Doctor, doctor

redbandaidsMost of us hate going to the doctor.  Some avoid it at all cost, unfortunately many people are dependent on regular visits in order to manage their medical conditions. I’ve heard people tell me that they wouldn’t even go if it weren’t necessary to get their prescriptions refilled.  So why is it? What’s the reason we hate the doctor?  Where do I start?

First it’s expensive.  You’ve got your co-pay, actual payment, and then medicine-to be brief.  Second, it’s time consuming.  I don’t know why they don’t just suggest that patients show up “sometime in the morning” or “after the noon hour.” The scheduling process is poor and aggravating.  I certainly understand that there are several patients to be seen in a given amount of time, but that should not result in forcing the patients to wait.  Third, loss of faith. I believe that too many doctors have taken on a larger work load than they can manage and it has contributed to poor medical care.  I have witnessed a doctor breeze in to visit with a patient, barely make eye contact, nodding his head while passively listening to the patient’s complaint, while reading over the chart. Well, I assume it was the patient’s chart, he might have been placing his lunch order for all I know.  The diagnosis was to take some NSAID and wait it out a few weeks, then return if that didn’t do it.  So…tell me why anyone would want to spend time and money to do a job that the trusty internet can do? Health care in the United States is scary.  I will stop there.

These days a visit to the doctor requires the patient to be smart and prepared.  Yes, prepared.  Next time read the 3 lists that you should take with you on your next trip to the doctor.  Munch an apple in the meantime. Can’t hurt, might help. -pm

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Nix Chapped Lips

lip-balmThe cold, dry weather is hard on everything.  Dry lips are easy to fix with all the fun, tasty options on the market.  Lip care isn’t just for the ladies; guys there are several non-glossy formulas to remedy your chapped chops too. Listed below are a few good choices to try.

Chapstickis one of the classic selections for guys and girls.  Not glossy, smooth formulas, and a variety of flavors.

Merry Hempster is a good organic choice that you can find in most health food stores. Also a balm that’s genderless.

EcoLips has vegan and energy formulas.  Fun for something different.

Nivea Kiss of Shine is a squeezy tube for gals that like a hint of color, super gloss, and lasting moisture.

Alba Botanica has a gloss and balm made using organic ingreadients and have really tasty tropical flavors.

Neutrogena Moisture Shine offers a SPF 20 cooling gel that feels good without tasting like medicine.

Carmex and Blistex are good standbys that have branched out with a variety flavors and formula to suit everybody.

Keep them with you all the time to keep the lip crusties away. They’re a fun way to protect your lips and shine your smile. -pm

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Running Advice

running-shoesHow close  together can I put two half marathons?
-Melinda K.

Racing frequency varies for each runner.  The more experience you have with running and racing, the more familiar you will be with your body’s energy level and recovery rate.  Take your goals into consideration.  Are you wanting to PR (personal record) or just finish?  How challenging are the courses? Other things to think about are your current weekly mileage and race history.  If you are running around 20 miles a week and never ran a half marathon, I would not suggest that you schedule your second race until you see how you recover.  However if you are well rested and experienced you could schedule them within a week of one another-nothing that you would want to do on a regular basis.

Again, each runner is different.  If you are really wanting to run an event but are unsure if you should push yourself then you have the option to go easy and make it a training run.  Don’t bolt out there and hurt yourself if you aren’t ready. If you are smart about adjusting your weekly mileage, use cross-training exercises, and eat well then you are probably safe to one every six weeks.

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Milk is for Babies

You might be surprised to learn that the vegan diet is not unheard of to many top performing athletes. Here’s a quick list from wikipedia:

Many people are afraid of what they might be giving up if they commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet.  Surprisingly, many find that they discover a way of living and eating that they were missing out on. Recovery fuel is very important after a workout. Several athletes turn to sports drinks to replace electrolytes and restore glycogen that gets depleted during activity. For a while milk was campaigning that it was the perfect way to recharge after a workout. It’s not.  Nor is it a prime selection for the average human being.  Just for a moment, forget everything that you’ve been brought up believing about milk.  Now think about your strong, energetic dog who can play fetch endlessly without growing as tired as your pitching arm.  When Fido was a puppy he drank milk from his mother.  The puppy drank dog’s milk; not cat’s milk, not cow’s milk, or any other milk produced by any other animal. Once Fido grows out of the puppy stage and can safely survive without his mothers milk then he gets his nutrition from solid food sources and when he is thirsty – yep, water.  No, he doesn’t go seeking out any milk sources from any other living being.

Then same goes for all animals.  Babies need their mothers milk, but beyond that they survive and thrive without milk products. Milk allergies are actually very common in adults. The idea that a person’s nutrition or sports performancde will suffer with out milk is a false notion.  There are plenty of nutrients in the fresh diet that athletes and active people should be consuming.  Check out the Vegan Athlete for ideas.  Vegetarian Sports Nutrition is a book that suggests meal plans for activities ranging from endurance sports to bodybuilding.  Even if you are not wanting to go vegan, variety it the spice of life.  Please your palate with something new and don’t be afraid to question what and why you put something into your body.  Just because it’s been done for decades doesn’t mean it has to be done anymore. Viva vegan, viva happy! -pm

“When you have no restrictions you have less options” -David T. Wilcox on being vegan.

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Tricks of the Train

If you are training for a race then you are probably doing one of your intense workouts today or tomorrow.  The weather is pretty cold in most of the US.  Extreme conditions really test your dedication to your sport.  They can also take a toll on your body if you aren’t careful.  It’s important to stay hydrated even in the cold.  Wear proper attire when dealing with the elements.  Don’t neglect the little things during training because they can make a big difference to your performance on race day.  

