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June 29, 2011   Juneau Empire

Heat

Roy and I and some of the other staff at Pavitt Health and Fitness have been diligently working this week to upgrade our Endless Pool. We've had a couple of glitches, of course, and heat turned out to be the answer for both. Rusted hydraulic line fittings and and a very tight fitting pool liner did what we wanted them to do after we put heat on them. It seems almost everything moves better when it's warm.

Our bodies are no different. For optimal performance, whether it's flexibility, strength or speed, we do better with a warm up. I sometimes see people sitting clothed in the sauna for a few minutes before their yoga class or workout. I know that when I'm fortunate enough to be visiting somewhere warm, my stretching is markedly easier. I guess the sauna is the closest we're going to get around here. If you're not moving as well as you'd like, try adding heat.

Yours in good health, Corey


June 22, 2011   Juneau Empire

Hydration

I was just sitting down to write this column when my wife, Ellen, reminded me to get some ice for the new Sport Tea we are now serving at the fitness center. This along with the great weather we have been having reminded me to write about the importance of staying hydrated when being active.

Even when it isn't sunny and hot, we lose a lot of water when we exercise. Dehydration lowers our energy output and makes activity harder. So whether you would like to be able to train harder and longer, or if you would just like it to be easier to do what you like to do, try drinking water (or our new Sport Tea) through out your activity and see how much better you feel.

Yours in good health, Corey


June 8, 2011   Juneau Empire

Flaws

I thoroughly enjoy building things and right now I've got a project going on my porch. The problem is that while I pay attention to detail and have high standards, my skill level usually doesn't measure up. My current endeavor is visible from my living room so it's easy to sit there and notice things that I wish I had done differently. Eventually, though, I'll have to just let go and accept things for how they are.

As I get older I find myself getting better at recognizing that perfection is unobtainable. I believe that the pursuit of it can lead us to great things, but it's important to be be happy with just trying your best as well. I'm going to endeavor to improve my carpentry skills but in the meantime my handiwork will always be there as a reminder that nothing is flawless.

Yours in good health, Corey


May 25, 2011   Juneau Empire

Shaun and Kanani

My little girl got married over the weekend. It's been pretty busy here with all of the visiting kids and relatives, and of course the wedding itself, but it's been a good kind of busy. I was struck several times that despite being really busy I also felt very much at peace. It seems that when what we are doing is inline with our principles and priorities then everything else falls into place.

Kanani and Shaun's ceremony also reminded all of us of the things that are truly important in life. Friends, family and love pretty well sums it up. Ellen and I couldn't be more proud of them and excited for their future. We extend our best wishes for a healthy and happy future.

Yours in good health, Corey


May 11, 2011   Juneau Empire

Support

By March of last year I had gotten quite out of shape. I could blame it on a badly herniated disc, and perhaps that was part of the problem, but for whatever reason I had fallen off the wagon with both my eating and my training. Fortunately, the combination of a loving and supportive wife and an athletic 15 year old son who kept referring to me as "Tubs" spurred me to action.

Last Saturday I competed in my first bodybuilding competition in over 6 years. More importantly, I feel so much better than I did 14 months ago. The strategies I have been writing about for permanent fat loss really do work, but you have to put them in to action. I want to thank my support group for helping me to do just that.

Yours in good health, Corey


April 20, 2011   Juneau Empire

Sunshine

Like my cartoonist friend Toe told me, it's very difficult to do a piece about the weather because as often as not things have changed before it goes to print. None-the-less, the sun is streaming in my window as I write this so I'm going to take a chance. This is a great time of year with the longer days and increased energy in the air.

Just like we naturally want to do Spring cleaning, now is a time when our bodies want to be moved more and perhaps tuned back up into shape. What better way to get started then to take advantage of the increasing daylight and spend sometime walking or biking. If it's sunny like it is now then it's an absolute pleasure and if it's not then it's still better then not doing it. Being active is a great way to start your day and a great stress reducer if you do it after work. A constitutional after dinner can be great family time and almost always brings some peace of mind.

Yours in good health, Corey


April 13, 2011   Juneau Empire

Deciding

I had a nice conversation with a relatively new gym member the other day while we were both enjoying the sauna. He told me that it was one of my columns that finally spurred him to take action and get back into shape. Apparently one of my discussions on deciding to act resonated with him. He said that once he finally committed to action, the rest has been surprisingly easy and enjoyable.

