Sun-Sentinel – Jun 30, 2002 – Sharon Robb – Exercise President Recruits Pro Athletes to Promote Fitness – The White House is focusing its attention on fitness and sports through a new program, Be Healthier U.S.

Earlier this week, President Bush and the sporting goods industry announced the initiative, which promotes health and fitness for all Americans and urges them to get out and exercise more.

The White House Fitness Expo featured 20 different organizations with a number of interactive fitness-related displays. Some of the organizations were the NFL, NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball, the U.S. Soccer Federation, American Recreation Coalition, Department of the Interior, and members of North Palm Beach-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association International.

Before the Fitness Expo, the president introduced new members of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, including new chairman and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Some of the new council board members will include NFL All-Pro running back Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys), U.S. Olympic track and field gold medalist Marion Jones, fitness guru Denise Austin, U.S. Olympic softball gold medalist Dot Richardson and U.S. Olympic speed skating gold medalist Derek Parra.

Sweet news

Sugar might not be the most nutritious food around, but a recent Duke University Medical Center study reports that it has gotten an undeserved bad rap. Chances are, most people can remember their mother’s warning — don’t eat too much candy or other sweets. It turns out that, at least this once, mom was mistaken.

Richard Surwit, chief of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center, studied sugar’s effects on volunteers in a weight-loss program. Not only did subjects lose equal weight on calorie-controlled high-sugar and no-sugar diets, he found no negative side effects.

“Nobody reported any behavioral problems, any mood swings, any anxiety, any hyper-kinetic kind of behavior,” Surwit said. “Not only that, the sugar didn’t make people diabetic, it didn’t raise their blood sugar and it didn’t raise their triglycerides.”

Surwit said the misconceptions about “sugar highs” probably come from treats containing stimulants such as the caffeine in chocolate. Also, chocolate has been found to be an aphrodisiac. It can make you feel euphoric because it contains phenylethylamine and anandamide, a pleasure-inducing compound.

Slow down

According to a recent health study, listening to fast music while driving increases your risk of an accident. …

Eating fish regularly can help lower your odds of getting diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers, and it can boost your immune system. Just two servings of fish a week will help you get these benefits. The best source of omega-3s are dark-colored fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackeral, herring and sardines. Shellfish such as shrimp and lobster also contain omega-3s, which helps lower cholesterol and protects against heart disease.

Stay cool

Inhaling the scent of spearmint or peppermint will make you feel cooler fast. It stimulates the trigeminal nerve in the head which controls sensory perception. It’s also a conditioned response where minty smells are associated with cool things. …

Studies show sitting in a warm bath, sauna or hot tub can reduce body heat by as much as 26 percent. It opens the pores which helps the skin release heat more efficiently and that makes you feel cooler when you are getting out.

Water, please

Drinking soda and iced tea can actually make you feel warmer. The caffeine tightens the blood vessels which makes it harder for heat to reach the skin and be released. The best liquid to drink during the hot summer months is water. It helps your body work more efficiently with less effort. …

Experts recommend making an oatmeal and water paste and spreading it on sunburned skin. The oats contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help stop the damage caused by sun exposure, and rehydrates burned skin so damaged cells can heal more quickly. …

For cuts and scrapes, use honey before covering with a bandage. Studies show that honey destroys 100 percent of the bacteria strains that cause wound infections and speeds healing. …

A recent study shows that when women drank three cups of coffee daily, they nearly doubled their risk of osteoporosis. Caffeine is a diuretic. It not only flushes out water through your kidneys, it also flushes out the calcium. …

A study at the National Institute on Aging suggests that getting enough folic acid in your diet can help protect your brain cells against the DNA damage that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Experts recommend getting 400 milligrams daily from a supplement or foods such as enriched breads and pastas, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, and dry beans. …

Strawberry tea can have antiseptic qualities. …

If you have allergies and also suffer from hypertension, be careful about taking any over-the-counter medication to relieve sinus pressure. Products containing a decongestant formulated with pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can elevate the blood pressure. …

Chamomile is rich in natural anti-inflammatories that calm summer irritated or sensitive skin. …

Drinking four cups of green tea a day can help stop the signs of aging. Studies have shown that its antioxidants can prevent wrinkles. A Boston University School of Medicine also found that green tea reduced cancerous breast tumors in rats.

Around town

Sports psychologist Dr. John Murray is hitting the airwaves this week.

Murray, whose Web site Mental Equipment has been rated as one of the top 10 sports sites on the Internet, will make his debut on WAXY this week. Murray’s Mental Equipment radio program will air every Wednesday, from 10:30-11 a.m. on 790-AM.

Murray is a former international tennis professional and author of Smart Tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game. He is a sport psychologist for professional and Olympic athletes, and co-founder of Corporate Executive Insight which provides workshops, executive coaching, and consulting services to help executives and corporations achieve greater success.

After traveling around the world as an international tennis coach, Murray began to see a pattern. He recognized that “performance involves far more than skill.” He began to see that the most important, and often overlooked, factor to achieve success was not a strong body or talent, but rather the power of the mind. Murray’s talks center around self-confidence, controlling energy and achieving set goals in any and all areas of life.

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