Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fat kids ‘’should be treated as abuse victims’

Dangerously overweight children who are overfed by their parents should be treated as victims of abuse and should be taken away from their homes and given radical weight-loss surgery, according to a health expert.
In a conference, Tam Fry, a member of the National Obesity Forum’’s board, will urge that authorities should take obese children away from their families and into care, and that those whose health is at risk should then undergo stomach-stapling operations.
Fry said parents should be permitted to visit their overweight kids in hospital, but they must first be ‘frisked’ to ensure they are not trying to smuggle them junk food or fizzy drinks.
He acknowledged that his ideas are radical and that he will likely lose a debate on whether child obesity should be treated as a form of abuse, to be held at the forum’’s annual conference on Oct 7 in London.
However, Fry insists Britain’’s obesity epidemic poses such a risk to public health, with the overweight likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes, that drastic action must be taken.
“My point will be that we regard malnourished children as being abused and so with those children who are so overweight, either consciously or by neglect because their parents allow it, there should be a case for them being removed from their parents,” Telegraph quoted Fry, as saying.
“They need to be removed to a paediatric ward and put under weight management by doctors and nurses who know what they are doing.
“The parents will be permitted access but they will be frisked for chocolate and fizzy drinks when they ender the ward.
“The social services then sort out the family home, which is the problem at the case, and when everything is equal the child goes back.
“It is quite drastic but it’’s a long-term therapy. For the sake of the children it does need to be done because we have got children who are horrendously fat. In many cases it will mean thinking the unthinkable,” he added.
Fry said that some dangerously obese kids should be given bariatric surgery, in which the stomach is stapled or bypassed, leaving them only able to eat tiny amounts of pureed food.
“I fully expect to be defeated in the debate. I go into it knowing that the prospect of removing children from their parents is something that the medical profession will shy away from, but it needs to be done,” he said.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How insomniacs can get sleep by shaping their own brain activity

Insomniacs often turn to sleeping pills for a good night’s sleep, but what if they are able to manipulate their own brains to get a nap? Well, a new study from University of Salzburg has allowed participants to “shape their own brain activity” by directly modifying certain electroencephalographic (EEG) activities – in a bid to get them slumber. Electroencephalography (EEG) is the measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp.

In instrumental sensorimotor rhythm conditioning (ISC), patients shape their brain activity by watching a feedback screen and adjusting their behaviour accordingly. The team showed that manipulation of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) amplitude by ISC improved sleep quality as well as declarative learning.

The findings support the theory that an increase in relaxation and a decrease in muscle tension might lead to less movement during sleep and thereby augment the restorative and learning enhancement benefits of sleep. This method is often as a therapeutic tool to treat different kinds of disorders, including epilepsy and attention–deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Previous studies have also shown that ISC could be effective in treating psychophysiological insomnia, a form of insomnia associated with worrying. The significant changes in SMR amplitude from early to late conditioning sessions confirmed the success of ISC.

The study’’s 27 participants were able to fall asleep faster (decrease in “sleep onset latency”) and increase memory performance after two weeks of ISC.

“The aim of the study was to improve sleep quality and memory performance by ”rewarding” the existence of certain activities of the brain,” said study leader Dr. Manuel Schabus, researcher for the division of physiological psychology at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

The participants were randomly assigned to either an ISC group or a randomised frequency group in order to examine the effects of ISC on sleep as well as declarative memory performance. They attended the laboratory on 13 occasions, during 10 of which they were connected to a feedback system that allowed them to keep track of their current brain activity by looking at a computer screen.

They were encouraged to use physiological relaxation combined with positive mental activity in order to “shape their brainwaves”; all participants remained blind to their group assignment and were not debriefed until after the investigation had ended.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Increase The Intensity of a Workout