Motivation is certainly necessary for action, but one problem is that we are all motivated by different things. Our own motivation also changes over time and in different circumstances. If there are changes you would like to make, you can certainly do it. Like my new friend, though, this is a decision that only you can make.

Yours in good health, Corey


April 6, 2011   Juneau Empire

Ingrid

We at Pavitt Health and Fitness are delighted that our friend Ingrid Marcum is coming up from Chicago to put on a couple of seminars for us. Ingrid is a national champion Olympic lifter as well as an US bobsledder. My wife says that she is also an attractive young woman, but I hadn't noticed. Thursday's seminar at 6:30pm will be on functional joint movement. Whether you want to improve your athletic performance or just move more comfortably, this is great info.

Saturday at 11:00am Ingrid will put on a workshop on Olympic style weightlifting. Regardless of your age or athleticism, this can be a great way to improve your strength, core stability, flexibility, balance and speed. All of which us aging baby boomers can definitely use! Both of these events are free and open to the public.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 23, 2011   Juneau Empire

Breaking In

I love this time of year. Whether we have Spring days like we have lately, or a new dump of snow, the days are longer and there is more energy in the air. With all this new energy we see lots of folks out biking and running. Now is a great time to start some active habits that will carry you through the summer, at least.

Regardless of how good of shape you stayed in during the Winter, however, it's important to remember that different activities require different muscles. It's a good idea to break into the biking and running outside even if you are in good cardiovascular condition already. And for those who are totally starting from scratch, err on the side of too little, but be consistent and increase your activity level as you can.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 16, 2011   Juneau Empire

Risk

We take risks every day and most of the time we don't even think of it. Other times we worry about things that really have an extremely low likelihood of actually occurring. Flying and bears are two good examples of this. Many of us have some degree of flight anxiety even though it is much safer than driving. In the woods we are much likelier to suffer hypothermia or a fall than to be attacked by a bear.

Unusual incidents do occur, but it makes sense to worry about the most likely events. Driving really is the most dangerous thing that most people do on a regular basis, so we would get the biggest safety return if we took it more seriously. Buckle up, stay alert, and don't answer your cell phone when you drive and relax when you fly.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 9, 2011   Juneau Empire

Spring

It might be a little premature to say that Spring is almost here, but the last few days have at least reminded us that it is going to come. Regardless of the temperature, I already feel more energetic and positive as a result of the increased daylight. No matter how diligently I use my light box during the winter it's just not the same.

Whenever we go through a change it's a good idea to make sure we immediately get into a healthy routine. With our increased energy, this is a great time to get more regular with your exercise if you haven't been. Start now and you'll have a great habit set up for Summer. Procrastinate and you might just notice the days getting shorter and realize you never quite got around to it. Remember, you don't have to start anything heroic, just get more active than you've been and you're on your way.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 2, 2011   Juneau Empire

Birthdays

Some people like birthdays and some people don't. As in most things, neither camp is right or wrong. I tend to like birthdays. For one thing, how often do you get a "special" day? And I really like almond torte cake! I have noticed that as I get into my 50's, birthdays aren't nearly as big a deal and some years I am more excited than others.

Last year I was in the worse shape I had been in many years and was dealing with a huge herniated disc. Coincidentally, I didn't feel like making a big deal out of that birthday. This year I have been eating clean and exercising consistently for just under a year and I'm pretty pleased to have my "special" day roll around again. Speaking of being please, this would be a good time to give a shout out to Julie Counsellor and the incredible results I got from her structural integration work (an offshoot of Rolfing).

Yours in good health, Corey


February 2, 2011   Juneau Empire

Accountability

In a business class I once took, the instructor listed the characteristics that successful entrepreneurs have. They weren't really much different than the ones successful people in all walks of life have. He also gave us ideas on how to obtain these traits if they didn't come naturally. One thing that still stands out in my mind is the strategy of making yourself accountable when you attempt to do something challenging.

