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Heart-brain connection: Fitness now protects your brain in your 70s and 80s

Stay fit today; avoid dementia tomorrow

It’s well-known exercise plays a vital role in your physical health, and now studies propose staying fit in midlife may protect your brain as well, avoiding mental deteriation in later years.

A new study, published in Neurology, that followed Swedish women for more than 40 years,  suggests one’s level of physical fitness predicts the amount of protection from dementia decades later.1

Swedish dementia/exercise study began 50 years ago

At the onset of the study in 1968, 191 Swedish women ranging in age from 38 to 60 took part in a vigorous stationary cycling test to measure their exercise work capacity. Based on work capacity, women were split into low, medium, and high fitness categories. The women were followed from 1968 to 2012, and dementia diagnoses were recorded.

The measurement of exercise capacity is an important aspect of the strength of this study –  it was based on the participants’ actual performance rather than relying on participants’ subjective reports of how much, how vigorously, and how often they exercised.

Strong association between fitness and likelihood of dementia decades later

Dementia incidence correlated with fitness level, the greater the fitness level, the less the dementia: 32 percent, 25 percent, and 5 percent of women developed dementia in the low, medium, and high fitness groups, respectively.1 This particular study is one of the longest, following participants for up to 44 years, but shorter studies have come to similar conclusions.2-4

Another very interesting finding: in the subset of women whose initial exercise tests had to be stopped because of issues such as excessively high blood pressure, chest pain, or an abnormal EKG change, almost half (nine out of twenty women) developed dementia. Fit women who did develop dementia did so much later in life. Among the five percent of fit women who eventually developed dementia, the average age of development of dementia was eleven years later compared to the medium fitness group – age 90 vs. 79 – an extra eleven years of dementia-free life.

Midlife fitness also linked to brain volume 19 years later

In another study, the effects of midlife physical fitness on the brain were visualized with MRI. Participants at an average age of 40 performed a treadmill test to determine their exercise capacity. Lower exercise capacity at midlife was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume 19 years later, suggesting having a higher fitness level helps prevent brain shrinkage with age.5

Diet determines your propensity for fitness

Important to note, one’s fitness level is strongly linked to what you eat.  People who are overweight  as well as those who don’t eat healthfully, do  not have the will, energy or capacity for regular exercise.  When you eat right, you’re more likely to get fit; when you don’t eat right it is very difficult to get fit.

A nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet (Nutritarian) is the most critical determinant influencing whether one gets dementia or not.  When you eat right  you automatically crave exercise and it becomes pleasurable to do so.

This study also demonstrates the wide variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and several cancers when you get fit. Mixing together nutritional excellence and exercise is when the magic happens to protect yourself from the common diseases of aging.  Exercise offers additional benefits to cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity, as well as some direct effects in the brain, such as the release of protective compounds called neurotrophins.6,7

At any age, fitness is vital for your present and future brain health.

It is never too late to start exercising and you are never too old. Studies have documented cognitive benefits from exercise (strength training and aerobic training) in all age groups, from children to the elderly.6-9  Today is the day to make sure you do both; eat right and get fit.

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


  1. Horder H, Johansson L, Guo X, et al. Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia: A 44-year longitudinal population study in women. Neurology 2018.
  2. Defina LF, Willis BL, Radford NB, et al. The association between midlife cardiorespiratory fitness levels and later-life dementia: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2013, 158:162-168.
  3. Liu R, Sui X, Laditka JN, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a predictor of dementia mortality in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012, 44:253-259.
  4. Willis BL, Gao A, Leonard D, et al. Midlife fitness and the development of chronic conditions in later life. Arch Intern Med 2012, 172:1333-1340.
  5. Spartano NL, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, et al. Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later. Neurology 2016, 86:1313-1319.
  6. Kandola A, Hendrikse J, Lucassen PJ, Yucel M. Aerobic Exercise as a Tool to Improve Hippocampal Plasticity and Function in Humans: Practical Implications for Mental Health Treatment. Front Hum Neurosci 2016, 10:373.
  7. Kirk-Sanchez NJ, McGough EL. Physical exercise and cognitive performance in the elderly: current perspectives. Clin Interv Aging 2014, 9:51-62.
  8. Fiatarone Singh MA, Gates N, Saigal N, et al. The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) study-resistance training and/or cognitive training in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, double-blind, double-sham controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2014, 15:873-880.
  9. Mavros Y, Gates N, Wilson GC, et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. J Am Geriatr Soc 2016.
Hands Laptop

Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness: the Sedentary Society – Part III

In examining this subject I have found myself wondering about the challenges that this complex issue of technology and its impact on our lives is having. The reality is that NO ONE really knows what the impact of technology and our way of life holds in store for any of us. We DO know there is going to be a “reckoning” and that if we remain seated and stressed then significantly negative consequences will surely emerge. These include ongoing chronic medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and mental disturbances of all kinds to name a few. Finally an unhealthy aging process where people of all ages will be treated for these and other conditions will become a daily part of life for families all over America.

President Clinton was quoted in the past as saying that “this may be the first generation of children to not outlive their parents”. Quite frankly that thought shocked me so I became even more convinced that there is much work to be done before that statement can be labeled as true. It is still a real possibility and it will take all of us to find he answers. My grandson of 12 has already been diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure and this is only the “tip of the iceberg”. What about all the other children? What will their futures be like? What can be done? That is the question I will be spending the rest of my time on earth attempting to define and understand.

In this Part III I will examine the sedentary society and its corresponding partner the obesity epidemic and suggest ways we can move forward without “sitting still” until a crisis emerges that forces us to make changes to address the issues that we may have prevented in the first place! I believe in the possible and although this challenge may seem impossible we have to keep trying and not just throw up our hands in despair and do nothing. Our younger generations are counting on us to find answers and also to encourage us to ASK the best questions in order to present solutions and not merely shallow “guesses” or suppositions. That would be totally wrong!


After my training sessions I go to a nearby McDonald’s to read the paper and ponder and think – without any technology! Two examples are present in my mind of what I observe almost daily. The first one is of an elderly man who sits for hours staring at his phone and never speaking to anyone. He is always alone and he is there when I arrive – and when I leave. He is in my opinion in the “sitting and waiting to die” mode. I don’t know his circumstances but he appears to be alone in life. He is physically weak, overweight, always cold (he wears layers of clothes) and probably younger than me. Why he lives this way is a mystery to me but I DO know he is completely unaware of how his behavior is creating a future I am sure he would rather avoid!

The second one is the young man who brings his computer and sits for hours working on “whatever” while never looking up and “checking in” with his surroundings. He spends time checking websites and apparently without much purpose to his searches. The reality is that his computer appears to be his source of stimulation and while it can be a source of inspiration, a computer is not a companion. No real interaction occurs while he sits and stares at his computer. By the way, he is just one of many who do the same thing – especially on weekends. On many days there will multiple seating areas taken up with this same activity by as many as ten people.

These people are ALL “sitting their way to an early grave” and the only person who seems to notice this phenomenon is ME. Everyone, including the families with children, appear to be addicted to this form of behavior. I rarely see any people engaged in conversation and virtually NOBODY ever once looks at someone and smiles. This environment is not the one of my childhood on Maui or the times of my adulthood but it is the reality I observe everyday. Consequently, I live in a world where people no longer really interact with one another and the “quiet is deafening? This is not a world I know or feel I belong in except to say that I feel it is my job to say “WAKE UP” and MOVE!


This challenge exists but no one really knows why. Every diet in the world has not saved the world from its own gluttony. We are fatter and heavier than ever. When I was in college in the mid – late 60’s I saw virtually NO overweight or obese person. I walked everywhere on campus and exercised at the gym. I saw activity everywhere. The years following college saw more of the same. No technology – no obesity. The change came in the early 90’s. My daughter graduated from the Journalism School at USC in 1993. Her class was the last to use typewriters to write their stories. The school transitioned to computers and Lisa’s class was the last one to study her career specialty “the old fashioned way” that stories were told. News was reported with people being at the center of her universe – no twitter, Instagram, social media and all that has come to dominate our world.

From that moment on the world changed and with Steven Job’s invention of the cell phone a decade later the change became REAL and LASTING. We now live in a “seated world” where the only movement people get is when they get out their cars to do something that they CAN’T do from their cars. We line up at the drive through for banking, food and other services that keep us from walking. People even order at the drive through and now employees “walk” their order out to their cars. People SIT in their cars with the engine running eating their fries and burgers. I see this everyday also and it makes me wonder how their lives will turn out. Will they live lives of fulfillment and excitement and health or be in hospitals for “procedures” to keep them alive?

