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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.

Personal Trainers

on Tuesday, 11 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Fitness Training, Fitness

Is a personal trainer really worth the expense? Here are five reasons why a professional exercise partner is an excellent investment in your health and your future.

Personal trainers take the mystery out of exercise.

It can be difficult to tell what kind of exercise is best to help you reach your goals. What will you like doing? What will be most effective? Simply by spending time with you and learning a few things about you, a personal trainer can formulate a plan just for you based on what you like, what you need and what you want.

Personal trainers introduce you to new things you’ve never tried before.

Personal trainers are plugged into the exercise world – they know what’s new, what’s hot and what’s working and are constantly learning new things. If your trainer runs across something that might interest you, you can be sure you’ll get a chance to try it – and might find a program that changes your life.

Personal trainers keep you healthy.

Even exercise has a down side, and that down side it, it’s easy to get hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing. A trainer will work with you to make sure you’re performing each exercise correctly, so you don’t overdo it or injure yourself.

Personal trainers break you out of a plateau.

If your fitness routine stops working, you may see that as a reason to quit. But with a trainer by your side, you can you get over that hump more easily. A trainer will help determine what’s at the root of your plateau and design a plan to help you get past it – and on to your fitness goals.

Personal trainers are someone to talk to.

Your trainer is like a coach, a friend and even a therapist all rolled into one – someone who will be with you every step of the way, helping you when things are difficult, and celebrating with you when you succeed.

If your goal is to get or stay in shape, consider teaming up with a trainer. And find out what a difference the personal touch can make for you.

Grandparents Day

on Tuesday, 04 September 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition

Did you know Grandparents Day is this weekend? The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is so special. Not only do grandparents get to watch their grandchildren grow up, they get to spoil them, too. Still, sometimes the gap between generations can feel wider than it should – especially with today’s grandkids consumed by Facebook, texting and whatever gadgets are currently dominating their lives. So to help strengthen those bonds and bring grandchildren and grandparents together, here are seven activities both generations can enjoy together.

1. Go outside! There are limitless things to do outside, depending only on your interests and Grandma and/or Grandpa’s level of fitness. Options include a walk to a local point of interest, a hike in a natural spot like a beach or park, even a game of softball or basketball.

2. Make Something Sweet! Grandmas are notorious for their baking prowess – but even if you’re not, or if you’re a grandpa, anyone can follow a simple cookie recipe. Plus, you get to eat the results.

3. Join the 21st Century! If you can’t see your grandkids/grandparents as often as you’d like, you can start a blog together, trade photos and videos, even communicate on Facebook.

4. Put it Together! Perfect for a rainy weekend – get the biggest puzzle you can find and spend an afternoon…or, depending on your skills, a weekend…putting it together. As a bonus, this combines well with Activity #2.

5. Get some Culture! Whether your idea of culture is a movie, a visit to a museum or an afternoon at a baseball game, anything you all enjoy going out and doing is something you should enjoy together.

6. Swap Stories! Gather together in a comfortable spot – in the garden or by the fire – and share stories on a specific topic. For example, “My most embarrassing moment was…” or, “the thing I wanted most in life was...”

7. Have a Movie Night! Rent a movie or two, pop some popcorn and dim the lights.

Focus on choosing activities everyone will enjoy, and you’ll create inter-generational memories that last a lifetime.

Labor Day

on Tuesday, 28 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Labor Day Weekend is coming up – and that means the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of football season. And, to most Americans, it means picnics, maybe a last swim and a day of recreation and rest. But the actual holiday sprang from more violent, political events back in the late 1800’s.

While the first Labor Day in the U.S. was informally celebrated in 1882, it wasn’t until 1894 that it became a national holiday – and very quickly too.

That year, the infamous Pullman Strike took place – a labor strike by the unions against the railroads that ended up involved 250,000 workers in 27 different states. President Grover Cleveland wanted the strike over as soon as possible – so he called in the US military, as well as US Marshals, to stop the union demonstrations.

A number of workers died in that action – and the President wanted to make amends with labor quickly – so he pushed through legislation to make Labor Day an official holiday, starting that year, in just six days after the official end of the strike.

The very political holiday became even more political in 1909, when the American Federation of Labor convention decreed that the Sunday before Labor Day should be recognized as “Labor Sunday” and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

While you’re enjoying your long weekend, hopefully without having to actually labor, please take a moment to remember the millions and millions of workers who helped build this country and make it great.

