Do You Love Dogs More Than People?

Share Do you love dogs more than people?

Painting by Holly Hunter Berry (Excellent teacher & Artist!)

I believe many people love their dogs, not only more than humans, but more than their families and themselves. How so? you wonder. Most people are willing to make sure there dog gets walked or gets time outside. They are also careful to make sure that their dogs get the right kind of food. They are willing to do all of this for their dog, but not themselves.

Daily activity, daily exercise, is THE most important thing we can do for ourselves. I’ve posted before that exercise reduces risk of cancer (bowel 50%, breast 30-40%), reduces heart disease, diabetes, depression, and helps with several other problems as well. I haven’t even touched the reason most people do exercise–body image. Yet, we don’t do what is needed to take care of ourselves.

I think most people would say that animals are important. We love our pets. HOWEVER, I think most people would also say that when push comes to shove, we need to value humans more. Why then, do we not value our own health and take care of it at least as much as we do our pets’?

Make Your City Healthier

Share Make Your City Healthier ProjectEvery semester, my fitness and health students complete a project that projects onto real life. This fall, their project was to pretend that I was the city council or parks board and write a project proposal or grant proposal on something that would make their city healthier. I tell them to be specific and efficient with any money.

Two of my favorites this semester require very little money investment for the potential impact–that often means it is a very doable project.

1. Cooking Class at a Church: This student said that if she talked to the minister at her church, she felt sure that he would allow her to use the church’s kitchen to give free cooking classes. She wanted to teach her community how to make Soul Food in a healthier way. Only investment: her time and a little on the food.

2. Farmers Market held in unused building: This student wanted to use the town’s Rodeo building for a farmers market because there wasn’t one around although she thought there were plenty of local producers around. The building goes unused for a good portion of the year, so again, she thought that the city might agree.

Other ideas included: add exercise equipment to a local park, repair the local park, create after-school running/fitness clubs, add a roller rink to a park (this is Texas- ice skating doesn’t last very long).

My call out to my students is to PLEASE get out and do these projects. Your community and city and all of us will benefit.

What an Ideal Doctor Visit Should Look Like

Share A better Dr. officeIt sucks to be sick. But what sucks more is having to go to the doctor sick. Already you feel awful, then circle the parking lot looking for a spot before you walk into the doctor’s waiting room to sit and wait with a lot more sick people. When you are finally called back, you wait again. And if you have to remove your clothes, you sit in a gown freezing, feeling like the wait is even that much longer. Then, the doctor only has a few minutes to attempt to diagnose your current problem. If you have a couple minor concerns that you have been wanting to bring up, forget it. You likely won’t get a chance.

Well, at least that is how most of my doctors visits go. What about you?

Now, my children’s doctor, their pediatrician, is a breath of fresh air, comparatively. I find parking right in front (and I got the appointment for that feverish child the same day!). I walk in to the receptionist who knows my name and face. Usually there is no one else in the waiting room because he is running on time (except that I am chronically early, so sometimes there might be one). The nurse takes us in and doesn’t make us list all the symptoms in detail that we will have to repeat to the doctor again. The children may stay in my lap to be examined. If he notices that the sibling or I seem to be catching the same thing, he examines and treats us just because it is the right thing to do. He even discusses the options for treatment rather than authoritatively prescribing because he knows we might have feedback about how a treatment or medicine has worked or affected the child in the past.

My children never dread the doctor, and I only dread the day their pediatrician retires.

Recently, I’ve been thankful for the Minute Clinics at CVS (No, I’m not being paid or at all compensated.).  A good portion of my pediatrician’s requirements have been met by them. No wait. The P.A. knows my face and name. Test results are immediate (I mean, why can’t my other doctor do a strep test immediately if CVS can?). And she calls in a day or two to check that the treatment is working and adjust if necessary. That is great customer service.

Now, I agree that when I recently had a sinus infection, I knew that it had gotten to a point to need antibiotics, but the P.A. at the Minute Clinic is very conservative on the use of antibiotics. So I had to wait until that phone call 48 hours later to say that yes, it was still getting worse and get them. But, you know what, I respect that. She is doing exactly what has been recommended to stop the overuse of antibiotics.

Why don’t I change doctors or find somewhere else? I’ve tried, but every name for a GP on my insurance list is the same. And there is a time when you need a doctor to do more than the clinic can do. So, I keep that GP (who the only really cool thing is that she is a part of a group consisting of 10 female doctors) because if I left, they aren’t accepting any new patients.

Thank you to any doctors who are like my pediatrician. To the rest, accepting the status quo and excuses is not enough. Change must occur from all sides.

Not a Dr. Oz Fan, But…


Photo courtesy Flickr/Lori Joan

I’m not a Dr. Oz fan. It probably started when he sounded like a mouthpiece for the AMA trying to scare everyone about the dangers of raw milk. He talked about the dangers without talking about the problems of pasteurized milk and why raw milk is supposed to be healthier. He also didn’t concede that raw milk producers who are licensed by the state have to go through a lot more testing and keep cleaner than the producers that pasteurize. Basically, he didn’t provide a fair argument.

I haven’t even begun to look up his beliefs on midwifery because I can’t imagine that he would sanction out-of-the-hospital birth. (I will try my best not to lecture here, but I did my masters work on midwifery.)