We are seeing huge increases in joint replacement surgeries on younger and younger people and because we are so inactive and heavy the issues will NOT go away without intervention and programs that address the underlying issues at the core. My answer as to why diets still are the main form of weight loss in this country is because a diet doesn’t require anything other than eating different food than we are accustomed to eating. Less than 5 percent of the people who stop dieting retain the loss – the rest gain the weight back – AND MORE!

The experts cannot agree on the solution(s) because the CAUSES are so complex. They cover a wide spectrum of possibilities from emotional, self esteem, physical, hormonal and so much more. This is why I recommend a comprehensive approach that encompasses examining all these areas in concert to arrive at an individualized approach than CAN work for EACH person in the population. However. the cost for this process may be prohibitive. There is no way we can know until we try new protocols beyond surgery, diets and drugs. I CAN say that if we do not address this issue it will cost the healthcare system billions – and possibly trillions – of dollars in the future. We just DON’T know at this point and if anyone says they THE answer – run the other way. Drugs and diets alone DON’T WORK!


I believe in the three basic principles of healthy aging. They encompass the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life itself. These paths can combine to bring us relief and the answers we need in order to solve this crisis. I believe technology will keep us seated and not moving as long as we remain “unconscious” to our choices, activities and days. If we choose to keep our heads buried in our computers and continue to stare at our phones, then I don’t know what else to say except “good luck getting old”.

As my dear friend Edith Bird has said to me on numerous occasions: “Getting old is NOT for sissies”! Edith is 84 and works out four times a week doing cardio and weights and stretching. She has a wonderful soul and never makes excuses while being blessed with a wonderful heart and nature. I respect her and admire her. I tell her she is MY role model and we laugh and enjoy the time we spend together at the gym – and then we go our separate ways until the next time we see each other.

When she finally passes on (assuming I am still here), I will always hold her in my memory as someone who made a significant difference in my life. She will have left me the gift of hopefully inspiring someone else as I live out the remaining years of my journey through life. I want you to think about HOW you treat yourself and remember to think – and be – like Edith: Fearless, honest, and devoted to living each day to its fullest – with no regrets. This is the beginning to acquiring – and embodying wisdom – and that is finally after all the ONLY goal that really matters at the end of our lives!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.

Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.


The Biggest Population in US History

Did you know the Baby Boomers were the biggest population in US history?
Well, that was until their kids, the millennials, came along. Baby boomers were born from 1946-1964 and were 79 million strong. We are now down to about 76 million boomers and 10,000 are turning 65 or 70 every day! The millennials only outpaced them by 81 million, but for some reason the entire fitness industry is competing for their business and their attention and completely ignoring the largest, wealthiest, longest living generation in US history!

The leading Boomers are 63-72 and they are becoming “seniors” in a completely new way. In fact programs like Silver Sneakers, and other “senior” fitness programs, they are not attending, because as they would put it, those are for “old people ”….maybe for my mom or dad, but not me! This entire generation is breaking the mold on aging and is looking for something new, something cutting edge, something to give them a competitive advantage on their next 20-30 years. They want to give the grand kids a run for their money and they are only just beginning to take on new adventures. So they need personal trainers, group fitness instructors and fitness programming to be the best it can be.

If you want to stand out and dominate this market, then you need expertise and credentials that set you apart, because they are not going to just train with anyone.

In 2014 we set out to change the fitness industry introducing the first ever Specialist program based on decades of research and over 2,000 clients. We knew the industry didn’t need just another “senior fitness ” lite exercise course, but rather, one grounded in the science of human function and longevity…..and one that believed people could be vibrant, healthy and fit at any age….up until their very last breath!  We believe there will be hundreds more like Dr. Charles Eugster who decided to take up sprinting and wakeboarding in his 90s…..because it simply looked like a “hell of a lot of fun”!

If you want to be part of the functional aging movement I encourage you to check out the Functional Aging Specialist certification, and join the growing ranks. Save $100 on the certification with code 100OFFMFN. Click here for course details. 30% of proceeds from this FAI purchase is donated to the MedFit Education Foundation!

