Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Man's Diet and Health Needs

Finding it a challenge to balance the demands of your career, family, friends, working out, and staying healthy?  Well if you answered yes, you are not alone.  It is not easy to find enough hours in a day or to even begin to understand which things should be on the top of your priority list.  Truth is you often need to take a step back to realize that when you put yourself and your health first, the rest will fall into place.
For most men putting their health first sounds like an oxymoron, since they spend a majority of their day at the office trying to make money and build a career.  But the bottom line is, they need to start by recognizing that in order to succeed they can not neglect their health, inside and out.  In fact when we look at the leading causes of death for a male, we find that 4 of the 10 are directly related to diet.  They include: cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In fact heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, responsible for one in 4 deaths.  And while we know that you may not die from these all, they will definitely affect your work, family and lifestyle.
So what is a man to do?  First off it is essential that a man have a yearly physical to rule out any medical conditions, be educated on any risk factors and learn how to get a clean bill of health.  Next step is to take a look at your diet intake and see if you are stuck in the “steak and potato” or “clean plate club” mode.  Either of these will need a little fixing. 
A male truly needs to be sure to have a diet that is full of whole grains, biologically available protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.  It is important that men recognize that whole grains, typically those high in fiber, will help to control cholesterol and reduce risks of colon cancer, both of which are prevalent in males.  Whole grains also allow for longer concentration and energy, which will lead to increased productivity on the job. 
Protein is essential for muscles, and since the male body contains a higher proportion of muscle mass, they will need to meet their bodies needs.  We also know that protein will allow for satiety, helping to keep you at an acceptable BMI. 
Fruits and vegetables are essential for men and women alike, to provide the body with minerals and vitamins, along with antioxidants critical in the fight against cancer.  For the male these foods rich lycopene, vitamin E, and folate will be protective against prostate cancer.  Additionally vitamin A rich food will help strengthen tissues of the eyes and other membranes, vitamin B will give greater energy and vitamin C will help immune system. 
Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocado are the preferred fats, as these are not linked to heart disease.   Fat is necessary for body temperature, brain development and digestion so enjoy these as a healthy part of your diet.  It is the saturated fats that are linked to heart disease and cholesterol so when it comes to fatty meats and fatty foods, use these sparingly.
Diet does not stand alone, its counterpart exercise is just as important.  Spending 6, 8, 10 hours a day behind your desk does not do your body well. It is critical that time is devoted to an active lifestyle.  All studies show that a half hour a day of exercise  reduces the risk of heart disease, among other illnesses.  Whether it is heading to the gym, roller blading, basketball pick up game with the guys, or biking with your kids, it is time to get moving.  Many companies are even putting gyms at the work place to support the need to keep employees healthier and more productive at work.
As men approach their fifties they also need to be aware of hormone deficiencies, in things like testosterone, that can further impact muscle tone, libido, cholesterol, fatigue and much more.  This “andropause”, aka male menopause, is often a well kept secret and not truly understood without diagnosis. Perhaps it is more than long hours at work that are making you not feel so great after all.  Don’t be afraid to check it out because even the symptoms of andropause can be relieved.
Being conscious of your own mental health, along with diet and fitness, will help you to feel more in control of your quality of life.  Start there and the time you spend in and out of the office or with family and friends will become a lot easier to manage. 
By: Koach Marlo Mittler

As Cheerleading Evolves, Injuries Mount

Cheerleading is definitely not your grandmother‘s pastime anymore, injury experts warn, but rather a highly competitive activity that‘s light on the pom-poms and heavy on risky daredevil acrobatics.
The not-surprising result: Cheerleading injuries are on the rise.
"Over the past few decades, cheerleading has evolved from leading the crowd in cheers at sporting events to a competitive, year-round activity featuring complex acrobatic stunts performed by a growing number of athletes," said Dr. Cynthia LaBella, medical director of the Institute for Sports Medicine at the Ann & Robert Lurie Children‘s Hospital of Chicago. "As a result, the number and severity of injuries from cheerleading has also surged."
"Relatively speaking, the overall injury rate is low compared to other girls‘ sports, such as soccer and basketball," LaBella said. "But despite the lower overall injury rate, cheerleading accounts for a disproportionate number -- 60 percent to 70 percent -- of all the catastrophic injuries in girls‘ high school sports. That is an area of concern and needs attention for improving safety."
LaBella, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at the Northwestern University Steinberg School of Medicine, was scheduled to discuss the issue Thursday at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers‘ Association, in Las Vegas.
According to a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) last fall, the number of students aged 6 and up who engaged in cheerleading either at school or as members of offsite competitive squads skyrocketed from just 600,000 students in 1990 to somewhere between 3 million and 3.6 million in 2003.
The vast majority of participants -- 96 percent -- are girls, according to the AAP, and what these girls are now asked to do goes far beyond the stereotypical image of fun-loving dance routines. Rather, girls must routinely execute taxing feats of gymnastic prowess, with sequences that involve tumbling, leaping, jumping, tossing and human-pyramid building.
What‘s more, "injury rates increase with age and skill level, due to more complex stunts being performed at these levels," LaBella said.
The result has been a notable increase in the frequency with which cheerleaders fall, sometimes from great heights. A range of limb, head, neck and trunk injuries, as well as sprains and strains, can ensue, with some -- such as concussions -- being serious enough to require medical attention.
It is no longer unheard of to see cheerleading participants leave the field of play having suffered permanently disabling or even fatal catastrophic injuries.
"For those who have not seen cheerleading in 20 years, it really would be an eye-opener," said Lisa Kluchorosky, a sports medicine administrator at Nationwide Children‘s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "So many [people] still think it‘s the world of Annette Funicello. But cheerleading has gone from a more recreational, more supportive kind of role to being very competitive and very athletic, which means that the demands placed on these kids are really enormous.
"And the skill level and the types of stunts they are doing have gone up tremendously, as they have with most sports over the years," Kluchorosky added.
With this new reality in mind, the AAP now takes the position that state athletic associations should move to classify cheerleading as a sport, in order to ensure that the activity is treated in the same manner as all other traditional contact athletics.
"Cheerleading is still not considered a sport in many states, and it very much should be," said Kluchorosky, who is the National Athletic Trainers‘ Association liaison to the AAP.
"If it were designated as such, it would be subject to the rules of all other sports, which means participants would be afforded the same resources and health care, and held to the same regulations."
For example, under a sports designation, cheerleaders would have to engage in strength and conditioning programs during both competition and preseason periods. Practice time would be regulated, and training facilities certified as safe.
Participants also would have access to onsite medical staff when needed, all of whom would be prepped with detailed emergency medical plans.
As part of a recognized sport, cheerleading coaches, in turn, would have to be certified as to their proficiency in teaching key cheerleading skills, such as spotting techniques.
Beyond that, the AAP further recommended placing specific boundaries on the kinds of activities cheerleaders can be asked to do, including limiting human pyramids to a certain height and banning tumbling on hard surfaces that lack appropriate landing matting.
"There‘s still some of the feeling out there that [cheerleading] is not a real sport," Kluchorosky said. "But it is. And we‘re talking about real risks, so we have to try to move the needle forward and deal with it appropriately."
More information
For more on the AAP‘s cheerleading recommendations, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.