What Is Medical Fitness?

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there were 39,750 fitness centers/health clubs of all types in the U.S in 2019. Other sources estimate the number of “medical fitness centers” in 2019 were approximately 1,460 or 3.5% of total health clubs. You might be wondering what the difference is between a fitness center and a medical fitness center. While they are indeed similar, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Cooper Wellness Strategies Vice President David Evans, FMFA, looks at the rise of medical fitness, who it serves and how it differs from traditional exercise programming or a standard gym or fitness center.

In his book Medical Fitness Essentials, Robert Boone states “the first known medical fitness center was started by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in 1970 following the tremendous success of his book Aerobics, which advocated aerobics exercise as an essential component of a comprehensive wellness and prevention program.” Indeed, Dr. Cooper’s pioneering vision set the stage for the emergence of the preventive health, wellness and fitness industries the entire world benefits from today. Globally these sectors are now multi-billion dollar industries.

Cooper Aerobics Activity Center—now Cooper Fitness Center—was the original prototype for today’s multi-purpose fitness centers that provide a variety of cardiovascular and strength training exercise equipment, exercise classes and programs. By contrast, “workout gyms” prior to 1970 focused almost exclusively on strength training for men only and primarily used free weights, Olympic bars, power racks and dumbbells for training with very limited, if any, cardiovascular exercise options. Dr. Cooper is credited with introducing and emphasizing the importance of cardiovascular exercise to not only the fitness industry, but also to the health care industry and the world.

So what is medical fitness? By definition, the term medical means “relating to illness and injuries and to the treatment or prevention thereof.” When applied to the definition of fitness—the condition of being physically fit and healthy—medical fitness means improving the fitness and health of individuals with illness or injury through the “treatment” of exercise. This is not to be confused with rehabilitation, which relates to clinically supervised treatment (for example, cardiac rehab, physical therapy, etc.) after a patient receives medical care related to an episode of illness (for example, heart attack) or injury (for example, torn knee ligament).

Essentially, medical fitness is the next phase of “treatment” for an individual after they complete rehabilitation or have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis. In fact, the origin of the medical fitness industry in the late 1970s occurred due to requests by cardiac rehab patients to continue exercising for a fee in hospital cardiac rehab facilities after they had completed their supervised rehabilitation. Medical fitness programming incorporates exercise training and education specifically related to an individual’s health conditions. 

As good as participation in medical fitness programming is for a patient’s long-term outcome, unfortunately many hospitals and other types of health care providers do not provide it because these types of programs are currently not eligible for reimbursement by Medicare or health insurance companies. As a result, most health care providers do not believe medical fitness programs align with their financial business model and therefore are not considered part of their “core business.” However, this position is short-sighted because medical fitness programs provide opportunities for patients to more fully recover from an illness or injury after their reimbursable treatments and sessions have ended—thus providing better long-term outcomes for the patient and contributing to decreased readmissions of these patients to the hospital, both of which have a positive financial impact for the hospital. Additionally, medical fitness programs serve as a means of “secondary prevention” for those diagnosed with chronic health conditions. These programs help slow, or in some cases eliminate altogether, the progression of a chronic disease and lower the need for ongoing high-cost clinical services.

Sounds relatively simple; however, people managing chronic health conditions or recovering from a significant injury are significantly less likely to exercise on their own or join a fitness center because they are unsure about how to exercise safely given their personal health condition. And in the case of joining a fitness center, they often will not do so because they do not believe staff at traditional fitness centers or health clubs are trained to provide exercise and fitness advice and oversight for people with their specific health condition. As a result, many individuals with pre-existing health conditions do not engage in a sustained exercise regimen of any kind and sadly never experience full recovery and become physically fit.

Well-designed medical fitness programs bridge this gap, contribute to the overall continuum of health care and play an important role in helping individuals become “physically fit and healthy” within the context of their chronic health condition or injury. Additionally, medical fitness programs help traditional fitness centers expand their market reach by engaging a new segment of the population they have not previously served. Not only can medical fitness programming provide a new source of revenue, but some fitness centers have seen up to a 70% conversion of program participants to full-time fitness members.

