Step On it For Bone Health

Step On it For Bone Health

Weight-bearing and strength-training exercises help build and maintain a strong skeleton.

Celebrities with milk mustaches and the growing number of foods enriched with calcium have helped boost public awareness that good nutrition is vital to healthy bones. But calcium and vitamin D are just part of the picture when it comes to strengthening the skeleton and preventing bone loss with age.
Because physical activity “kick-starts” the process that makes bones stronger and denser, exercise also is essential in building healthy bones and warding off osteoporosis, a bone-weakening that affects more than 28 million Americans—80 percent or whom are female.

“Physical activity, through its load-bearing effect on the skeleton, is likely the single most important influence on bone density and architecture,” concludes the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

Still, only 15 percent of adults engage in the recommended 30 minutes of activity most days of the week, notes Felicia Cosman, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), which has launched a campaign called “Step On It America!” to encourage people of all ages to get moving for bone health.
“One problem with the exercise message is that it’s been too complicated,” notes Cosman, a physican specializing in osteoporosis at the Helen Hayes Hospital in New York. Simply put, she says, the best activities for bone health are:
Weight-bearing exercises

“This is any activity you do on your feet that works your bones and muscles against gravity,” says Cosman. Walking, jogging, dancing, and yard work are all weight-beating activities, while swimming and cycling are not.
In general, the higher the impact, the greater the bone benefit. But high-impact activities—such as running and impact aerobics—also carry a greater risk of injury and may not be appropriate for older or overweight exercisers. Researchers are currently studying how to add bone-building force to lower-impact activities, such as wearing a weighted vest while walking.

Strength-training exercises

Working against resistance, such as by exercising with free weights or strength-training machines, strengthens both muscles and bones. A study by Tufts University physiologist Miriam Nelson, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that postmenopausal women who performed just two 40-minute strength-training sessions a week for a year gained one percent in bone density—comparable to the bone benefit of hormone-replacement therapy. Women in the sedentary control group lost about two percent.
While it’s never too late to start exercising for bone benefit, the importance of exercise on skeletal health begins in youth.

“Thirty percent of the skeleton can be formed during puberty, which for most girls and boys is between the ages of 9 and 14,” notes Joan McGowan, chief of the musculo-skeletal diseases branch of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculo-skeletal and Skin Diseases. “Adolescence provides an incredible opportunity to lay down the mass and shape of bone and to see the influence of exercise.”

To illustrate her point, McGowan notes that most people’s dominant arms have about 3 percent more bone than their nondominant arms, because the preferred arm experiences more bone-building force. A Finnish study of elite tennis players found that those who started playing tennis after puberty had 11 percent more bone in their dominant arms than in their nondominant arms, while those who started playing before puberty had dominant arms with about 23 percent more bone.

Unfortunately, many youngsters—especially girls—become less active during adolescence. In addition, an alarming number of girls and young women who do stay active engage in unhealthy weight-control practices that can lead to irregular or stopped menstrual periods, which can cause them to lose bone tissue. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has called attention to this problem, identifying it as “The Female Athlete Triad: Disordered Eating, Amenorrhea, and Osteoporosis.” ACSM experts advise parents and coaches to encourage female athletes concerned about their weight to seek assistance from a qualified sports nutritionist or other health professional.

Although many people consider osteoporosis to be “a little old lady disease,” experts are increasingly calling the condition a pediatric disease with a geriatric outcome. The human skeleton is like a bank account, where childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood are the major deposit years. The bone bank’s withdrawal period typically begins after age 30. Until about age 50, bone loss occurs at a relatively slow rate of about half a percent per year in most people.
Adults who are sedentary and eat poorly may lose bone more rapidly. Studies of patients confined to bed and of astronauts in space reveal that both inactivity and the loss of gravity’s effect on the skeleton can lead to a dramatic loss of bone.

In women, the decline in estrogen at menopause can hasten bone loss, with some women losing up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to eight years after monthly cycles stop. Hormone replacement therapy or other “antiresorptive” medications can be particularly effective at this time in protecting against bone loss, say experts who encourage women at high risk for osteoporosis to get a bone-density test at menopause. While exercise is not a substitute for medications at this time, it is still helpful to continue with weight-bearing and muscle-building exercises.

