When most of us think about the sport of tennis, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a country club sport enjoyed by millions of people around the world. But when you get to the level of pro competition, such as what the world's best men and women players are enduring at the U.S. Open going on in New York, it brings a whole new meaning to the tennis phrase "hit and return."

The Harvard Health Review recently offered their take on what they called the "secret to better health," and not surprisingly, their conclusion was that it was exercise. As they discuss and I completely agree, the activity levels of our generation and of our children's generation has declined. With televisions, computers, video games and now the ability to do almost anything on a cell phone, people seem entirely too occupied with starring at a screen than getting up and moving around.

I wanted to talk about a topic that I have discussed in the past – the importance of sleep. With the holidays upon us, many will be eating on the run, experiencing the stress of being able to finish the many errands of the season and having to attend more frequent parties at night. It is extremely important, however, to not compromise your sleep patterns.

I read a great article in the New York Times recently that reviewed a clinical study on brain function in the older population. The outcome of the study reaffirmed what I have advocated for years – that nutrition plays an extremely important role in how the body functions as a whole.

The study was conducted by Gene Bowman, who is a neurology researcher at Oregon Health and Science University. He looked at blood nutrient levels in 104 participants, both male and female, whose average age was 87. He reportedly then put the participants through brain scans and a series of cognitive tests.

I wanted to recommend an article I read in the December issue of Muscle & Body Magazine. They feature an inside look at what it takes to be a member of the military's elite Special Forces. My dad was a war hero in World War II, and I understand the demands and toll war places on the human body. The soldiers who make it into the Special Forces undergo a series of training that tests them physically and emotionally. After they transition from training to part of an active team, they constantly keep themselves in peak shape so they can be ready for deployment on a moment's notice.

Mackie Spotlight

EJGH’s very own Mackie Shilstone, Executive Director of the Fitness Principle, is in New York working with Serena Williams as she goes for another U.S. Open title. As Williams’s Fitness Coach, Mackie will be part of the team preparing her for matches throughout the tournament. To give everyone a behind-the-scenes look at how Williams prepares for every opponent, Mackie is writing a daily postcard for Nola.com detailing all the day’s happenings. Check back daily for updates. 

http://s.nola.com/GDYlvhQ-NOLA.com 8/22/13

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