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Health News

  • Vitamin D May Get the Gold for Performance

    Wednesday, June 16, 2021
    New Science
    Vitamin D May Get the Gold for Performance
    ×

    Research has found athletes with adequate vitamin D levels perform better than those with inadequate levels. The research was published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and included 103 college athletes from three separate National Collegiate Athletic Association programs in the southern United States. Researchers collected data on the athletes’ body composition, serum (blood) vitamin D levels, vitamin D and calcium intake, and sun exposure. To measure the athletes' performance, researchers had them do a vertical jump test, shuttle run test, triple hop for distance test, and one repetition maximum squat test. They found that:

    • Despite living in southern latitudes, approximately 23% of the athletes had insufficient vitamin D levels (50 to 75 nmol/L), and 9% had deficient levels (less than 50 nmol/L). The remaining 68% of the athletes had adequate vitamin D levels (more than 75 nmol/L).
    • The athletes with insufficient and deficient vitamin D levels had lower performance scores on all four physical tests.
    • Most of the vitamin D-deficient athletes were non-Caucasian. Because skin pigments block the sun’s rays that stimulate vitamin D production, non-Caucasians in general have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

    This isn’t the first study to associate vitamin D levels with athletic performance. Multiple studies have found active people with inadequate vitamin D levels may have a higher risk of fractures. So, whether you’re an Olympian, a marathon runner, or a weekend warrior, it’s a good idea to keep up your vitamin D levels. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and fortified foods like milk and yogurt. A vitamin D supplement may also be a good choice, depending on your needs.

    Source: International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

  • Eight Ways to Keep Fitness Goals While Traveling

    Monday, June 14, 2021
    Advice
    Eight Ways to Keep Fitness Goals While Traveling
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    It’s an age-old problem: you’ve got a great workout routine going, and then business trips or summer vacations get you off track. But, according to LA-based personal trainer Nick Hounslow, it doesn’t have to be this way—here are his tips, published in the LA Times, to help you keep active while you’re on the road:

    • Pack training gear. A jump rope and elastic resistance bands are lightweight enough to travel with and give you lots of cardio and strength training options like lunges, squats, and bicep curls.
    • Eat before you’re in the air. Food options on planes are limited, so eat a balanced meal before you board.
    • Find everyday exercise opportunities. Use the floor in your hotel room to do fat-burning exercises like planks, push-ups, dips, and crunches. Also, whenever possible, skip the taxi and walk to meetings or sightseeing destinations.
    • Cook for yourself. Consider renting an apartment instead of a hotel room so you have a kitchen. If this isn’t an option, think creatively—a hotel coffee maker can boil water for oatmeal or a hard-boiled egg.
    • Become an early bird. It’s often easier to exercise first thing in the morning rather than later in the day when you’re tired. So, get up a half-hour early and use this time to work out.
    • Avoid the mini-bar. Alcohol disrupts sleep cycles and metabolism, and can bump up caloric intake, so ask the hotel to empty the mini-bar in advance to avoid temptation. Stock it with healthy snacks and drinks.
    • Ask the front desk for help. Some hotels will loan guests equipment, like yoga mats and weights, as well as workout clothes and shoes, so you don’t need to pack your own.
    • Stay accountable. If you’re traveling with someone, make fitness goals together so you can motivate each other.

    Source: LA Times

  • The Shadow Rule and Other Safe-Sun Tips

    Wednesday, June 09, 2021
    Advice
    The Shadow Rule and Other Safe-Sun Tips
    ×

    We all love to be outside in the sparkling sunshine—in the backyard, on a hike, or attending outdoor festivals and events. Sunshine can help us feel well, but it can also cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancers. So, before you head out for fun in the sun, become “sun savvy” by learning about sun protection and practicing good sun-care habits:

    • Time it right. Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when rays are most intense.
    • Know the shadow rule. If your shadow is shorter than you are tall, your risk of sunburn is high and it’s important to protect yourself. But, if your shadow is longer than you are tall, the sun angle is probably too low to cause a burn.
    • Only use broad spectrum. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 (SPF 15), which blocks 93% of harmful UVB rays (short-wave ultraviolet B rays); reapply every two hours and after swimming to maintain protection. Labeling laws only allow sunscreens that block both forms of UVR (ultraviolet rays)—UVA (long-wave ultraviolet A rays) and UVB—to be labeled broad spectrum.
    • Check sunscreen ingredients. Try broad-spectrum sunscreens with avobenzone, a chemical doctors consider highly effective in absorbing both long- and short-wave ultraviolet radiation.

