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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.

Are You Getting Your 10,000 Steps?

on Tuesday, 04 September 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

They say a journey begins with a single step, but what about 10,000 of them in one day? Sounds like a lot, but 10,000 could be the most important number in your journey to a healthy lifestyle. As strange as it may feel to find yourself pacing in your living room late at night to get in those last few steps, there are many great reasons for them.

Even though it may not feel like ‘real’ exercise, those 10,000 steps add up. Getting those steps in every day is the equivalent of getting five 30-minute workouts a week. It strengthens your heart and lowers your cholesterol. It lets you stay physically active. An interesting fact is that calories aren’t absorbed the same way in people who exercise. Studies have found that if you’re physically active, calories are more likely to be burned off or converted to muscle whereas if you’re spending time on the couch binge-watching, they’re likely to be converted to fat.

Getting those steps in is also easier on your joints than running, meaning you’re less likely to suffer an injury that throws your whole fitness routine off. And if that weren’t enough, 10,000 is pretty cheap, too. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get your steps. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a positive attitude.

So whether you measure your steps using a pedometer or a fancy app on your phone, make the number 10,000 a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Should Teens Work During the School Year?

on Tuesday, 28 August 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The question of whether your teen should go out and get a job is one that every family is going to bump into sooner or later. The answer to this question (as with so many other things) is that it depends.

It depends on your teen. Your teen’s first priority can and should be doing well in school. You know your teenager best. Some of them can handle the extra responsibility that comes with a job and some of them may not be quite ready for it.

It depends on the alternatives. Working a job can help teach a teenager responsibility and the value of money, as well as give them a taste of what the real world has to offer. But are there alternatives? What is your teenager trying to accomplish by working? Is he or she trying to add to a resume in hopes of getting into a better school? Or maybe save up for something? Depending on his or her goals, would an internship, even an unpaid one, or spending extra time with after-school activities offer a better option than working?

It depends on you. In many cases, your teenager’s work schedule is going to add some extra strain to your schedule. It may mean picking them up in the evening or dropping them off. It may mean checking in with them more often to make sure their homework is getting done and they’re keeping their grades up. In a sense, they’re not the only ones taking on some extra responsibility.

Your teenager can really benefit from working a job, but before you leap into the idea with both feet give some thought to what it really means, both for yourself and for your teen.

Creative Bag Lunches for Kids and Adults

on Tuesday, 21 August 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You know brown-bagging it is a great way to save money and eat healthy, but it can be tough to do when your classmates and coworkers are chowing down on the goodies from the cafeteria or living it up at the local restaurants. That tuna sandwich can look rather sad by comparison. The good news is that you don’t have to settle for tuna ‘blah’, and you don’t have to be an expert chef to quickly prepare a gourmet meal that will be the envy of the office.

It may be tuna, but it doesn’t have to be ‘blah.’ Spice up an old classic with these hot curried tuna sandwiches.

We might all scream for ice cream, but for many of us pizza comes in a close second. Take the taste of the pizza parlor to work or school with these pizza wrap sandwiches.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, bread isn’t exactly your friend. And even if you and gluten are simpatico, do you really want the extra carbs hanging around? Get rid of the bread altogether with this pickle and Reuben delight.

When you think lunch, you normally think sandwich, and sandwich means meat, right? That’s great— unless you’re vegan. Don’t feel left out. Adapt with this tasty spinach and artichoke wrap.

Dessert shouldn’t be just for dinner. And what could be better than a cookie? The problem is that most cookies aren’t exactly the healthiest of choice. Not so with these babies, packed with heart-healthy oats and grains.

Who says brown-bagging has to be boring? Bon appétit!

3 Financial Resources for Teens

on Tuesday, 14 August 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The most annoying thing about money is that there never seems to be enough of it! That tends to be true even if we’re just getting started with our finances. The problem is hard enough to deal with as an adult, let alone when you don’t have that much life experience. With that in mind, here are a few resources to help your teen get off to a good financial start:

These days, financial literacy means knowing how banking systems actually work, how technology like debit cards and online investing figure into the equation as well as how to manage your credit rating. Investopedia has the information you need to understand it all, including how to handle life events young adults are likely to deal with such as college, moving out and financing their first car.

Since actions speak louder than words, how do you put that financial knowledge into practice in your daily life so you’re setting a good example for your kids? U.S. News and World Report has a great article on that very subject.

Do you ever look back and wish that your primary school or college had a course on financial literacy? If only, right? Well, Practical Money Skills has detailed lesson plans for your children, so you can teach them to hit a financial home run.

Like older folks, teenagers need to set priorities, make choices and manage their finances responsibly if they want to meet their goals successfully. Use these resources to put them on the right path.

Staying Hydrated in the Summer Heat

on Wednesday, 08 August 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If the sweat pouring off you or the clingy feeling of your clothes sticking to you didn’t already give it away, you may have noticed it’s a little on the warm side out there. And since there’s a good chance you’re going to be out of the house enjoying the great outdoors, here are a few ways to stay hydrated:

Be careful with alcohol. Yeah, sometimes nothing really satisfies like an ice cold beer, but alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that it actually makes you more dehydrated rather than less. It can also interfere with your body's ability to regulate its own temperature.

Keep your electrolytes up. Along with all that sweat, your body is also leaking out electrolytes like potassium, sodium and calcium. You can replace fluid and sodium losses with watery foods that contain salt and potassium like soup and vegetable juices. Many sports drinks will also help you maintain your electrolyte balance, but beware of those that contain significant amounts of sugar or caffeine.

Check your urine. It might not be the most exciting thing to do when you’re out having a great time, but, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, it can be an important indicator that something is wrong. If your urine is dark or cloudy, it’s often a sign you’re dehydrated. Also watch for other signs of dehydration such as dizziness, headache, nausea and cramps.

The best way to prevent dehydration is before it starts. If you know you’re going to be out in the heat, plan ahead by making sure you’re well hydrated and that you have plenty of fluids on hand to get you through the day.

Have a great and well-hydrated summer!

Exercise Your Brain

on Tuesday, 31 July 2018. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Just like the rest of your body, feeding your brain a proper diet is an important factor in helping it stay in tip-top shape. That’s only part of the equation though. A good workout regimen consists of both diet and exercise. So even though you’re feeding your brain what it needs to succeed, how do you keep it from getting flabby? Here are a few ways:

Exercise regularly. ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’ is an old saying that been proven true. Exercise not only gets your heart rate up, but your brain activity as well.  

Think good thoughts. Stress and anxiety are not only miserable to deal with, but they impair brain function as well. Chronic stress produces a hormone called cortisol, which over time can reduce your ability to store and recall information.

Get enough sleep. Sleep is your brain’s way of cleaning out the events of the previous day. Lack of sleep not only makes you feel groggy and irritable, it stops the brain from properly processing the past day’s information, leaving you unable to recall what you need to know for the coming one.

In addition to general good habits, there are also some specific exercises you can try to get your noggin humming along faster:

  • Try using your off hand for daily tasks like brushing your teeth.
  • Do chores with your eyes closed.
  • Calculate math problems in your head.
  • Test your recall with simple games like trying to remember everything you saw today that was pink or how many famous people’s names you can think of that start with a ‘D’.

Our brains are wonderful, complex instruments. Make sure to keep yours in shape with these tips.

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