Nine Simple Ways to Increase the Intensity of Any Workout

Beginners usually do not need such advanced concepts simply because as a beginner, pretty much anything will work as it’s new to your body. You don’t need to bump up the intensity because the workout itself is usually hard enough. But for those who have worked out for quite some time, doing a simple routine doesn’t cut it. And for those who are entering a competition and may be on low card, sub-maintenance calories and doing cardio twice a day, adding more and more weight is easier said then done. Where’s the energy?
That’s where some advanced concepts come into play.
These are ways in which you can use the same routines, but thru some clever manipulation, you need not add any weight to make it the most intense routine you’ve ever experienced. This is especially a good toolset to use when you’ve worked out for many years and find it hard to make gains or you have a prior injury that makes it difficult to lift heavy weights. Working out heavier and heavier each time, trying to break your personal best can lead to injury and stagnation.
Using some of these advanced training concepts, you can take a simple bicep curl or bench press and maximize the intensity of the exercise without adding a single pound:
1. Repetition Speeds – Rather then 1 second up and 1 second down, there’s a little know fact that you can take advantage of to double the effectiveness of any exercise. That secret is slowly lowering the weight on the negative part of the movement. By utilizing this alone, you will have increased the effectiveness of any single exercise by 100%. Not only will you be working on the upward movement but you will work the muscle on the downward rather then most people who just let gravity take over. Vary your repetition speeds for an increase in intensity.
2. Tempo Variations – Have you ever seen any programs listed as 4032? That just means 4 seconds on the down motion; 0 seconds at the bottom of the movement; 3 seconds up; 2 second hold at the top. You can do all types of tempo variations to just feel the muscle working and increase the intensity. For example, how about a set of machine bench presses where it’s 8032? 8 seconds down? Not super-slow but very controlled. And with a nice 2 second squeeze at the top. You can take any exercise where you’ve done the same weight and instantly make it much harder and more intense. Without adjusting the weight in the slightest!
3. Tension Manipulation – If you think about it, some exercises like the dumbbell side lateral raise, when the weights are truly at your side (bottom of the movement) the tension is totally off the shoulder muscles. By using tension manipulation you can stop short of this occurring. Take the leg press for example. Rather then do a full rep where you might lock out and pause at the top, how about a slow 4 seconds down, 0 seconds at the bottom, 3 seconds up, and only go ¾ of the way to the lockout, no pause and repeat. This is called “continuous tension” and it will not only increase the intensity of any exercise but it’s slow, controlled and the tension is never off the working muscle.
4. Stretch Exercises – With some exercises, there is a perfect opportunity to get a deep stretch with a weight load on the muscle. The calf press is a good example. How many people have you witnesses doing calf raises quickly using momentum? Several? Next time, take a 2 second pause at the bottom and feel the stretch before doing the next rep.
5. Contraction Exercises – Again, the calf raises can be slightly altered to make it feel like somebody has put a flame torch to the back of your legs. At the top of the movement, rather the lower the weight, hold the fully contracted position for 5 seconds and squeeze! This can be done with a set of Smith Machine squats too. At the top of the movement, squeeze like you are holding a flexed pose for 2+ seconds. It’s one more way of taking the same old exercise and making it different.
6. Super-Sets – Ever heard that with super-sets you can get more done in less time? It’s true. Rather then do a second of barbell bench presses, followed by a 3 minute rest, and then another. How about doing a set of barbell bench presses, immediately followed by a set of cable flyes? You can get more work done in the same time period. The more work you can do in a shorter time frame is a method of making the whole workout more intense.
7. Rest Periods – Take the example above but this time, after the cable flyes, you only rest 30 seconds and repeat. Not only have you done a super-set, but you’ve just shortened the rest period. The intensity bar is sure to show a spike now. By lowering the rest periods, you can effectively make the workout more intense, without adding more weight. Combine this with super-setting and you can do an amazing number of sets in 60 minutes. At one point, I was able to do 48 sets for my legs in 60 minutes! That is insane.
8. Split the Splits – This only applies to individuals that might have a lifestyle where this is possible in a given day. Take for example leg training. It’s very difficult to train the quads, the hamstrings and calves in a single session for the advanced athlete. But if you are able to train quads in the AM and hams and calves in the PM, then you have just obtained an optimal workout. Both are short and intense. Both allow for fully recovery. And focus can be given to particular body parts. The most common type of split of splits is on a leg day where the front of the legs are training at one time and the back of the legs trained at another. Not only is this advanced but it really requires that you have a time period when you can do this. Possibly a weekend if you are disciplined enough to take up an entire Saturday or Sunday.
9. Ascending/Descending Sets - Nothing more then increasing or decreasing the weight in a given set but do not let this technique fool you. It's a wicked way to just blast a body part. Descending sets are commonly referred to as "drop sets." For example, if you were doing dumbbell curls, you could start with a weight and do 10 reps, then move down in weight for another 8 reps, and move again and again. Ascending is just the reverse. There's no set number of moves downward or upward you can do but the maximum that is efficient is no more then 4 either way. For an interesting twist on this move, use a combination of both. Start with a given weight, use the ascending technique and then immediately use the descending technique. This makes for a giant set using both principles and is very difficult.
By using these nine simple steps individually or in combination, you are ensured to take yourself to the next level of intensity.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

6 Weeks Body Shape Up Plan

Whether you're a beginner or an avid exerciser, the following six-week program will help you reinvent your fitness commitment -- and yourself. It only takes 21 days to create a new habit, so if you follow this plan for 42 days you may double your chance for success. Sticking to an exercise program permanently is going to take planning, preparation and action, but the results are guaranteed.

