Sahar Gul, a 15-Year-Old Afghan Girl, Is America's Pet Rock

From one of the alleged main objectives for the war in Afghanistan to a cumbersome pet rock weighing down our country's mighty rucksack:

The Bush Administration

"Three years ago, women were viciously oppressed and forbidden to work outside the home, and even denied what little medical treatment was available. Today, women are going to school, and their rights are protected in Afghanistan's constitution."
President Bush's remarks in a press conference with President Karzai of Afghanistan
The Rose Garden, Washington, D.C.
June 15, 2004

"Under the Taliban, women were oppressed, their potential was ignored. Under President Karzai's leadership, that has changed dramatically. A number of innovative programs designed in collaboration with the Afghan government are increasing the role of women in the private sector."
President Bush's remarks in a press conference with President Karzai of Afghanistan
The Rose Garden, Washington, D.C.
June 15, 2004

"In January, Afghans approved a new constitution that protects the right of all Afghan citizens, including women. ...they agreed upon a fundamental law that respects tradition and establishes a foundation of modern political rights, including free speech, due process, and a vote for every citizen."
President Bush's remarks on Development in Afghanistan
Washington Convention Center
May 18, 2004

"...the women and children in Afghanistan have a much brighter future because we removed a barbaric regime that refused to even educate young girls."
President Bush's remarks
Buffalo, New York
April 20, 2004

"Women were given no rights. Young girls did not go to school. It was a barbaric regime. ... People are [now] free in that country."
President Bush's remarks on Freedom for the People of Afghanistan
Hershey, Pennsylvania
April 19, 2004

"Now the country is changing. There's women's rights. There's equality under the law. Young girls now go to school, many for the first time ever, thanks to the United States and our coalition of liberators."
President Bush's remarks on the National Economy
Appleton, Wisconsin
March 30, 2004

"Today, the Taliban regime is gone, thank goodness. Girls are back in class. The amazing accomplishment, though, is that Afghanistan has a new constitution that guarantees full participation by women. The constitution is a milestone in Afghanistan.s history. It's really a milestone in world history, when you think about it. All Afghan citizens, regardless of gender, now have equal rights before the law."
President Bush's remarks on efforts to globally promote women's human rights
March 12, 2004

"The Afghan people, especially Afghan women, do not miss the bullying and the beatings and the public executions at the hands of the Taliban."
President Bush's remarks to the Australian Parliament
Canberra, Australia
October 23, 2003

"The Afghan people face continued struggles in rebuilding their government and the nation. But the days when women were beaten in the streets and executed on soccer fields are over."
President Bush Presses for Peace in the Middle East
Remarks in Commencement Address at the University of South Carolina
May 9, 2003

Sahar Gul's Reality

KABUL (Reuters) - A 15-year-old Afghan girl was brutally tortured, beaten and locked in a toilet by her husband's family for months after she refused to become a prostitute, officials said Saturday.

Sahar Gul was in critical condition when she was rescued from a house in northern Baghlan province last week, after her neighbors reported hearing Gul crying and moaning in pain.

According to police in Baghlan, her in-laws pulled out her nails and hair, and locked her in a dark basement bathroom for about five months, with barely enough food and water to survive.

"She was married seven months ago, and was originally from Badakhshan province. Her in-laws tried to force her into prostitution to earn money," Rahima Zarifi, head of women's affairs in Baghlan told Reuters.


Despite progress in women's rights and freedom since the fall of the Taliban 10 years ago, women throughout the country are still at risk of abduction, rape, forced marriage and being traded as commodity.

However it can be hard for women to escape violent situations at home, because of huge social and sometimes legal pressure to stay in marriages.

Running away from an abusive husband or a forced marriage are considered "moral crimes," for which women are currently imprisoned in Afghanistan.

Some rape victims have also been imprisoned, because sex outside marriage, even when the woman is forced, is considered adultery, another "moral crime."

The Obama Adminsitration

Yet while Clinton's commitment to keeping women front and center is clear, the White House's interest in deploying political capital on Afghan women's behalf is far less certain. Women received no mention in Obama's December 2009 West Point speech announcing the ‘surge' of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and the President referred to them only once in last month's address regarding the withdrawal timeline for those same forces.

