What to Know About Rhabdomyolysis, the Potentially Fatal Condition Caused by Extreme Exercise

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/rhabdomyolysis

Last week, after a series of extreme workouts, three University of Oregon football players were hospitalized, one of them with rhabdomyolysis—or rhabdo for short—a condition in which muscle tissue breaks down so severely that the contents of the muscle fibers leak into the bloodstream and literally clog up your kidneys. It’s as awful as it sounds. Unchecked, it can lead to kidney damage, and in the worst case scenario, death.

The Oregonian reported that the players had endured grueling, "military" style workouts, including a session that involved up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up-downs (which are kind of like Burpees on steroids). But you don’t have to be an elite athlete to succumb to this condition. Anyone who regularly engages in super intense training sessions can get it.

“It’s a product of pushing well past your limits,” says Vijay Jotwani, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at Houston Methodist who serves as a team consultant for the Houston Astros. “You’re working hard, feeling the burn and go that next step—and another step, pushing far past the point of pain. Later, you have extreme muscle pain and swelling—much worse than delayed muscle soreness. You may also have dark colored urine. That’s because the [protein] myoglobin from your muscles has flooded into your bloodstream and your kidneys are overwhelmed.”

Though rhabdo is rare, some studies have found increasing incidents among the US Armed Forces. And with the rise in popularity of high-intensity, military-style workouts like those performed by extreme CrossFit enthusiasts, rhabdo has earned the nickname “Uncle Rhabdo” in certain CrossFit circles.

“It’s one of those situations that you don’t expect to ever happen, but it can happen, and you need to be aware of it because it can be life threatening if it does,” says Dr. Jotwani. We spoke with him about rhabdomyolsis factors that may increase your rhabdo risk. Below are a few steps you can take to stay safe.

RELATED: Yes, It's Possible to Exercise Too Much—Here Are the Signs

Tune in

The easiest way to avoid rhabdo is by listening to your body, building up intensity gradually, and giving yourself recovery time after hard workouts, says Dr. Jotwani. “This is especially important when you’re just starting out or coming back from a layoff or injury when it’s easier to overdo it,” he says.

Stay hydrated

“Rhabdo-related kidney damage comes from muscle protein and dehydration,” Dr. Jotwani explains. So make sure you go into workouts properly hydrated; and if you’ve had a very heavy workout, drink up afterwards. Also take care when you’re exercising in the heat, if you’re sick, or coming back from an illness—all scenarios in which you're more likely to be dehydrated.

RELATED: 6 Big Myths About Hydration

Be careful about competing

It’s extremely unlikely that anyone would give themselves rhabdo working out solo. But in a competitive environment? You may be more likely to push past searing pain to keep up, or impress. When your body says "stop," stop.

Go easier the morning after a night out

It might feel good to “work off” a hangover, but the morning after drinking is not the time to push for a PR. “Alcohol is a muscle irritant. Add in excessive exercise and you have a higher risk,” says Dr. Jotwani. Better to dial it down a notch rather than amp it up past max.

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Consider your meds

Certain cholesterol-lowering medications like statins can increase your risk for rhabdo, with higher doses posing higher risks. The relative risk, however, is very low: One case for every 100,000 people taking the drugs for an extended period of time.

Seek medical attention ASAP for symptoms

If you have any signs or symptoms, including severe muscle pain, swelling, stiffness, and/or dark colored urine, head to the hospital. The doctors there can screen your blood for markers of the condition such as high levels of the enzyme creatine kinase and if needed, start treatment immediately to minimize the risk of lasting damage.


Goat Yoga Is a Thing and It's Unbelievably Cute

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/goat-yoga

Goat farmer Lainey Morse is hosting sold-out goat yoga classes. Yes, you read that right: goat yoga. It’s not yoga for goats, but rather, yoga hosted in a barn or a field, with goats wandering around, looking for a back rub as you forward fold. Currently, more than 1,800 people are on a waitlist.

"Some people fly in, or drive 300 miles," says Morse. "We had a class in my barn when it was 25 degrees out."

It may seem silly to anyone who's not a goat lover, but it makes sense to Morse, who started offering the classes in August. She’s always felt there was something therapeutic about goats. They helped her through a rough patch in her life years ago, when she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome. Today Morse has eight goats—five miniature goats, one adult Boer goat, and two baby Boer goats—living on her farm in the Willamette Valley. Six of them are rescues.

RELATED: 12 Ways Pets Improve Your Health

“It’s hard to be sad or depressed when you have baby goats jumping around you,” Morse says. “I started having people over who were going though hard times or were distressed to hang out with the goats. I called it Goat Happy Hour because everyone always left in a good mood.”

