IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  December 1, 2002

Beer - a Food Group?

We received a question the other day about including beer and alcohol in the Glycemic Index tables. True they do have a glycemic value. The person was fairly confident that it should be included and felt that it would increase public awareness of alcohol's nutritional value. Well that's a debatable subject. Does including beer on fitness charts contribute to the awareness of beer's nutritional value or does it condone the use of it. Considering alcohol's 7 calories per gram, it might be a good idea to include it. However, alcohol is not a food source. It has no nutritional value. Inclusion of beer and alcohol in the Glycemic tables might be analogous to including cocaine, which I'm sure has a glycemic rating also. Both are addictive; one is legal; one is illegal. To put all of this in a different perspective, if we included cocaine, wouldn't that assume that we are expecting the reader to use it and if we include beer, aren't we also condoning that consumption. The bottom line is we don't regard alcohol as a necessary nutrient or even a worthwhile one.

Too Hot Baby!

A letter came in a few months ago from an avid 16 year-old cyclist with a resting HR of about 55 bpm. He was on a ride and became concerned when his heart rate jumped to 205 bpm and leveled off to around 100 bpm after about 15 minutes of rest. He wasn't out of breath nor did he feel light headed. He did indicate that it was summer and he was in Arizona. First of all, since we are not medical people here, it's always a good idea to get a doctor's checkup. Even 16 year old can die of a heart attack. Given a clean bill of health by his physician, and given the environmental conditions, the answer here may be dehydration. If you are in a desert climate, like Arizona, it can get not only very hot, but the lack of humidity can easily and quickly cause dehydration. Being in a state of dehydration can raise the heart rate and blood pressure also, but not necessarily both. In a dry climate, you won't be aware of the sweat since it evaporates quickly. Even a dose of caffeine (one can of cola) could be a contributor to tachycardia (rapid heart beat) in a hot dehydrated condition. It doesn't pay to sit and worry about it; that can raise the heart rate alone. See a doctor and call me in the morning.

Heavy, Man

I like to run. I just don't do it everyday. Running is a high impact exercise. It can start off medium to low but as you become fatigued, you lose the ability to adjust the impact. Generally, high impact is understood to be actions, which produce dynamic forces on the body. I would further clarify high impact as those actions causing dynamic forces to exceed at least 2.5 to 3 times the static weight. Without being a rocket scientist, a 150 pound person standing still is still 150 pounds. When that weight moves in a downward direction (in the direction of gravity), the forces can be multiplied many times depending on the speed of the object (foot, hand, body) so that 150-pound person may become a 300 pound person or even 500 pounds. The joints and connective tissue were not designed to withstand repeated forces of such magnitude.

There's not much data readily available on the subject because there is a cumulative effect as well. The body can withstand isolated instances of high impact with subsequent micro fractures. However, repeated impact can cause the micro fractures to widen and spread further. Chronic injury will result. This is why running everyday without rest periods can be damaging. Whenever a body utilizes gravity from any height even a few inches, acceleration becomes a factor. Since we do aerobic activity very often, we need to be conscious of the dynamic forces we are subjecting ourselves to. Of course, we are all subjected to dynamic forces on varying levels throughout the day from job or other related activity. Each person's bone density is different. Joint strength and health varies. So it is important to minimize high impact to avoid injuries that may not manifest themselves until old age.

The key to avoiding the shock is the same principle used in industrial design ... shock absorbers. Good shoes are important as well as learning how to land so that the hip, knee and foot are slightly flexed. This allows the muscle to absorb the shock in a spring action rather than the immobile joints. Remember, with enough force, even a straw can be driven through the mightiest oak.

Q & A

Q: I generally workout on the leg press but I have been experiencing some groin pain lately. The doctor told me that I have a pulled muscle and recommended wearing a supporter. What do you think is the best kind of supporter to get?

A: I can't say that I have the basic knowledge to help you in this. I would, however, choose a name brand and try a couple of different ones to determine comfort level. You should not be continually experiencing pain. The muscle pull should heal fairly quickly. If you're still experiencing pain, you might want to have another doctor check it out. Leg Press exercises are notorious for causing Inguinal Hernias, of which the pain does not subside and is only correctable by surgery.

Q: I have been asked to teach aerobics at my local YMCA. I have been taking the class for sometime, but to actually teach the class is different. I'm not sure of what "cueing" means or the proper music to purchase, etc. or how to plan a routine and to keep the class interested and challeged. The class is a M/W/F sessions. Help!! I start Monday!!

A: You can't become an instructor in 2 days. First, you have to learn the concepts and then you have to learn to apply them. My suggestion would be to begin teaming with another instructor. Read the aerobics section of our Fitness Training Manual (online). Let someone else take teach that class for now. You are just going to set yourself up for failure.

You will find that taking a class and teaching a class are two completely different things. You need to know when each phrase of music begins and ends and adjusting the routine to match those beginnings and endings so that the end of the routine falls exactly on the end of the phrase of music. Cueing is knowing when tell the class of an upcoming change to the routine based on the phrase of music. This needs to be practiced and cannot be learned primarily from a book or any seminar. Don't practice on yourself, instead use a friend.

Intelligence may work against you. Don't rely on it for dance. Let your body do the listening and thinking for your brain. Put on the music and just get into the beat, something that you enjoy. You can start to tap to the beat and even anticipate the top of the beat. Try it with music that you gives you that "special feeling". The one that just gives you all that energy in class or on the treadmill. It will come to you naturally and when you stop thinking about it. Just enjoy the music and your body will take over.

UPDATE: She did a great job! Congratulations.