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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 Hydration

on Tuesday, 30 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It’s summer! The grass is green, the sun is bright and the air is warm. In fact the air is really warm. And that sun…

Yes, summer is a great time to get out and have some fun. It’s also easy to suffer from heatstroke if you’re not careful. Keeping yourself hydrated is your best defense, so here are some tips to make it happen:

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sure, there’s nothing more inviting than a cold beer on a hot day, but alcohol can leave you feeling more dehydrated, not less. The same goes for caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, meaning you’re going to be going to the bathroom more often and losing more fluids.

Check your urine. Sure, the color of your pee might not be the most exciting thing to think about, but the color can tell whether you’re becoming overheated. Urine should be pale yellow and clear. If it’s darker, you could be dehydrated.

Adjust your exercise routine. Working out is a great way to stay healthy, but make sure you take the conditions into account. Do your routine in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler. You can get more work in and inflict less stress on your body.

Drink lots of water. You already know that sweating is the body’s primary way of cooling itself and when you sweat you lose water. It may surprise you how much though. For example during a typical summer training workout, football players can lose as much as five pounds from sweating. Even if your plans for the day aren’t so rigorous, make sure to drink plenty of water and take frequent water breaks.

Summer is here, and there’s no reason not to hit the great outdoors. Use these tips to keep you going strong all season long.

Summer Vacation Series: Staycation Ideas

on Tuesday, 23 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You’ve looked at the pictures of those cool mountain retreats and those beautiful beaches and decided they’re not for you. Maybe you have family obligations or a short bank account. Whatever the reason, it looks like you’re going nowhere this summer.

Bummer, right? Well it doesn’t have to be.

Visit local sights. When you’ve lived somewhere for any length of time, it’s easy to dismiss the local attractions. Don’t. Go out and see what your town has to offer. You might just be surprised.

Treat yourself. Staying home doesn’t mean you have to skimp on luxury. It’s a vacation after all. Eat out at that fancy restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Relax at the spa or spend a few afternoons at the golf course.

Have a home improvement party. A staycation is a perfect time to get those nagging home improvement projects finished, but who wants to spend their vacation covered in paint or plaster? Make it fun by inviting over your friends and family and turning the work into one big party. You’ll have a great time and get something done. What’s not to like?

Take a class. The nice thing about a staycation is you have some time to do exactly what you want. Try a painting class or go horseback riding. Take up tennis or hone your knitting skills in new ways. Whatever you passion, use the time to expand your interests.

They say fun is where you find it. So if your summer travel plans don’t involve any traveling at all, don’t fret. Enjoy it.  And when all is said and done, you may find that you don’t need a vacation from your vacation like so many other travelers.

Summer Vacation Series: State and National Parks

on Tuesday, 16 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

From deserts and plains to mountain and beaches, the USA has it all. It also has a well-developed system of national and state parks that make seeing all that natural diversity cheap and easy. You’ve heard of famous parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon of course, but there are plenty of others that are worth your time, even if some of them are a little off the beaten track.

Lassen Volcanic. With most national parks you might expect beautiful vistas and lush scenery. While California’s Lassen Volcanic has these things in abundance is also has its own charms— namely bubbling mud, pools of boiling water and volcanic vents galore.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon. This park, also located in California, is the alternative to its better-known sister, Sequoia National Park— great for when you want the sequoias without all the crowds. It also has impressive granite water walls, awesome hiking trails and plenty of wildlife.

Crater Lake. Even though it’s the deepest freshwater lake in America, Crater Lake isn’t a lake in the traditional sense. Instead it’s the collapsed caldera of an ancient volcano. In the center of the lake sits Wizard Island. The park boasts spectacular views and some of the most unique scenery in the world.

Dry Tortugas National Park. If you’re in the Florida Keys and want a beach all to yourself, there’s no better place than Dry Tortugas. It’s only accessible by boat, but it has plenty of blue waters and exquisite coral reefs to make it worth the trek.

Mammoth Cave. Not all of nature’s most impressive works are above ground. Living up to its name, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave has the world’s longest cave system with spectacular natural formations over 200 feet below the surface.

If you want to truly experience the natural diversity America has to offer, national and state parks are a great place to start. Make them part of your travel plans this year and get ready for awesome!

