The Feel-Good Report
Little time, lots of gain
If the gym is your social scene, Concept 10 10 in Naples probably isn’t for you. “Some gyms look like night clubs,” says Jorgen Albrechsten, founder of the personal-fitness center. “We have no entertainment value. It’s only the instructor and the client. No TV. No music.” What it does have, however, is much more valuable: a once-a-week workout that lasts 15 to 20 minutes per session. But what it lacks in duration, it more than makes up for in intensity.
Albrechsten, who has put Concept 10 10 locations in eight countries, created a program featuring only six exercises. The magic comes from the instructor-supervised repetitions, which take 10 seconds to lift and 10 seconds to lower and feature strong weight resistance. The goal is to reach muscle failure in 90 to 120 seconds. “If you want to change your body, you must have strenuous repetitions.” This may sound like a crazy weightlifters’ recipe for bulked-up biceps, but Albrechsten designed it specifically for overall health. What people forget, he says, is that the cardiovascular system was designed to power the muscles; boost them and the heart is sure to follow.
The Truth About Stretching
Let’s say you have a big tennis match, marathon or golf game coming up. What’s the first thing you do to prepare for it? Stretch, right? Conventional wisdom stresses the importance of loosening up—both for performance and injury prevention. But our elementary school phys ed teachers lied to us; stretching actually hurts your game. According to Sports Illustrated: “Study after study has found that increased flexibility actually impairs performance … Imagine a Slinky: Each contact with the ground produces more bounce if the slinky is taut and tightly coiled as opposed to loose and stretched out.” Or, as we like to say, tight is right.
Drink Wine, Block Sun
We here at The Feel-Good Report are always on the lookout for reasons to imbibe a few glasses of vino. True, the reasons we find (such as celebrating Arbor Day) don’t always make the best sense, so we’re pleased when we discover a science-backed prescription for wine. Recent findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and featured on msnbc.com are especially apt for Southwest Florida because they suggest that the grapes in wine, or rather the flavonoids in the grapes, help prevent sunburn. When UV rays touch skin, they eventually kill skin cells. Flavonoids slow this process. Sure, you could probably just drink grape juice, but where’s the fun in that?
Whiten while you eat
If your smile has started to dim, but you suffer from dentophobia (the scientific name for dental fear, or so says Wikipedia), teeth-whitening treatments might not be in your future. There is hope for these poor souls. “Certain foods can help remove stains from your teeth,” says cosmetic dentist Dr. James Mitchell of Mitchell Dentistry in Fort Myers. “Foods such as apples, pears, celery, carrots, cauliflower and cucumbers produce saliva, which combines with the foods’ natural fibers to naturally clean teeth and remove bacteria.” Here are some more of Dr. Mitchell’s recommendations:
• Lemons will lighten and brighten, just as they naturally bleach your hair.
• Avoid drinking coffee, dark-syrup sodas and red wine and eating blueberries. All stain teeth quickly.
• Drink from a straw whenever possible. This allows food dyes to bypass teeth altogether.
• Baking soda will help remove stains and build up. Brush it on your teeth twice a month, just as you would toothpaste.
• Raw veggies are not only healthy to eat, but also they will clean your teeth and remove topical stains.
• The mechanical action of chewing sugarless gum can also stimulate saliva and clean teeth surfaces, though not recommended for patients with temporomandibular joint syndrome.
Coconut water? Check the label
Recently, coconut water has been advertised as a natural source for large amounts of electrolytes and nutrients; a great recharge after working out. Consequently, bottlers have begun mass-producing the stuff, hoping to score big in the health-food market. But are these newcomers to the natural-food market saviors or pretenders? “I have been disappointed with some of the coconut waters on the market that are diluted with other juices,” says licensed dietician Betsy Opyt, owner of Healthy Concepts Consulting in Naples. She goes on to say that it does have restorative advantages, as long as it’s not watered down. Yet there are many brands that are misrepresenting their benefits, according to a report in The New York Times. For example, both Zita Coco and O.N.E. Coconut Water contain fewer quantities of sodium and magnesium than they advertise on their labels. Opyt recommends Taste Nirvana as a post-workout beverage. “You can even see the pieces of coconut flesh floating in the water,” she says.
Listen up, ladies. If your husband is pressuring you into retiring, it might not be because he wants to spend more time with you. He could just want to live longer. A report on AARP.com says husbands’ overall health tends to improve after their wives retire. “Women tend to monitor their husbands’ well-being, making sure they eat right, go to the doctor, get some exercise, socialize,” says University of Missouri assistant professor Angela Curl, who surveyed 1,666 working couples for this study. Women’s health, on the other hand, doesn’t improve much at all when their husbands retire. Yet another piece of evidence proving men are useless.
Correction: In the August issue’s “Banish Pain” story, the last sentence quoting Dr. Robert O’Leary’s recommendations for treating carpal tunnel syndrome should have read, “The final approach would be surgery to decompress the nerve.” We regret our error of saying “… cut the nerve.”