Postmenopausal women who have been sedentary can gain the most benefit from strength training two or three times a week, contends Tufts University’s Nelson. “Strength training exerts high forces without high impact,” says Nelson, who also advises older women to walk briskly, stretch regularly, and do balance exercises. “Balance training doesn’t increase bone density,” she says, “but it can protect whatever bone we have by preventing falls.”


Not only is tea soothing and delicious, but, throughout its history, it has been associated with important health benefits. New studies point to evidence that these healing properties have a scientific basis. While all tea is healthy to drink, Green tea contains the highest level of polyphenols (flavonoids), which are known for their antioxidant activity.

Consumption of tea is being studied for its reported benefits on:
Enhancing immune function
Lowering LDL cholesterol levels
Increasing HDL cholesterol levels
Reducing blood pressure
Thinning the blood
Reducing the risk of a heart attack
Lowering the risk of stroke
Reducing the risk of cancer
Boosting longevity
Aiding digestion
Preventing dental cavities and gingivitis

Much of the focus of modern research is on the effects of three ingredients found in tea: Antioxidants (polyphenols), nutrients, and caffeine.

Many of the health benefits of drinking tea come from the fact that tea contains high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols or flavonoids. These compounds are most prevalent in green and white teas, but are also present in varying degrees in Oolongs and black teas. In the processing of black teas another antioxidant is formed – theaflavin. This is weaker than the polyphenols in Green teas, but still performs antioxidant activities in laboratory experiments. Polyphenols scavenge cell-damaging free radicals, which are linked with cancer-causing genes and cause LDL cholesterol to form artery-clogging plaque. The polyphenols in tea possess 20 to 30 times the antioxidant potency of vitamins C and E. Antioxidants impair the ability of free radical cells to harm the molecules that make up our bodies.

Tea is a dietary source of important vitamins and minerals. Tea contains Carotene, a precursor to vitamin A; Thiamin (vitamin B1); Riboflavin (vitamin B2); Nicotinic acid, Pantothenic acid, Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin B6; Folic acid; Manganese, Potassium, and Fluoride.

In moderation caffeine can be a benefit – stimulating the metabolism, increasing brain function and alertness. However, the stress of modern life, and the prevalence of coffee and caffeinated colas, has lead people to caffeine overload. The typical cup of coffee has approximately 125-185 milligrams of caffeine. With In Pursuit of Tea full leaf products you can expect a range of about 45-60 milligrams of caffeine for black teas, 35-45 milligrams for Oolong teas, and 15-20 milligrams for green teas. Please remember that these are typical levels. Depending upon the type of tea and how it is prepared, caffeine levels can be significantly greater or lower than outlined here. For those of you needing a powerful lift in the morning, some of our black teas, brewed appropriately, can have as much caffeine as a cup of the strongest coffee! Because caffeine from tea does not take effect for 10-15 minutes, it provides more of a subtle lift – not the rapid jolt in a cup of coffee. As we like to say “Tea makes you happy; coffee makes you nervous”.

The effect of caffeine is also complemented by another compound found only in tea, theophylline. While caffeine primarily is active in the brain and muscles, theophylline is active in stimulating the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. This corresponds to research that tea is helpful in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

Be Healthy – Climb up Stairs!

Health experts urge taking steps as a painless way to add activity to daily life.
One of the world’s best exercise devices is free, easy to use, and readily available—in fact, you probably have dozens in your home and workplace.
They’re stairs, and lifting your body against gravity to climb them is one of the best exercises you can do for your heart, muscles, and bones. In a “no time for exercise” age, the steps all around us provide an ever-present way to fit physical activity into daily life.

