Fitness News From Eric Greenberg, MD CPT

Sunday, November 21, 2010 • Bethesda, MD 20814

Weight Training: Do's and Don'ts of Proper Technique

Effective weight training depends on proper technique. Follow these do's and don'ts to maximize your weight training program. 

By Mayo Clinic staff 

You don't have to be a bodybuilder or professional athlete to reap the benefits of weight training. When done correctly, weight training can help you lose fat, increase your strength and muscle tone, and improve your bone density. If done incorrectly, however, weight training won't give you these benefits — and may even lead to injury. 

Check your technique

You might learn weight training techniques by watching friends or others in the gym — but sometimes what you see isn't safe. Incorrect weight training technique can lead to sprains, strains, fractures and other painful injuries that may hamper your weight training efforts. If you're just getting started, work with a knowledgeable weight training specialist — a physical therapist, athletic trainer or other fitness specialist who's familiar with proper weight training technique. If you've been using weights for a while, consider scheduling time with a trainer to demonstrate your technique and identify any changes you may need to make. 



Washington Post

Health Section

Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 12/11/2012

Physical activity may add years to your life

If you could convince yourself that spending time exercising is a sound investment in your future, would you be more inclined to make it part of your routine?

Maybe you will after you read this.

A study published Tuesday morning in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine calculates the benefits of moderate to vigorous physical activity in terms of its effect on life expectancy. The news is good for most of us who spend at least 150 minutes a week doing such activities.

Researchers led by Ian Janssen of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, drew information from three major U.S. databases — the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from2007 to 2010; the National Health Interview Survey and its linked mortality files between 1990 and 2006; and U.S. Life Tables from 2006 — to estimate life expectancy for adults who were inactive, somewhat active and active — meaning they engaged in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Juggling the data, the researchers compared life expectancy among people of different ethnicities and gender and calculated the number of hours of life gained for each hour of activity and also the number of years gained at each age of a person’s life.

In the end, the report focused on the number of years of life a person entering adulthood, at age 20, could be expected to gain if they pursued a lifetime of regular physical activity. For men that amounted to 2.4 years; women who engaged in moderate physical activity added about 3 years to their lives. Non-Hispanic black women who got plenty of physical activity made out best of all, adding about 5.5 years to their lives.

But for reasons the authors couldn’t quite pin down, Hispanics did not appear to realize any longevity benefit related to their physical activity. The authors note that might be because the surveys they based their research on weren’t culturally sensitive enough to capture information about physical activity that might be common among Hispanics but not among whites and blacks.

The authors deliberately opted to present their findings in terms of years of life expectancy gained through physical activity, not years of life lost through inactivity. “Simple messages on changes in life expectancy are more easily understood than relative risk estimates and might influence physical activity behaviors,” they write.

My husband used to tease me that any hours of life I might gain through my dedication to physical activity would equal the number of hours I spend in the gym and yoga studio, making the whole thing a wash. Well, apparently he was wrong. The new study concludes that “non-Hispanics can expect to gain 2.3–5.6 hours of life for every hour of moderate physical activity, and 5.2–11.3 hours of life for every hour of vigorous physical activity they accumulate during adulthood.”

Which, to my mind, makes exercise a pretty good bargain, indeed.

 (Not to mention that I’d go bonkers without it.)




Quickest Way to Lose Weight for Those Stressful Corporate and Business Professionals

by Lisa Huttons

As a very busy business professional, everyone is generally in a hurry; progressing from scheduled appointment to scheduled appointment and also hurrying deadline following deadline. For many individuals, getting some exercise is the very least of our fears. The truth is, most of us are simply way too completely maxed following a incredibly long work day to allow them to trudge our way to a fitness center to get a reasonable work out. For individuals that do make it to a health club, very like they will not be totally maximizing their own exercise time by simply engaging in the routines that make any difference.

So in the following paragraphs, I am going to demonstrate the quickest way to lose weight in order to get the most optimum results within the least amount of time.

Exercises tend to be typically grouped into 2 types: isolation and compound.

Isolation exercises: 
Much like the term implies, isolation exercises are individual joint workouts that isolate an individual body part. Types of isolation exercises can be triceps extension, bicep curls, leg extension and also lateral shoulder raises.

Compound exercises: 
These are generally multi-joint exercises that works a number of muscle groups simultaneously. Examples of compound exercises would be bent over rows, bench press, pushups, squats, dips, pull ups not to mention dead lifts.

