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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.

Beat the Heat

on Tuesday, 25 June 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Last Friday was the first day of summer, and we all know with summer comes the heat! It's so important to be aware of the dangers of heat and how to keep safe.

Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:

  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

Help Protect Elderly Relatives and Neighbors

If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help them protect themselves from heat-related stress:

  • Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level.
  • Warning: If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.

Know how to Protect Yourself

You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don't have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off.)
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Whatever your outside summer plans are, remember to consider the temperatures and plan accordingly. Be smart and stay safe.

Stay Hydrated

on Tuesday, 18 June 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Summer Sports Training

Summer is here and with it comes heat and more heat. That means it’s really essential that we pay attention to staying hydrated.

Dehydration is a serious matter and nothing to mess around with. Seniors, children, and anyone with an acute or chronic medical condition are especially at risk.

What can you do?

If you have a medical condition, you will want to consult your doctor to see if there are any special considerations about the types and amounts of fluid you should drink.

All the rest of us have a little more flexibility. We just need to be certain we are drinking enough fluid to keep our bodies well hydrated so they can function the way they should.

Here are some fun ways to stay hydrated and keep the glass of _____ interesting!

  • Freeze 100% fruit juice in ice cube trays and add a couple to your ice cold water or seltzer.
  • Make fruit juice popsicles for the kids (and the kid in you!).
  • Stash some washed, stemmed whole strawberries in the freezer to use as ‘ice cubes’ in your water bottle.
  • Make a thin fruit smoothie using water, ice cubes, and a few pieces of frozen fruit such as strawberries, peaches, mango, pineapple, or melon.
  • Squeeze a wedge of lemon and lime into your water bottle for a thirst-quenching pick-you-up.
  • Sip, sip, sip!

Two words of caution --

  • limit the caffeine as it works against you when you are trying to stay hydrated in the summer heat.
  • limit high sugar drinks as they will actually make you more thirsty.

Enjoy your summer and stay hydrated!

Thanks Dad!

on Thursday, 13 June 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

What are the 5 most important things you learned from your father?

Father’s Day is right around the corner on this Sunday, June 16, 2013. This is a good time to give some thought to what the ‘old man’ taught you and show him appreciation for it. Even if your dad is no longer around, it can be beneficial for you to take a few minutes and remember the tips and life wisdom he gave you as you were growing up.

Maybe he taught you how to swing a hammer (without hitting your thumb!), or how to grill a juicy burger.

Maybe he taught you how to show respect for your mother, or how to get the most value from your education.

Maybe he taught you how to protect yourself, or how to change the oil in your car (without getting covered with it!).

Maybe he taught you how to enjoy the quiet, or how to be the rowdiest hockey fan in the room.

Maybe he taught you how to frost a cake (and cover all the crumbs!), or how to grow the best vegetables on the block.

Whatever your dad taught you, however small and seemingly insignificant or important and profound, he did the best he could with raising you and now is your opportunity to pay back and show appreciation for it.

Take a few minutes and sit down and write out those 5 most important things you got from dear old dad, then say... “Thanks!”

Graduation Gifts

on Tuesday, 04 June 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s that time of year! Time to celebrate the high school or college graduate in your life. Graduation is a big stepping stone to the next exciting, sometimes scary chapter in a young adult’s life. They are smart, they are educated, and in some ways they think they are invincible while at the same time, they are shaking in their shoes!

Your gift to them is a demonstration of how proud you are of their achievements, and how confident you are that they will succeed in the coming years.

But coming up with the perfect gift can be a real challenge, especially if cost is a factor in your decision. That’s when you need to get creative!

Here are 5 health and fitness ideas under $100 to get you started:

• Bluetooth Earbuds

• Spa Gift Card - Any fitness buff will appreciate a gift certificate to the spa, where she can wind down any way she chooses.

• Research the grad’s college campus to see what stores and restaurants are nearby. If the graduate bicycles to school or work, give a gift card to a nearby bike shop.

• Where Chefs Eat - New city? New restaurants to try. Give the grad some help finding tasty food to eat with this unique book or a book just about their new city or region. 

• Kettlebells - For resistance training right in the dorm room or new apartment.

If you have a bit more money to spend for your graduate’s gift, you can go high-tech with an iPad, bicycle, or noise-canceling headphones.

Whatever gift you give, give it with best wishes for the future, and congratulations for a job well done!

Vitamin C

on Tuesday, 28 May 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Vitamin C – What’s the big deal?

Often when you are coughing and sneezing, people you know will ask you if you are taking your Vitamin C. Maybe you are taking a Vitamin C supplement, maybe you’re not. What is the big deal about Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) and how can you be certain you are getting “enough”?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient primarily found in certain fruits and vegetables. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.

That’s a pretty big deal! So where do you get it?

The best sources are certain fruits and vegetables. The best sources are citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, also red and green peppers and kiwifruit. Other good sources of Vitamin C are broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes. Some foods and beverages are fortified with Vitamin C so be sure to check the labels.

How can you be sure you are getting enough?

Most people in the United States get enough vitamin C from foods and beverages. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin C: smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke, infants under 1 year who are not fed breast milk or formula, people who eat a very limited variety of food, and people with certain medical conditions.

Vitamin C deficiency is rare in this country but people who get very limited amounts of Vitamin C for weeks are at risk for developing scurvy like the sailors of a century or two ago. Taking too much Vitamin C can cause problems too, so be sure to consult your doctor before taking high dose supplements.

By the way, taking a Vitamin C supplement AFTER your cold symptoms start is not shown to help at all. So if you are going to take a Vitamin C supplement, research shows you are more likely to have shorter colds if you get enough Vitamin C on a regular basis.

This information isn’t medical advice and should not take the place of a real conversation with your health care providers. Be sure to take your questions to your doctor, registered dietitian, or pharmacist and ask them what is best for you and your overall health.

Memorial Day

on Tuesday, 21 May 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Next Monday, May 27, 2013, is Memorial Day. The first observances were within a few years after the end of the Civil War in the late 1860’s, although it wasn’t actually proclaimed as a national holiday until 1971 by an Act of Congress. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed Waterloo NY as the birthplace of Memorial Day where the first official celebration took place on May 5, 1866.

Memorial Day weekend is often the time for barbecues, a time when family and friends get together to socialize and enjoy food and fun. But while we are out having a good time, let’s remember the real meaning of this holiday.

Let’s honor our military veterans who are now, and have through the centuries, defending our country and our freedom. Men and women who have given their all so that we can continue to enjoy the life and liberty we often take for granted.

During your barbecue, please stop and join the rest of the country to pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service by observing a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.

If you are a veteran, thank you. If you know a veteran, please thank them. If you have lost a loved one who was a veteran, our condolences and our thanks. From the bottom of our hearts.

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