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  • Protect Your ACL to Stay in the Game

    Wednesday, August 05, 2020
    Protect Your ACL to Stay in the Game

    Every athlete needs to get to know their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)—one of the four ligaments connecting your knee joint to the shinbone and thighbone. If your ACL is in working order, it can be your best friend, providing 90% of your knee’s stability; but, if it’s injured, it can be your worst enemy, sidelining you for the unforeseeable future. According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, Americans sustain between 200,000 and 250,000 ACL injuries a year, and that number has been on the rise for the past twenty years. The increase may be due to the rise in sedentary lifestyles, which can lead to weak muscles and an increased risk of injury, reports an article in the Washington Post. The article also mentions that even if you lead an active lifestyle but stick to one sport, you may still be at risk for injuring your ACL—focusing on one sport can lead certain muscles to be overdeveloped, while unused muscles remain underdeveloped.

    The good news is that most ACL injuries are avoidable. Reportedly, 70 to 80% of ACL injuries are caused by improper movement, not by collisions with other players. To prevent this, exercises that increase your awareness of proper balance and technique are crucial. Jumping exercises that use both legs and help strengthen your knees are a good place to start. However, since many sports, like soccer, require lots of time spent on one leg while you run and kick, it’s also important to do single-leg jumping exercises. Another exercise, “cutting and sprinting,” is important because it trains the body to decelerate, stop, and change direction—all movements you’ll experience on the field or court. Beyond the knees, strengthening exercises like squats, hamstring and glute exercises, and upper-body work can give you the support you need while performing complex moves.

    Source: Washington Post

  • Another Reason to Love That Morning Cup of Joe

    Monday, August 03, 2020
    New Science
    Another Reason to Love That Morning Cup of Joe

    Drinking coffee isn't just about enjoyment anymore—it might also be a way to get some important health benefits. The body of evidence on coffee’s positive health effects is growing, and a study found that coffee was also associated with lower levels of coronary artery calcium, which could reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Published in the journal Heart, the study tracked 25,138 men and women without cardiovascular disease. When participants underwent a health screening that included a CT scan to determine coronary artery calcium levels, researchers discovered that:

    • Participants who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day had the least amount of coronary artery calcium buildup.
    • The association between coffee intake and lower coronary artery calcium buildup remained even after adjusting for education, physical activity levels, family history of heart disease, and diet.

    However, there are some important things to note in relation to this study. The study was observational and so can't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It also didn’t distinguish between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee; it's not clear, therefore, whether decaf would have had the same effects. Further, to get potential heart health benefits, a cup of coffee should contain 8 ounces, not 20 ounces (which is the amount some people might drink in a single cup). Despite these caveats, this study is consistent with other research showing that coffee may offer some protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

    Source: Heart

  • Take the Three-Week Posture Challenge to Lessen Back Pain

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020
    Take the Three-Week Posture Challenge to Lessen Back Pain

    You may not have heard the phrase, “Stand up straight!” since you were a kid. But whoever said it was watching your back: bad posture can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. If you’re already feeling the pinch from years of slumping, today may be a good day to begin a posture challenge like the one covered in TIME. The three-week program was created to help retrain your body, change posture-sabotaging habits, and give you the core strength needed to help straighten you out for good.

    Week one: Regain your posture.

    • Stand tall. When standing, evenly distribute your weight between both legs. Keep your feet parallel under your hips with your shoulder blades pulled down and back. Also, keep your pelvis stable and untucked by engaging your glutes and core.
    • Give yourself sit-support. Line your ears up with your shoulders and your shoulders with your hips; your lumbar spine (lower back) should be slightly curved. Uncross your legs, keep your feet flat on the floor, and press your lower back into your chair. If your lower back doesn’t touch the chair, add a lumbar pillow or rolled-up towel.
    • Take a spine-friendly snooze. Sleep on your back or side to help neutralize your spine.

    Week two: Send bad habits packing.