Okay, despite my arguments about Dr. Oz, I have to admit that I am thankful for the way he is educating people on some basic ways to stay healthy. For example, he encourages eating for nutrition and minimizing sugar and far. Recently, my newspaper published an article from Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz that encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables to increase your mood and fight stress and inflammation. They also recommended strength training too.

I can’t argue too much with someone who so generously emphasizes nutrition and exercise over medication.

How 30 seconds Can Change Your Life



30 seconds, that is all it takes to take huge steps towards a healthier you. That is several recent studies have shown. While this might all seem like hype for the HIIT, high-intensity classes, out there, it is not. You can do it even if all you do otherwise is walk.

The new studies have shown that a 30s burst of activity, of vigorous exercise going as fast as you can, can lead to significant improvement in your heart. Actually, a BBC news article said this may be for a little as 6 seconds in older adults. Besides improving heart health, you will also be helping blood circulation, improving blood glucose levels, and moving food through your digestive track.

Wow, how easy right? We all have 30 seconds to give it our all, don’t we?

Why You Should Be Taking the Stairs

Share Make staircases pretty and prominent to make people healthierWhen you walk in a building, which is prominent and apparent to take: the elevator or the stairs? If it is a newer building, likely the fancy bank of elevators. (Let’s leave out buildings with escalators.)

Now, let me admit, I always prefer stairs. I need to weighed down with children or luggage or be going more than 3 flights to use the elevator instead. So, I was very happy to read NPR’s article, One Step to Combat Obesity. It says that New York was shaped by the elevator because it allowed New York to grow taller. Yeah, I get it. I once walked DOWN from the 33rd floor of a building. No sane person would want to go UP everyday.

The article goes on to talk about how taking 2 sets of steps everyday could help the American population, and one way to achieve that is to make the stairs more attractive. Pretty cool idea, right? At least, don’t hide the stairs! A lot of motels, only 2 or 3 stories tall, and the stairs are often hidden down the corridors.

The architects at the Dali museum did a great job with stairs, spiraling up like a piece of artwork. Where have you seen really great staircases?

Great Ways to Stay in Shape on a Florida Vacation


Trips to Florida inspire me to run, do yoga, and exercise. I hope to inspire you too over the next few weeks.

First, you might look back at my posts on the Destin area.

Now, let’s look at a trip to Disney or Legoland. One of the first ways to be inspired to exercise at Disney is to sign up for the Disney half- or full marathon. I have heard it is a lot of fun, and unlike traveling for other races, you family stays happy too. Anyone want to comment or blog about their experience here? Let me know.

I was also pretty impressed that Disney has a webpage devoted to jogging trails (click here for the link). But if your family is like mine, you probably won’t get a run in on a day that you are going to a theme park. If your family is sleepier than mine, than you may get lucky. Another option at Downtown Disney is the runs put on by the store Fit2Run. There was a board with training schedules listed at their store. Great places to run in FloridaLegoland is much more isolated. We ended up staying in Lakeland, Fl., 30 minutes away. It seemed like a very quiet downtown, and we expected to wake up and leave. Instead, we were surprised with the revitalization seeming to go on there. We ran into the Saturday morning running group (5k distance) finishing up at the Black & Brew Coffee House. Lakeland, Fl healthy optionsThen, we saw a group practicing yoga along Lake Mirror, a peaceful, art deco lake in the town with swans floating around. From there, we were able to take a stroll through the farmers market on the other side of the main square. (FYI- the farmer’s market closes for the month of August, being considered too hot). Lakeland, FlIf you go, check out my favorite, Down2Earth, where there are bags, wallets, and baby clothes that come in lots of cute prints. They are made of eco-friendly fabrics too. I couldn’t resist the otters, but the sharks were even cute (and it is hard for me to think sharks and alligators are cute!).

Next week, I’ll talk about the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.


Why You Get Shorter Everyday and How to Stop It

Share Why you get shorter every dayHave you ever measured yourself in the morning when you get out of bed and again before you go to bed? If not, give it a try; you might be surprised. We recently did this with my son, and although I knew it occurred, even I was surprised by how much a difference it made. My children lost 1/3 inch over the day, but my husband and I lost 3/4 inch.

This lost height is due to compression of the spine from gravity pulling down on the vertebrae. It is the opposite of what happens to astronauts who travel in space and gain a couple of inches in height. It is also the reason that a lot of people promote spinal decompression, aka hanging upside down.

Is it possible to fight this spinal decompression? No and yes. No, most doctors feel that you cannot permanently fight gravity completely, but you can train your muscles and tendons to fight it. One way is through yoga. Yoga and core strengthening exercises can strengthen the areas of your body that support your posture, thus fighting gravity. In addition, yoga can help lengthen out the areas that are being decompressed. Ever hear your yoga teacher say, imagine you will walk out of here an inch taller? Well, it may not be entirely in your imagination.

Of course, all height loss is not due to spinal decompression. If you have a continual loss in height, not just within the day, there are probably other factors such as the bone loss of osteoporosis or RA. More on that another day.

Meanwhile, my son is going to try to line up for the roller coasters early in the morning hoping maybe he can make the height requirement.