Losing 11 pounds lowers prostate cancer risk
Men who lost weight cut odds of getting aggressive form of disease
Here's another reason for men to avoid packing on extra pounds over the holidays: A new study has found that losing weight reduces the risk of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
After tracking the weight of nearly 70,000 men between 1982 and 1992, researchers from the American Cancer Society and the Duke University Prostate Center found that men who lost more than 11 pounds had a lower risk for aggressive prostate cancer than men whose weight remained the same over a decade.
Previous studies have found that obese men have a higher risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. This study appears to be the first to indicate that recent weight loss can decrease that risk.
In the study reported this month in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed the height and weight of the men in 1982 and 1992 and every three years after that until 2003. At that time, more than 5,200 of the men — more than 7 percent — had prostate cancer.
Among those cases, about one in eight had a form of cancer that was aggressive but had not spread to other areas of the body. The study's major finding focused on those aggressive cases, with researchers concluding that those who lost 11 or more pounds were 42 percent less likely to develop that form of prostate cancer than those whose weight remained the same.
"Whether it's exactly 40 percent, we don't know, but they lower their risk when they lose 11-plus pounds. We feel confident, at least in this population, that was real," said lead researcher Dr. Carmen Rodriguez.
More than seven times as many men whose weight remained the same developed aggressive prostate cancer compared to those who lost 11 or more pounds.
"No significant associations" were found regarding the effect of weight gain or loss on the most severe forms of prostate cancer, those that spread throughout the body, the study said.
The number studied was small, the researchers acknowledged, because fewer than 15,000 men lost weight over the time period, and only 1,000 of those developed some form of prostate cancer.
The 69,991 participants were part of a bigger cancer society study of 1.2 million Americans that began in 1982.
Rodriguez said men should avoid putting on extra weight as they get older.
"The main message for men is to not get overweight. If they are overweight, that's another reason to try to lose weight, just to decrease the risk for prostate cancer," said Rodriguez, who works for the Atlanta-based cancer society.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men, and about one in six will get it during his lifetime. It is the second leading cause of cancer death for U.S. men.
The study is considered the first of its kind to examine the role of weight change in the development of prostate cancer, said Dr. Ronald Ennis, director of radiation oncology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, who was not involved in the study.
"This is one of the best studies" examining the role of weight on prostate cancer, Ennis said. "It does seem to be true that if you are overweight, you are at risk of getting more aggressive forms of prostate cancer and if you lose weight, you can decrease the risk."
Study originally published by Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
MICHAEL RYAN'S TIPS FOR INCREASING YOUR STRENGTH IN 2007
Michael Ryan, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Certified Strength Training and Cardio expert, provides tips on increasing body strength through a combination of exercise and dieting strategies.
Devise a resistance training program where you are constantly increasing the amount of weight lifted over an extended period of time. Also known as "periodization," increasing the amount of weight you lift each time you train enables you to accomplish your strengthening objectives faster. In addition, Ryan reminds everyone to error on the side of caution and know your own limits while training.
Exercise properly and regularly. Ryan recommends that anyone wanting to dive into a strict strengthening program to workout three to four times a week while focusing on specific muscle groups each time. Be sure to include a few days of rest in between so that your muscles have time to recuperate as well. While working out, focus on lifting more weight with fewer repetitions. Ryan recommends throwing your muscles a "curveball" every once in a while by doing more repetitions with a lighter weight as to energize your fitness routine for optimum endurance.
Proper stretching is important prior to each strengthening session. Ryan puts it simply, "It's all about concentrating on the muscles you are working." By taking ample time to stretch before and after each workout, one enables more blood flow into the muscles and aids in muscle revitalization. Ryan suggests doing 10-15 minutes of stretching before bedtime to aid in muscle recovery.
A protein diet is the foundation for developing strong, lean muscles. Protein can be found in foods such as chicken, steak, turkey, fish, spinach and nuts. Ryan also recommends protein shakes for those who are too busy to cook to get their fill of extra nutrients.
