7 ways to stay committed to your fitness goals

(BPT) – In January, when many people make New Year’s resolutions to get fit, they’re full of energy and excitement to start and see results.

But by the end of February, that intensity and interest start to slip. Gold’s Gym has identified this as the Fitness Cliff, or the time that gym check-ins begin to gradually decline.

To help fight against the urge to slow down or quit, Gold’s Gym has declared Feb. 22 to be Commitment Day. On that date, Gold’s Gyms across the country will offer free workouts and classes along with resources to help people stay on track. But you can take action right now to make it easier to recommit to your fitness resolutions.

1. Create a plan

Everyone’s fitness journey is different, and with a personalized plan of attack, you’re more likely to get the results you want. Work with an expert to develop a routine that’s best for your current fitness level, body type, age and health history.

“Simply planning to make your resolution part of your schedule makes a significant difference,” says Dempsey Marks, a Gold’s Gym fitness expert. “Our lives can get very busy, so writing a weekly workout plan on Sunday that includes days, times and workouts will help keep you focused, organized and accountable.”

To help you get started, anyone who recommits to their goals on Feb. 22 at Gold’s Gym will receive a free 30-day fitness plan from a certified personal trainer.

2. Eat well

Just because you kill it on the treadmill or in the weight room doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want with no consequences. Food is fuel — learn what to put into your body that will help it perform its best.

Remember, eating three to four hours before your workout will deliver energy to your muscles and help you avoid low blood sugar levels. And eating after a workout will replenish the fluids and carbohydrates your body just burned off.

3. Find an accountability partner

Having at least one workout buddy is good motivation to keep you showing up, push you to work hard and encourage you to keep striving toward your goals. Plus, it’s great to have someone to celebrate with when you reach those fitness milestones.

Commitment Day is the perfect time for you and a pal to get started — bring a friend in to Gold’s Gym for free workouts and classes on Feb. 22.

4. Be adaptable

We get it: Life happens. If you can’t make it to the gym because your car broke down or you’re traveling, it can be tempting to take a break from your fitness routine.

With a digital personal training app like GOLD’S AMP™, you’ll always have an option for workouts at home or on the road. You can choose a coach-guided workout — including outdoor walking and running workouts, stretching and bodyweight exercises — to take anywhere and pair it with the perfect exercise playlist.

5. Just breathe

A fit lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight; don’t get frustrated if things are slow to start or if you hit a plateau. Let yourself rest, think positively and be patient. Getting stronger takes time and effort, and you’re putting in the work that will lead to results later.

6. Avoid the comfort zone

If it’s getting too easy, it’s time to reassess your routine. Don’t be afraid to try a different piece of equipment, lift that heavier weight or join a new group exercise class.

“It’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone because it’s comfortable!” Marks says. “But with fitness, it’s especially important to avoid the comfort zone to challenge your body in new and unique ways. Plan a new workout every other week by switching up the equipment and machines or go for that personal record. It’ll help to avoid boredom and lead to greater physical gains.”

7. Set an example

Your efforts don’t go unnoticed. Whether or not you realize it, you’re inspiring someone else with his or her own fitness. Use that to give yourself a boost when you need it.

Take Gold’s Gym Challenge winner Ellie Carter, whose two young sons were moved by her efforts to get back in shape.

“Every time we’d go to Gold’s, the boys would say, ‘We’re going to the gym, and Mommy is going to get strong,’” she says. “[Kids] do what we model, so I definitely want to keep encouraging fitness.”

Read Ellie’s success story and find more inspirational stories like it.

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Research-backed tips to help you get fit

(BPT) – A new year and a new you — that’s the theme of this season, right? So how are you going to improve yourself in 2018? If you’re like many people, weight loss is at the top of your list, and maybe you’ve already picked out your diet and your exercise plan.

Now you need a strategy to help you stick to your resolutions. And that can be easier said than done.