When a yoga instructor who was visiting the farm asked to teach a class on the scenic property, Morse was completely on board. As word about goat yoga spread, classes started selling out and the waitlist grew. “Everyone who tries it says I’ve really got something special here,” says Morse. “It’s about disconnecting with the world and getting out in nature and interacting with animals.”

And the goats are loving it too. “They want to be where the people are,” says Morse. “They’ll walk around and sit on the mats and chew their cud, which is so methodical. They go into a sort of meditative state when they do it, and it’s really calming to watch.” Morse has partnered with Oregon State University to provide goat yoga to students this spring. 

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“I think the goats make people really happy,” says Morse, “and staying positive and happy has a big impact on your health.” Cute goats, nature, plus a workout? It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’d like to sign up for the waitlist and find out about special events, visit goatyoga.net. 


This 98-Year-Old Woman Is the Oldest Yoga Teacher in the World, and We Love Her Advice About How to Stay Positive

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/the-worlds-oldest-yoga-teacher-shared-some-incredible-advice-about-staying-positive

This article originally appeared on HelloGiggles.com.

I think we can all agree: A 98-year-old woman still healthy and strong enough to teach yoga every day has a thing or two to teach us about life.

Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98, is the oldest yoga teacher in the world, verified by Guinness World Records. She started practicing yoga as a child – nine decades ago – when she saw some boys doing yoga poses in India. After that, she says, she never looked back: Yoga has been a part of her life ever since, and she is sharing her wisdom.

The most important thing about yoga, Porchon-Lynch says, is breath: It connects us to our bodies and allows us to be mindful and positive in our life.

“Yoga is done with the breath. It means ‘union with your inner self,’” she told the Huffington Post. “When you breathe, you tune into the inner self, and you’ll find it opens up your whole life. And that’s what yoga is all about.”

For Porchon-Lynch, positive-thinking and breath are linked – and maintaining positive thoughts is the most important thing we can do for our health.

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“Never put negative thoughts in your mind because it goes right into your body,” she said. “When you wake up in the morning, say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life.’ People say I changed their life. I didn’t change their life. I just taught them to use their breath.”

In dedicating nearly a century to yoga, mindful living, and positivity, Tao reminds us: Pause, take a moment – and breathe.


Being Brooke Stacey

The latest from: http://www.womenshealthandfitness.com.au/lifestyle/motivation/2173-being-brooke-stacey


We chat to February 2017 cover model Brooke Stacey about all things about self, body and fitness love.


On self-love

Self-love is so HUGE! It can start at a young age and grow with you or it could have never been established and you have to find it and create it. At the end of the day we all want to be loved and feel good about ourselves. It is so easy to compare our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths and feel bad about our self. The key to self-love in my opinion is to maximise our own potential by strengthening our weaknesses, and embracing, sharing and nourishing our strengths. When you realise and own that there is only one you and no one can replace that, you can also delight in the gifts you are given to share with the world. When you love yourself, it is a positive cyclical reaction and will be seen in everything you do and will be felt by everyone you touch.

On body love

Body love can be so tough for women. Our bodies go through so much in our lifetime between puberty to childbearing years to post-menopausal years. It is so important to put your health first throughout your life, to embrace and pull through all of these challenging times in our lives. When you take control over your health, you feel better about yourself physically as well as mentally and spiritually. When you feel good about yourself, and have a positive body image of yourself you can perform all tasks with greater ability. I think it is important to control the controllables and maximise your own potential to be the best you. After you do that, you can’t help but love all of the gifts and differences we all have and share at the same time.

On fitness love

I have always found mental peace in moving my body physically. I think it is important to participate in the activities you gravitate towards the most to keep you interested long term. My favorite activities are resistance training in the gym along with being outdoors, running, hiking, cycling or swimming. As much as I love the consistent routine of lifting weights at the gym, I equally love the outdoors. I try to get outside on the weekends to keep my body and mind awake and interested. I also think it is crucial to try new things and branch outside of your comfort zone. Humans are meant to move and be active. It is an integral part to our overall health and wellbeing. It is not easy, but when you commit to it and realise the long-term benefits, it is ALWAYS worth it!

NEXT: Read her full cover model story in the 2017 edition of Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine!




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How Your Smartphone Ruins Your Workout

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/smartphone-workout-setbacks

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Smartphones can be a valuable tool for getting fit. They can count steps, play fitness videos, help us track our progress and connect us with workout buddies and coaches, both real-life and virtual. But when it comes to phone use during a workout, recent research suggests a few reasons to leave your device alone: Texting or talking on the phone while exercising can worsen your balance and workout intensity, according to recent research.

