Cover Story Plant Life On Fitness Northwest Living Taste


WRITTEN BY BY MOLLY MARTIN


Q. Can the position of bicycle cleats affect the muscles in your calves? I purchased some SPD cleats quite a while ago, and my calves continue to get sore. I have quite a bit of experience biking with toe clips and have done a lot of distance riding. I have moved the cleat position as far forward as it will go. Am I just building muscle, or is there perhaps a problem? I love the increase in power and speed, but wonder about the cramping.
- D.B.

A. If you indeed moved your cleats forward, you're asking more of your calves, according to Mike Eddy, a board member for the 5,000-member Cascade Bicycle Club (206-522-2453; www.cascade.org). Generally, Eddy said, you want to position the cleat so the ball of the foot is centered over the pedal spindle. Cleats too far back reduce the power you can generate. Finding just the right spot is admittedly tricky, since other factors also come into play: saddle height and position, handlebar size and position, shoe type, leg length discrepancies. "One of the things I dread most is when I have to get new cleats," said Eddy, who recommended going to a bike shop to check your all-around fit. He has more details on cleats and other equipment and training issues at the Web site for his coaching and fitness consulting business, meinnovations.com (425-869-2453).

Q. I have a Vitamaster treadmill I just bought at a garage sale. Please tell me how long to use it to benefit every day.
- R.M.

A. How you should use it depends on what you want to get out of it. The Surgeon General's recommendation for general health is to include a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) on most or all days of the week. Those 30 minutes can be accumulated through the day in sessions of 10 minutes or more. But if you haven't been exercising that might be too much, and if you have been exercising that might not be enough. You can adjust incline and speed to vary your workouts.



Fitness news you can use

Exercise and arthritis
"People with Arthritis Can Exercise" is a free seminar offered by Swedish Medical Center and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department as part of their Older Adult Walking Program. It will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Greenlake Community Center (7201 East Greenlake Dr. N.). Registration is required via 206-386-2502.

 
Little League elbow
For information from the American Physical Therapy Association on preventing "Little League Elbow" in young baseball players, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Little League Elbow, APTA, P.O. Box 37257, Washington, DC 20013 or go to www.apta.org.

 
Research update
People who had a heart attack but remained active had a 60-percent lower risk of having another one, in a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Those who increased their activity - from light gardening to jogging to more vigorous exercise - had a 78-percent lower risk. Researchers said the findings indicate patients should plan (with doctor approval) for home exercise to continue after cardiac-rehab programs end.

Contrary to popular belief, cooked, pureéd carrots do not lose their nutritional value, and may contain more health-giving properties than raw carrots, according to an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers at the University of Arkansas measured antioxidant levels in fresh and peeled/puréed carrots and found that the pureed had higher levels of antioxidants, which may help prevent some chronic diseases. Adding peels further increased the antioxidants.

 
One book that might be helpful: "Precor Presents Alberto Salazar Treadmill Training and Workout Guide," by Salazar, a former Olympic runner, and Len Sherman ($14.95; 800-528-2550). Another book that changed the way I use my treadmill and stationary bicycle is "Sally Edwards' Heart Zone Training" ($10.95), though to really use her guidelines well you'd need a heart-rate monitor - which I can recommend, if you like that kind of thing.

There are a few videos on treadmill training, including "Results Only: Treadmill Conditioning," which will be reviewed by a reader in an upcoming column. Three tapes in the series "Video Stride" offer scenic accompaniment in the Alps, Canadian Rockies and Hawaii. All are $19.95 each via 800-433-6769 or www.collagevideo.com.

You can find some tips on treadmill training at the Web site for Hebb Industries, which makes Trimline treadmills.

A follow-up response for the reader who wanted to have a muscle biopsy to determine her ratio of fast- and slow-twitch fibers: "I would absolute not recommend a muscle biopsy for muscle fiber type determination of this person," said Sally Blank, associate professor in the department of kinesiology at Washington State University. The amount of muscle taken, she said - about the volume of a pencil eraser - typically is from only one muscle, which isn't necessarily indicative of the body's 600-plus other muscles. "Muscle fiber composition is only one factor that may influence performance - and for most individuals, it is not a predominate predictor of performance." A more reliable indicator, Blank said, is a person's response to varied training programs.

Input needed: I plan to evaluate home multi-station weight gyms. If you have one already, please let me know the brand, cost, source and what you think of it.

Exercise and arthritis

"People with Arthritis Can Exercise" is a free seminar offered by Swedish Medical Center and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department as part of their Older Adult Walking Program. It will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Greenlake Community Center (7201 East Greenlake Dr. N.). Registration is required via 206-386-2502.

Little League elbow

For information from the American Physical Therapy Association on preventing "Little League Elbow" in young baseball players, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Little League Elbow, APTA, P.O. Box 37257, Washington, DC 20013 or go to www.apta.org.

Research update

  • People who had a heart attack but remained active had a 60-percent lower risk of having another one, in a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Those who increased their activity - from light gardening to jogging to more vigorous exercise - had a 78-percent lower risk. Researchers said the findings indicate patients should plan (with doctor approval) for home exercise to continue after cardiac-rehab programs end.

  • Contrary to popular belief, cooked, pureed carrots do not lose their nutritional value, and may contain more health-giving properties than raw carrots, according to an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers at the University of Arkansas measured antioxidant levels in fresh and peeled/pureed carrots and found that the pureed had higher levels of antioxidants, which may help prevent some chronic diseases. Adding peels further increased the antioxidants.

Send comments to On Fitness, Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98101 or e-mail mmartin@seattletimes.com. Molly Martin is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. She can be reached at 206-464-8243.

Molly Martin is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine.


Cover Story Plant Life On Fitness Northwest Living Taste

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