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

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle


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Keep A Sharp Mind By Minding Your Blood Pressure
Written by April 14, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Ninety percent of Americans will have high blood pressure by the time they kick the bucket.  One-half of Americans over the age of 60 currently have high blood pressure.  The fact that high blood pressure increases risk for stroke and heart disease makes it something everyone should pay attention to.  The urgency is compounded by the more recent findings that high blood pressure is associated with increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Changes in diet, increased physical activity, weight loss, and of course, medications have been shown to reduce blood pressure.  But the prevalence of high blood pressure and

Shoes or No Shoes?
Written by April 12, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

With the arrival of spring you may have seen some people out running without any shoes on or wearing something that looks like a glove on their feet. Well the latest buzz around the fitness industry is—yes, you guessed it—barefoot running. While barefoot running is in the spotlight now, it actually has been around for quite some time. The running shoe wasn’t invented until the 1970’s so this is a relatively new piece of equipment when you look at how long humans have been running. And even since the running shoe emerged, the trend of barefoot running has come around

Keep 'Em Crunchy!
Written by April 8, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

As a dietitian and parent of a picky eater I am often distraught over the vegetables that go untouched on my child's plate. I've read many good books that describe how to feed your child so he/she will eat (and like!) healthy foods, but vegetables is one food group that I just can't seem to conquer. Despite the variety and great number of times I offer vegetables, my child just won't touch them – not even peas, corn, or potatoes! Recently, however, we've had one success – raw carrots. Recent research from Wageningen University (the Netherlands) has given me some insights into what I might

Does Topical Gel Reduce Muscle Soreness Post-Exercise?
Written by April 5, 2010

Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RD

Lead Integrator
Health Integration, LLC

Most people experience muscle soreness 24 to 48 hours after a new exercise program. Individuals have tried everything from massage, ultrasound and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help reduce muscle soreness. Oral NSAID drugs are the most commonly used anti-inflammatory but may have gastrointestinal side effects. A topical (medication applied directly to the skin) anti-inflammatory version of ibuprofen was recently tested to determine if it decreases muscle soreness. It is thought that the topical application would eliminate the gastrointestinal side effects associated with oral ibuprofen. The study “Effects of Ibuprofen Topical Gel on Muscle Soreness”

Easter Bunny By The Calorie Numbers
Written by April 2, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Ears – 49 calories Head – 82 calories Tail – 11 calories Legs – 279 calories Body – 537 calories   The total calorie cost of eating a 5.5 inch tall (6 ounces) solid chocolate bunny? 958 calories!!!!   Hope your Easter is a physically active one!   Statistics courtesy of USA Today Snapshots®, April 2, 2010.

Chow Down Like You're in a Competitive Eating Contest? Maybe the Mandometer Can Help!
Written by April 1, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

The Mandometer: the next weight loss gadget to come and go or a tool that can really help? Researchers in the United Kingdom argue that when used in combination with standard lifestyle modification (physical activity and balanced food choices) this feedback device that retrains eating behaviors can be a useful tool to treat obesity (in their tested population – adolescents). What is the Mandometer? The Mandometer is an electronic scale (developed at the Mandometer Clinic, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) that one places underneath his/her plate. The scale weighs the food and as he/she eats it monitors his/her rate of consumption.

Smith Machine versus Free Weight Bench: A battle of goals
Written by March 29, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Weight rooms continue to add new machines and tools to allow exercisers to work out in a variety of ways. Most weight rooms have many different machines and exercises that can work the upper body. The bench press, works the pectoralis major, triceps barchii and anterior deltoid, with stabilization by the medial deltoid.  A variety of equipment and a large number of options such as a free weight bench press, seated chest press, or Smith Machine bench press can be used to perform a bench press exercise. But how do these machines and exercises fare in regards to last week’s

The Last (Super Sized?) Supper
Written by March 25, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

You probably saw the media coverage earlier this week about the study that has determined that super-sizing may have been going on a lot longer than we thought.  For a millennium to be exact.  Drs. Brian and Craig Wansink (they are brothers) studied over 50 paintings of the Last Supper that were painted between the years of 1000-2000 AD1.  They picked the Last Supper because they said, “it is the most famously depicted dinner of all time.”  Using the size of Jesus Christ’s and the Apostles’ heads a size reference, the researchers used computer aided design  software to measure the

Training on Unstable Surfaces: Superior to Traditional Strength Training?
Written by March 22, 2010

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Training on unstable surfaces such as stability balls and balance boards continues to gain popularity. Exercises on unstable surfaces are often promoted to improve balance and challenge core stability more than traditional resistance training using free weights and machines. However, scientific proof that training on unstable surfaces is superior to traditional resistance training performed on stable surfaces, such as a bench, is lacking. Given that most activities of daily living are performed on stable rather than unstable surfaces, it is important to determine whether exercising on unstable surfaces transfers to improvements in activities performed on stable surfaces. One group of

Is Taxing Soda a Good Idea?
Written by March 18, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Last week we introduced you to the concept that changing the prices of foods via taxes or subsidies appears to change food purchasing habits and presumably, what people eat. We also touched on the fact that soda is being singled out for tax hikes in places like New York and Philadelphia.  The thinking is, “Tax it and people will drink less.  Less soda means fewer calories taken in.  Fewer calories means reduced body weight.  Reduced body weight means less obesity.  Less obesity means fewer health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.  Fewer diseases means savings in healthcare costs.” Or

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