Now that it has become colder in much of the country, many runners are training on a treadmill. So it's important to know that the vital factor in getting the most out of a treadmill is its incline angle.
A good treadmill allows you to raise the front of the machine so the rolling belt you run on is higher in the front than in the back, to simulate running up hills.
The incline is absolutely necessary for real runners because running on level ground does not adequately develop your upper leg muscles. Running is a lower leg sport. The only time you really stress your upper leg muscles is when you lift your body up stairs or up hills. Runners who train solely on level terrain cannot compete effectively on hilly courses.
If you're a serious runner, remember this formula: For each 1 percent increase in the elevation angle on your treadmill, you have to use 4 percent more energy.
Serious runners often train by doing intervals: They run a short distance very fast, then rest by running slower. They end up by running fast again.
Early on, they run intervals at a relatively slow pace. As they get closer to an important race, they run their intervals more quickly.
This pattern can be adapted to the treadmill. If you normally run a half-mile interval on level ground in three minutes, you'll run the same distance in three minutes, eight seconds, on a 1-percent incline.
Q: Is kosher meat better for you than non-kosher meat?
A: No. For a meat to be labeled kosher, it cannot contain any blood. In preparing kosher meats, the animal must feel no pain when it is slaughtered, so it must be killed very rapidly and painlessly.
Making a food kosher has nothing to do with removing fat. So, when you buy kosher lunch meat or hot dogs, read the label as carefully as you do for any other food, checking closely for the fat content.
Dr. Mirkin is a practicing physician in Silver Spring specializing in sports medicine and nutrition.