Around Washington human rights advocates and policy wags wonder whether Clinton and her State Department have any chance at winning their fight to help women gain a substantive role in the nascent reconciliation process. Does the United States really intend to veto a peace deal that leaves women out and puts the Taliban in, particularly given the eroding public support for the war and the growing desire for a swift Afghanistan exit?

Already there are signs that political realism may trump American ideals. Those familiar with Obama administration thinking say that the White House wants to be able to point to concrete achievements in the country in the run-up to 2012, while wrapping things up in Afghanistan "at any cost" -- and that a far more narrow definition of American interests in the region is in the offing.

As one senior administration official told the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekran, "Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities...There's no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down."

The Secret to Lean Muscles Like Track and Field Stars

I recently met a few of my fellow Jamaican Olympic athletes, and I must admit I was immediately awestruck by their magnificent physique. It is not that you don’t expect a well-defined, chiseled body—they do work extremely hard at it--but at close range you begin to separate them from the rest of us, based simply on lean muscle mass. 

They are, after all track and field stars and they look it. The likes of Bolt, Powell, Foster-Hylton, and Campbell-Brown, are just a few Jamaican athletes with international star power, whose surnames alone sufficiently identifies them. What inspires me most about these athletes is the way they maintain their state of physical and mental conditioning. The discipline and effort involved in honing their talent, staying in shape on-and-off season, and performing at the peak of their game when needed encouraged me to do my own research on their training techniques.

If the results of my regular 30 minute workout could produce the lean contours exhibited in some of the athletes, I would have outdone myself. It made me wonder about persons of average level of fitness, how long they would need to “sweat it” in the gym to gain the lean muscles of an athlete?

Not as long as you would think! You can get some amazing results with 30 minutes a day of high intensity workout mixed into your regular fitness program. It does not require endless hours at the gym, but you must be willing to commit to a regimen and work feverishly-hard during the 30 minute sessions.

Lesson #1: Athletes Are Natural Competitors
The first lesson is to have a burning desire to achieve your fitness target and then go for it until you see the results.  Athletes are naturally talented and they all possess one admirable distinction from many of us, a highly competitive nature. They have an innate fire to be the best, a spirited vigor that fuels their appetite to go after gold, and that’s the stuff that creates top athletes in the world.

Brigitte Foster-Hylton made history for women after the age of 30. At the brink of retirement, Foster-Hylton was suddenly heralded to the top. She was the oldest athlete at 34 years to win Olympic gold in Berlin, 2009.

The fastest man on the planet, Bolt, along with several other world-ranking athletes will tell you stories about overcoming obstacles (injuries, demotivated spirit) using inner strength and resilience to be where they are today.

Creating a body like an Olympic athlete requires you to build upon elements of fortitude as the foundation for success. Finding creative ways to motivate yourself will keep you focused and will create the difference between mediocrity and extraordinary achievements. You do get what you put in!

Lesson #2: Mix Your Workout with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Track athletes train according to their area of specialty. Short distance runners, for example, have to complete sprinting exercises in seconds at maximum effort to achieve fast twitch muscle fibers for high energy and endurance. A sprinter’s ability to transfer power from the feet to the rest of the body requires targeted training. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the conditioning exercise of choice for coaches.

If you want to look like a sprinter you would have to train like one. HIIT allows you to burn more calories in the least amount of time while targeting specific muscle groups. Areas such as hip flexors, hamstring, quads and core will promote speed, agility and quickness on the track.

This type of work out is not easy and is geared towards persons who have already attained intermediate to advanced levels of fitness. If you are a fan of P90X, the popular exercise program that uses the term “muscle confusion” as part of its marketing slogan, then you have a basic idea of what is involved in HIIT. Your workout is short because at the end of it you are left utterly depleted of energy.

It is not strange for some athletes to get sick and gag during a session, mostly due to the high level of stress placed on the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Training examples may include sprinting/swimming/jumping rope drills at 100% effort with little rest time, along with high-knee skips, bunny hops, and frog leaps to build explosive strength and stamina.

High intensity training produces Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which essentially means it will rapidly increase your metabolism in just 1 session of maximum effort, allowing your metabolism to remain elevated for up to 36 hours. It is a great addition to a regular strength training program and can be incorporated at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes.

Lesson #3 Nutrition and Energy Boosters
Nutrition and exercise are inextricably linked. You cannot have one without the other and many world class athletes depend on the guidelines of a dietician to help maximize calorie intake to achieve optimum energy output to complete a workout.

