Jenn Cherrey was 23 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Although Cherrey was a sprinter in her youth, she became less active in her late teens and early 20s. Cherrey admits after her diagnosis, she was not quick to make healthier decisions.

"When I found out I had MS, I probably did the exact opposite of being fit," Cherrey says. "I did all the wrong things."

Cherrey, now 41, turned things around about four years ago. She stopped smoking on her 37th birthday, June 17, 2010 (she started smoking at age 14), and went for her first "serious" run that morning. Along with running, Cherry started biking and willed herself into shape.

"For me, being active, especially having running in my life, has been a way for me to kick MS in the shins a little bit," she says. "I keep doing what I want to do and what I like to do. I can keep my body strong, so it doesn't fail me as much as it should."

Cherrey, who works in compliance for Credit Suisse, has run seven marathons, along with several long distance races. Her fastest marathon time of 4:40:02 came at the New Jersey Marathon. Cherrey has two more upcoming marathons and a triathlon on her schedule. The Annapolis, Md., resident also has a history of long-distance bike rides, including the recent Bike MS: Chesapeake Challenge. For the two-day ride, Cherrey did a metric century (day one) and a 50-mile trek (day two).

"I don't have any race wins, but for me, finishing is a pretty big accomplishment," she says of her ironwoman history.

Outside of work and racing, Cherrey gets paddle boarding/yoga instruction from Kate Grove. The classes consist of about an hour of paddleboarding involving such techniques as how to stand up, how to move, how to get across waves and how to turn. For the last half hour, Grove gives the students yoga instruction on paddleboards.

"It works your core more than yoga because you have to use all your core strength to stay balanced," Cherrey says. "Balance is one of the things affected by MS. We do a lot of planks and stuff to strengthen while you're on the board."

Along with trouble balancing, Cherrey notes MS affects her ability to walk in a straight line and causes her foot to drop unexpectedly. Cherrey also has trouble running in heat.

Biking is one of the easier exercises on Cherrey's body due to the built-in seat and breeze. While Cherrey's muscles are challenged, the wind cools her body off.

Cherrey also finds a cooling aspect in paddleboarding.

"If I fall in the water, it's kind of a nice way to cool my body down," she says. "There's a downside to having trouble balancing, but the water's a nice break during the workout."

When Cherrey was married this May in Oxford, Md., she and her partner Jen Bornemann (yep, that's right, Jenn and Jen) did not ask for gifts. Instead, the couple asked for donations. Guests could donate to their choice of three organizations: The Girls on the Run of the Greater Chesapeake, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the National MS Society. Cherrey and Bornemann also hosted a "Wedding 5K+1 Run" (with T-shirts made) to highlight the charities. The wedding raised $1500 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, $1650 for Girls on the Run of the Greater Chesapeake, and almost $6000 for the National MS Society Maryland Chapter.

Cherrey attributes Bornemann as a voice pushing her to challenge herself.

"We sign up for races together, train together and she is currently teaching me triathlon swim technique, so I don't drown in September," Cherrey says.

Cherrey's father also suffers from MS. Bornemann senses her wife's determination may stem from that family connection.

"I think that with every run, ride, swim, paddle and strength session, she has her dad with her," Bornemann says. "Unfortunately, his MS has worsened and she brings his spirit, influence and love with her at every workout and event.

Cherrey's MS is currently relapsing/remitting and her active lifestyle limits the chance of any major exacerbations. Still, such instances as fatigue in heat are common and must be dealt with accordingly. Jenn is not one to make excuses. Instead, she troops on.

"Jenn is incredibly tough, in every sense," Bornemann says. "She does not often talk about her MS, as she doesn't like to burden others, but I do know when it's effects are taking their toll."

Jenn Cherrey has suffered from MS for 18 years, but the word suffer should be used loosely. It has not stopped her from living out her everyday desires. One of those desires is kicking MS in the shins.

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The claim: You're more likely to order a higher-calorie meal from restaurants offering a special "low-calorie" menu, according to a new study from the Journal of Consumer Research.

The research: Authors asked study participants to order food from menus similar to those found at well-known chain restaurants. Some picked from menus containing traditional lists (e.g. “seafood,” “pasta,” “meat entrées,” etc.) with no calorie information listed. Another group ordered from the same menu but with calories listed by each dish. And a third group ordered from menus with low-calorie dishes grouped together in a separate “low-calorie” section. Surprisingly, people who ordered from the traditional menu without calorie information ordered similarly to those who made selections from the menu with the low-calorie section. Those who ordered from the calorie-labeled menu (not grouped) ordered meals with fewest calories overall. (Do you know that the average person eats 580 calories a day in snacks? Click here for 16 Ways To Curb Mindless Munching.)

