Archive for the ‘Health’ Category


April 20, 2011

Napping. Yes what we’re talking about is that brief time period we have when we lie down during the course of our day to recharge our body’s batteries. What?!?!?! You mean you don’t NAP? Maybe you should.

We are told that it is best to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. But the reality is that most of us live very busy lives. It is more likely that we are getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep and maybe even less. The average sleep duration is now almost 2 hours shorter per night than it was 50 years ago. Although this may not seem like a significant difference when we continually sleep this way we’re actually causing a “sleep debt”. Which can then show up as poor physical health, increased stress and emotional instability. Sleeping less has been linked to increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problems.

Benefits of napping include:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

So how long should you nap? And is there an ideal time of day to do this?

Naps should be kept short. 15 to 30 minutes is optimal. Napping longer does have its benefits but you can also risk disrupting your sleep later in the evening. As far as what time of day, many studies have been completed and there are many variables to be considered. But typically after lunch our bodies go through what is known as a “post-lunch dip” in wakefulness. This is a time when sleep propensity is at its highest. So if you can the ideal time would be an hour and a half to two hours after lunch. This is the time that you can recharge your batteries in order to end your day with a flourish of energy.

Truth be told due to the hours I sometimes work. I’ve been known to sneak out to my truck even at a late morning hour and grab 15 minutes in order to refresh. So when the need hits don’t fear the nap. Embrace it! It’ll do your body good!

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Exercise and Arthritis

July 26, 2010

Nearly 27 million Americans are affected by arthritis. So what is arthritis and where does exercise come into the picture?

When the cartilage, which is the cushion at the ends of your bones breaks down. It causes the bones to rub up against each other. This can cause stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint. This is known as osteoarthritis.

Although arthritis is seen as something that happens in the normal course of aging, there are ways to manage this disease. One way this is done, yes you guessed it, is through exercise.

The John Hopkins Arthritis Center states that “Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise can enhance weight loss in those with arthritis who are overweight.”

The Arthritis Foundation says that –

  • For every one pound of weight loss, there is a four pound reduction in the load exerted on the knee for each step taken
  • Losing as few as 11 pounds can cut the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50 percent for some women
  • Physical activity keeps joints flexible and maintains or improves muscle strength.

That information was directed towards the knee. But the same can be said for your ankles, hips, shoulders and elbows. If you keep the muscles that support your joints strong then they can support these joints while they are going through their range of motion.

So what about you? Has arthritis showed up in one or more of your joints? How has it affected your daily life? For me I can feel it in my hands, so I do exercises that help me with my grip. If you want ideas as far as what exercises will help with certain joints please feel free to ask me here or email me.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

When Should I Get My Next Physical Exam?

July 12, 2010

Many years ago a very good female friend of mine informed me that she hadn’t been to her gynecologist in years for a check up because she was afraid to be weighed. I almost fell off of my chair. This woman is someone who is very lean and works out quite a bit. In fact her appearance is of someone who could use to gain a few pounds.

When I turned 40 I began to have annual physical exams. It was because of a routine blood test that it was found that I had an elevated enzyme count that then led to the finding of a “pre-existing” condition that now has to be monitored every 6 months. I’m fine and if anything I’m in better shape now than I was 20 yrs ago.

What is bothersome is that I know that there are a lot of people out there like my friend who are not being checked for frivolous reasons.

The Penn State Hershey Medical Center states that the purpose of regular physical exams include

  • Screen for diseases
  • Assess risk of future medical problems
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Update vaccinations

It is recommended that everyone has two physical exams in their 20’s. For women a complete breast exam should be done every 3 years between the ages of 20-40. And pelvic exams and pap smears should be done every 1-2 years.

In our 40’s it is recommended that we have physicals every 1 to 5 years depending on what your doctor recommends and what the previous findings were. For women breast exams should be done annually.

And after the age of 65 even more extensive testing should take place.

There are many “silent killers” out there, diagnosis that you might have but don’t realize until they rear their ugly heads and then it may be too late.

So, how about you? When was the last time you were in your doctor’s office for a check up? if you haven’t been to your doctor in too many years, pick up the phone. If not for you, how about for those that are depending on you to live a healthy and fulfilled life.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

HDLs – LDLs What Does It All Mean?

February 23, 2010

If you are at all conscious about your health you realize that it is very important to have regular physical exams. During this procedure your blood is drawn and then after a day or two you are given information about things like HDL’s and LDL’s.

But what do these numbers represent? What do they mean?

HDL = High Density Lipid

LDL = Low Density Lipid

Know this. HDL is the good lipid and LDL is the bad one.

HDLs actually help sweep away plaque that forms on your arteries. LDLs can’t do this because they are not dense enough to have this effect.

So in other words you want to have a high HDL count and a low LDL count in order to be proactively working against heart disease.

The American Heart Association states that it is desirable for your total cholesterol level to be 200mg/dL or less.

When you break it down you want your HDL level to be in the 40 – 50 mg/dL level for men and 50 – 60 mg/dL level for women. An HDL cholesterol of 60mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease.

LDL cholesterol levels are considered optimal when they are less than 100 mg/dL.

So when should you be checked? The AHA recommends that when you turn 20 you should begin having your blood checked regularly.

As always exercise and diet are your best weapons against a high cholesterol count.

For more Health and Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Are Tanning Beds Good For You?

February 9, 2010

Lately I’ve been noticing advertisements for tanning salons claiming that they are a good source of Vitamin D, in other words good for you. I felt this was a bit of a misrepresentation so I decided to do a little research of my own.

As it turns out yes indeed you can receive Vitamin D from tanning beds. However, the risks of skin cancer far out weigh any health benefits you may receive.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded that tanning devices that emit UV radiation are more dangerous than previously thought. IARC moved these devices into the highest cancer risk category.

