Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: "3 Reasons It's Better to Work Out in Groups"

3 Reasons It's Better to Work Out With a Group
By Joe Decker
For Active.com

It seems like almost everyone is getting involved in group exercise today. On any given day in a warehouse, in a park or at the gym you can find people exercising together. There's everything from Running Clubs, Active X, and Roller Striders to Boot Camp classes. So why exactly are so many people jumping the 'lone wolf' ship to work out with others in a group setting? What is the big attraction?

I've been involved in fitness for 25 years now and have belonged to power lifting and running clubs, but I've also been that solitary figure in the gym and on the road. I do feel this has given me a pretty good understanding of the appeal and the dynamics of both. Years ago I started my own outdoor fitness company, Gut Check Fitness, which recently got voted "A-List Best Boot Camp" San Diego and Competitor Magazine, "Hardest Workout." This is where my passion lies.

Whether you join a workout group or get your own group of friends together for a workout, here are three reasons more is merrier for earning your fitness gains.

Unless you're that rare person that can jump out of bed at 5 a.m. and hit the ground running, odds are that getting and staying motivated are difficult for you. You are not alone. The majority of the people I've worked with over the years have had the same problem. That's one of the great things about the group setting. Many people who attend a class will show up exhausted from the ups and downs of everyday life. But once they join the group, they become re-energized. With a friendly fitness instructor there to light a fire under you rear, it can't get any better.

Not only are you more motivated to get out of bed and exercise, but there's the motivation to improve your current fitness level. If you work out with people who are faster, stronger or fitter than you, you are probably going to get in better shape. There's an old saying that goes, "The lead dog sets the pace for the rest of the pack." Think about it.

Remember when you were a high schooler and your mom would wake you up in the morning to go to school? She was holding you accountable. If you were anything like me, you probably wouldn't have graduated without her wake-up calls. Thanks Mom! A workout group can do the same thing for your exercise routine. I've had countless clients over the years at Gut Check Fitness say, "I wouldn't be there in the morning if I didn't know that Kim, Ron, Nancy, etc. were going to give me a hard time for not showing up."

The fear of group teasing gets them out of bed. Hey, it works!

Plus, there's the friendly instructor again that keeps track of your tardiness. I take a daily roll at my classes then each week I look to see who's been playing Harry Houdini. If I haven't seen someone for a week or two, I'll generally send them a friendly reminder with the threat of numerous burpees. This usually does the trick.
Group Camaraderie

Human beings are social creatures. Yes, a few are hermits and recluses, but the majority of us love to be around other people. We love to laugh, joke and have fun. I feel this is one of the greatest products of a group workout setting. Nothing brings people closer quite like misery and physical suffering. If you've ever done a boot camp or similar class, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Many people sign up to get more fit and along the way become friends through this mutual ritual. Many become lifelong best friends. My classes not only work hard together, but they play hard together. We regularly have happy hours, wine tastings, and sports days where we do races and events together. We sincerely enjoy one another's company. It's truly one of the best ways to meet people like you and develop a common bond while getting into the best shape possible.

Joining a workout group can keep you motivated, hold you accountable and help you develop a sense of group camaraderie.

Finally, in a world where we've become so dependent on email and texting, working out with a group offers that human interaction that is slowly disappearing. We can do just about everything today virtually without ever talking to a person. That is outside of a group fitness setting. With group fitness, you have to get involved. You can try to escape to the back of the pack, but a good instructor will integrate you into the group whether you like or not. That's why it's called group dynamics, and that's why technology will never replace the good 'ol fashioned group workout. Get out of your cubicle, your car or your house and go meet other people that have a common interest just like you. You never know, you might just meet some real friends instead of the ones you find online.

Active Expert, Joe Decker isan ultra-endurance power athlete and renowned fitness trainer who hashelped thousands of people get into shape. He has completed many of theworld's toughest endurance events, including the Badwater 135, and theGrand Slam of UltraRunning. In 2000, Joe broke the Guinness WorldRecords® Twenty-four-hour Physical Fitness Challenge to help inspireand motivate people to get fit. He is recognized as "The World'sFittest Man." Visit his website at www.joe-decker.com .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

FFF Diva Advice: "Live Your Life Out Loud: 30 Ways to Get Started"

Live Your Life Out Loud: 30 Ways to Get Started

by Sonya Derian

Live Out Loud“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will tell you, I came to live out LOUD.” ~Émile Zola

1. Live your life on purpose. Not on “default.” Be Proactive. Make conscious and deliberate choices. When you don’t choose, circumstances choose for you and you are never leading: you are following or catching up—or worse, living in “default” mode.