To power a track athlete through to a 100 to 200 meter race requires high carbohydrate intake and sufficient glycogen stores. Explosive muscle contractions during a race are fueled with carbohydrates to meet the demands of intense movements.  Protein and fat, though equally important, are not as rapidly oxidized as filling up on dietary carbohydrates.  

Regardless, the majority of an athlete’s food intake still comes from protein with the right balance distributed as 60% protein, 30% carbs, and 10% fat.  Sprinters need a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to build and maintain muscles.

Supplements are recommended though not considered essential.  Creatine and glutamine mixes provide a well- deserved boost for pre-and-post HIIT workouts. Creatine helps replenish energy stores lost during high intensity training, while glutamine, a type of amino acid, supports the immune system, builds muscles, and boost fast recovery after a maximum workout.

Olympian Bolt, nicknamed “lightning bolt” is one of a few athletes who does not take supplements, but admits to occasional intake of vitamin C.

Lesson #4 Learn the Principles of Sports Neurology
A new type of training called sports neurology fixates on the role of the central nervous system (CNS) in achieving maximum adaptation to a strenuous workout schedule. It uses a cognitive level of training to condition the mind and body to prevent early fatigue. Improving mental focus is one of the critical components to this scientific based training.  The program includes high tech applications of cold light laser to activate parts of the brain for improved performance.

The cerebellum and diencephalon are 2 very important areas of the brain in CNS training.  When stimulated they allow an athlete to execute outstanding feats as the brain efficiently synchronizes to intense demands placed on the whole body.

Will power and motivational techniques are included within the principles of sports neurology. They are positively related to goal pursuits and are methods that can be matriculated into any challenging workout to lessen fatigue and improve efficiency.

If you want to look like you belong with the track and field stars, then take these lessons from their own workout regimen. To perform these drills without health risks, your level of fitness should be between intermediate to advanced level. For those who feel they are fit for the challenge: it is an excellent way to energize your workout, sculpt your muscles, and achieve allover body conditioning, especially in time for the upcoming Olympics.  

Religious Zealotry, Still Good For Nothing

The Iranian justice system version:

The punishment for being an accessory to murder: 10 years in prison.

The punishment for adultery: Death by stoning...or maybe hanging.

Religious Zealotry, What Is It Good For?

The ultra-Orthodox version:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up pledges to curb Jewish zealotry in Israel on Sunday after an 8-year-old girl complained of being menaced by ultra-Orthodox men who deemed her dress immodest.


The statement appeared to have been prompted by an expose on Israel's top-rated weekend news about intra-Jewish friction in Beit Shemesh, a town of about 87,000 people near Jerusalem.

Naama Margolese, 8, told Channel Two television she was terrified of walking to her moderate Orthodox school because of passersby who want her "to dress like a Haredi" - the Hebrew term for the ascetic, black-coated Jews who are in "awe" of God.

"I'm afraid I might get hurt or something," the girl said.

Margolese's mother Hadassa, an American immigrant who wore a headscarf and skirt in deference to religious Jewish tradition, said the sidewalk abuse could include spitting, curses like "whores" and "bastards" and calls to "clear out of here."

"If that's what happens now, and they (authorities) don't do anything, what will happen in another few years?" she told Israel's Army Radio on Sunday. "This is a terrorist group."

Returning to Beit Shemesh on Sunday, a Channel Two crew was mobbed by ultra-Orthodox Jews who stoned their car, wounded a reporter and stole equipment, police said. The crew was rescued by police, who said they were questioning suspected assailants.


Separately, police said they had arrested a Beit Shemesh man for spitting at a woman, and that he could face assault charges.

In the report broadcast on Friday, Channel Two showed a Beit Shemesh street sign instructing women to keep to one side, away from a synagogue. A few ultra-Orthodox men who agreed to be interviewed sought to justify their forcible occlusion of women.

Israeli media have debated the impact of religious gender segregation on public transport and the conscript army, where some pious troops prefer to shun female instructors and singers.

The ultra-Orthodox make up only about 10 percent of Israel's population of 7.7 million. But their high birthrates and bloc voting patterns have helped them secure welfare benefits and wider influence. One of Netanyahu's biggest partners in the coalition government, Shas, is a party run by rabbis.