To address this important need, Cooper Wellness Strategies, a Cooper Aerobics company, has developed of the Cooper Tracks medical fitness program. Five tracks are currently available:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cancer
  4. Arthritis
  5. Immunity & Reconditioning (for those who want to boost their immune systems (for example, post-COVID survivors/patients) or simply recondition the body after an extended illness or inactivity)

Each track lasts eight weeks and provides supervised exercise and education sessions in a small group setting twice per week. The tracks are turn-key—providing all the content and materials needed to deliver the programming. Cooper Tracks can be delivered in fitness centers of almost any type and size, as well as a variety of physical rehabilitation facilities. For more information about Cooper Tracks, visit cooper-tracks.com.

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ clients and services, including Medical Fitness services, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Weight Loss Customized for You

With so many weight loss programs available today promising guaranteed success and life-changing results, how do you know which program is ideal for you? Cooper Weight Loss Team Lead Lizzy Mungioli, RDN, LD, compares key features of three popular diet programs, including Cooper Weight Loss, to help you weed out weight loss gimmicks and use credible resources on your journey to success.

Welcome and warning signs
When designing a solid, successful and reliable weight loss program, a variety of components are involved, most importantly, support from professional experts in the following areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Medical oversight
  • Behavioral and mental health

This combination of expertise is vital for long-term success and healthy habit changes. Programs that make specific or lofty promises (such as guaranteeing a specific amount of weight loss) should be considered as red flags. In addition, some weight loss programs truly do not provide the type of support, education or resources one needs to successfully lose weight and most importantly keep it off.

Nutrition and weight loss are heavily intertwined with science. Having evidence-based guidelines from scientifically proven research is crucial to providing someone with credible information and steering them in the right direction for weight loss success.

Tailored tools for success

Cooper Weight Loss (CWL) is an example of a scientific evidence-based weight loss program. CWL does not involve gimmicks, lofty goals, false promises, pills or prepackaged food. It is a six-month, medically-supervised, comprehensive and multi-disciplinary program including a weight loss maintenance component to help ensure success well after program completion. CWL includes:

  • Medical supervision from a Cooper Clinic physician
  • A physical exam
  • Lab work
  • Blood pressure
  • Exercise clearance (to ensure an individual’s safety when starting an intensive weight loss program)
  • Registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Licensed professional counselor

CWL also includes bi-weekly visits with a registered dietitian nutritionist at Cooper Clinic who specializes in obesity and weight management throughout the course of the six-month program. A licensed professional counselor (LPC) also goes through a Behavioral Health Consultation with each patient prior to entry in the program. This is helpful for determining a patient’s mentality, stability and readiness going into the program as well as evaluates their character traits to determine the best methods of education and support.

The LPC also serves to provide a safe space for learning tools to better manage stress in healthier ways than coping with food. Patients visit with the LPC at least four times throughout the program with additional visits always encouraged at the discretion of the patient or LPC. CWL also provides clients with resources to build fitness habits including meeting with an exercise physiologist and personal trainer multiple times along with a complimentary six-month Cooper Fitness Center membership to set them up for optimal success.

CWL provides a myriad of tools tailored for individualized success. The diet recommendations are completely personalized based on the client’s food preferences, calorie needs and health status. No diet is a one-size-fits-all. CWL honors the principle of individualizing each client’s diet and exercise regimen in a way they can adhere to the plan by encouraging sustainable weight loss goals of 0.5-2 pounds per week.

How does CWL measure up to SOTA and Noom?

SOTA
In contrast to CWL, State of the Art (SOTA) Weight Loss is a weight loss program using prepackaged food products intended to be consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The SOTA diet prescription is low-carb with an emphasis on a lot of non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins, including when dining out. Alcohol is also highly discouraged in this program. A coach, whom the program refers to as a “consultant,” is available to each client for guidance in their weight loss goals; however, these consultants are not registered or licensed dietitian nutritionists. The program determines one’s goal weight based on body composition measurements using the Tanita scale, which is less accurate than a DEXA scan. Lab work, physician oversight, LPC visits are not included in this program nor screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or other medical conditions. SOTA’s recommended weight loss goals are three pounds per week for women and four to five pounds per week for men, which make these goals not only unattainable but often unsustainable. The program charges clients a minimum of $200 per week with an indefinite amount of time set for the program’s length.