2. Utilize your full potential. Give what you’re doing your best and fullest attention. Be here now. Even if you’re not where you want to be, giving it half your effort doesn’t move you forward. Master what you have at hand, for the sake of mastering it and something will shift.

3. Overcome your fear. Get out of your comfort zone. Find out you have a pulse. Let something give you butterflies in your stomach. This is how you know you’re alive—how you grow into something new. Every fear overcome is a freedom gained. Don’t know how to overcome fear? Do the thing you’re afraid of. Cross them off the list. Make it a game. Pretty soon, you will be invincible.

4. Discover a new talent. One of my favorite quotes by Martha Grimes is, “We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” But we don’t find this out until we try something new. Learn a new instrument, take an art class, play with a digital camera, sign up for a salsa class, take up cooking, plant a garden, join toastmasters, pick up a needle and thread, try mountain climbing, go scuba diving, camping or kayaking. Find something that interests you and explore it. You never know what will come out of it.

5. Honor your word. When you strip everything else away, your word is all you’ve got. Do what you say you’re going to do. By honoring your word, you honor yourself. And it doesn’t feel good when you don’t. So, make it a habit. Value your integrity and keep your promises. It’s a good life practice. It’s a good business practice.

6. Create a new habit or break an old one. Who has dominion over your life—you or your habits? Make it a game. How many things can you get under your control? How many bad habits can you convert? There is a great sense of empowerment when you feel you are in charge of your life. This helps you get there.

7. Pay a stranger a compliment. Not only does it make someone else feel good, but it makes you feel good to compliment someone else. All of the sudden the world is small and the stranger next to us becomes our friend and we recognize that we’re all in this together.

8. Take yourself out on a date. Treat yourself. Bring a book. Bring something you’re working on. Bring a journal and use it to write up all the amazing qualities that you want in a partner or a friendship when it comes your way. Find somewhere that has music or wireless and plant yourself there. Have a meal, enjoy it. Treat yourself. You deserve it. Living out loud is playing out loud whether you have someone to join you or not. And you never know who you might meet or strike up a conversation with.

9. Take 100% responsibility for your life. If things aren’t working out in your favor, take note and ask yourself what your part in it is. Being a victim is passé, boring. There is no power in blaming other people. Don’t wait for other people to change. When you change, your world will follow suit.

10. Live in the question. There is nothing you cannot be, do or have. So do not impose limitations on yourself. Instead of saying you can’t get there, ask “How can I get there?” Live in the affirmation of possibility rather than the declaration of negativity. There is always a way, and it is being presented consistently, but you have to live in the question to be on the lookout for the answer.

Beautiful Scenery

11. Make more decisions for yourself. There is great power in making a decision. It’s a declaration. You don’t know what you want? Then look at what you don’t want and work backwards. I bet you do know what you want; you just haven’t been in the habit of asking yourself. Hey. That’s a new habit to change! (See #6)

12. Learn to say “No.” To live your best possible life, you need to learn how to say no to the things that aren’t serving you. The best barometer to measure this by is: if it isn’t a “hell yeah” (yippee, so fun, can’t wait), then it is most probably a no. If you have to talk yourself into it, it’s a no. Once you get comfortable saying no, everything becomes a matter of choice. Living a life of choice is a living a life of freedom.

13. Know your own value. Others may be more educated, skilled or talented in one or another area, but there is something magnificent and valuable about what you have to offer this world that, in comparison, is equal. Do not allow yourself or anyone else to diminish it. You have a learning disability? So did Dr. John Demartini and that’s what makes him the most powerful speaker today. Joe Vitale came from homelessness. Look at him now. Stop idolizing anyone else’s gifts and dismissing your own.

