Vitamin B-12, a co-factor used by enzymes involved in fatty acid metabolism, helps form myelin sheaths, which surround nerves. Deficiency of B-12 causes these enzymes to not function properly. Consequently, unusual fatty acids with branched chains accumulate in the myelin around nerves and demyelination occurs, causing nerve damage, or neuropathy.
B-12 deficiency causes neuropathy manifested by numbness and tingling, or paresthesias, according to “Office Practice of Medicine.” Numbness and tingling occurs at the tips of the toes or balls of the feet. Progressively, tingling spreads up the lower legs. Sensory loss occurs over both feet, ankle reflexes are lost and weakness of moving toes upward occurs, which is best seen in the big toe. Vitamin B-12 deficiency-induced neuropathy occurs with low normal levels of B-12.
As neuropathy worsens, it becomes more severe in the legs than the arms. The sensory deficit distribution follows a stocking distribution, meaning that if a patient with B-12 deficiency puts on a stocking, it would cover the area involved.
By the time tingling reaches the upper shin, tingling occurs in the tips of the fingers. The sensory deficit distribution follows the pattern of a glove.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency results in an acquired severe condition known as subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord. Since the cervical, or upper spinal cord degenerates, the neuropathy appears first in the hands, followed by numbness of both feet, as occurred in the 38-year-old woman reported by Dr. Kshitij Mankad in “The American Journal of Medicine.” Patients often become unsteady and have difficulty with balance and gait. Vitamin B-12 injections can cure this illness, if they are started within a few months of symptom onset.
It’s possible to have a broken foot and continue with your normal exercise routine, but it’s not recommended. Bone fractures need to be stabilized to give them time to heal properly. You’ll most likely wear a brace to immobilize your foot and need to stay off it for a period of time. With crutches or a walking brace however, you can create a workout plan to keep yourself in shape while your foot heals. Always defer to your doctor’s orders when planning an exercise regimen when you have broken bones.
Find exercise plans that are not weight bearing such as swimming. As long as you aren’t fitted with a cast, you can get in the water and easily keep your weight off your broken foot, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hold on to the sides of the pool and kick your legs. Use a kickboard if you feel pain when standing in the water. Lay your legs over the kickboard and perform swim strokes to work out your upper body. Stay in the deep end of the pool and tread water to work up an aerobic heart rate while building upper body and leg muscles.
If you have a stress fracture, your doctor may allow you to continue with weight-bearing exercises on alternate days. Resume normal exercises slowly, gradually building up the intensity and duration of the activity. The more pressure you place on the fracture, the more likely you are to increase the break and incur additional complications. Avoid intense high-impact exercise and instead ride an elliptical trainer every other day and work out on a stability ball doing crunches and pushups on alternate days. Always include a rest period of at least 48 hours between specific workouts while your broken foot heals.
Improper or worn out footwear may have played a role in your injury. Even if it didn’t, when you resume exercising, you’ll want to make sure you have the right kind of shoe to support your foot properly and prevent complications while your broken foot continues to heal. Ask your surgeon about orthotics to place in your shoes to ensure you maintain a proper gait. Additional padding in your shoes can soften the stress your weakened foot undergoes, allowing you to begin walking and slowly return to running, jogging or sports that require more high-impact foot placement.
A stationary bike is the safest form of cycling during the first four to six weeks of your recovery from a broken foot. On a stationary bike, you don’t run the risk of falling or having to rely on your injured foot to prop you up. Cycling on an upright or recumbent stationary bike is effective for building thigh and calf muscles you’ll need to support your body as you resume more normal exercise activities. You can get your aerobic workout with very little impact or strain to your injured foot. Consider taking up cycling outdoors once you’re recovered if you are prone to problems with your feet.
Players look forward to breaking in new soccer shoes at the beginning of every season. This is necessary to mold quality leather shoes to your feet over the life of the shoes. Top-end kangaroo leather, thin yet strong, makes an ideal soccer shoe upper to take the shape of your foot. These shoes require care and preparation before you can use them in live game play.
Purchase soccer shoes that are a half size to a full size smaller than what you normally wear. Check that the shoes are made of leather that will stretch to mold to your feet. You want the leather to hug the curves of your foot so that you have a better touch on the ball.
Wear the shoes on soft grassy ground with the same equipment you would wear in a game. Put on your soccer socks and shin guards, so that when the shoes start to take shape, they will form to the shape of what your foot will look like during the game. Do light exercises, such as walking, jogging, dribbling and juggling to begin to break in the leather.
