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How to Avoid Hurting Yourself at the Gym

By Rachel Fairbank, The New York Times  

One of the biggest fears people have about going to the gym is getting injured. While these concerns are valid, people can find solace in the fact that the majority of those are overuse injuries. This means that with proper precautions, people can minimize the risk of getting injured. A panel of sports doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers provide practical insight. While deadlifting, brace your core and focus on maintaining a straight back when lifting the weight off the ground. For bench press, pinch your shoulder blades together as you lower the bar to the middle of your chest. In terms of an overall program, make sure you are not lifting too much too fast and instead aim for a gradual progression week by week. Runners are at an even higher risk for overuse injuries, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome or “runner’s knee” and stress fractures. To prevent these, doctors emphasize allowing enough time between sessions for recovery as well as still incorporating weight training into your routine to reduce potential muscle imbalances from only running. Ultimately, even though exercise possesses some injury risks, the overall health risks of not exercising are far greater. 

— by Andrew Feld

How Sitting All Day Can Cause Health Problems — Even if You Exercise

By Gretchen Reynolds, The Washington Post

 It is fairly common knowledge that the amount of exercise recommended to maintain physical health is at least 30 minutes a day. However, new research suggests that what is done in the rest of the day plays a higher role in maintaining physical health, even when daily exercise is achieved. People who are sedentary for the remainder of the day are shown to have higher blood pressure and body fat percentage than those who move about, even if infrequently. The study was conducted on 3,700 Finnish individuals who were categorized into four groups based on their activity level during “non-exercise” minutes: rarely moving, rarely moving plus an additional half hour of exercise, frequently moving, and frequently moving plus a half hour of exercise. The resulting data revealed a great difference in key indicators of health: higher blood pressure, body fat percentage, and cholesterol levels in those who rarely moved after their activity period than those who elevated their heart rate even slightly throughout the day. This suggests that if you spend your day sitting, daily exercise is not enough to maintain your health. Even simple adjustments to your habits can make a difference, such as walking around for one minute an hour or standing up more frequently to stretch. While this study has some limitations, it suggests a necessary lifestyle change that could combat the health perils of a daily desk job.

by Sammy Ramacher

Is $1.1 Billion a Necessary Cost for F.D.A. Approval?

 By Christina Jewett,  The New York Times 

By September 30th, Congress will decide whether the F.D.A. should receive 75 percent of its funding – or $1.1 billion – from giant pharmaceutical companies through the “user fee” program. This program with an application fee of around $1.5 million to $3.1 million helps speed the approval of lifesaving drugs but also weakens the approval process by undermining the safety and efficacy of new drugs. As different public officials to physicians criticize the F.D.A’s approval process, Dr. Reshma Ramachandran, co-director of the Yale Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency, raises an important concern: ‘Are patients healthier? Are patients safe?’ And that just seems like an afterthought.” 

by Emily Kim

Items contributed by: Andrew Feld, Sammy Ramacher, and Emily Kim