Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Winter Workout Advice

July 9, 2017

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Tips for Working Out in Winter

As the weather gets cooler we can be tempted to sleep through our alarm in the morning and stay under the doona, or head straight home after a long cold day at work but it is important for your health and well-being that you continue exercising right through the Winter months. In order to boost your immune system, maintain your fitness and keep your mind happy and active, regular exercise is essential.

1. It is warmer inside the gym than it is outside and your favourite class is going to get you hot and sweaty but make sure that you wear layers to and from the club so that your muscles stay warm. Remove the layers as you warm up during class and then add them back on as you cool off.
2. Hydration is very important and although you may not feel as thirsty when it is cold you need to ensure that you drink before, during and after class.
3. Allow a little extra time before class to warm up on a piece of cardio equipment or by doing some dynamic stretching. Warming the muscles up adequately will prevent injury.
4. Put your favourite classes in your diary at the start of the week and commit to those work outs like you would any other appointment.
5. If you are finding that you are hitting the snooze button too often why not try leaving your alarm on the other side of the bedroom. Once you are up to switch it off you are up for the day.
6. If you are attending an early morning class lay your workout gear out ready for you to slip in to straight away or even sleep in your gear. If you are heading to the gym after work make sure you have everything in your car ready to go so there is no temptation to head home for any reason before heading to your class.

The great thing about group exercise is that you get to sweat it out with other people who are motivated, inspired and pushed by your instructor. So don’t hibernate this winter – get in to the club and get warm while you get fitter, stronger and healthier!

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Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug? Try Exercise

October 25, 2016

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After I wrote last year that diet, not exercise, was the key to weight loss, I was troubled by how some readers took this to mean that exercise therefore had no value.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of all the things we as physicians can recommend for health, few provide as much benefit as physical activity.

In 2015, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges put out a report calling exercise a “miracle cure.” This isn’t a conclusion based simply on some cohort or case-control studies. There are many, many randomized controlled trials. A huge meta-analysis examined the effect of exercise therapy on outcomes in people with chronic diseases.

Let’s start with musculoskeletal diseases. Researchers found 32 trials looking specifically at the effect of exercise on pain and function of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee alone. That’s incredibly specific, and it’s impressive that so much research has focused on one topic.

Exercise improved those outcomes. Ten more studies showed, over all, that exercise therapy increases aerobic capacity and muscle strength in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies proved its benefits in other musculoskeletal conditions, like ankylosing spondylitis, and even some types of back pain.

For people (mostly middle-aged men) who had had a heart attack, exercise therapy reduced all causes of mortality by 27 percent and cardiac mortality by 31 percent. Fourteen additional controlled trials showed physiological benefits in those with heart failure. Exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, and improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

People with diabetes who exercise have lower HbA1c values, which is the marker of blood sugar control, low enough to probably reduce the risk of complications from the disease. Twenty randomized controlled trials have showed that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can walk farther and function better if they exercise.

Multiple studies have found that exercise improves physical function and health-related quality of life in people who have Parkinson’s disease. Six more studies showed that exercise improves muscle power and mobility-related activities in people with multiple sclerosis. It also appeared to improve those patients’ moods.

The overall results of 23 randomized controlled trials showed that exercise most likely improves the symptoms of depression. Five others appear to show that it improves symptoms in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. In trials, exercise even lessened fatigue in patients who were having therapy for cancer.

What other intervention can claim results like these?

Even studies of older, hospitalized patients show a beneficial effect from multidisciplinary interventions that include exercise. Those randomized to such interventions in the hospital were more likely to be discharged to go home, and to spend less time in the hospital over all — and at a lower cost.

Although we don’t think of it this way, you can make a pretty good argument that exercise is as good as drugs for many conditions. A 2013 meta-analysis of meta-analyses (that’s how much data we have) combined and analyzed the results from 16 reviews of randomized controlled trials of drug and exercise interventions in reducing mortality. Collectively, these included 305 trials with almost 340,000 participants.

Diuretic drugs (but not all drugs) were shown to be superior to exercise in preventing death from heart failure. But exercise was found to be equally good as drugs in preventing mortality from coronary heart disease. Exercise was better than drugs in preventing death among patients from strokes.

Many people will be surprised at how little you need to do to achieve these results. Years ago, in an effort to get in shape, I tried the P90X routine. It proved too hard for me. Later, when I tried the Insanity workout, it beat me so badly that people at work kept asking me if I was ill. Two years ago, I tried P90X3. It was a bit more manageable, but I still couldn’t keep it up.

I have not been alone in thinking that physical activity to improve health should be hard. When I hear friends talk about exercising, they discuss running marathons, participating in CrossFit classes or sacrificing themselves on the altar of SoulCycle. That misses the point, unfortunately. All of these are much more than you need to do to get the benefits I’ve described.

The recommendations for exercise are 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity for adults, or about 30 minutes each weekday.

Moderate intensity is probably much less than you think. Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 miles per hour or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough. Even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or walking your dog might qualify.

Today, my goals are much more modest. Trekking from my office to the clinic and back again gives me 30 minutes of exercise. Or, I walk to the supermarket from my office to grab lunch, at a mile each way. In colder weather, I spend half an hour on the elliptical machine. Doing this five days a week gets me the activity I need.

