Vertigo – What is it & How to treat?

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Vertigo is a sudden feeling that the room us spinning around you.  It can make you feel off balance, nauseous, and dizzy.  It can even cause vomiting.  If your vertigo is due to an inner ear problem – like a crystal that’s floating around in the wrong place – it can sometimes be fixed with some simple maneuvers where a doctor moves your head and body around on the exam table.  If that fails, there are medications you can take that help with the symptoms; unfortunately, that will not treat the underlying problem.  Finally, in severe cases there are surgical options.  If your vertigo is really disrupting your life, you need to see an ear nose & throat specialist to discuss your options.

Children and Exercise: Advise from an “Expert”

By: Angela Corcoran, MS, CSCS – Head of Education at The Academy, Co-Founder & Educator at Innovative Wellness Consulting

Like Clarke Kent, I was not born knowing my destiny which has so clearly unfolded for me over the past six years. On March 13, 2003 I received the news that we were going to have a baby. After years of being told that this was implausible, you can imagine our shock when we were told. As an Exercise Physiologist, I learned throughout my academic career that exercise is a magic cure for almost any ailment but of course had not assumed this was an area in my life that would change. Having planned a life without children, I was suddenly looking down the road of uncertainty. The youngest in my entire family, babies were not my forte and pregnancy did not fit into my plans of running the New York City Marathon in November when I would be full term. I had no idea in that moment how my life would change; how my daughter would awaken in me super human desire to contribute to the good of the nation and start for me an unbelievable adventure.
Before I had a child of my own the explanation as to why children were (and still are) the largest growing diseased population as a result of physical inactivity seemed obvious. With the evolution of video games and the disintegration of the stay at home mom, families just weren’t investing time into each other. Of course I knew there was no way this would happen to me, or my family, the solutions seemed obvious. But when our daughter was born, it became clear that the solution was not obvious. Almost immediately the biggest commodity (other than sleep) became time.
I wasn’t eating well and I certainly wasn’t getting in daily exercise. But it was through this experience that I began to explore what individuals in my industry, the fitness industry, were doing. One recommendation was mom and baby yoga. For me this did not work. I am a true believer in the physical results from Yoga, but with the mom and baby I just didn’t break a sweat. I tried multiple classes, weeks were passing and none proved physically strenuous enough for me. In my frustration I did what any normal product of the 80’s would do. I came home with my daughter, downloaded some gratuitous 80’s music, Madonna, Crowded House, Michael Jackson, and had a make shift dance party with my toddler in the comfort of my own home. Sweaty and out of breath, having to take breaks from jumping on the bed, and laughing so hard that we were crying it never dawned on me that this, this was exercise.
As exercise professionals we so often feel that we have all of the answers to exercise and maintaining health, but my epiphany didn’t come from a place of answers, it came from a place of questions. One morning after a jog we had an exclusive Madonna dance party. Suddenly in the middle of Material Girl, I heard a sound that would forever change my interpretation of exercise, “beep, beep, and beep”; I was in my target heart rate zone. Suddenly it dawned on me, I was having fun with my daughter and she was no longer a passive observer in my jogger stroller, she was an active participant. For a solid thirty minutes I was exercising at heart rates that exceeded what I normally accomplished on the track, and I felt great! My daughter certainly was having a similar cardiovascular response to mine and she was enjoying every minute of time we were spending together. I started to think about her little body and her need for exercise. Ironically even as a personal trainer, it did not dawn on me until then that children have very clear established needs for exercise. I needed to educate myself on what normal exercise was for children. What would her response be to cardiovascular exercise and was a small amount of resistance training okay? I tore into textbooks and the internet searching for answers to my questions on children and exercise.
I learned a lot about children and the need for them to participate in physical activity and that very few get the recommended minimum exercise requirement. Physical inactivity is one of the two major causes of overweight children and of childhood obesity, poor nutrition being the second. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. Data from NHANES I (1971–1974) to NHANES II (2003–2006) showed increases in the rates of obese and overweight individuals among all age groups, however the rates among children are quite astonishing. Among preschool-aged children, aged two – five years, the prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%. In fact if current rates continue, by 2015 1 in every 4 children in the United States will be obese.
The research that I found showed that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as “overweight” and “obesity,“ the risks for Coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon), Hypertension (high blood pressure), Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides), Stroke, Liver and Gallbladder disease, Sleep apnea and respiratory problems, Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint), Gynecological problems leading to abnormal menses, and infertility also increase. In addition to increases in weight, if you add physical inactivity it alone may contribute to poor development of the pre-front cortex of the brain, an impaired ability to read and to develop vocabulary, an inability to self regulate behavior and poor academic achievement.
I learned about the idea of leisure time physical activity versus non-leisure time physical activity. Leisure time physical activity is the time spent intentionally performing physical activity, non-leisure time physical activity is the time through daily life where the activities performed require one to be physically active. One potential theory as to why statistics regarding children, disease and physical inactivity are so alarmingly high was that the amount of non-leisure time physical activity for children has decreased to such a great degree that the amount of leisure time required to compensate for that loss is much higher than initially prescribed. Increased use of non-active technology and lack of green space clearly contribute to non-leisure time physical inactivity as fewer children walk or bike to school, participate in recess or even have access to gym class. Increased TV and video game time and increased working hours from two parent families all pose potential contributors to decreases in leisure time physical activity.
In fact, for otherwise healthy children the current recommendation for cardiovascular exercise alone was and still is one hour daily in addition to any non-leisure time physical activity in which that child is already participating. Put into perspective, for otherwise healthy adults the requirement is a cumulative 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity weekly, or 30 minutes most days of the week. Children need to intentionally exercise every day for one full hour. I never considered that I might need to incorporate exercise into my daughters’ daily routine; that her daily need for exercise was greater than mine. I found books that told children about their bodies and how they work, but very few suggested effective solutions to incorporate exercise into a daily routine. Lifestyle has changed and with it, so has the amount of non-leisure time physical activity making daily exercise requirements for children far greater than many families understand. Many books get families thinking, but none empower them to make change. I wanted to make change and the clarity of purpose I felt in this moment was an epiphany, I wanted to empower parents, just like us, whom I knew must be having the same experiences to reclaim their health, and the health of their children, through eating healthy and exercising.
The past 5 years of my life have been an amazing journey. I have continued my runs and in November I did finally run the NYC marathon! With the help of my daughter who is now five, and fit as a fiddle, I have created a number of exercise adventures that parents and well as personal trainers can do with children in different environments without spending money on gym equipment. I have become an expert on Children and Exercise.

