Importance of Running Shoes

While exercising it is important to wear not only the proper attire, but also have good shoes. Wearing shoes while working out has many benefits not only to your workout, but to the health of your body. The foot is comprised of over 100 working parts, including 28 bones working in conjunction with ligaments, tendons and muscles; all of which support and balance our body. The foot acts as a shock absorber; it cushions nearly one million pounds of pressure during a strenuous one-hour workout. But, by wearing the proper footwear, the pressure put on your feet is easily alleviated. Also, by having proper support, you can help improve the function of the foot and other joints including the knees, hips and lower back by keeping proper alignment.

Shoes are designed for different foot types (i.e. flat feet, high arched feet, etc), shapes and different workout surfaces. Exercising shoes are designed to make any kind of physical activity more comfortable and avoid injuries. They provide protection for your feet and come in unique designs that can fit every requirement.

Choosing a workout shoe can be tough, but your focus should be on comfort, functionality and durability. There are so many types on the market and many brands to choose from. Below are some helpful guidelines for when you’re looking for new workout shoes.

Cushion is probably the most important aspect. Your shoes need to be able to absorb the shock of your body weight with every step you take. Cushion is most important in the heel and the forefoot.

Like a tire, your exercise shoes need to have good tread. How thick the tread is depends on where you will be working out. Shoes meant for the outdoors have a much different tread than shoes meant for flat, smooth surfaces. The tread can also vary according to where you wear it out at the most (either at the heal, forefoot, or inner/outer sides). Some running shoes have tread that cater to the various needs of exercisers.

You don’t want a stiff feeling in your shoes. Having a light and flexible shoe may suit you best for optimal movement. You need your shoes to flex in the right places and feel comfortable with each stride. Some stiffness is good but where it occurs depends upon personal preference.

Just like flexibility, you still want your shoe to have some stiffness. You want a shoe to feel stable just as well as being light and flexible.

There are still a lot of other considerations when it comes to purchasing good exercising shoes. Your foot arch is a big consideration, any existing foot problems, as well as how often you exercise and where. A shoe store would have the answers to your most common questions.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

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Tendons are a vital part of body movement. Tendons connect muscles to bones; therefore, when the muscles contract it pulls the tendons resulting in bone movement. When the tendon becomes irritated, it becomes inflamed resulting in irritation and pain during exercise (or other times of muscle contraction). Irritation commonly occurs from repetitive overuse motions of the muscles. Also, with age, the tendons become less elastic, causing even the simplest repetitive movements to easily irritate tendons.

Tendonitis can be avoided by properly warming up muscles, allowing the body to be ready for heavy loads. But, if pain does persist, it is important to listen to your body. If pain occurs during exercise (not the good burn that we all love, but true pain) then movement should be revised so pain is decreased or eliminated. Braces and anti-inflammatory cream may help ease the pain and help movement.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41sports Intern

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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 45 and 55 in the U.S. Male breast cancer occurs in 1% of all cancer deaths.

Breast caner can develop from either genetics and/or hormonal factors. Treatment options for breast cancer may involve surgery (removal of the cancer or, in some cases, mastectomy), radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

Cancer begins in tissue cells. Cells either grow and divide to form new cells or cells die and are replaced by new cells. But, sometimes new cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should; these extra cells can cause the growth of a tumor. Tumors are either, benign or malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous and can usually be removed. Malignant tumors on the other hand are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. The most common places that breast cancer spreads to are the bones, liver, lungs and brain.

The exact causes of breast cancer are unknown, but there are recognized risk factors. It has been found that as age increases, so does the chance of breast cancer; most causes occur after the age of 60. If the person has a family history of cancer the chances of getting cancer significantly increases. Other risk factors include having your first child after the age of 30, or never having children. Also, going through menopausal hormonal therapy or having menopause after the age of 55. Also, being overweight after menopause increases the chances, along with lack of physical activity and drinking excessive alcohol.

