...try a new exercise

From The Cooper Institute and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney


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crunch with trainer
Written by August 28, 2014

Sue Beckham, PhD

Director of Adult Initiatives
The Cooper Institute

Lots of core exercises we do challenge the global core muscles like the abdominals and back muscles. These muscles tend to be larger, more superficial muscles like the rectus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae, and hip muscles. Other muscles, called local core muscles are typically smaller and deeper than the global muscles. These muscles don’t produce much movement but primarily contract statically to stabilize the spine during lower and upper body movements. The local core muscles include the transversus abdominis, piriformis, pelvic floor, and multifidi, as well as other muscles in the hip and core. The local core muscles which stabilize

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Written by August 21, 2014

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes? It is widely accepted that eating too much of any food (sugar included) causes you to gain weight which in turn can lead to obesity which, yes, is a predisposition to diabetes. I’m reminded of a recent study that provides evidence that there may be a direct and independent link between sugar and diabetes. Researchers looked at food availability in 175 countries and after controlling for a large number of factors—other food types including fiber, meats, fruits, oils, cereals; total calories; overweight and obesity; aging; urbanization; income; physical activity; tobacco use; alcohol use—an

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Written by August 14, 2014

Jennifer Broze, B.S. candidate


Does it really matter whether you do strength training before or after your cardiovascular training? It is important to consider the primary goal of your workout when deciding which to do first. One study looked at the effects on fat loss and cholesterol levels. Maryam and his colleagues2 studied 30 overweight females with a BMI over 25 kg/m2.  Subjects were divided into three groups – 1) strength training followed by endurance (SE) training, 2) endurance followed by strength (ES) training, and 3) control (C) group that did not do any training. Each group worked out three days per week for

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Written by August 7, 2014

Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RD

Lead Integrator
Health Integration, LLC

Can you believe it’s already August? Time to trade the flip flops and swimwear for back packs and lunch boxes! Great summer memories have been made and now it’s time to go back to school. I’m reminded of an earlier post about calorie density that can help parents prepare healthy (and yummy) lunches for their favorite students! Energy balance is all about managing the calories we take in (food and beverages) and the calories we burn off with daily energy needs and physical activity. Increasing physical activity to 60 minutes or more each day is key to increasing the ‘calories

bike race
Written by July 31, 2014

Sue Beckham, PhD

Director of Adult Initiatives
The Cooper Institute

Lactic acid gets blamed for everything from muscle soreness to muscle fatigue. Research does not suggest lactic acid plays a primary role in muscle fatigue but serves as an energy source for skeletal and cardiac muscle after its conversion to lactate. In fact, lactate can also be converted to glucose by the liver. Lactic acid production just might be your friend rather than your enemy. It is well­-known that the breakdown of glucose to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate) needed for energy during high intensity exercise produces lactic acid. Strong acids generate positively charged hydrogen ions. Lactic acid is a relatively

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Written by July 24, 2014

Steve Farrell, PhD

Science Officer
The Cooper Institute

It is well-known that obesity and sedentary lifestyle are each strongly associated with all-cause mortality. Among Cooper Clinic patients, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is measured via a maximal treadmill stress test, while adiposity status is measured via Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, and percent body fat using the 7-site skinfold caliper method. It is not uncommon for an individual to be classified as obese using one measure of adiposity and non-obese using another measure. For example, one might be classified as non-obese when using BMI, but be classified as obese when using waist circumference. We designed a study to examine

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Written by July 17, 2014

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

It’s official – summer is here! I was tipped off by the 100° temperatures, an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies in the markets, and the MLB All-Star game… Although here in Texas so far our 100° temperature days have been lower than normal, it’s always important for all of us to be reminded on how to safely remain active (and healthy) outdoors with the increasing heat indices and temperatures. After all, you never know when those temperatures will spike. The best solution to beat the heat, while continuing to get the recommended amounts of physical activity, is being educated

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Written by July 10, 2014

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

For years, many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding it to their young children. Their concern—mercury—which in high enough levels has the potential to damage their developing nervous systems. And in fact, in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued recommendations stating maximum amounts of fish that pregnant women and young children should be limited to, but at the time, did not promote a minimum amount that should be consumed. Research over the past 10 years, has overwhelmingly highlighted the importance of “appropriate” amounts of fish in the

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Written by July 3, 2014

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Happy Independence Day, America! Freedom, family, picnics, parades, barbecues, and fireworks pop into mind. And let’s not forget the over-indulgent hot dog eating contests! An earlier post pops to mind that encourages you to “think before you eat!” How frequently do you eat? Do you eat because you are physically hungry or do you eat as a result of other internal or external factors - like because you’re bored or because you’re at a party? Researchers from the University of North Carolina set out to answer these questions by analyzing data from several national surveys of food intake in the U.S. They

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Written by June 26, 2014

Carey Shore, MSc


The average U.S. adult consumes 14.6% of total daily calories from added sugars, such as those found in non-diet soft drinks and many other foods and beverages. High intake of added sugars is associated with higher calorie intake and lower diet quality, which can increase the risk for obesity, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease1. Because of Americans preference for sweeter foods, the use of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) has exploded over the past few decades. Since 1958, the Food and Drug Administration has been responsible for evaluating the safety and acceptable daily intake levels of NNS for the population.

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