Feature: Healthy Athlete

November 25, 2007

Health hint

To make sure you’re brushing long enough to get the best pearly whites, try this tuneful trick: Brush for the length of your fave song.

Weighty Matters

Here’s good news for those who strength train: More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to lifting weights. According to new guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine, you’ll reap just as many benefits by working a muscle group with one set of eight to ten repetitions two to three times a week. It was previously thought that a weight-lifting regimen had to include at least three sessions a week to produce results, notes Dr. Bill Kohl, director of research, Baylor Sports Medicine Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Not so! “By regularly lifting even light weights, the body retains more lean muscle mass,” he says.

Braces, the latest fashion statement

What was once seen as a fate worse than death is becoming a hot trend, say the experts at Orthodontic Centers of America (OCA). As the big bulky silver wires of the past give way to stylish new options—check out the cool new brightly colored bands you can use to complement your school colors—more and more young adults are finding something to smile about by wearing braces. “People with beautiful smiles not only have a better appearance, they exude greater self confidence and generally feel happier,” says Dr. Gasper Lazzara Jr., OCA founder and chairman of the board, who adds that straight teeth are also less likely to develop problems like decay and periodontal disease. For more info, call 1-800-BRACES-4 or visit OCA’s website at www.ocai.com.

Cheer Power

Cheerleading flies to the top of the exercise charts, according to American Sports Data, Inc. stats. Evaluated among more than 60 sports, fitness and outdoor activities, it was cited as one of the most likely to offer exercise benefits. Only “frequent” participants (the 15% to 30% most dedicated participants) were measured.

Fitness Outdoors

Baseball High-impact aerobics Mountain biking

Basketball Low-impact aerobics Boardsailing

Step aerobics Camping

Football Exercise to music Hiking/backpacking

Golf Fitness walking Mountain/rock climbing

Racquetball Free weights Skateboarding

Soccer Resistance training Water skiing

Tennis Stationary bike Nordic skiing

Volleyball Treadmill Snowboarding

Dressing for exercise success

The American Council on Exercise in San Diego, CA offers these tips for “uplifting” comfort:

  • Stay true to type.
    Consider which of the two basic types of sports bra—”compression” or “encapsulation”—is best for you. The former will work best for smaller figures since it compresses the breasts against the chest. The latter encapsulates each breast and is better suited for more ample figures because of its heavy-duty construction.
  • Get fit.
    Your breast size will vary with weight changes, menstrual cycle and medications. So, go by fit, not size, when choosing a sports bra.
  • Don’t sweat it.
    To minimize chafing and friction, pick a bra with good ventilation to prevent perspiration from getting trapped. A dusting of baby powder underneath your clothes also helps.
  • Think comfort.
    A good sports bra will feel perfect right from the start—that means no pinching from a too-tight fit or straps that dig into your skin. When trying on a sports bra, jump around and mimic the activity you’ll be doing to make sure it’ll move with you.
  • Know when to ditch ’em.
    Replace your sports bras every six months to a year since they lose elasticity.