Shower with your cleats and soccer socks on. Use warm water, as this will help to loosen up the leather. Keep the shoes on as they begin to dry, as this is when the leather will begin to form to the shape of your foot. Stuff the inside of the shoes with balled-up newspaper when you take them off, which will absorb excess water and retain the shape of the shoe.
Rub petroleum jelly or leather food onto the uppers to keep the leather soft and help prevent the formation of blisters.
Wear the shoes to practice before wearing them for a game. Bring an extra pair, so that you can wear the new cleats for a short period of time and then switch out of them. It will be much more difficult to change cleats if they begin to create blister during a game as opposed to a practice setting.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade promise better athletic performance, but in some cases they¡¯re not really necessary. Water does the trick in many cases. In fact, there¡¯s a reason Gatorade is called a sports drink;-it was developed to help athletes involved in a rigorous football training program. Everyday exercisers don¡¯t necessarily work out with the intensity or duration needed for the carbohydrate and electrolyte benefits of Gatorade.
You don¡¯t necessarily need a sports drink to replenish your body during short workouts, says David K. Spierer, assistant professor of sports sciences at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Water usually works just as well¨Cespecially if it¡¯s ice cold, because it empties from the stomach faster that way. When you exercise for more than an hour, however, you need to replenish your electrolytes. ¡°At that point in time you start to see a little bit of a decrease in sodium and potassium. Replenishing is helpful,¡± he says. Examples of electrolytes are calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium, according to the National Cancer Institute. Sports drinks with 4 percent to 8 percent carbohydrate and 0.5g sodium/L are more effective than water for the longer bouts of exercise, according to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Gatorade is a 6 percent carbohydrate beverage.
Hydration during exercise is important. The body¡¯s best defense against overheating is sweat evaporating from a person¡¯s skin and water evaporating from the respiratory system. Adequate hydration is critical for temperature regulation and maintaining blood volume. Too much fluid loss can cause dehydration. Becoming dehydrated impairs athletic performance because it increases fatigue. Fluid losses of as little as 2 percent body weight can hamper athletic performance, according to Gatorade Sports Science Institute. The American College of Sports Medicine and National Athletic Trainers¡¯ Association recommend hydrating before exercise as well as during and after workouts, whether it¡¯s with a sports drink or water. The standard recommendation is 500ml two hours before activity, 150ml to 250ml every 15 to 20 minutes during activity, and 450ml to 675 ml for every 0.5kg of weight loss a person experiences after an activity.
A University of Wisconsin study found that people who drink Gatorade and walk on a treadmill for 90 minutes in hot conditions have a lower rate of perceived exertion than those who drink water. There¡¯s good reason for that in cases of prolonged exercise, reveals a Texas Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs report. Using a drink that provides carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement along with fluid leads to better carbohydrate utilization in the body–and thus better exercise intensity during prolonged timeframes–when compared to either water or no fluid intake. The council also concluded that using an electrolyte replacement makes for better hydration than water during prolonged exercise.
Gatorade is more appealing than water to many people because it tastes good. People, especially children, are likely to drink more fluid during sports if the drink is flavored, according to a Texas Medical Association report. Most fluid and electrolyte replacement studies show that kids and grown-ups often don’t meet their fluid needs during exercise. “If you’re going to encourage children and young adults engaging in sports activities to drink fluids, remember that they will drink more volume of a flavored drink than they will plain water, if both are offered,¡± report author Michael E. Speer, M.D., told USA Football. Speer is a former TMA Council on Scientific Affairs chairman.
Sports drinks have become a multibillion-dollar, heavily-marketed product. Some of the biggest sports stars are recruited to promote them. In 2000, Gatorade brought in over $2 billion in sales, and since its introduction many new competitors have come onto the market. Sports drinks are more expensive than water or alternatives such as diluted fruit juice, are not needed for every workout, and also can have consequences if overused. For example, the Texas Medical Association reports a case of potassium-induced ventricular arrhythmia in a football player who took in 5g potassium daily due to sports-drink overuse, meaning his heart rate or rhythm became irregular. Sports drinks such as Gatorade are also higher in calories, says the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation.
University of Florida researchers started testing a drink that combined water, electrolytes and carbohydrates on the Florida Gators football team in 1965. Their goal was to prevent cramping and dehydration. The drink, now called Gatorade, is credited with helping team members increase endurance and improve from a 7-4 record in 1965 to 9-2 record along with an Orange Bowl championship in 1967, according to USA Football.
