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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.

Say Goodbye to Pumpkin Pie!

on Tuesday, 26 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

It wouldn’t be fall without pumpkin spice. Right after Labor Day, we’re inundated with the stuff. There are pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice clothing, pumpkin spice candy bars and more. If you’re suffering from pumpkin spice overload this Thanksgiving, why not try some alternatives to the traditional pumpkin pie?

Butternut-Squash and Coconut Pie. When it comes to traditional thanksgiving foods, squash ranks right up there with those pumpkins. This recipe not only gives the squash its due, but gives it some tropical flair as well.

Classic Sweet Potato Pie. Prefer an old-school Thanksgiving? Well, it doesn’t get any more Thanksgiving than this.

Old-fashioned Apple Pie. Fall is apple season in many parts of the country, so celebrate that apple goodness with this time-honored recipe.

Cheesecake Apple Pie. Should you have a go at that great-looking cheesecake or go the traditional route with a trusty apple pie? Enjoy the best of both worlds with this crowd pleaser.

S’mores Pie. Sure, it may be too cold to go camping, but don’t let the cold ruin the fun. Recapture some of that summer campfire magic with this chocolate and marshmallow masterpiece.

Crustless Cranberry Pie. Does that can-shaped serving of cranberry sauce just sit untouched during your Thanksgiving meal? Put those cranberries to good use in a pie!

Pumpkin spice isn’t the only flavor fall has going for it! There are apple, squash and sweet potato to name just a few. Give these recipes a try. Who knows? You might just start a new trend.

Sweet potato spice latte, anyone?

Are You Ready for Those Holiday Sales?

on Tuesday, 19 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

You know they’re coming. First it’ll be a friendly text or email. Then before you know it your mailbox is overflowing with sale papers. It wouldn’t be the holidays without turkey and dressing. It also wouldn’t be the holidays without the sales.

There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday— and those are just for starters! The deals are out there. How do you take advantage of them?

First, you need a plan, and just as importantly you need a budget. Just because that vintage phonograph is on sale doesn’t mean you need it in your living room. Think through your wants and needs and pare it down to those things you really want.

Next, do your homework. Compare different sales and be sure to read the fine print so you aren’t surprised later. Many sales have hidden conditions, such as you have to buy three or more of something before you can relish in that 30 percent discount. Be sure to carefully read the item descriptions as well. Does the sale price for that Roomba really include all the cool attachments? Check for consumer reviews of the product to make sure it’s really what you want. Sometimes an off-brand may be a hidden gem; other times it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Finally, don’t forget about shipping. Online shopping is great, but shipping, particularly for large and bulky items, can quickly eat up that discount you thought you were getting. To help mitigate the shipping expenses, try teaming up with a friend or family member to split the cost. Many online companies will provide free shipping for larger orders.

Don’t let the autumn sales rush overwhelm you. Come up with a plan of attack. You’ll save both yourself and your wallet a lot of holiday stress.

Using Up Your Dental Benefits

on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Whether it’s an extended illness that catches you off guard or a nasty sprain from stepping awkwardly off the curb, we all know the benefits of having good health insurance. However we often get so caught up in hacking coughs and broken bones that we forget about our dental insurance.

Yes, teeth are important too. Are you making the best use of the money you’re paying to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape?

Dental benefits in many insurance plans don’t roll over into the next year, so it’s essentially a use-or-lose situation. You wouldn’t leave vacation hours on the table at work, so why let those hard-earned dental benefits go to waste?

There are plenty of good reasons to use them. You’ve heard lots of horror stories about root canals or abscessed teeth. Well, this is one horror story that can have a happy ending because many of these problems can be detected long before they reach that stage. Regular dental check-ups are your best defense. The best part of it is that preventative care check-ups are free under many dental plans. That’s right. They cost you nothing except an hour or two of your day.

If your choppers do need more extensive treatment, the end of the year is a good time to schedule it. By this point you’re likely to have met your deductible, but are still under your annual maximum. That means you’re not only helping your teeth out, but helping your wallet out too.

Your teeth put in a hard day’s work. Give them the appreciation they deserve by maximizing your plan’s dental benefits.

