Focused On Fitness - March 15, 2007

    Happy St. Patrick's Day! Tina Fey was quoted as saying, "In a study, scientists report that drinking beer can be good for the liver. I'm sorry, did I say 'scientists'? I meant Irish people." Although I don't drink, maybe I need something that is good for my health. You might have noticed that I didn't get the newsletter out last week - and not because I was drinking beer. If you would like to see my excuse as to why my impeccable lifestyle failed me, see below, otherwise, let's just get to a great issue with four articles and two quizzes this time, including "7 Tips to Slim Down the Irish Way" and "4 Cures for the Beer Belly Blues!"

Featured Articles 
   7 Tips to Slim Down the Irish Way - Ireland's obesity rate clocks in at 13 percent, less than half the rate of the reigning obesity champs, the U.S. of A. So maybe there's something to the Irish diet and lifestyle that we could learn from.
   4 Cures for the Beer Belly Blues - When you hear the words "St. Patrick's Day," you probably think of one thing: beer. Unfortunately, too much beer can lead to a beer gut.
   Test Your St. Patrick's Day IQ! - How much do you really know about St. Patrick's Day
   Just Eat This: 5 Rules for a Healthy Diet - How you can alter your diet to suit your personality and lifestyle
   3-Course Meal Under 750 Calories! - Three popular recipes, each with a Middle Eastern flair that served together make a great theme meal, with a grand total of less than 750 calories.
   Test Your Calorie-Counting IQ! - How much do you really know about counting calories

Health News Headlines 
    Binge drinking and drug abuse a problem on campuses - About half of U.S. college students binge drink or abuse drugs, and the number who abuse prescription medication such as painkillers is up sharply, a report released on Thursday found.
    One in 10 Europeans is a binge drinker - One in 10 people in the European Union is a binge drinker and the problem is concentrated among young people and largely unknown in southern Europe, a survey showed on Wednesday.
    Screening spots heart trouble in student-athletes - The number of cases of young athletes suddenly dying while playing their sport could be reduced with a 12-point screening process, the American Heart Association wants parents, coaches, and school administrators to know.
    Exercise cuts young adults' hypertension risk - Physically active young adults are less likely than their more sedentary peers to develop high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, a new study confirms.
    Study shows why exercise boosts brainpower - Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.
    Diets an unhealthy fix for teen weight concerns - Teens who go on diets to drop some pounds are more likely to skip breakfast and binge eat -- which may at least partly explain why they put on more weight over time than their peers who don't diet, a new study shows.
    Omega-3 may be good for your mood - Having salmon for dinner is not just good for your heart, it may also improve your disposition, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. It found that omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in fatty fish like salmon, seem to affect areas of the brain associated with emotion.
    Heart-healthy folks apt to have long-lived parents - Children whose parents enjoyed a long life, living well into their 80s, seem to have healthier hearts in middle age compared with children whose parents did not live this long. Moreover, the heart advantage persists over time, which should help them follow in their parents' footsteps.
    Soft drinks associated with diabetes, report finds - A review of published studies shows a clear and consistent relationship between drinking sugary (non-diet) soft drinks and poor nutrition, increased risk for obesity -- and increased risk for diabetes.

Excuses, Excuses 
    Assuming that this quote is true, "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character," I should soon be able to run a very good marathon and will have the most important quality that voters are looking for in a Presidential candidate. According to one source, the phrase, "sick as a dog" was seen as early as 1705 "and it is probably no more than an attempt to give force to a strongly worded statement of physical unhappiness. It was attached to a dog...because dogs often seem to have been linked to things considered unpleasant or undesirable; down the years they have had an incredibly bad press, linguistically speaking (think of dog tired, dog in the manger, dog’s breakfast, go to the dogs, etc." Well, I happen to love dogs and I wouldn't wish how I have felt on even the worst dog!
    Last Wednesday I saw, thanks to high resolution blood morphology, how months of interrupted sleep can weaken your immune system. My poor white blood cells, because they haven't been nourished and rejuvenated by deep sleep, were being attacked instead of being the great defenders of our health like they should be. The diagnosis was bronchitis and I can attest to the fact that even after two weeks, it is a real struggle just to run three quarters of a mile over to the track with the kids I coach and even more annoying knowing that I can't train with them.
    The bottom line then, is that even the fittest, best nourished person can succumb to illness if he or she is not mindful of the importance to our bodies of sleep. I thought that working sleep deprived was bad enough but little did I know how bad it could really get. Even today, I am struggling to get this newsletter out to you.

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Hoping you have a great week!
    Richard Dafter