Sticking with any wellness plan can be tough, particularly if you aren’t seeing immediate results. But you have to trust the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the new you. Creating your best self takes perseverance and guidance, but it can be difficult to sort through all the information available. To get started, here are some research-backed tips that can help you meet your goals so that you’ll be on the right path to your best self yet.

Cut the sugar

Beyond weight loss, changes to our diet can have profound impacts on our overall health. For example, avoiding fructose, found in most processed foods, will leave you fundamentally healthier in just nine days, according to research found in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).

Low-carb beats low-fat diets

Chances are you’ve debated these diets yourself, so consider this fact: A scientific review published in the JAOA finds that low-carb dieters shed anywhere from 2.5 to 9 pounds more than those on low-fat diets. Give it a try and see how you do.

Work out with friends

Need that little extra push to tackle your daily workout? Make it a team effort. People who work out with friends reported a 26.2 percent reduction in their stress levels and they also experienced a boost to their mental, physical and emotional quality of life, according to recent research. So grab a friend — it’s good for your workout and for you.

If you get hurt, don’t walk it off

Accidents happen and when they do, you should err on the side of caution and seek a professional opinion. Avoiding proper diagnosis and treatment may cause you to end up suffering from larger problems later. This may include arthritis, chronic pain and even disability, according to a clinical review. If you get hurt, the best way to get back on your feet quickly is to first get off them and seek help right away.

Soak up the sun … safely

Exercising outside is great. Just don’t forget to slather on a good layer of sunscreen to protect your skin against the sun’s damaging rays. However, keep in mind that sunscreen decreases vitamin D3 production by 99 percent, according to a study published in the JAOA. This can lead to problems like muscle weakness and bone fractures. To counteract that deficiency, let your skin be exposed to the midday sun for a short time — no more than 30 minutes, depending on your skin’s pigmentation — before applying your sunscreen for the rest of your workout.

Find the right doctor for you

No matter your fitness goals, finding a doctor you trust will help. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) consider the health of the whole person and focus on wellness and injury/illness prevention as part of their standard care. A DO believes the mind, body and emotional state all contribute to the health of the patient, and they can be an effective partner in realizing the new you.

To learn more, visit doctorsthatdo.org.

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5 ways to feel good while getting fit

(BPT) – Setting intentions is a powerful thing. Then when you have that shiny new gym membership in hand, you feel like nothing stands between you and your goals to get in shape once and for all.

Trouble is, lack of motivation, unpreparedness and busy schedules have a way of interfering with our plans. If you find yourself struggling to stick to your goals, you’re in good company. A whopping 67 percent of people surveyed by Statistic Brain in 2017 said they have gym memberships they never use.

Even after a great start, you may find yourself struggling to find motivation to stay on track. Try one of these tips to make it easier to make your fitness regimen stick and most importantly — feel good while getting fit!

Get a workout buddy: If getting out of bed or off the couch is your biggest challenge, it’s time to use the phone-a-friend solution for some motivation. Find someone you like who’s at a similar fitness level and make plans to meet up for a workout. Psychologically, you’ll be much more likely to show up for the class, the weight session or the morning run when you know someone’s waiting for you. Plus, working out will be a breeze with your buddy!

Streamline your routine: Don’t let your fear of sweat keep you from getting fit. With a few tricks, you can get back to glam in minutes, even when you lack time to shower. First, make smart use of the tools they have on hand at the gym. Grab some extra towels and pound out that treadmill run with the high-powered fan on full blast. In the locker room, hand dryers (and a dab of dry shampoo) are great for getting your tresses looking great again. Cleansing cloths at the ready can also be a lifesaver. Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths let you freshen up on the go and are balanced to a woman’s natural pH, so you’ll always leave the gym feeling fresh and ready to take on the world.

Inspire your ears: Let’s face facts: Workouts get tedious. If the thought of sprinting and lifting your way through the next circuit bores you to tears, try uploading your playlist with fast-paced music that gets your heart racing. Don’t worry what others think — this is for your ears only! If it makes you feel good, you’ll be more likely to experience a positive workout.