According to Channel Two, its Beit Shemesh story has generated momentum for a demonstration against ultra-Orthodox coercion in the town, scheduled for Tuesday.

Moshe Abutbol, the Shas mayor of Beit Shemesh put the number of townspeople involved in the abuse at between 20 and 50.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Never Considered a Potential Organ Donor, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma

The story of Sam Schmid, a 21-year-old who awakened from a coma after he was nearly taken off life support, is inspirational. The reporting of the story, on the other hand, is abysmal.

Do a search on "21-year-old emerges from coma" and, between Poised to Donate Organs, Readied to Donate Organs, and doctors were preparing to turn him into spare parts, you'd think this story is about a patient jumping off the table moments before his organs were harvested.

Alternatively, if you look at the fact that Mr. Schmid was never considered a potential donor and his family was never approached about organ donation it's hard to miss the story of incompetent reporters who misrepresent crucial facts in a misguided attempt to fabricate lame, sensationalistic narratives :

PHOENIX (AP) — It will be a special Christmas for the family of a 21-year-old University of Arizona student who was nearly taken off life support before awaking from a coma.

Sam Schmid was walking and speaking Friday at a Phoenix hospital. Dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers, he was able to use a walker and talk in brief sentences.

"Right now, I'm feeling all right ... except for the rehabilitation, I'm feeling pretty good," Schmid said.

Doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute say Schmid has a long recovery ahead of him to regain full speech, balance and memory abilities.

Schmid was involved in an Oct. 19 car crash in Tucson that left him with a brain aneurysm, among other life-threatening injuries. Because of the complexity of his brain injury, Schmid was flown to Phoenix.

He underwent surgery performed by Dr. Robert Spetzler. With no responsive signs, staff discussed taking Schmid off life support.

"They never approached me to say would I donate his organs," said Susan Regan, Schmid's mother. "The people that were surrounding us were just asking about Sam, his quality of life, what would Sam want if we had to come to a difficult decision."

Spetzler said Schmid was never officially classified as a potential organ donor. And after an MRI scan showed he wasn't at a point of no hope of survival, Spetzler recommended keeping him alive for one more week.

Then on Oct. 24, Schmid shocked doctors by following commands to hold up two fingers.

Simple Pilates Exercises for Your Home Workout

Pilates exercises have a huge range of workout programs and these can be performed by people of any age, shape and size. Even Hollywood celebrities are known to do these exercises and it keeps them fit, healthy, fresh and energetic.

It was Joseph Pilates, a boxer cum circus performer, who started the Pilates series of exercises and ever since, these workouts have become so popular that they are performed regularly by millions of people all over the world.

Unlike many other forms of exercise, Pilates method of exercising believed in the balanced development of the body which essentially involved four elements. There is core strength, flexibility, control and then there is body-consciousness which helps you achieve efficient and graceful body movements. Pilates method of exercise is aimed at them all and combines breathing and exercise manoeuvres.

The biggest advantage of these exercises is that they are perfectly easy to do, fairly enough, and dancers love it. These exercises will help you solve several health related issues too.

Here are a couple of simple Pilates exercises that you can do for your stomach.

Lie on your back, on the Pilates mat with your arms by your side. Bend your legs and place your feet on the floor just hip space apart. While you inhale, you can activate your T-zone (the “T” formed by a horizontal line from the hip bones and a vertical line down toward the pelvic floor muscles, otherwise referred to as your lower abdominals) and you can tilt your knees towards the floor. It should be a perfectly controlled exercise as you strengthen your stomach muscles.

This exercise is also quite easy to do; the spine stretch exercise. You will have to sit on the floor to do this exercise, keeping your arms and legs straight. Slouch forward while stretching your spine as far as it can go. 

When you want to do these workouts at home, it is advisable that you start after taking some private lessons. A Pilates ring, foam ball, Pilates ball and flex band will be ideal for start up exercises. The success of Pilates exercises will depend on how normally you can breathe. You should do them without strain. When you do these exercises you can breathe in through the nose and breathe out through your mouth.

There are simple Pilates workouts for pregnant and postnatal women. Doing these exercises on a regular basis will prepare your body for childbirth and help reduce delivery pains and cramps. You will almost have a painless childbirth if you keep your body fit by doing the right kind of exercises. However you should never do them alone, but only under the guidance of an instructor.