14. Give yourself permission. For everything. Permission to make mistakes. Permission to shine. Permission to look beautiful. Permission to accept (instead of correct or dismiss) praise. Permission to have bad days. Permission to get angry. Permission to cry, to laugh, to scream. Permission to take the day off. Permission to take a nap, go to sleep early. Permission to get a massage. Permission to do nothing. Permission to succeed. Life is about being here now, in all your full range of emotions, mood swings, wins and losses. Give yourself permission to live out loud today.

15. Own your own opinion. No one has to agree with you in order for your opinion to matter. Stop waiting for consensus. YOU matter. Your opinion matters. The nature of Living Out Loud is that some people will agree with you and some people won’t. You will NEVER get consensus. So, stop looking for it. The only question you have to ask is, does your opinion matter to you? Claim it. Own it. And know that with new information, it could change tomorrow. Life is transitory. Live in the evolution.

16. Do not punish yourself for past actions. Your past behavior was what you’ve done, but it is not who you are. Who you are is still unfolding. Mistakes, errors in judgments, and failures all add to our character and value. They make us human and compassionate and wise. To berate yourself for acquiring these valuable qualities is wrong, so stop it. A new beginning starts today.

17. Live in the realm of “possibility” rather than “probability.” Stay open at the top. You don’t know what the outcome can be. Statistics are made up of groups. You are an Individual. Be the individual that charts your own course. You don’t know what is possible for you until you find out.

18. Do not argue for your limitations, but instead focus on your strengths. We all have weaknesses, but we also have our strengths. What do you do well? Practice that. When you lead with your strengths, the rest follows suit. And miraculously, your limitations sort of disappear. What you focus on grows.

19. Practice gratitude. In a world of imperfections, it’s amazing how perfect things actually are. But sometimes we have to look for them. When your life’s circumstances aren’t working in your favor, the one thing you do have control over is your attitude. If you lead with gratitude, and create a habit of it, in short order, your life will change.

20. Be authentic. Thoreau said, “If I am not I, who will be?” Did you ever notice that the ones who are most successful are not the ones that follow the masses and trends, but the ones who stand in their own authentic expression and declare who they are? Regardless of who agrees with them? There is an expression that is uniquely yours and to dismiss it, is to dismiss the divine.


21. Own your own power. The answers are not outside of you. Own what you know. The more you practice this, the more you hone the powerful magnetic field that surrounds you and the more power you emit in your convictions, knowing and in your life. Your results will confirm this.

22. Stop Complaining. Complaining is a form of passive victimhood. Ask yourself instead, why is this happening to me and what part do I play in this picture? Then work on your part of the solution. Have you ever found yourself not setting a boundary and allowing someone to take advantage of you? Or not taking care of yourself in a situation and getting burned by the outcome? We are always the single common denominators in our lives and we are the only ones we have control over. Use what you are complaining about as your inner clues as to where you need to start taking better care of yourself.

23. Practice “being” and have nothing to prove. Know your own value with or without results. Your value is in your human being-ness not your human doing-ness. In a society that is wrapped up in image, this is sometimes difficult to practice. People ask what you do, not who you are. But a person who knows their own value, does not have to prove it.

24. Be of service. Offer your help where you can and do your part in making the world a friendly place. We are all in this together. As Gandhi preached: be the change that you wish to see happen. You would be surprised by the impact you have.

25. Love generously. Spread random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Hatred is already rampant. We need to tip the scales the other way. Love is a far more powerful emotion and has far reaching consequences. Living out loud means loving Out loud. And ironically, the more you love, the more love you have to give.

26. Find your bliss and live your passion. Again, don’t know what that is? Then it’s time to find out! Your emotions give away clues. When your life has spun out of control and you are finding yourself in a tizzy, go back to what makes you happiest and do that. The more you follow this thread, the more you are leading with the heart. There are always ways to monetize your passion, to find ways to make a living at what you love, but first you have to discover it. Your emotions don’t lie. Follow their lead.

27. Stop waiting. Life is happening right now. Don’t wait for the right career, the perfect relationship, the landfill of money. Make the best of what you have right now and be creative with it. Don’t put your life on pause. Live with the possibility that what you are waiting for can arrive tomorrow, and live your best life today.

28. Let other people off the hook. They didn’t mean harm, and even if they did, it hurt them more than it hurt you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and rise even taller. Don’t use anyone as your excuse to shirk your responsibility to live a bigger life. Victimhood is not a badge of honor. Overcoming adversity is. Use success and joy as your barometer. And march on.

