Work in Progress

I finished a hard, new work-out the other day. Feeling quite proud of myself, I did what everyone in the gym does at least once: I snapped a selfie for Instagram. I checked in at the gym, and, out of curiousity, clicked to see what other photos and videos had been posted for that gym. It took maybe 30 seconds for me to regret that decision.

In my opinion, if this were the “which one doesn’t belong” game, I would be the one to stick out like a sore thumb

That location check-in was filled with what I call, the pretty people. They are the ones who look like they stepped out of a fitness ad. They are the ones that employers want to represent them at health fairs or other vendor fairs because a lot of people are willing to spend money to look like them. I am not one of the pretty people. I am one of the worker bees who works hard and keeps things running smoothly. . .in the background.

I immediately took the check-in off my picture and spent my entire drive home kicking myself for doing so. Why?

I was still proud of myself for that work-out. I know that, from an appearance stand-point, I am not yet where I want to be. I also know that it takes a lot of hard work and time to get to that point. I can look back to where I was even before Christmas and see evidence of my hard work. I also remembered that changes in my appearance are bonus side effect of my training. I work out to reach and maintain my goal of being an asset, not a liability, on the fire ground. I want my men to be able to depend on me to do any assignment I am given. I want to be able to get any of my men and patients out of any potential dangerous scenarios. I have health concerns I would like to reverse and prevent returning. I want to be a good example for anyone who looks up to me.

When I went back to that Instagram check-in, I realized that the majority of those pretty people are professional, competing body builders. They were practicing their poses. They were trying to look as perfect as humanly possible. (There’s also the possibility that they are not competing in the natural shows. . .)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a professional in this field, and I struggle with self-confidence that comes with comparing myself to others. The thing to remember is reaching your highest potential for health and fitness is not an overnight change or quick fix. It is a process. Everyone is in a different place in that process based on from where they started and towards which goals they are striving.

Be proud of the progress you have made. Before and progress photos are a great tool that do not require any fancy or expensive equipment. Stay off the scale! I had clients who wanted to weigh-in every single week. I managed to convince them to go every other week as a compromise with my preferred once every month or two. Do not compare yourself to everyone else you see in the gym. Be encouraging to those you see struggling.

This is a selfie after a hard work-out today. I crushed the work-out, but I was exhausted. I was not trying to look cute or tough or anything in this photo. I could not even actually manage the proud look to reflect what I was feeling inside. I wanted this picture as a reminder for later days when I am struggling. Snapchat-1177963226


Women in EMS: Part 1

Disclaimer: This is not a political article nor will I allow it to become one through the comments. It is simple facts and observations about the women who work in EMS and how our health and fitness come into play in this field.


I tried to come up with a catchy title for this article but realized one was not necessary.

Those of us in EMS are often called calloused, heartless, direct, brutally honest, no-nonsense, and the list continues by those who are not in EMS. This applies to both men and women. My own sister was the first to call me heartless after I came home frustrated by yet another OD. I approached it from a more logical stand-point, and she said just stared in shock and said that not even our parents – both in the emergency medical field longer than either of us have been alive – had sounded so heartless or disgusted after a shift. I told her to ask them about the time they got beat up by a grieving and worried family member – we both knew it happened – of that OD patient…who was potentially going to be the second death in that family in less than two weeks. My heart was breaking for that family member. I wasn’t mad when I looked in the mirror and realized that, unless I wanted to explain the developing bruises around my shoulder, I wasn’t going to be wearing tank tops for a week or two. To bring to mind everyone’s favorite Tin Man, I knew I wasn’t heartless because, instead of upset about those bruises, my heart was breaking for that family.

We go through a LOT in EMS. We have to be strong in every aspect of our lives to be in EMS without burning out.

