Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Scientists make Weight Loss Claim

BBC Health (29 April 2008) -- Australian scientists believe they may have discovered how to help people lose weight without cutting back on food. More...

Saturday, 19 April 2008

How And Where Fat Is Stored Predicts Disease Risk Better Than Weight

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2008) — A new study in mice indicates that overeating, rather than the obesity it causes, is the trigger for developing metabolic syndrome, a collection of heath risk factors that increases an individual's chances of developing insulin resistance, fatty liver, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. More...

Friday, 18 April 2008

Physical Activity Is Natural Pain Reliever For Arthritis

ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2008) — It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when suffering with joint pain, but physical activity is actually a natural pain reliever for most people suffering from arthritis. More...

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Antioxidant Users Don't Live Longer, Analysis Of Studies Concludes

ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2008) — The vitamin industry has long touted antioxidants as a way to improve health by filling in gaps in diet, but a new review of studies found no evidence that the nutrition supplements extend life. More...

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Good Nutrition Starts Before Conception: Maternal Diet Critical To Health Of Offspring

ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2008) — You are what you eat, as the old saying goes. Maybe so, but increasingly researchers are finding that you are also what your mother ate -- maternal nutrition has profound consequences on the health of offspring. More...

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps

By: Mujuthaba

At some stage in our lives we would have got a muscle cramp. If you are someone engaged in regular strenuous exercise, you will experience these cramps more often. These exercise related cramps are known as Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps or EAMCs. These Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps, commonly referred to as heat cramps, are painful spasms of skeletal muscles that are usually experienced during long duration, strenuous exercise, often in soaring temperatures that we observe in the Maldives.

Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps are caused by multiple factors, which could be acting independent or dependant of each other. The main factors that induce Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps are muscle fatigue, water loss and/or loss of electrolytes/salts (Sodium) from the body. Both dehydration and loss of Sodium (hyponatremia) from the body are associated, as they are both mainly secreted from the body as sweat. Replacing water without any salt (salt is the main source of Sodium) during strenuous long duration exercise has been known to be a predisposing factor for Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps.

Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps can be treated from salt-water balance, which can be achieved by intake of 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of table salt added to 300-500ml of fluids or sports drink and 1-2 salt tablets with 300-500 ml of fluid. In some cases Intravenous NS fluids had been effective in treating severe Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. It should be noted that Calcium salts, sodium bicarbonate, quinine, and dextrose are ineffective means in treating the condition. In association with the treatment described above, Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps responds well to rest and long duration stretching of the affected muscle/muscle groups.

I have come across Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps as a very common picture at sea, especially during a long swim training session. This is commonly caused by a gradual loss of water from the body into the sea. In this case drinking salt water to treat Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps may not be as effective, as this could pave way for rapid dehydration. To prevent Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps in the sea, it is always sensible to have water breaks at intervals, as Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps in the water is and has been life-threatening. Ingesting sea water can also expose an individual to diseases from contaminated salt water in the area.

One should take note that Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps is not solely the cause of dehydration, low Sodium or heat. As described in the start of the article muscle fatigue also play a role in Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps. Muscle fatigue is the main factor in which we get Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps in colder climates. There has been a lot of research done in relationship of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps and muscle fatigue, with a number of outcomes. This is still a subject of ongoing research.

In order to prevent Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps it is extremely important to keep a fluid electrolyte (salt) balance, especially during strenuous exercise sessions and exercise durations that last more than an hour. Since the climate in which we train is very hot and humid, it is crucial for an individual to be rehydrating appropriately.


- Bruckner, P. & Khan, K. (2005) Clinical Sports Medicine (2nd Ed.) McGraw-Hill, Sidney
- Armstrong, L.E., Casa, D.J. Millard-Stafford, M., Moran, D.S., Pyne, S.W. & Roberts, W.O. (2007) American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exertional heat illness during training and competition. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 39(3), 556-572

Friday, 11 April 2008

Maintaining Aerobic Fitness Could Delay Biological Aging By Up To 12 Years, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Apr. 10, 2008) — Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond can delay biological ageing by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age, concludes an analysis published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. More...

Diet tips for Lower Blood Pressure

HEALTHbeat (10 April 2008) --- Hypertension, stroke, and heart disease are common in the United States and most other Western industrialized nations. Epidemiologists attribute much of their prevalence to diet. More...

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Growth spurts may cause obesity

BBC Health (8 April 2008) -- Growth spurts in early childhood could cause obesity, according to researchers at the University of Glasgow.

They reveal that added growth in early life can cause a metabolic rate in adults 20% faster than if the individual had grown more steadily. More...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Inactive Kids Face 6-fold Risk Of Heart Disease By Teen Years, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2008) — Young children who lead inactive lifestyles are five-to-six times more likely to be at serious risk of heart disease, with that degree of danger emerging as early as their teenage years, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More...

