by insurance again!). I believe the results to be remarkable. Not only did she halt her bone loss in that 9 month period of time, she experienced a 6% BMD increase in her lumbar region and a 1% increase in the hip region. Her lumbar 3 T score is now out of the osteopenia range and the others are very close, including one T score that was -2.47 in 2006.

I attempted to contact a couple different physicians in this area to share this experience, but none seemed to interested, even questioning my 'story'. I do have bone scan results.

Thought it would be worth sharing with someone who might like to hear about it!!


Blake E. Johnson

Fergus Falls, MN

Contact Blake for further information and training consultations in the Fergus Falls, Minnesota region.




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