What it means: As part of our brain's natural decision-making process, we may eliminate the low-calorie menu to simplify our decision when looking at a large restaurant menu, says one of the study's authors Jeffrey R. Parker, an assistant professor of marketing. "Negative associations with ‘low-calorie’ dishes tend to make it easy to eliminate this category. In contrast, low-calorie dishes in their natural categories can’t be easily dismissed in the early choice-simplification stage."

The bottom line: Parker notes that other studies have found that the negative effects of the low-calorie category goes away when people take longer to decide. "So it might be in your best interest to send the waiter away for a few minutes before placing your order,” says Parker. "Don't let your mind trick you into picking something high-calorie.” (Find out how restaurants use some sneaky tricks to try and get you to eat more. Here's how to not get duped.)

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Americans put an enormous amount of time and effort into losing weight. Unfortunately, many of those efforts are misguided. Read on to make sure you're not following any of these three common beliefs.

1. You can localize fat loss
It's sad that so many people still fall victim to marketing that promises the localization of fat loss. It's physiologically impossible to spot reduce fat. You can do a million crunches, but it won't help you lose belly fat. Want toned arms? Sorry, curls won't melt your fat either.

According to coach Josh Kozak, founder of HASfit, "Your body doesn't discriminate from where it pulls fat from. It is constantly mobilizing and storing fat, from all over your body, at all times of the day. Fat storage locations are different from person to person so it is possible to have more fat on one part of your body than another, but you can't target that spot through exercise."

2. You can outwork a bad diet

Successful weight loss takes a two pronged attack of both exercise and proper nutrition. If you're
someone who justifies eating junk food with the excuse, “It’s OK. I worked out today,” then you may
want to reconsider. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average 30-minute aerobic or resistance training workout burns 182 calories.

When compared with the average calories of a fast food value meal at 1,000 calories, one margarita
at 500 calories, or a slice of cheesecake at 400 calories, you can see where this philosophy falls apart.

Enjoying a treat in moderation is totally acceptable, but starting an exercise program isn't a reason to eat whatever you want.

3. The best way to lose fat is with cardio
Research presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise VI meeting ¹, demonstrated that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more calories in less time than conventional cardio. The study found that you can burn up to 220 calories in just five minutes using a form of HIIT called Tabata Training. You’d have to use the treadmill for more than 30 minutes to get the same results.

Try this 10-Minute HIIT Routine to help you torch fat fast:

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People talk about their metabolism a lot. You'd think they actually understand it.

But often that's not the case. Here are four things you should know about the M-word:

Burning Truth No. 1: Skinny People Have Fast Metabolisms

VERDICT: Sometimes

"There are slim people with slightly low metabolisms who just don't eat very much," says Michael Jensen, M.D., an endocrinologist with the Mayo Clinic. "And there are heavy people with really high metabolisms who eat a huge amount." (Create your toughest workout with these 10-minute routines!)

Burning Truth No. 2: Lean Tissue Burns More Calories Than Fat Does Even While You're Asleep

VERDICT: True

"Your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys use a lot of energy, even when you're lying still," says Dr. Jensen. Muscle and the GI tract don't use much at rest; fat burns practically nothing. His estimate: You burn about a calorie per minute at rest. A quarter of that is torched by muscle, and 1/50th of it is burned by fat. (Is your workout burning flab -- or just burning up your time? Don't fall for these 5 Fat-Loss Myths.)


Burning Truth No. 3: Some Guys Can Only Slim Down By Slashing Calories

VERDICT: False

"In 30 years I've never seen anyone with a truly low metabolic rate," says Dr. Jensen. "People who think they need an 800-calorie diet often have resting metabolic rates of 1,500 calories."

So why can't they slim down? They're often eating many more calories than they realize. His fix: Accurately record everything you eat for two weeks. Unhealthy trends may emerge. (Are all calories created equal? Click here for The Truth About Calories.)

Burning Truth No. 4: Cutting 500 Calories A Day Means You'll Lose A Pound A Week

VERDICT: Not Quite

A pound of fat does equal 3,500 calories, and you may lose a pound the first week. "But when you eat less, you lose lean tissue, so your basal metabolic rate goes down," says Dr. Jensen.