Starting with mental health which ties in with emotional health, let’s look at the effects of stress on our body. The story above was honestly not stressful for me. It was frustrating, but I did not lose any sleep over it. I honestly probably wouldn’t have even mentioned it to my sister (HIPAA compliant of course) if she hadn’t seen the bruise and jokingly asked what I ran into or fell off of now. That incident was an acute stress for me – something that happened, got adrenaline going as my brain processed what was happening and what may need to happen if the situation changed. A chronic stress for me that did have a negative impact on my health was an awful partner and poor leaders who wouldn’t do their job regarding that partner for one month short of a year.

Breaking stress into acute vs chronic is simpler for me to explain than the more detailed categories mental health professionals have created for further clarification. (Here is an article that goes into a little more detail about those in-depth categories.) Acute stress can have a negative impact on one’s health depending on pre-existing conditions. My mother, for example, has a cardiac condition where acute stress – good and bad – could trigger a bad cardiac event. Chronic stress can lead to a whole plethora of problems, not the least of which is poor sleep.

Our bodies use sleep to reset. The brain uses the time we are sleeping to basically organize itself and reset for the next day. Neurotransmitters that have built up over the day due to different events and physical and mental responses now have the chance to break down to their base level for the next day’s events. Think about how crabby a child – or you – is when they didn’t get their nap or had to get up early. Now think about that happening every single night with you. Lack of sleep has been associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. EMS providers are already at risk for these disorders and others because of what we see and experience in the field. Add lack of sleep to that experience…well, PTSD and suicidal attempts are rising problems in our brothers and sisters in our line of work for a reason.

Lack of sleep often leads to a compromised immune system. When our bodies are required to be constantly moving, our immune system does not have time to reset and build on messages it’s received. We get exposed to a LOT of lovely illnesses. I quit worrying about catching TB after only 6 months as an EMT in private transport due to the number of TB positive patients we transported before finding out they had already been declared TB positive, just no one bothered to tell the responding crew. Our immune systems should seem invincible, but if we don’t give it the time of sleep to strengthen, it will simply maintain and not be strong enough to fight infection when we do get sick.

Not getting enough sleep has also been tied to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and sleep apnea (when you do sleep). All of these possible effects of poor sleep habits are also risks of chronic stress – not just because chronic stress affects sleep. Don’t forget that lack of sleep slows the thinking process and reflexes, both of which are needed for driving something like a car or a squad.

Think about it. If your body is constantly in that state of fight or flight, your heart is working overtime on a constant basis with moments of working even harder still with acute stress that comes with our job when those tones drop.

How do you reduce your stress levels? How do you let your body rest and reset?

I like yoga. I took a semester of yoga at my local college which benefited my lifting as I was taught how to be aware of each individual muscle and how to activate each muscle. I learned different breathing techniques which has helped me and my patients on calls. My personal favorite was deep relaxation. In short, you are putting your body into such a relaxed state that you may fall asleep during the deep relaxation time. I used this when I was working 7p-7a and going to school full-time during the day (usually 8/9a – 3/4p). My yoga instructor said 20 minutes of deep relaxation – when done right – could give your body a reset as if you had just slept 2- 4 hours. I used every day between getting home from class and leaving for work.

Going outside for a walk in the park or a nature preserve can help; taking your shoes off while walking around a garden or by a lake has a calming effect for most people. (There is actually a huge scientific reason for this which you can read more about here.) I also have a Himalayan salt lamp which basically cancels out things like technology which can mess with our neurotransmitters. It has been shown that those salt lamps can help people with anxiety and different forms of depression. I personally have found that to be true. Right now, researchers are looking into cardiac and respiratory benefits of salt lamps with early results appearing promising.

Other coping strategies include talking with someone whether they are a trained counselor or psychologist or someone who is in our field of work and can relate to how you’re feeling. Exercise produces neurotransmitters which combat the overload of neurotransmitters resulting from chronic stress.

In Women in EMS Part 2, I’ll talk more about exercise and the fitness aspects of our field. I considered putting it all into one, very long article but felt this mental health, stress, aspect of our job was too important to just barely touch on as would have happened if combined with the exercise portion, which is also incredibly important as you will see next time if you haven’t realized it already!


