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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.

Healthy Eating for Seniors

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

It’s no secret that things change as we get older. Physical tasks that we once performed effortlessly now take a little more time, and we’re likely to be sore the next day. The same is true with our diets. Our metabolism slows as we age, meaning we need fewer calories. However we also need more calcium to fight the loss of bone density and more fiber to stay regular. It’s tough to recognize these changing needs, which is one reason why nearly one in four older adults have poor nutrition.

A well-balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy as we get older. While our appetites tend to diminish, our nutritional requirements stay the same. That means we need to do more with less. Nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can supply many of these requirements without the added bulk.

Our immune system weakens as we get older, so it’s important to give it a boost. Foods like citrus, broccoli, garlic and ginger can bolster our immunity. Meanwhile we’ll want to avoid things like mayonnaise and raw eggs.

Like it or not, as we grow older we become more susceptible to chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. While no diet can completely prevent the onset of these conditions, avoiding excess calories, processed foods and foods high in sodium and sugar can definitely help.

Eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Eating a variety of foods from all food groups can help supply the nutrients we need as we age and make sure we get to enjoy our golden years.

Healthy Eating When You’re Eating Out

on Tuesday, 11 February 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Who doesn’t love dining out, especially on Valentine’s Day? It’s usually a lot more romantic to pick what you want to eat rather than picking through the refrigerator trying to figure out which combination of leftovers to heat up. Even better, there’s no mess to clean up, leaving you with more time to devote to that special someone.

However, if you’re trying to eat healthy, dining out does present a challenge. Research is your best defense. Check online and find out as much about the restaurant as you can. Many restaurants have their menus online and some even have nutrition information. You can find out what’s healthy and what’s not before you ever leave your couch.

Don’t arrive hungry. When your stomach’s growling, anything looks good. If you know you’re going to be eating out that night, plan lighter meals during the day.

Take your time with your meal. You’re paying for it, so you might as well take the time to enjoy it. There’s also a biological reason. Our stomachs work on a time delay. It can take a full 20 minutes before your stomach tells you it is full. Fast eaters are often overeaters.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a healthy option. Check with your server. They know the menu better than you do. Could you have a salad instead of French fries on the side? Or fruit instead of ice cream? There are likely plenty of options available, but you won’t know unless you ask.

Sure, Valentine’s Day can be a little decadent, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Make sure to do your homework before you choose a restaurant, and take your time eating. After all, what could be more romantic than good health?

Healthy Eating for Families

on Tuesday, 04 February 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Have your kids ever given you a funny look when you tried to feed them broccoli? Has your spouse scrunched up his or her face in horror at the tofu casserole you laid out before them and suggested eating out? Needless to say, eating healthy can be challenging, especially for the whole family. Don’t make it more challenging than you have to.

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with basic nutrition. Once you do, you’ll have a pretty good idea right off the bat whether certain foods are good or bad. Fried foods are obviously not your best bet for healthy eating, whereas it’s hard to miss with green, leafy vegetables. However, you need to go farther and get into the habit of reading nutrition labels. What is a recommended serving size? (English and Spanish PDFs) What’s really in that box of cereal on the grocery store shelf?

An equally important component is time. We have busy schedules. We’re tired, and it’s so much easier to just toss something in the microwave. In order to eat healthy, you’ll need to plan ahead. Try to do as much of the preparation as you can beforehand. Pick out what meals you want to have and prepare a menu, so you have the ingredients you need when you need them.

Try to get the whole family involved. Do the Word Scramble together! Plan things together and let each family member have a say in what goes on the table. That way you’re likely to get more cooperation for your healthy eating plan and maybe even a little help with the cooking. It sure beats those looks of horror.

Kindness Can Ward of the Winter Chill

on Tuesday, 28 January 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You don’t have to go outside to know it’s cold out there. The wind is howling, the snow is blowing and the mercury is ready to fall through the floor. It’s another happy January! Those cold temperatures may not bring out the better angels of your nature, but the depth of winter is the best time for kindness.

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you do something nice for someone? There’s research to support the idea that the warm glow we get from helping others is very real. When we do something nice for someone the reward centers in the brain are more active, using more oxygen and triggering the release of positive endorphins. One of these chemicals is Oxytocin, which reduces inflammation. The release of Oxytocin can be triggered by even a small act of kindness. In short, these types of brain chemicals increase our sense of wellbeing— just what we need when we’re trying to thwart the winter’s chill.

Being kind has another added effect, too. Those same brain chemicals that make us feel all warm inside not only help our mood, lower our heart rate and reduce stress, but they also provide a boost to our immune systems, which are under enough stress as it is. Along with a flu shot, hand sanitizer and plenty of vitamin C, it’s another great defense against winter.

So don’t let the frigid grip of winter get you down. Do something nice for someone and enjoy a warm feeling both inside and out.

Kindness Can Improve Your Health

on Tuesday, 21 January 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

We’ve all been stressed out at times, and it’s in those times that we most want to lash out. Whether it’s the slow driver who’s making us late to work or the family member who forgot to pick up milk on the way home, we’re ready to let them know their faults. Of course, we know it’s not a good thing to do. It’s bad for our safety in the case of the slow driver, and yelling over un-bought milk isn’t going to help our relationship with our family in the slightest.

Kindness is the way to go. Not only does it help make our days smoother and more fulfilling, but it can also ensure we have more days. Yes, kindness can help you live longer. The reason is pretty simple. When we’re angry, our brains start producing endorphins that increase our heartbeat, raise our blood pressure and stiffens up our muscles. While a little stress can be a healthy motivator, too much of it can make us more susceptible to injury or illness.

Kindness has the opposite effect. When we’re willing to be kind and to forgive, we’re calmer and happier. Our heart rate goes down, right along with our blood pressure. Not only that, but research shows kindness gives our immune system a boost.

They say nice people finish last. We know that’s not true, but kindness may just help them live longer.

The Kindness of Martin Luther King, Jr.

on Tuesday, 14 January 2020. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It seems fitting to talk about kindness during the month of January. It may be cold, but kindness can break an icy heart. The weather might be harsh and gloomy, but it doesn’t mean we have to be. January is also the month we honor Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. for his many contributions to the world we know. Kindness was an integral part of who King was, and it makes him the perfect example for our series on kindness. King knew civil rights couldn’t be won “by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” but through acts of kindness.

We can read about and be inspired by Dr. King’s life, but the best way to celebrate what he believed in, is through acts of service. “The time is always right to do the right thing”, he once said. That’s why Martin Luther King Jr. Day is also a day of national service. In other words, it’s a day to be kind.

Take a look around your community. Check in on your neighbors. Assist a local charity in a worthy cause. Help a friend, family member or even a total stranger. And though our actions are important, kindness isn’t just about what we do. It’s about the way we think as well and how we judge others. A kind heart is a great way to start your day.

King is forever associated with the Civil Right Movement of the 1960’s, but dry history books don’t fully encapsulate everything he stood for. Kindness was at the heart of everything he did. He knew achievement in life wasn’t about what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others. This January, honor the legacy of Doctor King by doing something good for your community.

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