Surprise: You may gain more than a pound after a 3,500-calorie pig-out, since calories stored as sugar cause you to retain water. (Eat 30 percent less with this easy research-proven trick: The Easiest Way to Shrink Your Gut.)

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Ivan Nolia of Washington D.C. began practicing yoga a year ago. Now as a 9-year-old he has already completed the standard 200 hours of yoga teacher training to become a certified instructor.

We're not sure how official these records are -- there was a report in 2011 of an 11-year-old teacher in Miami -- but Ivan could be the youngest yoga teacher in the nation. (The world record was bestowed on a 6-year-old from India in 2010.)

Ivan, who also participates in gymnastics, kung fu and swimming, says yoga gives him discipline in school.

"I don't act too wild and things like that -- like some kids do," Ivan told WJLA.

Ivan told WJLA that he has aspirations of being a doctor and an astronaut while continuing to be a yoga instructor. If Ivan needs any inspiration to maintain his practice for the long haul, he can turn to the world's oldest yoga teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch, who released an instructional DVD when she was 94.

Yoga Comedy: Leave Ego At The Door

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In today's Western society it's much easier, and not to mention quicker, to spend a few bucks at the McDonald's across the street than it is to make a satisfying dinner. In a world of Big Macs, KFC and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, who really wants to eat their spinach and celery sticks? As a result, however, our fat-filled diets have brought about an epidemic of heart disease, which has become North America’s No. 1 killer. Fortunately, over the years scientists and nutritionists have studied the foods that are good for the heart, and some of these might come as a surprise. So, here's a list of the best heart foods that you should include in your diet, and maybe it will help you avoid a trip to the doctor’s.

Oats

Oats belong to a larger category of foods referred to as whole grains. Whole grains contain the entire kernel as opposed to refined grains that have been processed to remove the bran and the germ. While this process allows certain grains to last longer on store shelves, it also removes much of the good stuff like B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, and antioxidants.

Oats, in particular, as found in your morning oatmeal, contain a soluble fiber known as beta-glucan that decreases the total cholesterol in your blood as well as your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is important because it is the LDL or "bad" cholesterol that’s responsible for heart attacks. Some studies that required people's diets to be supplemented with oat bran showed a decrease in total cholesterol by as much as 18 percent while others have found a drop in LDL cholesterol by as much as 9 percent.

In addition, whole grains have a low glycemic index, which is a measure of how high a food raises your blood sugar level. Foods with a low glycemic index have a clear health advantage, particularly in helping to prevent diabetes (a major risk factor for coronary heart disease). Next time you reach for that cereal bar for breakfast, maybe you should reconsider and make a bowl of oatmeal.

Red wine

Want to have your cake and eat it too? Then drink red wine. In moderation (4 to 8 ounces/day), red wine is cardio-protective. This effect comes from antioxidants found in red wine, particularly resveratrol. This compound found in grape extracts has several beneficial effects on the heart, including reducing LDL as well as total blood cholesterol. Moreover, resveratrol, as well as other polyphenols found in red wine, have been shown to reduce blood clots by inhibiting a component found in blood known as platelets. Similar to the action of aspirin, which is one of the mainstay therapies in heart attack prevention, red wine helps to prevent platelets from clumping together, which is a key event in coronary artery blockage.

More recent scientific studies have shown that red wine has the ability to relax arteries and, therefore, lower your blood pressure. In addition, wine consumption is also associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of coronary vessel inflammation. This means that drinking wine could decrease your risk of CHD.

Spinach

Spinach, and many other green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, contains folate, also known as vitamin B9. Although folate deficiency is well known for its effects in causing spinal malformations in newborns, recent studies reveal that folate may have a role in heart disease by reducing circulating levels of homocysteine in the blood. High homocysteine levels increase your risk of heart attacks as well as stroke; therefore, increasing your dietary intake of folate-containing foods may help reduce the risk of CHD.

In general, a diet rich in vegetables as well as fruit can significantly reduce hypertension, a major risk factor for CHD. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study, those who consumed more fruits and vegetables showed a drop in blood pressure over only an eight-week period.

Almonds

Almonds and other nuts are a rich source of mono and polyunsaturated fats that can not only reduce total cholesterol but also raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. Almonds also contain phytosterols that are naturally occurring plant steroids that block the intestinal tract from absorbing all types of fats. In 2003, the FDA claimed that “foods containing at least [a] 0.4-gram per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 grams as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” One pooled study showed that subjects in the group with the highest nut consumption had reduced their risk of CHD by 35 percent.