    • Share the load. When carrying a heavy bag, switch it to the opposite shoulder every ten minutes to give each side a break.
    • Stop the text neck. Glued to your phone? Hold it closer to eye level to keep your neck straighter and reduce the urge to slouch.
    • Ditch the stilettos. But if you can’t part with your favorite heels, get off your feet every two hours to reduce stress on your lower back.

    Week three: Increase strength and alignment.

    • Strengthen your shoulders. This is a great exercise to do while sitting in the office: pull your shoulders down, then back and hold for two to three seconds. Repeat four to five times every 30 minutes.
    • Take time to breathe. Lie facedown and put a firm pillow under your abdomen. Take long, deep breaths for a couple of minutes.
    • Schedule squats. Stand tall (use your skills from week one!) with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Keeping your spine straight, lower into a squat, and raise your arms over your head with your palms turned backward to engage your upper back. Do as many squats as you can, aiming to hold each one for 30 to 60 seconds

    Source: TIME

  • Walking May Lengthen Your Life

    Monday, July 27, 2020
    New Science
    Walking May Lengthen Your Life

    Getting enough exercise can seem like a chore for those who prefer reading a book to running a lap. But findings from a large study suggest that, even if you can’t get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, going for walks for any length of time may still do you good. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and included data from 184,185 people participating in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II Nutrition Cohort. These participants, who were 50 to 74 years old at the beginning of the Nutrition Cohort portion of the study, completed a survey every two years that included questions about how often they exercised and which types of exercise they performed. During thirteen years of monitoring, the researchers noted the deaths of 24,688 men and 18,933 women and were able to use the information collected from surveys to draw the following connections:

    • Compared with walking less than the recommended amount, inactivity was associated with a 26% higher risk of death from any cause.
    • Compared with walking less than the recommended amount, walking one to two times the recommended amount was associated with a 20% lower risk of death from any cause.
    • The effect of walking on risk of death was similar to that of other forms of physical activity.
    • Walking was most strongly associated with reduced risk of death from respiratory disease, followed by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    These findings are a valuable reminder that any amount of physical activity is good for us—and the more, the better.

    Source: American Journal of Preventative Medicine

  • Eating Fat to Lose Weight—Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

    Wednesday, July 22, 2020
    Eating Fat to Lose Weight—Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

    For years, low-fat diets were all the rage; but now, fat is making a comeback. One of the more popular high-fat diets is the ketogenic diet. On the ketogenic diet, at least 70% of daily calories come from fat, 5% to 10% come from carbs, and up to 25% come from protein. These calorie percentages are achieved by eating eggs cooked in butter; meat; chicken; fish; and green vegetables with oily dressing—while avoiding pretty much everything else. The idea is that when your body can’t make the energy it needs from carbs, it burns stored fat instead, which may result in weight loss. While some research does support the ketogenic diet’s weight-loss claims over the short-term, other research has found that, over the long-term, it’s no better than other weight-loss diets. So, should you give it a try? That depends on your dieting preferences and your healthcare practitioner’s recommendations. Here are some pros and cons reported on by the Washington Post to help you decide:


    • No calorie-counting. The ketogenic diet limits types of foods, not calories or portion sizes.
    • No hunger pangs. One study found that the ketogenic diet lowers gherlin, a hormone that makes you hungry—so you may feel full longer.
    • May be heart healthy. Some research has found that low-carb diets may lower triglyceride and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, any successful weight-loss intervention will generally result in these improvements.


    • Can be a downer. The ketogenic menu is limited, so it can get repetitive. It can also make socializing hard: having a drink or splitting a dessert is off limits.
    • Could cause deficiencies. This diet cuts out lots of foods, so it may be difficult to get adequate amounts of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamins D and C, as well as plant polyphenols and other phytonutrients. Low fiber intake can also be a problem and may cause digestive issues like constipation. In addition, some studies have linked long-term adherence to the ketogenic diet with disordered calcium metabolism, bone loss, and kidney stones.
    • Not safe for all. People with preexisting health conditions should speak with their doctor before trying this diet. It may be unsafe for those with kidney issues, or for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

    Source: Washington Post

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Copyright © 2020 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 2020.