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Bodytalk

By Stephenie Karony

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


Fitness and health
are different

Question: What's the difference between exercising to be healthy and exercising to be fit?

Answer: There's a big difference between being active in order to achieve and maintain a healthy body and to maintain a high level of fitness.

The difference lies in how hard, how often and for how long a person exercises.

Research has shown that gardening, yard work, cleaning house, climbing stairs, walking and recreational sports such as golf and doubles tennis will all help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

You don't have to work at a vigorous pace or at heavy work loads, despite most people believing that you have to dedicate a lot of time and energy to exercise for it to be worthwhile.

But achieving a high level of fitness does take a lot of time, energy and focus.

To be able to run a 10-kilometer race in 45 minutes, for example, you'd have to do more than putter in your yard or stroll around the shopping mall. In fact, you'd have to focus on doing vigorous aerobic exercise several times per week, for many weeks, before attaining the level of cardiovascular fitness required to run that fast for that long.

The same holds true for other forms of exercise. If you want to add several pounds of muscle to your physique, you'd have to train at heavy work loads several times per week, for weeks on end.

If, on the other hand, all you want is to be able to pick up your grandchildren without straining yourself, basic calisthenics a couple of times per week will suffice.

Bottom line: the level of effort put into an activity is reflected in its benefits, and if it's your goal to be either healthy, or healthy and fit, until the day you die, then get up and get moving.

Q: Does eating soy products help reduce the symptoms of menopause? What foods are made with soy, other than tofu?

A: Preliminary studies show that the nutrient makeup of soybeans may ease some symptoms of menopause, as well as reduce the risks for some chronic diseases.

Soy foods are a complete protein. That means they contain all the essential amino acids.

Soybeans are also a good source of absorbable calcium, iron, B vitamins and zinc. Soy foods are high in fiber, low in saturated fats and, because they are a plant food, contain no cholesterol.

In regard to relieving menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, researchers believe that the phytoestrogens found in soy foods are responsible.

These phytoestrogens may also inhibit estrogen-dependent tumor growth.

Eating soy food has many other benefits as well. Soy protein contains the phytochemical isoflavone and may help reduce serum cholesterol levels and inhibit the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Additionally, calcium-rich soy foods help increase bone mass (and strength), which aids in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Eating soy products may also be beneficial to diabetics because the high-fiber content of soy slows the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream.

Besides tofu, foods containing soy include soy flour, soy milk, tempeh, miso, textured vegetable protein (TVP), soy beans and soy protein isolate (SPI).



Stephenie Karony is a certified health
and fitness instructor, a personal trainer and the author of
"Body Shaping with Free Weights." Send questions to her at
P.O. Box 262, Wailuku Hi. Her column appears on Wednesdays.



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