Perhaps you were once a competitive runner, a heavy lifter, a football quarterback or a dancing queen. But as the demands of work, kids and life crept in during your 30s and 40s, fitness fell by the wayside. Colin Milner, founder of the International Council of Active Aging, told Experience Life that just one in four people over the age of 50 exercises. This takes a toll on health, weight and independence. However, your body is resilient and will adapt to the challenges you put on it. It’s never too late to regain what you’ve lost. You may not run at the same pace or lift the same size weights you did as when you were 20, but you can get your body back into impressive shape at 50. Use this time, when your kids are more independent and you’re more secure in your career, to spend some time working on you.
If you don’t exercise, you’re guaranteed to lose muscle mass, become more inflexible as muscles and connective tissues tighten, and experience an increased risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Men start to experience lower levels of testosterone while women are usually in some stage of menopause. These hormonal changes affect how quickly muscle grows and where fat accumulates. It takes longer to build muscle at age 50, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Women may notice that fat accumulates more in the midsection, but you can mitigate that gain with dedicated exercise and smart dietary choices. Although these complications loom large, your body isn’t as much of a barrier to returning to fitness as your mind. Getting yourself back into shape requires some humility as you remember where you were and realize how far you let yourself go. If you’ve lost significant stamina and strength, you’ll have to start slowly and moderately and build back up over time. The good news is that your ego will recover once you see your body start bouncing back.
Before you embark on a new exercise program, consult with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any conditions that will complicate your efforts and require specific precautions. Arthritis, menopause and heart disease can provide added challenges, but don’t preclude exercise. Certain medications can also affect your exercise tolerance and stamina, too. Schedule one or more sessions with a fitness professional to give you some direction when you’ve taken a long hiatus from exercise. Science changes, so the workouts you did in football practice 30 years ago have likely been improved upon, and a trainer can help enlighten you as to more current trends. A fitness professional can also help guide your form and discourage you from pushing too far and causing injury. At 50, your back, knees and other joints may not be as resilient as they once were. You’ll also benefit from structured sessions that provide optimal recovery. Your need for recovery also increases at 50. This means you may need more time between workouts and commitment to a healthy amount of sleep.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, lifting weights is essential to regaining your fitness at age 50. Strength training helps stimulate and regulate testosterone release. It also mitigates the natural loss of muscle that occurs with aging and curbs weight gain in the belly. Regular strength training strengthens the bones and helps offset osteopenia and osteoporosis. Aim for at least two sessions per week with at least 48 hours between training specific muscle groups. Include exercises in your regimen that target your core strength and balance, which diminish with age. For example, do biceps curls while standing on one foot. Another important strategy to get back into shape at 50 is cardiovascular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, weekly. Once you’ve mastered this level of exercise, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise sessions to work towards the your final fitness goal. The CDC notes that 300 minutes or more of cardiovascular exercise per week elicits greater health benefits.
When you were younger, you may have neglected optimal nutrition and still saw performance improvements and aesthetic benefits from exercise. In your 50s, nutrition is paramount to getting those same results. A diet that consists primarily of whole, unprocessed foods fuels your body optimally and discourages the accumulation of belly fat. Include lots of colorful fruits and vegetables in your menu plan because they contain micronutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants that assist in the reduction of inflammation and enhance recovery from workouts. Your daily metabolic rate usually reduces after your reach the age of 50, even if you exercise, so you may notice that you can’t eat as much as you used to without gaining weight. Nutritional deficiencies from an unhealthful diet may make you feel like you can’t get back into shape. If you feel sluggish or experience frequent injuries and illness, it’s not an inevitable result of aging. Be sure you’re getting optimal levels of calcium and vitamins D and B-12. Make these nutrients a priority by consuming foods such as fortified milk, yogurt, and lean meats and fish. Dehydration can also make you feel sluggish and unable to perform at the gym. As you age, thirst sensors diminish so you’ll consciously have to stay hydrated.
As a man you may want to have lean, sculpted muscles that let you rip off your shirt without any hesitation. When you start to gain excess body fat you might find that it shows up in your chest and gives you man breasts. Through exercise you can reduce your body fat levels, increase your lean muscle mass and build a sculpted chest. Use daily cardio exercise combined with two to three strength training sessions per week to see results.