One new study, published in the journal Performance Enhancement & Health, found that texting during exercise impacted balance and stability by 45%, compared to not using a phone. Talking on the phone made balance 19% worse—less than texting, but still significant enough to contribute to injuries, say the authors.

“It could lead to you possibly falling off the treadmill, or if you’re walking outside, falling off a curb and rolling your ankle or tearing your ACL,” says Michael Rebold, lead author on both studies and assistant professor of integrative exercise science at Hiram College.

Another study, published in Computers in Human Behavior last year, found that people who texted during a 20-minute workout spent almost 10 of those minutes in a low-intensity zone, and only seven minutes in high intensity. Those who worked out without a phone spent only 3 minutes in low intensity, and almost 13 minutes in high intensity.

This might seem like common sense; it’s not news that cell phones distract us. But Rebold says he was a bit surprised by the extent to which cell-phone use messed with people’s performance. “The studies were done on college students, and you’d think that, being born in this digital age, they’d be able to multi-task somewhat better than that,” he says. “If we’re seeing these severe impacts even on younger generations, I can only imagine how older adults might be affected.”

Both studies looked at very specific measures: One tested 45 people on balance platform, while the other tested 32 people on a treadmill. The researchers can only speculate as to how their findings may translate to other activities, but they say their studies call attention to the potential drawbacks of mixing exercise time with mobile screen time.

The good news is that listening to music on a cell phone had no notable impact on balance, so exercisers should feel free to use their tunes, says Rebold. In fact, his earlier research has shown that listening to music during exercise can boost workout intensity and enjoyability.

Just try to have your playlist planned out in advance, so you can avoid too much screen interaction while you’re actually moving. “Anything that distracts you from the task at hand, whether it’s texting or switching songs or entering info into an app, is going to take away from your performance and could potentially put you at risk for injury,” says Rebold.

In other words, save your calls, texts, and any unnecessary fiddling until after your sweat session. And if the buzzing in your pocket is too tempting to ignore mid-workout, try leaving your phone behind.


8 Things No One Tells You About Losing Weight

The latest from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2017/01/12/weight-loss-instagram-accounts-weight-loss-before-and-afters_n_14248298.html

You’ll Need to Revisit Your Spending Budget

A photo posted by Rachel Graham (@losinggravity) on Dec 7, 2016 at 11:47am PST

”I didn’t a…

Read more: Health, Weight Loss, Diet, Weight Loss Tips, Instagram Weight Loss, Weight Loss Before and Afters, OWN News


Repealing Obamacare Would Take Insurance Away From 32 Million Americans and Double Premiums

The latest from: http://www.health.com/mind-body/obamacare-repeal-cbo-report

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

As Congress marches down the path to repealing the Affordable Care Act, a new independent report highlights the steep costs of dismantling President Obama's signature domestic legislation.

About 32 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare is repealed, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and 18 million would lose insurance in just the first year after repeal. Furthermore, premiums in the private individual health insurance market (which is broadly contained within Obamacare's state and federal marketplaces) would skyrocket over time, rising anywhere from 20% to 25% in the first new plan year and then sharply rising over the next decade.

"The increase would reach about 50 percent in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and the marketplace subsidies, and premiums would about double by 2026," wrote the report authors.

The CBO analysis is based on H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, which would nix the health law's unpopular mandate that everybody be required to buy insurance and also scrap the federal tax subsidies that the vast majority of Obamacare enrollees receive. It would leave in place the law's popular insurance market reforms, such as the ban on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and certain mandated benefits.

The overall takeaway from the CBO analysis is that, without the stick that is the tax penalty for lacking coverage, the individual insurance market would face major disruptions and be forced to hike premiums in order to cover people who can wait to buy insurance until they get sick.

GOP leadership immediately pushed back on the report, noting that it assumes a repeal without a replacement.

Still, Congress has yet to coalesce around an ostensible alternative. And the CBO report, combined with growing momentum among Republican lawmakers (and President-elect Donald Trump) to pair repeal with a replacement plan to minimize disruption, may spur more action on that front and give the cost-scoring agency an actual piece of health care legislation to analyze.


How to Make Your Resolutions Last All Year

The latest from: http://www.health.com/mind-body/keep-new-years-resolution

Did you resolve to make a change this year? Whether your goal was to eat healthier, run a marathon, or finally start meditating, keep those shiny new resolutions and avoid backsliding with these proven strategies from Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits—to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life ($16; amazon.com).