One drawback of almonds and other nuts, however, is that they are calorie-rich, so not more than a handful of nuts should be consumed per day.

Salmon

Salmon and other fish are the foods with probably the most scientific evidence for heart protection. The active ingredient in salmon is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of CHD by several mechanisms including reducing blood pressure, blocking platelet function and clot formation, and preventing plaque formation in artery walls. One study in the Netherlands following men over a 20-year period showed an obvious inverse relationship between fish consumption and CHD.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help to regulate the electrical activity of the heart, thereby reducing the likelihood of sudden cardiac death. How much fish do you need to eat to reap these benefits? Only two or more servings of fish per week have been associated with a reduced risk of CHD by as much as 30 percent.

Take Heart

Healthy eating requires a change in behavior as much as a change in what we eat. For example, simply substituting foods with trans fats with unsaturated (mono or polyunsaturated) fats have been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of diabetes. Similar benefits can be met by replacing red meats with fish and poultry. Diet is only one modifiable factor in the development of coronary heart disease, and so we have to remember that regular exercise and smoking cessation should always be incorporated in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

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You can spot the signs of a computer body miles away. You know: the rounded back, the less-than-stellar posture, and a butt that's seen perkier days.

"When you spend all day sitting at a desk your back seems to be permanently in a hunched over position, which can lead to lots of aches and pains," says Prevention's Fitness expert Chris Freytag. "To counteract that, you need to strengthen the muscles in your back. You'll start to feel better, and look better instantly." (Prevent bad posture and pain with these beginner yoga moves.)

The antidote is this week's exercise, the renegade row with burpee. It combines a back strengthening exercise with a calorie-burning cardio burst.

 

There's also a bonus core-toning benefit: you're holding a plank -- one of the best core exercises -- while performing the renegade row. "A strong back supports your belly, keeping your body balanced and healthy," says Freytag.

(Flatten your belly without a single crunch with this super-effective No-Crunch Ab Workout.)

Best-Selling Author Makes His Case: How To Really Reform College Sports

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One needs only to step out the door and go for a run to reap the benefits of exercise -- you finish refreshed, more alert and with a sense of accomplishment. A study published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reminds us that that effort will pay off in the future as well, not just with added years, but with healthy ones.

In the study, researchers in Australia assessed the physical activity level and the physical and mental health of 12,200 men ages 65 to 83. Ten to 13 years later, subjects who were still alive were assessed again.

Plus: Runners Have Lower Risk of Dying from Respiratory Disease

The analysis showed that the men who exercised at least 2.5 hours per week were more likely to be alive 10 years later. And after adjusting for lifestyle and disease (i.e., age, marital status, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use and the prevalence of heart disease), active subjects were more likely than their inactive peers to enjoy those years free of mental and physical ailments, including depression.

In other words, exercise helps keep our faculties intact as we age -- if we keep at it. Men who began the study as active seniors but stopped exercising lost many of the health benefits associated with exercise. Subject who continued to accumulate at least 2.5 hours of weekly activity were 60 percent more likely to age healthfully. Moreover, men who started exercising during the study increased their chance of healthy aging by 35 percent.

Related: Masters Athletes Have Superior Brain Function

"We found that the health benefits of physical activity appeared to be all but lost among active men who became inactive over the following decade, whereas men who were physically inactive and became active accrued the benefits of healthy aging. Taken together, these results support the hypothesis that physical activity promotes healthy aging," the authors write.

The research follows on the heels of another study that shows that it’s better to be a fit senior than an unfit one: That research found that active older adults were less prone to distraction than their inactive peers.

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine

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Last year, two large studies, including one in Copenhagen, found that running extends life expectancy by as much as six years. But there was a catch: People who ran 15 to 20 miles, or about two and half hours, per week enjoyed the added years. Those who ran 30 miles or more did not live longer. Moreover, the higher-mileage runners showed signs of heart scarring.

That data suggested there is a threshold to running's benefits, a ceiling at which we'd be better off resting or maybe walking than logging more miles. But Martin Matsumura, M.D., a cardiologist and researcher at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, isn't convinced that's the case. He suspects other factors, such as family history and medication use, contribute to the adverse effects on the heart, and he's launched a study to begin to uncover them.

