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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.

Joint Pain

on Tuesday, 31 July 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You wake up one morning, jump out of bed, and the moment your feet hit the floor, you feel it – a sharp pain in your knee. 

Should you be worried?  Or are you just getting old?

If you’re like a lot of people, you might assume that creaky, painful joints are an inevitable part of the aging process.  Whether it’s stiff fingers caused by arthritis or a sore shoulder from an old sports injury, you might assume it’s something you’ll have to learn to live with.  After all, if it’s natural and inevitable, there’s probably not a lot you can do about it, right?  So maybe you pop an over the counter pain killer, or put some ice or heat on it.  Maybe you tough it out and wait for the pain to pass, assuming it will go away like a headache or a cold. 

However, there is something you can do besides gritting your teeth and learning to live with joint pain.  Today more than ever, there are several real, effective solutions that will help you feel better and move more freely.

The first step to feeling better is understanding the source of your pain.  A recent study showed that while almost 20% of adults suffer from some form of chronic joint pain, a whopping 84% of those people have no idea where the pain comes from!  Some people suffer from what they believe is joint pain, when the real problem is a torn ligament, or a strained muscle.  A professional like a doctor or chiropractor can help you determine the source of your pain.

This is important because once you know where your pain comes from, a plan can be formulated to treat it.  In some cases, simple exercises can be used to strengthen joints and relieve pain.
 
Another good option could be a supplement that boosts joint health like chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, calcium, vitamin D3, or even natural remedies like turmeric, ginger and green tea.  In other cases, you may be advised to try prescription medication, or more drastic solutions like surgery. 

The bottom line?  If you’re experiencing joint pain, don’t just “tough it out.”  Give us a call, and find out how simple it can be to make your pain a thing of the past.

Identity Theft part 2

on Tuesday, 24 July 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Last week, we talked about the increasing threat of identity theft - when thieves steal your personal information and do very bad things with your name.  Here are a few more tips on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of that crime:

Be Tight-lipped on the Telephone

When a high-pressure salesman calls with an overly-attractive offer or “prize,” avoid giving personal information.  If you didn’t initiate the call, ask the caller if you can join their do-not-call list.  Or simply hang up on sales calls.

Secure Your Computer

Again, don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information and make sure you have virus protection in place.  Password-protect your computer and change that password frequently.  Also, search the internet occasionally for your name and the last four digits of your Social Security number, just to see what pops up.

Watch Your Wallet

On the backs of your credit cards, write "photo ID required" in place of the signature – that makes them harder to use if stolen.  Don’t carry your Social Security card with you.

Clear Your Deceased Relatives’ Accounts

When a loved one passes away, obtain enough copies of the official death certificate to notify all financial institutions, insurance companies, etc.  Remove their names from all joint accounts and contact the credit reporting agencies and request a deceased alert.  That means no one can attempt to use your relative’s name to gain credit for themselves.

Report Suspicious Activity Immediately

If, at any time, you think an attempt has been made to steal your identity, contact the authorities. File a police report, and file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, whom you can reach at 1-877-IDTHEFT.     

Identity Theft

on Tuesday, 17 July 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Identity theft has been called America’s fastest-growing crime problem by the FBI. 

If you don’t really know what identity theft is all about, it’s what happens when a thief “becomes” you by stealing your financial identity and using it to benefit themselves.  Less-sophisticated crooks will use your credit cards to go on a buying spree – more sophisticated ones will use your personal info to get a fake driver’s license, take out car loans, open bank accounts or even use your identity when they get arrested.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from this increasingly-frequent predicament:

Safeguard your Social Security Number

This is the most critical piece of personal information that can be misused.  Don’t print it on any ID, don’t carry it on you or in your wallet and avoid using it as a personal identifier if at all possible. 

Be Careful with Your Mail

Make your mailbox a less attractive target for identity thieves.  Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers and insurance by calling 888-5OPT-OUT or by logging onto https://www.optoutprescreen.com. Cancel mail delivery when you go on vacation. If you write a check for credit card payments and send them in, only use the last 4 digits of your account number.  
Protect Your Trash

Things you throw out, such as credit card bills/offers, bank statements, etc., all contain valuable personal information.   Buying a shredder and using it on these kinds of documents can be a good investment.

We’ll be back next week with some more important tips on how to protect your identity.

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...

Nutrition

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.

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