1. Name it

Aiming to be fitter or healthier is a laudable goal, but what does that mean? "Choose a goal that is concrete and measurable and tied to an actual behavior," says Rubin. Examples: You want to be more active, so you’ll walk your dog every morning in the park. You want to eat better, so you’ll snack on fruit instead of chips.

2. Know yourself

Ask, "What kind of person am I, really?" If you’re not a morning person, don’t resolve to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym before work—that approach is not only unrealistic, it’s going to fail fast. Rubin suggests recalling past successes to clue you in to what will work for you.

RELATED: How to Make Over Your Worst Health Habits

3. Plan for failure

Things are bound to go wrong along the way (you’ll attend a party and be surrounded by to-die-for cupcakes, say). The key is to anticipate those challenges and make an if-then plan, notes Rubin. For instance, tell yourself: "If there are cupcakes at this party, then I’ll take one, relish every bite and walk away."

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4. Show yourself some love

"When you feel energized and cared for, it’s easier to resist temptation," says Rubin. So beyond basic self-care, make sure you’re regularly treating yourself in healthy (i.e., not food- or shopping related) ways: Do a crossword puzzle when you drink your coffee, or burn a scented candle.

5. Reframe it

People sometimes feel "done" when they achieve their goal, says Rubin. "Don’t think of it as a finish line. Consider it just one milestone out of many," she says. Think about how you can build on your original goal so you have a new target to shoot for—even before you reach the first one. That way, the good-for-you momentum will carry on


The Top 7 Ways Fit People Injure Themselves at the Gym

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/gym-mistakes

YouTube is full of gym fails; think exercisers falling off treadmills, misusing strength machines, and wearing wildly inappropriate clothing. But most workout mistakes are a little less…obvious—and they aren't made only by people who are totally clueless about working out. Your friend who runs 20 miles a week or the woman you always see at the weight rack can be just as prone to errors that lead to injury as a gym newbie. Here, physical therapists reveal the seven most common ways their patients—even the super-fit ones—hurt themselves while working out. 

They don't bother to warm up

It's tempting to skimp on a warm-up when you're time-crunched and want to maximize your precious gym minutes. Bad move: “The worst thing you can do is start cranking out the weights without getting your muscles ready,” says Karen Joubert, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based physical therapist. That’s especially true when you work out after a day at the office, when your muscles are tight from eight hours of sitting. 

Get your body ready for action with a dynamic warm-up. David Reavy, a Chicago-based physical therapist, gave us one of his favorite moves: Get into a lunge position, then fold your body forward to touch your toes. This lengthens the hip flexor in your back leg and engages the posterior chain (a group of muscles in the back of your body). (Check out six more dynamic stretches to prep you for any workout.) 

They work themselves too hard

You just hit a back squat PR—and immediately add two more plates to the barbell to try to max it out even more. “We think if we lift heavier weights and push ourselves harder, we’re going to see quicker results,” says Joubert. “But really we’re going to see quicker injuries.” Her advice: “Play smarter, not harder.”

But how do you know when the time is right to take it to the next level? Wait until workouts start to feel too easy, says Reavy, and then focus on moving up gradually. If you’re running 3 miles at an 8 minute pace, for example, either up your distance by a mile or two at the same speed, or run faster for the same distance. The same goes for weight training; either bump up reps or pounds. “You have to give your body time to adapt to a new challenge,” Reavy says. 

RELATED: Jillian Michaels' Total-Body Blasting Workout

They let their form break

Can't eke out one more deadlift without rounding your lower back, or one more squat without leaning forward? Best to either lighten your load, or even call it quits for the day—lifting with poor form opens you up to injury, says Reavy. When you're lifting weights, remember to keep your spine straight and weight in your heels, and if you're unsure whether you're keeping correct form, enlist the help of a trainer. 

They push past the pain

Is it muscle soreness or something more serious? Here's a rule of thumb: Soreness may linger a day or two before going away, but pain persists, says Joubert. Soreness also tends to be relieved by stretching and movement, while an injury will actually get worse. And if you get a pain that is sharp and shooting, then you know you’re causing some damage, says Reavy. “Or any pain that travels, like something that starts in your leg and moves up.”

That said, muscle soreness could be a bad sign as well, especially if you notice it in one leg and not the other, says Reavy. This could be a sign you’re compensating on one side for an injury on the other.

While you may be tempted to really push yourself to reach results, the key is to check in with your body and take a breather if something feels off, says Joubert. The bottom line: working through the pain doesn’t make you stronger; it makes you injured. 