TOP FIVE POWER FOODS FOR 2007
Gold's Fitness Institute member Robert Reames Provides Excellent Food Choices to Jump-Start the New Year
With the new year upon us, millions of Americans are inevitably in search for any new foods that can help them reach their fitness and weight loss goals. Certified Nutritionist, author of "Make Over Your Metabolism" and member of the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute, Robert Reames, provides a list of the top five "Power Foods" to maximize any diet and exercise routine in the upcoming year.
The five "Power Foods" listed below should all be consumed 1.5 to 2 hours prior to working out and within one hour post workout to maximize their effects.
Top 10 Ways to Exercise without Exercising
Can't make it to the gym? Want to exercise but...not exercise? Try these tips!
The Top Ten Ways to Stick to Your New Exercise Plan
OK, so you've started your program but need a little extra help staying motivated? Here's a few tips:
When it comes to exercise, every little bit helps
Even just 10 to 15 minutes a day can reap benefits.
Thirty minutes of moderately intense activity most days of the week is recommended to maintain a healthy weight, body and mind. But an estimated 40 percent of us don't get any regular exercise.
Shannon Britchett used to be in that 40 percent. Britchett, 29, a full-time student, says she could never keep up a regular workout routine for very long.
"I would come up with every excuse in the book not to exercise," she says.
But recent studies show if you can't get in 30 minutes a day, even just 10 to 15 minutes can reap benefits.
"You don't need to jump into a massive program," advises Dave Indelicato, fitness manager at Gold's Gym in Maryland Heights.
Indelicato says sometimes starting slowly can help give you the motivation to build up to a more active lifestyle. And every little bit of activity counts. Gold's calls it "exercise without exercising."
It could be something as simple as walking around your office, either inside or out, for a few minutes every day. Dancing, participating in a charity walk or bike ride, doing leg-lifts in your chair at work, playing with the kids, even stretching or doing sit-ups in front of the TV at night - all of these count as activities that could take you from a couch potato to more fit.
"They're simple, small things," Indelicato says. "But they all burn calories the same. Exercise can be basic, and it can be easy, and it's just as important as brushing your teeth every day."
Low amounts of moderate-intensity exercise can reduce weight and body fat, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in January 2004. Losing just a few pounds has also been shown to help reduce risk of diabetes, and small amounts of exercise have been shown to improve symptoms of depression.
Britchett will be 30 soon, and she wanted to start her next decade of life feeling healthier and more energetic. In April, she began to work with Indelicato after tagging along to the gym with her sister.
She began slowly, just 15 to 20 minutes a session. Now she's doing intense cardio-weight training twice a week and is on the treadmill at home most of the remaining days.
Britchett says she's not focusing so much on weight loss as she is on being fit.
"There's times when I don't want to do it," she says. "But it's for a purpose, and it's for my health.
By Kay Quinn
Originally published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch
To Avoid 'Boomeritis,' Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
There is much more to becoming - and staying - physically fit as you age than engaging in regular aerobic activity.
An apology to all baby boomers and beyond: I'm afraid that in our efforts to get everyone to become physically active, we've sold you a bill of goods. A 30-minute walk on most days is just not enough. There is much more to becoming - and staying - physically fit as you age than engaging in regular aerobic activity. (Of course, the same applies to those younger than 60.)
Assess Your Fitness
In their recently published book, "Age-Defying Fitness" (Peachtree Publishers), two prominent physical therapists, Marilyn Moffat of New York University and Carole B. Lewis of Washington, D.C., provide the ingredients to help you make the most of your body for the rest of your life: a quick quiz and a five-part test to assess the status of your posture, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance, followed by five chapters with step-by-step instructions on how to safely improve the areas in which you are lacking.
The therapists describe what happens to these "five domains of fitness" as you age. Posture begins changing as early as the teenage years, the result of activities like prolonged sitting, carrying a heavy purse or briefcase, or working at a computer.