Noom
Noom on the other hand is a web-based app that can be used on desktop or one’s smart phone. It includes standardized courses and nutrition recommendations as well as a space for logging meals and exercise. It encourages a healthy weight loss rate of one to two pounds per week and support the use of mindfulness to regulate appetite and food intake. Noom, however, does not include the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists, medical supervision, LPC support or exercise recommendations from a fitness specialist.

Overall, each weight loss program has pros and cons depending on one’s preferences and needs. The key is to ensure individuals have the support necessary to be consistent with their behavior change and to utilize healthy, sustainable methods for long-term weight loss based on science. CWL transforms participants’ lives through healthy eating, exercise and behavior change counseling. At Cooper Clinic, we believe that sustainable and successful weight loss is possible with the proper guidance and support each step of the way in your weight loss journey.

Click here to begin your transformation with Cooper Weight Loss today, or call 972.367.6100 to learn more about Cooper Weight Loss virtual options.

Article provided by Lizzy Mungioli, RDN, LDCooper Weight Loss Team Lead, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates

A Word to the Wise (and Fit)

Regardless of age or fitness level, exercise is proven to be beneficial for everyone. In honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, Cooper Wellness Strategies Programs Director Sheryl Brown shares her top five most valuable life lessons learned from working with seniors as a physical therapist.

A lifetime of wisdom
For the past 25 years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with thousands of seniors as a physical therapist. While I was the one educating and instructing patients on the benefits of exercise, proper technique and skilled progression, they in turn taught me more about life than I could ever imagine. The timeless lessons learned from their experience, wisdom and vantage point will be forever remembered. Learn how you can enhance your journey to overall health and well-being.

  1. Life is a gift
    Having gone through numerous positive and negative life experiences, our seniors cherish each day as a gift and have a broad perspective on life. If you slow down and take the time to listen, you’ll find most seniors desire to share their gift of life experiences and offer an abundance of wisdom.
  2. Small improvements lead to large milestones
    My senior patients were passionately dedicated to their exercise routines as they strived to play with their grand kids, continue their golf game or dance at family weddings. Skilled progression of exercise over time through small increases in range of motion, duration or strength yields significant functional gains. Session after session, week after week—it was an inspiration to see my patients achieve and exceed their goals with such motivation and persistence.
  3. A smile is medicine for the heart
    A smile communicates happiness, joy and acceptance marking a particular stage in life. Many times I felt I didn’t have the appropriate words to say to connect with someone’s pain, but I learned that offering a smile bridged the gap and touched their soul. Even during the pandemic when everyone’s smiles were covered by face masks, we’ve learned how to “smile with our eyes.” Make a conscious effort to smile and look into each person’s eyes because as William Shakespeare once wrote—the eyes are the window to the soul.
  4. Listen to learn
    Taking the time to truly listen empathetically and carefully to others, especially our seniors, increases our understanding of life and fosters deeper connections. It also helps build trust and confidence between you and the other person. Even more so, listening makes an individual feel what they have to say matters.
  5. Encouraging words are key
    Simple phrases like “good job,” “keep up the hard work” or “you inspire me” go a long way. Authentic encouragements not only mean a lot to our seniors but people of all ages. As you go about your day, think about what positive phrases or words you might use to encourage a senior or someone else in your life.

I am so grateful for many valuable life lessons and insight gained while working with seniors. This unique demographic not only inspired me in the way they strive toward better health and functionality, but in how they love life and the people around them. Take the time and make the space to learn from your elders. You might be surprised how much you gain from their wisdom and example.

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies clients and services visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

Categories: Cooper Updates

MAT® at Cooper Spa

Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) is a powerful service used to help assess the body and correct muscular imbalances by identifying limited ranges of motion. This non-invasive revolutionary technique is now offered at Cooper Spa by MAT Specialist Paige Cervantes who explains how MAT is beneficial for all ages and stage of life in varying fitness levels.