Summer Vacation Series: Active Vacation Options

on Tuesday, 09 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Let the summer slip by? Not on your life! No, for you a vacation is the perfect time to take on new challenges and push yourself to the limits. And with ‘active vacations’ becoming more popular, your options are better than ever. Here are just a few ideas.

Kayaking/ Canoeing. Whether you’re leisurely floating down a lazy river enjoying the scenery from an angle you’ve never seen before, or facing off against a roaring torrent of whitewater, kayaking and canoeing can be an addictive and surprisingly affordable pastime.

Horseback riding. Ever wonder how cowboys made do without four wheels and power steering? Find out by grabbing your trusty saddle and hittin’ the dusty trail. Horseback riding weekends and camps are available in many areas and can give you a different perspective on getting from point A to point B.

Surfing. Why let the Beach Boys have all the fun? Surfing is challenging at first, but when you do ‘hang ten’, it’ll be that much sweeter. Surfing camps and classes are available at many beaches with a reputation for good waves, and they’re the perfect way to get some exercise while still enjoying all the amenities a beach vacation has to offer.

Mountain climbing. If you’ve always wanted to try being Lara Croft, then a climbing or rappelling vacation might be just the thing for you. There are plenty of camps and adventure weekends that will teach you the basics before turning you loose on more difficult climbs.

If you have family and friends coming along, it might be good to pick a location that has a variety of things to do. An active vacation isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for those who believe relaxing on a cool mountain top or soaking in the summer rays is a lot more fun after you’ve worked up a good sweat.

Happy Independence Day!

on Tuesday, 02 July 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Is that the sound of thunder breaking across the early July sky? Maybe, but there’s also a good chance it’s also the sound of fireworks, which means it’s time for America to celebrate another birthday.

Fireworks have been part of America’s Independence Day celebrations since the beginning. Why you ask?  Well, besides being loud and pretty, they’re also what Revolutionary War celebrity John Adams wanted. The day before he famously signed the Declaration of Independence he wrote to his wife saying that the day should be marked with “guns” and “bonfires” and “illuminations seen across the continent.”

Americans took to fireworks right away, and a year later the first 4th of July celebration was held in Philadelphia with… you guessed it… fireworks!

They were pretty sophisticated, too. While they were a lot smokier and didn’t have quite the variety of designer colors we’ve grown used to, by 1783 a merchant in Boston was able to offer “rockets, serpents, wheels, table rockets, cherry trees, fountains, and sun flowers.”

There was a good reason large cities went to so much trouble to put on a good show. Early Americans were so enthusiastic about their fireworks, that the large shows were designed to keep citizens from putting on their own private shows. Careless displays could and sometimes did result in entire towns going up in flames.

So enjoy those fireworks shows. They’re not only pretty, but patriotic as well. And if you decide to host your own Independence Day show, use proper caution.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July.

A Summer Vacation on the 4th of July?

on Tuesday, 25 June 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Summer doesn’t have a lot of holidays. With great weather, every day is a holiday of sorts. The one big event during the summer is the 4th of July. When you’re planning a vacation, that should be the last weekend in the world you’d pick, right?

Well, yes and no. In the second of our series on summer vacations, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of venturing out on America’s birthday.

The downside is readily apparent. That’s right! Crowds, crowds and more crowds! The 4th of July holiday is going to be jam-packed with people out to celebrate America’s Independence. Hotels will be full to bursting or even booked up. Roads will be congested and afterwards you might feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. There’s also the fact that by traveling on the holiday you’ll miss out on some quiet family moments you could have had at home.

On the plus side, some vacation destinations actually do have special 4th of July rates. More importantly though, the 4th of July is when many places go all out to celebrate and those celebrations only happen during the holiday. It’s a great time to visit some historic sites such as battlefields, national monuments or the nation’s capital. And for some real fun, why not check out Williamsburg, Virginia to see how Independence Day was celebrated in early America?

Ultimately, whether you venture out on the 4th of July is up to you and what kind of vacation you’re looking for. If you prefer a quiet time with friends and family, then kick back, relax and let someone else duel for the last parking spot in the lot. If you want excitement and new experiences, as well as great entertainment that you won’t get any other time during the summer, then the 4th of July is a great time to get out there.

Whatever option you choose, have a great and fun 4th of July.

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