Exercise Shorts

Fitness and exercise news from around the world

* The Keiser Institute on Aging is providing free Keiser Institute on Aging memberships to all current Keiser customers. As part of this offer, Keiser is contacting more than 4,000 current customers. Since an institute membership costs $299, Keiser's offer is valued at $1.2 million. Each membership gives a facility access to the latest exercise and aging information, including specially designed programs, protocols and networking opportunities with other professionals in the medical research, fitness, health care and senior-housing industries. Keiser customers with questions about the offer should call (800) 336-8133.

* Tanita Corp., a manufacturer of body fat analyzer/scales, has partnered with Shape Up America! (SUA!), a nonprofit national educational campaign founded to promote healthy weight and increased physical activity in America. Working together, Tanita and SUA! hope to educate Americans about the obesity crisis and provide tools for monitoring and managing body-fat percentage.

* Ads for Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) products promise everything from defined abs to firmer thighs and buttocks, without sweaty exercise. However, a new study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) describes EMT as ineffective, time-consuming and painful.

EMS stimulates specific muscles by channeling electrical impulses into the body via wire connections and rubber pads. To test the effectiveness of EMS in increasing strength and promoting fat loss, Dr. John Porcari and his team from the Human Performance Lab at the University of Wisconsin, La Cross, studied 29 college-aged volunteers. After eight weeks, subjects who took part in EMS "training" experienced no significant changes in weight, body-fat percentage, strength or overall appearance. Some subjects also reported that the EMS sessions were painful when high levels of stimulation were used.

* Clubs that cater to women may want to turn to the Internet to analyze the health and fitness sites that draw the most female traffic.

Nielsen/NetRatings, which tracks Internet activity, has found the health and fitness sites getting the most hits from women. The health and exercise Web site drawing the largest percentage of women at home was eDiets.com. Of the 239,000 people who visited eDiets.com in the week ending May 21, 89 percent were women.

At work, the site with the most female audience was health.yahoo.com, Yahoo Inc.'s health information site. Women accounted for 88.7 percent of its 202,000 unique visitors.

* From critics of carbohydrates to enemies of fat, the American diet scene is full of "experts" who have opinions on what type of eating constitutes a safe and effective weight-management program. Now, in an attempt to see which opinions are correct, scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are going to test low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets.

Researchers will put two groups of people on prototype diets, one high in protein and low in carbohydrates, the other very low in fat. The scientists will then measure weight loss in the groups and also determine whether the diets caused any health problems.

The initial results from the study should be available next year.

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