Variety of benefits for a variety of clients

With a background in licensed massage therapy and personal training, Cervantes is not only an accredited MAT specialist but also a certified MATRx practitioner specializing in hand, wrist and foot techniques. She has worked with a variety of clients—those rehabilitating from previous injuries or surgeries to those of us under a great deal of stress.

While most people may associate muscular imbalances with pain, those who aren’t experiencing muscular or joint pain may dismiss themselves as eligible candidates for MAT. However, this service is beneficial for people who are conditioned and deconditioned alike physically. “We all have muscular imbalances to some degree,” says Cervantes. “We are all either right or left hand dominant; therefore, we do repeated motions which challenge the same muscles over and over again.”

Closing the gap between mobility and fitness

Muscle tightness is an indication of weakness. “If a muscle is tight, it is more than likely protecting a weaker muscle,” says Cervantes. “Every muscle has a threshold of set resistance it can tolerate before it tears. This is why a muscle will begin to shut down in order to protect itself.” She notes that muscles can also begin to shut down due to other factors such as dehydration, injury, vitamin and mineral deficiency with stress having the greatest impact on the body.

MAT serves as a bridge between physical therapy and personal training. While MAT and physical therapy are both designed to discover the source of muscular dysfunction, MAT specifically uses weakness as the main indicator of the cause of limited ranges of motion or pain and then works to correct the issue. Once corrected, client-specific exercises are recommended to be done in a gym or at home to strengthen weak muscles and achieve balanced muscular function. MAT goes hand-in-hand with sports and fitness recovery by helping the muscles contract more efficiently during physical activity.

The MAT spa experience

It is also important to note the difference between massage and MAT. While massage addresses muscle pain by breaking up adhesions, massage therapists will not test for limited ranges of motion to identify muscle weakness.

Unlike other spa services, MAT clients lie on a table in comfortable clothing allowing the service provider to take the client through each range of motion test without restrictions. “There is a lot of communication in the sessions between my client and me throughout,” says Cervantes. “Based on their feedback, including level of discomfort or limitations in movement, I know which muscles to test and where to go next.”

Each MAT session lasts one hour and clients can feel the difference well before the session concludes. Cervantes recently performed an abbreviated MAT demo on a high school track sprinter who, after just 15 minutes, experienced improvement in the range of motion in his hips.

MAT regimen recommendations

For wrist, hand and foot muscle imbalance correction, Cervantes recommends individuals have a MATRx session as often as twice a week. For general full-body MAT assessment and treatment, she advises clients see her once per week. For clients who are no longer experiencing pain but want to maintain their results and simply move better, Cervantes recommends one session every few months.

Reaching one’s full fitness potential begins with reaching a full range of motion. The benefits of MAT are available to everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, who are looking for muscular balance for more efficient workouts.

Clients who are experiencing inflammation or pain or are recovering from a recent injury or surgery are encouraged to receive consent from their health care provider before beginning MAT. To schedule a MAT appointment or purchase a Cooper Spa gift card, email dallas@cooperspa.com or call 972.392.7729.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Dynamic Food Duos

April 9, 2021 2 comments

Have you ever thought about how your foods work together? By pairing certain foods, you can get more bang for your buck as well as optimize your nutritional intake. From inexpensive spices to dry good pantry staples—try these favorite affordable food pairings along with a few recipes ideal for maximizing their benefits together.

Vitamin C + plant-based iron

Iron found in plant-based foods such as beans, lentils and spinach is best absorbed when paired with vitamin C. To reap the most benefit from this duo, it is best to eat them in the same meal, not just the same day. Examples include:

  • Bell peppers and black beans
  • Tomatoes and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes and lentils

Recipe: Try this Wheat Berry Salad with Tomato, Cucumber and Feta on a bed of spinach.

Turmeric + black pepper

Many people take a turmeric supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties. However, pairing turmeric with black pepper actually allows for better absorption. Specifically the piperine in black pepper can enhance the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by 2,000 percent! Enjoy these spices combined in a stir-fry or sip in golden milk.

Recipe: Add a bit of black pepper to this Super Seasoned and Savory Baked Cauliflower Floret Bites.

