Here Comes the
Nowadays, it's tough to decide
if that is a good or bad thing. If you're ready to
tackle the sun this year, you're going to want to be smart
about it to ensure that you get your vitamin D, without
causing excessive damage to your skin!
Vitamin D deficiency is now
associated with more than two dozen internal cancers, heart
disease and many other ailments. There are vitamin D
advocates that are exploring whether vitamin D sufficiency
can improve athletic performance. There is
considerable evidence already showing how vitamin D is
related to athletic conditioning, much of it dating back to
the 1950s and earlier.
However, exposure to sun
causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces.
Consider this: One woman at age 40 who has protected her
skin from the sun actually has the skin of a 30-year-old!
Skin color obtained from being in the sun – or in a tanning
booth – actually accelerates the effects of aging and
increases your risk for developing skin cancer.
Vitamin D is produced
naturally when skin is exposed to UVB in sunlight. It has been established that
vitamin D is related to musculoskeletal performance and even
increases the size and number of fast-twitch muscle fibers. Since humans spend more time
indoors out of the sun today than any point in human
history, it follows that we're probably making a lot less
vitamin D than we should.
Vitamin D deficiency is
common among athletes. There is evidence to suggest
that athletic performance peaks when vitamin D levels are
peaking, and that athletic performance declines as vitamin D
levels decline. An entire field of
research from 1920-1960 on Eastern European athletes
supports the theory that sunlight-induced vitamin D
improved the performance of top athletes.
As early as 1932, German
authors reported on the beneficial effects of UV radiation,
indicating such practices were widely known in the 1930s and
40s, at least in Germany. "It is a well-known fact
that physical performance can be increased through
ultraviolet irradiation," according to some research papers.
In 1927, a heated argument arose after the decision by the
German Swimmers Association since the sunlamp, as an
artificial aid, constituted an athletic unfairness, doping,
so to speak."
Humans get 90 percent of
their vitamin D naturally from sun exposure. When fair-skinned people
sunbathe for 20 minutes in the summer, they produce about
20,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in 20 minutes.
An athlete would have to drink 200 glasses of American milk
(100 IU per 8oz glass) or take 50 standard multivitamins
(400 IU) to obtain this same amount orally. Government
recommendations today for vitamin D intake range from
200-600 IU daily.. although most vitamin D advocates believe
1,000-2,000 IU daily are necessary to increase vitamin D
levels in the bloodstream to sufficient levels.
Skin cancer is the most
prevalent form of all cancers in the U.S. and the number of
cases continues to rise. It is the uncontrolled growth of
abnormal skin cells. This rapid growth results in tumors,
which are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant
Melanoma, made up of abnormal
skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious
form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer
deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is
difficult to control. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation
from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, but UV
light from tanning beds is just as harmful. Exposure to
sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk
as exposure during the summertime.
Although anyone can get
skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have
fair or freckled skin that burns easily, light eyes and
blond or red hair. The most common warning
sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a
new mole or skin lesion or a change in an existing mole.
Nothing can completely
undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair
itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting
yourself from the sun. Follow these tips to help
prevent skin cancer:
- Apply sunscreen with a
sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater 30
minutes before sun exposure and then every few hours
- Select cosmetic
products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
- Wear sunglasses with
total UV protection.
- Peak UV radiation
hours are between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. if you need
to avoid sun exposure.
- Perform skin
self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing
growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
- Eighty percent of a
person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age
18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin
cancer prevention habits in your child.
So as with many things in
life, moderation is key. While there are certainly
benefits from the vitamin D that is acquired from the
sun, don't overdo your sun exposure and take precautions
to ensure that you are taking care of your skin while
soaking up the rays!
Magazine (v2 i4), WebMD
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Jumping Jacks and Push Ups... 2 of
the oldest exercises in the books. This exercise
combines both of them for a pushup that provides an additional
challenge for your core and glutes as it adds a little more
plyometric flair while your feet are leaving the ground.
If you are a fan of pushups like me, you will be sure to like
adding this variation to your repertoire!
Target: chest, shoulders,
arms, core, glutes (pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps brachii,
rectus abdominis, gluteus maximus)
from a high plank (top position of a pushup), jump your legs
wide as you go down. Jump your legs back together as you
forcefully push up again. Repeat for repetitions.
I don't know about the
rest of you, but sometimes when you've been working
out for years upon years, doing the same routine
week after week, excitement levels can drop a bit
and rob you of some very important workout fuel...
motivation! Motivation pumps you up and makes
your workouts enjoyable, in addition to giving you
more energy to get the most from them.
Besides the motivation
aspect of mixing things up, it's pretty much a
necessity to change your routine every month or so
in order to continually challenge your body to
adapt. Don't get me wrong, continuing to do
what you do (workout wise) is certainly
beneficial... it's just that your body gets used to
doing what you do and slows down the amount of
progress that you make. This is called the
SAID principle or Specific Adaptations to Implied
Demand. Once your body has made most of its
adaptations to the demand that your workout is
placing on it, the need to continue to adapt (make
beneficial changes) decreases.
I like to change things
up and get creative about it. In the warm
weather I try to get some miles in on my road bike
and participate in some charity bike rides.
Last year I discovered Kangoo Jumps (due to a knee
problem) and began running again. I'll tell ya,
just mixing up my cardio in that way really helped
my motivation and excitement level in approaching my
workouts. In the winter months, I mixed my
cardio workouts between interval training on the
elliptical, P90X Plyometrics, and INSANITY cardio
sessions. Again... plenty of motivation just
by changing the workouts and giving me something
different to look forward to.
For the past year or so,
I've also been mixing up some of my resistance days.
Sure, I'll hit many of the standard weight training
exercises that I've been doing for years... I'll
even keep with the chest-shoulder-triceps,
back-biceps-neck, legs-abs splits that I've been
doing for quite some time. But I also like to
throw some old school, primitive training exercises
in there... or even some newer stuff that starts to
get a lot of chatter. You never know how
you're going to respond to a different stimulus
until you give it a shot!
It seems that I'm not
the only knucklehead that enjoys this primitive
strongman stuff. I've had more and more folks
express and interest and/or participate in some of
these unique workouts. Sure, the gyms and
clubs get the job done, but there's something to be
said for flipping tires, hauling sandbags, and
gripping ropes that get the testosterone and
adrenaline levels up and make you feel good about
getting wiped out! I just started a weekend
Warrior Workout Club
for some of my local partners in crime... Hit me up
if you're up for it!
It's Go Time!
April Hours bring May Power!
Yeah, I like that better than the whole showers and flowers
thing. In other words... put the time in now and you
will see the benefits soon enough. But hard work and a
little patience will go a long way!|
Of course, April also starts so
bring us some nicer weather... for those of us living up in
the northeast. Nicer weather always has a way of kicking
up your energy levels and overall attitude. It's
certainly a lot easier convincing people to get out and start
exercising when the weather breaks!
How about you? Have you
set your goals? Did you sign up for that 5K that you've
been talking about doing some day? How about that bike
ride that some of your friends have been trying to convince
you to do? Let the weather jump start your fitness
regime and commit to something now! Whether it is a
group of friends, your family, or just you... there are plenty
of reasons to take control of your fitness and get moving!
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Stability Ball Exercises
A TODAY! Fitness compilation of stability ball exercises