Thursday, April 22, 2010

Play Soccer, Have a Cherry-Beet Sports Drink, and then a Massage

Cherries for Recovery
Here are a few recent articles on interesting fitness topics:

Marathon Runners Should Pick Cherries for Speedy Recovery

Cherry Juice May Prevent Muscle Damage Pain

Tart cherry juice is a well known folk remedy for arthritis and other aches and pains, and it's good to see science supporting and exploring its use.

Beetroot Juice Boosts Stamina, New Study Shows

Will this be the new acai?  Will it be banned from the Olympics?  How do beet juice and cherry juice taste together?

Soccer Reduces Risk of Falls and Bone Fractures, Study Finds
An extensive research project has studied the effects of soccer on muscle strength, postural balance, bone mineral density and reflex response to a sudden push in the back among adult women and men. Five scientific articles are now being published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports showing that regular participation in soccer increases both bone mass and bone density, causes a significant improvement in standing postural balance and improves muscle strength. Together, these effects reduce the risk of falls and bone fractures.
Soccer is a great example of exercising the entire body in a wide variety of movements. It doesn't just require moving quickly, but changing speed and direction quickly, shifting weight, coordinating moving the body and reacting to external stimuli (the ball and other players).  This is very much like the ideas of functional fitness, including exercising while standing, and doing exercises involving the entire body.  Plus, it's fun and social, which is very motivational.

Note this one bit in comparison to running:
Interestingly the short- and long-term training effects on bone mineral density were greater for the soccer players than for a similar group of runners and an inactive control group.
While running is great in many ways, it does lack variety.  Do some cross-training if you run, especially weight training.  Through the rainy season here in Palo Alto I've been using a treadmill on days too soggy for bicycling(I loathe riding in rain) and have fun tossing around a medicine ball and pulling resistance bands as I move.

Shopping for Happiness? Get a Massage, Forget the Flat-Screen TV
This isn't strictly about massage, but it does support the value of the experience beyond the direct health benefit.

Image by Sujit Kumar

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