Should your purpose is to burn fat as well as burn unhealthy calories, then the quickest way to lose weight and also entirely improve your exercise routine period would be to only concentrate on just compound exercises. The nature of compound exercises call for much more effort from your very own body and as a result, it comes with a much better calorie expenditure per work out ratio.

For instance, why don't we do a comparison of 2 leg exercises:

1. Leg extensions: isolation exercise

2. Barbell squats: compound exercise

When executing leg extensions, really the only muscle groups focused tend to be generally your own upper thighs (quadriceps) along with a little of your calf muscles.

Barbell squats conversely, stimulates not merely your upper thighs, but additionally your hamstrings, calf muscles, small of the back, abdominal muscles as well as backside! (Which means this one single physical exercise properly focuses on almost all trouble spots that a lot of women have concerns with)

Let's assume that most of us devote exactly the same period of time doing both exercises, the barbell squats undoubtedly burns up much more calories plus it also concentrates on numerous muscle groups at the same time workout some other body parts.

Therefore the next time for anybody who is in a hurry and they are interested in the quickest way to lose weight, choose solely compound exercises and that you will rapidly notice as well as feel the big difference.




Exercise Gains Momentum as Psychiatric Treatment

Nancy A. Melville

 Nov 16, 2012 Authors & Disclosures

SAN DIEGO, California – The benefits of exercise in nearly every aspect of physical health are well known, but evidence in recent years suggests a unique effect on some psychiatric disorders, prompting mental health clinicians to rethink treatment strategies and to consider the possibility of exercise not just in therapy but as therapy.

"Above and beyond the standard benefits of exercise in healthy living and general well-being, there is strong evidence demonstrating the ability of exercise to in fact treat mental illness and have significant benefits on a neurotrophic, neurobiologic basis," Douglas Noordsy, MD, told delegates attending Psych Congress 2012: US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress.

Some of the strongest evidence is seen in depression, where psychiatric benefits from exercise have been shown in some cases to match those achieved with pharmacologic interventions and to persist to prevent remission in the long term.

Dr. Noordsy referenced a study from researchers at Duke University in which 156 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) were randomly assigned either to aerobic exercise, sertraline therapy (50 mg to 200 mg), or both for 4 months.

The difference in remission rates in the exercise and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) groups after 4 months were not significant – 60% and 69%, respectively, but at a 10-month follow-up, the exercise group showed a significantly lower relapse rate ( P = .01) (Psychosom Med 2000;62:633-638).

"The patients who were independently exercising on their own after the treatment period had half the odds for meeting the depression criteria 6 months later compared to patients who didn't exercise after the 4-month study," said Dr. Noordsy, an associate professor and director of psychosis services at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.

A similar study from the same group of researchers 10 years later in a larger sample involving 202 patients assigned to supervised exercise, sertraline therapy (50 mg to 200 mg) or placebo showed remission rates of 46% at 4 months and 66% at the 16-month follow-up across both treatment groups, with no significant greater improvement with SSRIs compared with exercise in predicting MDD remission at 1 year ( Psychosom Med 2011 Feb-Mar;73:127-33; epub 2010 Dec 10).

Other studies have shown equally impressive results in exercise for a variety of populations, including pregnant women with depression, who have a high interest in avoiding medications, people with HIV, and even patients with heart failure, who showed not only a significant reduction in depression related to exercise but also reduced mortality ( Am J Cardiol2011;107:64-68).


The evidence in relation to anxiety, although not as strong, still suggests a benefit, and the rigors of a cardiovascular workout seem particularly suited to addressing the physiologic effects associated with anxiety, Dr. Noordsy said.

"We know that with anxiety, the heart rate goes up, you start breathing fast, and it kind of snowballs with more anxiety, and that can trigger a panic attack," he explained.

"So one of the important positive effects of physical exercise is it allows people to become conditioned to having their heart rate and respiratory rate increase when they're not associated with anxiety, thereby addressing the triggers."

Evidence is somewhat lacking in the area of bipolar disorder, but patients often have symptoms similar enough to depression to suggest a benefit, Dr. Noordsy said.

"The evidence on depression in bipolar disorder is strong enough that I certainly feel comfortable in talking about exercise as part of [bipolar patients'] management."

In terms of more serious psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, evidence is limited on benefits of exercise for the core symptoms of psychosis or cognition. However, several studies have shown improvement in comorbidities and metabolic issues related to antipsychotics that such patients commonly face.

One study of a jogging intervention among 80 inpatients with chronic schizophrenia, in which 40 patients jogged for 40 minutes 3 times a week, depression, anxiety, phobia, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors declined significantly compared with 40 inpatient control participants who were inactive and showed no improvement.