There are three main ways breast cancer is screened. The first way is having a screening mammogram. It is recommended that women should have a mammogram every one to two years after the age of 40. Mammograms show breast lumps before they can be felt. If an abnormal area shows up on your mammogram, you may need to have more x-rays. You also may need a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if cancer is present. The second way to screen for breast cancer is by having a clinical breast exam and the third way is by doing a monthly breast self-exam. Common symptoms of breast cancer include a change in how the breast nipples feel or look, and experiencing nipple discharge.

Breast cancer is diagnosed by having a clinical breast exam or a mammogram. Also an ultrasound is used to show lumps and whether the lumps are fluid filled or solid. A solid lump would indicate cancer while a fluid filled lump would indicate a non-cancerous cyst. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used to diagnose breast cancer by taking detailed pictures of the breast tissue. Finally, a biopsy can be used to remove suspicious tissue in order to run it for tests. There are there three different biopsy types, a fine-needled aspiration used to remove fluid from the breast lump, or a core biopsy used to remove specific tissue or a surgical biopsy used to remove sample tissues. If cancer cells are found, a pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is. The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma.

There are five stages of breast cancer. Stage 0 has the presence of abnormal cells but there is no evidence that the cells will break out from where they started. Stage 1 is an early stage of invasive breast cancer but the tumor is no more than 2 centimeters across. Stage two is when the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes of the under arm and/or is between 2 and 5 centimeters across; or the tumor is 5 centimeters across but has not spread to the lymph nodes. Stage 3 is locally advanced cancer and consists of 3 sub-stages. Stage 3a is when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes under the arm and behind the breast bone. Stage 3b has a tumor of any size that has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast. The cancer may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm and/or behind the breast bone. Stage 3c is a tumor of any size that has spread to the lymph nodes behind the breastbone, under the arm and around the collarbone. Stage 4 is distant metastatic cancer meaning the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Early stages of breast cancer are considered stages 0 through stage 2 maybe even some of stage 3. Advanced stages of breast cancer are stages 3 and 4.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that causes the breast to look red and swollen because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.

With advances in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, the death rate for breast cancer has declined by about 20% over the past decade, and research is ongoing to develop even more effective screening and treatment programs.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

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Arthritis is highly prevalent in today’s aging population. There are several types of arthritis each differing from the next. Gout is one type that mostly affects men and older persons. Gout can be caused by a number of reasons. A person can get gout simply from genetics, but also from having an enzyme deficiency of the enzymes that break down proteins, being overweight and from drinking to much alcohol; which can all lead up to much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid levels in some people can be high without causing harm, but when levels reach an extreme it causes hard crystals to form in joints.

The symptoms of gout involve night attacks of swelling, tenderness and/or sharp pain on the big toe, ankle or knees.

Treatment is done with either prescribed medications or corticosteroid injections. Therefore, to avoid gout, one should eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fluids.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

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Nutrition and Depression

Depression is a syndrome that causes a person to feel intense sadness and/or irritability for an extended period of time. General signs and symptoms are mood swings, abnormal behavior and negative thoughts. As well as, changes in bodily functions such as problems with sleeping, eating and weight or by experiencing crying spells, body aches and low energy. Commonly symptoms arise from what is called neurovegetative signs, which are changes within the cranial nervous system causing many of the before mentioned symptoms to occur.

Depression can be caused for various reasons. Depression can be reoccurring in families or caused by a stressful environment or an external event such as a serious loss. Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men are.
Depression is often under treated and not treating it can increase the risks for developing coronary artery disease, HIV, asthma, and some other medical illnesses. Furthermore, it can increase the morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) from these conditions.

There are three common types of depressive disorders — major depression, dysthymia and manic depression. Major depression is characterized by symptoms that interfere with a person’s daily activities and lasts for at least two weeks. Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression because the person can still enjoy daily activities, but they may not feel happy while participating all the time. Dysthymia symptoms are not as severe but symptoms are chronic. People who have dysthymia may also experience major depression. Manic depression sometimes also referred to, as bipolar disorder, is not very common but often recurring and chronic.