Dan Ritchie, PhD, has a broad background in the fitness industry including training and management in commercial and university/hospital-based fitness, for-profit, notfor-profit and educational facilities. His primary areas of expertise are in personal training for special populations: athletes, pregnancy, blind, stroke recovery, Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimers, etc.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Functional Aging Institute.


Successful Aging with Positive Thinking

This article was written with the intent to inform as well as inspire trainers, coaches and other practitioners who work with the aging population. As a gerontologist who studied the evolution of reflective wisdom, I am intrigued by famous quotes from years past. Henry Ford once said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” The aging process should be an enriching experience that involves our appreciation of our personal significance. However for many, it is a time of loneliness, depression, isolation and purposelessness.  Is this purely due to circumstances, our outlook, or a combination of both?

We have approximately 60,000 thoughts daily and 80% of them will be present tomorrow. Our thoughts and beliefs generate our feelings and emotions, our emotions drive our actions, and our actions create our outcomes. So there might be something to the statement – “Think positive and change your thoughts because it can change your world”. There are some studies looking at the possibility of meditation and gene expression. That in turn raises the intriguing possibility of dodging our supposed genetic destiny by changing our thoughts and attitudes which affect our mental and emotional stress. Positive emotions are an essential daily requirement for successful aging. Not only do they improve our physical and mental health, they provide a buffer against depression and illness. Science shows that people who are happy – live longer and have healthier lives. It was also noted that positive people are 50% less likely to have heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke and that increasing positive emotions could lengthen life span by 10 years.

Over 60 % of US centenarians called themselves “Positive People”

Even though Positive psychology has been around for 20 years, it seems to be absent in our conversations and teachings. Dr. Seligman did not want to focus on the negative issues but instead the positive. Positive psychology is “the scientific study of what makes life most worth living”, or “the scientific study of positive behavior and thriving on various levels that include the cultural, personal, physical, social, and comprehensive dimensions of life.” This way of thinking is concerned with “the good life”, consideration about what is our ultimate value in life – the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life. Positive psychologists note many ways to cultivate happiness. Happiness can achieved with a productive and meaningful existence. Social connections with family, friends and networks become more important as we age. Physical exercise in numerous methods and the practice of meditation may also contribute to happiness.

Those who practice positive psychology use affirmative attitudes toward one’s personal experiences, and life events. The objective is to minimize negative thoughts that may arise in hopelessness, and instead, cultivate positivity toward life. This method encourages the acceptance of one’s past, enthusiasm about one’s future, and a sense of desire and gratitude in the present.

Margaret Lee Runbeck states, “Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”

According to Andrew Weil, MD, healthy aging includes an ethical will which is pertinent to those of us “concerned with making sense of our lives, giving back, and leaving a legacy”. It is a way to express optimism for future generations. An ethical will could be in many forms such as a letter, card, book, project, etc.  The ethical will includes:

  • A way to leave something behind, to be remembered
  • A way to document your history and stories for others to learn from in the future
  • A way to help you understand your own values and to share your ideals with future generations
  • A way to help you learn more about yourself
  • A way to help you accept mortality and create a way to ‘live on’ after you are gone
  • A way to provide an immediate sense of worthiness, completion, and accomplishment

Death is inevitable and aging wisdom is the process of our coming to terms with losses and changes.   We must focus on the life in our years not the years in our life, as well as passing down our pearls of wisdom from our years of learning and experiences. This in itself gives us purpose.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming… WOO HOO!!! WHAT A RIDE!!!” 

May you live all they days of your life and may your life live on forever.

Dianne McCaughey Ph.D. is an award winning fitness specialist with more than 35 years experience in personal training, group exercise, coaching, and post-rehabilitation. She is a master trainer for multiple companies and practices and teaches optimal wellness emphasizing the mind, body and spirit. She works with special populations and focuses on posture, gait, balance and corrective exercise programs for better function and health.


Taking it Slow. Not Every Fitness Goal Needs to Be Fast and Hard.

Senior Woman Holding Fitness Sign With Family In BackgroundGo big or go home? We all want to see fantastic results from our hard work and dedication to any fitness program. If we maintain nutrition, eat well and work as hard as we can, we are going to see results: that is inevitable. But, do we have to train as hard as possible each and every time we workout, each and every day? Sure, we fit in a rest day, but what else can we do to make sure we are restoring our bodies and minds?

