Great benefits of walking for heart health, including lower risk of heart attack and stroke

The benefits of physical activity depend on three elements: the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise.  At Doctor for Life we strongly suggest adding in daily physical activity to round out your Healthy Lifestyle Program.  We not only suggest it, in our programs we test your ability through Fitness Assessments, a written prescription, personal trainers and we are here every step of the way for your success.

Because walking is less intensive than running, you have to walk for longer periods, get out more often, or both to match the benefits of running. As a rough guide, the current American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine standards call for able-bodied adults to do moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or intense aerobic exercise (such as running) for at least 20 minutes three days each week. That makes running seem much more time-efficient — but if you factor in the extra warm-ups, cool-downs, and changes of clothing and shoes that runners need, the time differences narrow considerably. Add the time it takes to rehab from running injuries, and walking looks pretty good. Mix and match to suit your health, abilities, personal preferences, and daily schedules. Walk, jog, bike, swim, garden, golf, dance, or whatever, as long as you keep moving.

Benefits of walking for your health

The cardiovascular benefits of walking offer a great outcome for the effort; like other forms of regular moderate exercise, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. And if cardiac protection and a lower death rate are not enough to get you moving, consider that walking and other moderate exercise programs also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and even erectile dysfunction.

Walking the walk

Walking has it all. Simple and natural, it doesn’t require any instruction or skill. It can be a very modest form of exercise or it can demand enough skill and intensity to be an Olympic sport. You can walk alone for solitude or with friends for companionship. You can walk indoors on a treadmill or outside in the city or country, at home or away. You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury. And to boot, walking is inexpensive.

Walking and weight loss

Exercise burns calories. In the case of walking and running, the calories you burn depend much more on the distance you cover and your body weight than on your pace. This table shows calories burned per mile of walking or jogging on the level for people of varying weights:

A hundred or so calories a mile might not seem like much, but they can add up to better weight control. Give Doctor for Life a call today to get your personal fitness prescription and make that first step to better health.  864-640-0009

Walking calorie calculator

Your weight of 120 lbs burns approximately 85 calories per mile

Your weight of 140 lbs burns approximately 95 calories per mile

Your weight of 160 lbs burns approximately 105 calories per mile

Your weight of 180 lbs burns approximately 115 calories per mile

Your weight of 200 lbs burns approximately 125 calories per mile

Your weight of 220 lbs burns approximately 135 calories per mile

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What does eating healthy really mean?

If you want to practice healthy living every day, implementing tried-and-true health tips that help you live and cook healthier is a must.

While cooking your own meals is a good start to eating healthier, it doesn’t necessarily define “healthy.” To eat healthy, it’s all about understanding the foods that you eat and achieving a balanced meal.

We don’t like to omit anything entirely, because we believe that eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself in any way. Keep in mind, though, that everything is best eaten in moderation!

Also, remember that healthy doesn’t always mean low-cal, and in reverse, eating less calories does not make it healthy. By understanding the caloric value of the foods you eat, you will be able to get a better understanding of how to eat healthy, and in turn, achieve new health milestones.

At Doctor for Life we use the approach of evaluating the whole person: the family history, the medical history, current medical conditions, and evaluation of goals. Give us a call and get started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle Journey and learn how to live a healthy life through healthy food. 864-640-0009

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Make Taco Tuesday Healthy

At Doctor for Life, we know it’s important for you to be able to enjoy some old time favorites.  With these tips, you can create a nutritious and delicious Taco Tuesday right at home while maintaining your healthy weight lifestyle program.

Taco Tuesday can be part of a healthy diet plan, if done right. Your upcoming Mexican-inspired Tuesday does not have to consist of a 320 calorie taco found at most famous fast food and Mexican restaurants.

In fact, your next Taco Tuesday can be a whole lot tastier while becoming even healthier. By doing the cooking yourself rather than going out, you can maintain your healthy weight lifestyle. Try these tips for a nutritious and delicious Taco Tuesday right at home:

Skip the chips:  Tortilla chips are high in calories per gram and are filled with saturated fats and high levels of sodium. So if you’re Taco Tuesday must include a chips and salsa course, try substituting those calorie-dense tortilla chips with veggies. One option is to use raw vegetables like celery and peppers as your scoop.