Be aware of the changes in your body each time you do these exercises. Oppositional stretch exercises accompanied by pelvic exercises and breathing exercises will be a good idea at this time.

Benefits of Pilates exercises:

     Keeping your body healthy and toned
     Fat burning exercises that help shed excess weight
     Regulating your metabolism
     More fluidity and flexibility in movements
     Decreasing back and neck pains
     They are energising exercises, which will keep you in good shape, both physically and mentally
     Your body movements will be co-ordinated and you will feel an increase in strength and stamina

Tess Mathews is a freelance writer and a fitness freak. She loves to keep herself fit and spends at least an hour everyday with her workout equipment. In busy days, she chooses to do vibration exercises and has a Crazy Fit Massager for that.

The Best Outdoor Work-Outs for Couples

As much as you want to trim down your shape, it gets boring to step in gyms day after day. Why don’t you make it an outdoor activity for once? It would be best if you ask your partner to come with you. You are not only becoming physically fit, both of you are strengthening the bonds of your relationship. Below, you will see some outdoor activities which will help you perspire without the need of those bulky gym equipment.

Spend your weekend hiking. Drop your business suits, office bags and fancy gadgets. It’s about time that you go natural. Check out your nearest hiking spot for an exciting  exploration of nature. You can ask your partner to save one whole weekend for this. Hiking can be very strenuous but fun. Both of you will have a great time flexing those muscles while you enjoy the great view. I suggest that you bring your tent and spend the entire night at the camp site. Don’t forget your fishing rods! Get the biggest catch for a festive evening.

Play Frisbee at your local park.  Frisbee disks won’t cost you a lot. Visit your local park and use the vast area. When playing this game, you have no choice but to run and jump. I believe that it’s better than staying in the gym with your treadmills and gym balls.
To make it more fun, the winner of the game becomes the master of the day. That means, he or she can ask you to cook dinner. Perhaps, they can ask you to a 30 - minute massage. You are not only getting in shape, you are having more emotional attachment. It’s good for your relationship.
Visit the nearest theme parks. You think that theme parks are for kids. Well, I believe there’s a kid inside everyone of us. It seems that it’s a bizarre work out place. However, this can be a great spot to do fun and weird exercises.
Have breathing exercises while riding an extreme coaster. Shape up your biceps with fun games. Think about the huge hammers for this. Or if you want, you can just jog from one ride to another. This can be very good for you. It’s recommended that you lighten up. Forget about your reports just for this day.   

Straighten your garden. If you don’t have time to leave your premises, you can just go to your backyard. Trim down your grass and replace your flowers. Trust me, in just an hour, you’ll be sweating like a professional athlete.
Heavy gym equipments are not the only things that can help you get fit. Throw your dumbbells and get your backpacks, garden rakes and a bottle of water. Let’s do the alternative exercises to be physically and emotionally fit.

Toni Okeson is a mother of two and always checks for discount Theme Park Coupons before heading out with the kids. This site offers specials for just about every theme park in the U.S., including Walt Disney Coupons for all 9 of their U.S. parks

How Probiotics Can Help Improve Your Health

Physicians who are associated with the modalities of complementary and alternative medicine are quick to recommend probiotics to their patients.

Although not new, its recent resurgence on the market, packaged in different forms, has sparked interest from individuals interested in natural health.

Probiotics is said to be an immune system booster that protects and fights against disease processes by enhancing our own humoral defenses.

As many questions arise as to the potential benefits of probiotics, we have provided answers to some of the most popular questions asked of its applications.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are a type of microorganism found in fermented foods such as yogurt. They are also referred to as the "good bacteria". Researchers have been studying probiotics for several years and found that there are many potential health benefits. Studies have shown that probiotics can help treat diarrhea, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol level and prevent inflammation.

How do probiotics help treat diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a condition that occurs when food or fluid passes through the digestion system too quickly. Probiotics help prevent diarrhea by promoting normal digestion. They also help reduce some of the symptoms that are associated with gastroenteritis (stomach flu).

How do probiotics help lower blood pressure?

Ace-Inhibitors are a class of medications commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. They work by regulating ACE, which is one of the enzymes that control blood pressure. Researchers believe that probiotics work the same way to reduce blood pressure.

How do probiotics help boost the immune system?

There has been evidence to suggest that probiotics can help boost the immune system. Natural killer cells and T lymphocytes are the parts of the immune system that are responsible for fighting infections. Researchers believe that probiotics can help increase the number of T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.