Fitness goals are most easily reached when they are part of every aspect of our lifestyle and not compartmentalized into a few hours of the day. We have limited energy sources no matter how healthy we are, so it is important to maintain awareness about how each of our decisions and actions influence our wellness and choose accordingly.

From a physical aspect, we can slow down some of our workouts to build strength. This works in a variety of ways. By increasing resistance, continuing muscle exertion over a period of time and working muscles beyond the support of initial momentum, strength can be gained, even with relatively light weights or by using the weight of the body alone. This can be true of some weight training programs and is something you can discuss adding to your fitness routines with a certified personal trainer. It is also one of the key elements of building strength through yoga practice and asanas (yoga postures). An additional consideration from a holistic health perspective is the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on weight loss. By taking part in calming physical activities such as restorative, gentle, yin and meditative yoga practices, it is possible to reduce stress, allowing the body to shed weight, heal and be at top capacity for more intensive strength and cardio training when you are working with your personal trainer or in other group fitness programs. By taking time to slow down, you can actually optimize performance and fitness results.

Nourishing your mind can also come in handy, as a way to promote your health when you are not busy exercising or working. Take time to read, learn, talk with fitness experts, organize your time and plan your meals. A wealth of free information is available online to support you in your fitness goals. Blogs with entries from personal trainers and other fitness experts are a great place to start. Personal trainer certification organizations such as the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT), maintain blogs with a variety of advice for personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts. You may also get inspired and decide to take your fitness goals one step further. Once you get involved learning more about fitness, biomechanics and how amazingly capable your body is, you may even get inspired to become a personal trainer or group fitness instructor yourself!

If you find yourself interested in learning more about how to incorporate fitness into every aspect of your life, maybe even your work, you can find out more from the NCCPT.

No matter where you are at in your fitness journey, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Slow down sometimes to speed up your progress!

Reprinted with permission from NCCPT.

John Platero is the founder and CEO of the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) which has certified thousands of personal trainers both nationally and internationally.


Running on Empty

Planet earth really should be called the water planet. 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Also, when you explore land, air, and sea, it becomes quite obvious that perhaps the most interesting world lies under the water. An ecosystem so diverse, expansive and fascinating.

It should be no surprise that water has an even more amazing impact on the human body where well over 50% is made up of water-moreso for some parts (blood 90%, brain 85%, muscle and skin 70%). It is no wonder why you can go many weeks without food but can survive only a few days without water. Water is an essential nutrient for optimal function of the human machine, yet most of us (estimated 75%) do not get enough. Most of us spend the day mildly dehydrated, approximately one quart low, something not good for your health.

Water is important to virtually every organ system in the body. It carries nutrients through the system and aids in purification, kidney function, bowel function, joint lubrication, cooling and temperature control mechanisms, and biochemical activity at the cellular level.

“Unlike an automobile, we don’t have an Empty/Full gauge and a red light that comes on when out tank is low”

Unlike an automobile, we don’t have an Empty/Full gauge and a red light that comes on when our tank is low. Thirst is usually the first sign that you are running dry but that sensation does not kick in until you already low on H20. Not a great alert system. So you need to stay ahead. Some signs of mild dehydration include daytime fatigue, dizziness, headaches and muscle aches or weakness. A 2% drop in hydration can result in problems with short term memory and concentration. If you exercise regularly you are even more prone to chronic dehydration. Air Conditioning robs your system of fluids as does air travel.

Water is also important for weight control. The body sometimes confuses thirst for hunger, partly because the thirst center is very near the hunger center in you brain. The result, if you are a little dry, you eat-not great for weight control. This is one reason to drink lots of water when you are trying to lose weight. You can often fool the hunger center. Even mild dehydration can slow down your metabolism also leading to weight gain. Water is the perfect weight-watcher beverage-zero calories, and if you drink enough, especially cold, it has a calorie burning effect! A great way to curb night snacking is to first brush your teeth and then drink a full glass of ice water-good for hunger pangs.