Although it feels as if there’s nothing we can do to change people’s behavior, there is evidence to the contrary. A systematic review and meta-analysis of advice and counseling by health professionals found that promotion of physical activity works.

Doctors and clinics that made efforts to promote exercise to patients needed to engage 12 adults on the subject to get one additional adult to meet recommended levels of activity one year later. That might not sound impressive, but it’s one of the better such results.

After the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wrote its report, an editorial in the BMJ, a prominent medical journal, countered that exercise wasn’t a “miracle cure.” Instead, the authors argued it was “the best buy for public health.”

If that’s the best “counterpoint,” then physical activity seems like a no-brainer.

Article sourced here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/upshot/why-you-should-exercise-no-not-to-lose-weight.html

Over 50’s Fitness by Glenn Barnett – Exercise are You Ready?

July 28, 2015

Do you relish your daily exercise regime or are you in bewilderment when you see those enthusiastic walkers striding past your house at the same time every morning while you add an extra teaspoon of coffee to your mug?

You stir your potent brew while wondering why it seems so easy for other people to stick with an exercise regime while you struggle with it. Scientists are always interested in figuring out what makes some of us make exercise a daily ritual while others only find time a few times a year.

Are you mentally ready for exercise or commitment phobic?   Your body might be ready but your mind is having second thoughts. Starting an exercise program might bring on feelings of dread, confusion, memories of pain, frustration or even disappointment. It does take mental preparation to commit to health. Getting help with an exercise program and participating in things that you enjoy will make it much easier.

‘Lifestyle change’ is a common phrase in the health industry today. You often hear that people need to make ‘lifestyle changes’ to achieve their goals and reduce the possibility of succumbing to life threatening diseases. Did you know though that making lifestyle changes should be a slow and gradual change? Don’t make all of your changes at once. The human mind can only deal with a couple of changes at a time so for instance don’t wake up and decide to stop drinking, give up smoking, cut out all sugar, eat more veges and go to the gym everyday starting now! Choose a couple of those lifestyle changes and allow yourself to get use to them over a 4-5 week period then make a couple more. This will be less shocking, more agreeable and more sustainable to your mind and body.

I bet the health of your loved ones is a priority in your life but what about your own health? Give Glen or Jacqui a call at Coffs Coast Health Club if you are ready to get started on 66586222.

Boost your Thinking Skills with Exercise

February 15, 2015
New evidence shows tai chi has the potential to enhance thinking skills in older adults.

New evidence shows tai chi has the potential
to enhance thinking skills in older adults.

Moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your thinking and memory in just six months.

You know that exercising is necessary in order to preserve muscle strength, keep your heart strong, maintain a healthy body weight, and stave off chronic disease such as diabetes. But exercise can also help boost your thinking skills. “We know that exercise behaves like medicine to improve thinking skills. There’s a lot of science behind this,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

How it works

Exercise boosts your memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. Direct means include physiological changes such as reducing insulin resistance, reducing inflammation, and stimulating the production of growth factors, which are chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.

Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. McGinnis.

Exercise can also boost memory and thinking indirectly by improving mood and sleep, and by reducing stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.

Is one exercise better than another?

We don’t know the answer to this question because almost all of the research has looked at walking. “But it’s likely that other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart pumping might yield similar benefits,” explains Dr. McGinnis.

He points to a study published in the January 2014 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that found that an exercise called tai chi showed the potential to enhance cognitive function in older adults, especially in the realm of executive function, which regulates, controls, and manages other cognitive processes such as planning, working memory, attention, problem-solving, and verbal reasoning. That may be because tai chi, a martial art that involves slow, focused movements, requires learning and memorizing new skills and new movement patterns.

What you should do

Dr. McGinnis recommends establishing exercise as a habit, almost like taking a prescription medication. And since several studies have shown that you can reap the cognitive benefits of exercise in six months, he reminds you to be patient to get results, and then continue exercising for life.

Aim for a goal of exercising at a moderate intensity—such as brisk walking—for 150 minutes per week. Start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.

Does mental training improve thinking skills?

Look for programs that teach strategy skills and use some computerized training.

Exercise isn’t the only way to keep your mind sharp. The evidence is clear that you also need to challenge your brain in order to keep using it, with activities such as reading or crossword puzzles. But what about training intended to improve your thinking skills, called cognitive training?

A study published in the January 2014 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that as few as 10 cognitive training sessions helped older adults improve their reasoning ability and processing speed, which translated to less difficulty in performing important everyday tasks. The training sessions were largely strategy-based—such as tricks to remember word lists—and there was some computerized training. The benefits lasted as long as 10 years.

So should you sign up for cognitive training? “I do recommend it, but only programs that tailor treatment based on a person’s goals, strengths, and weaknesses,” says Harvard Medical School psychology instructor Dr. Kim Willment. She advises that you look for programs that teach strategy skills and use computerized training to improve certain cognitive functions, such as attention and concentration.