Make Your Own Salsa: Prepared salsa from the grocery store can be laden with extra salt and harmful additives. Making your own salsa is both quick and easy, and allows you to skip the unwanted extras.  For fish tacos, try a tropical flair by combining fresh pineapple, mango, papaya and more. For chicken tacos, try combining black beans, red peppers and corn for a perfect topping. Or, if you are looking for a more traditional Mexican salsa for dipping, try a quick Pico De Gallo using Roma tomatoes, cilantro, red onions and limes. Making your own salsa rather than picking up a jar from the store allows for variety and personal preference, all while providing a flavor-packed serving of fruits and vegetables.

Use Whole-Grain or Corn Tortillas or Lettuce Leaves:  Refined carbohydrates, like flour tortillas, are definitely a caution food. So when it comes to Taco Tuesday, look for whole-grain tortillas to make your meal smarter and healthier. However, be aware of the serving size. Non-fried corn tortillas are an appropriate alternative, too. Or you can skip the tortillas all together by using romaine lettuce leaves. Tacos are easily, and deliciously, turned into salads. Add in a half cup of black beans to still get your serving of recommended carbohydrates.

Choose Chicken or Fish:  Skipping the greasy ground beef does not mean skipping the flavor or satisfaction. There are a multitude of other options like chicken and ground turkey to fish and shrimp. These lean sources of protein, cooked with a mixture of herbs and topped with different varieties, can give you the taco you crave without the red meat.

Another option for a low cholesterol diet is to go with a vegetarian taco. Pinto or black beans can provide the necessary protein, sautéed vegetables like peppers, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes can offer the desired flavor, and fresh, leafy, tasty herbs like cilantro can put your tacos over the top.

No Store-Bought Seasoning:  Herbs are the way to go when seasoning your chosen protein. The average sodium content per serving in a range of regular taco seasoning packs from most brands is 350 to 575 mg. Long story short, stay away from your typical grocery store taco mix and experiment with different combinations at home instead.  A huge problem with many of the store bought packets, they use potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride as a salt replacement.  Potassium consumed in excess may be harmful for some people.  If you have kidney problems or are on medication for your heart, kidneys or liver, it is best to check with your physician before using salt substitutes in place of sodium.

Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, coriander, ground red pepper, cumin combine to make a great homemade taco seasoning.  Experiment with your mix to find the flavors you prefer.  Lemon or lime can always be your go-to option for spices.  With the right herbs and spices, you can create a taco seasoning that is just as flavorful and far better for your health.

Be Wise About Your Toppings and Sides:  Living by a healthy lifestyle does not mean missing out on the delicious sides and toppings of a Taco Tuesday. You just have to do it right. Instead of sodium-rich boxed Mexican rice, choose plain brown rice and spice it up with some chopped jalapenos, smoked paprika and fresh cilantro.  Guacamole, although a healthy fat option, it is calorie-dense.  You can try the same recipe you usually use – lemon juice, garlic, onion and tomatoes – with blended broccoli stems or edamame beans for a similar, but healthier, concoction. Add cottage cheese as an alternative to shredded cheese.  And feel free to load up on fillings using low-calorie vegetables, the ultimate toppings for tacos.

Remember these tips and reminders this Tuesday. Create a healthy grocery list, experiment with different combinations, cook up a nutritious and festive meal and indulge –   As always, our physicians, coaches and dietitians are here to help you along the way as well at Doctor for Life.  864-640-0009

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Get Monday off to a Positive Start

At Doctor for Life we are always talking about mindfulness and setting time aside for yourself.  As much as most of us try to do this, there is always Monday.  What is it about Mondays? We take it as a given, that at some point on Sunday a sense of gloom and anxiety will settle in as we think about the week ahead.

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a great Monday is to give yourself weekends that rejuvenate and restore you. With some organizing and planning, you can greet Monday with open arms, and increase your productivity in the workplace. Try these tips to have a better Monday.

Save energy for your weekends:  A lot of people work themselves into the ground over the week, leaving themselves nothing more than a two-day couch potato on the weekend. Do whatever you can to avoid this—you want to spend Saturday and Sunday with enough energy to actually do fun things and have a functioning mind that can think creatively about work and your life.

Use Friday afternoon to prepare for Monday: It’s amazing how much you can forget in those 60-plus hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. To hit the ground running on Monday morning, a few suggestions:

Write yourself a Monday to-do list that explains where you left off on a task, or what’s next. Write a more detailed note about what you were working on—what was going well, what you were excited about accomplishing or capturing, what you want to go back and redo, or an idea you wanted to pursue.