We had the initial weigh in for the Lose to Win contest, with Pavitt Health and Fitness' Longest Loser incentive thrown in, on Monday. I was impressed by the number of participants who said they agreed with my slow and steady approach and weren't interested in how quickly they lost weight, but were doing the contest simply because they needed to be held accountable. Making change is hard and it can be a strong motivation to continue if you have gone out on a limb and told someone what you are going to do. Good luck to everyone trying to make positive changes this year whether you are in the contest or not.

Yours in good health, Corey


January 19, 2011   Juneau Empire

Longest Loser

Those of you who have noticed the Pavitt Health and Fitness logo on the Empire's Biggest Loser advertisement might be surprised. I have always advocated gradual changes and permanent fat loss.

I became involved, however, to have an opportunity to help educate the contestants, and anyone else in the community who may want to make changes without entering this contest, on how to lose fat in a healthy and permanent manner. Additionally, while it is imperative to make changes you can keep up permanently, there is some benefit to chalking up a "win" and losing enough at first to become motivated for the long haul.

Lastly, I am shifting some of the emphasis towards permanent change by offering $100 in cash to any contestant, regardless of what they lose in the contest, who keeps the weight off for an entire year! Whether you would like to shed ten pounds or a hundred, please keep an eye out for my articles that will be running during the next few months.

Yours in good health, Corey


January 12, 2011   Juneau Empire

Yoga

I find it interesting that I often learn the most about what works well for me when I am doing just the opposite. I got off track recently with my stretching due to some traveling and other distractions. I was still lifting so I didn't feel too bad, but I knew I was well overdue. When I finally settled down to do a 45min yoga session, I felt tension leave my mind and body. By the end, it struck me how good it felt to have moved virtually every joint in my body and to have given the muscles and connective tissue such a great stretch. It was like getting a massage, only free!

Life really is about movement and the ability to move freely is a characteristic of youthfulness. We are all going to age, hopefully for a very long time, but the yogis really have it right when they say, "You are as young as your spine is flexible." If you haven't tried yoga, you will be surprised how invigorating it can be and the improvement it will make in your ability to move freely and your basic comfort level. Just like we have 5lb dumbbells and 105lb dumbbells so anyone can lift weights, yoga is adaptable to persons of any age or level of fitness.

Yours in good health, Corey


January 5, 2011   Juneau Empire

Thanks

We had our Pavitt Health and Fitness employee Christmas party at our house this year and it was a really fun way to socialize with all of the really great folks we have working for us. Ellen, Kanani, and I pride ourselves on the gym's reputation for being both clean and friendly and also for the quality of our instructors. When I stop to think about this, however, it's our employees who really should be proud.

Just as I couldn't have remodelled the building by myself, I couldn't possibly do all the things that make the fitness center the great place that it is. So, to all of the instructors, trainers and staff that make Pavitt Health and Fitness such a welcoming place to be, here is a public shout out for all of you.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 29, 2010   Juneau Empire

New Years

I have fairly high standards for myself, ones that I rarely live up to. Maybe that's why I like making New Years resolution. It's a fresh chance to do it right this year. Having said that, I am getting better and better at working towards improvement without having an all or nothing approach. Regardless of what you'd like to accomplish, being able to recognize successes without insisting on perfection will take you a long ways towards your goal.

My advice on resolutions is to keep them specific, obtainable, and with room for error. At the end of this year, if you exercised more than you did last year, ate better, or stayed in closer contact with old friends than you did last year, then will have done great, even if you weren't perfect in any of these areas. Please accept my sincerest wishes that 2011 finds you and yours happy and healthy.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 22, 2010   Juneau Empire

Christmas

I really do like the Christmas season. I know that sometimes it can be a bit, or maybe a lot, overwhelming with trying to take care of all of our normal duties and responsibilities and then throwing in all the decorating, last minute shopping, and socializing. There is no denying that Christmas, or the more politically correct "Holiday Season", has been terribly commercialized.

Why I like this time of year is that the decorations and the music and people telling friends and strangers alike, "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" are a reminder that peace on earth and goodwill towards man does exist. At least we are fortunate enough to live in a place where it does. To my readers of all, or no, religious persuasions, please accept my sincerest wishes for peace, love and health in your lives this Christmas and throughout the new year.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 15, 2010   Juneau Empire

Brain Health

Modern science continues to substantiate what has always made sense. "A sound mind in a sound body" goes back to at least Ben Franklin. Now functional MRIs show us that exercise that sufficiently raises the heart rate also causes a release of enzymes that cause new neurons to be formed. On top of that, strokes and TIAs continue to be implicated in dementia and it's no stretch to say that exercise is your best defense against cardiovascular disease.