Also all beverages are not created equally when it comes to fluid replacement. Coffee, tea and sodas with caffeine don’t count. In fact they create, through their diuretic effect, a net fluid loss to your system, thus increasing dehydration. Also, they are often filled with naked calories (no nutritional value). Sports drinks are useful if you are exercising over one hour especially in hot weather or involved in endurance activities. Proper fluid intake and hydration is the key to preventing illnesses such as heat stroke in athletes especially in the summer months. This is a totally preventable cause of death in young athletes. Learn more about the science behind hydration from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.

Your goal it a minimum of 8- eight oz glasses (2 quarts) of water a day. Try to get it in earlier in the day so that you are not visiting the bathroom all night. There may even be added health benefits to drinking a full glass of water upon awakening in the AM. A twist of lemon or lime removes some of the monotony. Bottled water has become the rage with over 700 choices worldwide and competition heating up for your dollars. It is a $7 billion industry in North American alone and more in Europe where they’ve been imbibing for years. There are even designer brands with vitamins, supplements and even oxygen. Adds for Fiji water remind us that the word SPA comes from the Latin “Salus Per Aquam” which means “Health By Water”. There are indeed touted purity and health benefits, none proven scientifically but I must admit that they do seem to taste better and go down a little smoother, although I usually stick with my home grown Eau d’ faucet. There are even water taste-testing competitions (International Water Tasting Awards) something I tried many years ago with my sister Linda (an early adopter water snob) to see if she could actually tell the difference between Philly tap and French bottled water. I’ll never tell the results!

If you are going bottled, be prepared to get out your wallet, especially in some restaurants where waiters are pressured to sell more (at 300-500% mark up). Some fancier restaurants and hotels even have “water list” menus and a water sommelier, an aqua expert, to help with your choices, before you take the plunge.

Spring, bottled or tap, to me is less important than being sure that you get enough. To learn more including the difference between purified, artesian, mineral, sparkling, spring and other waters, and even calculate your own fluid needs, checkout bottledwater.org or get your feet wet with these Fun Water Facts for Kids.

So, camel-up. Head over to the water cooler, not only for small talk, but also for big health gains.

Originally published on the Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from Dr. DiNubile.

Nicholas DiNubile, MD is an Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Doc, Team Physician & Best Selling Author. He is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind & spirit. Follow him MD on Twitter: twitter.com/drnickUSA

nordic walking picture

Active Living for Seniors and Nordic Walking

Healthcare professionals working with older adults are routinely prescribing walking, as part of rehabilitation and overall health and wellness programs. There are over 100 research studies identifying health benefits of adding specialized poles to any walking routine. Due to the improved balance, posture, reduce impact off painful joints and improved mood and confidence health, this accessible and affordable activity, urban poling, and especially the use of Urban Poling‘s unique ACTIVATOR™ poles, has become a popular choice for persons requiring help with stability and balance, as well as for older or perhaps less active adults. The ACTIVATOR™ poles are the only ones like it available on the market which have been co-designed by an occupational therapist for maximum safety, comfort and effectiveness, as well as reducing the factors related to falls.Dr. Agnes Coutinho

Research Benefits

Evidence based research relating to older adults clearly identify poling, with the proper training, as a healthy activity suited for improving quality of life. Proven benefits include:

  • Increase balance & stability
  • Increase in mobility
  • Improve posture
  • Reduce impact off lower extremity joints
  • Improve gait speed
  • Improve strength (poling can engage up to 90% of your muscles)
  • Increase confidence

Short-term and long-term effects of Nordic Walking training on balance, functional mobility, muscle strength and aerobic endurance among Hungarian community-living older people: a feasibility study. Balance, functional mobility and aerobic endurance significantly improved in the Nordic walking group.  This study showed that Nordic Walking is a simple, well–tolerated and effective physical activity for older people in Hungary.1

Effect Of Walking Poles On Dynamic Gait Stability on the Elderly. Texas Women’s University study, which concluded that walking poles provided increased gait stability at both preferred and fast speed.2

Effects of Nordic walking compared to conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on fitness in older adults. While all modes of exercise improved various components of fitness, Nordic walking provided the best well-rounded benefits by improving upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Therefore, Nordic walking is recommended as an effective and efficient mode of concurrent exercise to improve overall functional fitness in older adults.3

