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August 31st, 2007

Most people frequently weigh themselves to determine body fat, it’s assumed the heavier the person the fatter they are. This is a misconception.

Body weight is an important measure and a useful source of information, but it does not provide us with detailed understanding necessary for better health. A person with excessive fat can weigh the same as someone who is considerably leaner.

So, what can you do to assess how much of your body is fat and how much is lean body mass? The answer is simple - your body composition.

Body composition is a breakdown of your weight, expressed in terms of its actual make up. That is, how much is fat and how much is lean tissue (bones, muscles, water, tissue and organs). It’s this balance and understanding that’s essential information to your health. This is why regular body composition tests are important.

How can you assess your body composition?
There are basically three ways in which you can measure body fat. These are:

Hydrostatic Weighing Tanks
This method is regarded as the most accurate but also the most uncomfortable and perhaps impractical. It uses the Archimedes’ principle of displacement and involves being weighed underwater as well as on land. This method is normally only used by laboratories for research purposes.

Skinfold Measurement
The method is based on the understanding that superficial deposits of fat at various sites (measured by Skinfold calipers) correlate with total body fat. This method requires the assistance of a trained health professional and some people regard it as too invasive.

Bio-electrical Impedance
Bio-electrical impedance devices are low cost, portable, non-invasive and non-intrusive instruments which are used to assess body composition.
They measure the body’s resistance to a harmless current which is passed through the body. Formulae are then used to convert the impedance reading into measures of body composition that can be easily read and understood.

Most Bio-electrical impedance devices provide a quick analysis of your body composition that includes Body Fat % and weight.

At fitness-etc we recommend that you monitor your body composition on a regular basis to keep you motivated and help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Source: Maltron International Ltd

Healthy eaters sold on ready meals

August 31st, 2007

Ready meals are no longer just for couch potatoes.

They are becoming increasingly popular with healthy eaters as manufacturers use less fat.

Britons spent more than £2 billion on ready meals last year - more than anyone else in Europe, market analysts Mintel reported.

Almost a quarter of us eat a ready meal more than once a week - compared with just 9 per cent of Germans.

Click here for full report

What you need to know about Cholesterol

August 30th, 2007

For many years doctors have been assessing the role cholesterol plays in health by referring to the Total Cholesterol level.

A Total Cholesterol (TC) in excess on 5.5mmol/l is itself a risk factor for heart disease. But knowing your Total Cholesterol level is NOT enough.

To fully understand the effect of cholesterol has on your risk profile, you must also know the relationship between the Total Cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol. This is TC: HDL


TC:HDL ratio

Ideal Range

< 3.5

Acceptable Range

3.5 - 5.5

Needing Attention

> 5.5

An individual with a TC of 5.4mmol/l and HDL of 1.80mmol/l will have a TC:HDL ration of 3.0 which requires no attention. However, a person with a TC of 5.4mmol/l and HDL of 0.77mmol/l has a TC:HDL ratio of 7.0 which does require attention.

An HDL cholesterol level less than 1.0 mmo1/l is also considered a risk factor for the heart disease. Your aim is to decrease you ratio by increasing your HDL Cholesterol and decreasing your Total Cholesterol.

What is a good TC: HDL ratio?

Ideal Ratio:
Less than 3.5 - is associated with a less than half the average risk of developing heart disease.

Average Ratio:
3.5 - 5.0 - is associated with an average risk of developing heart disease - a 25% chance by the age of 60.

Marginal Ratio:
Between 4.5 and 9.6 - is associated with twice the average risk of development heart disease by the age of 60 - a 50% chance.

Dangerous Ratio:
Between 7.0 and 15.0 - is associated with tripled average risk for developing heart disease by the age of 60 years.

Anyone who has any cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease (disease in the blood vessels that supply the limbs) or stroke, should have their cholesterol measured by a doctor.

Anyone, even children, with a family history of familial hypercholesterolaemia should have their cholesterol measured.

Anyone aged 35 or over should consider having their cholesterol measured if they have one or more of the following risk factors: family history of early heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking.

A healthy lifestyle - exercising on most days, eating a low fat diet, not smoking and drinking alcohol within the recommended limits - will help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.

source: bupa

Only 10 minutes on a mobile could trigger cancer, scientists believe

August 30th, 2007

Mobile phones can take as little as ten minutes to trigger changes in the brain associated with cancer, scientists claimed yesterday.

They found even low levels of radiation from handsets interfere with the way brain cells divide. Cell division encourages the growth of tumours.

Although the researchers did not come up with evidence that mobile phone signals are harmful, the findings suggest they could be.

Click here for full report.

British athletes keep their cool in Osaka thanks to adidas

August 29th, 2007

With the World Athletics Championships underway in Osaka, the British athletes are keeping their cool thanks to the latest kit from adidas.

The UK Athletics team kit has been specifically designed to help keep British athletes cooler for longer.

Inspired by the Team GB Athens 2004 Olympic sportswear, the new UK Athletics team kit features ClimaCool technology. This is a revolutionary tried and tested heat management system which will help combat the sizzling temperatures in Osaka.

Competing in temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade places huge demands on an athlete’s body, increasing tiredness and decreasing work capacity. With performance at threat, managing core body temperature will be crucial for maximising athlete performance and having the best available kit is vital.