Article sourced from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/boost-your-thinking-skills-with-exercise

Over 50’s Fitness by Glen Barnett – Keeping Cool in the Summer

February 10, 2015

Keeping Cool In Summer

Keeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn’t just about comfort. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following tips can help you keep cool all summer long.

  1. Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead of running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
  2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light colour.
  3. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
  4. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  5. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
  6. Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
  7. Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
  8. Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sources of electrolytes when profusely sweating.
  9. If you’re wearing a cap or hat, remove it and pour a bit of ice cold water into the hat, then quickly invert it and place on your head.
  10. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
  11. Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products. As an added benefit, you won’t have to cook next to a hot stove.
  12. If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping centre, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days.
  13. Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.

One final thing is that we can always head down to the water for a dip to stay cool. Whether we head to the Jetty, A patrolled beach or a river/creek to stay cool and have a splash around. You will enjoy remaining cool after a dip in the early hours and again in the late afternoon.

Stay cool and safe, for any more information call Glen Barnett at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.

Spring Clean Your Life

September 14, 2014

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Spring is here, and I enjoy using this time of year to prepare for the renewal this season provides.

One of the things you can do right now for yourself is prepare for the upcoming opportunities of the new season. Spring often inspires us to increase our fitness levels, participate in more activities outdoors and embrace a healthier way of eating — more greens perhaps as local food becomes increasingly available. Use this time to prepare yourself for those opportunities by getting organized.

Clutter, which has likely been accumulating all winter long, keeps us from moving forward, it blocks energy, it stops our creativity and it weighs us down. The more we have in your home, car, office, hand bag, computer hard drive, the more energy we need to attend to those things. Organizing, decluttering and preparing will put you in a physical, emotional and spiritual space that supports you in the new changes you have the opportunity to make this spring.

Here are a few steps to follow if you want to change you physical and spiritual landscape and prepare for spring:

1. Eliminate and purge.

You can apply this principle to all of your living spaces, or you can choose to apply it one room at a time. Evaluate what you have and what you need, keeping in mind the 80/20 principle that suggests we use about 20% of what we have and essentially do not really need the other 80%. Decide what you longer need or what no longer brings you pleasure, and donate it.

2. Make function easier.

Once you’ve gone through the elimination process, create a system to keep things neat and organized. Pick the system that you’re most likely to stay with and is most effective for your situation. Here are a few options to consider: baskets, file folders, storage containers, or dividers. When organizing your things, keep the items you use most often easiest to access. For example, organize and sort your clothing by season — take out your spring and summer clothes and find a storage solution for your winter clothes. Sort items by their function and keep like things together. For example, create “stations” in your home. In my very small kitchen I have a smoothie station where I keep my Vitamix and several Mason jars containing the ingredients I use daily to nourish my body.

3. Create a donation bag.

Keep a bag or box to which you can add items you longer want. Instead of allowing drawers and closets to fill up throughout the year with things you don’t need or want, create a place in your home where you can collect these items and then donate them in the spring as part of your regular spring cleaning. Check online for nonprofit organizations that will pick up your donated items, including small appliances, from your home for free.

4. Eliminate clutter hot spots.

Flat surfaces, drawers, the back seat of your car and sometimes handbags can become repositories for all sorts of unwanted or unused items. Mail and paperwork are classic examples of the clutter that can accumulate easily when left unattended. Devise a system that works for you in addressing your mail and paperwork as it’s generated. Take a few minutes each week to place important documents in these files and recycle any unneeded paper, or, when possible, go digital, and file your documents electronically. By implementing a system for use and function after you’ve purged, you’ll likely feel much lighter, energized, renewed and inspired after your hard work, providing you with the motivation and energy to continue moving forward with your goals and embracing the newness of spring.

5. Upgrade your home’s energy.

Rearrange your furniture. Get a new houseplant. Play upbeat music. Open your window, even just for a few moments. Diffuse tangerine and peppermint essential oils. Invite new energy and life into your home to become a happier and healthier human being this spring.

By using early spring to organize your living and work spaces, you can position yourself to achieve the health, wellness and personal goals you’ve been working toward!

This article was sourced from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12988/5-strategies-to-spring-clean-your-entire-life.html

Lactose Intolerance

August 26, 2014

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and other dairy products. If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest it well. Lactose intolerance is not curable, but there are many ways to cut your symptoms and feel better.

What Are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Between 30 minutes and 2 hours after eating a dairy product, you have one or more of these symptoms. They may be mild or severe.

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

Even with lactose intolerance, you can tolerate a certain amount of lactose. This affects how quickly you have symptoms and how severe they are. Someone else may be sensitive to small amounts of foods with lactose, while you may be able to eat more before you have symptoms.

What Foods Have Lactose?

Dairy products such as milk and ice cream are some of the most common foods high in lactose. It’s also in foods with dry milk solids, milk byproducts, nonfat dry milk powder, or whey, such as:

  • Breads and baked goods
  • Candy
  • Cereals
  • Salad dressings

Lactose is in some prescription medicines, including birth control pills, and over-the-counter drugs, such as some tablets to ease stomach acid or gas.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest lactose because your small intestine doesn’t make enough lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. The lactose that isn’t digested makes gas in your colon.  So when you eat foods or take pills with lactose, you have symptoms.