Week 1
Plan -- Take the time to establish your physical goals for the next two months. What, specifically, do you want to accomplish? What actions will you take to get there? Are your expectations realistic? How will you measure your progress?

Prepare -- Begin a new journal and write out your plan in detail. Include a list of where you expect to be from a physical fitness standpoint in six weeks if you begin your exercise program now, and where you will be in six weeks if you don’t. Incorporate motivational pictures and quotes. Review your goals often. Setting the foundation for a solid plan will significantly contribute to your success.

Take Action -- Beginners, initiate drinking more water and taking short walks most days this week. Intermediates should strive to do some cardiovascular exercises most days this week within your target heart zone. Advanced exercisers choose a new cardiovascular activity to try.

Week 2
Plan -- Schedule a fitness assessment with a certified fitness professional. This will give you a baseline for your current level of fitness, establish a starting point for your exercise prescription and formulate a comparison for improvement several months down the road.

Prepare -- Inform the technician of any important information regarding your health status. Fill out any necessary paperwork and get medical clearance to exercise, if needed. Wear proper clothing for the evaluation. The objective of your fitness program is to reap the most benefits with the least amount of risk.

Take Action -- Beginners increase your cardiovascular sessions by 5 minutes, intermediates increase by 10 minutes and advanced exercisers do 15+ additional minutes of cardio most days this week.

Week 3
Plan --
Clear your calendar by doing whatever it takes to ensure there are no obstacles in your path toward making time for fitness. Identify whatever reasons and/or excuses you think may arise and plan to conquer them now.

Prepare -- Gather any equipment and tools necessary to successfully carry out your plan. This may mean purchasing a new pair of sneakers, heart rate monitor or videotape, dusting off the home equipment, renewing your gym membership, enlisting a workout buddy, or getting a sitter for the kids. Inform those who are significant to you about your objectives and enlist their support.

Take Action -- Beginners introduce strength training two days this week. Intermediates change your strength training routine and advanced exercisers increase your level of resistance.

Week 4
Plan -- Design an exercise adventure. This can be as simple or extravagant as you wish. There are options for every budget and level of fitness. Some ideas may include trekking the Canadian Rockies, attending a sports camp, heading to a fitness resort with a spa, participating in a 5K run for the first time, or hitting the ski slopes.

Prepare -- Choose an activity that you will enjoy, but one that is currently beyond your current level of fitness. Investigate what is physically necessary for you to participate in the activity and sign up. Keep a detailed log of your efforts in your journal that you can reference for needed adjustments to your training.

Take Action -- Participate in activities that are going to move you closer to completing your exercise adventure. For example, if you're mountain biking along a scenic trail in your area, begin logging some hours in the saddle of a stationary bike or sign up for an indoor cycling class.

Week 5
Plan -- Believe, and you shall succeed! Your perception of the personal benefits your fitness program will provide can make the difference between your efforts dwindling by week five, or the start of both seeing and feeling momentous physical and emotional results.

Prepare -- Take one exercise session at a time and focus on the natural endorphins rushing through your body and/or how accomplished you feel for staying the course.

Take Action -- Have rewards ready. They can be as small as savoring your favorite healthy beverage, earning a long, hot bath after a workout or treating yourself to a new music CD, heart rate monitor or pair of sneakers upon reaching a milestone in your training.

Week 6
Plan -- Look for a physical event to participate in. This can be a fund-raiser that is near and dear to your heart, or a community effort that you would like to support. Having a precise goal in the near future will help keep you inspired to continue training.

Prepare -- Give yourself at least eight weeks to train for the event. Gradually increase your activities to match those necessary for the event. Enlist a buddy or sponsors in helping you prepare for your cause.

Action -- Begin interval training. Adding this dimension to your training will bring your fitness to a new level and surely keep you off of a plateau.

Only you hold the greatest power to design your life. You have a choice each morning to break through any limitations and obstacles, and be open to life’s possibilities. Being physically fit will help you balance other areas in your life. It’s your mind, body and spirit. Enjoy the journey and make fitness fun.