Recharge your workout with resistance bands

1a0fe53582d3b42c_woodchopper-band.previewWeekly Health Watch rail, with items on resistance-band workouts, osteoporosis warnings, childhood allergies and skipping breakfast

Tip of the Week

Need to jump-start your strength routine? How about picking up a resistance band? Rubberized resistance will help you perform functional total-body exercises, refresh a stale routine and give you the toned results you’re working for. They also function as a great post-workout stretching aid.

Resistance bands offer the same benefits of other resistance exercises without being cumbersome and heavy, so if you use proper form and a challenging level of tension, your muscle fibers won’t know the difference between weights or bands. Even better, the band’s multidirectional movement can offer more muscle recruitment because you can use several muscle groups at once. Try a squat with a bicep curl, or a lunge with an overhead press.

Resistance bands come in a range of levels, shapes and colors. To determine the right strength of band for you, use this rule of thumb: You should reach moderate to maximum muscle fatigue between 20-30 repetitions of your exercise. If your band is too easy, you’ll know. If it’s too hard, you won’t be able to complete the full range of motion.

Which type of band you choose depends on what you are using it for:

* Flat bands are great for physical therapy, mind-body exercise and active agers.

* Traditional exercise tubes are the most-used bands and are great for basic strength training and multiple muscle group exercises.

* Superbands are great for pull-up assistance, partner exercises and athletic training.

The bottom line is that bands can be a fun, useful and portable tool to add to your weekly routine.

— Life Fitness

Number to Know

100: Nutrient density score of watercress, highest of all ranked fruits and vegetables, according to a study published in a Centers for Disease Control and Protection journal. The score is the average percentage of recommended daily values for 17 nutrients in a 100-calorie serving of the food.

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Children’s Health

Infants are less likely to suffer from allergies or asthma if they exposed to household bacteria and allergens from rodents, roaches and cats during their first year of life, a new study found.

About 41 percent of allergy-free and wheeze-free children surveyed the study, published June 6 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, grew up in homes where lots of allergens and bacteria were present. Of the subjects who did suffer from both allergies and wheezing, only 8 percent of those children had been exposed a significant amount to those substances in their 12 months of life.

The findings seem to support the “hygiene hypothesis,” which theorizes that children in overly clean houses are more likely to suffer from allergies because their bodies don’t have the opportunity to develop appropriate responses to allergens.

Bone fractures are a warning sign of osteoporosis, but some people may be unaware they have already experienced one or more. Height loss of one inch or more may be the first sign that someone has experienced spine fractures due to osteoporosis.

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