Anyone who has exercised can tell you how much better and clear headed it makes them feel. It's nice to know that it also makes your brain work better. I believe in aging gracefully, and am working hard to do just that, but now that I'm in my 50's I do find that I need all the help I can get. Knowing that it's doing my brain good as well is just one more reason to hit the gym or the trail.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 8, 2010   Juneau Empire

Holidays

Between now and New Years there is going to be a whole lot of partying going on. It's certainly fun to catch up with old friends and, in the case of office parties, it's a good chance to socialize with those you normally just work with. One downside of all these parties, however, is if you are trying to watch what you eat.

I've got a few tricks that I use so that I don't have to start a heroic diet program on January 1st. Always eat something before you go to a party. Plan ahead and have a bag of raw nuts or some fruit at work or in your car. If you're not starving it will be easier to resist temptation. Once at the party load up on the broccoli, celery and other veges. Also grab some cheese. Chewing the vegetables will help satisfy your need to eat and the cheese will help you feel fuller. Happy Holidays!

Yours in good health, Corey


December 1, 2010   Juneau Empire

Ice

I was originally planning on writing a column on the benefits of optimism but then I went for a walk at lunch time. Slipping several times on the water covered ice reminded me that it's time to talk about Winter falls. I've seen a lot of patients over the years who were seriously hurt slipping on the ice, so I really believe in the power of prevention here.

Wearing crampons when you go down your icy driveway or across parking lots really can prevent nasty falls. They also make going for a walk more fun because you can keep up a more normal stride. One thing to remember though, you can easily slip if you wear them on tile, so take them off before you get into the store. Another easy way to lessen your chances of falls is to use walking sticks or ski poles. It's simple to grab them off the porch before going down to get the paper and your day could go a whole lot better because of them.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 24, 2010   Juneau Empire

Stress

Our old computer crashed a couple of weeks ago and our computer guy told us it was terminal. It was actually kind of nice not being able to check the email or go online, but we knew we couldn't stay incommunicado indefinitely. An upside of all this, we thought, was that we were finished with Vista and would have the new Window operating system.

I'm sure that we're going to end up loving the new Windows, and that all of our troubles are based on our own ignorance, but the learning curve has been stressful none-the-less. I don't know a lot about computers, but I do know something about stress. One thing I know is that change is inherently stressful. That's why most of us are so resistant to it. I also know that exercise generally makes us feel better regardless of what's stressing us. Sure enough, the best I have felt since we started messing with all this has been following my morning workouts.

The other thing I have kept in mind is that this is not really a true problem and how much we have to be thankful for. I hope all my readers have an equally thankful Thanksgiving this year. Remember, giving thanks not only makes us feel better it can actually keep us healthier.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 3, 2010   Juneau Empire

Choices

Well, by the time this goes to print, all of the campaigning will be over and our votes will have been cast. Despite all the negativity of campaigns these days, and the fact that we sometimes feel we are choosing the lesser of evils, at least we get to choose.

The choices that really affect our lives, however, are the ones we make every day. We can choose to make conscious decisions about what we eat and how and when we exercise, or we can choose to take the path of least resistance. The problem with the latter is, of course, that unless you choose to buck societal norms you are on the path to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. None-the-less, you do get to choose.

So, regardless of whether we end up with Joe, Lisa, or Scott, the real choices aren't over health care reform in DC, they're the ones that we have control over every day.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 27, 2010   Juneau Empire

Trick-or-Treat

I always think of Halloween as the day that we need to be ready for snow. Whether or not we get any snow, it is sure to be dark and quite likely rainy, so remember to send your little monsters out with some kind of light.

The other thing to remember about this time of year is that unless you really want to eat all of that left over candy, you don't have to keep it. Like a lot of us, I was raised not to waste food, and I still live that way. I don't consider candy and junk food to actually be food, however, so I have no qualms about tossing out something I don't want to have in the house and eventually eat.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 20, 2010   Juneau Empire

Lost Friend

I, along with many, many people in Juneau, am still reeling from the tragic news of our friend John Caouette's death. This time last week I would have been sitting here at my computer trying to find one more way to remind people to eat right, get some exercise, and keep a positive attitude. Now I am struggling unsuccessfully to make sense of a horrible loss.