For many people, lactose intolerance develops naturally with age, because the small intestine starts to make less lactase.

Your body may also make less lactase if your small intestine is injured or you have certain digestive problems, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease.

Who Gets Lactose Intolerance?

Millions of Americans have lactose intolerance, so it’s quite common. About 75% of all people around the globe have too little lactase to some degree. If you’re African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American, you’re more likely to have it.

What Is Life Like With It?

Lactose intolerance is easy to manage. You can probably eat some foods with lactose and not have symptoms. You may need to use trial and error to figure out what foods and how much of them you can tolerate, though.

You can also find many lactose-free dairy options at grocery stores. Lactase enzyme supplements can help you get the nutrition benefits of dairy, especially bone-building calcium and vitamin D, and avoid symptoms of lactose intolerance. And nondairy drinks, such as soy, almond, and rice milk, are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

If you have lactose intolerance, keep these things in mind:

  • You may do better having a little milk or dairy products with meals, because it’s easier to digest lactose eaten with other foods.
  • Some dairy products may be easier for you to digest, such as cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Using lactose-free milk, cheese, and other nondairy products in recipes will likely make the meal more pleasant.

     

Thirty minutes have passed since you ate a bowl of ice cream, and now your stomach is cramping and gassy. You feel like you might have diarrhea. Does this sound like you? Or, you had milk, mashed potatoes, or even candy almost 2 hours ago and have these symptoms. Does that sound like you? If either does, you could have lactose intolerance.

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and most other dairy products. Your small intestine makes the enzyme lactase to help you digest that sugar. When you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t make enough lactase to digest lactose well.

You can’t cure lactose intolerance, but if you change what and how you eat, you may cut or even get rid of your symptoms.

Ease Your Symptoms

Millions of Americans have symptoms of lactose intolerance: 

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

You can use trial and error to find out what foods cause symptoms, and in what amount. Or, you may want to see your doctor for a diagnosis. You may be sensitive to small amounts of foods that have lactose, or you may only have symptoms if you eat a lot of lactose foods. Your symptoms may be severe or mild. Lactose intolerance is different for everyone.

Find the Culprits (Hint: It might not just be dairy.)

Milk and dairy products are the best-known lactose foods, but there are many others. Some nondairy products have a protein called casein, which can have traces of lactose. To avoid symptoms from lactose intolerance, read food labels carefully. When shopping or cooking, look for these ingredients that have lactose: 

  • Curds
  • Dry milk solids
  • Milk
  • Milk byproducts
  • Dry milk powder
  • Whey

If you are highly sensitive to lactose, you may need to avoid foods such as: 

  • Baked goods
  • Bread, baking, and pancake mixes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Certain types of candy, such as milk chocolate
  • Instant foods (breakfast drink mixes, mashed potatoes, soups, and meal replacement drinks)
  • Margarine
  • Nondairy creamers (liquid and powdered)
  • Nondairy whipped topping
  • Processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats)
  • Protein and meal replacement bars
  • Salad dressing

Get a Diagnosis

Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the foods you eat, to note when you have symptoms, and to stop eating an offending food to see if your symptoms go away. To make a diagnosis, some doctors simply look at your symptoms and whether avoiding dairy products for 2 weeks relieves them.

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may do other tests, such as:

  • Hydrogen Breath Test: Normally, people have very little hydrogen in their breath. If your body doesn’t digest lactose, though, hydrogen builds in your intestines, and after a while it’s in your breath. This test measures how much hydrogen is in your breath after you have a lactose-loaded drink several times in a few hours. If your levels are high 3 to 5 hours later, your body does not digest lactose well.
  • Lactose Tolerance Test:  When your body breaks down lactose, it releases sugar into your blood. This tests how much sugar is in your blood. After you fast, a small sample of blood is taken. Then, you drink a liquid that is high in lactose. Two hours later, you give another blood sample. Because lactose causes blood sugar levels to rise, your blood sugar levels in this sample should be higher. If you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll have just a low rise in blood sugar and symptoms.

How to Manage Lactose Intolerance

You can’t change how well your body digests lactose, but you can cut or even stop your symptoms.

Talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy diet that keeps you feeling good. Keep a food diary to help you learn how much (if any) dairy you can eat without having symptoms. Many people don’t need to stop eating all dairy.

If you make small changes in what you eat, you may be able to prevent symptoms by helping your body digest dairy foods easier.

  • Don’t eat dairy alone. It’s easier for your body to digest lactose when you eat it with other foods. So try having small amounts of milk or dairy foods with meals.
  • Choose easier-to-digest dairy products. Some people find it easier to digest dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Use lactose-free or reduced-lactose milk and dairy products. You can find dairy products with most of the lactose removed, or lactase added, at many grocery stores.
  • Switch to dairy-free products. There are many nondairy options, such as almond, rice, or soy milks. Special note about infants and young children: When babies have symptoms of lactose intolerance, many children’s doctors advise changing from cow’s milk formula to soy milk formula until the symptoms go away, then slowly adding cow’s milk formula and dairy products back into their diets.
  • Take a lactase enzyme replacement. These are available over the counter in pills or capsules. Take the advised dose with your first drink or bite of dairy to help prevent lactose intolerance symptoms.

