Summer fitness news you can use


If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, continuing self-education is a must. Put on your thinking cap. Class is in session:

The plane truth: Exercise to avoid clots.

Emma Christofferson was 28 when she died. The cause was a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lungs - and she got it during a long airplane flight from Australia. Emma didn’t know what I am telling you now: During long airplane flights or onboard delays - four hours or more - the best way to prevent killer clots is simple physical movement.

Get up every hour or so and walk up and down the aisle a few times. Forget about what other people are thinking, unless they are federal marshals.

At your seat - and this is also good to remember for long car, bus and train trips - lift your knees, pump your calves, squeeze your thighs, do ankle circles and any other move that feels good to your kinked and tightened body.

You should also exercise restraint on long flights when it comes to zonking out with sleeping pills or alcohol. Both can immobilize you too much, for too long, and increase your risk of clots. On long flights, as in life, the more exercise, the better.

Save your eyes, avoid those pies.

Age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in older adults - is one of those conditions I am making a special effort to avoid. I’m already crazy about spinach, so that’s a big plus. I also believe in eye vitamins and serious sunglasses. Now I have something new to add to my understanding of what might help prevent macular degeneration: Eat less junk.

We all know what junk is. It’s the simple carb stuff - the cakes, pies, cookies, white bread and other processed foods rich in sugar or corn syrup that are quickly metabolized by our cells and fall into the category of foods with a “high-glycemic index.”

Eating too many high-glycemic foods has already been linked - and not in a good way - to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancers. The mechanism is too complicated to go into, so just remember these words: “poisonous to your cells.”

And now, a new important, though preliminary, study in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that eating lots of simple sugars may be linked to macular degeneration.

It would be shortsighted of me to tell you to avoid it altogether, but to protect your eyes and for a dozen other anti-inflammatory reasons, cut way back. Read labels. Eat real food - without extra sugars and corn syrup thrown in as cheap filler to satisfy the corn lobby and other corporate interests.

What’s in your interest is a diet rich in complex carbs, better known as fruits and vegetables, brown rice and other grains. You can eat better. It’s not that big a deal. Take responsibility for your own good health. Start today.

Ladies! Take stomach pain to heart.

“Two-thirds of women who have heart attacks die without ever knowing they’re having one.” I almost had a stroke when I read that in a recent issue of Health magazine.

The big news is that everything women have heard about how to recognize their own heart attack is wrong. All the research has been based on the male experience. It’s the men who get chest pain, pressure and pain down the left arm. Women’s first signs of heart attack are often entirely different: abdominal pressure, fatigue, nausea or heartburn, dizziness, shortness of breath, jaw, neck, back or upper-shoulder pain.

Did you know that?

A scarier question: Does your doctor know that?

Too many don’t. They hear a woman’s complaints, and instead of thinking heart attack, they think stomach upset, anxiety, depression. As a result, women often don’t get the proper tests or advice, and it’s downhill from there. According to Health magazine’s special report, “More than 450,000 American women die from heart disease each year.” Yikes! Ladies, now you know the warning signs of a heart attack. Don’t be shy about educating your doctor.

Marilynn Preston is a fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues. She welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to