I'm not sure if John knew how loved he was by so many people. Everywhere I go, I see another person who was touched by his life and grieved by his passing. Besides simply being a good friend, John was an inspiration to me in many ways. I miss him terribly already and my love goes out to Becca, Rosey and Alder.

With profound sadness, Corey


October 13, 2010   Juneau Empire

Organic

A friend and I were recently discussing the virtues of organic fruits and vegetables. There is no question that they're more nutritious and have less pesticide residue than non-organic items. The drawback, of course, is their cost and availability. We are fortunate now that in Juneau we can get many organic fruits and veges for not a whole lot more cost.

It makes perfect sense to eat organic when we can, but I also keep in mind that the numerous studies showing that those who eat the most fruits and vegetables live the longest and have the least incidence of disease were not done with organic food. Go organic whenever feasible, but don't ever say no to a fruit or vegetable.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 6, 2010   Juneau Empire

Computer Stretches

One of the most physically demanding jobs a person could do is also one of the least active. I'm talking about sitting at a computer. Our bodies are made for movement, not sitting. Since sitting at a workstation is a reality for a lot of us, it's a good idea to stretch regularly throughout the work day.

While you should get up as often as possible when working, there are a number of stretches you can do without leaving your desk. Here is a simple routine. Drop your chin towards your chest and relax for a count of 30. Now do the same, dropping your head back and then to each side. Next, clasp your hands behind your back and raise them up, holding for 30. Lastly, lean forward and let your head and arms drop towards the floor. Again, you should hold this stretch for a count of 30 or so.

A few minutes of stretching can have a huge impact on how you feel. Try it!

Yours in good health, Corey


September 29, 2010   Juneau Empire

Happy Kids

This last Saturday we hosted the Pavitt Health and Fitness 10K and 1 mile fun run. One of my tasks was to man the turnaround point for the 1 mile run. Most of these runners were kids and it was fun watching them push themselves. Some looked more tired than others, but they all seemed to be having fun.

What I especially enjoyed was the fact that these lucky youngsters were learning early on that it simply makes us feel good to get our heart rates up. That's something that too many adults never learned, or somehow forgot along the way. We are all busy with our adult responsibilities and schedules, but it doesn't have to take long and the improvement in our happiness levels is almost instantaneous. Whether it's at the gym, on a hiking trail, or along the highway, go have fun like a kid today.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 24, 2010   Juneau Empire

Starting Over

Spring was upon us last weekend and it was fun to see so many people out and about. I dusted off my bike and went for a long bike ride after a six-month hiatus. It was so pleasant I felt like going even farther, but I knew I would probably regret it the next day. If you are just getting back into any strenuous activities, it is a good idea to start off moderately and build up your intensity and duration.

This need to break into activities holds true even if you stayed in good shape during the winter. For instance, if you stayed in good aerobic condition by cross country skiing, your heart and lungs might be ready for a long, hard run. Unfortunately, running puts a different type of stress on your muscles and joints so you still need to start with moderate distances and paces.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 17, 2010   Juneau Empire

Spring

I've been on two hikes with my wife Ellen in the last week. The first time it was raining when we left the house and I had to force myself to go. The second time it was a beautiful day and we went at lunch. I couldn't wait to go that time. Strangely enough though, I had a great time on both outings.

It's funny how we resist doing things that we know will make us feel better. I always feel better when I've gotten outside no matter what the weather is doing, but I certainly resist it when it's cold and rainy. Now that the days are getting longer, it's a good time to take advantage and start making outdoor time a habit.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 10, 2010   Juneau Empire

Joy Threshold

I recently had the pleasure of visiting an old and dear friend of mine. Pat is a nurse midwife at a busy hospital so her job has more than its share of stress and responsibility, not to mention the fact that she is often on call for 60 hours at a time. Despite this, she is always pleasant and upbeat.

When I remarked on this to her, Pat acknowledged a lot of stressors in her life, but said that she also has a low threshold for joy. What a wonderful concept! Big things don't come around very often, but finding joy in little things can help make being joyful a habit.