The Weight of Your Armor

The last two weeks at my department’s fire practice, we trained on firefighter survival using an obstacle course that has been one of my greatest dreads for the last three years. We typically conduct this training every three months, but for whatever reason, my officers decided we needed it two weeks in a row.

For the last two weeks, my neck has ached. My knees were sore. I felt any upper body movements in my work-outs a bit more than usual. This was even after I’ve upped the intensity and styles of my personal work-out programs over the last month!

One of the guys at the gym where I work out compared our exercise programs. He focuses on specific muscle groups whereas I focus on functional movements. I showed him a picture of one of our trainings in that obstacle course – complete with the “smoke” from my dad’s fog machine and the lights turned off. He understood a bit better why I train full-body.

Then I told him the approximate weight of the gear that I wear – not even counting the tools we carry! (If you don’t know, the bunker pants, coat, hood, gloves, and helmet weight around 30-40 pounds. Add a mask and air pack and you’re up another 10 pounds. I wear composite boots which are heavier than the more common rubber boots…so, mine are about 2-3 pounds each boot.)

This is not a random change of topic, it will come back around to this above mentioned training and weight of gear. I promise.

This morning in church, we were in Ephesians 5. Me being me, I skimmed through not just the verses at which we were looking but at all the verses on that page – which included the passage describing the armor of God.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . .Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” 
Ephesians 6:10-11, 13

Christians, followers of Christ Jesus, need to prepare appropriately for the spiritual battle we face 24/7. If you have never been in a more obvious battle, brace yourself. You will find yourself exhausted as if you had just finished a full day’s work or a solid full-body work-out. Just like that work-out, you’ll feel that sense of accomplishment that you stood strong for your Lord and witness against whatever temptation or evil has been thrown your way. Without the appropriate armor – truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation (assurance), and the Word of God – we will fall in that battle.

Firefighters need to wear the appropriate gear – our armor – against the fire and other elements we fight to save lives and property. Without it, we not only cannot do our job but also are likely to go down in a fire.

But that armor is heavy. Christians gain strength by talking to God, reading our Bibles, and fellow-shipping with other believers. Firefighters gain strength through physical training – exercise and eating properly.

What armor do you wear? What do you need to do to prepare for your battles? Are you strong enough?

Moms and Dads: you have to carry your children around the house, have energy to get them where they need to be, put food on the table, stay up all night with sick kids, maybe go to another job to provide for your household.

Married Men: you are the leaders of your household. Are you strong enough to shoulder that responsibility? Do you have the energy? Do you have a healthy outlet for the stress that will build up from different challenges in this role?

Married Women: you are your man’s partner. You are supposed to be strong in areas where he is weak. Are you? Are you keeping up your strength to stay healthy? Are you remembering to take care of yourself?

Singles: It’s all on you. Are you strong enough to shoulder the full responsibility that others share? Are you forming good habits now so you don’t have that worry later when your obligations increase?

How do you prepare for your job? Not every job is as obviously as physically demanding as firefighting. But sitting at a desk all day takes a toll on your body. Moving patients puts stress on your body. Standing on cement flooring in a hot environment can cause problems.

Do you need help physically preparing yourself for your life’s daily challenges? That’s where I  come in. On the home page, there is a “Contact” button. You can go ahead and message me through that, and we’ll talk!




Optimal Level, Part 2

Every 90’s kid grew up hearing that smoking was bad for you even as we watched our older family members, for me it was my grandparents, continue to smoke. My first job was in a local restaurant that still had the smoking and non-smoking side. The waitress station was, of course, in the smoking section. Every night after work, I went home smelling like oil and cigarettes. I was still working there when my state said no more smoking inside public buildings – such as restaurants, stores, etc. No more having to clean those ash trays. No more worrying about getting lung cancer purely due to the location of my work station.

When I was in junior high school, my grandpa had his first back surgery. Part of the pre-operation procedures required him to quit smoking. My grandma decided of course to stop with him – cold turkey. I figured that the surgeon was worried about the vulnerable state in which smoking leaves the lungs which could have put him at risk for complications after the operation. Pneumonia is a common after-effect of surgery.