29. Use co-creation to help you. We are always working in conjunction with invisible forces. They want to create on your behalf, but they are waiting for your leadership to direct them. Living out loud means acknowledging that we are a big presence with a big force of nature at our disposal. We don’t underestimate our power. We utilize it.

30. March to the beat of your own drum and stay the course. Do you hear your own music, but find yourself dancing to the tune of someone else’s beat? Stop it. Were you told at any point in your life that your own music was the wrong kind? Re-Consider. The symphony of the world’s vibration, the hum of its tune, is the sound OM (aum). Your task is to find your own Om—your life force vibration, life pattern or purpose, your song or melody . Find it, claim it, express it, and live it. Never give up on yourself. You are who you are. It’s time to honor that and make use of it. Stay the course.

For many of us, this is already a way of life. But to others, some of these practices may feel daunting. To you, I say this: just start. You may not succeed 100% of the time, but like a friend once said, “Life is a hard hat zone, we’re always under construction.”

Bloom where you are planted. Work from the inside out. Make the commitment to yourself and get started.

Find your “OM”. Claim It. Own it. Express It. Live it. You are divinely supported.

FFF Diva Advice: "5 Pieces of Advice That Aren’t Cliches"

5 Pieces of Advice That Aren’t Cliches

advice1by Lori Deschene

“It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.” ~Aeschylus

Earlier this year I got some feedback from the ‘tween magazine I wrote for: “It sounds like good advice, but kids probably won’t do any of that.”

In my head it all sounded logical, but I didn’t consider whether I’d have taken that advice as a kid. Or now for that matter.

People do it all the time: look at a situation from a removed, non-emotional place, and hurl suggestions that are far easier said than done. And sometimes, just plain unrealistic.

I’ve listed 5 of these hard-to-follow, cliché pieces of advice, along with alternative suggestions you may actually be inclined to take.

1. Don’t worry about what other people think.

Unless you are a complete narcissist you will likely never master this one. Try as you may to turn off the part of your brain that thinks about other people’s perceptions, you will always care on some level.

This is a good thing. It’s what allows us to feel compassion. It reminds us to consider other people before we make choices that could be hurtful. It humbles us and reminds us to be better every day, both for ourselves and the people around us.

Instead of trying not to worry about what people think, learn to filter your worries into two buckets in your head:

Worry you can channel for something good.

If you’re worried your employer thinks you’re incompetent because you did poorly on your last task, turn it into determination to improve. If you’re worried your friend’s upset because you forgot her birthday, put that feeling into a belated card and let her know how much she means to you.

Worry you need to let go of.

You experience this when you’re worried about strangers’ perceptions, for example. You can’t strong-arm strangers into seeing you the way you want to be seen. You can only work harder to actually be that person. Put your energy into that and let your worry fade behind your efforts as best you can.

2. You don’t need other people to make you happy.

Derivatives of this advice include: Be your own best friend. All you need is you. Complete yourself. All wonderful platitudes that may make you feel empowered and strong for a while.

And maybe for longer if you’re not one of these people Barbara Streisand sings about. You know: people who need people. Most of us do need people. Maybe not to be complete, but to feel a sense of connection.

Instead of trying to be an army of one, work on depending on yourself and needing people simultaneously. Devote time to the things that make you happy, and risk letting other people be a large part of that.

If you walk around thinking “I don’t need anyone” you might close yourself off from potentially deep and amazing connections.

It’s like Christopher McCandless said: true happiness is shared. Find your own happiness, and let people give it to you, too.


3. Do what you love and the money will follow.

Forgive me for not sugar-coating, but this is a complete fallacy. You’re more likely to make money if you do something you love because you’ll put your heart in it, even when things get tough—which means you’ll keep going long enough to see some type of reward. But there’s no guarantee here.

If this statement was universally true there would be no starving artists. No crowds of hopefuls at American Idol auditions.

Passion is not a magic potion that ensures you’ll be successful. It helps your cause, but it can’t support it alone. Most people don’t stumble into acclaim or wealth; a very small percentage of the world was at one point discovered by someone and then handed success.