Be ready for action: As soon as you’re home from your session, re-pack your gym bag as soon as possible so you’ll never waste a moment hunting around the house for your workout gear, such as sneakers, earbuds and products that help you ease back into your day. Stash essentials like Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash in your bag as well for days that you can fit in a quick shower after your workout. It not only gently cleanses and freshens your skin after a grueling workout, it removes odor-causing bacteria, so you’ll feel fantastic, inside and out.

Update your attire: Ever notice how easy it is to get out of bed when you know you have a new outfit to wear to work? Feeling good about how you look can put a spring in your step and motivate you to get up and out the door. When you notice that your fitness routine is lagging, maybe it’s time to spruce up your workout attire. Bonus: If you’ve lost a few pounds, you’ll get an extra lift from that ego boost!

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Houston-area resident reestablishes running career after total knee replacement surgery

(BPT) – In 2009 Tomball resident Carrie Rand started running and hiking to stay active, and it wasn’t long before she found herself competing in 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons around Houston. Unfortunately, the wear-and-tear on her right knee eventually led to a meniscus tear, subsequent surgical repair and frequent cortisone shots to diminish the pain.

By November 2015, the pain had become too much to bear. Carrie had stopped exercising altogether, had gained significant weight, and was miserable. “We have a game room upstairs in our house where our grandchildren can play. I couldn’t go up there to watch the kids because of the staircase. That’s when I knew I had to do something about my knee,” she said.

After consulting with her physician, she was told that her knee was “bone-on-bone,” and the cortisone would no longer provide her the relief she needed. She sought the opinion of Dr. Daniel Le, an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital, who concurred with the initial assessment, and suggested that it was time for Carrie to consider a total knee replacement.

Carrie was hesitant because she was only 52 years old at the time, and she assumed knee replacements were meant for people much older than she was — and she was also afraid that she’d always be favoring her new knee.

Dr. Le, who is on the forefront of joint replacement technology, convinced Carrie that by having knee replacement surgery she would not only be freed from the pain, but also regain the stability she needed to resume healthy activity. He chose to implant a MicroPort Orthopedics Medial-Pivot knee replacement, because of the implant’s ability to bend, twist, and rotate like a normal knee.

“Very little of what I do is purely medical or scientific — there’s real artistry as well,” said Dr. Le. “I take great pride in understanding not only the mechanics of replacing a hip or knee, but also the wants and needs of the people receiving those implants. By truly understanding patients’ hopes for the future, I hope I can deliver an experience that matches their expectations. With Carrie, it was important to give her an implant on which she could start exercising again.”

“Dr. Le performed the surgery on a Wednesday morning at 11:00, and I was up and walking by 2:00 that same afternoon,” said Carrie. “Immediately, I felt the difference. My knee was sore from the surgery, but there was no pain when I walked. My knee hadn’t felt that good in five years,” she remarked.

After completing physical therapy, Carrie broached the subject of running to Dr. Le at a follow-up visit, and he was encouraging of the idea. “Dr. Le reassured me that because I am young and healthy this knee will serve me for as long as I live.”

Carrie started running once again. And she found that her new knee gave her the stability to run comfortably. In fact, she ran her first 5K four months after her surgery — an amazing feat. Additionally, her new knee has allowed her to get back into shape, and since she started running, she has lost nearly 70 pounds.

“This surgery has given me my life back. I’m now able to do the things that I love — running and hiking and chasing my grandchildren — without pain. Heck, I’ve even started to take kickboxing lessons,” said Carrie. “I wish I would have had the surgery five years sooner.”