The effects of pole walking on health in adults: A systematic Review. The effects of pole walking (PW) on cardiorespiratory fitness were most extensively studied. The most frequently examined psychosocial measure was quality of life. All studies reported at least one beneficial effect of PW compared with the control group. The results of this systematic review indicate that PW  programs have some beneficial effects on both physical and psychosocial health in adults with and without clinical conditions.4

Diana Oliver is a dynamic business professional with a extensive background in marketing, sales and fitness. She has a passion for promoting the many health benefits of Urban Poling, which stems from her personal experience. Diana combined Urban Poling with other positive lifestyle choices to regain a healthy weight and improve her cardiovascular health following two strenuous pregnancies. Her positive recovery has instilled a drive to help change the face of health care in Canada.  In 2012, she became a certified urban poling instructor and taught classes in her own Pilates business.  In 2014, became a partner in Urban Poling Inc.


(1) Viraq et al., 2014

(2) Kwon, Silver, Ryu, Yoon, Newton & Shim, 2006 (unpublished)

(3) Takeshima et al., 2013

(4) Fritschi et al., 2012.

The information in this article is not intended to replace existing rehabilitation programs. The testimonials are those of independent therapists and are not a guarantee of results. The consumer should not rely solely on this publication but should also consult their physician or therapist. Urban Poling Inc. and its employees and representatives do not accept any liability for the information contained in this publication or any damages.


Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness and the Sedentary Society, Part 1

Numerous studies have revealed that on average we check our phones more than 200 times a day and have in fact started to become addicted to “staying connected”. We literally “run into” each other while walking and staring at our phones while texting. It happens every day. In the gym I attend for my training sessions, I see numerous people staring at their phones while sitting on weight equipment oblivious to the world around them. I have unofficially observed that up to 80-90% of the people who are there for physical activity are either listening “to something” through headphones or are reviewing data and/or texting someone. This is an enormous emerging challenge with no real solutions in sight: Sedentary lifestyles and technology. 

With the revelations of Facebook’s role in the 2016 elections we are seeing the unfolding of more personal data being used for all kinds of purposes and it is not going to end anytime soon. My question is: Is it worth it for our future health to be so connected through technology or is there a better balance that can be struck that enables us to “reach out” more effectively? I pose this question in the context of our health not only NOW but in the future as well. I see health issues becoming more prevalent because we are literally “sitting our way to ill health”. Sitting has become the “new smoking”! Is there a healthy way forward or are we “tied to our technology” so that we can never break “the ties that bind us” to a life of no movement?


The challenge  as I see it is that we are no longer “paying attention” to our lives. We need to understand what is happening in our individual experiences as we go through our day and then can hopefully make appropriate and timely decisions that will effect not only our future going forward – but today as well. The obesity crisis (71% of the population is either overweight or obese according to the latest data), the sedentary society that is now a reality, and the role that advancing technology will play in our lives are critical issues that need to be addressed if we are to find a “healthy way forward”.

As I have observed in my own experience, we are living in Steve Jobs vision of a world tied together through technology and available to us 24/7. He envisioned a world where we could access everything we needed through a phone – and computer. He wanted people to have the  “freedom” to do all that they wanted to do efficiently and with a planned effort through the gifts that technology would bring to each of us. I believe that his vision has become one that is “tying” us to our devices so completely that we are “disconnected” from what is actually happening around us. Life is literally “passing us by” and we are completely “unconscious” to this process.

I have lived 80% of my life without any technological assistance whatsoever. To retain my own power I believe I am the one who gets to “choose” how and when I let my computer and phone assist me. Right now I am struggling with the concept of what I will need to sacrifice in order to have technology help me advance my career as a healthy aging specialist moving forward. I will never “catch up” with all the technological advances that are coming – or be inclined to use all the new gadgets just because “everyone needs the latest model of a device”. That is NOT how I want to live my remaining years. Is this a choice you need to review as well? I want to use my time more toward serving others and staying healthy and fit so that I can enjoy my 70’s to the fullest – and have the greatest impact on people’s lives that I can.

What will your priorities be going forward? Will you really care if you have the most recent technological advancement or will you set other priorities for yourself? Only YOU can decide how you want to integrate the hours of your day with the technology you have and use daily. As a practical matter it is through our choices that we determine the course of our lives and if we choose to spend them staring at our phones life WILL indeed pass us by. We will be sick, fat, and on drugs as we enter the very years that we wanted to enjoy. Is this you now or will you decide to change that future today by making new choices that give you time “to be” the best version of yourself that you can imagine?