Dementia Prevention

The evidence on the benefits of exercise in cognitive function disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, is much more extensive, with as many as 8 strong studies on dementia alone in the last 3 years showing improvements with activities such as walking and strength training on memory and executive function.

Dr. Noordsy noted one particularly remarkable study in which researchers compared patients with and without the ApoE gene, which is linked strongly to late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

In the study, patients who were ApoE-negative showed similarly low mean cortical binding potential, related to plaque buildup in the brain, regardless of whether they exercised or not.

But although ApoE-positive individuals (n = 39) had values that were substantially higher, the ApoE-positive patients who exercised (n = 13) had values similar to those who did not carry the gene ( Arch Neurol 2012;69:636-643).

"You could look at these results and rightfully say physical exercise neutralizes your risk for developing Alzheimer's disease if you're ApoE positive," Dr. Noordsy said.

How to Get Patients Moving

Perhaps the biggest caveat with all mental health conditions is how to motivate patients who are struggling with psychiatric disorders to exercise.

Dr. Noordsy offered some key suggestions:

·  Start with an assessment: "I start with an assessment of lifetime history of activity and current activity in my baseline assessment template," Dr. Noordsy said. "I educate the patient on the potential effects of exercise on their disorder and how it fits on the menu of other treatment options."

·  Make clear recommendations: "There is a lot of evidence in areas such as smoking cessation and in the addiction literature showing that a substantial subset of people will respond to very clear recommendations," he said.

·  Offer motivational tools: A behavioral planner, for instance, that allows for goal setting, or connecting a patient with an exercise group can be helpful.

·  Consider the patient's current activity capacity in recommending a regimen: "The general amount of exercise believed to result in a benefit is about 30 to 60 minutes per day, between 3 and 7 days per week." Some studies have shown strength training to be as beneficial as aerobic activity. For the latter, Dr. Noordsy suggested that one easy method often used in determining maximum heart rate, in general, for people without heart disease or other conditions is to simply subtract their age from 220.

·  Help the patient find an activity that works best for them, rather than recommending anything specific, Dr. Noordsy suggested. "Have the patient choose the activity that is right for them."

·  Help guide the patient to educational resources, such as information sources or books. "The book I've used the most with patients is John Ratey's Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain," Dr. Noordsy recommended. "The book is very scientific and accessible to a lay audience," he said.

Importantly, discussing the role of exercise in the context of human evolution might be a more effective approach with patients than the standard recommendation to get some exercise.

"Instead of 'this is something you ought to be doing,' we might instead say, 'this is something humans are designed to do, and when we don't do it, our bodies and brains fall apart'."

Another important component in helping patients benefit from exercise is simply to improve awareness among clinicians, Dr. Noordsy added.

"We see evidence on the benefits of exercise for psychiatric conditions coming together, and there is a need to increase awareness of this among clinicians as well as reinforce the research community to be taking a more careful look at physical exercise," he said.

"This may not have as much of an industrial backing as some of the other interventions we use, but I think it's quite exciting."

Psych Congress 2012: US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress. Presented November 9, 2012.


Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour

By Mayo Clinic staff

Being active is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you're active, your body uses more energy (calories). And when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight.Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Because of changes that occur in the body over time, however, calories may need to be decreased further to continue weight loss.While diet has a stronger effect on weight loss than physical activity does, physical activity, including exercise, has a stronger effect in preventing weight gain and maintaining weight loss.For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:

•   Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. However, to effectively lose or maintain weight, some people may need up to 300 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week, and sessions of activity should be at least 10 minutes in duration.

•   Strength training. Do strength training exercises at least twice a week. No specific amount of time for each strength training session is included in the guidelines.Moderate aerobic exercise includes such activities as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes such activities as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, or activities such as rock climbing or heavy gardening.Specific calorie expenditures vary widely depending on the exercise, intensity level and your individual situation.




While cellulite is not a medical concern, Mayo Clinic reports that the presence of dimply skin in the butt, thighs or legs makes women feel self-conscious. Cellulite is caused by fat cells that push up through the surface of the skin. According to Mayo Clinic, it affects eight out of 10 women. While complete removal of cellulite in the buns and thighs may be impossible, regular cardio combined with strength training exercises that target the glutes and thighs reduce cellulite's appearance.