Make your note encouraging and motivating, rather than a marching-order list of to-dos. (Remember, this is for your eyes only. What will get you pumped up on Monday?)

Better yet, use your project planning software to create a Monday task and update it at the end of every Friday (or at an appointed weekly time). You can include a to-do list, as well as a more descriptive note, as a comment.

Plan the right mix of weekend activities and events:  As a rule, you’ll have the most satisfying weekend if you mix in a combination of: physical activity, family and friend time, scheduled activities and open time. You know better than anyone what works for you and your family—and how that might vary by season, weather and life circumstances. Crafting a restorative and fun weekend takes planning.

Use the weekend to get ahead:  Super ambitious professionals use their weekends to advance their careers and businesses. With less structured (and uninterrupted) days, there’s time for creative thinking, brainstorming and problem solving. Also, not to step on your work-life balance commitment, but if you left work on Friday with a tsunami of work breathing down your neck, tucking in a few hours of work on an uninterrupted Saturday afternoon might be just what you need to feel good about starting your work week.

Don’t waste your Sundays:  Isn’t it crazy that we can spend so much time on Sunday dreading Monday? Here are two very different ways to spend your Sunday evenings:

-Plan some evening fun. For some of us, Sunday evenings are sacred do-nothing nights. But if you schedule an early dinner with friends, a movie date, or an evening picnic at a park, then you give yourself a positive focus for the day.

-Spend a few hours planning your Monday. For some people, diving in to their work week on Sunday evening is a highly productive and satisfying use of their time. For managers and leaders, you give yourself a leg up on everything that meets you Monday morning, and you can see what’s expected of your team. There’s an incredible amount of time wasted on Mondays simply catching up on where you left off the previous week. You can avoid hours of this if you prepare on Sunday evening. And you’ll wake up Monday morning feeling calm.

On Monday, pace yourself:  You don’t have to move mountains or work a 12-hour day. A week is like a long-distance event. Go out too hard, you’ll be spent by Thursday. As an incentive, plan something fun on Monday—lunch out with a colleague, splurge on a favorite coffee drink, little easy things. It doesn’t take much to perk up a mood.

Don’t give in to the Monday story:  When the anxiety creeps in on Sunday, tell yourself you’re perfectly OK with everything. See what happens if you create a new belief system for yourself about Mondays. Because if you really think about it—Mondays are nothing more than another day of the week, where anything can happen, even greatness.

Here’s to a happy week everyone!  We are always here to give support at Doctor for Life just give us a call.  864-640-0009.

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You can meal prep on Sunday to help you eat healthy all week

If you’re looking for the best tips for eating healthier every day, you’re going to hear the same thing over and over again: meal prep. And if you want to know how to meal prep better, there’s another piece of advice that’s going to come up a lot, and that’s setting aside time to get yourself ready for the week ahead. For most of us, that’s going to be on a Sunday, before the work week starts, when we can carve out some hours to shop and chop and pack things up for the days ahead. It’s not as daunting as it sounds! Just making some basics ahead of time will put you in prime position to eat healthy meals all week long.

Here we have listed some tips to help you plan your prep and store ingredients to use in breakfasts, lunches, and dinners throughout the week. Some people don’t mind eating the same meal every day, that’s not the case for us here at Doctor for Life. Variety is the spice of life.  We suggest using your prepped ingredients in a bunch of different recipes throughout the week.

Prep a grain: Cook a big batch, store it in the fridge, and your complex carbohydrate for the week is all ready to go. Examples are Brown Rice, Quinoa, Farro.  You can use these for a grain bowl, burrito stuffing or a side for a stir fry.

Noodle a zucchini, yellow squash or a butter nut squash:  This is such a great way to not only get in a low-carb vegetable serving but also a great substitute for pasta.  Try them as just a side drizzled with olive oil or top with a classic tomato sauce with Parmesan cheese.

Make a salad dressing:  For super simple dressings, all you really need is a little olive oil, maybe some kind of vinegar or citrus juice, and a little salt and pepper. Step it up a bit with a balsamic vinaigrette or a honey mustard sauce.