Yours in good health, Corey


March 5, 2010   Juneau Empire

Organic

A friend and I were recently discussing the virtues of organic fruits and vegetables. There is no question that they're more nutritious and have less pesticide residue than non-organic items. The drawback, of course, is their cost and availability. We are fortunate now that in Juneau we can get many organic fruits and veggies for not a whole lot more cost.

It makes perfect sense to eat organic when we can, but I also keep in mind that the numerous studies showing that those who eat the most fruits and vegetables live the longest and have the least lowest incidence of disease were not done with organic food. Go organic whenever feasible, but don't ever say no to a fruit or vegetable.

Yours in good health, Corey


February 10, 2010   Juneau Empire

Scales

The other day a member started off our conversation by telling me how many miles she had run over the last two weeks. She told me that she even ran to the Weight Watchers office for her weigh-in. All last month she had been feeling ecstatic and several people had told her how great she looked.

You can guess what happened next. She weighed in a couple of pounds heavier than last time and was devastated. Permanent fat loss is a slow process and there is just too much fluctuation in our body weight for the scale to be a useful tool. If you are doing the right things with your diet and exercise and your waist is getting smaller, it's a pretty sure bet you are losing fat. You don't need a smaller number each time you get on a scale to validate your efforts.

Yours in good health, Corey


February 3, 2010 Juneau Empire

New Section

I'm excited about the Juneau Empire's new section on health and fitness debuting this Thursday. I am particularly excited because I have been asked to submit a column for it twice a month. I've enjoyed writing this one for the last nine years and will continue to do so, but it's going to be great to have more space to expand on a lot of ideas I haven't been able to address adequately.

Please feel free to e-mail me with suggestions for topics or any questions or comments you might have. I look forward to hearing from you and to addressing you from this new forum. corey@gopavitt.com

Yours in good health, Corey


Welcome to the New Health and Fitness Section

(From the Juneau Empire) Welcome to the Juneau Empire’s new health and fitness section. It is an honor to speak to you twice a month in this format. My writing will obviously be influenced by both my professional training and personal experience, so it makes sense for you to have a little background information on the person spouting all this advice at you.

As a chiropractic physician, I recognize and advocate the importance of prevention and non-invasive treatments. Having had very successful back surgery myself five years ago, however, I’m also acutely aware of modern medicine’s benefit. Nonetheless, I am still of the mind that proper nutrition and exercise will do more to increase the quality and quantity of our lives than any drugs or surgeries.

Bodybuilding has been a love of mine since my Karate Sensei introduced me to it when I was sixteen. Although I began competitive bodybuilding in 1980 at the age of 20, it wasn’t until 2001 that I won my first title. Obviously then, I’m no stranger to delayed gratification or being an “also ran.” Having been a clumsy, uncoordinated child, I also understand those who are not naturally inclined toward organized sports or even exercise in general.

I was a couple of decades ahead of the curve with weight lifting. When I started in the mid '70s, everyone warned me, “All that muscle will turn to fat when you stop.” Now professional athletes in virtually every field embrace strength training and doctors tell their patients to lift weights to prevent osteoporosis. Strength training is also the most effective way to lose fat, maintain muscle, improve hormone levels, and increase function. In short, it is now recognized as cutting edge anti-aging medicine.

Those who have been reading my Wednesday Empire columns for any length of time know that in addition to eating right and exercise in general, I am a big proponent of stretching. Now, whether you are a chiropractor, a physical therapist, or a Pilates instructor, you really can’t come up with a stretch or core stability exercise that isn’t also a yoga posture. Along with strength training, yoga really is the closest we have to a fountain of youth. I was fortunate to discover yoga twenty-five years ago and have more flexibility now at 50 than I did then.

The last major component of health and well-being is mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Having an optimistic outlook has been proven to improve our health and extend our life expectancies. On the other hand, I vehemently disagree with the notion that we should all be constantly happy. Sometimes we need to be sad or grieve or just be a little overwhelmed. The last thing we need when going through a rough patch is to beat ourselves up over not having a positive enough attitude.

While I am generally optimistic by nature, I also have a bent towards depression. Having been clinically depressed myself, and having lost a dear friend to suicide, I am acutely aware of how we all have our struggles. When you hear me preaching the benefits of exercise, proper nutrition, light boxes and meditation, it’s because I know firsthand of their benefit in improving well-being. I also know firsthand what the alternative is.

