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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.

Summer Produce

on Tuesday, 23 July 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Are you getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables? You can usually find delicious local produce during the summer months. Make healthy eating child’s play with these fun activities.

Have a picnic at a farmer’s market. Local markets offer an amazing variety of produce and other homemade products. Find a farmer’s market near your home, and turn an ordinary afternoon into a scavenger hunt for nutritious and delicious food. Make silly games out of trying new foods. For example, is it possible to make a whole meal from foods of only one color? Or can you find a different food for every letter of the alphabet? When the shopping is done, find a place to spread out a blanket and gobble up the freshest food of summer. 

Visit a pick-your-own farm. Fill your basket to the brim with produce straight from the farm. Haul the bounty home where you can use the Internet to find new recipes. Get cooking, and taste your homemade creations. You can invite your friends over for a meal featuring fruits and vegetables, handpicked by you!

Create art you can eat. Use an assortment of fruits, vegetables, and other treats to create pictures and sculptures made just from food. Orange slices become cheerful sunshine, and celery forms the body of a sleek race car. This time, it’s okay to play with your food.

Healthy eating doesn’t need to be boring. Your diet will be healthy, tasty, and exciting when you try new foods and fun edible activities this summer.

Staying Afloat: Water Safety Tips

on Tuesday, 16 July 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

In the heat of summer, nothing feels better than a cool swim at the pool or the beach. Unfortunately summer water fun can quickly turn dangerous. Following a few simple safety rules will guarantee that everyone stays safe and has fun.

First of all, know your skills. Did you learn to swim when you were just a baby? Or, is this your first time to take a dip? Unless you are a strong swimmer, you'll want to stick to the shallow end. Swim lessons will help beginning swimmers become good swimmers, and good swimmers will get even better.

Use flotation devices. Life jackets can be worn in the pool or out in the open water. Before heading out on a boat, check that a correctly sized life jacket is onboard for everyone. Just remember, a flotation device is never a substitute for swimming skills or adult supervision.

Never swim alone. Accidents can happen to even the best swimmers. A buddy can help you out of the water if you have trouble, or he can call for help. Children should always be watched by adults while in or near the water. When watching kids, adults need to stay alert. Put away phones or other distractions to stay focused on safety.

Learn CPR. Know when and when not to perform CPR. Taking a class in CPR and first aid prepares you to take action when the unexpected occurs. Studies have shown that even children as young as 9 years old can learn the correct techniques to save a life.

A summer afternoon in the water can turn tragic all too quickly. Follow these water safety tips to ensure your summer is safe and enjoyable for the whole family.

Summer Family Fun

on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Summertime is a great time to be active with your family, but we can easily get bored with the same activities over and over again. Make this summer even more fun by trying some exciting new adventures.

Reach new heights by learning to rock climb. Interesting landscapes across the country challenge climbers to develop their skills and their strength. Experienced guides keep you safe and teach the correct methods. If you can’t stand the heat, look for an indoor climbing gym. There you can tackle climbing walls from beginner to expert without setting foot outdoors.

While ice skating might bring to mind thoughts of Christmastime instead of a hot July summer, indoor ice skating rinks can offer a cool break during the summer months. Look for open skating days to spend just a few hours, or you can sign up for a summer camp. This is a great way to get some exercise, have fun with the family and stay cool at the same time.

Looking for a different water sport to try? Experiment with paddle boarding. Kids and grown-ups alike can learn to paddle board. The paddler stands on a small boat, shaped similar to a surf board, and uses a long paddle to steer the craft across the water. You can paddle on lakes or at beaches. This activity increases both strength and balance.

Summertime might be hot, but you don’t have to just sit inside. Wherever this summer takes you, go out and have fun as a family. Keep fitness and safety in mind and you are sure to have a magnificent summer season.

Fun on the Fourth

on Tuesday, 02 July 2013. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The Fourth of July is Independence Day. This federal holiday is often associated with fireworks, picnics, parades and family get-togethers. Here are some fun red, white, and blue activities to help you celebrate this year.

Gather your neighbors and friends to start a new neighborhood tradition; the Fourth of July parade. Kids can decorate their bikes or a wagon with items from around the house. Costumes are a fun addition too. Designate the time and location for participants to gather, and off marches the parade.

Small fireworks can add sizzle to your celebration for just a few dollars. Use sparklers to draw designs and write your name against the night sky. Tiny snappers get thrown on the ground for a big bang. Although small, these items are still fireworks. Be sure to use sparklers and snappers with care in a large, open area to prevent accidents.

A package of food colors can turn everyday sweets into patriotic masterpieces. Add color to ordinary white frosting, cake batter, or cookie dough. Be careful to add just a few drops at a time to reach just the right shade. You’ll have fun baking, decorating, and eating these holiday treats.

Get creative while making Independence Day decorations. Glittery fabric paints make beautiful firework designs on a solid t-shirt. You can build a flag windsock using blue construction paper with red and white crepe paper. For tiny tots, find printable coloring pages online featuring holiday themes.

The Fourth of July should be a time to come together with family and friends to celebrate the history of the United States of America. These ideas will give everyone an unforgettable Independence Day without breaking the bank.

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!

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