 Peak Performance’s online site gives some good suggestions to help with your cold weather commitments. They are listed below.

Cold weather coping tips
* Don’t reduce your fluid consumption. It’s true that sweating rates are lower in the cold than in the heat, but cold weather exercise can still be dehydrating. For one thing, water is lost from the respiratory system at an augmented rate on chilly days, and exposure to cold air can also increase urine production. Since feelings of thirst are diminished in cool air, the end result can be a dehydrated state which damages your performance and makes it harder to stay warm. The solution? Take in a glass of fluid immediately before a wintry workout and sip hot beverages immediately afterwards. Additionally, drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day.

* Do consume extra carbohydrate. Cold exposure increases the rate at which muscles use up their carbohydrate stores, so glycogen depletion can become a problem. Winter also increases fat oxidation, but extra dietary fat is unnecessary. Even very lean athletes usually have enough fat stored in their bodies to support an increased utilisation of fat for fuel.

* Don’t overeat. Amplifying the fat under your skin offers no special advantages. It’s true that a fat person will feel more comfortable than a skinny individual when both are standing still in cold air, but the situation is reversed during exercise. Lean people can usually exercise more intensely than heftier folk and can therefore generate more internal heat. If your goal is to stay warm while exercising, being fit is definitely better than being fat! The exception to this rule is swimming, where a bit of suet under the skin prevents heat from being lost too rapidly to the water.

* If you are a runner, use at least two different pairs of running shoes. The running-shoe companies are very happy with this tip, which arises from the fact that winter’s slushy conditions often leave running-shoe midsoles saturated with moisture. Wet midsoles absorb shock less well than dry soles, so leave water-logged shoes to dry out for 48 hours and use your second pair for the next day’s run.

* Wear adaptable clothes during runs. Clothes with zippers are great, because you can open them up if you get too hot midway through a workout. Unzipping garments also gets rid of excess moisture which builds up as you move around. In general, wear enough clothing to stay warm as you exercise but not so much that you begin to sweat heavily. On the other hand, be prepared for the possibility of chilling: wear a sweatshirt with a hood which can be pulled up over your head if needed, and keep a spare item of clothing tied around your waist or at a pick-up point midway through your training session.

* During extremely cold weather, find sheltered exercise locations which are at least partly out of the wind. This will allow you to exercise more efficiently and reduce your risk of getting excessively cold. -Owen Anderson

-pm

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The Experimental Runner

Advice for today: do what you want, however you want – just don’t be mad about what you get! However, don’t let the possibility of an unanticipated outcome prevent you from experimenting. Running every day might not work for you but if you don’t try you won’t know. If it doesn’t work for you to run every day that doesn’t mean your body wants you to quit all together. It might be telling you that it wants less running more lifting. If accidents didn’t happen nothing would.
-ter

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Kid’s Fitness

In this day of video games and DVDs, kids and adults are in need of more daily activity. Physical activity. The kind where they run around until they can’t catch a breath or pedal a bike so hard they make going uphill look like a slide down a mountain side. These days so many kids are out of touch with fitness that grandma’s knitting looks like cardio. USA Today says that one-third of U.S. adolescents are overweight. With easy access to junk food and limited physical activity the number will continue to rise. School physical education classes help but are not enough. Like many life long habits, kids imitate actions of their parents. Good health habits start at home. Teach kids that food and fitness is a good thing to understand and prove it. Get the family involved in physical activities as a whole as well as individually. Many gyms are adding kid’s aerobics to their schedule of events. Sign ’em up! Get them involved in learning how to fit fitness into their schedules at an early age so it isn’t an intrusion later in life when the doctor is brow beating Jr. to drop a few lbs. Prevention is key to avoiding heart disease, type II diabetes, and other serious health problems. It is important to teach kids how to nourish their bodies with good nutrition and exercise for keeping the body functional throughout life. No, not every person is a born athlete but everyone can be fit like one. After all, Physical Matters! -pm

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The Experimental Runner

Traditionally, I run the local Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning. It seems to get larger every year. While it’s great to see the hoards of people getting out and getting exercise, it has also become-well, a bit of a pain. So many people are registering at the last minute that the race gets held up so the huge mass of runners are left bouncing up and down at the starting line trying to keep warm. Then there is a pre-race speech that you can’t hear over the crowd’s chatter. This year I opted to trot on my own and I was hitting the shower while the race folk where just warming up. I’m not sure if I missed it or not. Regardless, the day is done as is the 5k. However, sometimes part of the pleasure is the pain. -ter

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Fall Back, Fast Forward

We’ve moved the clocks to “gain” an hour but the time speeds on by. This time of year screams go, go, go! Hustle and bustle is the phrase that pays when November and December come around. Retail thrives on people needing quick solutions to food, gifts, and anything else that might come up last minute. People really stress out this time of year and sometimes it seems that there is no escape from the madness. Treat yourself, friends, and family to some downtime. Take a quiet hike in the woods or walk your dog. Bundle up, go out and get some fresh air. It’s good for the brain and the light exercise will lower your blood pressure while burning off some of those extra holiday calories. If you are needing to conserve calories, maybe you’ve got a big race you are training for, the supplemental stress reducers might be better served by light stretching or deep breathing exercises. Sure this time of year can get rowdy but take some time to get away so you can recharge your energy and enjoy the craziness with everyone else. Moods are infectious, be the one spreading good cheer! -pm

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The Experimental Runner

I think I’ve become a fair weather runner. Used to, nothing could get me on a treadmill. These days, I won’t put my peds to pavement unless the temperature and wind speed suit my fancy. That’s ok though. I love running and as long as I get to do it then all is right with my world. -ter

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