How do probiotics help reduce cholesterol level?

There have been studies done in animals that suggest that probiotics can help reduce cholesterol level. Bile is a fluid produced in the liver that helps reabsorb cholesterol. Researchers believe that probiotics help break down bile, which prevent cholesterol from being reabsorbed in the bloodstream.

How do probiotics help prevent inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is the root cause of numerous health problems. Probiotics can help prevent inflammation from occurring. Researchers believe that probiotics help prevent white blood cells and fluids from accumulating in the blood vessels.

Other conditions that probiotics may benefit:

There has been evidence to suggest that probiotics can benefit the following conditions:

*the flu
*bladder cancer
*colon cancer
*Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS)
*yeast infections
*urinary tract infections
*intestinal infections
*lactose intolerance
*ulterative colitis
*dental caries

How can I get more probiotics in my diet?

Yogurt and low-fat dairy products are the best sources for probiotics. They are also found in soy products and certain juices. You may also want to consider taking a supplement, but it is wise to consult with a doctor before doing so.

Diet Frustrations: Is Morning Snacking Really To Be Blamed?

To snack or not to snack, that is the question? Which one serves as the right guideline worth applying to your diet program?
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that snacking between breakfast and lunch is likely to ruin your weight loss plan by packing on extra calories.

Women who avoided snacking in the midmorning were likely to maintain a weight loss of 11 percent of body weight over the course of a year as opposed to those women who chose to snack; their snacking accounted for a weight loss of only 7 percent of body weight.

This new data contradict previous weight loss studies that show snacking as a healthy habit to incorporate in your diet to stave off cravings and reduce overeating at meal times?  

A few weeks before this no munching guideline was announced, another published study outlined that people who “snack have diets that are slightly healthier overall than people who don’t snack.”  Both studies’ have opposing viewpoints and were published within the same month. It is no wonder why a large number of individuals are frustrated with changing diet rules and misleading headlines on weight reduction. So which is the real healthy weight loss solution?

The study is available online; gather your individual perspective on the recommended guidelines for dieters instead of accepting snippet reports. Gain insight into the reason why morning snacking was underscored as counterproductive to weight loss. 

Morning snacking is not the cause but a precursor to psychological and emotional cravings not borne out of hunger. Individuals who consume snacks less than 2 hours after a meal are likely to carry-out “mindless snacking habits” throughout the day.  Emotional eaters tend to reach out for comfort foods such as: doughnuts, chocolates, fries, and other decadent high calorie snacks. Overall, they consume more calories at each meal.

Researchers, who conducted the study, stated that “the urge to grab a snack during the relatively short time between breakfast and lunch could be a sign of generally less healthy eating.” The same researchers also say “eating healthy snacks can help dieters reach their goal by staving off hunger.”

If you are still on-the-fence as to which snacking rule to comply with just remember this: the bulk of your food intake should come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To get the recommended amount in your diet without supplements requires that you snack.  Snacking on healthy foods, counting calories, and getting a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day is the right start to any diet plan.

Article first published as Diet Frustrations: Is Morning Snacking Really To Be Blamed? on Technorati.

Are The Elliptical Machines Bad For Your Knees?

An elliptical machine, also known as a cross trainer, is a piece of equipment that is commonly used in walking and running exercises.

A common question asked by many is whether elliptical machines have a bad effect on the knees? The truth is that elliptical machines are beneficial to one's general health as they help burn excess calories in the body. As for the knees, they help in building strong muscles for a perfect knee fitness for those with weak knees. This will provide stability when walking, running or standing for long hours.

Unlike other machines, an elliptical machine has a reduced impact, which is not bad for the knees. While training with this equipment, the foot doesn't leave the paddle so the strain in the joints is far reduced. In fact, working on an elliptical machine is highly recommended for people who have suffered knee injuries before. Minimal workout on this machine will help heal the destroyed knee ligaments in a shorter period of time.

Research done by leading institutions like Harvard University highly recommend the use of elliptical machines to patients who have knee injuries. Studies show that elliptical machines reduce the likelihood of knee joint complications, heal the muscles around the knees, and make them strong as they were before.