Vitamin D + calcium

Vitamin D and calcium are both vital for bone health. Similar to turmeric and black pepper, vitamin D affects how much calcium your body absorbs. This nutrient combo is unique because you can often find them naturally in the same foods such as:

  • Dairy
  • Fortified soy milk
  • Orange juice

Recipe: Replace a full meal with this quick and easy Watermelon Strawberry Chia Smoothie.

Rice + beans

Rice and beans is a classic budget-friendly meal offering multiple benefits. Plant-based sources of protein alone only have some of the essential amino acids, or protein building blocks, but when paired with different options, you build one complete protein. Rice and beans are a prime example. Beans also provide fiber, which help prevent blood sugar spikes from starchy foods like rice.

Recipe: This combination is so easy you don’t even need a recipe! Just combine cooked brown rice and rinsed canned beans of your choice in a bowl. Top with your favorite salsa, avocado and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or shredded cheese.

Fat + fat-soluble vitamins

Some vitamins are absorbed using fat, namely:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Not only is a veggie-only salad a little boring, you’ll also miss out on sources of vitamin A and vitamin K from those leafy greens alone. Try adding a little extra crunch and nutrient boost by topping your salad with avocado, seeds or olive oil.

Recipe: Serve up Kathy’s Amazing Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans topped with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin for extra protein.

To schedule a one-on-one nutrition consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Katie Goldberg, MCN, RDN, LD, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

Categories: Cooper Updates

90 Years of Exercise

March 8, 2021 4 comments

In celebration of his 90th birthday this month, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics shares how exercise shaped his passions and life’s work in various ways over the years.

My early days and exercise inspiration
I have been asked why I like to exercise many times over the years. I mainly like to exercise because it makes me feel good. Here at Cooper we have been able to prove that people who exercise regularly are less depressed, less hypochondriac, have an improved self-image and more positive attitude toward life. A person who is physically fit is different. I have had people tell me, “I thought I felt pretty good until I started exercising. I only wish I could have known how much better I would feel 20 years ago.”

My biggest encourager and motivator was my mother; she never missed a track meet or basketball game. She would go out of her way to drive to Norman or Oklahoma City for my meets. My dad rebelled against my exercise, which he feared would give me an “athletic heart.” This idea was very popular back in the 1940s. It said if you exercise too much your heart would get too large and muscular and then when you quit exercising it would convert to fat and you would die early. My father was convinced I was going to die early yet I have outlived him by 16 years—he died at age 74.

During my elementary and middle school years, I had a lot of chores I had to do at home, like working in our garden and milking our cow. We always had farms and in the summertime I would go to the farm to work with my dad. I baled hay, plowed, put up fences and did lots of manual labor on the farm. I enjoyed going out and staying at the farm. I loved the time I spent with my dad during those early years. He was a practicing dentist, but his avocation was farming. He was raised on a farm so he always wanted me to keep active on the farm.

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper running in University of Oklahoma track meet

I exercised on my own even when I was running track at Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City. They did not have a track so I ran on the streets. I also played basketball and ran cross country in the fall. I would have my friend across the street, Buster Jackson, take my clothes to school in a paper sack while I ran to school to get my miles in. I would get cleaned up and go on to class. Then I would run home from school. I ended up making all-state basketball and won the state championship in track for the one-mile event.

Mr. Leo Mayfield was my inspiration for exercising in competition—he was the principal of the junior high school and later superintendent. He noticed that I liked to run and asked, “Why don’t you try track?” So as a ninth grader, I entered a half-mile track meet. I did well and came in second, even though I did not train for it. He recognized I had some natural ability. Even though I did not have a track coach in high school, Mr. Mayfield continued to be my coach. I won seven consecutive events and set records in most of the places I ran—all because of Leo Mayfield working with me.

Harold Keith, who was the Sports Publicity Director at the University of Oklahoma, saw the newspaper articles about me and started giving me recommendations on how to improve my performance which enabled me to win the state championship. I was undefeated in the mile run when I was a senior in high school.

The turning point
After graduating salutatorian from my high school, I received a scholarship for track to the University of Oklahoma. However, when I entered medical school I did not have time to stay active. I ended up gaining 40 pounds from lack of sleep, the stress of my internship, trying to get through medical school and eating to just stay awake. Then I got married and did not do any physical activity for about six years. I was so lethargic and I remember telling my wife I felt like I was dying of mental apathy. I just did not feel good.