I keep coming back to the issue of consciousness because I believe it is a fundamental principle of what healthy aging means to ME and after all isn’t that what matters most? We determine our future by the choices we make today. It really IS that simple. If we choose to spend the hours of our day sitting and staring at a computer screen or smart phone we will create a life of dependence and ill health that WILL dominate our days until we eventually die.

For the past five to eight years my daughter has been fighting the longest and most difficult of fights for her health. Alcohol dependency, health issues of significance and general mishaps (falls, concussions etc.) have created a life that is characterized by hospital stays, ER visits, medical interventions of all shapes and sizes, and numerous appointments with specialists and medical professionals to treat her and get her back on the road to health. I am sure she never envisioned her 40’s being dedicated to her health in such a complex way but she is in a battle for her life now and the outcome is NOT certain. There are encouraging signs emerging but as her father I am very concerned about what IS going to happen to her going forward.

Her situation is not all that uncommon and many of us do NOT realize how close to our mortality we will come before we realize we “could have” or “should have” chosen differently when we had the chance. Lisa’s challenges started to form in her 20’s on both a professional and personal level and she is “unwinding” all of that harm now. I can only love her and wish her well – and let the professionals “do what they need to do” for her to enhance her chances at a full life again.

How will you choose? Will you continue to stare at your phone or will you decide to start living in the “real world”? I want to live in the real world as much as possible and therefore I DO NOT check my phone while training at the gym – it remains in my bag . I do NOT text so I do not need to check for text messages. My latest phone IS a very good phone with incredible capabilities but I will NOT make it the focus my day. I want to smile at people, greet my day with an “attitude of gratitude” and bless my very breath. I awake with gratitude and hopefulness in my heart and carry that feeling throughout the day so my “consciousness” may expand – and not  shrink. Let your consciousness grow beyond its current boundaries and you WILL be rewarded in kind and isn’t that worth all your best intentions?


As I live each day my mind is always focused on my many blessings. I think about Lisa and her continuing efforts to heal and am grateful I don’t have to face such challenges. I get to breathe and think and feel – and BE as alive as I choose to be because healthy aging starts “within us” and cannot be derived from our technology no matter how SMART it may be. On one level Steve Jobs was right. Dealing with the complexities of the modern world DOES require wonderful advancements in technology but at what price? Do we succumb to the “siren call” of the internet or do we USE it as the tool it was meant to be? I don’t think even Steve Jobs would object to that line of questioning, do you? Only YOU can decide your future – what will it be?

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.

Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Getting Active at Every Age and Stage: Benefits of Nordic Walking

With a shocking 70% of children leaving organized sports by the age of 13 and obesity rates on the rise, we know that we need to be introducing our children to activities that they can do across a lifespan, whether they are 5 or 95 years of age!

Join Urban Poling for a free webinar that will walk through some of the most important and challenging stages of life. Learn why Nordic Walking can be beneficial for each age group to ensure longevity and exercise adherence across a lifetime!

Webinar Overview:

  • Shocking Stats & a look into the Sport-Lifecycle Trends
  • What is Nordic Walking?
  • Research supporting Nordic Walking for All Ages and Stages
    • Childhood (3-11 Years)
    • Adolescence (12-18 Years)
    • Adulthood (Pre/Post Natal, Weight Management & Disease Prevention, Pre/Post Hip/Knee)
    • Seniors & Mitigating Falls

This webinar will be presented by Gabriella De Nino, Registered Kinesiologist, CSEP-CPT & NCCP Certified Soccer Coach.

June 26, 12:00-12:45 EST
Webinar Registration ►

Diana Oliver is a dynamic business professional with a extensive background in marketing, sales and fitness. She has a passion for promoting the many health benefits of Urban Poling, which stems from her personal experience. Diana combined Urban Poling with other positive lifestyle choices to regain a healthy weight and improve her cardiovascular health following two strenuous pregnancies. Her positive recovery has instilled a drive to help change the face of health care in Canada.  In 2012, she became a certified urban poling instructor and taught classes in her own Pilates business.  In 2014, became a partner in Urban Poling Inc.