Yet most people avoid them. In a recent study, Given the choice between riding an escalator or climbing an adjacent flight of stairs, 95 percent of the people observed chose the path of least physical effort. This finding confirmed conclusions of a classic study by Yale University obesity expert Kelly Brownell.
“Most people don’t realize how little physical activity they actually get,” he says, “and how important it is to use every opportunity they have to be active.”
Lifestyle activity—such as choosing stairs over elevators—is increasingly being urged by public-health experts, who point to mounting evidence that small amounts of exercise accumulated throughout the day can provide significant health benefits. For example, the Harvard Alumni Health Study in USA examined the lifestyle habits of more than 11,000 men and found that those who climbed at least 20 floors per week had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke and of death from all causes during the study period, according to I-Min Lee, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

For those who want a more intense workout, continuous stair climbing can be an effective way to build lower body strength and cardiovascular endurance. One of the most popular exercise trends of the last decade, step aerobics, is based on going up and down a step for 30 to 60 minutes. And one of the most popular exercise machines during that same time period, the stair climber, relies on this same motion.

Athletes have been running up and down stadium steps as part of training for years.

This kind of intense stair climbing may be inadvisable for people with knee problems, such as arthritis, as well as those with heart or lung disorders, notes Perry Esterson, a physical therapist and athletic trainer with Physiotherapy Associates in northern Virginia. But taking the stairs in daily life is a great way for most people to boost their fitness and strengthen the muscles that support the knee.

“The thickest cartilage in the body is behind the patella (kneecap), so it’s designed to withstand a lot of stress,” he says. “And the more you go up and down the stairs, the stronger you’ll become and the easier that activity will be.”
So, next time you have a choice, climb up those stairs.

Are You Ready for 360?

Are You Ready for 360?

“There is a degree of readiness for 360-feedback programs. Organizations need to gauge how ready they are for 360. Because 360 is a powerful diagnostic/assessment process, it can be used in many areas of human resource development and personnel management. It will raise questions about how the system will be used and how it will affect people. Although 360 can benefit all employees, most organizations don’t make it available to everyone right away. They start with small groups to become practiced at implementation and to learn how to get the most value from the experience” (Tom Sullivan, M.P.A., Performance Management Listserve, February 12, 1999).

Is Your Organization Ready for 360 Degree Feedback?
The question of whether or not your organization is ready for 360 degree feedback is not a simple “yes” or “no” question as it may appear. That’s because 360 degree feedback is not a thing that can be packaged and delivered, nor is it a program that can be implemented on a certain date in time. 360 degree feedback is a process that involves identification of a “problem” to be solved, analysis of the context and current atmosphere for problem resolution, commitment of resources (both monetary and time), and a detailed plan for implementation and follow-up.
“The process of preparing for 360 is a development journey in itself. Few organizations that I know of are “ready” for 360 feedback. It is the “readiness work” that becomes most significant, rather than the actual 360. I have seen more growth and development in the “journey of preparing for 360” than I have with the actual 360 process itself” (Tom Sullivan, Performance Management Listserve, March 17, 1999).

What is 360 Degree Feedback?
“The (360 degree) feedback process…involves collecting perceptions about a person’s behavior and the impact of that behavior from the person’s boss or bosses, direct reports, colleagues, fellow members of project teams, internal and external customers, and suppliers. Other names for 360 degree feedback are multi-rater feedback, multi-source feedback, full-circle appraisal, and group performance review” (Lepsinger, 1997, p. 6).
In order for an organization to be ready for effective 360 degree feedback, a number of questions need to be answered. The effectiveness of the feedback is directly linked to the integrity of the process, and the integrity of the process is measured in terms of commitment, clarity of purpose, and follow-up. A 360 degree feedback team is recommended for accomplishing a detailed plan to address these issues prior to implementation.

The Balanced Scorecard
Utilizing the four perspectives of the balanced scorecard as a framework for examining organizational readiness, the team would involve themselves in creating a plan which addresses the following:
I. Internal Business Process Perspective
a.Is 360 degree feedback needed to support the implementation of a corporate strategy or the accomplishment of a corporate goal?
b.What is HR’s and top management’s role in the process?
c.How will employee development plans be created utilizing the feedback?
d.How will these development plans be utilized to align behaviors/expectations needed to successfully implement the corporate strategy or goal identified?
II. Financial Perspective
a. Are sufficient resources available to insure a high integrity 360 degree feedback process?
b. Have funds been budgeted for follow-up activities, such as staff training?
c. How does the corporate strategy or goal driving the process affect the bottom line?
III. Customer Perspective
a. What will be the level of customer involvement and representation in the 360 degree feedback process?
b. How will the corporate strategy or goal driving the process affect customers’ perceptions of the organization and its products?
IV. Learning Perspective
a. How will individual development needs identified in the process be addressed?
b. Will supervisors require training in order to address the identified needs of subordinates?
c. Will HR utilize aggregate data on employee needs to create an organization-wide development plan?