Roast some veggies:  Try a head of broccoli or cauliflower cut into florets, sliced carrots, green beans or brussel sprouts.  Either of these make for a great side dish or toppings for the grain bowl or an egg scramble.

Hard boil some eggs:  They’re an always-delicious protein that you can easily make in bulk and keep in your fridge for a week. And, you can eat them any time of the day. Munch on one for a midday snack, slice one up and throw it on toast, chop it in half and add it to your salad, or throw one on top of a broccoli, soy sauce, and brown rice grain bowl.

Cook a pot of beans or lentils:  These are a pantry staple. They’re high in fiber and protein, they don’t perish easily, and their flavor makes them a great ingredient addition to a lot of recipes.  Use them on salads, grain bowls, burrito stuffing, or as a side dish.

Great luck to you on your Healthy Lifestyle Journey. We are always here to help you along the way. Give us a call today to schedule time with our dietitian or health coaches to help you plan your success. 864-640-0009

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Try a Weekend Workout

Other than losing weight, research has shown that working out also helps in the functionality of the brain. It is, therefore, a very useful healthy living activity to engage in during the weekends. Maybe the weekend is the only time you have some free time to go the gym or workout.

Don’t let that time pass you by, get off the couch and get to your home gym or the gym around the corner and workout. Make sure you lift weights that you have been cleared to lift safely by your medical professionals. A good workout will aid in your strength and your endurance. Working with weights is a anaerobic type of exercise that will aid you in your strength and will attack your waist line by chewing up calories. Regardless if your workout is aerobic like running, biking etc. or anaerobic you will want to have proper nutrition, and most importantly stay hydrated. Drink lots and lots of water, before, after and during activities.

If you are not sure about what type home workout is right for you, we are here to help at Doctor for Life. Call us today to schedule a personal fitness assessment with our certified trainers. Our medically based approach will walk you through a program that is custom to your individual health conditions and health goals. 864-640-0009

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In today’s world, to be personal with someone isn’t what it meant 10 years ago.

What would have been going the extra mile to call a family member instead of texting them, or actually walking or driving to their house, has suddenly been replaced with likes and comments. Social media has become a caliber of some imaginary point system that we use to “interact” with friends.

What used to require a handwritten letter took form in emailing, which later became texting, which became commenting, and has now transformed into computerized notes, which exist simply to mimic the act of a personal effort. In the midst of change, we have to recognize now that this means one crucial thing: handwritten notes are more coveted now than ever before. And this is not only a function of the tremendous effects they can make in your life. But it is also because of their rarity that they will make the biggest impact to the receiver.

Did you know that handwriting a personal note positively affects your brain?

-Handwriting increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, similar to meditation. 

-Handwriting sharpens the brain and helps us learn.

-Handwriting forces us to slow down and smell the ink. 

Sounds good, right?  So why not find a good pen and some paper or a note card and get started?  Give some thought this weekend to someone you have not touched base with in a while and write them a quick note and drop it in the mail.  Take a tip from us here at Doctor for Life, remember we must not only take care of ours bodies we must also nourish the mind and soul.

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Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits

Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being.

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

  • Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more-forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.
Benefits of massage

Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.  Other studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.

Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.

Improves Ability for Physical Activity

Research finds that massage therapy can actually enhance the effects of exercise. Recommendations are made that massage therapy offers patients who only exercise a couple of times a week to help improve flexibility and blood flow but to also help them with the soreness and stiffness they experience after their exercise.  Since massage increases oxygenation of muscle tissue, it helps sustain endurance and shorten recovery time.

What you can expect during a massage at Doctor for Life

You don’t need any special preparation for massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, our massage therapist will ask you about any symptoms, your medical history and what you’re hoping to get out of massage. Our massage therapist will explain the kind of massage and techniques they will use.

In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loose-fitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you’re comfortable. You will lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. Our massage therapist will perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.  No matter what kind of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage.

If our massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Occasionally you may have a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot. It’s likely to be uncomfortable while our massage therapist works it out. But if it becomes painful, speak up.

The take-home message about massage

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever.

Call us today to book your session whether it is to help in a certain condition or just to pamper yourself.  You deserve the personal time to make yourself feel energized and relaxed.  864-640-0009. We accept qualified patients HSA and FSA cards as well.