They don’t take a recovery day

In the same way it’s important to take a break when your body is hurting, it’s also crucial to give yourself some regular R&R. While skipping a workout or taking a day off may seem counterproductive to your goals, “It’s actually just as important, because you won’t see changes if you don’t give yourself a break,” says Joubert. “If you push your body in that gym every day, what happens is it starts to tear down, because you’re not giving the muscle cells time to rebuild and grow.” She recommends focusing on adequate hydration, getting plenty of electrolytes along with clean foods, and resting.

That said, a recovery day doesn’t need to be a lazy day. Reavy actually likes to have what he calls “mobility days,” which involves a combination of activation exercises, muscle releases, and mobilization workouts. To activate his muscles, he revisits his go-to functional warm-up. Then, he releases tension in various parts of his body using a foam roller. Finally, he gets to the main event, mobility training, mainly focusing on his hips and pelvis. Here are two of his favorites that you can try out for yourself:

Ilium Mobilization Against Wall: Place the back of your hip against a wall so that the back hipbone is firmly pressed into the wall. Keeping your spine neutral, bend forward as far as you can only at the hip, while maintaining the firm pressure of the back hipbone into the wall. Return to the starting position. Repeat.

SI Mobilization Backbend: Place one foot behind you with the heel slightly raised. Reach back with the arm of the same side and place a fist on the center of your sacrum. Lean back as far as you can so that your spine is extended. This is the starting position. Rotate your upper body to the side you are mobilizing, and return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides.

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They don’t cross-train

As obsessed with SoulCycle as you may be, doing one workout—and only one workout—will backfire eventually. “If you’re doing the same thing over and over again, even you’re using your body properly, you’re strengthening the same muscles over and over again which can lead to tightness,” says Reavy. You might also wind up with an overuse injury, like tendonitis or shin splints, Joubert says.

As an alternative, they both strongly suggest cross training. And when choosing your mix of exercises, just be sure you keep them balanced. “Your body needs to lengthen and shorten its muscles,” Reavy says. “So if you’re often lifting heavy weights (shortening), go take a yoga or Pilates class (lengthening) as a counterbalance.”

Cross training is really a win-win, says Joubert: You’ll see better results, and your body won’t get burned out by doing the same thing constantly.

They wear the wrong shoes

Different shoes are best for different kinds of workouts. Running shoes are designed with flexible fabrics and for straight-line motion, so wearing them to, say, a boxing class that requires side-to-side bounding sets you up for a rolled ankle. Invest in a set of cross-training shoes—your body will thank you. 


What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You on Twitter

The latest from: http://www.health.com/mind-body/doctor-twitter-endorsements

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Cancer doctors with Twitter accounts have something else in common: more than 70% of them receive funding from drug companies, according to a new research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

In the study, researchers identified 634 hematologist-oncologists who were active on Twitter and looked up whether they received personal payments from drug companies, unrelated to research or grants, in 2014. Most of them did: 72% received payments from drug companies and 44% were paid more than a thousand dollars. Payments received by the doctors in the study ranged from $100 to more than $50,000 in a single year.

The topic has fascinated study author Dr. Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor of medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University, ever since he noticed that cancer doctors were tweeting about drugs and clinical trials. He and his team didn’t analyze the content of the tweets in this study, so they can’t show whether the doctors were tweeting about drugs from those companies—and whether the doctors’ conflicts of interest influence what they share on social media.

However, Prasad says his team is currently answering that question in a second study, and while the research is still ongoing, Prasad says the practice is prevalent. “It is 100% happening that doctors who have conflicts of interest are tweeting about those specific drugs,” he says.

Regulatory agencies have struggled to come up with rules on promoting prescription drugs through social media. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced voluntary guidelines for companies on how to present the risks and benefits of a given product online, even with character restrictions. Among them are suggestions to post messages about risks with a hyperlink that can direct people to a more detailed listing of side effects. Currently there is no official guidance for doctors on social media.

The study authors say that their findings raise the important issue of whether, and how, a doctor’s conflict of interest should be disclosed on social media like Twitter. Prasad says he thinks doctors should disclose their conflicts in their social media bios and consider flagging them when tweeting about drugs or clinical trials by companies they are paid by.

“Although there are cancer drugs with tremendous benefits, most cancer drugs have marginal benefits and real risk and harms,” says Prasad. “People deciding what treatment is right for them are in a tough situation. If part of what’s shaping your view of these drugs is the opinion of thought leaders on Twitter, then I think you have the right to know if they are paid by drug companies.”


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