If what you want is money, work hard at whatever you do, whether you love it or not. You’ll probably need to arrive earlier and leave later than other people. You’ll have to sacrifice other things in your life, like time with your family and friends.

If you do what you love and work hard, then the money may follow. If you do what you love and balance work with play, you’ll likely make enough money to be comfortable and happy.

4. Smile and the whole world smiles with you.

You probably have a very nice smile, but odds are it won’t spontaneously inspire 7 billion people to follow suit—or even the 50 people in your vicinity. Maybe not even the four people in your living room.

Don’t get me wrong; smiling is often contagious. Someone who is in a good mood can very easily uplift people in her midst. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, try as you may to share positive energy, the people around you stay stubbornly immersed in their own negativity.

A better piece of advice: smile and accept that some people may act in opposition. Those people may stay upset or bitter about whatever they’re holding onto. They may even be annoyed by your good mood because they can’t find it within them to let go of their pain.

But you will affect others. And inspire them. And motivate them to find and hold onto happiness. Act for yourself and those people. It’s not the whole world, but it’s a whole lot to fill your heart with.

OK this is just four–I’m leaving the fifth up to you. I’m sure you can think of a lot more advice that sounds good on paper but doesn’t apply so easily to real-world situations. Add them in the comments. You get what you give. (Another cliché—true or not?)

FFF Diva Article Research: "Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much"

February 23, 2010

Mind: New York Times

Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much

Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare — both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabulary.

But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a different, often more subtle kind of wordless communication: physical contact. Momentary touches, they say — whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm — can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words.

“It is the first language we learn,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” (Norton, 2009), and remains, he said, “our richest means of emotional expression” throughout life.

The evidence that such messages can lead to clear, almost immediate changes in how people think and behave is accumulating fast. Students who received a supportive touch on the back or arm from a teacher were nearly twice as likely to volunteer in class as those who did not, studies have found. A sympathetic touch from a doctor leaves people with the impression that the visit lasted twice as long, compared with estimates from people who were untouched. Research by Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute in Miami has found that a massage from a loved one can not only ease pain but also soothe depression and strengthen a relationship.

In a series of experiments led by Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana, volunteers tried to communicate a list of emotions by touching a blindfolded stranger. The participants were able to communicate eight distinct emotions, from gratitude to disgust to love, some with about 70 percent accuracy.

“We used to think that touch only served to intensify communicated emotions,” Dr. Hertenstein said. Now it turns out to be “a much more differentiated signaling system than we had imagined.”

To see whether a rich vocabulary of supportive touch is in fact related to performance, scientists at Berkeley recently analyzed interactions in one of the most physically expressive arenas on earth: professional basketball. Michael W. Kraus led a research team that coded every bump, hug and high five in a single game played by each team in the National Basketball Association early last season.

In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, Mr. Kraus and his co-authors, Cassy Huang and Dr. Keltner, report that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.

The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, the Celtics’ star big man, followed by star forwards Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors and Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz. “Within 600 milliseconds of shooting a free throw, Garnett has reached out and touched four guys,” Dr. Keltner said.

To correct for the possibility that the better teams touch more often simply because they are winning, the researchers rated performance based not on points or victories but on a sophisticated measure of how efficiently players and teams managed the ball — their ratio of assists to giveaways, for example. And even after the high expectations surrounding the more talented teams were taken into account, the correlation persisted. Players who made contact with teammates most consistently and longest tended to rate highest on measures of performance, and the teams with those players seemed to get the most out of their talent.

The study fell short of showing that touch caused the better performance, Dr. Kraus acknowledged. “We still have to test this in a controlled lab environment,” he said.

If a high five or an equivalent can in fact enhance performance, on the field or in the office, that may be because it reduces stress. A warm touch seems to set off the release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps create a sensation of trust, and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In the brain, prefrontal areas, which help regulate emotion, can relax, freeing them for another of their primary purposes: problem solving. In effect, the body interprets a supportive touch as “I’ll share the load.”

“We think that humans build relationships precisely for this reason, to distribute problem solving across brains,” said James A. Coan, a a psychologist at the University of Virginia. “We are wired to literally share the processing load, and this is the signal we’re getting when we receive support through touch.”

The same is certainly true of partnerships, and especially the romantic kind, psychologists say. In a recent experiment, researchers led by Christopher Oveis of Harvard conducted five-minute interviews with 69 couples, prompting each pair to discuss difficult periods in their relationship.

