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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.

Discovering Fall Foliage: the East Coast

on Tuesday, 22 September 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

There are plenty of fall traditions that we can look forward to every year such as pumpkin carving, hayrides and that beautiful blue fall sky. Of course, one of the best things about fall is the color. While New England may be known for its autumn hues, it’s not the only game in town. In the next part of our series, we’ll take a look at the rest of the east coast.

Fall is fleeting on the east coast. The quality of the fall color can vary from year to year. Temperature, sunlight and soil moisture all play a role, and the east coast has variable weather from blistering heat and near drought to surprisingly cool and rainy. Also, the frequent fall storms can quickly strip an area of its best colors overnight. That being said, when conditions are right, the fall colors on the east coast are some of the best around.

Generally speaking, mid-October is the best time for fall color in the mid-Atlantic, moving toward late October and early November the farther south you go. The trees are still mostly green in September and the fall color in the more northerly areas is sparse by early November. 

Like New England, the best trees are the maples. Sugar maples with their palette of red, gold and orange are a staple. There are also golden sycamores with their majestic branches and golden coats as well as various species of oak that turn a dignified rusty red. Farther south, scarlet oaks, hickories and blazing sweetgums create vibrant bursts of color.

If crisp autumn days and brilliant colors are your thing, the east coast has plenty to share. With the temperamental weather, fall is a limited time offer in this region, so be sure not to miss out.

Discovering Fall Foliage: New England

on Tuesday, 15 September 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The dog days of summer seem to go on forever. Winter often feels like it will never end. What makes fall different from every other season is that it doesn’t last. Every fall day counts because they’re fleeting. Probably the biggest thing most people notice about fall is the leaves changing. One of the delights of the season is waking up every day to a brilliant color palette of reds, golds and oranges. It’s a little different in various parts of the country, so in this brief series we’re going to take a look at where you can find the best colors, starting with New England.

When it comes to fall, the New England states have long been known as the kings of color. This region is typical in the sense that the color will spread north to south and that higher elevations will see their color peaks before lower ones. It varies from year to year, but the peak time for fall color in the southern New England states like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island is the weekend of Columbus Day. In more northern states like upper New Hampshire and Maine, the peak is a little earlier, usually mid-September.

New England boasts some great trees that are known for their fall color. Among them are the beech, which produces a pale-yellow color, the American Sycamore, with its distinctive yellow-orange leaves and the flowering dogwood that sports red-purple fall coat. The best-known fall color tree in New England is, of course, the sugar maple. These giants not only provide sweet sap for maple syrup, but turn spectacular shades of red, orange and gold. 

Fall is a great time in New England. If you visit, be sure to sip a cup of apple cider, take a hayride and enjoy the historic setting as well as the legendary fall color.

Don’t Forget Patriot Day

on Tuesday, 08 September 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

In a 1966 speech, Robert F. Kennedy referred to an ancient curse. Loosely translated it went something like: “may you live in interesting times.” The speech may have been in the 1960’s, but it feels like Kennedy could have been talking about 2020 just as easily. It’s been an ‘interesting’ year. In all the fervor about Covid-19 and the summer’s protests, it’s easy to forget that it’s not the first time our country has been through tumultuous times.

On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 America suffered an unprecedented terrorist attack and our lives changed irrevocably. Talk to anyone old enough to remember and most of them will be able to tell you where they were on that day. The extra paperwork we have to go through to complete many business transactions and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security are just a few of the legacies of the day that’s simply become known as 9-11 or Patriot Day.

This year will mark the nineteenth anniversary of those events in New York, DC, and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It’s important that we don’t forget. A simple, easy way is to take a moment of silence for the nearly three-thousand souls that perished that day. And if you have a flag, be sure to fly it at half-mast that day.

And if you feel like getting out and about, there’s an even better way, because Patriot Day isn’t just a time to remember. It’s also a National Day of Service. Do something for others in a way that’s meaningful to you. Help a neighbor, feed the homeless or donate blood. The possibilities are limitless.

When we help others, we do our part to make our communities and our country stronger. What could be more patriotic than that?

Have Some Fun This Labor Day

on Tuesday, 01 September 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Even though it may not feel like it quite yet, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. It’s the last major warm-weather holiday of the year. With the current Covid-19 pandemic still affecting many parts of the country, things may be a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that precious three-day weekend.

It might be your last chance of the year to enjoy water parks, county fairs and many of the other fleeting summer attractions. You may even be able to do so for less money than you expect since the hospitality and travel industries know Labor Day is the last big bash of summer and will frequently offer travel discounts. There is also Covid-19 to consider. You don’t have to let Coronavirus derail your plans, but it’s a good idea to check the times and availability of the attractions you want to go to, and if you do go, be sure to take the proper precautions.  

Of course if travel just isn’t in the cards for you this year, there are still plenty of ways to stay home and enjoy yourself. Why not a backyard barbeque? Check out some of these great recipes from Food Network. After all, staying home doesn’t mean you have to go hungry.

How did we get this great three-day weekend in the first place? If you’re into history, the weekend might be a great chance to visit museums, either virtually or in-person, and check out the true history of Labor Day and the contributions of generations of American workers who made it possible. To help get you started, here are some Labor Day facts

The Covid-19 pandemic may have upended 2020, but Labor Day is a great holiday at just the right time. The searing summer temperatures have loosened their grip on many parts of the country and the sky is a perfect shade of sapphire blue. 

Go out or stay home and enjoy. Just don’t let it pass you by!

Supporting Local School Activities: Fundraising

on Tuesday, 25 August 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The unfortunate reality is that few things in life are free. If you’re going to do anything, let alone do it well, you’re going to need a source of funding. School activities are no exception. Local governments are often strapped for cash, especially now, so fundraising is often a crucial way to fill in the budgetary gaps.

In order to be successful at fundraising, whether for your local school or any other cause, you have to take a careful assessment of your skills and examine how you can best contribute. Just because the other parents in the PTA were going door to door selling candy bars, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Not everyone is a born salesman. Maybe you have an eye for website design, or you can create an attractive poster like nobody’s business. Utilizing your best skills will leave you feeling far more satisfied with your effort and make those efforts much more effective.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box either. Sure the local athletics booster club may have done a carwash for years, but it’s not the only way to raise awareness and generate much-needed funds. What about a social media campaign or an online kickstarter campaign? How about an online bake sale or a virtual charity run? Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t work. You might even start your own tradition. 

Fundraising might be a necessity, but it doesn’t mean it has to be a chore. It is a great way to get involved in a cause. It’s also a way for you to use creative solutions to help with some of your community’s needs and to meet some wonderful people along the way.

Supporting Local School Activities: Theatre

on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”

        ~ George Bernard Shaw

With the way the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the school year, it may be a challenging time for your budding young actor or actress. They say the show must go on, but that can be pretty difficult to do when the local theatre is locked down. 

As with any support for the performing arts, the best way you can help is to stay informed and stay involved. That means reaching out to your school, and more importantly, to your school’s drama director. If they’re any good at what they do, they’ll want to help. They’ll be able to tell you what you can do to help your child’s thespian career take the next step and they’ll be able to tell you what you can do to support their drama department. 

Different school districts will have different needs. They might ask for a financial contribution, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked to help build some scenery or sew a costume. Many drama departments, especially those in less affluent school districts, need all the help they can get. 

Of course you don’t have to stop there. Raise awareness of your school’s drama department through social media. Reach out to potential sponsors. Hold a fundraiser. If your school’s theatre is closed, get creative by hosting a play in your backyard. The possibilities are endless. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in your community, and a chance to put a little extra drama in your life in a good way.

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