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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.

Celebrating the 4th of July in 2020

on Tuesday, 30 June 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Well, it isn’t the 4th of July that we all imagined just a year ago. While some states have begun to reopen, many others still have restrictions in place, especially ones involving large gatherings. The moral of the story is that the 4th of July may look a little different this year. If you live in one of the states that’s permitting large crowds, then by all means go out and enjoy. Even so, please practice good habits and stay safe.

For everyone else, a little creativity might be required to make the most of the holiday.

You don’t have to stay indoors. Camp out under the stars. Have a day of fun and games. Sometimes the best games are the ones you make up yourself. Rather than being upset because things are a little different, use the opportunity to see how innovative you can be. Remember fun is where you make it. 

Make it a volunteer day. It’s been a tough time for many people in the community, so why not take the time to do something for others. Knit a blanket, put together care packages for the less fortunate, reach out to your local charities to find out what they need. Find something that’s meaningful and make it a memorable holiday because you did something for others. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be Independence Day without a great barbeque. If you’re unable to go out, that just means you have more money for quality eats. Wondering what to make? Well here are some ideas from Country Living and Good Housekeeping that should satisfy any palette. 

Yes, Independence Day might be different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Be creative, be resourceful and above all stay safe and healthy.

Getting Ready for Summer Camp

on Tuesday, 23 June 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

For many families, attending summer camps is an annual rite of passage. For kids, it’s a chance to learn new skills outside of a classroom, and for parents it’s a well-earned vacation. This year is a little different, of course. As of this writing, some states have reopened, and a lot of summer camps are still on schedule. 

Choosing whether to send your kids to those camps does require a little more thought than normal. If you’re still planning on having your kids attend one, you’ll want to gather additional information and be a little pickier about which camps you select. Get into contact with the camp sponsors as soon as you can. Some of the key questions you’ll want to ask include how they plan on keeping things clean, whether they’ll still observe the CDC’s social distancing guidelines and what contingency plans they have in place if there is any type of outbreak. 

In most other instances, the normal rules for summer camp apply. For example, you’ll still want to book early so you can take advantage of any early bird discounts. Many camps also offer bulk discounts, ideal if you have several children or want to go in together with friends or neighbors. One thing you do want to pay careful attention to is the camp’s refund policy if you decide later that a particular camp isn’t a good choice for your family, or the camp ends up being canceled due to the coronavirus.

Finally, consider some alternatives like virtual camps. While they lack the true ‘camp’ experience, many of the better ones still provide valuable learning activities as well as a sense of community.

Summer camp is a great tradition that’s still possible in this new age. Just use common sense and ask plenty of questions to make sure you and your family have a great experience this summer. 

Honoring Dad on Father’s Day

on Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Mother’s Day gets all the attention, and for good reason. There is no substitute for Mom. While Father’s Day doesn’t get the hype, it’s important not to forget about Dear Old Dad. It’s a great time to throw a little credit to the guy who taught you how to throw a baseball, fix a car or flame-broil burgers on the grill like nobody’s business. Sure, Dad might not have taught you those stereotypical things, but he probably has taught you plenty of other valuable lessons, and Father’s Day is the perfect time to say thanks.

What should you do for Dad? It really depends on what type of guy Dad is. Don’t just grab some traditional ‘Dad’ stuff off the rack at your local store. Put some thought into it. Dad might not want a big party thrown in his honor. Maybe he’d prefer to hang out in his man cave (if he has one) and read a book. Showing love and respect for Dad means giving him the type of day he wants. It’s his day after all.

There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to Father’s Day, because every Dad is different. The one constant that every dad will appreciate is a thank you. Sure, it could be an elaborate bash, but it might also be a five-minute phone call or a card. He’ll appreciate that you took the time and cared. Every dad loves that. And by the way, while Father’s Day is a special day for dads, there’s nothing wrong with showing him you care the other 364 days of the year.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!

