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  • How to Find the Right Pair of Running Shoes

    Does the shoe fit? There are so many different brands of shoes out there. Which one is the right one for you? Shoes vary in shape, technology and certainly pricing. Does it mean the most expensive shoe will protect your feet and body the best? Not necessarily.

    First, before we talk about shoes, lets look at those feet of yours. I'm sure you've heard of low arch verse high arch. This is so important because no one is perfect and we either lean one way or another. Either way this discrepancy can place a great strain on your ankles thus increasing risk of sprain. High arches can increase inflammation under the foot called plantar fasciitis, which can only be resolved with extensive physical therapy. Low arches can place undo strain on your knees and low back. Now that we've established the importance of correcting your arch, how can we find out which you are without seeing a doctor?

    One simple way is by looking at an old pair of shoes with leather bottoms. Look at the back of the shoe. If they are worn out on the outer side, you have high arches. If they are worn out on the inside, you have low arches.

    What if you don't see anything? Don't worry there is another way. Take a piece of brown paper towel. The brown part is important. Place one sheet on the floor. Wet your foot and place your foot on the towel. Slowly lift up. You should clearly see your forefoot, toes and heel. If the middle section is very slim, you have high arches. If it is very thick, you have a low arch.

    Now that you know what kind of arch you have, we can move forward with the right shoe for you. Obviously, if you lean toward low arches either buy a shoe with a good inner support and slight arch. Or if you have a nice pair of shoes then just buy an insert to give support.

    For those with high arches, you should look for a shoe with a good mid-sole cushion to help absorb the shock during running. You can also search for a minimal shoe. These shoes give you the sensation of running without shoes on. However, with this shoe a good regime of calf stretching is required to help decrease the arch and minimize injury. For women, try to limit your time in heels. This can decrease ankle range of motion and promote the arch.

    Again, the pricing of the shoe isn't so important. It's important to learn about your body individually to know how to meet its needs. By doing this you can minimize chance of injury now and any future chronic issues.

  • Super Bowl XLVII Highlights

    Curious to know what transpired during Super Bowl XLVII? Read on and find out!
  • When Should You Doubt Your Personal Trainer?

    If you are getting great results with your certified personal trainer, there may be no reason to doubt him or her at all.

    However, if by chance you stumble upon a trainer you are having some doubts about, it may be time for a reality check. After all, not all trainers can be trusted.

    Here are some warning signs you should look out for:

    • There is no chemistry-a trainer's primary goal is to motivate you to be able to train to the best of your ability. If you cannot establish some sort of chemistry or rapport with your trainer, then it may be time to look for somebody else. If you feel that a clash in personality is brewing, it is better to bail early than suffer in the long run.
    • Your trainer is not in shape-would you take exercise and nutrition advice from a personal trainer who has a protruding belly? Of course not! Size up your potential trainer carefully. If he or she has the figure you are aiming for, it may be your best bet to get his or her services.
    • You are not learning anything-trainers are also teachers. You should be able to apply the knowledge they impart on you on those occasions when you work on your fitness goals independently. The more practical the fitness advice a certified personal trainer dispenses, the better. Not being able to absorb and apply much-needed fitness know-how from your trainer can be a recipe for disaster down the track.
    • The first thing your trainer mentions is money-this may be indicative of what is really important to a trainer. For him or her, profit may take precedence over your well-being and this is definitely not worth it.
    • You are constantly getting injured-feeling sore or getting injured is not unavoidable. However, if these nagging injuries become repetitive in nature, there may be something wrong with your fitness programme.
    • Your trainer is always late-if your trainer doesn't know how to respect your time, then he or she is simply not worth it.
    • You're not being challenged enough-simply going through the motions will not deliver spectacular results. If you feel this is the case, then let your personal trainer know so the necessary challenges can be made. Otherwise, it may better to bail out and seek professional help elsewhere.

    There are other warning signs to look out for, and they are relative in nature. The important thing to remember is to always go with your gut. If you are not getting the results you desire no matter how hard you try to pay attention to all of the other intangibles-good nutrition, enough sleep and sound supplementation-then it may be time for a reality check.

    Your certified personal trainer is just one way of helping you conquer your fitness goals. If your trainer simply isn't working out according to plan, you may be better off getting a new one.

    No doubts about it.

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    The impact and development of physical appearance in children and youth.
  • Power Balance Bracelets, The Interview

    Recently we published a lengthy article detailing my experience with these new "Balance Wristbands". This blog is a follow-up to that article with some feedback from the Australian Head Office of Power Balance.

    First, a bit of a run-down on the previous article. Although the article was not solely focused on Power Balance (there were references to other brands such as Bionic Balance and Phiten), a fair portion of the article was focused on Power Balance. This is because this particular brand is probably the most prominent brand in the industry. Their product is characterised by the holographic sticker on the silicone wristband.