How you eat and whether or not you exercise are not moral issues. They do, however, profoundly affect your health. Making changes, especially in these areas, can seem overwhelming. Please keep in mind that you don’t have to make heroic life style changes in order to start reaping benefits. My hope is that this column can serve to help simplify the sometimes paralyzing amount of information on health and fitness and provide you with simple steps you can take. Please join me as we kindly continue on our journey towards a healthier lifestyle. We are never going to reach perfection, but maybe by supporting each other we can make small steps towards living our lives a little more fully.


January 13, 2010 Juneau Empire

Falls

This is a busy time of year for chiropractors. Not so much because of snow shoveling but rather because of slips and falls. Last week's rain on top of ice made for a lot of treacherous driveways and parking lots and if the weather forecasters can be believed, that won't be the last time we're going to deal with this.

Sometimes a slip on the ice is just annoying and a little embarrassing, but other times you can really hurt yourself. I believe the single best way to avoid falls on ice is to wear crampons. They are relatively inexpensive and most types slip easily on and off your shoes or boots. If you don't already have a pair, get one. If you already have them, remembering to wear them can save you a lot trouble later.

Yours in good health, Corey


January 6, 2010 Juneau Empire

2010

I like writing about resolutions a bit into January because by now many of us have broken ours. That's actually a good thing. Now that we accept that we aren't going to be perfect this year, or any year, we can get back to the business of trying to live our lives just a little better.

Last week I was thinking about the habits I would like to form this year. One of them is to meditate daily and another is simply to worry less and be happier. While the first goal is helpful in obtaining the latter, beating myself up over the days I don't meditate will hardly help me to be happier.

Already this year I've been far from perfect in forming my new habits, but I'm going to take this one day at a time and keep plugging away. Happy New Years to all of you and I wish you health and happiness.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 23, 2009 Juneau Empire

Merry Christmas

It has become politically correct to wish Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. Regardless of your religious persuasion, or lack thereof, I think Christmas stands for some things that transcend any one religion. Peace, love, and goodwill are universal qualities that I think we all, deep down, want to embrace and embody.

The hustle and bustle and last minute preparations are about over. Now is a good time to stop and reflect on what Christmas really means to you. I'll be counting my blessings this year, and among them is living in a community of so many wonderful and caring people. Please accept my wishes for a loving and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 16, 2009 Juneau Empire

Snacking

After our cat Fluffy knocked our ancient TV off its wall mount this summer, we broke down and got a new one. We're watching a few more DVDs now and I've noticed a corresponding increase in my snacking. I tried to keep it relatively healthy by making air popped popcorn with olive oil and nutritional yeast, but still I was taking in more calories than I needed.

When I get the urge to snack now, the first thing I ask myself is am I really hungry or just bored or even thirsty. If I still feel like eating after that, I've found that a large, crunchy salad allows me to enjoy all the mindless chewing that the popcorn did and I feel more satisfied afterward.

Yours in good health, Corey


December 2, 2009 Juneau Empire

December

Does anyone else feel like the year is flying away? I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it's December. I had all of November to get used to the idea. Still, I can't quite believe that we are just a little over three weeks away from Christmas. My thoughts have suddenly turned to how much I have to do. The holiday season can be wonderful and meaningful, but all too often many of us simply find it stressful.

Ideally, we can make this time of year more enjoyable by keeping in mind why we are celebrating it and not getting caught up in all of the "shoulds" that we may feel compelled to do. Regardless of that, I know personally I do the best in these busy times when I continue to exercise and take care of myself. No matter how you spend the holiday season, don't forget to take care of yourself.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 25, 2009 Juneau Empire

Thanks

Most people I know consider Thanksgiving their favorite holiday. It's a low-stress chance to have some time off and also enjoy a feast. If we can remember the thanks-giving part, it's even more meaningful of a day. Studies have shown that people who regularly list what they are grateful for are healthier than those who don't. So the way I see it, giving thanks all day cancels out any problems with pigging out all day.