Budgeting Fun for Summer

on Tuesday, 09 June 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

When you think of fun summer activities for the family, you may think of camping, sitting out under the stars or maybe catching some rays down by the pool. Even though it’s a valuable skill, learning how to create and maintain a budget probably doesn’t make your top ten list of fun things to do. If only there was a way to combine summer fun with learning how to effectively make a budget…

Games are a great way to combine fun with learning, and fortunately when it comes to learning about budgets there are some great classics out there. Payday, the Game of Life and the granddaddy of them all, Monopoly, are excellent choices. After all, you’ll need a budget and a plan if you want to slap down those fancy hotels on Boardwalk and laugh when unsuspecting family members come to visit. 

It doesn’t have to be just board games. For example, Visa and the NFL have teamed up to create Financial Football, an interactive game where players manage money and answer questions to gain yardage and score touchdowns. 

Remember, any game can be modified. The idea is to teach kids how to manage a limited amount of resources to best accomplish their goals. 

In past days, enterprising kids would set up a lemonade stand. In these days of social distancing, it’s a little more challenging. But just because your state and local ordinances may not permit it, doesn’t mean you can’t use your imagination. Sit down with your kids and go through a thought exercise of setting up a lemonade stand (hint: they call it playing pretend). How will they make a profit? How will they set it up? Where? Will they use their money to buy a new videogame or plow it back into the business? 

Budgeting is a valuable skill that can pay lifelong dividends. It doesn’t have to be dry and boring either. When you combine it with fun games and real-world examples it can be a great learning experience for the whole family. 

Getting Your Child’s Education Back on Track

on Tuesday, 02 June 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It goes without saying that this school year has been unlike any other in recent memory. The scholastic calendar was abruptly taken for a ride by the coronavirus and dumped off in uncharted territory. Depending on where you lived, your kids were left to carry on with online learning or even left to their own devices entirely. As a parent, how do you pick up the pieces and get your child’s education back on track?

You’ll likely want to supervise your child’s learning more than you may have in the past, and the first thing you need to do is to know your kid. How do they learn? Visually? Hands on? Do they do better with independent study or in groups where they can learn from other kids? Many schools, even some of the better private ones, have to resort to a sort of one-size-fits-all method in the best of times. One of the few advantages you have in this unfortunate situation is a unique opportunity to customize your child’s education. 

Without the more rigid structure of a regular school year, you have more time for passion projects, i.e. stuff your kid is interested in learning anyway. Allowing your child to explore interests, whether it’s making managerial decisions on a farm game or satisfying their inner artistic calling is a great way to keep their minds engaged. As a bonus, it’s a lot easier to get them to do it.

Although encouraging free expression is great, it’s also a good idea to set aside a specific time and place for learning. Kids of all stripes do better with an established routine. Try for quality over quantity. Like most of us, kids have a limited attention span, so try to be flexible.

Most of all, remember it’s a stressful time for everybody and you won’t get everything back to normal in a day or even a week. A positive attitude will go a long way to help the situation. Relax, have fun and try to make the best of things. You might be surprised what creative solutions you come up with.

Exercise Series: Exercise for Busy Families

on Tuesday, 26 May 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

In our series on exercise, we’ve talked about how various people can become more active. Whether you’re a senior, a kid or a busy working adult there are plenty of ways to get active. When it comes to getting the whole family involved, things get a little more challenging. Everyone has their own schedule and their own interests. What’s great for one family member might be a miserable chore for another. Some prefer indoors, some outdoors. Some prefer… well, you get the idea. 

If you want to get everyone in the family involved, the first thing you have to do is make it a priority. That may mean giving up some other activities, such as binge watching your favorite show on a day off or catching up on work. It definitely means setting aside time to make it happen. 

The second major thing you need to do is get everyone in the family involved. Hold a family meeting. Take input. Consider suggestions. Keep everyone’s needs in mind and consider what objections will be raised and why. The idea is to have a workable plan that everyone can buy into. Without that, you’re facing a nearly impossible battle.

Once you’ve gotten everyone to agree, the next step is to make it a routine. Creating great habits takes work. Pick an activity and a time for it and then stick to it. The longer you’re able to do it, the easier it will become. 

So, what activity should you pick? The answer is as different as the families who participate. To help get you started, here are a few ideas

Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and enjoy life. It’s even better when you have someone to share it with. Get the whole family involved in a healthy lifestyle. Make it a regular habit and make it fun. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll have some great family memories to share as well. 

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