Cardio exercise is the foundation for any weight-loss program. You can’t target fat loss from your chest, but you can use cardio to burn calories and reduce all of your body fat. Use high-intensity cardio exercises to get the most out of your workouts. At high intensity your body burns more calories and loses more body fat than when you exercise at a low- to moderate-intensity level. Alternate between a few types of cardio exercises to keep your workouts interesting and to avoid hitting a weight-loss plateau. The American Council on Exercise recommends mountain biking, water sports, martial arts, hiking and boxing as effective fat-burning exercises. Other effective cardio exercises include running, skiing, team sports — like basketball and football — and cycling.
The dumbbell fly can be performed on a weight bench or an exercise ball. The dumbbell fly targets your entire chest, along with your stomach muscles. Start on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your knees. Hold the weights directly over the center of your chest with your arms straight. Place a small bend in your elbows to avoid locking your arms. Slowly lower the weights to the sides of your body until your arms are even with your chest and parallel to the floor. Lift the weights back upward and repeat until you can no longer complete a full repetition. Use weights that are heavy enough to make six to eight repetitions challenging.
Inchworms exercises use your body weight to strengthen your chest muscles. Start in a standing position with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Bend only at your waist, while keeping a slight crease in your knees, and touch the floor with your hands. Slowly walk your hands away from your body until your back is in a straight line. Once you are in this position, perform one full push-up. Walk your feet in toward your hands until your body creates an upside down ¡°V.¡± Start the exercise over by walking your hands outward again and performing another push-up. Continue doing inchworms until your muscles fatigue.
The bench press can be performed using a barbell with added weight plates or with two dumbbells. This exercise starts in the same position as the dumbbell fly, on your back on a flat surface. Face your palms away from your body and position your hands over your shoulders. Bend your arms and lower the weight until it almost touches your chest, then press back upward. Continue exercising until you reach muscle failure.
It’s only natural to want the best when it comes to safety gear for your child — after all, Seattle Children’s Hospital estimates that a proper helmet reduces the risk of bike-related head injury by 85 percent. Whether wearing a helmet is the law or your personal safety precaution, the safest children’s bike helmets are the ones that are fitted, worn and replaced properly for the most protection.
Fit is one of the most important components of helmet safety. Your child could be wearing the best and most sophisticated helmet made, but if it doesn’t fit properly, the helmet can’t protect properly. Help your child try on a variety of helmets. The safest helmet is one that sits level on the head, with the front of the helmet ending two finger widths above the eyebrow. The straps should be even and lay flat against your child’s head, while the buckles should be fastened tightly enough that you can fit one finger in between your child’s chin and the straps.
Although you may be tempted to use an all-purpose helmet for all of your child’s activities — wearing a motorsport or hockey helmet instead of a bike-specific helmet, for example — check to make sure that your child’s helmet information specifically states that the helmet has been tested for multiple sports, cycling being one of the tested and approved sports. Bike crashes typically involve head-first falls, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics. If a helmet hasn’t been tested specifically, it’s not safe, even if it works for other activities.
Buying a safe helmet for your child isn’t a “one-and-done” deal. As your child wears, transports and stores the helmet, it can become weaker. Similarly, if your child has experienced a fall, it can create cracks and dents in the outer material of the helmet, making it no longer safe. Look for other signs of wear, such as fraying straps or chipped polystyrene. Although both hard shell and soft shell helmets are safe and approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hard shell helmets usually last longer. When a helmet begins to show signs of wear, it may not be as safe as one in better shape. Helmets that are damaged or too small for your child should be replaced.
The CPSC mandated industry-wide standards for bike helmets in February 1999. Although all helmets manufactured and sold in the United States after that point should meet CPSC standards, always check for the CPSC seal or logo on the helmet information and materials. Be wary of purchasing helmets overseas, where safety and manufacturing regulations may not be as stringent. A safe helmet is one that is built, tested and manufactured according to strict regulations.
Fencing, a unique combative sport that is part of the Summer Olympics, pits two sword-wielding competitors against one another in a contest of skill and athleticism. Each fencer attempts to touch the other with the tip of his sword to score touches, or points. All fencing competitions must follow a few basic rules to ensure not only competitive balance but also the safety of all participants.
Fencing competitors must wear the necessary proper equipment, including a face mask, a fencing jacket, a pair of fencing pants to protect the legs and a fencing glove that covers the sleeve on the sword arm. Officials will check participants before each bout to make certain the equipment reaches all safety standards. Fencers must also wield approved weapons, whether a foil, saber or epee.