"I have a suspicion there are confounders, other habits that are connected to the cardiovascular events, and that it's not, 'If you run beyond 30 miles [per week] you scar your heart and drop dead sooner,'" Matsumura said by phone from his office in the Lehigh Valley. "But what are those habits? What differentiates these runners? That's part of what I hope to find out."

Plus: 6 Ways Running Improves Your Health

The study consists of an online survey directed at runners age 35 and older. It asks 45 wide-ranging questions, from weekly mileage to smoking habits to coffee consumption. Family health history is assessed, as is the use of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and thyroid medication, many of which may have negative effects on the heart.

Matsumura said the study also aims to begin teasing out what degree of running is most beneficial. It will offer a snapshot of masters runners' training and racing habits as well as their perception of running's risk to the heart.

"There's a growing population of masters runner who want to maintain not just fitness but competitiveness, but there's very little guidance on how to assess risk to the heart involved in running as you age," he said.

Plus: How Type of Exercise Affects Blood Pressure

Matsumura's own heart problem influenced his decision to conduct the research. Matsumura, 47, is a former collegiate 800-meter specialist who now runs 25 to 30 miles a week. He has no family history of heart disease, but last fall he had a coronary stent placed in one of his arteries.

"It was out of the blue," Matsumura said, adding that he does not believe his heart issue was the result of too much running, but that its cause is puzzling.

At present, about 1,000 people across all age groups have taken the survey, including a large number of triathletes. The triathletes' participation is a bonus, said Matsumura, as it will enable him to assess the role of aerobic cross-training in the U-shaped relationship between running and life expectancy found in the earlier research.

Plus: Less-Fit Marathoners Stress Their Hearts More

Matsumura emphasized the survey is one step in ongoing research. He wasn't open to speculating on what he expects to find, nor does he allow himself to peek at the data early to get preliminary results. But he hopes more people will participate. "It'll be up as long as people respond," he said.

You can take the survey here.

Source: Heart and Education in Heart

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Forget gray hair and slower race times. Science, once again, offers considerable consolation for the aging athlete. Two recently published studies add to the growing body of evidence that regular exercise preserves brain function, including memory, and lowers the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The two studies examined the brains of 10 masters athletes and 10 sedentary but otherwise healthy older adults. The athletes-regionally and nationally ranked runners recruited from running clubs and races — were age 72 on average and had been exercising for 15 or more years. The inactive adults had an average age of 74.

Middle-Aged Fitness Linked to Less Dementia Later

The first study compared the brain structure and cognitive abilities of the two groups. The second attempted to determine why the master athletes outperformed their contemporaries -- and a younger control group -- on some cognitive tests in the first study.

MRI scans in the first study showed that all the older adults had less gray matter than the nine young adults who served as a control group (average age 27). But the masters athletes had higher concentrations of both gray and white matter than their sedentary counterparts in key areas that control movement, memory and perception. White matter transmits messages between gray matter, the brain's outer layer where information is processed.

5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power

In the first study, the masters group scored higher than the sedentary group in cognitive tests involving language. They also outperformed the sedentary and the younger control groups on test for "working memory," the parts of the brain responsible for attention, multi-tasking and decision-making.

"That these masters athletes who were in their 70s were performing as well as the young controls is massively impressive already, but that they out-performed the young in a few categories, that's the big picture here," says Benjamin Tseng, Ph.D., a researcher in the Exercise and Environmental Medicine lab at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and the lead author of both studies.

The second study, published in the journal NeuroImage, found that the white matter of older athletes was healthier than the sedentary group's.

Sitting is the New Smoking - Even for Runners

"White matter impacts how quickly someone can retrieve a piece of information and how well they can solve a problem," says Tseng. "While brain tissue volume is important, the integrity of the white matter fiber tracts is just as critical."

The results suggest that older athletes have a lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to Tseng. But he emphasizes the key message here is the extraordinary benefits of long-term exercise—and that’s it's never too late to start.

"Brain plasticity [changes] can happen even later in life and that's an important message from the study," he says, noting that some of the athletes began running in their 40s and 50s.

Activity Linked To Less Age-Related Brain Change

Was it the number of year or the frequency and intensity that lead to better brain health? It's unclear, says Tseng, but likely a combination of consistency over time.

Tseng says it's not just the exercise that helps. "Being out and about is very good for your brain,” he says. “The social interactions, meeting new people, seeing new places all stimulate the brain."

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