Strength declines as muscle fibers decrease in size and number and as the supply of nerve stimulation and energy to the muscles diminishes. Balance deteriorates as muscles tighten and weaken and joints lose their full range of motion.
Flexibility declines because connective tissue throughout the body becomes less elastic. And endurance falls off because of reduced flexibility, weakened muscles, and stiffer lungs and blood vessels.
Still not convinced you need to work on your fitness? See how you do on the therapists' quiz:
As a daily exerciser I consider myself a physically fit 65-year-old, and I did well on the quick quiz, but I flunked the tests for balance and flexibility. So I've added exercises to my weekly regime to improve these two domains of fitness.
"The antidote to aging is activity," the therapists wrote. "Inactivity magnifies age-related changes, but action maintains and increases your abilities in all five domains."
No Time to Waste
Dr. Vonda J. Wright, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said at the New York meeting that "boomers are 59, and we must intervene now to head off what happens to those who age in a sedentary way."
Injury and arthritis are the main reasons people stop exercising, she said. She urged those in need of a joint replacement not to postpone the surgery, which she likened to repairing a pothole.
Marjorie J. Albohm, a certified athletic trainer affiliated with OrthoIndy and the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital in Indianapolis, cautioned against "cookbook recipes" for exercise. "The key to a good workout is customization," based on a professional assessment of flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength and balance, she said. "The goal is to minimize symptoms and prevent new injuries," Ms. Albohm said, and she urged people to listen to their bodies to avoid making things worse.
Ms. Albohm emphasized flexibility, saying it is "not optional" as you age. "To prevent stiffness and maintain joint mobility you should stretch daily for 15 to 20 minutes," she said "using slow, controlled movements, before or after your exercise program."
For cardiovascular endurance, she recommended alternating between weight-bearing (walking, jogging) and non-weight-bearing (swimming, cycling) aerobic activities three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes each time.
Muscle strength, Ms. Albohm noted, can be increased at any age, even in one's 90s, to protect against falls, maintain mobility, prevent new injuries and empower individuals. Especially important is strengthening the muscles in the front and sides of the thighs, which help support the knees, and strengthening core muscles of the trunk (back, buttocks and abdomen) to protect the spine and support the entire body.
Finally, we need to worry about our bones. At least 1.5 million "fragility fractures" occur annually in the United States. These are breaks that result when someone falls from a standing height or less, trips over the cat or lifts something heavy, and they affect men as well as women, Dr. Laura Tosi, an orthopedic surgeon at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said at the New York event.
"A history of a fragility fracture is far more predictive of future fractures than a bone density test," Dr. Tosi said, adding that a major cause is a shortage of vitamin D, which lets calcium into bones.
"The current standard for vitamin D is not adequate," she said, and predicted it would soon be raised to perhaps 1,000 International Units a day. Vitamin supplements are crucial, because adequate amounts of vitamin D cannot be absorbed through diet and sunshine alone.
By Jane E. Brody
Originally published in the New York Times
Climbing to the Top of the Food Pyramid
An in-depth review of the government's new and improved Food Pyramid.
They've tossed it on its side and added a rainbow of colors. But that's just the beginning of the changes for the U.S. government's new Food Pyramid.
But if you're like many of us, you may be wondering, "What was wrong with the old pyramid?" And is everything they told us before no longer true?
The good news is that experts say the new guidelines themselves are quite similar to the old, with the graphic changes in the pyramid simply being more representational of what those guidelines are.
"There was nothing wrong with the old pyramid, except that it left too much open for interpretation; the new pyramid is more specific and more reflective of what the guidelines actually say," says nutritionist Cathy Nonas, MS, RD, director of diabetes and obesity programs at North General Hospital in Harlem, N.Y.
The Rainbow of Colors
These specifics include brightly colored vertical stripes, each representing one of these food groups: grains (orange and the widest stripe), vegetables (green), fruits (red), oils (yellow and the thinnest stripe), milk products including most foods made from milk (blue), and meat & beans (purple). The different sizes of the bands show us the different proportions of foods we should eat from each food group.
