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Fitness corner

You may have noticed it on the fringes of your gym: the trainer coaxing a client to stand on a squishy Bosu ball while simultaneously lifting dumbbells; or, back on terra firma, the muscly type who's not just lifting a sizable amount of weight but kind of jumping and shrugging to heave it from the floor to shoulder level or higher.

Fitness corner: What’s under your shirt? An ab-solute disappointment?

The annual Beach Body propaganda begins sometime in the dead of winter. That's when the prospect of summer sex appeal is used to mount a crusade for the grail we're all supposed to covet: washboard abs, chiseled, chain-mail six-packs that channel sweat like Paul Newman on a shirtless road gang or that tuck inside a swimsuit in sleek silhouette.

Exercise Q&A: Breaking the boredom barrier

Q: I’ve recently changed gyms. However, I’m discovering the new gym and I are a poor fit. I need more variety. At my former gym, I had access to a pool, indoor running track and group classes as well as the usual assortment of cardio machines and weights. At the new gym I’m left with only the (admittedly excellent selection of) cardio machines and weights. I’m not able to do much cardio outside due to exercise-induced asthma. Do you have any tips for staying motivated on a cardio machine for ...
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Caffeine and kids: A safe mix?

Caffeine-infused waffles and maple syrup are being promoted as energizing alternatives to a morning mug of coffee. But the recent craze of adding caffeine to a range of kid-friendly snack foods — including popcorn, chewing gum, candy bars, mints, Cracker Jacks, jelly beans and ice cream — is raising enough concern that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an investigation of caffeine’s possible health effects on children and adolescents.

Daily sunscreen use slows signs of aging skin

LOS ANGELES — As if reducing the threat of skin cancer was not enough, scientists report that they have shown using sunscreen daily can slow the signs of aging skin — even into middle age. Skin ages as people age, obviously. The sun is a major culprit in the skin’s deterioration. Signs include wrinkles, of course, but also deterioration in texture and an increase in visible blood vessels.

Study: Babies born after moms’ weight loss surgery are healthier

WASHINGTON — Of the many powers mothers wield, few are more extraordinary than the power to nudge a child’s health prospects in one direction or another simply by having incubated that child in her womb. Research is uncovering more and more instances in which a pregnant woman’s own health issues powerfully influence those of her child. A new study demonstrates this is especially true of her weight status, and shows that weight-loss surgery can change the picture dramatically. Research has already shown that the children that obese women bear before ...

Health tips

Dark chocolate: A recent study by Italian researchers may add new meaning to those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that are a favorite of Valentine sweethearts. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate every day can reduce the inflammation that leads to heart disease, according to the study, which was published in the September issue of The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at Catholic University in Campobasso, Italy, and the National Cancer Institute of Milan found that people who eat dark chocolate regularly have lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood, an ...

Fitness corner: Start shoulder maintenance 101 right now

There’s no reason to wait for an injury to pay attention to your shoulders (particularly the rotator cuffs), your upper back and the muscles that assist them. Below, four experts offer advice about how to keep the shoulder healthy.

Parents remain confused about babies’ medicine

A new study shows parents widely hold the mistaken belief that they should use over-the-counter cough and cold medicines on babies under age 2, despite doctors and federal health officials advising against it as far back as 2006.
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Surprising number of teens think they’ll die young

CHICAGO — A surprising number of teenagers — nearly 15 percent — think they're going to die young, leading many to drug use, suicide attempts and other unsafe behavior, new research suggests.

Bulk up with a diet that’s high in fiber

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Six months ago, Don Stahlhut of Oakland, Calif., went on a high-fiber diet per the suggestion of his nutritional coach. Stahlhut, 65, had a family history of heart failure and was taking three medications for high cholesterol.
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How to care for your bones throughout life

DALLAS — Bones are the body's first lines of defense. They protect the brain, heart and lungs and anchor the muscles. They keep us mobile. And all they ask in return is our support to keep them strong: good nutrition, weight-bearing exercise, calcium and Vitamin D.
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Consumers devouring nutrient-spiked foods, drinks

MILWAUKEE — From heart-friendly margarines to sugary cereals that strengthen bones, once-demonized foods are being spiked with nutrients to give them a healthier glow — and consumers are biting, even on some that are little more than dressed-up junk food.