The Repetition Maximum (RM)

By: Mujuthaba

A repetition maximum is the maximum load an individual can lift, with proper technique, for a certain number of times without assistance. The most widely used repetition maximum is the one-repetition maximum, or the 1RM. A repetition is the number of times an individual can lift a load without taking a rest. In this case 1RM would be the maximum load an individual can lift with proper technique without assistance.

If an individual can do 10 repetitions of Squats with 80kg, that individual’s 10RM of Squats is 80kg (written as 10RM@80kg). If the client can perform one more repetition (11 repetitions) with 80kg, the client’s 10RM wouldn’t be 80kg. In this case the 10RM would be more than that.

The load and repetition are always inversely related. This means is that as the load goes up, the repetitions performed will be low. If the load goes down, more repetitions can be performed. Load, in terms of exercise, is described as percentage of one-repetition maximum (%1RM), or by the percentage of an individual’s maximum lift. This description of load (1RM) is used in prescribing exercises, which differ in %1RM according to individual goals.

For example, if an athlete wants to be trained for size (hypertrophy), the athlete would be using loads of 70-80% of their 1RM as opposed to an athlete working for endurance. An endurance athlete would need to work at 20-30% of their 1RM. In these both cases, they would be adjusting their repetitions automatically to the load. 80% of 1RM would be capable of about 8 repetitions, while 30% of 1RM would give a repetition count above 15.

In this case, it is extremely important for someone, especially for beginners, to test their 1RM. This would be crucial in helping a client reach specific goals as the load would be monitored as part of the exercise testing. One-repetition maximum test should be conducted under the watchful eye of a PT familiar at conducting 1RM tests. If you are in training currently, try testing your 1RM twice or thrice a week, you maybe surprised at your training progress.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Over-The-Counter Pain Killers Increase Muscle Mass, Strength During Long-term Resistance Training, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2008) — Taking daily recommended dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen caused a substantially greater increase over placebo in the amount of quadriceps muscle mass and muscle strength gained during three months of regular weight lifting, in a study by physiologists at the Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University.More...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Drinking Tea May Offer Health Benefits, But Evidence Still Limited

ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2008) — Tea drinkers who opt for black, oolong, green or white teas may find that these beverages offer health benefits. More...

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Daily caffeine 'protects brain'

BBC (02-04-2008)--Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests. More...

Short, Long Sleep Duration Is Associated With Future Weight Gain In Adults

ScienceDaily (2008-04-04) -- Both short and long sleeping times predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults. More...

Kids Can Pump Iron Too

By: Mujuthaba

It was a while ago since I went with my Kiwi friend, to see his three sons play rugby. I was overwhelmed to see kids as young as five, running and thumping on to each other, in the kid’s rugby league here. I always thought that rugby was a violent game, and it is. Increasing talent and game discipline for the future of the game was underway. To start early is the best way to achieve excellence for the future of any sport.

In this article I will be discussing on prescribing a resistance training program for the pre-pubertal population. Resistance training is a type of exercise that is done using a weight (or simply a resistance). Training children using weights isn’t familiar in the Maldives. But, this conception may change given the benefits from resistance training. Before I start talking about training children with weights, I will clear some misconceptions on the topic.

I have always heard back home, that starting a resistance training program at a young age would occur in a premature or stunt growth. Although, to date I haven’t found any study which states that there is a link between resistance training in pre-pubertal children and premature growth or effect on height. Therefore, we can clear our mind that height is in no way affected by strength training.

How about the picture in our minds that after our children take on the dumb-bells, next time we see them, they would have the Arnie posture? Well, that’s not going to happen. Pre-pubertal children don’t have enough testosterone levels in their bodies to increase musculature. Musculature (especially in males) comes after puberty, as their testosterone levels build up their sexuality. The pre-pubertal child will have increased strength rather than a massive bulky body, from resistance training.

Now that the main misconceptions are moved to a side, let’s discuss the training. It is not acceptable to introduce the child to a resistance training program, unless without the guidance of a trained PT in this specific area. It is recommended that the training should be no more than three times a week, with a maximum of 90 minutes per session. It is also important not to make them lift weights of more than 80% of their maximum lifting capability. It would be a challenge to abide kids to the proper lifting technique of the exercises. But it is extremely crucial that proper form is used to avoid injury and accidents.

In the initial stage of training, the child should be imitating the movements, rather than lifting the weights. One thing a trainer should remember is that children are very playful, and are exposed to injury much more than an adult client. Therefore, the technique should be taken up by the child, mainly to engage in training discipline. Throughout the training session, the child should be supervised by a professional trainer and s/he should look for signs of loosing proper form. To avoid blackouts, make sure that proper breathing technique is used by the child at all times during the training. Weight should not be increased if the child cannot perform three sets of eight repetitions comfortably with the proper technique. As with all physical activities, the child should perform a warm-up-stretching session before training, and a warm-down-stretching session afterwards.

