Posts tagged ‘Exercise’

May 31, 2011

America’s Fittest Cities

by Vince Giordano

Surprisingly are 1) mostly in cold regions of the country and unsurprisingly 2) correlated with income, wealth, and innovation. Richard Florida explains:

The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annualAmerican Fitness Index™ (AFI), just released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they pushed perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects the cities’ relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.

Many people think fitness is better in warmer locations. Not so much. Each of the top five metros is pretty chilly, and the top ranked Twin Cities are among the coldest locations in the United States–certainly compared to warm and sunny LA, which languishes in 41st place. Our analysis found no correlation between fitness and January temp and a negative correlation between fitness and July temperature (-.49).

Money quote:

From The Biggest Loser to Oprah’s documented struggles with her weight, fitness is a signal obsession of American popular culture. We suffer from no dearth of health, fitness, and nutritional experts; celebrities, politicians, and even first ladies exhort us to eat better, exercise more, and get fit. But we need to face up to the fact that healthy or unhealthy lifestyles are not simply the result of good or bad individual decisions. They are inextricably tied up with the nature and structure of our culture and society. America’s increasingly uneven geography of fitness is perhaps the most visible symbol of its fundamental economic and class divide.

April 1, 2011

The Sad Evolution of Pull-Up Bars

by Vince Giordano

I love pull ups. The secret is out. I love the challenge of getting my 200 lb body up and over a bar with different hand grips. P90X has brought on this new adoration for me.

The pull-up, a great compound exercise (one that works many muscle groups at once), does not seem to be a very popular exercise at corporate gyms. Go to any gym today (especially palace-type gyms – i.e. L.A Fitness) and you will find a handful of pull-up bars that are not at all bars. They branch out with little handles that make it difficult to grip and seem to de-fang this grueling, timeless exercise.

I am a member of Gold’s Gym and was even surprised that one I visited did not have a legit pull-up bar. Gold’s, to me, has always been a good mainline-type gym that strips down the glamor and focuses on the fundamentals (lots of DBs, good balance with machines, good environment in general to be serious and not at all representing a resort atmosphere). The closest pull-up bar was a Smith Machine cranked to the top (and this requires you to bend your knees so to not drag your feet).

All in all, pull-up bars sometimes are hard to come by. And to think it’s just a bar.

November 11, 2010

Uncited Screed of the Day

by Vince Giordano

Enjoy this tasty treat by the grossly overweight Rush Limbaugh.

October 24, 2010

Sunday Ponderings

by Vince Giordano

This is a slow Sunday for me. Everyone is out of the house. The silence within the house is somewhat therapeutic. I have had a rather busy week. Aside from working a few days this week, yesterday I helped chip branches and then watched a friend play in a rugby match. By 8 o’clock at night, I wasn’t falling over asleep but was dozing off inside.

I soon after go to sleep. I have a plethora of dreams that I vaguely remember now. One involved being in high school (I think?) and I was taking Spanish (and enjoying it!). I awake from a sound night of sleep and am rather groggy. Coffee has helped.

I now sit here wondering what to do with my day. I would like to get some exercise in, some reading, some organizing of my teaching files, and maybe fit in an afternoon NFL game. The house will be quiet for another three hours so we will see how this unfolds.

I may tinker with the theme and header on the blog a bit, too.

June 9, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis aka many of our foot pains

by Vince Giordano

Omar Sharamount provides an in-depth newsletter/article for those of us who have had foot pains. Sharamount also includes a bit on running barefoot.

Like all repetitive use injuries, plantar fasciitis is a product of our own making. Plantar fasciitis is a medical condition that occurs when the fibrous tissue on the sole of your foot known as the plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to overuse, a condition that can be made worse by improper foot mechanics while walking and/or running. This connective tissue near the heel is the center of weight distribution and helps maintain the arch in your foot. Therefore, even a slightly off-kilter stance or landing position of the foot can place a lot of extra stress on an already heavily worked area. The fascia is susceptible to a small amount of tearing, and when the fascia is overused, these tears can lead to an inflammation in the tissue.

There are several things you can do for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

  1. Get rest. Rest is the best way to treat plantar fasciitis. Your tissue needs time to heal, and staying away from high-impact activities is essential for at least several days.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. High-impact exercise exerts a lot of stress on your feet, and any extra pounds will have a negative impact on your podiatric health.
  3. Wear shoe inserts. Shoe inserts, like orthotics, can be worn to provide additional protection. Sometimes night splints are also used to prevent the arch from tightening up overnight.
  4. Apply ice packs. You can also apply an ice pack 3 to 4 times a day for no more than 20 minutes when the pain is severe.
  5. Take anti-inflammatory medications. Some, like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, can be purchased over the counter; others can be prescribed by your doctor.
  6. Stretch. Take care when you wake up in the morning to stretch your feet around a little before getting out of bed. At first you may even want to step directly into your training shoes so your arch stays supported. (Soon it will be strong enough that this additional “step” won’t be necessary.)
  7. Ease back into your normal routine. Take it easy—get back into the swing of things slowly, because if you continue to push yourself through the pain, your plantar fasciitis could easily turn into a chronic condition.
  8. Tape your foot. Taping your foot can provide support and relief while you’re on the mend.
June 9, 2010

WebMD on P90X

by Vince Giordano

WebMD gives a review on P90X, the regiment that even I haven’t been able to fully complete:

The P90X system is an intense home DVD exercise program that says it can give you a lean, ripped body in 90 days.

But it’s not for the faint of heart — or the very out of shape. Getting fit the P90X way means working out 6-7 days per week, with each workout lasting about 1-1½ hours. And the workouts are so rigorous that you’re asked to take a fitness test before ordering the P90X system, to see whether you’re up to the challenge.

Esco provides the scoop on the program, including pro’s and con’s that I found helpful:

If you’re already fairly fit, the P90X system is an excellent workout for losing body fat and increasing muscle tone.

Instructor Tony Horton does a nice job of explaining each exercise. The workouts can easily be done in your home, without a lot of equipment. Although the workouts are tough, you can pause the DVD if you need more rest.

If your fitness goal is primarily to gain muscle size and strength, you’ll likely see greater benefits with traditional strength training that includes a variety of types of resistance exercise equipment.  Because of their circuit format and minimal equipment, the P90X workout DVDs are mainly geared toward improving muscular endurance, muscle tone, and cardiovascular fitness.

As for the P90X nutrition plan, phases 1 and 2 are essentially low-carb diets, which most nutrition experts don’t recommend for the long term. The nutrition program’s designer does not appear to be a registered dietician, and the diet plan is not based on the standard Food Pyramid recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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