    Within the article, I explained the "demonstrations" that I underwent, scritinised the validity of these experiments and then proceeded to investigate the evidence behind these products.

    Based on my observations, experiences, research and discussions, I concluded that:

    • There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that these product assist with strength, balance or flexibility (as previously suggested by Power Balance before their advertising was forced to be retracted by the ACCC)
    • These products are bogus
    • Their demonstrations are misleading and not a valid way to measure the effectiveness of these products

    The only benefit I concluded with this particular brand is that by paying $60 (or so), you are effectively paying for the placebo effect, which can be powerful and greatly beneficial to you.

    I would suggest reading the full article, entitled "Do Balance Wristbands Work?"

    The Power Balance Interview

    Now we move on to part two of the story. As mentioned within the article, I contacted Dr Rob Milne asking him a series of questions about the Power Balance product. He instructed me that "All press related information has to come from head office". He was kind enough to forward me the contact details of Tom O'Dowd, who answered all my questions.

    Here is the full interview. I have not edited my questions or Tom's responses. I have however made some comments (in italics) as food for thought and these comments did not constitute any part of the interview:

    Jay: What is the Power Balance product supposed to do?

    Tom: This will be different for each person, because everyone has a different life experience, whilst we strongly believe that there are a number of common factors, we do not any longer state what we think the benefits are, we allow the user to form there own judgment. If they are not happy there has always been a money back policy.

    Comments: Interesting, a very vague description of the benefits of the product. More interestingly, the name of the product "Power Balance" tends to suggest that this product assists with power and balance (well, at least that's my interpretation). Previously Power Balance touted that the benefits of this product were to aid in balance, flexibility and power, before being pulled up on it by the ACCC. Now, this product "will be different for each person".

    Jay: How does this technology work?

    Tom: This is a proprietary process and we do not divulge that information.

    Comments: At the convention, Dr Rob was more than happy to discuss the special frequency of the Mylar technology embedded within the Power Balance bracelet. Dr Rob further suggested that this special frequency helps in improving balance. I find it interesting that this information cannot be released "officially".

    Jay: Rob mentioned that there is currently no peer-reviewed literature on the product. If there is, please provide details. If not, why do you support this product?

    Tom: I strongly believe in this product and so do Power Balance users all over the globe, I have seen more than enough and experienced more than enough for me to support this product. We do not have any peer reviewed literature, I would have thought that this would have been more than obvious from the corrective notice on our web site. We never claimed at any stage to have scientific double blind or peer reviewed support.

    With respect, it appears to me that you are going at the angle that there is no scientific peer-reviewed evidence, however just to be 100% clear, this has been extensively documented in the press and by the regulatory authorities..And it has also been reported that we have admitted that our product is a scam or that it doesn't work, this is however totally incorrect, we have never stated that our product doesn't work, and we do stand behind our product and our beliefs.

    Comments: Clearly there is no peer reviewed literature. At best, people "strongly believe in this product". I find it interesting how defensive this response seems to be. I simply asked why this product was supported if there was no peer-reviewed literature on the product. From what I can see, it seems the answer is because Tom and others "believe in this product". I'm sure many of us would want to "believe in this product" if it was going to make us some considerable financial gains!

    In all fairness, yes, I am sure that many people do believe in this product. And that is why there was a strong reference to the benefits of the placebo effect in my prior article, Do Balance Wristbands Work?

    Further, I do not disagree with what Tom has said where he mentioned "we have never stated that our product doesn't work". True, the official statement reads "We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct..." Semantics? I'll leave that for you to decide.

    Jay: Have you ever considered performing a double-blind test of your own?

    Tom: This is not within our charter, we are a distributor of the product, testing is a responsibility of Power Balance LLC in the United States

    Comments: I can only speak personally, but if I were going to invest a considerable amount of money into a product, I would want to know whether or not it works in an objective manner!

    Jay: Has your company ever considered funding an independent double-blind test of this product?

    Tom: Yes we had considered this, however it is not within our charter

    Comments: After receiving all the bad press on this particular product, one would think that some research ought to be carried out in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the product. Again, I am only speaking personally, but if I launched a product that I strongly believed in also, I would be that convinced of its effectiveness that performing an inexpensive double-blind study would be right up the top of my priorities. Imagine all the positive publicity you would obtain once you proved all that bad press wrong? Further, imagine the discussion that such research would ignite and hence potentially boost sales through the roof?

    I appreciate Tom being a good sport and providing us with some insight into the Power Balance Wristband product. Unfortunately, his answers were too vague to change my opinion on this particular product.

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