The majority of body therapists and physical trainers have included an elliptical machine workout in their programs, especially to patients who have suffered knee damage. They claim that regular exercise on these machines help reduce the amount of pain on the wounded knees and slowly regains motion as the knee heals within the required period of time. For knees that may seem to have changed their position, an elliptical machine workout helps return the knee back to the original point with no strain at all.

Though good for knees, elliptical machines should be set to the standard settings of one's preference and ability. Patients with knee injuries should follow the advice of their physicians so as not to damage their knees permanently. A prolonged rigorous workout may damage your knees with time or cause unending pain to them. They also may not be the best solution to those who want faster results to heal their knees within a short period of time.

If you're wondering whether an elliptical machine is bad for your knees, the facts speak very reassuringly for themselves. If carefully used, the impact on your knees is positive and with long lasting benefits.
About the author: K. M. Morgan is the blogger behind the reviews of elliptical machines blog. It's a free website he uses to share reviews  about the best selling elliptical machine brands (i.e. Proform elliptical reviews) to help people compare the products available on the market and save money.

Tips for Recovering from Sports Injuries

As an athlete the longer you are incapacitated, the harder it is for you to get back on form and compete. Yet, it is essential that you don’t push your body too far too soon or you could risk further injury.

So what can you do?

If you are looking to reduce your down time, then there are a number of techniques you can do to decrease joint pain and get yourself literally back on the track.

Coping with Sports Injuries

Physical rehab is only part of the recovery process. To help reduce your down time, it is essential that you also use psychological skills, as your reaction to an injury could prevent you from recovering faster.

Denial, anger, sadness, depression… all of these emotions can set you back if you let them as they will prevent you from focusing on your recovery and getting better.

For this reason, you need to find out and accept the following. Only by doing so can you recover quicker:

- What is your diagnosis?
- How long will it take you to recover?
- What is the purpose of the treatments they are offering you?
- What can you expect from rehab? What will you be expected to do?
- Are there any alternative workouts you can safely do?
- How can you spot if you are getting worse?

Many athletes make the mistake of playing through the pain and ignoring the advice of physiotherapists, but this could be a huge mistake.

Without properly addressing your injury and giving it time to heal, you could potentially cause yourself permanent, more damaging injuries which could prevent you from competing for good.

That is why we recommend doing the following:

• Accept responsibility for your injury – you need to accept that you have an injury and that only with positive thinking can you take control of your recovery process. Do not dwell on the past and who caused it. Focus on your recovery.

• Stay positive – you need to be committed to recovering from your injury, and this means going to physiotherapy, working hard and listening to the advice of health and athletic professionals. Avoid any negative or self-defeating thoughts and remind yourself that you can recover and that you can succeed.

• Get support – do not isolate yourself from your friends, family or team mates. Instead let them be a shoulder to your recovery and let their encouragement spur you on.

• Set realistic goals – be realistic with your recovery time and don’t expect too much too soon. Instead, set training challenges that focus more on recovery than your performance.

• Maintain your fitness – depending on the type of injury you have, you can modify your training routine and keep your fitness levels up. Aim to include cardiovascular and strength training as they can help you to experience natural pain relief as well as strengthen your injured ligaments/muscles.

For example, if you cannot run – swim or cycle.

• Compression sportswear – even without injury, compression sportswear helps to reduce the risk of muscle injury and can assist with your recovery.

• Follow the right form of treatment – most sports injuries are treated using the following formulation: PRICE –Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Stabilise.

When you injure yourself, initial inflammation will normally last 5 days. During this time it is important that you address signs of inflammation, joint/ligament pain, swelling and loss of mobility as they will influence your long term recovery.


Some sports injuries are simply unavoidable especially in contact sports; however there are a number of steps you can take to prevent a sports injury from happening or from happening again. Try to incorporate the following into your routine:

• Properly warm up – stretch and get your heart pumping before you begin training
• Take time off – your body needs at least 1 day off a week to recover
• Wear the right clothing – pads, helmets, mouthpieces etc should all be made to fit, ensuring for thorough protection
• Strength training – conditioning exercises can help to strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility
• Assess your pain – if you feel any amount of joint pain, stop and drink plenty of fluids (this can prevent heat injury)

It is possible to be the athlete you’ve always wanted to be. Just be careful to use the right kind of joint pain relief for your injury and ensure that you do not try to do too much too soon. With the right steps you can take control of your recovery time.

This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Provailen, an option for natural pain relief and joint pain relief.