Category Archives: Do it for Love


It’s the dog days of August so don’t forget to take good care of your beloved furry legged pal.  Keep plenty of fresh water around and take note of these recommendations from BluePearl Veterinary Partners:

  • Avoid physical activity during the heat of the day; keep exercise to the cooler mornings and evenings.
  • Spray your pet down with room temperature or cool water, but never OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can’t escape the body properly, which actually makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.
  • Make sure pets are kept inside of air-conditioned spaces to avoid excess exposure to heat.
  • When walking or jogging with your pet, try to avoid asphalt as your pet’s paw pads can burn. Instead, stick to concrete, dirt or grass, as those surfaces are less hot.
  • Never leave your pet in a car unattended, even with the air conditioning running. If the air conditioning fails, your pet could easily over-heat in as little as a few minutes.
  • Don’t give sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to pets. Dogs cool off by panting and they do not sweat like people. Supplements like sports drinks can actually harm animals and make pets sick.

Most importantly, be familiar with your pet and know when they aren’t acting right. Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and dark red gums are all signs of heat related distress. If your pet is panting uncontrollably or collapses, take the animal to your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital immediately.




“Quitting is easy,” said Mark Twain, “I do it all the time.”

If you smoke or have a loved one that does, how many times have they quit?  Bunches right?  Well I have a predicament now – how to help my new man stop smoking.  Yes,  Me health writer, fitness instructor and all things wellness is dating a smoker.  He said he smoked “casually” but as we became more comfortable the rate of lighting up increased. And frankly at nearly a pack a day, that ain’t casual.

Fact is it takes people MANY times of quitting before it finally sticks.  But people do succeed. It is possible.

It’s not the second hand smoke that bothers me so much because he’s steps away outside. It’s his cough.  It is my father’s cough.  My father who died of lung cancer. This is the cold hard fact.  Heavy smokers will die sooner because of their nasty habit.  This makes me sad.  He’s got young kids and well, there’s this lovely budding relationship… American Lung Association - Fighting For Air

The American Lung Association has a program that might help and I will offer it up to him.  Here’s one testimonial:

“The program was there when I was ready not to smoke.  I had something to reach out for.  Not to take away from the program’s content or research but I just wanted to give [smoking] up. I went to the program every week. I enjoyed that there were people to talk and to listen to. I even went to follow-up meetings and tried to give back, to help at the hospital.” – Steven, 58

Some say acupuncture. I just want him to pick something and start the process.  But only he can do this. In the meantime, I offer my love and support. And will incorporate these tips on helping others quit.

Comments from quitters and those who love them welcome!




When it comes to keeping your cholesterol in check, the good can definitely outweigh the bad.  LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it sticks to the walls of your arteries. The increased build up puts you at greater risk of heart attack and stroke.  HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is called “good” cholesterol because it actually helps reduce risk.

According the American Heart Association, HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher provides some protection against heart disease. Here are five ways to increase HDLs.

  1. Aerobic Exercise.  Aim for at least 30-minutes 4-5 times per week
  2. Lose Weight. Just seven pounds down can increase your HDL by 1 mg/dl
  3. Eat Heart Smart. Replace polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats, e.g. use olive oil instead of butter
  4. Quite smoking. It can you can raise your HDL by as much as 15%
  5. Consider Niacin.  Available by prescription and over-the-counter. Consult your doctor before starting niacin therapy.

Learn more about what you can do about cholesterol and raising healthy HDL at the American Heart Association.




You’re at a restaurant. Your dinner companion chokes and quickly falls to the floor unconscious. What should you do? With CPR certification, you’d know how to help save that life.

As a fitness professional, I am required to get CPR re-certified every two years.  Each time I take the class, I feel reassured that I will correctly assess the situation and act in time.  We work with dummies, both adult and infant, so we get a real hands-on feel for just how much pressure is needed to get the heart pumping again.  A lot more pressure that you might think!  We also learn how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator), a portable machine that shocks the heart back to life.

An article I wrote for Baylor Innovations details why reacting quickly in time makes such a huge difference.  Had a by-stander not helped this man, the story would have a taken a fatal turn.

“Time is everything,” says Robert Kowal, M. D., Ph.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist at the Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital, “There is a direct relationship between time to defibrillation and survival.”

CPR prepares you to react in an emergency. It’s a skill easily learned and often free or at small fee through the American Heart Association.

  • Four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.
  • Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life you save is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.
  • Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.
  • Sadly, less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.

It only takes a few hours to the learn CPR skills.  There are also more advanced courses where you can learn how to handle emergency first aid situations.  These videos show you what it takes and direct you to CPR courses in your area.



Despite the many psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic interventions, relapse rates for substance abuse and dependence remains high.  A 2011 European review article reported in The Scientific World Journal took a close look at affects of exercise on relapse prevention.  The outcomes show promise.

