Young baseball players are at risk for overuse injuries, but there are ways to play it safe and prevent such problems, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) says. "Overhead athletes, such as baseball players, place significant repetitive stress on the shoulder and elbow joints," orthopedic sports surgeons said in an academy news release. Between overuse and the year-round nature of the sport, young athletes are at increased risk for shoulder and elbow injury, he said. "The best way to avoid these injuries in baseball players is by avoiding single sport specialization and encouraging the kids to be active in multiple sports," an AAOS spokesman said. "This will allow them to break from the repetitive motions in baseball while developing other skills necessary for injury prevention." Here are his other recommendations: Follow youth baseball guidelines. These are designed to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. They include limiting the number of pitches thrown and type of pitches thrown according to age. If a young pitcher has shoulder or arm pain, get them checked out. Remember that players are also at risk for muscle sprains, strains and bruises. The AAOS offers tips to reduce that risk. Get a checkup. A pre-season physical exam is important for players of all ages. Identifying potential medical problems can help prevent injuries and illnesses. Warm up. Always start with easy calisthenics, such as jumping jacks. Continue with walking or light running, such as running the bases. Gentle stretching of the back, hamstrings and shoulders is also a good idea. Cool down. Stretch after a practice or game to help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible. Slowly and gently stretch after activity, holding each stretch for 30 seconds. Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can hurt your performance on the field. If you don't get enough fluids, your body can't effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation. Generally, it's a good idea to drink 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid 2 hours before exercise and 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes throughout exercise, according to the AAOS.
Everyone has probably heard the expression "you are what you eat," but do you eat what you want, or do you follow the crowd? New research suggests that what people have at lunch is influenced by the friends or coworkers who they are dining with. And this is true whether they're making healthy choices or unhealthy ones. The study examined the social influence of food choices for about 6,000 hospital employees in seven cafeterias over two years. Participants represented a wide range of ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. To determine how healthy their meals were, researchers relied on the hospital's own cafeteria labeling system, which designates all foods and beverages as green for healthy, yellow for less healthy and red for unhealthy. Data from identification cards used to pay for cafeteria purchases provided details on individuals' specific food choices. The researchers were able to examine how many minutes apart two people bought food and how often they ate at the same time over many weeks. They also surveyed more than 1,000 workers, asking them to confirm the names of people the investigators had already identified as their dining partners. Based on 3 million encounters between employee pairs, the researchers found that food purchases by people connected to each other were consistently more alike than different. The effect was a bit stronger for healthy foods than for unhealthy ones. The investigators further analyzed data to see if the results were evidence of social influence, and not just because people who had similar lifestyles and food preferences ate together. The study authors said their findings could inform public health interventions to prevent obesity. One option would be to offer two-for-one salads — but not cheeseburgers — to pairs of people making food choices. Another would be to have an influential person in a social circle model healthy food choices. The research also shows that an intervention that improves healthy eating in a particular group will also be of value to their social connections. "As we emerge from the pandemic and transition back to in-person work, we have an opportunity to eat together in a more healthful way than we did before. If your eating habits shape how your co-workers eat — even just a little — then changing your food choices for the better might benefit your co-workers as well," experts say. The research confirms long-term observational studies showing the influence of people's social ties on weight gain, alcohol consumption and eating behavior.
As you head into the great outdoors this summer, keep safety in mind, an expert says. Drowning is one of summer's risks. It only takes a few seconds and can happen without an obvious struggle, according a wilderness medicine expert and assistant professor of emergency. Adults must always closely supervise children when they're in the water and should always be within arm's reach. Ocean currents can be menacing. If you're caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore. Once free of the current, swim diagonally to shore. Other risks include heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, weakness or rapid pulse. Someone suffering from heat exhaustion can recover by resting in the shade and drinking cool fluids, experts said. Heat stroke is life-threatening. The main sign is an altered mental state, but other signs include seizures, agitation, confusion, slurred speech or loss of consciousness. If someone is suffering from heat stroke, immediately call 911 and immerse the person in, or douse them with, cold water, experts advised. When you go hiking, wear hiking shoes with a good grip. Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the stream or river above a waterfall. Watch children carefully and stay on designated trails and observation decks and platforms. Be cautious around steep drop-offs. Stay one body length away from the edge of cliffs and don't climb or walk over rocks at the edge of cliffs as they may be unstable. "Although our wilderness and emergency medicine teams help train rescue squads and first responders from across the region, injuries often occur in remote areas that are very difficult for emergency crews to access," experts said in a news release. "We are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of natural resources and opportunities to enjoy nature, and by always being prepared and responsible and exercising good judgment, we and our loved ones can safely enjoy the great outdoors," experts added.
Leave your car in the garage if you can: A new study suggests that walking or biking to work could cut your risk of a heart attack. The researchers analyzed 2011 data from 43 million working adults in England and found that 11.4 percent were active commuters, with 8.6 percent walking to work and 2.8 percent cycling to work. In areas where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks fell among men and women over the next two years. Major heart disease risk factors include inactivity, being overweight, smoking and diabetes, the study authors noted. After adjusting for those factors, the investigators found that women who walked to work in 2011 had a 1.7 percent lower risk of heart attack in the following year, and men who cycled to work had the same reduction in heart attack risk. The University of Leeds study was published online recently in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The findings show "that exercise as a means of commuting to work is associated with lower levels of heart attack. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and we support initiatives to help everyone become and stay active," a university news release said. Lead author Chris Gale added, "Whilst we cannot conclusively say that active travel to work lowers the risk of heart attack, the study is indicative of such a relationship." "Greater efforts by national and local policy makers to improve the uptake of cycling and walking to work are likely to be rewarded by future improvements in population-based health," the news release said. "The effect of active commuting is fairly modest when compared with the stronger determinants of cardiovascular health such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and regular exercise. However, this study clearly suggests that exercising on the way to work has the potential to bring nationwide improvements to health and well-being," the news release concluded.
The harmful effects of obesity on the heart can't be undone by exercise, and it's not possible to be "fat but healthy," Spanish researchers warn. "Exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of excess weight," a professor of exercise physiology at European University in Madrid reported. The study findings "refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight and obesity," researchers said. The report said researchers analyzed data from nearly 528,000 working adults in Spain. The participants' average age was 42 and close to 7 out of 10 were men. About 42 percent of these adults were normal weight; 41 percent were overweight, and 18 percent were obese. Most were inactive (63.5 percent); 12.3 percent got some but not enough exercise, and 24.2 percent were regularly active. About 30 percent of participants had high cholesterol; 15 percent had high blood pressure, and 3 percent had diabetes. No matter how active they were, however, overweight and obese people had a higher risk of heart disease than those whose weight was normal, according to the study, published Jan. 22 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Compared to active people of normal weight, active obese people were about twice as likely to have high cholesterol, four times more likely to have diabetes, and five times more likely to have high blood pressure. "One cannot be 'fat but healthy,' " warned in a journal news release. But the researchers did not disregard the importance of exercise. In all weight categories, any physical activity was associated with a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, according to the findings. And the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure fell as physical activity rose. "This tells us that everyone, irrespective of their body weight, should be physically active to safeguard their health," the report said. "More activity is better, so walking 30 minutes per day is better than walking 15 minutes a day," the report noted. The report said it's equally important to fight obesity and inactivity.