Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

You Asked for It: Nine Years of You Asked For It

Nieman, David C. Dr.P.H., FACSM

ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal: May-June 2011 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - p 5-7
doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e3182161801
DEPARTMENTS: You Asked For It: Question Authority

Nine Years of You Asked For It.

David C. Nieman, Dr.P.H., FACSM, is a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University, and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC. Dr. Nieman is a pioneer in the research area of exercise immunology and helped establish that regular moderate exercise lowers upper respiratory tract infection rates while improving immunosurveillance and that heavy exertion increases infection rates while causing immune dysfunction. His current research is focused on nutritional countermeasures to exercise-induced immune dysfunction including unique plant molecules, such as quercetin, isoquercetin, epigallocatechin 3-gallate, alpha linolenic acid, and beta-glucan. Dr. Nieman has received $5.3 million in research grants, published more than 260 peer-reviewed publications in journals and books, and sits on nine journal editorial boards including the Journal of Applied Physiology and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. He is the author of nine books on health, exercise science, and nutrition, including Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health-Related Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011, now in its seventh edition). Dr. Nieman served two terms as president of the International Society of Exercise and Immunology and is currently Vice President of the American College of Sports Medicine. He has run 58 marathons and ultramarathons and was an acrobatic gymnast and coach for 10 years. His marathon PR is 2:37, and he has run the Pikes Peak Marathon twice, with a 16th place finish.

Based on the latest readership survey of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal®, "You Asked For It" is one of the most popular columns published in the Journal. As its author, David C. Nieman, Dr.P.H., FACSM, steps down after more than 9 years of providing excellent, well-written columns covering a variety of health and fitness issues, it is only fitting to highlight all the questions he's answered over the years. The list below includes the volume and issue numbers along with the question addressed in each issue.