Enter college years. I have a presentation to do centered around the topic of exercise for an older woman with joint pain, history of smoking. I initially assumed that the history of smoking was added to the assigned scenario purely due to the need for that in the pre-activity questionnaire for the cardiac risk assessment. When I was doing research for the planned interview with the client – our professor who happened to be the dean of our department – I came across an article that talked about the effect smoking and other tobacco use has on our bones and joints such as decreasing bone density and mass. I found this interesting and continued on that line of thought for the interview in addition to the expected program to reduce the risk of a cardiac event and increase mobility/stability with increased physical activity. When I was able to bring up the smoking topic in our interview, I could not tell if the professor was genuinely surprised with the information or the fact that I had chosen to include that information or if she was that good of an actress.

Fun fact: in 1791, after generations of tobacco use in the Americas and the export of it to the rest of the world, British doctors determined that snuff (tobacco leaves ground in order to be inhaled via nasal passage) increased risk of nose cancer. 1791. We have known at least one very large danger of tobacco use since 1791, and we ignored it. World War I led to the increase of popular use of cigarettes among young men. In the 1920s, it became popular for young women to smoke them as well. In 1947, a chemist announced evidence showed that smoking can cause cancer. In 1967, the Surgeon General let it be known that not only did tobacco use cause cancer, but it also can cause cardiac concerns. Finally, in 1996, research demonstrated that tobacco actually damages a gene meant to suppress cancer (1). Basically, for over 200 years, we have been learning the dangers of tobacco use outweigh any possible benefits, and those are just the risks concerning cancer and cardiac health without looking at the effects of tobacco use on bone health, reproductive systems, the neurological systems, and the list continues.

Honestly, research is mixed on whether increased physical activity truly helps with cessation of tobacco use by keeping away cravings. However. My grandmother’s biggest complaint about quitting smoking was the weight gain. This is a complaint I have heard from numerous friends and co-workers who have all tried and/or succeeded to stop smoking at one point in their life. It is common knowledge that an increase in physical activity helps with weight management while benefiting essentially all body systems with increased neural activity, less stress on and strengthening of the cardio-respiratory systems, and strengthening of the musculoskeletal systems. While exercise is not yet proven to actively stop tobacco use, the above listed benefits can help to increase the self-efficacy of the participant.

There is more motivation than simply health benefits as a reason to help yourself function at optimal levels by ceasing to use tobacco. In this day and age, insurance companies and places of employment offer monetary incentives for lack of tobacco use. In the fire service, many states are finally offering compensation for firefighters who unfortunately suffer from cancer as a result of their exposure to carcinogens while on the job. In Ohio, part of the act that led to workers compensation helping to pay for cancer treatments for firefighters includes the condition that the effected firefighter must be tobacco free – including chewing tobacco and vapor devices – for seven years in order to receive those benefits.

As an EMT who has transported numerous patients with COPD and cancers directly linked to their tobacco use, it has always amazed me how many of my fellow EMTs – of all levels – and firefighters use tobacco. My partner and I had just finished transporting a patient who would likely be put on hospice after being discharged for COPD exacerbation, again. When we got outside, my partner said wait a minute, I need a smoke. I had started carrying around lighters even though I have never smoked because I got tired of stopping at gas stations because he forgot or lost his. Cleaning out trucks at the station, I always, without fail, find at least one bottle of spit because my men had to have their chewing tobacco on the last call, even though several of our former members have recently passed away from COPD and cancer directly tied to their tobacco use. I went to hospice to say good-bye to one of them who had held me as a baby. My dad went to say good-bye to another who had been one of the best friends their entire lives. Tobacco use does not just affect the user, although the effect has been reduced thanks to various legislation such as the one stopping public smoking.

Just because the current research has mixed verdicts, it does not mean that exercise will not be able to help you cease or decrease tobacco usage. Proper nutrition and increased exercise can help to reduce or reverse the negative side effects of tobacco use if not necessarily help you stop using altogether.



