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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.

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness

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Build strong relationships to live longer

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Good friends and family do more than make life worth living.

According to MedicineNet.com, good friends and family do more than make life worth living. These relationships may help you live longer! A recent analysis of scientific literature suggests that lack of social relationships is a risk factor for death. In other words, people with lots of close friends and family around will likely live a lot longer than lonely people. These findings show that the effect of social relationships on the risk of death are similar to those of smoking and alcohol consumption and have a profound effect on the quality of our life.

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Sitting can be harmful for your health

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Couch potatoes – read on!

An American Cancer Society study found that individuals who sit more during their leisure hours and are less active, died sooner than those who sat less and were more active. According to researchers, "sit more, die more." If you are a couch potato, stand up and walk around! Get out and walk the dog, plant some flowers, or play ball with the kids… your own or the neighbor's!

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Runners: To strech or not to stretch?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The USA Track and Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States has just released a study to determine the effect of pre-run stretching on running injuries.

Runner stretchingPhoto: Blake Cable

The USA Track and Field (USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States has released a study to determine the effect of pre-run stretching on running injuries. The purpose of the study was to determine specifically if pre-run stretching of the three major leg muscle groups is beneficial for overall injury prevention or reduction.

According to the study, this was a clinical trial that involved close to 3,000 runners and the results confirm there is no difference in the risk of injury for those who stretched before running and those who did not. The study randomly assigned people to perform a specified pre-run stretching routine or to perform no pre-run stretching for a period of 3 months.

The findings of the stretch study can be viewed as a PDF here.

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The power of muscle memory

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The number of hours a person spends pumping iron may make it easier to get back into shape and could also stave off weakness and decline in muscle function in old age. That's according to findings recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The number of hours a person spends pumping iron may make it easier to get back into shape and could also stave off weakness and decline of muscle function in old age.  That's according to findings recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Kristian Gundersen , one of the researchers of this study explains that muscles actually have a memory of their former strength — and that memory may last indefinitely. The article can be accessed here.

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Helping military families reunite

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Transitions can be tough. Learn more here.

The Real Warriors program has compiled resources to help military families transition through reunions. They describe how children will react differently to the reunion based on their age:

  • Under age 5: May be shy, demanding or feel guilt thinking they “made Mom or Dad go away,” and may act out more than usual.
  • Ages 5-12:  May respond happily and talk often about their returning family member, or they may feel ashamed that they were not “good enough” while the family member was gone.
  • Ages 12-18:  May respond happily with excitement. Interestingly, teenagers will have changed emotionally and physically by the time the reunion occurs, and may feel that they are too old to greet their returning parent with enthusiasm as they arrive home.

How do you find reliable health information online?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Searching the internet for reliable health information.

Despite widespread access to internet-based healthcare information, there’s almost a complete lack of evidence showing any effects all this information may have on health outcomes. According to a study published in Health Expectations, this indicates that there’s a disparity between the health information we find online and our ability to use it properly.

So, with as much information as there is on the internet, how can we, as consumers, find reputable sources for our health questions? The internet can be a great resource when you want to learn about a specific disease or health condition. You can also find tips on staying healthy. But among the millions of websites that offer health-related information, many present myths and half-truths as if they are facts.

To avoid unreliable health information when you’re surfing the internet, use these tips to find reliable information:

  1. Keep in mind that anyone can publish anything they want on the internet, regardless of the facts. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to determine which information source is credible.
  2. In order to determine a trusted, verified source for credible and objective information, stick with well-respected health websites. A good starting point is healthfinder.gov, which provides a “Health A to Z” topic listing (http://www.healthfinder.gov/HealthAtoZ/ ) of over 1,600 health topics from the most trusted sources.
  3. Newspapers always use more than one source for verifying factual information. The same should hold true for health information. When searching a topic, it’s important to find at least a second reference to confirm your findings. Find a third reference, too, if possible. When several sources report similar information on a topic, it’s more likely to be accurate and up-to-date. In general, if you can't find the information duplicated in more than two or three references, then the information is questionable at best.
  4. Become skilled at separating facts from opinions. This can sometimes be difficult, as the evidence that exists may be minimal. It's important that you know the difference between fact and opinion, especially when you're researching treatment alternatives.
  5. Testimonials and personal stories tend to focus on a patient’s subjective point of view. If you find a website that quotes patients about the effectiveness of a treatment or therapy, this information is biased and cannot be trusted as a reliable source. However, there is information to be learned from the experiences of patients by using other sources (for example, through blogs and wikis, and support group message board forums). In those situations, refer back to point 1 (above) as your first line of review.
  6. Make sure the information you find is the most current available. Often, you will find that research and studies conflict with one another, or that newer information trumps older information.

Finally, information that you find on a website does not replace your doctor's advice. Your doctor is the best person to answer questions about your personal health. If you read something on the internet that doesn't concur with what your doctor has told you, make a point to speak with him or her about it.

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Choosing your next pair of running shoes

HPRC Fitness Arena:

Recent research challenges the notion that flat-footed runners need motion-control shoes while high-arched runners need well-cushioned ones. In a recent military study, assigning shoes based on the shape of the arch of one’s foot did little to prevent juries. Previous studies by scientists in Canada and Australia found similar results. When you go to the footwear store on your next visit, listen to what your feet tell you. Choose a pair that fits and feels right!

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Military family culture – better than you think!

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Top things that military families don't do well.

Lisa Jansen-Rees from the National Military Family Association describes the Top Things That Military Families Don't Do Well, and states, "Thank goodness!" She lists:

  • Drift along without a purpose
  • Lose track of loved ones
  • Lost sight of their goals
  • Hide their patriotism
  • Turn a blind eye
  • Spoil their kids
  • Forget
  • Whine
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Fluid replacement during operations or exercise

HPRC Fitness Arena:
There's a right way to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat.

If you sweat a lot during exercise, be sure to drink lots of fluids – but do not exceed 1.5 L/hour. Sip frequently rather than gulp; drinking small amounts of fluids at a time are more effective than drinking large amounts occasionally. Also, start drinking before you become thirsty. Click here for more information.

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Dealing with repeat injuries

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The August 16 edition of the New York Times has an interesting piece on how athletes try to follow their passion for sport while at the same time coping with the frustration of repeated injuries.

The August 16 edition of the New York Times has an interesting piece on how athletes try to follow their passion for sport while at the same time coping with the frustration of repeated injuries.

Read the article here.

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