IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  January 1, 2004

New sports get players, fans

Platform Tennis

It's played on smaller courts and keeps hardy players on the run in winter. The court for platform tennis is actually made of metal and measures 44 by 20 feet. It looks like a miniature tennis court made of aluminum and coated with a sandpaper-like finish. Instead of rackets, players use an oversized paddle ($100) that is about 18 inches long and made of a composite material with aerodynamic holes drilled in. It creates a "clang!" when the tennis ball is hit.

Balls are solid rubber and spongy ($10). After that, the only special gear a player might need is a fleece mitt that fits over the hand and paddle handle for use when the weather is very cold.

Patty Hogan, the over-40 national women's champion, says it's a cult sport that is easy to love. According to Business Week, it's for players who like to defy the weather.

Most of the 4,000 courts in the U.S. are at private clubs and resorts, including Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and Shelter Harbor Inn, Westerly, R.I. Public courts are available in New York, Chicago, California, Colorado, and Wisconsin. See PlatformTennis.Org for more.

Cricket Court in South Florida

Broward County, Florida, plans to invest $30 million in a 100-acre cricket park at Lauderhill. The main attraction will be the first professional cricket grounds in the U.S. The United States Cricket Association says about a third of its members live in South Florida which has a large Caribbean population.

It will be used for recreational play, but the group plans to compete for the site to host some of the 2007 Cricket World Cup matches. The stadium could seat up to 30,000 fans. Construction will run through 2006.


Soybean loaded with nutrients

People around the world have enjoyed soy foods for more than 5,000 years. Some even claim Jack's bean stalk was soy. One thing is sure: Soy could be called a magic bean.

Well-established research shows that consuming soy products is a good way to combat high cholesterol when eaten as a part of a heart-healthy diet. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that those who ate a diet rich in foods known to lower cholesterol (soy, oats, and almonds) reduced cholesterol levels by almost as much as those taking a cholesterol-lowering drug. Researchers have focused on soy's high level of isoflavones . A study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that isoflavones reduce the risk of breast and endometrial cancer in women and the risk of prostate cancer in men. It can also reduce instances of hot flashes in menopausal women.

There's more. A half-cup of tofu provides 40 percent of the daily value of protein, a quarter of the daily value of calcium, and most of the daily iron requirement.

Soy products include tofu, soy milk, soy flour, soy protein (used to replace part of the meat in meatloaf, burgers, and chili), and soy meat substitutes.

Mocha Dessert

Pat dry two 10 oz. packages of tofu and place in a food processor with 2/3 C brown sugar, 5 T cocoa, 1 1/4 t vanilla, 1/8 t cinnamon. Stir 2 t instant coffee into 2 t boiling water and stir. Add to the food processor and mix until smooth. Place in small dessert dishes and cool until firm.


Balance yourself properly as you walk

Moderate exercise like walking does some very good things for your health, especially if you haven't exercised regularly for some time.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say that in order to get the benefits, it's important to walk correctly. Here's how to do it:

  • Hold your head up, keeping your chin parallel to the ground.
  • Don't hold your head forward because that will throw you out of balance.
  • Relax your neck, shoulders, back, and hands. Hold your shoulders back and down as you move naturally.
  • Let your arms swing easily with a slight bend to the elbow, and don't clench your fists.
  • Gently move your navel inward toward your spine. This will keep your stomach muscles slightly contracted and your back straight.
  • Try not to arch your back forward or backward.
  • Walk gently. Wear comfortable shoes when you take your walk.
  • Don't allow your heels to crash to the ground. Instead roll your foot from heel to toe.


    Protect your kidneys: Control hypertension, diabetes

    More than one in nine Americans have chronic kidney disease, and many more are at risk. The number of people with end-stage kidney disease doubled during the last decade, mainly because high blood pressure and diabetes are often inadequately treated.