Thank You for Our Freedom

on Tuesday, 05 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

After four years of horror, World War I finally came to an end on November 11th. That day, then called Armistice Day, would later become known as Veterans Day. World War I was hoped to be the ‘war that ends all wars”, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

In the years to come, American soldiers would be called upon again, first in World War II, and later in many other conflicts across the globe. The price of freedom is always high, and our country’s veterans have always stepped forth to pay it.

Thoughts of pumpkin pie and turkey legs may be dancing through our heads during the month of November, but it’s also a month to say thank you to those veterans. Without their sacrifice we may not even have a Turkey Day to enjoy. How can you say thank you to a veteran? Here are some ways:

You can make a donation. There are plenty of veteran’s groups such as Wounded Warriors that could use a helping hand. It doesn’t have to be cash either. Groups like Hero Miles can make good use of donated frequent flyer miles.

If money is a little tight this holiday season, you can also offer up your expertise. Sometimes the most valuable asset you have is the wisdom and skills you’ve accumulated over the years.

If you’re a business owner, why not consider hiring a veteran? The skills and expertise learned in the armed forces often translate very well to civilian service.

If none of these options seem appropriate, you can always do the simplest thing of all. Just say ‘Thank You.’ It takes a few seconds of your time and lets veterans know you appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made.

Happy and Safe Trick-or-Treating

on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“In masks and gown we haunt the street
And knock on doors for trick or treat
Tonight we are the king and queen,
For oh tonight it's Halloween!”

—     Jack Prelutsky

It’s that time of year again when the moon is full, the night breeze is filled with just a hint of mischief, and ghosts and goblins prowl the streets. Yes, Halloween is here, and there’s plenty of fun to be had, not to mention plenty of candy to collect. With a few common sense safety tips, it can be a fun night to remember.

Keep it bright. While dark colors might make for a cooler costume, they’re also harder to see at night, placing your child at risk for oncoming traffic. If you can’t quite bring yourself to send out your child in day-glow pink, add some reflective lights and/or glow sticks to your child’s ensemble.

Light up the night. Speaking of light, don’t skimp on the illumination. Send your child out with a flashlight that has fresh batteries.

There’s safety in numbers. In all the scary movies it’s always the lone straggler that gets picked off by the monster. Children and even adults should stay in groups. Older children should walk a pre-planned route, and younger children should stay with the older ones.

Inspect the loot. Yes, your children may accuse you of wanting to keep the best candy for yourself, but it’s the only way to make sure that the candy they’ve worked so hard to collect is actually safe for them. Never consume anything that isn’t in a sealed package.

Don’t go in there! Just like in the movies, going into the spooky house is a bad idea. Children should always stay on the porch. There’s no reason they should EVER enter a stranger’s home.

A little common sense may be all you need sometimes. Use these safety tips to make sure that Halloween is a treat and not a trick.

Senior Health Series: Exercise

on Tuesday, 22 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

When seniors plan their retirement, exercise probably isn’t at the top of their list of things to do. After all, your golden years are supposed to be a time to kick back and relax. However with age working against them, exercise becomes even more critical in a person’s later years.

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to do the things you once did. For seniors, exercise can not only help them stay active and enjoy a higher quality of life, it can also prevent the onset of chronic disease and lower their chances of injury.

So what types of exercises work best for seniors? Pretty much anything they want, within certain limitations. These guides from Silver Sneakers and from Healthline provide some pretty good examples.

Regular exercise is important for everybody, but seniors face some unique challenges. After we hit our 40’s, our body’s muscle mass declines— as much as 5 percent per decade. Loss of muscle mass leads to complications like degenerative joints and makes us more susceptible to damage from falls.

Healthy body, healthy mind, goes the saying. It’s true for seniors as well. Research has shown that seniors who regularly exercise have a reduced risk of dementia. Even a brisk walk two or three times a week can reduce the chances of dementia by as much as 35 percent.

While a senior can certainly take the initiative and create an exercise program of their own, there are also plenty of resources available to help. For example, the National Council on Aging has a program called the Center for Healthy Aging that connects community organizations to quality exercise programs around the country. It also has valuable information about nutrition and behavioral health.

Great living starts with a healthy lifestyle, and that’s true whether you’re eight or eighty. Check these resources out, but more importantly get out and get some exercise!

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