Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Diabetes Blog retired

For regular readers of this blog, I have disappointing news. The Diabetes Blog is now retired. That means that, while it will still be available for reading and searching, new posts will not be added. Our Cardio and Cancer blogs are also being retired, which I mention here because some readers bookmarked more than one of the Life Sciences group.

The choice to stop publishing these three blogs is a business decision, and has nothing whatsoever to do with their quality. I am, and everyone here is, deeply grateful to the bloggers whose dedication to these sites gave so much information and inspiration to thousands of people. These three blogs are among the longest-running properties in our network, and it is sad to let them go.

Thank you to our many readers for visiting us, and sharing in the community here.

Brad Hill
Programming Director, Weblogs / AOL
Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

The Cardio Blog retired

For regular readers of this blog, I have disappointing news. The Cardio Blog is now retired. That means that, while it will still be available for reading and searching, new posts will not be added. Our Cancer and Diabetes blogs are also being retired, which I mention here because some readers bookmarked more than one of the Life Sciences group.

The choice to stop publishing these three blogs is a business decision, and has nothing whatsoever to do with their quality. I am, and everyone here is, deeply grateful to the bloggers whose dedication to these sites gave so much information and inspiration to thousands of people. These three blogs are among the longest-running properties in our network, and it is sad to let them go.

Thank you to our many readers for visiting us, and sharing in the community here.

Brad Hill
Programming Director, Weblogs / AOL
Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

The Cancer Blog retires

For regular readers of this blog, I have disappointing news. The Cancer Blog is now retired. That means that, while it will still be available for reading and searching, new posts will not be added. Our Cardio and Diabetes blogs are also being retired, which I mention here because some readers bookmarked more than one of the Life Sciences group.

The choice to stop publishing these three blogs is a business decision, and has nothing whatsoever to do with their quality. I am, and everyone here is, deeply grateful to the bloggers whose dedication to these sites gave so much information and inspiration to thousands of people. These three blogs are among the longest-running properties in our network, and it is sad to let them go.

Thank you to our many readers for visiting us, and sharing in the community here.

Brad Hill
Programming Director, Weblogs / AOL
Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Monday, 17 September 2007

Exercise of the Week: The Boxing Workout

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There's a workout, and then there's a Work Out. And THEN, there's a BOXING WORK OUT. Trust me, there's a reason why boxers are able to spend over a half an hour in a ring exchanging punches and not go into cardiac arrest. It's because these guys and gals have trained their butts off for months before ever stepping foot in that arena, let alone that ring. But, you don't have to be Rocky Balboa to get the benefit of a boxing workout, which is why I am this week highlighting some of the basic boxing moves that you too can add to your fitness routine.

First of all, be sure to always maintain a proper stance. This means keeping your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, with your dominant foot in the back (in other words, if you're right handed/footed, than you want your right foot in the back and for your left foot to lead). Try your best to stay on the balls on your feet, which will allow you to do all your fancy stutter-stepping footwork (or for now, just keep you balanced). Your hands should be made into fists and kept close to your face. Your elbows need to be tucked closely to your body. From here, you're ready to start dotting some imaginary bad guy's eyes.

There are four basic punches in boxing: the Jab, the Cross, the Hook, and the Uppercut. To keep things easy, we're going to only focus on the Jab and the Cross. To throw the Jab, you need to flick out your lead hand (which should be the hand that is not dominant -- again, if you are right handed/footed, that hand/foot is kept toward the rear, whereas the weaker hand/foot leads...which, in this case, is your left). As you extend your arm to throw your Jab, your hand should twist like a corkscrew at the end of the punch. Once you have extended your arm, be sure to immediately bring your arm back, tuck your elbow back into your side and return your fist to the side of your face. To throw a Cross, you take your dominant hand and throw a straight punch with it, twisting at the waist as you do. Again, you want to twist your wrist at the end of the punch, adding more 'snap' to the motion. Once the punch is thrown, bring your arm back right away, tuck your elbow back in, and bring your fist back next to your face.

By combining these two punches, you are doing a 1-2 combination. A lot of times people will throw a few jabs before throwing a cross, which of course is fine (and very much the case in an actual boxing match). Use this punch combination on a large heavy punching bag (the cylindrical kind that hangs from the ceiling or stand) while wearing what are known as bag gloves (lightweight boxing gloves that can be purchased at most any sporting goods store or even Wal-Mart).

Boxing is broken into three-minute rounds with one-minute rests in between each round. In accordance with this design, that is how you will also train. Three minutes of, say, shadowboxing -- using the 1-2 combination I just taught you, followed by a round or two of jumping rope, followed by three or four rounds of hitting the heavy bag, and then finishing off with a few rounds of abdominal work.

Even if you take it slow at first (which I really suggest you do), you'll find that the boxing workout is absolutely exhausting. This is exactly why so many health clubs now offer "cardio-boxing" as a group aerobics class. You'll burn far more calories doing this workout than you will on a stair-stepper or walking on a treadmill, and you'll do so during less time. Intensity is the key. Like I said, there's a workout, and then there's a Workout. And then there's a BOXING WORKOUT. Try this routine and, before long, you'll be wearing a grey track suit and running the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

For a great video demonstration I found online that features the basics of boxing, click HERE.

Note: The content presented in this post is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor or fitness professional before starting a physical fitness program.

Top 5 from LOL Diabetes

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The healing continues. From laughter, that is.