By this time I was 29 years old. After six years of not exercising, I went water-skiing on Lake Texoma and had a cardiac arrhythmia that day. By the time I got to the hospital my heart rate had returned to normal and they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. The doctor told me I was simply out of shape. When I began to lose weight, my pre-diabetic condition and hypertension disappeared and I felt so much better. That’s when I realized the prevention of disease was a field of medicine that has been sadly ignored. That epiphany is what changed my attitude and ultimately my life. It redirected my interest away from orthopedic medicine which I had first planned to go into when I finished my military career.

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper U.S. Air Force headshot

My exercise transitions through the years
I used to love water-skiing, basketball and running. However, I broke my leg snow-skiing back in 2004 so after 38,000 miles and 40 years of running I had to stop. But you never stop exercising—you transition. That’s when I transitioned into walking. They told me I would need a total knee replacement within six years but that has been 17 years ago now! I have walked faithfully since then along with outdoor and stationary cycling.

I always say the hardest part of exercise is putting on your shoes and getting started; the best part is the shower when you finish. Exercise creates an endorphin response in your body. It is why you become addicted to exercise and have withdrawal symptoms. I had to walk on crutches for a while when I broke my leg and I would see people running outside and get emotional and would shed a tear, thinking about how much I missed exercising.

I still work 10-12 hour days seeing patients and like to exercise after work five days a week. Exercising at the end of the day helps me to control the stress in my life. I have used exercise over the years as not only a cure to a stressful day headache, but to help me sleep better. I typically prefer to exercise alone. I like to watch TV while I’m on the stationary bicycle or the treadmill and enjoy meditating while I walk the dog around our neighborhood in the evenings. That is quiet time for me. I will ride the stationary bicycle for about 30 minutes before I complete a weight training circuit concentrating on upper body, arms and shoulders. When I go home, I walk our two dogs for about 15 to 30 minutes.

My exercise recommendations
Over the years, I used to think that aerobic training was all you needed to do but I realized as I grew older you need to bring in some muscular strengthening as well. After 50 years of age, you start losing muscle mass. My specific aerobic-strength training ratios that I recommend in all my books are:

  • 40 years old or younger: 80% aerobic exercise; 20% strength training
  • 41 to 50 years old: 70% aerobic exercise; 30% strength training
  • 51 to 60 years old: 60% aerobic exercise; 40% strength training
  • 60+ years old: 55% aerobic exercise; 45% strength training

My encouragement to you
I encourage you to set an example for your family—as we did at an early age in our family. My son, Tyler, runs regularly and all of our grandchildren are active. My oldest grandson was just accepted to Oklahoma State University; he is our baseball player and a great athlete! My wife, Millie, is still active at 85 years of age and works out five mornings a week going on walks with a close friend of hers. A family that exercises together stays together. It is so important for parents to set the example for their children and grandkids. 

Dr. and Mrs. Cooper running with daughter Berkley

No matter your age, whether you’re 19 or 90 years old, it is never too late to start exercising. As I always like to say, fitness is a journey not a destination. It is what you do now that counts, not what you did or didn’t do six months ago.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Prep Your Skin for Spring with Dermaplaning

February 7, 2021 Leave a comment

Give your drab winter skin a jump-start on spring with a new facial resurfacing treatment from Cooper Spa. Lisa Boyle, Cooper Spa Manager, explains how dermaplaning safely removes dead skin cells on the surface of your face, resulting in beautiful skin well into spring.

How it works

Dermaplaning is a safe cosmetic procedure that removes the top layers of the skin and provides immediate results for a smoother, youthful and more radiant complexion. Because this procedure doesn’t require any downtime post-treatment, it makes for a convenient and effective way to minimize wrinkles, acne scarring and dull skin without a lengthy recovery period. Our Cooper Spa trained estheticians provide specific steps to best care for your skin after your dermaplane service in order to prevent any possible irritation.