Lactose: How Much Can You Take?

If your doctor just broke the news that you’re lactose intolerant, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get to savor another bite of ice cream.

At first, many people fear they’ll have to give up all dairy products, says Dee Sandquist, RD, a dietitian in Fairfield, Iowa. But with some trial and error, most people find they can still eat small amounts of dairy without having symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, or nausea.

Dairy foods are important to the health of your bones, because they’re loaded with calcium and vitamin D. So the trick is to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients, whether from dairy or other foods.

“Listen to your body and your symptoms,” says Sandquist, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

How Severe Are Your Symptoms?

How much dairy you can eat depends on how much lactase — the enzyme that digests lactose — your body makes, says Yuri A. Saito-Loftus, MD, MPH. She’s an assistant professor in the Mayo Clinic’s division of gastroenterology and hepatology. “That does vary a little bit from individual to individual. We don’t know 100% what controls that. Presumably, it’s genetically determined.”

Some people with lactose intolerance can adapt. You may be able to add small amounts of foods with lactose to your diet over time and have fewer symptoms. “If you keep eating dairy, you can stimulate some lactase production,” Saito-Loftus says. “That may help you better tolerate dairy products.”

If your symptoms are so severe that you can’t handle lactose in any foods, talk to your doctor about how to get enough calcium and vitamin D.

What Foods You Can Eat — and How Much

“Many people know their symptoms pretty well, so they know if they can handle just a little bit or not,” Sandquist says. In that case, you may be able to keep a mental tally of foods or amounts of foods to avoid. Other people get a better sense of what their body can take by jotting down notes. “A diary is extremely helpful because then you can log what symptoms you have, what you’ve eaten,” Sandquist says. “You can look back and see if there’s a pattern.”

Figure out what foods you can eat. If you’re not sure which foods with lactose you can handle, try one dairy food at a time, Sandquist says. You should be able to tell whether it bothers you within 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating it. Any discomfort from lactose intolerance is likely to set in by then. For example, drink a half-cup of dairy milk and see how well you tolerate it.

See how much you can eat. If you don’t have symptoms from the food and the amount you try, slowly add more to see at what point you do have symptoms. For instance, maybe you don’t have symptoms with a cup of milk, but you do with one and a fourth cups of milk. So your tolerance level is one cup.

If you do have symptoms, cut back on the amount to see if you can handle a smaller portion. 

Once you’ve found how much of one food you can handle, start testing another food.

Find Substitutes

You may find you can’t tolerate any amount of some foods. That’s a good time to try lactose-free or reduced-lactose foods.

For instance, if milk doesn’t agree with you, try lactose-free milk or a dairy-free drink, such as almond, rice, or soy milk. If you have problems digesting cheese, try one with less lactose.

  • Nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup: 62 grams lactose
  • Sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup: 40 grams lactose
  • Evaporated milk, 1 cup: 24 grams lactose
  • Milk, 1 cup: 10-12 grams lactose
  • Ice milk, 1/2 cup: 9 grams lactose
  • Ice cream, 1/2 cup: 6 grams lactose
  • Yogurt, 1 cup: 5 grams lactose
  • Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup: 2-3 grams lactose
  • Blue cheese, 1 oz.: 2 grams lactose
  • Sherbet, orange, 1/2 cup: 2 grams lactose
  • American, Swiss, or Parmesan cheese, 1 oz.: 1 gram lactose
  • Cheddar cheese, 1 oz.: 0 grams lactose

Be Aware of Calcium Needs

People who are lactose intolerant tend to cut out dairy foods. If you do that, you can shortchange yourself on calcium. You need calcium for healthy teeth and bones, and vitamin D to help your body use calcium. “People who are lactose intolerant are at higher risk for osteoporosis,” or thinning bones, Saito-Loftus says.

If you have lactose intolerance, you don’t have to miss out on the bone-building benefits of calcium and vitamin D. Some lactose-free foods are fortified with these nutrients, such as lactose-free milk and cottage cheese. Some nondairy milks — almond, oat, rice, and soy — are also enriched with calcium and vitamin D.

Look at the label, and try to get at least as much calcium and vitamin D as you would get from regular cow’s milk. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help you fill in any gaps to ensure you “bone up” on these vital nutrients.   

Also, add these foods to your diet for an added boost of calcium (without the lactose):

  • Bok choy and Chinese cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Greens: collard, kale, mustard, or turnip
  • Orange juice that is fortified with calcium
  • Salmon or sardines with bones, canned
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu, calcium set

Vitamin D-rich foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Orange juice that is fortified
  • Swordfish or salmon, cooked
  • Tuna fish or sardines, canned

Lactose-Free Milk and Nondairy Beverages

Does milk upset your stomach? You could be lactose intolerant.  
But even if you are, you can probably still enjoy light coffee and creamy desserts without discomfort. Here’s how.

Lactose-Free and Nondairy Options

Dairy products are high in calcium, protein, and other nutrients. You may still be able to get these nutrients from dairy if you’re lactose intolerant.