Fencing utilizes a simple scoring system, awarding one point for each time a fencer touches his opponent with his weapon. Depending on the manner of competition, bouts may last five touches with a time limit of three minutes or 15 touches and a time limit of nine minutes, according to the rules of the U.S. Fencing Association.
A fencer must touch his opponent in an approved target zone of the body to register a point, with the target changing depending on the weapon used. In epee fencing, contacting anywhere on the opponent¡¯s body registers a touch. Sabre fencing limits the target zone to the torso, meaning anywhere above the waist. Foil fencing reduces it even further, restricting the target area to the trunk only and removing the arms and head from consideration.
Fencers compete on a long, narrow strip of material and must remain on the fencing strip at all times. The strip, or piste, must be 46 feet long and measure between 5 and roughly 7 feet wide. The strip contains a center line, two on-guard lines roughly 6 feet from the center line and two lines marking the rear limits of the strip roughly 23 feet from the center line.
If a fencer steps beyond the strip¡¯s legal side boundaries, the official will award 1 meter, or approximately 3 feet, of ground to the opponent on the restart. Stepping beyond the strip¡¯s rear limit results in an awarded touch to the opponent. Officials may also award touches to the opponent if a fencer attacks with both hands, if a fencer doesn¡¯t obey instructions or if a fencer displays poor sportsmanship or overly violent behavior.
In volleyball, a middle hitter is an attacking player who specializes in hitting the ball over the net from the middle part of the court. Middles are also critical as blockers, so can also be defined as defensive players. Middle hitters can hit the ball from in front or behind the setter. Learning how to be an effective middle hitter requires practice and determination. Specific drills designed for middle hitters will help provide the necessary skills.
Hitting the ball over the net in combos will teach the middle hitter footwork and how to transition quickly off the net. The coach tosses a ball to a passer, who then passes it to the setter. The setter sets the ball up for the middle hitter, and he deposits it over the net. As soon as that first ball hits the floor, the coach tosses a second ball to the passer. The middle hitter must move away from the net quickly to get into position for another set. The coach can determine how many combinations to use.
Timing is critical for middle hitters. Hitting for repetitions is a good way to build muscle memory and endurance for middle hitters. This drill can be performed before a match, or before or after practice. Line up a few middle hitters with a setter just to the right. The coach passes the ball to the setter, who sets it to the middle hitter to deposit over the net. The player who hits the ball over then goes to the other side of the net to retrieve the ball, before returning to the back of the middle hitter line. The drill continues with the next hitter in the same fashion.
A slide in volleyball is a single-leg take-off when jumping up to hit the ball. Slides can be an effective tool because the opposition can¡¯t be certain where the ball will be set, and the attacker can hit the ball at different heights and speeds. To practice, the coach should toss a ball to the setter, as the middle hitter begins moving toward the setter. The setter makes a quick set and the middle hitter adjusts the speed of his approach to hit off a one-foot take-off. Place one or two blockers on the other side of the net to make the drill more realistic.
During a fast-paced match, it is important for a middle hitter to identify how many blockers are on the other side as the play develops and make the necessary adjustments. The coach will toss a ball to the setter, who sets the ball to the middle. The defenders will either set a double block, or move away from the net to play defense. The middle hitter must tip the ball to an empty spot if the defender blocks, or spike the ball if the defender moves off the net.
Basketball players need shoes with good grip and traction to maneuver the quick turns and direction changes that occur during a game. Indoor playing surfaces can easily become slick and hazardous. The bottoms of shoes can become covered with a thin layer of dust or dirt that will cause the shoes to slip against the floor. Keeping surfaces clean and utilizing techniques to provide more grip can help players to be safe and move better on the court.
Clean the bottom of basketball shoes often with a damp cloth. Basketball shoes used for indoor playing should never be worn outdoors. Even when they are only worn inside, they attract loose dust and dirt very easily.
Sweep basketball courts regularly with a dust mop to minimize dirt and dust.
Try shoe grip enhancers such as sticky mats or grip lotions designed to add a small amount of stickiness to the bottom of shoes. Sticky mats are stepped on before players enter the court. Grip lotions are poured onto a towel that the players step on. Hair spray can also be sprayed on the bottom of the shoes to help them stick better to the floor.
Moisten the bottom of the shoes when they start to become slick. Some players lick their hand or run their hand through sweat and wipe it on the bottom of the shoes. Using a damp cloth while on the sidelines will also have the same effect.
Replace shoes when the soles start to become worn. Basketball shoes are designed to have plenty of traction, but over time the tread starts to wear down.