    Most people with kidney disease are unaware of it because it's possible to function well at half of normal capacity. Over time, however, hypertension and diabetes accelerate the decline. Treatment requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Complications include heart disease, weak bones, and anemia. Everyone should be screened for hypertension and diabetes. Guidelines by the National Kidney Foundation say people with these conditions, a family history of kidney disease, and elderly African-Americans, Hispanics, or Asians, require two more tests:

  • A urine test for albumin which is caused by impaired kidney function.
  • A blood test for creatinine to estimate how efficiently the kidneys are functioning.

    Everyone, especially those at risk, can protect their kidneys by losing excess weight, exercising, not smoking, avoiding excessive amounts of over-the-counter pain killers (which are processed by the kidneys), limiting alcohol intake, and eating less salt and protein.

    Kidney damage can't be reversed, but its progression can be delayed or stopped with these measures.


    Most restful sleep

    If you're so pressed for time that you can only afford to sleep for four hours, go to bed after midnight. Studies at Stanford University suggest that early-morning sleep is more restful, and people fell asleep more easily.

    The early-morning trick could see you through one hectic time, but can't replace a full night's sleep. Ongoing sleep deprivation is dangerous.


  • Physicist's Warning

    IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PURCHASERS: The entire physical universe, including this product, may one day collapse back into an infinitesimally small space. should another universe subsequently re-emerge, the existence of this product in that universe cannot be guaranteed.


    Organic chemistry is the study of carbon compounds, biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that wriggle.

    Q & A

    Q: I'm 40 years old. I am in pretty good shape. When I jog, my heart rate jumps up to 150 after about 2 to 3 minutes. I was told this is the range I want to stay in if I want to burn fat however, I do not feel like i'm getting a good workout. Can you give me some facts on what range I should stay in for 20, 30, 40, 50 minutes to burn fat. Thank you, James

    A: You should be working at about a 70% of max heart rate for fat burning. Your max heart rate is 220 - Age, which for you is 220 - 40=180. Take 70% of that (180 x .7 = 126). So you're are a little high. The point for fat burning is to work at a sustained rate over a longer period of time. For cardio benefit work at a higher rate for a shorter time.

    Q: I do Martial Arts. I had torn ligamaments (knee) twice. My goals are better conditioning, flexibility, strength, strong leg muscles, and better knee stability.

    A: Aside from the strenth training, you might want to try yoga or pilates classes for the flexibility and control.

    Q: I am pregnant and running my 7th month. I was tested for blood glucose and it came out to be 155 as against the normal count of 140. I would like to know what dietary precautions should I take in order to lower the count. Looking forward for the reply.

    A: This advice should come from your physician. A personal trainer is not qualified to direct your natal nutritional requirements. You doctor will be able to advise you with respect to your pregnancy.

    Q: I am a figure skater so my quads and glut gets quite the workout! However, the back of my quad muscle does not seem to get as much of a workout! What are some exercises I can do to help build muscle there? Also, what are some exercises for the inner thigh? Thanks!

    A: Standard quad machine exercises will work all 4 heads of that muscle group. For inner thigh, the hip adduction machine works best. In each case, start with moderate weights and increase them by 10% per week.

    Q: I had a back injury about 5 years ago, and have never recovered. I've gained weight, which caused more back pain. I would like an exercise program which will strengthen my back while I diet. Even too much walking will cause me to have severe back pain. I have to lean against something or sit down until it passes.

    A: This is a medical condition to be treated by a Physical therapist or doctor and not a personal trainer. Talk to your doctor or have have him recommend a physical therapist.

    Q: Would you be able to tell me the volume of a pound of fat versus the volume of a pound of muscle? I have not been able to find the information anywhere. The reason I ask is because I have been working out and trying to lose weight at the same time, and it seems I am not actually losing any weight, but my body is slimming down. Thank you for your time, Gail

    A: A pound of fat is about the size of a melon. A pound of muscle ... is the same as a pound of steak.