Focused On Fitness - March 22, 2007

    Believe it or not, I love doing this newsletter each week, because it is always a challenge to sound intelligent and be creative. It is sort of a no-brainer, though, when it falls on Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day. What else would the theme be? And so it is that today's newsletter focuses on Spring, which in northern temperate zones falls in March and is the transition from winter to summer. It is the time of year that brings to mind such things as spring chicken - which I am not, spring break - which when I was in college meant a week off from classes but we still had track practice (I hear it is much different today) and spring cleaning - as in cleaning the house. But as you will see in one of today's articles, 10 Reasons To Fast, it can also mean cleansing our bodies. As Hermann Hesse said, "If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do."
    In the category of this doesn't have anything to do with fitness, but I just wanted to share it with you, if you haven't seen the Dash Movie, please do. It is about 3 minutes long and has 239 words and since I saw it about two weeks ago, I think about those words constantly. And finally, would you believe that 44 years ago today, the Beatles released their first album - Please Please Me. Wow do I know that I am not a spring chicken!

Featured Articles 
   10 Reasons to Fast - A look at fasting, its history, benefits, and whether or not you might want to make it part of your lifestyle.
   6 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Kitchen - Spring is a good chance to make some new resolutions and to create an environment that will make us want to keep them.
   Test Your Fasting IQ! - Test your knowledge of fasting in history and in different parts of the world.

Health News Headlines 
    Plant foods may cut breast cancer risk - Postmenopausal women who eat healthy amounts of plant foods rich in estrogen-like compounds called lignans may reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.
    Omega-3 fatty acids linked to denser bones in men - Omega-3 fatty acids may help build young men's bone strength, research hints. In the study, men who had the highest levels of omega-3s in their blood as 22-year-olds showed the greatest bone mineral density, and also built the most bone between their late teens and their early 20s, Dr. Magnus Hogstrom and colleagues from Umea University in Umea, Sweden found.
    Short walk may curb the urge to light up - Just 5 to 10 minutes of exercise can significantly cut cravings for cigarettes among people trying to kick the habit, UK researchers report.
    High-fat diet may increase breast cancer risk - A large study of middle-age women with a wide range of fat in their diet shows that eating a high-fat diet raises the risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
    Drug firm money not always disclosed by MDs - Laws that mandate the disclosure of payments to physicians by pharmaceutical companies provide limited public information, according to a new report.
    Mother nature still a rich source of new drugs - At least 70 percent of all new drugs introduced in the United States in the past 25 years come from nature despite the use of sophisticated techniques to design products in the lab, researchers reported on Monday.
    Secret to slim kids? Just a little running around - Just 15 minutes a day of kicking around a ball or swimming might be enough to keep children from becoming obese, British and U.S. researchers said on Monday.
    Simple question gets school children to eat fruit - Getting children to eat more fruit may be as simple as getting cafeteria workers to use a simple verbal prompt in the lunch line, a study of school lunch programs suggests.
    BMI doesn't work to gauge excess fat in athletes - Standard body mass index (BMI) measurements are an inaccurate way to judge whether college athletes and non-athletes are carrying too much fat, a new study shows.

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Happy Spring Everyone!
    Richard Dafter