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Welcome to the HPRC Blog. We've got lots of information here, from quick tips to in-depth posts about detailed human performance optimization topics.

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Check out "Life’s Simple 7"™

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An online resource by the American Heart Association lists steps that are crucial to our health.

The Simple 7™ is an easy way to figure out how to achieve good health. This online resource, provided by the American Heart Association, lists seven steps that are crucial to our health. We list their steps for you below:

  1. Don’t smoke.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Engage in physical activity.
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
  5. Manage your blood pressure.
  6. Take charge of your cholesterol.
  7. Keep your blood glucose at healthy levels.

With Life’s Simple 7™, you'll find out where you stand, how you're doing, and also get you your own personal heart score and health plan.

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Make the next potluck a healthy one!

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Potlucks can be healthy gatherings, too.

Instead of asking your friends to bring their usual comfort foods to dinner at your house, suggest that everyone bring a healthy option instead. Place caloric restrictions or assign different people to fruit, vegetable, or meat dishes. This will help get everyone involved in healthier eating habits.

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Go to “workout hour!”

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Hanging out with your friends doesn't have to be unhealthy.

Hanging out with friends may include habits that oppose your health goals. Instead of skipping out on quality time with them, invite them to participate in an activity like a group cycling class that will get everyone moving. A healthy social life contributes to good health, so get the group moving!

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Take the stairs, not the elevator

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Improve your cardiovascular health on the stairs.

A few minutes a day of stair climbing can improve your cardiovascular health, a recent study finds. A study of sedentary college-aged women who walked 199 stair steps a day the first week, and who worked up to six ascents, or climbs, a day by the sixth week, were significantly more fit (heart rate, oxygen uptake, blood lactate levels and increased HDL) by the end than in the beginning.

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Runners: How to pace yourself on hills

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A study published this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that most runners make two key mistakes: They try to run too fast uphill and don’t run fast enough downhill.

Woman running

In a study published this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,  the research suggests that most runners make two key mistakes: They try to run too fast uphill and don’t run fast enough downhill. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) has an article that asks the questions on the best way to run hills. Access the article here.

Fitness 2.0: Can social media help you get fit?

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More and more apps are supporting the goals of getting health and staying fit. Join them!

In 2008, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published an article titled Medicine 2.0: Social Networking,Collaboration, Participation, Apomediation, and Openness, in which the term “Web 2.0” is used. Web 2.0 refers to web applications that support collaboration and interactive information sharing online, a large part of which are the social media applications for blogging, wikis, and video streaming. The Journal article talks about the idea of a “Medicine 2.0” for web-based health and medical information, geared towards healthcare consumers, caregivers, patients, health professionals, and researchers.

Interestingly, all of this has given rise to a “Fitness 2.0” trend, allowing users to go beyond just the factual, static health information that exists and find more interactive information. It turns out that the internet can be a great resource for boosting one’s fitness level! YouTube, for example, has thousands of clips on exercise – proper techniques, expert advice – everything from the proper dead-lift technique to nutrition tips for weight loss.

These types of social media can also track fitness levels and goals of users by allowing them to enter in numbers and monitor their progress. Applications like Virtual Weight Loss, health networks like FitDay, and iPhone apps like “My Weight Loss Coach” are great ways to accomplish this. For an even simpler tracking method, use Twitter updates with a hash tag (i.e. #weightloss and #twit2fit) – a great way to get support while keeping a daily or weekly report of progress.

Another area where social media provides a bridge for exchanging health/medical information are online support/social communities. The sharing of experiences and struggles can help when things get tough or when motivation lags. With this level of personal interaction, users don't have to get healthy their own. Sites like Google Groups or DailyBurn, are easy ways to compare and discuss results with a community. When researching a health-related topic, however, keep in mind that blogs, videos, and social networks should not be primary sources of information. Look up multiple sources – no one source of information is ever perfect, so reduce the risk of bad information.

Social media is about creating connections and information, and healthy living is about consistency and knowledge. Together, they can be a great match. Social media can bring a lot of useful information and support to people looking to improve their health or fitness levels, and provides many innovative ways to stay motivated and well-informed.

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Is high endurance running harmful to your heart?

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MedicalNewsToday.com presents an article that reports on a 2009 study from the European Journal of Echocardiography that assesses the effects of running in ultra-endurance races.

Lone runner

Medical News Today reports on a 2009 study from the European Journal of Echocardiography that examines the effects of running in ultra-endurance races.

According to the article, the conclusions of the study suggest that some damage is likely to occur to the heart muscle of competitors, while 12 percent of the study group showed signs of significant cardiac damage.

The full article is here:  Ultra-Endurance Running May Not Be Good For The Heart

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Army revises training program to deal with overweight and unfit recruits

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The New York Times presents a look at the Army’s new physical-training program to deal with recruits who reach basic training having less strength and endurance than those privates in the past.

The New York Times August 31 edition presents a look at the Army’s new physical-training program to deal with  recruits who reach basic training having less strength and endurance than those in the past.  According to a Lt. Gen. who oversees basic training for the Army, “What we were finding was that the soldiers we’re getting in today’s Army are not in as good shape as they used to be”.  The cause of this decline, according to the article is a "legacy of junk food and video games, compounded by a reduction in gym classes in many high schools".

The article also cites the percentage of male recruits who failed the most basic fitness test at one training center rose to more than one in five in 2006, up from just 4 percent in 2000. Additionally, the article notes that the percentages were higher for women.

The new fitness regime tries to solve the problems of unfit soldiers by incorporating more stretching, more exercises for the abdomen and lower back, instead of the traditional sit ups, and more agility and balance training.

The full article is here: Making Soldiers Fit to Fight, Without the Situps

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Risky marketing: Dietary supplements and teen athletics

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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) recently ran a five-day series titled "Little leagues, big costs" In this series, The Dispatch explores where youth sports have taken wrong turns in recent years.

The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) recently ran a five-day series titled "Little leagues, big costs" In this series, The Dispatch explores where youth sports have taken wrong turns in recent years.

The link below from that series contains an article that focuses on the dangers of how some unregulated dietary supplements are being targeted at teens

Supplements target teens, pose dangers and are virtually unregulated

 

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Balance supporting others and taking care of yourself

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Finding a balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself is important.

Living in high-stress environments while deployed often affects life when Warfighters return home. Families become an important source of reintegration support. However, finding the balance between taking care of others and taking care of yourself is important. The Real Warriors program suggests that time should be set aside for each individual to reset – which could include hanging out with friends and family outside the home, relaxing with a book, through an activity like yoga, or helping out in the community.

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