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Behind the Fuss for Real Grass Playing Fields

(BPT) – Whether attending a child’s scrimmage, the hottest college bowl game of the week or a professional playoff, the vibrant expanse of a football field offers more than a colorful canvas for the action. Often an afterthought for spectators, the choice of playing surface – natural vs. artificial – is a major decision for sports teams and field managers that goes far beyond aesthetics. According to Don Follett, director of fields and grounds for the Baltimore Ravens, the decision to transition M&T Bank Stadium back to natural grass at the start of the 2016 season was driven by the players. “A few of our key players asked that we entertain natural grass,” said Follett. “Ultimately, we decided that real football should be played on real grass.”

Why the fuss over real grass for sports fields? Venues choose one surface versus another for reasons that are highly specific to their situations. The following themes, however, consistently pop up:

Injury considerations

When first introduced, artificial turf had less cushioning and more surface hardness than it does today, affecting the probability and severity of injuries. Today, the installation of artificial turf involves a mix of sand or crumb rubber infill, which absorbs impact energy and provides surface cushioning. Over time, however, as infill levels decrease from being packed down or migrating, more infill must be added to maintain the target depth range provided from the turf manufacturer. Additionally, based on some of the research, an athlete’s foot is more likely to snag in a synthetic system, which creates more force on the foot, ankle and knee when trying to turn or change directions. In comparison, natural grass can be more forgiving when players stop or turn quickly.

While injury rates are not statistically significant between one playing surface and another, given a choice, professional football players tend to favor natural grass fields over artificial turf. Their preferences have been associated with beliefs that there are more lower body injuries when playing on artificial turf. In a 2010 survey of NFL players, 69 percent preferred a natural surface. Perceptions about safety and wear on the body likely factored in, as players cited artificial turf as a contributor to injuries (82 percent), soreness and fatigue (89 percent), a shorter career (89 percent) and a reduced quality of life after football (64 percent). “In their [players’] minds, natural is better, safer,” continued Follett.

Health and comfort issues

Beyond injuries, natural and artificial turf have other health and safety impacts. Natural grass fields have regular growth, watering and mowing cycles, allowing for constant rejuvenation and decomposition of various compounds. The dense root and shoot systems characteristic of healthy turfgrass support a large population of soil micro-flora and -fauna. These organisms offer one of the most active biological systems for the degradation of trapped organic chemicals and pesticides. According to Tim Van Loo, president of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and a certified sports field manager, “the soil of natural turfgrass systems includes microbes that break down certain compounds, such as pesticides, potentially noxious organic chemicals and even bacteria from bodily fluids, such as blood and spit.” With synthetic fields, regular maintenance – sweeping, dragging, loosening and redistribution of infill, and cleaning – is necessary to keep them in top form.

Turfgrass has the added benefit of contributing to noise and glare reductions. Natural grass absorbs sound and can reduce noise levels by up to 10 decibels. Variation in the size, shape and angle of individual grass blades disperses sunlight to reduce glare and improve visibility in sunny conditions. Both qualities can benefit players and spectators alike in large and noisy stadiums.

Playability factors

Artificial fields are often cited for enabling more continuous play than their natural counterparts, which may need time to recover between heavy use. With a little pre-planning, turf managers can mitigate most of these challenges and protect the long-term playability of their natural turf fields. “The life of a natural field can be extended by rotating activities between fields, changing the daily location of practice on a field, or moving drills and practices around the field,” said Van Loo. Taking care to preserve the quality and coverage of natural turf can also reduce unpredictable ball roll and bounce that may occur with bare, patchy growth.

Likewise, modern drainage systems are mitigating much of the water concern previously associated with natural grass. When asked how the Ravens’ field manages heavy rains, Follett explained, “We put in a full sand-based drainage system that percolates at 13 inches an hour; it would take a remarkable amount of rain.”

In warmer regions, heat presents a different challenge. The University of Missouri Turfgrass Research Center conducted a study in 2010 comparing surface temperatures of different types of playing fields. The university found that synthetic fields dissipate radiant heat, with surface temperatures regularly exceeding that of natural grass fields by 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to ensure player safety, teams must schedule practice and game times to cooler periods of the day or run irrigation systems that cool fields with water.

