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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.

Why Exercise?

Written by Dr. Lee Mancini on Tuesday, 15 January 2013. Posted in Fitness

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, in most cases you have more to lose by not being active.
 
Here are just a few of the benefits. Exercise and physical activity:
  • Can help maintain and improve your physical strength and fitness.
  • Can help improve your ability to do the everyday things you want to do.
  • Can help improve your balance.
  • Can help manage and improve diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
  • Can help reduce feelings of depression and may improve mood and overall well-being.
  • May improve your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.
The key word in all these benefits is YOU — how fit and active you are now and how much effort you put into being active. To gain the most benefits, enjoy your exercise program, stay safe while you exercise, and be sure to eat a healthy diet, too!

Tightening your belt?

on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Posted in Healthy Nutrition

2013 Fiscal, nutrition, and exercise health

Happy New Year!! Did you notice your paycheck got smaller this week?
 
On January 3rd - just 5 days ago - the IRS released updated income-tax withholding tables fro 2013 reflecting this week’s changes by Congress.
 
Employers are now required to begin withholding Social Security tax at the rate of 6.2 percent of wages paid following the expiration of the temporary two-percentage-point tax cut in effect for 2011 and 2012.
 
Isn’t it interesting how we got used to that extra 2% in our pockets? Now we have to get “un” used to it.
 
Your employer will handle the withholding changes so you don’t need to fill out a new W-4 form.
 
As always, however, the IRS recommends that you review your withholding every year and, if necessary, fill out a new W-4 and give it to your employer. For example, individuals and couples with multiple jobs, people who are having children, getting married, getting divorced or buying a home, and those who typically wind up with a balance due or large refund at the end of the year may want to consider submitting revised W-4 forms.
 
Time to tighten the belt... again.
 
Speaking of tightening your belt, we’ll be offering a new healthy recipe and exercise tip in each issue of our 2013 newsletter. We’ve always got your health in mind and want to help you get started right for the New Year! If you aren't receiving our email newsletter, go here to get our free report and sign up

Want less holiday stress?

on Tuesday, 18 December 2012. Posted in Holiday Nutrition

The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health.
 
Here are 10 practical ideas and some fun ones that work to reduce your stress during a high-stress season, so you can enjoy your holidays, your family, and yourself.
  1. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending.
  2. Balance work, home, and play.
  3. Laugh! Tell a joke, join a laugh yoga class, get silly with your kids.
  4. Get support from family and friends.
  5. Practice deep breathing techniques. They short-circuit your stress.
  6. Practice time management.
  7. Hug a puppy!
  8. Keep a relaxed and positive outlook.
  9. Get moving - virtually any kind of physical exercise will do.
  10. Listen to the Center for Disease Control’s holiday song:  http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/12waysSong.htm. Believe it or not, the government wrote a holiday song and sings it here just for you!

Beware charity scammers

on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Posted in Giving Back

The holiday season is a time for giving. We often give to our families, our friends, and to strangers in need.
 
A flyer in the mail, a phone call, a personalized email — everyone receives requests for donations in one form or another.  Many legitimate charities use telemarketing, direct mail, email and online ads to ask for contributions.
 
Unfortunately, scam artists also use these techniques to pocket your money.  If someone asks for a donation, take your time and familiarize yourself with the charity:
  • Ask for the charity’s name, address, and phone number, and written information about its programs.
  • Ask whether the person contacting you is a professional fundraiser and how much of your contribution will go to fundraising costs.
  • Check the history of the organization with the office that regulates charities in your state.  For a list of state offices, visit the National Association of State Charity Officials.
You should also know the warning signs of a scam:
  • High pressure pitches. Reject them: It’s okay to hang up.
  • A thank you for a pledge you don't remember making.  Be skeptical; scam artists will lie to get your money.
  • Requests for cash.  Avoid giving cash donations. 
  • Charities that offer to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your money.
  • Charities that guarantee sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution.
  • Charities that spring up overnight, especially those that involve current events like natural disasters, or those that claim to be for police officers, veterans, or firefighters.  They probably don't have the infrastructure to get your donations to the affected area or people.
Seniors are especially popular targets for scam artists. If you have seniors in your family, help them understand how to spot a scammer early, and what to do.
 
 
Sharing what you have with people who really need it is truly a generous, kind-hearted thing to do. Just make sure they are really getting what you give.

(Limited source: United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov)

Get moving!

on Tuesday, 04 December 2012. Posted in Fitness

Last week we talked about the risks of holiday eating that increases the fat proportion in your body. Besides eating a more healthy diet during the holidays (and year-round), how active you are has a real impact on your body’s shape and health.
 
The holiday season is an easy time to slack off on our exercise routine because, let’s face it, we are extra busy and there are only so many hours in the day.
 
Here are a few easy tips to boost your holiday fitness:
  • When packing for your holiday trip, include an elastic resistance band so you can do strength-training exercises when you're not at the gym. You might also consider buying a new fitness DVD for your trip so that you can have fun trying something new.
  • Sit less. Watching TV, gaming, and surfing the web are fun but inactive, so spend less time in front of the screen.
  • Make fitness a family activity. For example, going for a family walk, having a pick-up football game or building a snowman are all ways to get exercise and have holiday fun at the same time.
  • Put fitness gifts on your Christmas or holiday gift list. Here are a few hot gift ideas for 2012: a heart-rate monitor to wear while exercising, kettlebells, personal training sessions, workout socks, or a BPA-free water bottle.
Now get moving!

Holiday weight gain - truth or fiction?

on Tuesday, 27 November 2012. Posted in Holiday Nutrition, Basketball

Is it myth or truth that people tend to gain weight during the holidays? Actually, according to a commonly cited study, adults tend to gain only 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. (If you are above average weight to start with, you might gain as much as 5 pounds).
 
That’s the good news. Now for the bad news.
 
First, most people who gain weight during the holidays don’t take it off in the new year. So, big deal, right? What’s 1 or 2 extra pounds? It’s not a big deal until you add up the pounds from last year, this year, next year, etc. You get the picture.
 
Secondly, the pound or two you gain isn’t as important as the proportion of fat in your body. Another study showed that even if you don’t gain weight during the holidays, you are very likely to see a significant increase in the proportion of fat in your body largely because of the food you eat.
 
Roll it all together, add up the years, and you are at higher and higher risk for serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Don’t kid yourself, this is just as important to younger healthy adults as it is to middle-age or older adults.
 
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Here are a few quick tips:
  • Eat a healthy meal before you go to holiday get-togethers will help limit your consumption of unhealthy party foods.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol, which adds calories and affects your ability to make decisions about healthy eating.
  • Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy.
  • Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods.
  • Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
So let’s enjoy the holidays but let’s not mess around. Enjoy your treats but balance them with healthy meals the rest of the time. And move - burn that fat off (more on holiday exercising next week)!
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