(1) History of Tobacco. Tobacco Free Life. 2016. 17 December 2017. <;


Optimal Level, Part 1

One of my first regular clients, at our first session, told me her goal was to do power-lifting, and she had been training with previous trainers to reach that goal. I reacted with, “Great! Let’s see how you move!” She paused and asked me if I had any reservations because of her age, being in her 70s. I responded with something along the lines of no, age is just a number; I want to see how your body holds up lifting. She breathed a sigh of relief that I do not believe she realized she had been holding during our conversation, and we went down to the rig.

Right off the bat, I noticed her posture needed some work. My client told me that her shoulder occasionally acted up, but she knew her limits and would let me know if we needed to back down on whatever movement we were doing. I love and hate that comment. I know when I say, “ok, my back says I’m done with this movement” or my knees are aching it is because I have pushed myself to the limit of that day. I also know that I have been tempted to use my problematic joints as an excuse to stop a grueling work-out. As I put this client through different movements, I realized her shoulder didn’t just “act up.” It was very limited on range of motion (ROM), and her other shoulder and her back were greatly compensating for that lack of ROM leading to poor lifting form. I switched movements which led to seeing her compensate for a questionable knee. When I asked about that, she kind of waved it away as it had been an issue for years, but she didn’t feel it affected her lifting.

Once we were done with my assessment, we sat down to talk. Having had my life and lifting positively affected and improved through chiropractic care to the point where I actually worked as a rehab tech in a chiro office for a year, I asked this client if she had ever considered seeing a chiropractor. She chuckled and said her daughter had been trying to get her an appointment for months, but she was hesitant about the whole thing. I was able to explain how chiropractic care can improve quality of life across all walks of life. She agreed to go for an initial consult which led to her having regular appointments.

Anyone who works in any aspect of healthcare – preventative and reactive – should have noticed by now that our society is all about instant gratification; they want the quick fix not time and effort on their part.

Over the last several generations, chiropractic care has gotten a negative reputation thanks to quacks who did not know what they were doing or saying, thanks to some specialized medical doctors who were all about the latest drugs (and how they can profit from those latest drugs), thanks to the shift in hospital care from patient care to patient satisfaction scores, and so many other reasons. However, as research continues and is published, the medical and now public opinion is changing for the better, recognizing that there is an appropriate time and place for medicine just as there is an appropriate time and place for chiropractic care. We are going to look at just a few of the benefits of chiropractic care now.

When most people think of a chiropractor, they think of getting their necks and backs “cracked.” What most people do not know is that first, the proper term is adjusted. The cracking is the sound you hear as gases – that build up around the joints causing pressure where you do not really want that pressure (like around neck leading to stiff neck, migraines, etc.) – are released with the adjustment. The second thing people do not often know is chiropractors adjust more than the spine. When I go in for an adjustment, I get the following adjusted:
always full spine, always bilateral knees, always bilateral wrists, occasionally                       my left shoulder, and once I had a couple ribs adjusted (that one is hard to                           explain as the chiro did not actually grab a rib and twist; it was more                                     through the hip-spine-shoulder relationship).
My mother experiences severe chest pain and vaso-spasms that is to say, her blood vessels will constrict making it difficult to breathe, which we all know could be deadly, on top of chest pain from her heart not behaving. Our chiropractors have adjusted her during one of these episodes leading to faster relief than nitro or additional oxygen could provide. She does not run at her 100% best after one of these episodes regardless of the adjustment, but she is able to get to her oxygen and rest without needing a squad and ER visit. Limiting a chiropractor to adjusting just your spine will grossly limit the benefits you can experience from chiropractic care. 

You might be thinking to yourself: this sounds like something that could benefit me, but how do I find a good chiropractor and not one of those quacks?

A good chiropractor does not do what I like to call a “crack-and-go.” A good chiropractor should be able to feel your spine and other joints to recognize where the problem lies. While I trusted my chiropractors because I had already seen how they helped my mother, I was still incredibly relieved when they got a set of full spinal x-rays and took the time to look at them, deciding a course of treatment, before they adjusted me. That is something for which I look in a chiropractor, but x-ray machines are expensive. Do not let lack of x-rays deter you from a chiropractor with a solid education which includes a LOT of hands-on training.