Wayne Westcott, fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, conducted an eight-week study evaluating the role cardio and strength training play in cellulite reduction. Study participants did three weekly 20-minute sessions of cardio and three weekly 20-minute full-body strength training sessions. Participants lost 1 lb per week and those who dieted doubled their weight loss. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), this weekly formula for exercise improves body composition and reduces cellulite.
Lunges and squats are examples of lower body strength training exercises, and upper body exercises include bicep curls, push-ups and rows. According to ACE, it is impossible to target a specific area for weight loss--toning the entire body contributes to cellulite reduction and burns fat in the thighs and buns. Appropriate modes of cardio exercise include swimming, hiking, running, cycling, dancing and speed walking.


Lunges tones the glutes, inner thighs and leg muscles while firming surrounding skin. Mayo Clinic reports that cellulite becomes more visible when skin loses elasticity. To perform a lunge, stand up straight and bend your knees slightly. Next, adjust your feet so that they are shoulder-width apart and relax your shoulders. Step your right foot forward three feet, aligning your right knee directly over your right ankle while lifting onto the toes of your left foot. Lower your left knee towards the ground, stopping before it hits the floor. Finally, push up through the heel of your right foot and return to standing. After completing 15 lunges with your right leg, switch leg positioning and do the same with your left leg.


ACE recommends the dumbbell squat exercise as an effective way to reduce cellulite in the lower body. Squatting challenges the inner thighs and glutes while slimming the legs. To do a dumbbell squat, hold a light weight in each hand and rest your arms by your side. Next, adjust your feet so that they are hip-width apart, align your knees with your ankles and bend your knees slightly. Tightening your abdominal muscles helps you maintain proper form during this exercise. Stick your glutes out behind you and lower your hips toward the ground. Finally, stop when the backs of your legs are parallel to the ground, push up through your heels and return to standing. As you build strength, increase the weight you hold for additional gains.



Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1286-95.

Resistance training predicts 6-yr body composition change in postmenopausal women.

Bea JWCussler ECGoing SBBlew RMMetcalfe LLLohman TG.


Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5024, USA.



The aim of this study was to examine the association of exercise frequency (ExFreq) and volume (total weight lifted by military press and squats (SQ)) with change in body composition among postmenopausal women participating in a progressive resistance training study.


Previously, sedentary women (n = 122, age = 56.3 +/- 4.3 yr) were followed for 6 yr. At 6 yr, there were women who had been randomly assigned to resistance training at baseline (n = 65) controls that were permitted to cross over to the exercise program at 1 yr (n = 32) and 25 true controls. Exercisers and crossovers directed to perform eight core exercises for two sets of eight repetitions at 70%-80% of one-repetition maximum, three times weekly, plus progressive weight bearing, stretching, and balance. Body weight and fat were measured at baseline and annually using anthropometry and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.


Average change in body weight and total body fat were 0.83 +/- 5.39 and 0.64 +/- 4.95 kg at 6 yr, respectively. In multiple linear regression, ExFreq, military press, and SQ were significantly inversely associated with change in body weight (standardized beta coefficient (SBC) = -0.22 to -0.28, P < 0.01), fat (SBC = -0.25 to -0.33, P < 0.01), and trunk fat (SBC = -0.20 to -0.31, P < 0.03) after adjusting for age, years on hormone therapy, change in lean soft tissue, baseline body composition, and baseline habitual exercise. The lowest tertile of SQ (equivalent to 2.5% attendance) demonstrated significant gain in weight, fat, and trunk fat over 6 yr (P < 0.004), whereas the highest tertile SQ (equivalent to 64% attendance) was able to maintain their weight, total, and regional fat.


We conclude that resistance training is a viable long-term method to prevent weight gain and deleterious changes in body composition in postmenopausal women.






Increased Lower Body Strength Promotes Independent Lives for Seniors

Information provided by Katie Huffstetler - Published: 2010-07-07

A recent study done by a collaboration of researchers from Wake Forest University (WFU) and Homestead Hills suggests that a significant number of residents living in retirement communities have deficits in lower body strength.


A recent study done by a collaboration of researchers from Wake Forest University (WFU) and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) suggests that a significant number of residents living in retirement communities have deficits in lower body strength, a key indicator in estimating how independent seniors may remain in the future. A follow-up study found a resistance exercise program was effective at improving muscle strength within six weeks.

The study, conducted by investigators in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at WFU and the Department of Geriatric Medicine at WFUBMC, was developed in conjunction with Homestead Hills, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based retirement community, and the Center on Aging at WFUBMC. Through a partnership with Homestead Hills’ parent company, researchers from the Center evaluated the physical function of approximately 230 older adults living in retirement communities throughout the Southeast.