Environmental concerns

When choosing a surface, environmental impacts must also be considered. Fertilizer and pesticides are often associated with natural turf. However, organic options are proving successful and newer environmentally friendly fertilizer applications are now available. Additionally, the root and thatch layer in natural turf systems acts as a filter and removes pollutants before they enter surface or groundwater.

If water use is a concern, field managers can take conservation steps. Many recreational fields are overwatered, and devices such as rain sensors, soil moisture probes or evapotranspiration pans can help manage irrigation efficiency. Other water-saving options include using a drought-resistant species or encouraging deeper root development by allowing grass to grow taller.

With artificial turf, other environmental issues lurk below the surface. Crumb rubber infill comes from shredded tires that contain zinc and other metals. Some fear such elements could escape into the air or leach into water. Additionally, when artificial fields are replaced, the synthetic turf often ends up in landfills.

Economic impacts

The final decision on natural grass or synthetic often comes down to immediate and long-term costs. According to the STMA, a natural field can cost from $0.60 to $5.00 per square foot, depending on soils and drainage installation, while construction of synthetic systems can run $4.50 to $10.25 per square foot. Annual natural turf maintenance costs vary based on the facility and climate regions, but annual expenditures average between $20,000 to $30,000 per field and are competitive with synthetic field maintenance and repairs. Based on Follett’s experience, while there were initial costs to transition M&T Bank Stadium back to natural turf, “there is not a significant difference in the ongoing maintenance of well-kept artificial turf and grass.”

Choosing between natural and artificial turf is not easy. It is a decision every field manager must weigh carefully, evaluating all factors including the perceptions of players and spectators to ensure long-term support for the field. “I recall one player coming up to me on the sidelines of a game,” said Follett. “He gave me a big bear hug and said, ‘Dude, you have extended my career.’ Statistically, there isn’t strong evidence in either direction, but perception is reality.”

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Running with Purpose: Athlete Hits Her Stride, Despite a Surprising Asthma Diagnosis

(BPT) – With temperatures becoming more comfortable, there’s a good chance Brooke Curran is logging miles on a run through her hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. Though her training often requires her to run dozens of miles each time she laces up, Curran wasn’t always a serious runner. In her mid-twenties, she was a stay-at-home mom with three young kids. She took up running then as a way to get out of the house and steal a few moments for herself each day.

“Even if it was just a few miles a couple times a week, it gave me such a sense of accomplishment,” said Curran.

Following the shock of September 11, 2001, she decided it was time to get serious about checking items off her bucket list, and right at the top was running a marathon.

During one of her marathon training runs, Curran experienced shortness of breath and a painful burning in her chest. Having always considered herself pretty fit, she was concerned about the onset of these new symptoms and immediately made an appointment to see her respiratory specialist. He diagnosed her with asthma and exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB).

“People often think EIB and asthma are just the same thing. But even though the symptoms are similar, asthma and EIB are actually very different conditions,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, a New York City-based allergist and immunologist and national spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network. “As runners begin to lace up their sneakers and get outdoors this time of the year, it’s important to know the difference. EIB symptoms are temporary and can be triggered by aerobic activity – like running – while asthma is characterized by chronic inflammation of the large and small airways of the lungs. Many people with asthma also have EIB.”

Though surprised by her diagnosis, Curran’s doctor reassured her that EIB is a treatable condition. After discussing her symptoms, Curran’s doctor prescribed an inhaler with a dose counter so that she could keep track of how much medication she had left. To prevent EIB symptoms, Curran uses her inhaler 15 to 30 minutes prior to each workout or race, as directed by her doctor.

Since then, EIB hasn’t stopped Curran from hitting her stride. Around the time of her diagnosis, she decided she wanted to unite two of her greatest passions – running and her local community – and launched the RunningBrooke Foundation. Since 2009, Curran has run over 100 marathons, including at least one on every continent – including Antarctica – and at least one in every state, to raise money for her foundation. To date, she has raised more than $1 million for at-risk and underserved kids in Alexandria.