A good chiropractor will take the time to explain what is going on with your adjustments, how each area being adjusted will affect you, and what to expect in the upcoming days. Soreness after the first couple adjustments is completely normal. Your body has been out of its proper placement for however long and needs time to get used to being back to proper positioning. Your chiropractor should give you some basic stretches to help retrain your muscles around the adjusted joint. For example, I have always had problems with my knees, partly from sports and training for those sports, partly from work, and partly from how I was born. When I was limiting my chiros to just adjusting my spine, I noticed my knees hurt more than usual. This was because now my spine was being adjusted to the proper placement; exercises were being done to retrain the muscles around the back to move properly. For over a decade, I had been strength training, building muscles in the wrong place in my body. They were being built around where my spine was and not where it should have been. Because my back was finally starting to move properly, the leg muscles – which had also been trained around joints located anatomically incorrect – were now being forced to move differently which was my knees. The answer? Let them adjust my knees. They were already problematic and hindering me at work; I was already avoiding my orthopedic surgeon who had been wanting to replace both my knees since I was 17. I could only benefit from adjustments.

I have been kicking myself for the last several years for going to a chiropractor for several MONTHS before I let them touch my knees. My partners on the squad noticed I was able to lift heavier, that I could jump in and out of squads without the “ouch” sound effects, and I was usually in a better mood because I was not in constant pain. It was the same in my work-outs. I could lift more, go longer, and had greater ROM thanks to the exercises accompanying the adjustments. This leads back to my client mentioned at the beginning of this post.

At the chiropractic office she chose, the client was given the option of ordering a knee brace to be worn during activities to help her knee move on the proper track. This client noticed an increased ROM in her shoulder and knees and could recognize without my correction when her form was slipping because her back felt off. I was able to correct her form and lifting technique to help her continue to work toward her goal of power-lifting. Recently, she has not maintained her chiro visits which has been noticed by the both of us in our sessions. I have had to decrease her weight to keep her form; she is again compensating for decreasing ROM in her shoulder regardless of the stretches I have her do each session. The time came when I had to insist she get back in to a chiro office to get adjusted because her mobility had decreased nearly to back to where she had been when I first took her as a client which increased her risk of injury. I also re-emphasized the need for her to continue to stretch and do basic ROM exercises at home to continue her progress. One week later, I was able to push her harder than I had been in recent sessions due to her body being back on track to function at the best of its ability.

The picture attached to this post (found on Pinterest courtesy of Digital Spine Medical) gives other benefits of chiropractic care you and your clients can experience. If you have any questions, leave a comment or go to the “contact” page of this site to reach me. If I can answer your questions, I will. If it I do not know the answer, I will reach out to one of my chiropractors or refer you to a credible source of information.


Getting the Driving Force

Glass globe in water

My state has the most strict laws and guidelines on what a person working as a trainer or Exercise Physiologist can share about nutrition compared to a nutritionist compared to a Registered Dietitian. I very much appreciate this because that means that textbooks and continuing education materials use my state as a reference or example when it comes to explaining scope of practice. Growing up in a family of emergency healthcare workers, scope of practice is nothing new to me and is in fact quite important. I decided that I was not satisfied with what my EP-C allowed me to tell my clients about nutrition – mainly because I disagreed with most of the outdated, proven-by-science-to-be-wrong nutrition guidelines set by our federal government. Wanting to give my clients the best coaching I could, I’ve enrolled in a nutrition specialist course to expand my scope of practice. This does not make me a nutritionist, but it allows me a bit more freedom when giving nutrition guidance.

Even before I expanded my scope of practice, I was able to and did work with my clients on their hydration status. Nearly every, single day, I had a client saying they were dizzy; their blood pressure was low; they had no energy; and the list continues. Every single day I asked, “how much water are you drinking every day?”