IARC’s conclusions and recommendations were based on it’s 2006 review of 19 studies conducted over 25 years on the use of indoor tanning equipment.


The tanning industry would like you to believe that the only way to receive Vitamin D is from UVA and UVB light. When in fact you can get all the Vitamin D you need from dairy, cereal and fish.

I would also like you to know that when I began looking into this the first thing I did was go to Google and search for information concerning Vitamin D and tanning beds. It took me 4 pages of information before I could find research that was not provided by the tanning industry. Apparently this industry has saturated the internet with enough information so that it becomes very difficult to find statistics that are presented by anyone but themselves.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

What Are You Looking For in A Trainer?

January 28, 2010

In recent years it seems that there are more and more people looking toward Personal Training to make a living from. Some have become very good trainers and some, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong though. Although I have observed some non-professional behavior from new trainers I have also seen this from veteran trainers who are living off of their past achievements.

So in an effort to sort some things out, when you are shopping for a Personal Trainer I would like you to ask yourself this:

Does this person –

  • Have a degree or some kind of formal training in a health field
  • What is their experience with training?
  • Is this person easy to strike up a rapport with? This is important since your trainer can have a great effect on your goal achievements. It is much easier to take guidance from someone that you can make a connection with.
  • Is your trainer tentative to your needs? I have observed too many trainers in conversation with others while their clients are waiting for instructions. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
  • Is your trainer with you during your workout so that they can assist you with your form and answer any questions that come up “in the moment”?
  • While in discussion with your trainer is the conversation about them or you?
  • When you ask your trainer questions about certain movements are they able to tell you why you are doing what you are doing, and what effect each move has specifically on your body and fitness level?

What about you? Do you have any nightmare stories to tell about trainers that you have observed or even worked with? What are you looking for in a trainer?

For more Health and Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

No Pain, No Gain (Sport or Life)???

December 27, 2009

The average life (playing) span of an NFL player is barely 3 years. Oh sure you hear about the Jerry Rice’s or Brett Favre’s of the world who play into and past their 40’s but for every one of these players there are dozens behind them that are forced off the field by career and quite frankly life altering injuries.

Dave Pear was recently highlighted in an article on The article tells the tale of a man that after 5 years of playing in the NFL is left disabled and forgotten. This former, Pro Bowl defensive lineman who assisted the Oakland Raiders in winning a Super Bowl is now 56. He struggles with walking and suffers from vertigo and memory loss. Dave is unable to work and only after many lawsuits against the NFL he is now collecting only $40,000 per year for his disabilities. Not enough to support his family.

Dave is not alone. In Bill Romanowski’s  book ROMO, Bill includes an “Injury List” at the back. This list is 8 ½ pages long and includes 10 concussions in 15 years.

Not many sports are free from their dangers. Muhammad Ali the “Greatest” boxer of all time is now a shuffling shell of his former self.

The center that I work out of is also an Outpatient Orthopedic Rehab clinic. On any given day you can find High School kids being treated for a variety of injuries that have occurred on the playing field. These sports include baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and yes football.

Many questions can be asked. But when your son or daughter approach you and ask you about getting involved with their favorite sport. To what extent will drive them to choose the game of sport or the game of life?

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Does Higher Oil Prices = Better Fitness?

December 15, 2009

I’m about to end my first trip to a European country. The one thing that strikes me is the presence of the bicycle traffic. Now mind you I’m here in December, in Berlin. During this trip the temperatures have not risen out of the 30’s. Yet there are many people on their bikes pedaling away every day of the week. Bicycles seem to be much more prevalent here than in the U.S.

Gas prices have always been higher in Europe than what we’re used to paying. In fact it took gas prices to go to $4 in the U.S. for there to be a shift from the giant SUV’s to the Smart Cars and other more efficient vehicles that have been a part of Europe for a long time.

But would higher gas prices also turn our country towards the bicycle as well? Could this be the subtle fix we need to turn some of our normally pudgy, sedentary fellow Americans into…dare I say it Cardio King & Queens?

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Book Recommendation

December 13, 2009

I want to recommend a book to you. I’m on holiday right now. And as with most times that I take off, I use this time to catch up with my reading. Being away gives me a chance to put in some focused book time away from the distractions of my daily life.

The book I want you to check out is called Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D.

This book discusses that since most of us will reach our 80’s and quite possibly our 90’s we have a choice in the way we live. Will we be crouched over our walkers grumbling at everyone that passes by or will we enjoy this time of our lives with vim and vigor?

We all have choices to make. In this book Dr Lodge says “Aging is up to nature, but decay is up to you.”

The book outlines a plan so that we can all successfully enter that last third of our lives. No matter where you are on the health & fitness continuum I encourage you to give this book a read.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Are You Ready To Set Your Goals?

December 5, 2009

January 1st is right around the corner. Ah, the time for resolutions, goal setting looking ahead to the New Year.

Last year when I awoke on the 1st day of 2009. My partner turned to me and one of the first things she said was, “What are your goals for the year?” I thought for a quick moment and told her what my plan was.

Well as it turns out, although I attained most of what I had set out to do, I really didn’t complete it. And had I really thought it out, I would have known then that it just was mathematically impossible.

Do you do that? Set a goal without putting much thought behind it and then come short of completion.

So before that golden day comes up I want you to put some real thought behind what you want to do in the next year.

Remember your goal(s) should be S.M.A.R.T

S-   pecific

M – easurable

A – ttainable

R – elevant

T – ime bound

Write your goals out. Put them on or near your desk so that you can see them and reevaluate when necessary.

You are the captain of your ship. In the coming year, will you drift? Or will you plot out a course that will enable you to move ahead?

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