As we wait with great hope for a cure for diabetes, we do so with a smile thanks to humor to be found on the new website LOL Diabetes (www.loldiabetes.com). I've posted before about this site, which itself is part of the popular diabetes website Six Until Me (www.sixuntilme.com). Nevertheless, things have become waaaaaay to funny over there for me to not highlight some of my favorites.

These would be my Top 5:

5 - The Insulin Monkey. This picture features a stuffed animal, a monkey to be exact, with dozens of syringes sticking out of it, much like a pin cushion. The words "You're Doing it Wrong" that are printed on the picture sum it up perfectly.

4 - iPump. A play on the now famous iPod silhouette ads, this mock version of this campaign features people wearing insulin pumps in place of iPods.

3 - Thumbtacks. A photo of a child's Spider Man poster fastened to the wall with -- Thumb Tacks? No, no, no. Look again...those are lancets! As someone aptly commented on the entry, what a great use for all those extras!

2 - Wanted! In this Old West style Wanted poster, there's a bounty for bringing in Twinkie the Kid. Turns out "The Kid" is wanted for Shootin' Up High Blood Sugars.

1 - The Enemy. By far my favorite, Short, simple, and hilarious. The photo features no other than Willy Wonka himself, with the words "The Enemy" written below. Very true. And very funny.

There are a whole bunch more that could have made a Top 10 list (namely: Soundtrack to a Low, Is This the Remix?, My Pump Makes Me Look Like a Cross-Dresser, Ah! Needle Landslide, and What's Better Than a Cookie).

Be sure to check out LOL Diabetes. Think you have something funny to add? I say go for it!!

Good carbs = low blood pressure

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Reducing your risk of heart disease could be as easy as changing up the type of carbs you eat -- from refined carbs to whole grains. In fact, according to recent studies, eating just one serving of whole grains can reduce your risk of high blood pressure by 4%. That might not seem like much, but it's a pretty promising result for such a small change in your lifestyle. Imagine the difference you could make to your heart health if you changed all of your grains to whole grains?

Cutting your blood pressure risk is as easy as switching from regular pasta to whole wheat, from white toast to whole wheat. You might not like the taste at first but you'll get used to it. I used to live for white bread and now I only eat whole wheat -- it's the only kind of bread I have a taste for these days.

Another thing to keep in mind is to check the labels on supposed 'whole grain' products to make sure they really are. If 100% whole grains isn't the first item on the ingredients list, toss it.

Exercise of the Week: The Boxing Workout

Filed under: ,

There's a workout, and then there's a Work Out. And THEN, there's a BOXING WORK OUT. Trust me, there's a reason why boxers are able to spend over a half an hour in a ring exchanging punches and not go into cardiac arrest. It's because these guys and gals have trained their butts off for months before ever stepping foot in that arena, let alone that ring. But, you don't have to be Rocky Balboa to get the benefit of a boxing workout, which is why I am this week highlighting some of the basic boxing moves that you too can add to your fitness routine.

First of all, be sure to always maintain a proper stance. This means keeping your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, with your dominant foot in the back (in other words, if you're right handed/footed, than you want your right foot in the back and for your left foot to lead). Try your best to stay on the balls on your feet, which will allow you to do all your fancy stutter-stepping footwork (or for now, just keep you balanced). Your hands should be made into fists and kept close to your face. Your elbows need to be tucked closely to your body. From here, you're ready to start dotting some imaginary bad guy's eyes.

There are four basic punches in boxing: the Jab, the Cross, the Hook, and the Uppercut. To keep things easy, we're going to only focus on the Jab and the Cross. To throw the Jab, you need to flick out your lead hand (which should be the hand that is not dominant -- again, if you are right handed/footed, that hand/foot is kept toward the rear, whereas the weaker hand/foot leads...which, in this case, is your left). As you extend your arm to throw your Jab, your hand should twist like a corkscrew at the end of the punch. Once you have extended your arm, be sure to immediately bring your arm back, tuck your elbow back into your side and return your fist to the side of your face. To throw a Cross, you take your dominant hand and throw a straight punch with it, twisting at the waist as you do. Again, you want to twist your wrist at the end of the punch, adding more 'snap' to the motion. Once the punch is thrown, bring your arm back right away, tuck your elbow back in, and bring your fist back next to your face.

By combining these two punches, you are doing a 1-2 combination. A lot of times people will throw a few jabs before throwing a cross, which of course is fine (and very much the case in an actual boxing match). Use this punch combination on a large heavy punching bag (the cylindrical kind that hangs from the ceiling or stand) while wearing what are known as bag gloves (lightweight boxing gloves that can be purchased at most any sporting goods store or even Wal-Mart).

Boxing is broken into three-minute rounds with one-minute rests in between each round. In accordance with this design, that is how you will also train. Three minutes of, say, shadowboxing -- using the 1-2 combination I just taught you, followed by a round or two of jumping rope, followed by three or four rounds of hitting the heavy bag, and then finishing off with a few rounds of abdominal work.

Even if you take it slow at first (which I really suggest you do), you'll find that the boxing workout is absolutely exhausting. This is exactly why so many health clubs now offer "cardio-boxing" as a group aerobics class. You'll burn far more calories doing this workout than you will on a stair-stepper or walking on a treadmill, and you'll do so during less time. Intensity is the key. Like I said, there's a workout, and then there's a Workout. And then there's a BOXING WORKOUT. Try this routine and, before long, you'll be wearing a grey track suit and running the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

For a great video demonstration I found online that features the basics of boxing, click HERE.

Note: The content presented in this post is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor or fitness professional before starting a physical fitness program.