Fitness--Part of your personal ecology

Beat the holiday blues by improving your posture

This HND piece anticipates the dreaded holiday downers, and documents how a better posture could improve your mood. For one thing, a good posture is linked to increases in testosterone and decreases in cortisol levels. Likewise, it has long been known that stretching—which improves posture—causes endorphins (pain-reducing, feel-good hormones) to be released.

Ironically, for those who already have bad posture, slouching might feel more comfortable. That's because the very act of slouching weakens core muscles, making it more difficult to sit upright. There's your vicious cycle!

We then cover a cool breakthrough product from chiropractor Evelyn Haworth. Her Tru-Align is a passive system that does wonders for improving posture, and relieves many symptoms.

Read the complete article.

Another look at forward head posture

This HND piece expands on an article from 2014. Forward Head Posture is a plague affecting just about anyone who uses tech devices.

As it happens, FHP is an expression of Upper Crossed Syndrome, explained in the piece. In fact, the brilliant doctor who came up with these "crossed syndromes" re-wrote the book on chronic pain—by focusing on muscle imbalances. And, boy, do muscles ever get out of whack with frequent computer and smart phone use!

We link out to several excellent exercises that will help you fix FHP.

Read the complete article.

A look at chronic disease

Let's face it! The prevalence of chronic disease, and the astounding statistic that 88 percent of Americans over 65 have at least one chronic condition, expose an epic failure of our healthcare system. In this latest HND piece, we cast a big bright light on the subject. Many of us are getting tired of being told that virtually all of these conditions occur because we "are getting older," and beyond taking all sorts of drugs, there's not much that can be done about it.

Oh, by the way, chronic disease [including cardiovascular diseases; cancers; chronic respiratory diseases; obesity; arthritis; and diabetes] is by far the leading cause of death worldwide. Is it too conspiratorial to suggest that since there's way more money in treating these afflictions than curing them, no cures will ever be found?

Some suggest that we can't cure chronic diseases because we are not approaching them in the proper fashion. For this, we discuss the Cynefin Framework, a knowledge management tool, which allows decision-makers to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities. Broad brush, the manner in which we treat acute illness simply does not work for chronic disease—yet, conventional medicine employs the same paradigm.

Read the complete article.

A look at hydration

This HND piece begins by tracing our modern obsession with expert opinion (Spoiler alert: Benjy Spock), and then segues into some basic physiology on hydration.

How much water do you need per day? The experts say "It depends," but we go out on a limb and actually provide specific advice. Hoo-baby!

There's also the matter of overhydration, which turns out to be a problem only for those with some legitimate disease—and that includes OCD athletes.

Read the complete article.

The making of a miracle

Just over a week ago, this story appeared in my HND column, and has already garnered more posted comments than any article I have ever written for that publication.  This piece details the story behind the incredible success of nutritionist Diane Kress' Metabolism Miracle books.

Combining common sense and good science, Diane blows the lid off the conventional wisdom, and explains why diets don't work for at least half the people.  The answer is that at least 50% of the population has what she calls "Metabolism B"---a condition whereby your body improperly controls insulin.

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are two of the more obvious symptoms of "Met B," but there are dozens of others.  The good news is that in many cases, no drugs are needed to reverse Met B, lose weight, and get your numbers back to where they should be.

The other side of this, of course, is that the institutionalized purveyors of the killer conventional wisdom should be shamed and condemned out of existence.  Read the complete article.

People with more education are healthier

This is not exactly a new finding, but several studies keep confirming it.  I take a look at this phenomenon in a recent HND piece.

Here's a pull quote from a  September, 2009 study:

People with more education are likely to live longer, to experience better health outcomes, and to practice health-promoting behaviors such as exercising regularly, refraining from smoking, and obtaining timely health care check-ups and screenings.

We also put the spotlight on the notion of private supplemental academies, and talk to Shakir McDonald, Founder/Director of the B.E.E. Academy, based in Landover, MD.  These academies, patterned after the Japanese Juku, do a great job fostering learning skills, thus keeping their students in school—with higher grades.

Read the complete article.

Do you need a personal trainer?

In anticipation of the New Year's resolution crowd that will be flooding the gyms in the next few weeks, we take a look at personal trainers in my latest HND article. I got some good help on this from Manhattan-based Glenn Dickstein, veteran of the fitness industry, who runs the Neighborhood Trainers website.

Many, perhaps most people can benefit from having a personal trainer, and this is especially true for those folks with particular health issues. For example, Alan Sidransky—himself a longtime type 2 diabetic—does wonders for clients with weight problems and diabetes.

For fun, we even go back to Chiron, the world's first personal trainer.

Read the complete article.

Promoting safety in youth sports

We don't always think about what could go wrong, especially in "non-contact" sports such as baseball. Unfortunately, minor injuries happen all the time, and on rare occasions, certain traumas, notably Commotio Cordis, can be almost instantly fatal.

My latest HND piece examines these matters, and highlights one New Jersey based entrepreneur, who has recently introduced a number of innovative safety products, designed to better protect young athletes.

Read the complete article.

A different kind of vibrator

This week's HND piece examines the physical therapy and training method called "Whole Body Vibration." I take you through the history, which includes Swedish fitness pioneer Dr. Gustav Zander, and full-on health nut Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, brother of the corn flakes magnate.

Yeah, I'd call someone a "nut," who thought sex was bad for you, and bragged that he and his wife had not partaken in 40 years.

Proponents of WBV, as it is usually abbreviated, make some extravagant claims, but so far the clinical data does not quite match up with them.

Read the complete article.

Your brain does not have to deteriorate as you age

My latest HND piece is all about Cognitive Fitness, and how we can maintain it even as we get older. The best news for us Baby Boomers is that much of the conventional wisdom has been proven wrong. A proliferation of neuroscience research in the 1990s indicates that the brain does not necessarily diminish with age. Neither do our neurons have to die off as we add the years.

But, just as maintaining physical fitness requires physical exercise, maintaining cognitive fitness requires mental exercise.

For those willing to keep exercising their brains, the benefits can be huge. I cover the case of Richard Wetherill, who was able to essentially immunize himself from the symptoms of Alzheimer's, by working his mind to stay sharp.

Also included is an introduction to some Cog Fitness metrics, with a look at a new program from the Developmental Assessment & Intervention Center of Bedford Hills, NY

Read the complete article.