The investigators scored the frequency and length of touching that each couple, seated side by side, engaged in. In an interview, Dr. Oveis said that the results were preliminary.

“But it looks so far like the couples who touch more are reporting more satisfaction in the relationship,” he said.

Again, it’s not clear which came first, the touching or the satisfaction. But in romantic relationships, one has been known to lead to the other. Or at least, so the anecdotal evidence suggests.

FFF Diva Article Research: "Should Sick People Stay Active?"

Should Sick People Stay Active?
Active While Sick

David Crary
Associated Press

Maybe Andrew Speaker, flying abroad despite a dangerous strain of tuberculosis, took things too far. But many people push the limits by staying active when they're sick. Depending on circumstances, the choice can be seen as laudable, inconsiderate--or downright criminal.

At the office, coughing and sneezing workaholics might earn a thank you from a boss for their dedication, but dirty looks from co-workers worried about catching the bug. Athletes who compete while sick are sometimes praised for grit, but may risk infecting teammates.

And then there are people who know they are HIV-positive, yet press ahead with unprotected sexual encounters with partners who've been kept in the dark.

Speaker, now quarantined at a Denver hospital, knew he had a drug-resistant strain of TB before he flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon last month, but says he was advised before departure that he wasn't contagious.

Dr. John Chan, an infectious disease expert at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, says that in more routine TB cases it is often very difficult for doctors to determine how contagious a patient might be and when he or she could safely return to work.

"That's a very tough question to address, even when you treat the patient effectively," he said. "There's no one clear-cut answer."

Employers--whether an investment firm or a military base--try to walk a fine line when it comes to ailing workers. They don't want staff staying home for trivial reasons--a mild headache, say--nor do they want to create pressures that would prompt contagiously ill employees to bring germs into the office.

The investment firm Merrill Lynch confronted this issue last month when it announced new "attendance guidelines" reducing to three the number of sick days that employees can take without documented excuses. Company spokeswoman Selena Morris stressed that the move was aimed at abuses, adding, "I don't think in any way we were saying, 'Come to work sick.'"

In past decades, many employers oversaw some sort of "perfect attendance" policy rewarding workers who never missed a day over an extended period of time. Kim Stattner, an absence management expert with the consulting firm Hewitt Associates, said those policies are fading from the scene.

"They don't want to promote the kind of thinking that could encourage sick people to come to work," Stattner said. "If you're sick, that's why they give you the sick time. But it's not there to be abused."

In big-time sports, of course, the pressures are different. There is a time-honored tradition of athletes playing with the flu--or worse--especially in important games.

Now-retired quarterback Cade McNown, for example, lists as one of his career highlights a game he refers to as "The Breakfast." It involved "playing while sick, vomiting on the field, and coming back to throw for 202 more yards" while leading UCLA against Oregon in 1998.

When New York Ranger center Michael Nylander was playing with the flu early in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, hockey fans praised his determination. "This is the time of year that only a severed limb would keep players out of the lineup," said a commentary about him on one fan website.

But even coaches need to be wary. Experts in sports medicine say the initial praise that a sick athlete may hear for coming to practice could switch to criticism if other team members soon show similar symptoms.

The ethics of being ill are of particular importance in regard to HIV-positive people. Though medical advances now enable many to lead long, productive lives--and to pose no public health threat--there is nonetheless a persistent problem created by a subgroup that engages in unprotected sex while keeping their status secret from their partners.

One study by Brown University researchers of 203 HIV-infected individuals--a mix of gays and heterosexuals--found that 40 percent did not disclose their status to sexual partners. The study also found that the non-disclosers were just as likely as the disclosers to engage in unprotected sex.

Many states have passed laws making it a crime to knowingly infect someone with HIV. One of the most infamous cases involved Nushawn Williams, an HIV-positive man who admitted trading drugs for sex with girls in upstate New York during the 1990s.

He knowingly infected at least 13 women with HIV and was sentenced to serve four to 12 years in state prison.

The bottom line, for health authorities and employers, is to persuade sick people to think of others as well as themselves.

"You want to be encouraging the right behavior, not the wrong behavior," Stattner said.
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