And Curran has no plan of slowing down, now that she is able to manage her EIB symptoms.

“As I travel the world to compete, it’s crucial that I know how many doses remain in my inhaler and if I need to refill before I hit the road for my next run,” said Curran. “Thanks to my dose counter, I can keep track of the medicine that helps me keep running for the kids who need it most.”

To learn more about the RunningBrooke Foundation, visit RunningBrooke.org. For additional information on the importance of dose counters, visit KnowYourCount.com.

Ms. Curran has been compensated for her time in contributing to this program.

July 2017

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Winning routines for warding off winter weight gain

(BPT) – With cold weather and short days, it’s easy to fall off healthy eating and exercise routines. Here are tips on how to eat right and stay motivated to exercise during the winter months from a leading nutritionist and a top celebrity trainer.

EAT RIGHT

Dr. Michael Roussell holds a degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University. He is a nationally recognized nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men’s Health, as well as the best-selling author of The MetaShred Diet (2017).

“It’s easy to fall into eating calorie-loaded or nutrient-empty comfort foods in the winter, but take time and plan ahead. The optimum winter foods for weight loss and maintenance are packed with nutrients and filling fiber, so we feel full longer and eat less. Here are five suggestions for your shopping list.”

Pistachios. The fiber-rich green nut makes the perfect wintertime snack for many reasons. Research shows that pistachios promote healthy, stable blood-sugar levels and can help improve various risk factors for heart disease when snacked on regularly.

Winter squash. In season, butternut squash delivers a sweet, nutty flavor for fewer carbs and more fiber than you would expect. It is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, both antioxidants that will help keep your immune system in top shape. Add into soup and give your body what it craves: cold weather comfort.

Mushrooms. Mushrooms are a great cold-weather food that is in season all winter long. They are not only a unique source of a potent antioxidant called ergothioneine, but they are also a low-calorie, appetite-filling food that can be roasted, braised or sauteed.

Cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are fibrous low-calorie foods that are perfect for the winter. They also contain powerful antioxidants like glucosinolates that help reinforce your body’s cellular detoxification pathways.

Green tea. Green tea is one of the few truly fat-burning foods. The antioxidants in green tea work to increase the amount of calories that your body burns as heat while also stimulating the liberation of stored fat in your body.

STAY FIT

Julie Diamond of Julie Diamond Fitness is a well-known, highly regarded personal fitness trainer with more than 20 years of experience empowering clients to reach their maximum fitness potential. She trains clients at all fitness levels and ages that run the gamut from celebrities to athletes to moms to anyone who aspires to live a healthier life.

“Every year as the weather gets colder, I hear the same thing: It’s too hard to get motivated to exercise on cold, dark mornings, and by nighttime I just want to get home and eat something warm. But there are tricks to staying motivated to move during the winter months.”

Set a new goal and reward yourself. Whether you want to lose weight, get stronger or move faster, set reasonable and specific goals that involve numbers or tangible accomplishments. Once you’ve attained your goal, treat yourself with a massage, new outfit or whatever tickles your fancy.

Find a workout buddy. Accountability is a great way to stay on track. Make a commitment with a friend or personal trainer for set times. This not only forces you to show up, but it can also make you push harder when you have someone cheering you on — and it’s fun!

Think outside the box. Do something different like a dance class, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class, join a running group, or grab friends and go ice-skating.

Dress the part. Invest in some new gear. It’s a known fact we all feel better and perform better in the appropriate attire. Invest in a couple of great pieces.

Amp up your playlist. Music motivates. Create a bunch of playlists that get you up and going. Play songs as you get ready.

Focus on nutrition. Food is fuel to get moving. Every week, set yourself up by preparing healthy snacks that you can just grab and go if needed, such as portable pistachios, hard-boiled eggs or chopped vegetables.