  • 6:1 How do I adopt current ACSM exercise prescription guidelines for my obese clients?
  • 6:2 What are the key points of the exercise guidelines for individuals with type 2 diabetes?
  • 6:3 What is the current stance of the American Heart Association stance regarding the role of physical activity/lifestyle in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease?
  • 6:4 What is the link between physical activity and mental health?
  • 6:5 Have exercise guidelines been published for individuals recovering from cancer?
  • 6:6 If I exercise, am I less likely to have a stroke than if I don't exercise?
  • 7:1 What guidelines should be followed when prescribing exercise for older adults with osteoarthritis?
  • 7:2 Does the role of stretching really guard against muscle soreness and injury?
  • 7:3 Does exercise create a desire to quit smoking?
  • 7:4 Does exercise have a large effect on resting metabolic rate?
  • 7:5 What is the metabolic syndrome? Can it be caused by physical inactivity?
  • 7:6 Can exercise help treat cancer once it is formed?
  • 8:1 Information on low back pain is confusing. Can you clear this up?
  • 8:2 Exercise triggers my asthma attacks. Is there anything I can do?
  • 8:3 Is walking considered effective in preventing and treating osteoporosis?
  • 8:4 If you start a regular exercise program, will you also feel like eating better?
  • 8:5 Can I control my blood pressure through exercise and other changes in my lifestyle?
  • 8:6 Can aerobic training improve heart and lung fitness even in old age?
  • 9:1 I work out up to 1 hour a day, but several extra pounds of body fat stubbornly persist. Do you recommend that I switch to a low-carbohydrate diet?
  • 9:2 What are the benefits of exercise for those who have chronic fatigue syndrome?
  • 9:3 Can exercise help me sleep better?
  • 9:4 My daughter is in college and runs, swims, or cycles for at least 2 hours a day in preparation for triathlon events. I am worried that this amount of exercise is too much, especially because she has become quite thin. Can high levels of exercise be harmful to women?
  • 9:5 My 13-year-old son wants to start running and lifting weights. Can you give me some exercise guidelines? I'm worried about injury during this time when he is growing so rapidly.
  • 9:6 My physician just informed me that I have prediabetes and am at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Is there anything I can do to turn this around and prevent future diabetes?
  • 10:1 I am a 28-year-old woman, married with children, and weigh 40 lbs more than I should. Obesity runs in my family, especially on my mom's side. Is it possible for me to achieve normal weight, or am I always going to fight being overweight because of my heredity?
  • 10:2 Is there anything good about health and fitness in America? It seems that every time I turn on the TV or read the newspaper, I learn something more about how unhealthy we are.
  • 10.3 I have two children (ages 8 and 11 years). The summer break is just about here, and I am concerned about their health and fitness. What physical activity recommendations do you support to keep them in good shape?
  • 10:4 Every time I walk into a health food store or open a fitness magazine, I see advertisements for antioxidants. These ads claim that I need to ingest antioxidant supplements if I exercise to counter the damaging effects of "free oxygen radicals." Is this true?
  • 10:5 My physician says that my high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is too low and my low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is too high. He gave me some medication, but I am more interested in trying to improve my cholesterol numbers by improving my health habits. What do you recommend?
  • 10:6 I am 43 years old, and several of my older friends have been told by their physicians that they have osteoarthritis. I'm worried. What can I do to prevent osteoarthritis?
  • 11:1 I exercise just about every day and feel great mentally and physically. However, a friend of mine claims that all the time I am spending in exercise will not add up to a longer life. What can I tell him?
  • 11:2 What is more important to my health: strong muscles or aerobic fitness?
  • 11:3 I exercise vigorously for 1 to 2 hours a day, sweat a lot, and often notice salt residue on my skin after I have cooled down. Do I need to ingest salt tablets to replace the salt I lose in sweat?
  • 11:4 I exercise for approximately 30 minutes nearly every day, maintain a healthy body weight, and consume a nutritious balanced diet. However, I am confused about whether moderate alcohol consumption is an additional healthy habit for men like me to follow.
  • 11:5 I experienced the flu last winter. What can I do to prevent the flu? Does exercise help?
  • 11:6 I am a vegetarian fitness enthusiast but have started training for an Ironman 70.3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run). Should I add meat to my diet to ensure adequate protein and iron as I step up my training?
  • 12:1 I am eager to lose the extra flab I have built up over the years. My modus operandi is via "Do Lists." Can you provide a list that I can use to become lean?
  • 12:2 Several of my friends during the past few years have been diagnosed with breast cancer. What can I do to prevent the onset of breast cancer?
  • 12:3 I had a question about aerobic exercise programs. Is it more advantageous to exercise once a day or break this up into two or three shorter segments?
  • 12:4 Some of my running partners stretch and others don't, and we have debated the issue several times. Is stretching worthwhile, and if so, what is the best system?
  • 12:5 I saw in the news recently that cancer deaths are going up. Why are we not winning the war against cancer? What can I do to lower my risk of getting cancer?
  • 12:6 According to my physician, I'm 40- to 50-lbs overweight for my height of 65 inches. He says I need to lose this excess weight if I intend to live a long and high-quality life. I'm confused about what I hear and read from the news media regarding health and overweight. Is excess weight really that bad for your health?
  • 13:1 I am 67 years old, prone to getting sick a lot and hoping that a walking program can help. What is the connection between exercise, immune function, and illness for my age group?
  • 13:2 I run ultramarathons and enjoy the challenge. However, training for and competing in ultramarathon races is taxing, and my wife claims that over time, my health will suffer. Is there any evidence that being an ultramarathoner is unhealthy?
  • 13:3 How do the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans differ from previous recommendations?
  • 13:4 Can you expose some common myths regarding exercise?
  • 13:5 I enjoy energy drinks but wonder if the high amounts of caffeine are harmful to my health. What do you recommend?
  • 13:6 I have heard that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, but I am confused about the best way to safely include them in my diet. Should I use supplements or include more fish? Also, can regular use of fish oil supplements help me recover better from hard exercise bouts?
  • 14:1 I know my diet is low in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but I am a runner and believe fiber intake is less important for my health than for my less active peers. What do you think - is fiber needed for healthy runners?
  • 14:2 Should I eliminate sugar from my diet? I drink a sports drink bottle after each workout. I have read that sugar causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental depression, misbehavior in children, cancer, and immune suppression.
  • 14:3 Could you comment on the "calorie rule" that New York City is imposing on restaurants? Will this effort really work to stem obesity?
  • 14:4 Is it possible to "feed" and "exercise" your immune system and "boost" its fighting power, as is so often claimed?
  • 14:5 Are eggs good for my health and fitness or not? I am very confused because some reports emphasize that eggs provide many good nutrients, whereas others claim that people eating one or more eggs a day die at an earlier age.
  • 14:6 I am an avid runner and train 30 to 50 miles per week. So far, I've been running for 20 years and plan to continue as long as I have the motivation. I am worried though that my knee joints are "wearing out" and arthritis will set in. Is this likely?
  • 15:1 Is it true that the brain functions better during exercise? When I go for a walk, some of my best ideas are spawned.
  • 15:2 What are flavonoids, and do they really protect me from the stresses of a hard workout?

All "You Asked For It" columns are available in a Topical Collection on Simply log in to the site, click "Collections," then "Topical Collections." "You Asked For It" is the third link in the list.

Photo courtesy of David C

Photo courtesy of David C

Photo courtesy of David C

Photo courtesy of David C

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine.