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Doctor Lee's Blog

Musings from The Doctor of Fitness: Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Expert, & Sports Medicine Physician

The purpose of this blog is to write informally for anyone who is interested in fitness, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports medicine, and breaking fitness and nutrition news. If you'd like to reach me directly, you can contact me here. Feel free to take a look at my professional bio and my not-so-professional bio.

A Few Easy Ways to Burn More Calories

on Tuesday, 10 July 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Calories. They’re about as popular as the bubonic plaque. We watch them, count them and do our best to avoid them if at all possible. Of course, no matter where we go, they’re an unavoidable fact of life. So now that you’ve got them, how can you send them on their way?

Well, if you’ve always had nervous habits like fidgeting or tapping your feet, you’re in luck. These activities burn calories. So feel free to pace, because it can burn hundreds more calories than sitting still.

On the other side of the scale, fidgeting or pacing is often a sign of stress, and stress is the last thing you need if you want to burn off calories. Finding ways to focus your inner self and ‘chill out’ not only helps your heart and overall health, but it can help your calories too, since calm people burn calories more efficiently than stressed ones. If pacing is what helps you relax, then celebrate. You got a win-win situation.

Speaking of ‘chilling out’, you can try to do this literally as well as figuratively. The ideal temperature for burning fat has been found to be a cool 64 degrees Fahrenheit. If that temperature seems a little too chilly for you, don’t worry. A nice cup of coffee or tea will help you warm up, and the beauty of it is that these caffeinated beverages can help you boost your calorie burn for up to three hours.

Burning calories can be as easy or as hard as you make it. If paying for an expensive gym membership or changing your entire lifestyle just isn’t in the cards, try a few of these simple tricks.

Things to Do for the 4th of July

on Tuesday, 03 July 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s warm this evening. The smell of freshly mowed grass still hangs heavy in the air. The shadows are lengthening... and wait… yep, that was definitely the sound of fireworks from somewhere in the neighborhood. Must mean Independence Day is right around the corner.

Do you have plans? Well, if not, here are a few ideas to make your 4th of July one to remember.

Have a Block Party. You may be planning a family cookout anyway. Why not invite everyone to share in the holiday fun? To cut down on expenses, turn the event into a potluck. Plan games and activities for the neighborhood kids and maybe even indulge yourself with a sparkler or two. Sharing in Uncle Sam’s birthday with your fellow Americans— what could be more patriotic than that?

Host an outdoor movie night. If sparklers aren’t allowed in your state and there’s no handy fireworks display around, you can still turn the evening into a red, white and blue affair by putting some patriotic movies on the big screen. An outdoor projection setup might have an initial cost outlay, but it’s something you can use again and again when the weather’s nice.

Sing Along. Want to pass on some of that Independence Day spirit to the next generation? Have a sing along with classics like "The Star Spangled Banner" or "This Land Is Your Land." To add to the fun, you can make your own star-spangled musical instruments and drums.

Like Christmas, Independence Day only comes around once a year, so get out and enjoy.

How to Increase Your Retirement Savings

on Tuesday, 26 June 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

When I retire, I’m going to __________ (fill in the blank). Whether retirement is decades away or right around the corner, chances are you have something in mind. Here are some ways you can make it happen:

Start early. One of the primary ways retirement funds grow is the compounding interest on the funds you put in. Essentially, you’re letting your money make money. The sooner you put money in, the longer it will have to grow.

Contribute to your 401(k). It’s money that’s working for you that you don’t have to manage. Even better, the money you invest into a 401(k) is tax free until you take it out, meaning it lowers your taxable income in the short term.

Meet Your Employer’s Match. Many companies don’t offer a 401(k) match anymore, but if yours does, by all means utilize it. Otherwise you’re throwing away free money for your retirement.

Automate your retirement savings. It’s hard to remember to put money aside for retirement. It can be doubly hard when you’re on a tight budget or saving up for something else. Make saving easier by automating it. The money goes straight where it’s supposed to before you ever see it, saving you from the temptation of spending it.

Delay Social Security. Up until age 70, the longer you can delay receiving social security payments, the larger your eventual monthly payment will be.

Yes, when I retire I’m going to __________ (fill in the blank.) To make your dream a reality, you’ll need to start filling in the blanks of your retirement savings plan. Use these tips to boost your retirement savings now!

Do-It-Yourself Water Fun

on Tuesday, 19 June 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

In the spring, your fancy might turn to thoughts of love, but right now it’s summer and well… it’s hot out there! To keep from melting into a pool of your own sweat, your thoughts are turning to the nearest public pool or maybe that beach vacation you can never seem to afford. At this point, even the leaky fire hydrant across the street looks like a good way to cool off.

You may have noticed that nice, cool water is a recurring theme here. It’s a great way to beat the heat, and there plenty of ways to enjoy some great summer water fun without spending a fortune.

The Kiddie Pool. The larger inflatable pools available at many stores can easily accommodate multiple adults, meaning you can take a quick dip to cool off or spend the evening relaxing. These pools are easy to inflate and surprisingly cheap. Of course, why pay for accessories when you can create them yourself.

Water Slide. You could go to a water park, but why? You can easily make your own backyard water fun.

Water Guns. They come in all sort of varieties, from the simple dollar store handgun to the sophisticated space age rifles only a space alien could love. Add in some water balloons, a stout battle plan and have at it.

Car Wash. It’s summer, and sooner or later your vehicle is going to need a bath. Instead of spending money at the car wash, why not grab a bucket and a pair of hoses? If it’s just the little humans that need a bath, then you can always make your own car wash.

So if that beach vacation to Tahiti just isn’t in the cards, never fear. Watery summer fun on a budget is more than possible.

Five Tips for New Dads

on Tuesday, 12 June 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If you grew up on old TV shows (remember Leave It To Beaver?) and cartoons, fatherhood seems pretty simple. When your new bundle of joy comes into the world, you just pass out a few cigars. Later on, you’ll come home from work to dispense some sage advice (and maybe a little tough love) and settle down to watch some TV.

Of course in the real world, fatherhood isn’t nearly that easy. Becoming a dad might be the toughest job you ever take on. Here a few survival tips:

Take a break. Your life has been turned upside and punted into the next county. It seems like chaos. Stepping away, even for a few minutes, can help you keep calm and in control.

Make time for your baby. The more time you spend with your little one, the stronger of a bond you’ll be able to build. If possible, try to schedule time off from work during your baby’s formative months.

Babies are portable. In many cases, you don’t have to leave your child behind with a sitter. Instead take them with you. The outside stimulation will help them develop, and you’re sure to get lots of attention.

Take care of yourself. Having a new baby can be stressful, and it can be easy to neglect your own health. Don’t. You’re one of your baby’s most important long term assets, so behave accordingly.

Get advice. Children don’t come with a manual, so talk to other new fathers about your experience and theirs. Whatever situation you may encounter, chances are there’s someone who been there, seen that.

No, fatherhood might not seem as simple as Ward Cleaver made it out to be, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your world either. For a few more tips, check out this handy survival guide.

Basics of Aromatherapy

on Tuesday, 05 June 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

A fragrant flower in the garden. The smell of salt at the beach. The unmistakable odor of corn dogs and cotton candy at a county fair. The world is full of smells. While we take in the bulk of our sensory information through our eyes, smell remains one of our most powerful senses. A particular smell can brighten our mood, dredge up old memories or even raise old fears we thought we’d gotten over.

Because smell affects us in such a primordial way, it can also be used to promote the health of the mind, the body and the spirit. That’s where aromatherapy comes in. It’s both an art and a science that utilizes naturally extracted aromatic essences (usually, but not always from plants) to enhance an individual’s innate healing process. Common aromatic essences include: lavender, peppermint and rosemary and many more.

Aromatherapy doesn’t heal the body directly. Instead it boosts the body’s natural defenses and regenerative abilities. It helps the body help itself by:

  • Kicking the immune system up a notch
  • Getting rid of toxins more quickly
  • Enhancing new cell growth
  • Increasing digestion and circulation

You can take in the aromatic essences in one of two ways: through inhalation or through the skin. In other words, breathe it in or rub it in. In either case, it’s absorbed into the body and makes its way into the circulatory system where its benefits are distributed to the rest of the body.

Whatever your ailment or mood, with a little research you can find just the right essence to help. So if you’re looking for something a little different, give aromatherapy a try. Good health never smelled so good.

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