    Source: Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics

  • Whey-Based, Multi-Ingredient Supplement May Help Seniors Regain Strength

    Monday, June 07, 2021
    New Science
    Whey-Based, Multi-Ingredient Supplement May Help Seniors Regain Strength
    ×

    Strength and muscle mass can dwindle as we age, but research has found that a whey protein-based, multi-ingredient supplement could help boost them. The study was published in PLoS One and included 49 healthy men, ages 72 to 74. For the first six weeks of the study, the men were randomly selected to receive a supplement drink or a placebo drink twice daily. The supplement drink contained a combination of ingredients found to affect age-related muscle mass and function; specifically, each supplement drink provided 30 g of whey protein, 2.5 g of creatine, 500 IU of vitamin D, 400 mg of calcium, and 1,500 mg of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, with 700 mg as EPA and 445 mg as DHA. The placebo drink contained 22 g of maltodextrin, a starch derivative.

    For the next twelve weeks of the study, the men continued drinking their respective beverages while engaging in an exercise program. The exercise program included resistance exercise sessions twice weekly and a high-intensity interval training session once weekly. After assessing the men’s strength and body composition, researchers found that:

    • During the initial six-week phase, men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained strength and lean body mass; men taking the placebo did not.
    • During the twelve-week exercise phase, all the men gained strength, but the men taking the multi-ingredient supplement gained more upper body strength than the men taking the placebo.

    While exercise alone is an effective way to build strength and muscle, this study showed that adding a multi-ingredient, whey-based supplement may bolster gains in strength. Most importantly, the study showed that a supplement with ingredients that have been previously associated with muscular health may increase strength and muscle mass without exercise. If further research confirms these findings, it could mean that supplementation alone may help people with limited mobility or others who are unable to exercise to build or maintain muscle mass and strength.

    Source: PLoS One

  • Smart Hacks to Keep Cool During Summer Workouts

    Wednesday, June 02, 2021
    Advice
    Smart Hacks to Keep Cool During Summer Workouts
    ×

    Summer is almost here, and kudos to people who keep up their workout routines when the heat hits. But if you’re someone who abandons their weekly exercise for a poolside iced tea, research may provide the chill pill you need to stay on track. The study, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, found that taking a cool bath before exercise or spritzing water on your face during exercise could help keep you cool and improve your performance. For the study, researchers recruited nine trained male runners to perform three timed 5K running trials in a heated environment (91°F) on non-motorized treadmills. Two of the trials included cooling methods: The first trial was preceded by a 30 minute cool (73 to 74°F) bath and the second trial misted water on the men’s faces while they ran. The third trial didn’t include any cooling methods. During all three trials, researchers monitored the men’s temperatures, cardiac and respiratory function, muscular activation, and perceptual responses to the cooling methods. They found that:

    • The men had significantly faster performance times in both of the cooling trials compared with the non-cooling trial.
    • Both cooling methods significantly reduced forehead temperatures and heat perception, and increased muscle activation, compared with no cooling.
    • The cool bath reduced rectal temperatures and sweat rates compared with misting and no cooling, suggesting that this was the more effective method for keeping the core body temperature down during exercise in the heat.

    These findings suggest that summer heat doesn’t have to put a halt on your fitness goals. To put these tips into action, take a cool bath or a dip in the pool before going on your run. Or, just bring a spray bottle along the next time you head to the track. In addition to these cooling practices, it’s also important to take a few safety precautions while exercising in high temperatures: Wear light clothing and sunscreen with adequate SPF, and drink plenty of water.

    Source: Journal of Sports Sciences

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Copyright © 2021 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2021.