Vitamins

on Tuesday, 21 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Healthy Nutrition

Here's some real food for thought, when it comes to giving your body everything it needs.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the ideal way to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need. However, even the best diet is bound to have some gaps in it – and there are some nutrients, especially vitamins D and E, that are difficult to get enough of through diet alone. That’s why so many health professionals continue to recommend vitamins, minerals and other supplements to their health conscious patients.

Of course, with so many products out there, you may be wondering exactly what you should be taking to give your body the right stuff. Here is a brief rundown of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs every day.   Remember, this is a general, basic list, so talk to your doctor or health professional to learn more about your own body’s specific needs.

  • Vitamin A for eyes and skin (beta-carotene is a good substitute)
  • The B vitamins – B6, B12, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin – for cell growth
  • Vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant and immune-system booster. And yes, you need more even if you drink orange juice!
  • folic acid helps your body form red and white blood cells – and prevents birth defects, if you’re a woman and happen to be pregnant
  • Vitamin E, for healthy skin and more
  • Iron for red blood cells – check with your doctor on this one
  • Vitamin D, calcium and Vitamin K – all three work together to build your bones, which is especially important for women!
  • Magnesium, a mineral that protects against heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes

Most people would rather not swallow eight or more individual pills every day, so it’s fine to take a multi-vitamin that combines most of these substances into a single dose. Just read the label to make sure you know that you’re getting everything you need!

Good debt

on Tuesday, 14 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

After watching all the commercials designed to snare people drowning in credit card bills, it’s hard to believe that there could be such a thing as good debt. But here are three areas where that just might be the case.

Your Mortgage

Doing everything in your power to pay down a mortgage puts a strain on your cash reserves and might not be the best move. Usually, mortgages have lower interest rates than other kinds of debts – plus that interest is tax deductible on the first million dollars of a mortgage. So don’t fear debt on your home – just make sure you can afford a decent down payment and that the basic monthly payments won’t be a strain.

College loans

When it comes to paying for your children’s higher education, it makes a lot more sense for them to take out low-interest student loans than for you to decimate your savings or retirement funds to make it happen. And the worst thing you can do is borrow against your home – you don’t want to risk losing it as you get older. Your kids will have a lot more time to pay their loans back than you will – and, by the way, you having a big 401k doesn’t count against them when applying for financial aid. It’s not a part of your available assets.  

Buying a car

A car loan makes a lot of sense if you can’t afford to pay cash and you plan on continuing to drive the car long after the loan is paid off. Again, put as much down as you can. If, however, you’re the kind that likes a new car every three years or so, a lease might be a better option for you.

Happy borrowing.

Kid Snacks

on Tuesday, 07 August 2012. Posted in Doctor of Fitness, Kids' Nutrition

If it seems like your kids are always hungry, it’s definitely not your imagination. Kids need a lot of calories to keep up with their needs – after all, running around playing all day takes a lot of energy! At the same time, children’s’ stomachs are still relatively small, making it so kids usually can’t consume all of the calories they need over the course of three square meals a day.

Which is why snacks were invented.

A lot of people think “snack” is a dirty word, thanks in part to the constant stream of bad news about things like trans-fats, sugar and the growing obesity epidemic. But just because a food is eaten at a time other than traditional mealtimes doesn’t mean it’s automatically unhealthy. Snack foods can be just as nutritious as those fabled three square meals a day – all it takes is a little pre-planning and a little imagination.

So when you shop for snack time, skip the chips and cookies and other pre-prepared “quick fixes” in favor of foods you already know your kids like and enjoy that will also give them the nutrients they need to grow and be healthy. Anything that gets the thumbs up from both of you is fair game, from whole wheat pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese to breakfast cereal eaten with their fingers out of a bowl. You can keep cut-up fruit and cheese bites on hand for those moments when hunger strikes, or if you have the time and energy, make special snack treats using wholesome ingredients like whole grain crackers or small pieces of bread topped with nutrient-rich foods like peanut butter, cheddar cheese, slices of apple, banana and even cucumber -- whatever your child likes.

The best part is, when you serve your child healthy snacks like these, you don’t need to worry about your kids “spoiling their dinner” with snack foods. In fact, there’s no need to stress about dinner at all, because you know that – whenever they choose to eat -- your kids are getting all the nutrients they need.

And isn’t that what mealtime is supposed to be all about?

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