Fitness Q & A
How can fitness centers reduce the risk of MRSA?The term "MRSA" (pronounced "mur-suh") stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Described as a "virulent superbug," several cases of MRSA produced a great deal of media attention, which resulted in a jittery public. MRSA isn't a new strain of staph, however; media reports brought more notice to it.
MRSA is transmitted mostly by skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin (such as cuts and abrasions), and contaminated items and surfaces. It occurs mainly in hospitals and healthcare facilities among people who have weakened immune systems. But MRSA can be transmitted in other places where many people congregate, such as fitness centers.
As a precaution, ensure that your fitness staff is trained in first aid and the recognition of wounds that are potentially infected. Establish a cleaning schedule for disinfecting exercise equipment on a regular basis. Also, encourage members to wipe the surfaces of exercise equipment before and after use, and post signage to that effect. Make disposable towels and spray bottles with a suitable disinfectant available. Suggest that members use a barrier when using equipment (such as a personal towel). Finally, advise members to keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered.
Will intense workouts impair fertility?The thought that intense workouts can impair fertility can be traced to a study that was published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. In the study, 16 healthy men with no previous infertility problems were randomly assigned to two groups: One group pedaled to exhaustion on a stationary cycle four days per week for two weeks, while the other group served as a control and didn't perform any activity.
After two weeks of exhaustive exercise, the experimental group showed significant changes in six of the 10 sex- and stress-related hormones that were examined, as well as most of the seminological parameters (such as sperm concentration). The control group showed no significant changes in their hormonal and seminological profiles.
Are the results of this study cause for alarm? Well, the changes in the experimental group were statistically significant, but they were "subclinical," meaning that the changes were mild and wouldn't be detectable by clinical testing. Also, all of the parameters nearly returned to pre-exercise levels within two or three days. And, despite the fact that the subjects in the study were "healthy," suddenly exercising to exhaustion eight times in two weeks — rather than gradually adapting to such an intense protocol — may have been a factor in the results.
Does vinegar 'burn' fat?A highly popular sports magazine contained an article about a running back in the National Football League and his efforts to maintain his body weight. According to the article, the player got down to 223 pounds, and then arranged a weigh-in with the trainer for the San Diego Chargers. He weighed 221 pounds "after chugging pickle juice en route to the team's facility (vinegar burns fat)."
Is this even possible? For the sake of argument, let's assume that the 2-pound loss of weight came entirely from fat (especially since it's pointed out that "vinegar burns fat"). At rest — or nearly at rest, such as driving a car — an individual who weighs 223 pounds uses about 1.77 calories per minute. One pound of fat has 3,500 calories. Under resting conditions, then, a 223-pound individual would "burn" 2 pounds of fat in roughly 3,946 minutes, or about two days, 17 hours and 46 minutes. So, unless the player drove to San Diego non-stop at an average speed of 60 miles per hour from somewhere like Fairbanks, Alaska — or another place that's about 3,642 miles away — it's simply impossible to "burn" 2 pounds of fat while driving a car. There's absolutely nothing in vinegar that could "burn" fat in any way. Nor is there any substance currently known that can "burn" fat.
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center