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Happy Hump Day- Using Grocery Flyers to Plan Meals

If you have ever attended one of the cooking classes at Doctor for Life you have heard Chef Rodney mention many times, one of his most frequently-used methods for saving money on food is to simply create a meal plan each week based on the sales found in grocery flyers. He suggest to then take that meal plan and prepare a grocery list based on it, which naturally includes many of the sale items found in the flyers.  In our area, these sales flyers are published on Wednesdays for the next week.  It’s a great start to Hump Day for the week.

For most of you, this approach to meal planning may be vastly different than the way you do it.  If you are like most people you tend to learn such things through repetition and example, seeing what others have done and simply trying it their self until it becomes natural and normal.  Let’s see how it’s done.

Getting the Flyers
Many grocery store chains carry digital copies of their flyers on their websites. If your preferred grocery store does not, you can often find a copy of that week’s grocery store flyer inside a copy of the Wednesday and Sunday newspaper in your area.

Identifying Interesting Items
As you browse through the flyers for each store, try to look for items that are either on sale low enough that they stand out to you or ones that stand out for flavor reasons, inspiring you to get into the kitchen and cook. Chef Rodney suggest to particularly focus on produce and meat deals.

Finding and Choosing Recipes
We know that you need to plan for five dinners in the coming week, as well as making sure that you have things on hand for breakfasts (like plenty of oatmeal and eggs, for example) and a few items for backup lunches in case you don’t have enough leftovers to cover your lunches.

You can use a recipe search engine like or, putting in the interesting ingredients you found above to search for simple recipes you can make that the family would like (with an eye toward your own dietary needs, too). You can also go through your cookbooks and recipe box to see if you have anything interesting that matches well.

Building a Meal Plan and a Master Ingredient List
You should have come up with an actual meal plan at this point, slotting in the various meals for various nights. The biggest reason for doing this is so that you can be sure to use the fresher ingredients as quickly as possible, to plan ahead in terms of tasks that need to be done (like soaking beans overnight or overnight oat jars), and to make sure you can roll over elements easily from one meal to the next, like having both meals with onions close enough together that any extra chopped onion doesn’t go bad in the fridge.

You also prepare a “master ingredient list.” This is basically a list of all of the ingredients in this week’s recipes sorted by the place where you would find it in your kitchen – refrigerator, freezer, top pantry shelf, etc.

Turning the Ingredient List into a Grocery List
When you have a “master ingredient list,” you then need to take it around the house to each of the places you have grouped things by on the list, then you will cross off the things you already have. This also makes you check up on the quantity of stuff you use frequently, like milk, and encourages you to add such things to the list.

Once you are done hitting the spots in our kitchen, the grocery list is ready to go. Conveniently, it’s already pretty well organized, as you marked the sale items on the list so you know what store to buy it in, and all of the refrigerator and freezer stuff is already grouped together for you.

At this point simply hit the grocery store, back home unpack everything, and then just follow that meal plan throughout the busy week to make sure you stay on target for your Healthy Lifestyle way of eating.

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Don’t be fooled! The Best Diet: Quality Counts

  • Dietary guidelines have changed over the years as research becomes more accurate in determining what we should eat to attain optimal health and weight. The strongest evidence to date shows that calories matter, but focusing on food quality is an equally important part of preventing weight gain and promoting weight loss.
  • Focus on eating high-quality foods in appropriately sized portions.
  • Changes in specific dietary factors may have big impact on long-term weight gain: Weight-loss Strategy to Only ‘Eat Less, Exercise More” May be Overly Simplistic.

Consider quality, not just calories

“A calorie is a calorie” is an oft-repeated dietary slogan, and not overeating is indeed an important health measure. Rather than focusing on calories alone, however, emerging research shows that quality is also key in determining what we should eat and what we should avoid in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Rather than choosing foods based only on caloric value, think instead about choosing high-quality, healthy foods, and minimizing low-quality foods.

High-quality foods include unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and healthy sources of protein – the foods recommended in the Healthy Eating Plate.

Lower-quality foods include highly processed snack foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined (white) grains, refined sugar, fried foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, and high-glycemic foods such as potatoes.

There isn’t one “perfect” diet for everyone, owing to individual differences in genes and lifestyle.  At Doctor for Life we specialize in designing programs for each individual person.  Call us today to schedule your one on one visit to see what fits your lifestyle based off scientific research.

References: Harvard School of Public Health- The Nutrition Source

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