Everybody thinks they drinks lots of water, definitely enough, throughout the day. Most everybody is wrong! The general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces.

For example, I weigh 200 pounds which means I need to be drinking 100 ounces of water every day – roughly 3 liters – to keep my body functioning at optimal level as far as hydration is concerned. Again, this is a general rule of thumb when it comes to water intake; if you have any health concerns such as kidney or liver disease, you should check with your doctor or a Registered Dietitian for advise specific to you. (Nutritionists are not allowed, in most states, to give advice based on your medical history because they do not have the in-depth training – education and experience – to know how your body will react to different diets.) 

When I tell clients how many ounces their weight indicates they should be drinking, the reaction is typically the same, along the lines of:
I’ll be running to the bathroom all day!
                    That’s a lot! Does coffee count?
                    How am I going to do that?!

How I answer them is a very basic, simple explanation with the offer to come back the next session with articles if they would like a more in-depth answer.

Your body is essentially in survival mode right now if you’re not getting enough water. It’s holding water weight (one potential reason you cannot seem to shed those extra inches or pounds even though you exercise daily) to ration out to the different body systems as needed. Body systems that need water include your organs including your skin, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system (think around your joints).
When you start drinking that amount water, yes, you will be running to the bathroom more frequently because your body is not used to getting that much water. Once it realizes that this is the new norm, that it is getting enough water to properly function to where it does not need to store water for future use, those trips will become less frequent. You will likely feel more energized or alert now that everything is able to function at optimum.

No. Coffee does not count, neither do energy drinks, tea, alcohol or any of that awful, awful pop. Those all have side effects causing your body to work which means you’re having to use some of that energy provided by water to filter through the coffee and such.

Get a good (ideally BPA free) water bottle. Mine are mostly 1 liter water bottles so I know if I drink 3 of them, I’ve hit my daily goal. Carry it around with you. In this day and age, work places and schools allow water bottles to be kept within easy access if not right beside you. Since I’m at work most of my waking hours, I split that time in two and have the goal of drinking one liter in each half. When I get home, I drink the 3rd liter.

From personal experience, once you have been in the habit of being properly hydrated, you know when you did not get the proper amount of water. I feel sluggish, don’t want to move let alone work or exercise. Reflexes are slowed or at least feel slowed; level of alertness is lowered and so on. That’s just the energy level, not even counting the joints that feel more stiff or food that does not sit well!

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo da Vinci


Photo found via google search, credited to Robyn Tucker, Water Technology.


The Ages of Exercise


I was doing some continuing education this week for my EP certification. The first course I completed was on Resistance Training for older adults (aged 65 and over). The end of video seminar had a quote by a Dr. Bortz:
Exercise for the young in an option.
Exercise for the old is an imperative.

At first, I really liked those lines! Most of my clients are in that older age group leading me to have the privilege of seeing the benefits of exercise in their lives. I have seen blood pressures lowered and medicines reduced. I have seen the effects of diseases which were essentially death sentences or a guarantee of being bed-ridden in a nursing home (Parkinson’s, MS, etc.) reduced to where they have hope of leading a normal or near-normal life longer than ever hoped.

Then I looked at the line about exercise being an option for the young. The more I thought about that line, the more I disagreed with it.

With everything we know about the treatment benefits of exercise for someone diagnosed with any sort of health concern – cardiac, neuro, respiratory, GI – and the benefits of risk reduction in those who could develop various health concerns, why would exercise not be imperative as, at the very least, a preventative measure for the young?

This exercise, activity, needs to be started as soon as possible.

The second course of con-ed I completed was resistance training and children. To summarize, the majority of children start moving early in life. If they keep moving as they age – progress to sports or other forms of organized activity such as a resistance training program, outside on playgrounds or in their yards and neighborhoods – they have a better chance at staying active throughout the rest of their lives, decreasing their chance of various injuries and disease. They would age stronger decreasing fall risk and maintaining a good quality of life when they are deemed old.

If we stress the importance of exercise in our young now, if we make it imperative now, then we can decrease health costs and concerns for future generations of elders.