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Sports nutritionals 101: What you should know about supplementing your workout

(BPT) – Whether you’re an athlete looking for an extra competitive edge or would just like to increase the effectiveness of your daily workout, you have most likely considered adding nutritional supplements to your fitness routine. Diet, exercise and everyday lifestyle are all factors that can help determine the right supplements for you.

“It’s not uncommon for people who’ve never tried nutritional supplements to have some misconceptions about them,” says Don Saladino, a fitness and nutrition expert who trains celebrities and is a brand advocate for Garden of Life(R) SPORT. “People may think supplementation is only for die-hard athletes, but every human being is an athlete. We do things each day like move, carry items and change direction. Carrying a baby, hauling groceries or running across the street — these are the exact same patterns an athlete needs to perform, which is why it’s important to learn about all the options available and how they can help.”

As you’re considering nutritional supplements, keep these important points in mind:

* Power up with protein — Adding a protein-rich sports supplement to your diet provides many benefits. Protein fuels workouts, aids in muscle recovery after exercise and extends energy throughout the day. Supplements can provide needed nutrients that are difficult to get through diet alone. Adding protein powder into a smoothie or snacking on a protein bar can help incorporate necessary nutrients like antioxidants into your daily diet.

* Match your supplement to your objective — An exercise regimen can greatly benefit from a system of supplementation. Various nutrient-rich supplements are designed to be taken before you exercise, and others following exercise. For example, pre-workout supplements such as Garden of Life SPORT ENERGY + Focus incorporate ingredients intended to improve focus, such as organic coffeeberry, and optimize energy production, such as B12. Post-exercise supplements such as SPORT Organic Plant-Based Recovery can help your body recover faster from the rigors of vigorous exercise.

* Pick your best protein — Protein is a key component of sports nutrition, since it helps build muscle mass and supports muscle recovery post-workout. When a supplement contains all nine of the essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own, it contains “complete proteins.” You can get these essential amino acids from different protein sources, such as plant-based protein or whey protein. Plant-based proteins are great for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and they are especially effective at enhancing post-workout recovery. Whey protein is designed to refuel and repair muscles and can help maximize muscle growth when supplementing with regular exercise.

* Keep it clean — It’s important to be aware of what’s in your supplement. Just as you choose organic foods and beverages for their ingredient transparency, you wouldn’t want a nutritional supplement that’s made up of chemicals. Look for a truly clean sports nutrition system that’s designated with the Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seals, as well as by Informed-Choice for Sport and NSF(R) Certified For Sport.

“Working out is good for you — whether you choose to supplement or not. But the right nutritional supplement can help maximize the benefits of your exercise regimen and improve how you feel during everyday life activities,” Saladino says.

Nutritional supplements may be the fuel your body needs to reach the next level of performance, whether it’s putting that extra weight into your workout or lifting an extra child at home.

To learn more about clean sport supplements, visit www.gardenoflife.com/sport.

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3 activities to help you move safely after knee surgery


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(BPT) – Most patients undergoing knee surgery want to know when they’ll be able to return to a pain-free, active lifestyle and do the things they once enjoyed before knee pain took over. For 58-year-old Kathleen Cohan, this meant a desire to return to mountain biking, hiking and skiing — activities she had always loved to do as a youth and continued to enjoy with her husband in their hometown of Golden, Colorado.

Cohan recently participated in a clinical trial to treat persistent knee pain caused by a meniscus tear. After receiving the NUsurface Meniscus Implant — the first “artificial meniscus” — she completed a six-week rehabilitation program and was ready to return to doing the things she loved.

“The NUsurface Meniscus Implant changed my life. It feels great to not have to worry before I choose an activity about how much pain I’ll be in afterward,” Cohan says. “My husband and I recently went on a 100-mile mountain bike trip, and I climbed a 14,000-foot peak last month and my knee didn’t bother me at all. The implant gave me a chance to extend my activity level as long as I possibly can.”