ClimaCool conducts heat quickly away from the skin through a complex ventilation system enabling athletes to remain cooler for longer. It acts like a personal air conditioning system for every athlete. ClimaCool will combat the record breaking temperatures in Osaka, ensuring the UK Athletics team is fully equipped to perform to its maximum potential this summer. Read more »

Smokers to face picture warnings

August 29th, 2007

Images highlighting the dangers of smoking will be printed on all tobacco products sold in the UK by the end of 2009, under regulations being set out.

Manufacturers will have to start complying from October next year.

After a public consultation 15 images, including ones of diseased lungs, have been chosen to accompany text warnings about lung cancer and heart disease.

Anti-smoking campaigners welcomed the move but smokers’ lobby group Forest said they were being “victimised”. Click here for full report.

Statins ‘help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease’

August 28th, 2007

Experts have found further evidence that cholesterol-lowering drugs can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers in the US said they had uncovered the first direct evidence that statins - used by three million people in Britain - could ward off the illness.

A large-scale study by Boston University found the drugs may cut the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 79 per cent, even in people believed to be genetically predisposed to the disease.

The lead author of the study, Dr Gail Li, said hers was the first to compare the brains of people who had received statins with those who had not. The assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and her colleagues examined the brains of 110 people. They were aged 65 to 79 and had donated their brains for research. The two changes in the brain considered the most definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer’s are called brain “plaques” and “tangles”. These are protein deposits that appear to spread in the brain, although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood.

Click here for full report.

Eat your way thin

August 27th, 2007

We all need some body fat to be healthy. It’s vital for regulating body temperature, storing vitamins, cushioning joints and protecting organs.

But too much body fat can damage your health and it could put you at greater risk of developing serious medical conditions. Excess body fat is known to contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

The solution to reducing your body fat and improving your health is not rocket science.

We all know that we should do 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week and eat a healthy balanced diet. But how many of us have considered eating more frequently to reduce weight?

This idea may seem odd but if you consider that when the body goes for long periods without food it becomes very efficient at storing fat. This is because it’s not sure when the next meal is coming from.

When the body is being frequently topped up with food it has no such worries and in fact becomes very efficient at using the food as energy to power our muscles and brain.

More frequent small meals consisting of a mixture of healthy carbohydrates and proteins which release energy at a steady pace will allow more balanced blood sugar levels. Therefore, try to eat at regular 2-3 hour intervals throughout the day. This will help to keep your metabolic rate high and balance your blood sugar levels.

This is not only the best way to eat for weight reduction but will boost energy levels, thus helping to make your workouts more effective, improving your weight management and more balanced hormones. Correcting this hormonal imbalance will also have the added bonus of helping to reduce joint inflammation, concentration and energy levels.

Polar at the heart of UK Athletics

August 26th, 2007

With the IAAF World Championships underway in Osaka, Polar Electro (UK) Ltd can claim to be at the heart of UK Athletics.

Polar have made a significant investment in the sport by supplying 100 of their technologically advanced heart rate monitors to the UK’s leading athletes and coaches for the 2007 Championships.

There’s no doubt that Polar Electro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heart rate monitoring, registering and evaluation equipment. They have invested heavily to produce innovative products that combine a deep understanding of the human body and the environment.

The use of this advanced technology allows coaches to accurately monitor the athlete during their training sessions. Coaches can download the results to their computer and check the performance of their athlete, thus making sure that they get the best from their training sessions.

However, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to use a heart rate monitor or get the benefits from wearing one. A heart rate monitor can keep you focused and help you get the maximum benefit from your workouts within the time you have available.

At fitness-etc we believe that it’s important to monitor your heart rate while exercising. Your heart is a reliable personal indicator of the intensity of your workout and knowing the intensity of your exercise can help you to maximize each session.

Pacific Ocean row ends after only 10 days.

August 25th, 2007

Roz Savage’s attempt to row across the Pacific Ocean single handed has ended after only 10 days at sea. She was rescued by a US Coast Guard helicopter about 90 miles offshore.

Roz set off from California on August 12 seeking to become the first woman to row alone across the Pacific.

Her reason for this record-breaking attempt was to raise awareness of marine pollution. In particular, the North Pacific Gyre, a swirling vortex of currents that traps vast quantities of rubbish, mainly plastic.


Unfortunately this attempt came to a premature end after gale force winds and heavy seas caused her to capsize and she lost valuable equipment. None more so than the sea anchor that should have kept her boat facing into the waves! Even the backup line to the sea anchor, the tripline, had been severed in the storm. This meant that she had no defence against further capsizes.

According to the USCG, the weather was going to get even worse over the next 48 hours. Roz was already on the outer edge of the range of the USCG helicopters. They also told her that by tomorrow she would be out of range of a helicopter rescue, and it would not be possible to get a boat out to her in these conditions.

Althouth her insticnt was to tough it out, she could tell that the Coast Guard were very concerned. As a result, she took the decision to abandon the Brocade and try again at a later date.

Apart from a few cuts and bruises, Roz is fine and is already making plans to return to the Brocade as soon as possible and continue her journey.

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