Depression is usually treated with medications, when it can naturally be treated with proper nutrient intake. Dietary modification and vitamin and mineral supplementation in some cases reduces the severity of depression. Supplementation with the amino acids tyrosine and henylalanine can in many cases be used as an alternative to antidepressant drugs. Studies of phenylalanine’s efficacy show that it has promise as an antidepressant.

Vitamin and mineral therapy can also be a useful treatment tool. People are often deficient in several types of nutrients that can lead to depression. Correcting deficiencies can often alleviate symptoms. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is the cofactor for enzymes that convert tryptophan to serotonin and tyrosine to norepinephrine. Consequently, vitamin B6 deficiency may result in depression. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also manifest as depression. In depressed patients with documented vitamin B12 deficiency, intravenous administration of the vitamin has resulted in dramatic improvement. Taking just 1 mg/day extra of Vitamin B12 can show significant improvement with depression. Vitamin C is valuable for patients with low levels of serotonin levels. In one study, 40 chronic psychiatric inpatients received 1 g/day of ascorbic acid or placebo for three weeks, in a double-blind fashion. In the vitamin C group, significant improvements were seen in depressive, manic and paranoid symptom complexes, as well as in overall functioning.

Folic acid deficiency may result from dietary deficiency, physical or psychological stress, excessive alcohol consumption, malabsorption or chronic diarrhea. Deficiency may also occur during pregnancy or with the use of oral contraceptives. Psychiatric symptoms of folate deficiency include depression, insomnia, anorexia, forgetfulness, hyperirritability, apathy, fatigue and anxiety.

Magnesium deficiency can cause numerous psychological changes, including depression. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are nonspecific and include poor attention, memory loss, fear, restlessness, insomnia, cramps and dizziness. Plasma magnesium levels have been found to be significantly lower in depressed patients. Magnesium has also been used to treat premenstrual mood changes by receiving 360 mg/day of magnesium for two months. Magnesium was effective in relieving premenstrual symptoms related to mood changes.

Honey can also help fight against depression symptoms because honey is a natural energy booster, immunity builder and a natural remedy against some aliments. Honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting endurance and performance levels and reducing muscle fatigue. The natural fruit sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise because the glucose is absorbed quickly giving an immediate energy boost and the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. Honey has powerful immune system boosting characteristics. Honey’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve the digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight diseases.

There are also a wide variety of herbal therapies that are used to treat depression; most commonly known are St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba. St. John’s wort has been used for medical purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. St John’s wort is particularly effective for mild to moderate depression symptoms, particularly without the side effects often associated with drugs. Ginkgo biloba is thought by some to improve memory and other intellectual functions. Ginkgo biloba improves neurotransmitter production in the brain and helps bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain to improve functioning.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

*Any herbal supplement should be treated just like a medication. It requires caution and should be taken only after consulting your doctor. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and potential benefits. That way, you can make an informed decision.
Note: never take St John’s wort, ginkgo biloba or any natural medicine for depression if you’re taking antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil or Effexor.

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Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries (each about the size of an almond) are an important part of the woman’s reproductive system. The ovaries are in charge of making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. They also release the eggs for ovulation (once menopause starts, the ovaries stop releasing the eggs and fewer hormones are produced).

Cancer begins from cells over producing new cells and old cells not dying off. Extra cells can cause a mass or tissue, or a tumor to form. Tumors that are malignant are cancerous, benign tumors, are non-cancerous. Cancer cells spread by breaking away from primary tumor and entering the lympathic system or bloodstream here the cells can attach to different organs to damage those tissues (the spread of cancer is called metastasis). There are three forms of ovarian cancer, it can invade, shed or spread. Invade means that the tumor can grow onto organs next to the ovaries such as the uterus or fallopian tubes. Cancer cells that shed break off from main tumor and go into the abdomen area, leading to new tumors forming (sometimes called seeds or implants). Cancer cells can spread through the lymphatic system to lymph nodes in the pelvis, abdomen and chest or through the bloodstream to organs such as the live and lungs. When cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, it keeps it’s original name, and is treated accordingly. So, if ovarian cancer spread to the kidneys, it’s still called and treated ovarian cancer even though the cancer is now affecting the kidneys.

Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer are persons who have a family or personal history of cancer. Also, if a person is over 55 years old, never been pregnant and people who have undergone menopausal hormone therapy. Symptoms in the early stages may not be existent, but as the cancer develops, so does the symptoms. Symptoms may include, pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back or legs. A swollen or bloated abdomen, nausea, and/or diarrhea/constipation, and feeling very tired all the time. Less common symptoms include feeling to urinate often and unusual vaginal bleeding.

Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is done several ways. It can be diagnosed via a physical or pelvic exam. Also, by blood test checking the levels of several substances and by an ultrasound. A biopsy can be used to diagnose by removing tissue or fluid to look for cancer cells. This surgery (a laparotomy) is usually needed to diagnose ovarian cancer. A Pathologist will describe the grade of cancer cells one a 1 to 3 scale. Grade 1 cancer cells are not likely to grow and spread, whereas grade 3 cancer cells are highly likely to spread and grow elsewhere. There are four stages to ovarian cancer. Stage 1 cancer cells are found in both ovaries, stage 2 cancer cells have spread from the ovaries (one or both) to other tissues of the pelvis. Stage 3 cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the pelvis or to the lymph nodes and stage 4 cancer cels have spread to tissue outside the abdomen and pelvis (cancer would be found in organs such as the liver lungs etc.)

Treatment methods include local therapy, intraperitoneal chemotherapy and systemic chemotherapy. Local therapy includes surgery or radiation to remove or destroy the cancerous cells in specific areas. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy is used to destroy and control cancer in the abdomen and pelvis by injecting drugs directly into those areas through a thin tub. Systemic chemotherapy enters the bloodstream to destroy and control the cancer cells; it can be taken orally or injected into a vein.

For tips on coping, you may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Time: Support for People With Cancer. NCI’s Information Specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER and at LiveHelp ( can help you locate programs, services, and publications. For a list of organizations offering support, you may want to get the NCI fact sheet "National Organizations That Offer Services to People With Cancer and Their Families."

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

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Juvenile arthritis affects many children each year

Juvenile arthritis is a childhood disease that causes inflamed, swollen, stiff and painful joints. It affects many children each year. Mild cases affect one in every 1,000 kids per year where as, in sever cases one in every 10,000 children are affected. There are three types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The first type is Pauciarticular which is the most common and mildest type because it causes pain in 1 to 4 joints. The second type is Polyarticular which is a more severe type than pauciarticular. It affects more joints and tends to worsen over time. The last and most uncommon type is Systemic which is the most serious because it not only causes pain in many joints, but it can also spread to organs.

The cause of juvenile arthritis is unknown, but it is believed that an overactive immune system, certain viral infections and genes and lead up to it. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness and trouble sleeping and walking.

The most common type of treatment is NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce pain and swelling along with physical therapy.

Exercise is vital to a person with arthritis. By doing the right kinds of exercises joint pain and stiffness can be reduced from increasing range of motion and flexibility.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports

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Nutrition plays a large role in body and brain health

Nutrition plays a large role in body and brain health. A balanced diet can help decrease or eliminate depression symptoms or depression all together. Depression is linked to a lack of vitamins, minerals and an overall healthy diet. Key vitamins needed are B vitamins, especially B6. Not having enough B6 can cause mood swings and decrease production of serotonin (which is the body’s natural mood-altering drug). Serotonin can be increased through exercise. Vitamin B12 can lead to depression and memory problems as well, so don’t forget about your vitamins! Folic acid deficiency is common in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that depression rates follow the same trend. Folic acid can be found in leafy green vegetables and other vital minerals (such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc) can be found in bananas, avocado, chicken and whole grains. Foods to avoid or eat in heavy moderation include sugars and caffeine.

So, next time you’re thinking of taking medication, ask your self, am I eating a balanced diet? Have I worked out today? The answer may not be in the pill

For further information on nutritional supplementation see

Anthony McClanahan
April Green