The stripes are also engineered to be wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, ostensibly to drive home the idea that not all foods within that group are of the same value. It reminds us to eat mostly foods without solid fats and added sugars.
Unfortunately, make just one visit to mypyramid.gov and you'll soon discover that making your food choices might seem like it's easier said than done. Indeed, among the criticisms that surfaced since the pyramid debuted is that the new system is simply too confusing to be of much use.
"The new design does not clearly communicate which foods Americans should be eating more of (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meat, and beans) and which foods Americans should be eating less of (refined grains, whole milk, cheese, hamburgers, and soda)," was just one of the statements about the new food pyramid released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
At the same time, other experts say that by mastering just a little bit of a learning curve, all Americans can gather some vital data from the pyramid; information that just might help us turn some unhealthy eating habits, as well as our burgeoning obesity epidemic, around.
"I think it's immediately more confusing and a little hard for some people, but I think that years down the road it will prove beneficial," Nonas tells WebMD.
"Essentially the message here is move your body. The goal is to remind us of the importance of making movement a part of our everyday life and not just something we reserve for an hour once or twice a week at a gym," says Jyni Holland, MS, RD, co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weight Loss Tracker.
And while for many people the word "exercise" conjures up Hollywood images of expensive equipment and pricey personal trainers, Holland says that getting in our now-requisite quota of "daily moves" does not have to mean plunking down big bucks to sweat in a room filled with perfect strangers.
"The goal is for each of us to take 10,000 steps a day and you can do that by simply getting off the bus two blocks before your stop, taking the stairs for a few flights, and bypassing the parking spot closest to the mall and looking for a space three or four rows back. Even doing routine housework like washing windows or vacuuming or mowing the lawn or pulling weeds these are the 'real life' ways to incorporate exercise into our daily living," Holland tells WebMD.
A pedometer can keep track of your number of steps and help motivate you to keep going.
The second new message: No single eating plan is right for all people. While getting that point across now involves navigating through 12 different pyramids for men, women, and children of varying weights and ages again, experts say the suggestion here is simpler than it seems.
"The basic message is that not all people need the same amount of food -- so if, for example, you are overweight then you need to consume less food than someone your same age and gender who is not overweight," says Nonas.
To help us figure out which pyramid has our name on it, the web site offers a program, found at supertracker.usda.gov. Here you enter your age, weight, sex, and activity level, to find out what you need to eat as well as track it.
For those who don't have access to a computer, the government says they will release an old-fashioned pen and pencil version we can all use to calculate what our food intake should be.
While the algorithm used to determine our food intake is under some scrutiny the requirements for a man in his mid-40s, for example, can be identical to that of his 15-year-old son experts say the overall message here is a good one. Namely, that we need to take an individual look at what and how much we are eating.
"They were trying to be adaptable, and that's always a difficult thing when you are dealing with millions and millions of people," says Nonas.
Plates a-Plenty: Controlling What You Eat
Among the biggest criticisms of the old pyramid was that while it may have suggested what to eat, it never really told us how much. And though we can't get into too much trouble in categories like fruits and vegetables, where many Americans ran amok was in the section labeled "grains."
Among the biggest criticisms of the old pyramid was that while it may have suggested what to eat, it never really told us how much.
"People just didn't know what a whole grain was, so they ended up eating a ton of white bread, white rice, and pasta, all the time thinking they were doing the right thing," says nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center in New York.
Now, says Heller, the guidelines clearly spell out that of the 8 ounces of grains needed every day, at least half should be whole grains foods like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice, and whole-grain cereals.
And, she says, meeting this recommendation is easier than we think.
"Have a bowl of oatmeal cereal for breakfast and you have two servings. Eat your lunch on two slices of whole wheat bread and you have two more servings and bingo, you've made your whole-grain requirement for the day," says Heller.
Once you've figured out how much of each food group you need each day, you can figure out how to meet these requirements. And meeting these requirements may also be easier than you think.