The authors scoured the databases of Pub Med, Medline, and Web of Science to find studies that investigated any form of exercise as a therapeutic intervention strategy.  They looked at smoking, alcohol and illicit drug abuse/dependence. Smoking cessation studies had the most scientifically stringent methods (the most randomized control trials) and clear outcomes. Exercise, however, showed promise in all three areas with respect to relapse prevention.


  • Neurochemical changes -dysfunctions in neurotransmitters that have been linked to craving; exercise may help reverse those faulty functions
  • Reduction in craving – in smoking studies, exercise reduced craving and withdrawal-related negative mood
  • Mood regulation – stress, anxiety and depression are major reasons for relapse, exercise was shown to improve mood so long as it wasn’t too intense or competitive (which worsened the effect)
  • Poor self-reliance – substance abusers have low self-esteem due to their lack of control.  Some study authors generalized that supervised training and positive fitness results can increase positive self image

As far as type of exercise both aerobic and resistance training showed similar positive results.  It was also important to introduce exercise after the acute phase, meaning after patients got through detox. What seemed to be most helpful was exercise at least 3 times a week for about 9 weeks.  Researchers will want to look more deeply into type, duration, timing and the many other ways one can slice and dice study designs.

At this point, however, it is clear that exercise does point to relapse prevention.  That alone should motivate more counselors and addiction recovery centers to help their patients find ways to include exercise as part of their life-long recovery strategy.



When it comes to achieving health and fitness goals, the buddy system has a proven success record.  It keeps you accountable, provides companionship on the journey, and gives rise to a little competitive spirit. Just yesterday a client of mine was talking about how she starting a walking program.  Her daughter, 14 years old, wanted to run but mom didn’t want her jogging around their neighborhood alone. They found a nearby outdoor track where mom could walk and keep an eye on her daughter. Within a short while, mom started running too.

Include both short term and long term goals to help you stay on task.  For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, set a realistic target weight loss date (say 2 months) then set mini goals along the way (about 1.5 pounds per week). Then work your plan with your buddy.  Hold yourselves accountable and perhaps include a challenge – the person who wins is rewarded with a professional massage, paid for by the loser.  If you both win, treat yourselves to a spa day.


Everyone has a reason for wanting to losing weight or get more fit.  Be specific.  And remind yourself often.  One person may want to lose weight to be a better role model for their daughter; another to more easily trek during the next exotic vacation; or just to look sleeker in a slinky summer dress.  What matters is that it matters to you. 

Purina and Jenny Craig have teamed to help people and their pets slim down. It’s called the Power of Two program. “The support of a weight loss buddy can be invaluable, and a four-legged friend fills the role without judgment,” says Purina Certified Weight Coach Heather Prendergast. She adds that exercising with pets can actually help boost both the duration and intensity level. According to researchers in Canada, dog owners walk nearly twice as much as people without dogs, and a University of Missouri study determined that walking speed increases 28 percent with a dog.

Among the special offers with sign-up is a choice of a free consultation from Jenny Craig, for up to 90 days (plus the cost of food and shipping if applicable), and a $15 veterinary visit rebate with the purchase of Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management® Canine Formula, available by prescription only.

So grab a buddy, build plan and reach your goals, together.


Joints in Motion – Marathon Training Walk or Run!


If you think participating in a marathon is beyond your fitness level, think again.  Many first-timers, including people with arthritis, do it every year. They gain the needed skills, confidence and camaraderie through the Arthritis Foundation’s Joints in Motion program (JIM).

Each year athletes and non athletes train to walk, run, or both – all in behalf of raising awareness and research funds for the Arthritis Foundation.  It’s a great way to get in shape and make new friends while raising money for a good cause. And here’s another bonus — once your fundraising goal is reached, the Foundation will fly you to one of their race locations of your choice.


Teams form through local Arthritis Foundation chapters and virtually online. Local teams have the added benefit of attending live clinics organized by the Foundation such as sessions about nutrition, shoes, stretching, and fundraising techniques. Local JIM coaches also meet up with teams for training runs/walks.

Virtual teams receive training through online coaching. They get all the clinic information online and also communicate with coaches via email. For example, if you have a question about a sore foot, a coach will help you figure out if it’s a movement technique or shoe issue. Virtual teammates get together online and by conference calls.


Arthritis is the nation’s number one cause of disability.[1] One in five adults[2] lives with arthritis so chances are you know someone affected by the disease. Participants often run in behalf of someone they know which helps them raise funds. The JIM staff helps participants achieve financial goals through online fundraising tools and other methods. Most people raise between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on the location of the marathon selected. Once the goal is reached, you receive airfare, hotel accommodations, local transportation, and event entry fee. The Arthritis Foundation will even handle your travel details.  All you need do is the race.

To find a JIM team near you, call 1-877-9JOINTS. To learn more about the program, go to