One of the challenges that may face us would be to find the appropriate exercise machines for children. In this case, dumb-bells or light-weight barbells can be used, although free weights would be trickier than the much stable resistance training machines. Try to avoid prescribing the child with exercises that include bouncing actions while holding weights (such as bouncing squats). The child should not perform exercises that are complicated to perform. Each of the exercise should be very basic and easy to perform by the child, in which case, the child’s individuality and capability should be noted very closely by the trainer.

The main benefit from resistance training would be strength gain, but without an increase in child’s musculature. This would indicate the link between resistance training and neural adaptation (brain correspondence) in increasing muscle strength. Muscular strength would also increase joint stability in the child, decreasing their chances of injury. Strength training also ensures that the child is ready for any sport in the field, by increasing their own confidence and strength for competing with others. Starting to train early will also help the child to be exposed psychologically for any future coaching instructions in their sport of preference.

This article contains the basics in prescribing a resistance training program for the pre-pubertal child. For training a pre-pubertal child, a lot of factors should be considered. One of the main factors is good nutrition with hydration. Since the pre-pubertal child is undergoing a rapid growth phase, a good diet is important to notice the benefits of a training program. Proper gear and environment for a child would also make a difference for the child’s long time interest in the activity. I hope that this article helps to understand the importance and benefits of resistance training, even for our little kids.


ACSM (2006) ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (7th Ed.) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W.(2000) Essentials of strength training and conditioning (2nd Ed.) Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL

Blimkie, C.J.R. (1993) Resistance training during preadolescence. Issues and controversies. Sports Medicine, 5(6), 389-407

Bruckner, P. & Khan, K. (2005) Clinical sports medicine (2nd Ed.) McGraw-Hill, New York

Sadres, E., Eliakim, A., Constantini, N., Lidor, R. & Falk, B. (2001) The effect of long-term resistance training on anthropometric measures, muscle strength, and self concept in pre-pubertal boys. Pediatric Exercise Science, 13(4), 357-372

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Creating Creatine

By: Mujuthaba

Creatine has been around for a while as a supplement in our health and fitness shops. This has been proven to be a quite popular supplement, especially among our body builders. The intake of creatine as a supplement came into action after the 1992 Olympics, where a couple of gold medallists used it for their success. I’m not sure about the Maldives, but in the world, the consumption of creatine is supposed to be an estimated three million kilograms a year. From this you can fathom the popularity of this supplement.

Creatine is a non-essential nutrient, 95% of which is present naturally in our muscles. These include the heart muscles, skeletal muscles and smooth muscles (lining of the intestines...etc). The remaining 5% are based in the brain, liver, kidneys and testes of males. The naturally occurring creatine is orally derived from diets containing fish and red meat. This could prove a challenge to vegetarians (not that we have many in our country), who would only get trace amounts of creatine from plant foods.

Creatine is mainly used in muscle contraction of the human body. This is a major element which makes short burst activities possible, for durations lasting 10-12 seconds. Usually in sports performance, supplements are used to increase overall performance by increasing the naturally occurring form of the nutrients. Aim of supplementing creatine is to increase the duration at which the muscles can perform at a 100% maximum. A normal person can use their muscles at maximum for no more than 10-12 seconds. You can experience this when you start on a full sprint, and after a while you would need to slow down as you would not have enough creatine available. I’m trying to explain this in very basic terms without getting into any detail of muscle movement using creatine.

Creatine is mainly ingested as a supplement in powdered form of creatine monohydrate. It has been proven that proper supplementation of creatine increases the muscle creatine concentration by 40%. The recommended intake or loading of creatine supplement is 20g/day. This amount should be taken in 5g at four different times for six continuous days. After the six days are complete, a dose of 2g/day is enough to keep the level of muscle creatine at a higher level. Increasing the dosage doesn’t have any effect on improving performance. This method of loading is also recommended in creatine supplement containers. Creatine, being a protein, it is always helpful for it to be used by the tissues if taken with a carbohydrate. Most athletes ingest this supplement by mixing with high carbohydrate drinks.

Supplementing creatine is useful in short burst sports, such as squash, gymnastics...etc. Although it doesn’t have much proven effect on performance for endurance sports, such as long distance running. Creatine has a tendency to increase the body weight by 0.5-3.5kg. This is mainly due to its effect on retaining water in tissues, increased protein production and decreased protein breakdown. This would prove to be positive effects if you are a body builder, since protein is the building blocks of the body structure. Creatine supplementation has also proven to increase strength of weight trainers by 25% and increase their fat free mass (muscles and bone mass) by 60%.

As with all other supplements, creatine doesn’t come without detrimental effects from over loading or individual ignorance. Such ailments as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney complications, liver complications, muscle cramps and increased blood pressure have been linked to creatine supplementation. Creatine supplementation should be taken into good consideration. Creatine has been proven to be one of the most effective supplements in the market, with almost no side-effects (with proper loading) and a history of exemplary results.