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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.

Proper Posture

on Tuesday, 10 July 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Toning & Shaping, Strength & Conditioning

Your mother was right – you need to stand up straight! 

But not just because standing (or sitting) with your shoulders pulled back and your stomach pulled in makes you look taller, thinner and more confident.  It turns out that good posture actually has some real health benefits as well. 

First and most importantly, the simple act of sitting or standing up straight strengthens your spine.  On the other hand, getting into the habit of hunching over, either in your chair at work or while you’re standing, can result in changes to the curvature of your spine that could be permanent.  Since your spine is incredibly important to your overall health, keeping it strong and healthy should be a priority – and good posture is an excellent starting point. 

Second, there’s pain – or more specifically, the avoidance of pain.  All that hunching and scrunching puts pressure on your spine and your joints, and can lead to everything from headaches and muscle pain to arthritis to carpal tunnel syndrome.  Taking a moment to adjust your posture and stand up straight can reduce some of that strain and pain instantaneously, while helping you avoid more serious issues later on down the line.

Last, but not least, is performance.  Good posture keeps your body in proper alignment, and a properly aligned body is in the ideal position to perform at its peak.  Whether you’re exercising, working or just hanging out and having fun, practicing good posture while you do it takes less energy, leads to less wear and tear on your body, and lets you keep doing whatever you’re doing longer and better.

So the next time your mother tells you to stand up straight, throw those shoulders back and stand a little taller. 

And while we’re on the subject, it won’t hurt to eat your vegetables either.

4th of July

on Tuesday, 03 July 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Over the next several days, America will be celebrating the 4th of July holiday – when we declared our independence from British rule.  But did you know we almost ended up with a celebration two days earlier?   Let’s quote founding father and future President, John Adams…
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”
He was almost right.  Although the Continental Congress did in fact officially vote for independence on July 2nd, Thomas Jefferson still hadn’t finished his draft of the Declaration of Independence – which was later debated and finally approved on the 4th.
Since the 4th became the date that everyone celebrated, even Jefferson and Adams near the end of their lives were confused and thought they had voted for independence on the 2nd.    
The only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence who went on to become a U.S. President, ended up dying on the exact same day – ironically, the 4th of July, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of that signing.
Enjoy the fireworks...


on Tuesday, 26 June 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Healthy Nutrition

With so much conflicting information out there on “good” and “bad” foods, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re supposed to be eating to stay healthy and keep your weight under control.  Are carbohydrates good or bad?  Is fat the enemy, or is sugar the real problem?  And what the heck is a “superfood?”

Luckily, there is hope.  Fads come and go, but real nutrition is still primarily a matter of common sense.  If you eat a wide variety of foods, concentrating on whole foods closer to their natural form (an orange) as opposed to processed foods (an orange-flavored snack), there’s no need to beat yourself up over the occasional slice of pizza or bowl of ice cream.  There’s actually a place for everything in a balanced diet, provided you focus on the word “balance.”

According to the most recent U.S. Government standards, a healthy diet starts with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products that are either reduced in fat or fat free.  For protein, it includes beans and nuts – a great choice for vegetarians -- as well as lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs.  In other words, it includes a variety of foods to suit just about every taste. 

When it comes to foods you should consume in lower quantities, the list is a lot shorter.  It basically consists of saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.  These nutritional no-no’s tend to be found most frequently in processed foods like chips, snack foods and frozen or fast-food dinners.  And beware – those “light” and “fat free” options typically pack a lot of sodium and/or sugar, so avoiding so-called convenience foods in favor of cooking your own meals – or at least eating simpler foods – is usually much healthier. 

A little awareness is key.  Read labels, think about what you’re eating, plan your meals in advance.  That way, when you get the occasional craving for a fast-food cheeseburger, you can indulge without worrying. 

At least some of the time.

Summer 2012

on Tuesday, 19 June 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Summer Sports Training

On June 20th at 7:09 PM EDT, summer will officially be here. 
Or was it already here?
For those of you who thought all the seasons’ beginning and end dates were set in stone, you might be surprised to learn that’s far from the case. 
Countries such as Austria, Denmark, New Zealand and Russia, as well as parts of the UK, use the meteorological beginning of the season – going by temperature patterns - rather than using the astronomical beginning of the season, as we do in America, which views the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) as the summer starting point.
According to meteorologists, summer really occupies the entire month of June, as well as July and August – with autumn starting with the 1st of September. 
And then there’s Chinese Astronomy to deal with.  According to their reckoning, summer starts on or around the 5th of May and ends around August 6th.   In Southeast Asia, the monsoon season makes the call – to them, summer begins in March and lasts until May or early June, ending with the onset of the torrential rains.
Ireland, quite frankly, can’t quite make up its mind when summer happens.  The national meteorological service says summer encompasses June, July and August.  But the Irish Calendar says summer begins May 1st and ends August 1st. 
Is there any definitive way to decide when summer actually does begin for everyone?  Of course.  As all of us in the good ol’ USA know…summer starts on Memorial Day weekend!

Father's Day

on Tuesday, 12 June 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Giving Back

Giving Thanks To Dad

Father’s Day is this Sunday...and we hope you’ve found a way to honor the dear old Dad in your life.

The interesting fact is that, even though this is a long established holiday in America, it almost didn’t make it onto the national calendar.  Why?  Frankly…no offense, guys…people thought it was a joke!

Mother’s Day had already become an established event when attempts to promote Father’s Day faltered left and right in the 1910’s and 20’s.  Newspaper editorials made fun of the proposed day for Dad and public proposals for it were greeted with outright laughter.

Why?  Many saw it as the first step to a slew of other artificial and commercialized calendar events, such as Maiden Aunty’s Day and Household Pet Day (which, in light of such other modern observances as Grandparent’s Day and Secretary’s Day, held a ring of truth).  

There was also, in the media of the time, a tradition of portraying pop as an irresponsible loafer.  One popular song was entitled “Everybody Works But Father.” 

And finally, there was the problem of dispensing the sentimentality common to Mother’s Day to…a guy.  Heaping loving presents and flowery sappiness to big, burly Dad seemed comical to most.  And also a practical problem; “Mannish-looking cards are hard to design,” said one greeting card manufacturer of the time.

Even though the first bill to make Father’s Day a national holiday was introduced in 1913, it took until 1972 for it to become the law of the land when President Nixon signed a proclamation finally making it official. 

Mother’s Day, in contrast, became legal in 1914. 

Dads, like the late Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect.

Doctor of Fitness Charity For June

on Tuesday, 12 June 2012. Posted in Giving Back

Supporting Local Athletic Program

From now until July 4th Doctor of Fitness will donate $0.50 to the Shrewsbury High School Booster's Association for every person that likes the Doctor of Fitness Facebook page -
Up to a maximum donation of $1000!
So if you are a parent, a coach, or an athlete in the Shrewsbury school system this is your chance to help out Shrewsbury Athletics!  
Simply go to the Doctor of Fitness Facebook page and click LIKE - it's as simple as that!
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