The researchers, including Jack Rejeski, Ph.D., Tony Marsh, Ph.D., Shannon Mihalko, Ph.D. and Jeff Williamson, M.D., M.H.S., found a high proportion of participants had deficits in lower extremity strength. The follow-up study by Rejeski, Marsh, and Mihalko measured the impact of lower-body strength training on muscle strength and physical function in those residents. All 29 seniors who participated were Homestead Hills’ members and the participants were randomized into two groups: a control group whose members maintained their normal daily routine, and a progressive resistance exercise group which met for about 30 minutes, three times a week for six weeks.

To develop a baseline, all 29 adults were evaluated at the beginning and end of the six-week intervention. Their lower-body strength and physical function were measured by a one repetition, maximum strength test for both the leg extension and leg curl, a timed 400 meter walk test and the Short Physical Performance Battery which tests walking speed, balance and lower- limb strength.

The progressive resistance exercise group completed a variety of exercises designed to increase leg strength. Residents wore weighted vests for resistance while performing toe raises and step-ups on an aerobic step, and used strength training equipment for leg extension and flexion exercises.

Adults who participated in the lower-body strength training exercises had an average increase in leg extension strength of 51 percent and an average increase in leg curl strength of 31 percent, while the strength of those in the control group did not change.

Participants such as Roburta Trexler, a retired physical therapist, also reported increased confidence in their walking ability.

“I feel like I’m definitely making some improvements,” Trexler said, while resting in between exercises inside Homestead Hills’ wellness center. “When I walk across the floor, I feel more secure, and I plan to continue with the exercises because I would like to walk with a feeling of confidence, improve my posture and stand up without hurting.”

Lower body strength is vitally important because it is a key determinant of mobility which allows older adults to perform activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and getting in and out of bed without the help of a caregiver. Research suggests that strength-training exercises also improve balance, helping participants reduce their chance of falling which may lead to disability, hospitalization and other negative complications.

Ruth Kessler, a member of the progressive resistant exercise group, is all too familiar with the side-effects of a catastrophic fall. The Homestead Hills’ member fractured her left femur two years ago, and the recovery has been long and difficult.

“At the beginning of the six-week period, it was extremely difficult for me to get up from a seated position,” Kessler said. “After I finished the sessions, I progressed from lifting 40 pounds to lifting 70 pounds with my leg curls, and I can do five chair-stands now when I couldn’t even do one before.”

At the end of the six-week intervention, the control group was offered six weeks of training, and the participants in the exercise group were encouraged to continue with the resistance exercise program. Due to popular demand, Homestead Hills’ Wellness Coordinator Sandi Griswold is planning to extend the program indefinitely.

“Once members found out they were in the control group and saw the results their counterparts were having, they couldn’t wait for the end of the first six weeks so they could get started,” Griswold says with a laugh. “Their enthusiasm is contagious, and with all the information WFU and WFUBMC have collected, the program is a way to not only improve our members’ lives but also to better the lives of thousands of seniors across North Carolina.”

The Department of Health and Exercise Science and the Center on Aging will use the data collected at Homestead Hills to recommend that providers develop senior wellness programs which emphasize preventative, affordable exercises that help older adults live healthier, more independent lives. In addition to the partnership with Senior Living Communities, pilot grants from the WFUBMC Translational Science Institute and the WFUBMC Claude D. Pepper Older Americans’ Independence Center supported the study.

Homestead Hills’ member Sally Bost agrees that preventative wellness programs are beneficial for seniors and thinks the amount of effort people put into the program is directly related to the benefits they will receive. The 76-year-old also thinks retirement communities are a good solution for older adults because of the combination of peer support and senior-focused amenities.

“I needed the encouragement of my friends and fellow members to keep myself honest in my exercise,” Bost said. “It’s too easy to say ‘oh you’re getting older, this is what you should expect,’ but I say ‘No way! You can’t quit just because you’re older!”

Homestead Hills is an all-inclusive, luxury retirement community located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The community’s care-free lifestyle helps members live longer, healthier and happier lives by offering an array of amenities including maintenance-free living, daily fine dining, weekly housekeeping, a personalized wellness program and onsite health services. Homestead Hills is located in close proximity to the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, a corporate research partner delivering cutting-edge breakthroughs in senior care. The gated community offers residents a variety of floor plans including single-family cottage homes and condominium-style villas. Assisted-living and memory-care rooms are also available for those who need to make a transition from independent living. More information about Homestead Hills is located at