Three months after surgery, most patients have completely recovered and are able to return to many activities that were too painful or difficult previously. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, the safest way to restart activity after meniscus surgery is to find activities that avoid placing unnecessary stress on your knee joint. Here are three activities to help you move safely after knee surgery:

1. Walk (don’t run!). Experts say walking outside your home three to five times each day is one of the best ways to regain your knee strength. While you may need to adjust the length of your step and speed, you will be able to spend more time walking for exercise once your muscle strength improves.

2. Dance. While you should avoid high-impact moves like jumping or lifts, ballroom dancing and gentle modern dancing are great ways to use leg muscles, engage in aerobic activity and have fun! Just be sure to avoid abrupt movements or twists that could potentially put your knee out of alignment.

3. Swim. Once the wound has healed, many people choose swimming as their exercise of choice as it’s not a weight-bearing activity and therefore reduces stress to the joints. If your knee is still a bit tender, opt for water aerobics or pool walking.

Want to mix it up? You can feel safe doing many other recommended activities such as yoga, golf, boating, aerobics or rowing. If you have experience prior to your surgery doing more intense activities, like Cohan, your doctor may give you the go-ahead to resume cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and doubles tennis. Whichever activity you choose, remember that rushing into activities before you’ve recovered sufficiently may put you at risk for complications, so be sure to check with your doctor first before resuming any activity after meniscus surgery.

To be eligible for the NUsurface Meniscus Implant clinical studies, you must be between the ages of 30 and 75, and have pain after medial (the inside of the knee) meniscus surgery at least six months ago. To find a study site near you, visit www.activeimplants.com/kneepaintrial.

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Smiling woman on fitness ball in exercise class

This simple test can set you on the road to a lifetime of better health

(BPT) – Here’s a sobering statistic for you: 20 percent of all deaths in the United States can be attributed to poor lifestyle factors and behavioral choices. It’s difficult to swallow, but fortunately new research also finds that those who take the time to establish a simple screening routine improve their chances of modifying their behavior toward a healthy lifestyle.

The research, appearing in the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education, shows that individuals who had undergone a cardiovascular screening were more likely to take action to modify their lifestyles after the screening. In addition, these steps toward potential better health appear to exist regardless of the actual screening results.

The survey gathered information from 3,267 individuals who were set to receive a cardiovascular screening through Life Line Screening. Participants were predominantly over 50 years of age and mostly women. The survey respondents were divided into two groups: those who were surveyed after they had their cardiovascular screening and those who were screening-naïve, meaning they had yet to undergo a cardiovascular screening.

Both groups were asked questions about their current and future health plans and once the surveys were completed, results from the two groups were then evaluated to determine a participant’s motivation to modify their lifestyles. This evaluation took into account the act of the screening and whether the presence of a completed screening modified behavior.

Results of the research show a statistically significant difference between those who had been screened and those who hadn’t with regards to modifying future behavior. These behavior modifiers included healthy initiatives such as enjoying a healthier diet or adding exercise to a person’s daily lifestyle.

Perhaps more interesting, researchers found participants were more interested in improving their healthy lifestyle after the screening regardless of their individual screening results. In addition, patients who tested normal, abnormal or even critical during their screening were all more likely to make health changes after the screening when compared to their prescreening counterparts. Those who recorded abnormal or critical results also reported being more likely to follow their doctor’s exact directions and take all of their medications on the predetermined schedule.

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are

Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, accounting for roughly one quarter of all deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet despite this shocking statistic, many people remain unaware of their current cardiovascular health.

Enrolling in a cardiovascular screening is a fast, easy way to understand your current cardiovascular health and provide you a basis for future health care decisions. It’s an important first step and one that can ultimately lead to a healthier, longer life.

To learn more about cardiovascular screening and to find screening options in your area, visit www.lifelinescreening.com.

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