Ask Nurse David

David Chaffee
David Chaffee

“Why should I set a goal?”

Every success and accomplishment is started with a goal.  Goals are what drive us forward, and allow us to reach great heights. Recently I had the privilege to fulfill a goal that had nagged me for quite some time.  On April 29th, I reached this goal of completing my very first marathon.

Reaching any goal, takes dedication, inner strength, and mental commitment.  For several years, injury, time, and other excuses held me back from fulfilling mine.   Though, when I signed up on June 15th of 2011, I was 100% sure that I would cross that line, whether it be on my feet, or hands and knees.

As I proudly accepted my finisher medal, I was overwhelmed with joy, pride, and triumph.  I couldn’t believe that I had just run 26.2 miles through the grueling terrain of Big Sur, California.  I thought back over the last 5 months that I devoted to this goal, and was immensely proud.

Accomplishing any goal in life is extremely gratifying.  Whether is be running your first 5K, buying your first car, or graduating from school, it instills a sense of strength and joy in ourselves that is forever gratifying.  So, with summer upon us, go and set yourself a goal and reap its benefits.

—Nurse Dave

“What are the fitness benefits of walking?”

Over the last five months, I have been training for my first marathon.  I have always been an avid runner, but never ready to physically and mentally push for 26.2 miles.  Once I committed to the Big Sur 26 miler, I wanted to define my goals and expectations.  Besides finishing the marathon, my biggest goal and challenge was to remain safe and not get injured. So….. I began walking.

Although walking is performed at a slower pace than running, it still has tremendous cardiovascular benefits.   The heart and all it’s glorious vasculature will strengthen, increase circulation, and improve functionality.   As the heart increases in activity, calories are burned.  When calories are burned, we feel better, look better, and want to continue to remain active.  A healthy heart is a happy heart, and walking is a great start.

Walking is something we should all reap the benefits of.  Physically, it is a low impact (easy on the joints) exercise that is acceptable for just about anyone.  Walking allows us to safely and easily strengthen our Musculoskeletal and Nervous systems.  Through a slower and steadier pace, walking allows us to strengthen stability muscles and proprioceptors that running, rowing, and biking can’t, making it a great cross training workout.

In addition to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal improvements, walking produces great mental benefits.  Walking allows us to open our minds and release stress, anxiety, and daily interferences.  Who couldn’t’ use that.  I truly enjoy walking for its ability to get me out of the “routine”.  I am able to put everything on hold, and explore this beautiful and amazing city of ours.  We live by so many parks, trails, lagoons, and the ocean.   The greatest aspect of walking is that it can be done alone or with company, and can be performed right out your front door and for no cost.

Unfortunately it can take an injury, sickness, or a five month long training schedule to remind us how functional and therapeutic a walk can be.  Sadly, I am as guilty as the next.  I can honestly report that walking has allowed my marathon training to be successful.  I am less than 3 weeks away, and have remained injury free.  So, don’t wait, start today and reap the benefits.

— Nurse Dave

“What are antioxidants, and which foods contain them?”

Antioxidants continue to remain a very hot topic.  These naturally occurring enzymes have generated buzz on everything from highly watched television shows Dr. Oz to celebrity endorsed skin care products, and even numerous sport drinks and supplements.   With so much publicity, what makes these antioxidants so highly regarded?

Many studies and research have shown that antioxidants play a big role in our body’s cellular processes.  It is believed that consuming daily antioxidants can slow down our bodies aging process, increase immune system function, and even protect our bodies from cancer.  These little wonders work by stopping the oxidation process created by excessive amounts of free radicals.  Free radicals naturally occur in our body and do have some important tasks such as phagocytosis (immune system function).  The problem lies when too many free radicals become present.  This occurs when we eat an unbalanced diet, exercise strenuously, acquire stress, and breathe in environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

Now that we understand the importance of antioxidant consumption, the question lies in how much, how often, and where do we acquire them. Unfortunately, there are no concrete guidelines as to how much and how often we should consume antioxidants.   But, many health professionals agree that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best measure in obtaining quality antioxidants.  I whole heartily agree and in addition believe that prevention is the key.  By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, living an active lifestyle, and practicing stress reduction, will decrease your free radical build up.  If your still feel that you are unable to meet those guidelines, there are countless oral and liquid supplements available on the market.

Following is a list of some highly concentrated antioxidants that are easily accessible and tasty: Beans (especially red beans), broccoli and broccoli sprouts, spinach, blueberries, oranges, raspberries, goji berries, salmon, spirulina, and yes, even dark chocolate.

Stop by or call to schedule an Evaluation & Goal Consultation to discuss how exercise and diet can fit in your life.

— Nurse Dave


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