"Most people eat at least a cup of salad at a time so if you eat one with lunch, you've got two servings of vegetables; add a half cup of another vegetable with dinner and you are there," says Heller.
For breakfast, she suggests drinking just 4 ounces of a whole juice. And grab an apple for an afternoon snack, which can fill your fruit requirement for the day.
"It's really not that difficult if you just stop to think about it," Heller tells WebMD.
And that, say experts, is precisely what the new pyramid was designed to help us do.
Adds Holland: "The 'real life' take-home message is to make intelligent food choices whenever possible opting for the most nutrient dense foods plus, watch your portion sizes, and get some exercise every day. That's all you really need to remember."
Written by Colette Bouchez
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
Originally published on WebMD.com
How to Avoid Over-Eating During the Holidays
Tips from our Fitness Institute's own Belissa Vranich
During the holiday season, most people are far too busy with shopping, holiday parties and extravagant dinners followed by sugar-filled desserts to worry about maintaining an exercise program. Belisa Vranich, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Certified Sports Psychologist, has the answers you are looking for to keep the weight off during the winter months.
Avoid the holiday party food table. Be sure to eat before you go out. This will make you less vulnerable to large helpings of the high calorie/high sugar food. Try to avoid standing near the food table to refrain from over indulging on the sweets. Food is an excuse to bring people together during the holiday season, it doesn't mean you need to devour the entire buffet! Once you have eaten a moderate portion, chew a piece of gum and concentrate on enjoying the company.
Keep going to the gym. "Make a solemn vow; even write it down, that if you miss a day at the gym, you will go back the next day," recommends Vranich. "Don't tell yourself that you will start the following Monday or after New Years." The more time you spend away from the gym, the harder it is to get back to your original fitness levels.
Portion your food intake. To keep yourself from eating too much, drink plenty of water. More water will fill you up. Also, eat crunchy, high fiber foods that fill you up faster. If you're looking for comfort food, drink hot herbal tea as opposed to feasting on mashed potatoes and high calorie desserts.
Exercise at home. If you absolutely cannot take the time to go to the gym, buy an exercise video that you can use at home. Get the kids involved and make it fun! If on vacation, be sure to at least go walking or swimming to help keep the weight off. Doing something, even if it's not in the gym, will help you maintain your fitness goals, and keep the weight off.
Expert Advice for Achieving your New Year's Resolutions
The Fitness Institute's Cynthia Conde shares her expert advice on setting achievable goals for the new year.
Chances are your News Year's Resolution is related to health and fitness. If your jeans are fitting a little tighter thanks to the cookies and high-calorie cocktails the holiday season brings, don't get discouraged. To help you achieve your fitness goals, Cynthia Conde, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member and Strength Training, Cardio and Nutrition Personal Trainer, shares her expert advice on setting achievable fitness goals for the new year.
Set small goals initially. You will feel really good about yourself when you attain your goals - so start with small, easy to attain goals. As you gain confidence, strength and endurance, start setting larger goals to achieve your maximum fitness potential.
Begin working out in moderation. Work out three times per week for the first month to begin your exercise regimen. The workouts should be total body, lasting only 30 minutes, with 20 seconds of rest in between sets. Cardio should be 20 minutes of moderate intensity. After one month, increase cardio to 30 minutes and switch to body-part training four times per week.
Motivate yourself before you begin exercising. You need to psych yourself up before a workout. Visualize how you will feel after your workout and know that the time you commit to exercising each day will help you get closer to your fitness goals. Make every training day count. Consistency and accountability are especially important to achieving your fitness goals. If you miss a workout, instead of beating your self up, just make up for it next time.
Track your progress. Check your body fat every two weeks and weigh yourself once a week in the morning with no clothes on. Also, check girth measurements every three weeks. This will allow you to monitor your body fat loss and increase lean muscle mass. In addition, pay special attention to your strength and endurance level to see if it is increasing, decreasing or staying the same.