Two fleas had an arrangement to meet every winter in Miami for a vacation.
Last year when one flea got to Miami, he’s shivering and shaking.The other flea asks him,” why are you shaking so badly?”
The first flea says, “I rode down here from New Jersey in the moustache of a guy on A Harley.”
The other flea responds saying,” That’s the worst way to travel. Try what I do. Go to the New Jersey airport bar.Have a few drinks. While you are there, look for a nice stewardess.Crawl up her leg and nestle in where it’s warm and cosy. It’s the best way to travel that I can think of.”
The first flea thanks the second flea and says he will give it a try next winter.
A year goes by…..When the first flea shows up in Miami he is shivering and shaking again.
The second flea says, “Didn’t you try what I told you?”
“Yes,” says the first flea, “I did exactly as you said. I went to the New Jersey airport bar. I had a few drinks. Finally, this nice young stewardess came in. I crawled right up to her warm cosy spot. It was so nice and warm that I fell asleep…
When I woke up, I was back in the mustache of a guy on a Harley!!!”

The Beware Factor in Interviews

More the comfort level you can generate into the mind of the hiring manager, better are your chances of selection.

Now, why the hell he is looking for comfort levels?

Anil Mahajan

Tells Nokia…… why interview clear aapne na kia?

The Beware Factor

Interview: 10.00 AM

What if…

I hire him…

He wins Pitches…

Mr. Popular…

He Takes my Job!!!

So, I better not hire him.

What we discussed in the last issue on “The Beware Factor” has been amply demonstrated in the recent ad on TV by Nokia.

The power of negative imaging generates fear in the hiring manager – and it is a power that is abundantly & universally present among all professionals. Hiring manager, therefore, tend not to select people who appear better than them.

One notable exception was Henry Rockefeller. He was asked by a news magazine as to what was the secret of his success.

“I always select professionals better than me.”

The stark reality is that almost cent per cent of hiring managers either go for a professional appearing a shade or a couple of shades lower in ability. The hiring manager is not the owner of the organisation, and he doesn’t want to have nightmares about losing his job. He find the easiest solution: REJECT THIS MAN under one pretext or another.

So where is the solution for the candidate?

Either try to appear a shade lower than the interviewer or try to appear like his alter ego (again a shade lower) as a bit of narcissism is present in everybody. You see your face everyday in the mirror & never hate it. Even Mogambo likes himself. Being a hiring manager’s alter ego needs a careful research of the interviewer both offline, before the interview and online during the interview. Relating is a deadly tool & coupled with Alter ego tool generates a strong Potion to effectively nip the “The Beware Factor” in the bud.

Common Ground

One of my readers could not fully understand the Relating concept & called me up. He was to appear in an interview in a durables company & the hiring manager was some Bannerjee. He thought that relating meant the interviewer would select one of his Relations or a Bengali fellow. It took me half an hour to explain the concept of relating which is Continually Building Common Ground. You are not being interviewed for a govt. job where Bhai Bhatijabaad(nepotism) matters the most. It is a case of one of the private sector organizations, where delivery & results are most important. Selection tool “Relating” dwells on the comfort level. More the comfort level you can generate into the mind of the hiring manager, better are your chances of selection.

Now, why the hell he is looking for comfort level? Because, he would find himself comfortable in generating results for the company with you as a subordinate.

By Anil Mahajan, MBA PGDIT (IIFT)

He has made pioneering contributions in the field of Resume Writing and Resume Management.

Courtesy Jobnet Magazine issue 108

Republication or dissemination of the contents of this article are expressly prohibited without the written consent of the Author