Source of salmonella in egg recall uncovered?

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

U.S. Health investigators say they have found positive samples if salmonella bacteria in the feed that was given to chickens at the two Iowa based farms where the outbreak began.  The FDA says the DNA fingerprint matches that of the salmonella involved in the outbreak, which indicates that both farms had contaminated eggs and that the chicken feed was the source.  Investigators must now track the source of the feed to see where it leads, since many feed ingredients come from different farms.  They’re also not sure if the chicken feed is the only source of the salmonella…so the investigation continues.  So far, the salmonella contamination has sickened nearly two thousand people.

Hair loss after childbirth

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Hair loss after pregnancy is not unusual. It affects about 40-50% of women and usually starts 1-5 months after delivery. The good news is like most changes that occur during pregnancy, its only temporary.  The good news is, the hair loss typically isn’t significant enough to cause bald spots and its not permanent. So, by 4-5 months postpartum, you should start to notice a slowing down of hair loss. In the meantime, avoid things that pull on or stress your hair like tight braids or harsh chemicals.  Additionally, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and omega 3s; and use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica.

Meet Amy Hendersen, a Featured Graduate from the Academy

I moved to New York City from my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky in 2001 to study acting. I was always active growing up and loved being on stage. As a busy undergraduate, however, I put on weight – almost 40 pounds! I was not very happy with how I looked or the roles I was getting. After I graduated and was auditioning full-time, I started taking classes at the gym. I didn’t really know what I was doing but slowly took off the weight through good old-fashioned diet and exercise. In 2007, I decided to train for my first triathlon and it was during that training when a lightbulb went off…I could help other people lose weight and get in shape too!

I enrolled at The Academy because I wanted a great education and to be a trainer who knew what she was talking about. I wanted to back up my experience of becoming healthy with a solid foundation of exercise science, biomechanics, and nutrition. I knew I had changed my body but I wanted to tell others HOW. There were other certification programs out there but I was drawn to The Academy because the program was intense and thorough and I thought I would fit in well with the full-time program.

One of my favorite aspects about The Academy was that the day was split in two. For the first part, we were in class – taking notes, viewing presentations, and hearing lectures. During the second half of the day, we applied what we had learned earlier on the gym floor. This combination of classroom and hands-on learning helped reinforce my understanding of the material. We were in the gym, working out with equipment, learning the terminology and physiology, and training each other. By the time I graduated in December of 2007, I had already trained 14 clients – my classmates!

I now work at a private personal training studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  The training studio is ideal for clients because you don’t have to share space or equipment. I have over 20 clients and I work approximately 30 hours a week. One of my clients, Nicole Brewer, was one of the kicked-off contestants from a past season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” I began training her to come back for the live finale of the show. The contestant who lost the most weight at home wins $100,000! She was determined and excited to learn about fitness and wellness. She changed her life and in the process became an inspiration to others. What a joy to train her!

I love my job and the part-time hours are great. I am not as interested in acting full-time anymore but am currently staying busy planning my wedding and applying to graduate school in Holistic Health Education. I would love to round out my personal training skills by learning more about nutrition, wellness, alternative therapies, and spirituality. I am certified by the American Council on Exercise and specialize in training pre-natal and postpartum women. I also work with clients recovering from injury. I just taught my first workshop at Pongo Power about endurance training and I focus on functional training with a holistic approach.

My education at The Academy was exactly what I needed to jump start my new career. Being a personal trainer is such a rewarding job and I feel so lucky to work in an industry that helps and educates others. If you have an interest in fitness, are interested in changing careers, want to take your skills to a new level, or are just starting out like I was – The Academy is the place to be! I am so grateful for my experience there and my amazing teachers. Thanks to The Academy!

Male Menopause is REAL

By: Dr. Steve Salvatore, Co-Owner of The Academy

Sweaty sleepless nights, crankiness, and a lack of sex drive…they’re all signs of menopause…in men.  Male menopause or late onset hypogonadism mimics the changes many women experience.  And, new research suggests that it’s fairly common as testosterone levels fall up to 25 percent in men as they reach middle age.  In the last 10 years, the number of prescriptions filled for testosterone gels and shots increased by more than 400 percent.  Some health experts are questioning whether the treatments are being over prescribed; and they’re warning about the risk of serious side effects such as heart disease and stroke.