  • “On average, most lactose-intolerant people can tolerate about 250 ml of lactose,” says David Goldstein, MD, a gastroenterologist in Emerson, N.J. That’s about 1 cup (8 ounces) of dairy milk. Start by trying 1/2 cup of regular milk or less with a meal.
  • Take lactase tablets or capsules before eating or drinking foods that have dairy products or milk.
  • Drink and cook with lactose-free milk. It has added lactase to break down the lactose. It also has about the same nutrients as regular milk.

For nondairy milk, consider these options. They vary in nutrition, so before you buy, compare the labels next to cow’s milk. Choose one that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Use unsweetened nondairy milk in savory dishes like mashed potatoes. You might like vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors for baking. 

  • Soy milk is the best source of protein of the nondairy options. It’s thicker than cow’s milk and slightly beige in color.
  • Coconut milk is creamy like whole milk. It has little protein, though, and about the same saturated fat as whole milk — about 4 grams in a cup.
  • Almond milk is also like cow’s milk in texture, though slightly beige in color. It tastes faintly like almonds. It may have more calcium than dairy milk, along with vitamins D and E. But an 8-ounce glass of almond milk has only about 1 gram of protein.
  • Rice milk is white, like cow’s milk, and thinner and sweeter than almond milk. It doesn’t work as well as thicker milks in sauces and puddings. It is low in protein, like almond milk. But you can find it fortified with calcium.
  • Hemp milk is thick and sometimes a little grainy. It is made of hemp seeds, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has protein but falls short in calcium.

If you have stomach symptoms while using any non-dairy options, the problem may be guar gum. It’s often added for thickness, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a dietician in San Francisco and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This can affect some people adversely, and they experience gas just like they might with lactose.”

Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Allergy

Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy, which involves your immune system.

Lactose is the sugar in milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, a glass of milk or a bowl of creamy soup can give you intestinal trouble like cramps, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. That’s because your small intestine isn’t making enough of the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down milk sugar so your bloodstream can absorb it well.

A milk allergy can cause stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea, too. But it can also cause hives, swelling, and more severe symptoms, like a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

“If you think you have lactose intolerance, get tested so you have a clear diagnosis,” suggests Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN. She’s an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The dietary advice for each is really different, so getting an accurate diagnosis is important.”

First, your doctor may suggest you avoid all milk products briefly to see if your symptoms improve. If they do, the doctor may do a test to confirm that you are lactose intolerant.

Dairy trouble got you down? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy some of your favorite foods. Try these simple recipe swaps so you can eat the foods you love.

Milk Options

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of cow’s milk, you can replace it with lactose-free cow’s milk or rice or soy milk. Just remember: Rice milk is thinner and soy milk is thicker than cow’s milk. So you may need to tweak the amount you use in cooking and baking.

Closest to milk.  Lactose-free milk is treated with lactase to break down the lactose. It is the closest cousin to regular cow’s milk in taste and offers the same nutrients, such as calcium.

Flavor changers. The most popular alternatives for drinking and cooking are almond, rice, and soy milk. Try them first to make sure you enjoy the taste, and keep in mind that the milk’s flavor may affect the taste of what you’re making. Here are some newer milk options:

  • Cashew
  • Hemp seed
  • Oat
  • Potato

No-Nos. Goat, sheep, and buffalo milk are not suitable, because they all contain lactose.

Cooking Tips. The safest bet, in both sweet and savory recipes, is to choose a light, plain, and unsweetened product.

  • In bread, cake, cookie, or sweet recipes, flavored or sweetened milks may also work.
  • When buttermilk is an ingredient, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of plain milk substitute to make your own. Some store-bought cow’s milk buttermilk, if made with active bacteria cultures, may be low in lactose.
  • When dry milk powder is an ingredient, use an equal amount of coconut, potato, rice, or soy milk powder instead.

Cream Substitutes

There are a few alternatives to heavy cream, light cream, or half-and-half that have similar mouth-feel and thickness to the real thing.

  • Coconut cream makes a good swap for half-and-half when you blend it with half soy milk. Another option: Create your own light cream by mixing 3/4 cup of a plain milk substitute with 1/4 cup of canola oil.
  • Coconut milk can replace evaporated milk or heavy cream in soups and stews. You can also make your own heavy cream with 1/2 cup plain milk substitute and 1/2 cup canola oil.
  • Dairy and lactose free half-and-half substitutes work well in many recipes.

You may be able to use nut butters made from almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, or macadamias instead of dairy cream in some recipes. Make a nut cream by whisking 1 cup of water into 1/4 cup of nut butter.

Butter Substitutes

Fruit purees. In baked goods (other than cookies), you can substitute fruit purees like applesauce, prune, or banana for part or all of the butter. Usually ¾ cup of fruit puree replaces 1 cup of butter. Many chefs use this approach to lower fat and calories, and make muffins, brownies, and cakes healthier.

Dairy-free margarines or oils. You can also use dairy-free or soy margarine, coconut oil, shortening, and olive or canola oil for part or all of the butter.

Yogurt Substitutes

You may be able to tolerate some cow’s milk yogurts, because they have very little lactose. Choose ones with live, active bacterial cultures for the least amount of lactose.

