October 2, 2007 [Volume 1, Issue 20]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Choosing the Right Multivitamin for Your Children
Stretching the Limits
Anti-Aging the Natural Way

Choosing the Right Multivitamin for Your Children

From the Flintstones to the Gummi Bears, cartoon vitamins may seem like a fun, easy way to encourage children to take nutritional supplements. But do they give your child the nutrients they truly need? Children have a greater need for proper and more complete nutrition than do adults. Proper nutrition is vital for the development of teeth, bones and muscles, as well as neuro-cognitive, immune-system and many other important functions.

What's wrong with cartoon vitamins? They contain synthetic vitamins, inadequate minerals, as well as binders, preservatives and sugar - some of the very items we need the supplements to combat in the first place! We need to provide our kids with the kind of nutritional supplements informed adults demand:

All-natural, with no synthetic chemical nutrients.
Derived from whole foods.
Complete and balanced formula, meaning they should contain at least the 25 FDA-recommended nutrients, preferably more.
Good taste to ensure compliance, but without added sugar. Liquids are best, as they absorb better and the dosing can be modified depending on the child's size and needs.
Need to contain the full spectrum of organic trace minerals.

Children have a great need for diets rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to combat free-radical damage. It is absolutely a must for them to strengthen their armor with a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods and sugars. Then, we must augment that effort with the very best supplements available. Our kids deserve better health than their parents, but unless we do something, they are fighting an uphill battle.

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Stretching the Limits

A surprising number of people believe stretching is a waste of time. Stretching exercises relieve muscle tension, flush lactic acid out of your muscles (lactic acid accumulates during high-intensity exercise, creating that "burning sensation," and can contribute to suboptimal muscle performance), and increase your range of motion for longer strides and better athletic performance.

Contrary to popular belief, stretching shouldn't be the first thing you do when you are about to work out or play a sport. In fact, stretching cold muscles can result in pulls and injuries. Your best bet is to start with a five-minute warm-up, consisting of a shorter, less intense version of whatever activity you're about to engage in.

After your warm-up, take a few minutes to stretch your major muscle groups, with a particular focus on the areas you are about to train. Each stretch should last about 30 seconds. In general, there is little benefit to stretches that last as long as 60 seconds.

Every workout should end with a brief cooldown and stretching routine. Research indicates that if you only have time to stretch once, you should make time after your workout, when your muscles are warm and responsive to stretching. If you've done your workout right, your heart rate will be at its peak and you'll feel warm and tired. The cooldown lets your heart transition to its normal rate and lets your muscles adjust out of their contracted state, which can help prevent strain and soreness.

Now that you know the benefits of warming up, cooling down and regular stretching, never again underestimate the importance of the first and last few minutes of your workout.

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Anti-Aging the Natural Way

Americans go to great lengths to reduce the signs of aging. But risky surgeries and synthetic injections are not the answer. What is? Good old-fashioned exercise.

A recent study in PLoS One evaluated the effects of six months of strength training in volunteers aged 65 or older. Researchers compared thigh-muscle cells from the seniors with cells from volunteers in their 20s. At the end of the six-month period, researchers discovered not only a 50 percent increase in strength and higher energy in the seniors, but also dramatic changes at the genetic level.

It doesn't take working out five days a week to get these results. The seniors performed one hour of strength training twice a week for six months, completing three sets of 10 repetitions for each muscle group on typical gym equipment. At the start of the study, researchers noted significant differences between older and younger participants in 600 genes. After six months of training, exercise had changed a third of those genes, most of which affected the process of turning nutrients into energy.

So, next time you look in the mirror and ponder the latest anti-aging treatment, remember this: An exercise regimen at any age can improve your strength and appearance, sure – but it also can keep you young and healthy all the way down to a cellular level. Now that's deep cleansing.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.