I intend to eat a lot on Thanksgiving so I'm going to hedge my bet and start being thankful now. As always, I am grateful for the health that my family and I are enjoying. This year I'm particularly grateful to live in a community that donated nine tons of food to the food bank and for its manager, Darren Adams, who works so selflessly all year round.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 18, 2009 Juneau Empire

Partners

During the 34 years since I first began lifting weights, I've probably spent an equal number of years training alone and with a training partner. Both times have been enjoyable and fit my needs at the time. Training alone allows me to do exactly the routine that works best for me, at the intensity I want. Having a partner, on the other hand, provides accountability, camaraderie, and motivation.

I've had some wonderful training partners over the years and formed strong bonds with them. My current partner is my fourteen year-old son, Jackson. We're both making great progress and he's keeping me on my toes. If your workouts aren't what you'd like, or you're having some trouble getting started, finding a partner in crime might be just what you need.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 11, 2009 Juneau Empire

Day Off

I've been pretty busy lately, so I've been looking forward to having an extra day off this week. My wife Ellen has also been pretty busy between her work at the fitness center, studying calculus at the university, and her daily exercise. The other morning she made a conscious decision to take a day off of her early morning exercise. She thoroughly enjoyed having some extra time in the morning and it energized her to stick with her routine.

It's funny how much you appreciate something, in this case extra free time, when it's in short supply. Being busy can be fine, especially when you enjoy the things you are doing overall. Balance is important too, though, and it's also important to stay in touch with your emotions and know when to back off a little. I'm going to enjoy having a free day today and at some point I am going to make a point of remembering that today is a holiday to honor our veterans.

Yours in good health, Corey


November 4, 2009 Juneau Empire

Changes

Well, I've been aware for a while that my picture was getting a bit dated, but it wasn't until it was brought to my attention that it was ten years old did I decide to do something about it. Part of why I procrastinated so long was because it seemed like so much trouble to update it. When I finally decided to deal with it, however, I simply had Ellen take some pictures with our digital camera before I went to school and I emailed one to the paper.

I've written before how it's easy not to notice changes that happen gradually. I've also written about how we tend to put off making changes unless we are ready to make major reversals. The sooner we correct trends that are sending us in the wrong direction, the easier those corrections are. Often the changes we need to make aren't as hard as we had built them up to be and we wonder why we didn't do them sooner.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 28, 2009 Juneau Empire

Pick-Me-Up

I got behind on my school work and lesson plans last week and violated the cardinal rule of health and fitness. I skipped a couple of workouts to catch up. This, combined with our rainy weather and increasing darkness, had me feeling pretty blah this morning. Fortunately, one of the classes I am student teaching is fitness concepts and I joined in with the students.

Now I know better than most how exercise is not only good for your health, but also your spirit. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised at how great I felt after simply warming up with some light stretches and calisthenics and then less than 20 minutes of cardio. If our increasing darkness is leaving you a little lethargic or worse, feeling better may just be a short workout away.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 21, 2009 Juneau Empire

Steroids

Well, once again Bill, my BFF, gave me a great suggestion for a topic. He recently saw Bigger, Faster, Stronger and was curious about my opinion. I am a lifetime natural bodybuilder which means I have never used steroids or other muscle building drugs. To me it kind of defeats the whole purpose of working so hard to improve your health and fitness if you use substances that have negative side effects.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger is an interesting documentary and is a wake up call to anyone still naive as to the extent of drug use in virtually all competitive sports. In my opinion, however, it treats this use too matter-of-factly and glosses over the health problems associated with it. There are no short cuts to getting really big, strong, or fast. Training hard and consistently over the long haul will take most of us far further than we would have believed and far further than drugs will take us in the short run.

Yours in good health, Corey


October 14, 2009 Juneau Empire

Planks

Last week we discussed how improving your core strength can reduce your low back pain episodes and severity. Performing the plank is perhaps one of the simplest and most effective exercises for your core. The plank looks like the push-up position, although you can do it on your hands or your elbows. If this position is too difficult to hold, you can also do it with your knees on the floor. Make sure to keep your stomach pulled in and your body in a straight line. Don't let your butt sag or stick up.

I like to have my patients set a timer for two minutes when they do this exercise. Hold the position for as long as comfortable and then rest a few moments and repeat until the timer goes off. As you get stronger, you will be able to hold it longer, and rest less, until you are holding it for the entire time.

Yours in good health, Corey