If you can’t tolerate regular yogurt, try soy or coconut milk yogurts, soy sour cream, or unsweetened fruit puree.

Sour Cream Substitutes

Let soy based or lactose-free sour creams serve as subs in your favorite recipes. Pureed silken tofu and plain soy yogurt can also work well.

Cheese Substitutes

Aged cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss have very little lactose, only about 0.1 gram per ounce. American cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese are also low in lactose.

You can use hemp, rice, reduced lactose, lactose-free, or soy cheese in recipes to replace cheese.

Ice Cream Substitutes

There is a wide variety of diary-free ice creams and frozen yogurts made from soy, rice, hemp, coconut, and lactose-free milks.

Sorbet, made from fruit, sugar, and water, is another option.

Sherbet is made with milk but only contains a small amount of lactose, about 4-6 grams per cup.

Chocolate Substitutes

Most dark chocolate is lactose-free and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sweetness levels. Check the label to be sure it doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients.

Carob chips and rice milk chocolate are two options for chocolate made with cow’s milk.

Lactose-Free Recipes for Your Favorite Dishes

The thought of eating high-lactose foods like quiche, fettuccine Alfredo, or pudding can give you feelings of both yearning and dread if you have severe lactose intolerance. The good news? You can still enjoy these tasty dishes.

The trick is to swap in calcium-fortified lactose-free milk or nondairy milk for regular cow’s milk, or use lactose-free options instead of cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt in recipes. Nondairy drinks, such as almond, rice, or soy milk, are also tasty options. Use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter if the lactose in butter gives you problems.

If you can eat some types of regular cheese or yogurt, feel free to add as much as you can tolerate to the recipes below. You can also take a lactase enzyme pill before you eat, to make any dairy you do include easier to digest.

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Wheat Crust

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons ice water (a teaspoon or two more, if needed)

Filling

1 1/4 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond or soy milk)

2 large eggs (higher omega-3, if available)

1/2 cup egg substitute (substitute 2 large eggs, if desired)

1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, finely chopped

6 slices crisp, cooked turkey bacon, crumbled (optional)

1 cup shredded soy cheese of your choice (mozzarella or Jack flavors work well)

3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and then gently squeezed of excess water

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (add more, if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, and olive oil, and beat on low until crumbly. Drizzle ice water over the top, and beat on low just until dough forms.
  2. Squeeze dough into a ball and place in a deep pie plate coated with canola cooking spray. Use hands to spread dough evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate.
  3. In same mixing bowl used for the crust, combine lactose-free milk (or almond milk), eggs, and egg substitute; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, combine chopped onion, turkey bacon (if desired), soy cheese, and chopped spinach, and then pour into the prepared crust. Sprinkle nutmeg and black pepper over the top. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the spinach mixture and bake until center of quiche is set (about 55 minutes).

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 256 calories, 16 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 228 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.4 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2 g

Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more, if desired)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)

5 ounces shredded or cubed soy cheddar cheese

Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil, add macaroni noodles, and boil until tender (8-10 minutes). Once pasta is tender, drain well in colander while finishing steps 2 and 3.
  2. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Add garlic and black pepper and continue to sauté for an additional minute; set aside.
  3. In 2-cup measure, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk) to make a smooth paste. Blend in the remaining lactose-free milk. Pour into a medium, nonstick saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat to simmer and stir in the shredded or cubed cheese. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Add black pepper to taste.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with the drained noodles and spoon sautéed mushroom mixture over the top before serving.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Per serving (if 4 servings): 305 calories, 18 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 540 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.3 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2.6 g

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You can make this a day ahead. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator, and then warm it in a slow cooker or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Ingredients:

1 large head garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 cup plain lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk)

28 to 32 ounces of potatoes, peeled and quartered

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic heads, throw the tops away, and place the heads on a piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the garlic heads and wrap them well in the foil. Bake until tender and golden (about 35 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin away from the garlic cloves.
  2. While garlic is baking, place quartered potatoes in a large microwave-safe container with 1/4 cup of water and cook on HIGH until potatoes are tender. If you prefer to use the stove, place potatoes in a stockpot, cover with cold salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potato pieces in a colander.
  3. Add hot, steaming, and drained potato pieces directly to a large mixing bowl, along with the garlic cloves and any olive oil drippings, and lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk). Beat on low just until blended.
  4. Season with pepper and salt, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.8 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g fiber, 29 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 9%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 0.3 g

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

If you grew up with tapioca pudding, this may be one of your comfort foods. Here’s a quick and light low-lactose recipe.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups lactose-free milk with a splash of vanilla extract (or vanilla soy, almond, or rice milk)

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 large egg (higher omega-3, if available)

1/3 cup shredded or flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, tapioca, lactose-free milk (or soy, almond, or rice milk), and egg with whisk in a medium, nonstick saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (it will take about 8 minutes). It will thicken as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract. Cool 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir the mixture and spoon into serving or dessert cups. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 5 servings

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber, 78 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 28%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 1.3 g

Information sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/lactose-intolerance-14/default.htm

Reflexology … what’s it all about?

August 5, 2014

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Reflexology is massage of the feet or hands that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body. Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body. For example, on the left foot, the tip of the big toe corresponds to the brain’s left hemisphere.

Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practised foot therapy as a form of healing. In the early 20th century, the Americans Dr William Fitzgerald and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham rediscovered and refined the techniques.

Reflex points

According to the philosophy of reflexology, all the organs, glands and parts of the body have representing reflexes on the feet. Any health problem in the body can usually be detected in the corresponding area of the foot. The left foot generally relates to any organs, glands etc on the left side of the body while the right foot relates to any organs, glands etc on the right side

Practitioners believe that by massaging or stimulating the reflexes using specific techniques there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ.

A reflexologist may interpret foot marks or problems such as corns and calluses as an indication of a possible health imbalance in the corresponding area of the body.

A range of disorders

Supporters of reflexology believe that it can effectively treat a wide range of disorders including:

  • Stress
  • Circulation problems
  • Impaired immunity
  • Digestive disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Reproductive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Common childhood complaints such as colic, teething pain and bed-wetting
  • Emotional problems.

The procedure

A typical session lasts approximately one hour. The practitioner first asks detailed questions about lifestyle and prior and current medical problems. The patient sits or reclines on a couch with their feet bare, while the practitioner examines the feet before working on all the areas of the feet.

Generally speaking, the greater the degree of tenderness felt by the patient, the more likelihood there will be a possible imbalance in the corresponding area of the body. The practitioner relaxes the feet with gentle massage, and then works on the reflex points using specific techniques. Practitioners are well used to handling feet and apply sufficient pressure so that ticklishness should not be a problem! Reflexology is not meant to hurt, but should be felt. Strong pressure does not necessarily have a greater effect on the reflexes.

Medical evidence is still limited

Foot massage, including reflexology, encourages relaxation and improves circulation in the feet. However, clinical trials on the efficacy of reflexology as treatment for other health problems have produced mixed results. For example:

  • Premenstrual symptoms – in one study to assess reflexology as treatment for premenstrual symptoms, participants who received weekly therapy reported, on average, a reduction of symptoms by 62 per cent.
  • In another study, the benefits of reflexology were no different to the benefits of regular foot massage performed by people with no training in reflexology.

For further information regarding clinical trials and the efficiency of reflexology go to www.reflexology–research.com

General cautions

Treatment for foot problems such as corns, calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails are not in the scope of practise of a Reflexologist and should be treated by a podiatrist. In particular, people with diabetes are prone to serious foot problems and should be guided by their doctor about appropriate treatment. Reflexology can be an excellent therapy for people with diabetes, however if in doubt about your medical condition it is always recommended that you consult with your doctor before seeing a reflexologist.

Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat specific conditions. If an imbalance was detected in a particular reflex during a treatment, the practitioner is likely to refer you to a doctor to get checked. Do not stop any medical treatments on the advice of your reflexologist.

Choosing a reflexologist

To find a reputable and qualified reflexologist in your area, contact the Reflexology Association of Australia. All professional practitioners have undergone extensive training, hold a current Level 2 first aid certificate, have professional indemnity insurance and can provide you with a professional receipt that you can use to claim back part of the treatment from participating private health insurance companies.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Reflexologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Reflexology Association of Australia Tel. 0500 502 250
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) Tel. (03) 9866 5906

Things to remember

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.

Article sourced from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Reflexology

Abnormal Hearts Aided by Exercise

April 14, 2013

A new study by The Heart Research Institute shows that patients born with a rare heart malformation can definitely boost their heart function by lifting weights. This challenges traditional thinking about the role of exercise in heart disease and has earned an international award for Dr. Rachael Cordina from the Clinical Research Group.

 

‘Fontan’ patients are born with a complex heart disease whereby the heart has only one main pumping chamber (called a ventricle), instead of the usual two. This causes a ‘traffic jam’ in the heart, as the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs mixes with the oxygen-poor blood returning from the body. “They’re very sick babies, because of the low oxygen levels,” says Rachael, who ran the study.

 

A partial fix for these children is the Fontan procedure, which is surgery to re-route the blood flow in the heart. This dramatically increases both life expectancy and quality of life. But Fontan patients only have half a working heart. Compared to ordinary people, they can still only manage limited exercise.

 

Rachael studied adults who had the Fontan surgery in childhood to see if she could improve their exercise capacity with strength training. “We took these people and we resistance trained them really intensively to build up muscle bulk…  to help use the muscles in their legs as a pump to push blood up into the heart, instead of the heart doing all the work.” And it worked! After 20 weeks of strength training, the Fontan patients showed a 10% improvement in their exercise tolerance and greater than 10% improvement in their heart function.

 

Rachael’s research is challenging traditional thinking among doctors:  “It’s a big thing for cardiologists… to start thinking that resistance training is okay.” In recognition of Rachael’s contributions to the field, she was recently honoured at the world’s largest cardiology conference, receiving an American Heart Association (AHA) Early Career Investigator Award.

Most importantly, this research will translate to a better quality of life and exercise capacity for Fontan patients.

 

Please note: Older adults and people with medical conditions should consult their doctor before undertaking any kind of intensive exercise program.

Information sourced from http://www.hri.org.au/home