What to expect

Using a small lightweight blade and facial oil, your esthetician gently scrapes the top layer of dead skin cells from your face to reveal healthy skin just below the surface. This 50-minute treatment is not painful; you may feel a slight tingling sensation during your treatment, which is completely normal. Following your dermaplane service, your esthetician may use a light lactic acid peel to remove the remaining debris from your skin. 

Possible side effects

Dermaplaning is a low risk procedure but just like any facial resurfacing treatment, you may experience slight redness in your complexion. You may also feel a sensation of tightness which can be relieved by applying aloe or moisturizer. You will also need to avoid sun exposure for 7-10 days after your treatment and daily apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 as your skin will be more susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays that cause typical sunburns and age spots.

Radiant results

Your dermaplane experience is customizable by skin type. Pair it with any of our signature facial services at Cooper Spa. Dermaplaning provides immediate results with the full effects visible within two to three days after your treatment. Though the results are not permanent, they can be maintained for up to three to four weeks along with an esthetician-recommended, at-home skin care regimen.

To schedule an appointment or purchase a Cooper Spa gift card, visit cooperspa.com or call 972.392.7729.

Categories: Cooper Updates

How to Pack Your Gym Bag Like a Pro

Aiming to get back in the gym? Did you know by including a few key items you are more likely to achieve your fitness goals? Mary Edwards, MS, Cooper Fitness Center Director of Fitness shares how you can pack your bag like a pro and boost your confidence in the gym.

My gym bag provides me easy access to my belongings. I don’t want to dig around in my gym bag, fighting pesky straps or inconvenient pockets. Look for a bag with waterproof or mesh-lined pockets for storing sweaty clothes and smelly shoes and smaller pockets for storing other necessities.

The “Go-Getter Beginner”

If you’re newer to working out at the gym, have no fear—come prepared with the right gear! Some items ideal for beginner gym-goers to invest in are:

  • Supportive shoes—When it comes to shoes you are going to work out in, aim for function over fashion. Many shoe brands provide an array of styles and colors designed for different types of training. The important thing to remember is they should be comfortable and supportive in all the right places. Tip: many running shoe stores provide a complimentary gait analysis to help you find the best type of shoe for you and your activity level. Make sure to ask about this complimentary perk when you’re out shoe shopping!
  • Dri-fit clothing—While clothes made of dri-fit material are by no means essential, they can prove to be the most comfortable for working out. This type of fabric is lightweight, breathable and sweat wicking to help you crush your workout in comfort.
  • Water bottle—It’s vital to stay hydrated in order to get the most out of your workout. Try to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes of your workout and another 8 ounces within 30 minutes of completing your workout.

The “More Comfortable Member”

For those of you who are a bit more familiar with making your way around the gym, these items are helpful for taking your workout up a notch:

  • Heart rate tracking device—By regularly tracking your heart rate you can identify your true exercise intensity and therefore achieve specific fitness goals or performance results. Monitoring your heart rate during exercise also helps minimize the risk for overtraining, which can cause injury and decrease performance.
  • Headphones—Listen to your favorite upbeat tunes to keep you energized, focused and motivated while exercising.

The “Gym Junkie”

For more seasoned gym-goers, the following recommendations can help with recovery after your hardest workouts:

  • Percussion therapy massage gun—Massage guns have recently gained popularity and attention in the fitness world. This handheld massage tool puts the power of muscle recovery into your own hands by directly activating muscles with vibrations. These massage guns have also been shown to increase range of motion, improve blood flow and decrease soreness and promote weight loss. I highly recommend working with a professional fitness trainer who is trained in using the equipment and purchasing a personal device for muscle recovery in between training sessions.
  • Towel—Keep a small towel handy for wiping sweat during your cardio sessions or in between circuits in your HIIT routines. Certain towels are designed to have a cooling effect when wet and can cool your body temperature down by 30° in seconds.
  • Post-workout protein powder— Protein is key in promoting muscle recovery and growth. Refuel your body properly with a simple protein shake that can be mixed with water within 30 minutes after completing your workout.
  • Shaker cup—Shaker cups can double as water bottles during your workout and be used for shaking out clumpy protein powder for a post-workout snack.

The “Virtual Gym-goer” If you don’t feel comfortable heading to the gym for COVID-19 related reasons, you can still pack your gym bag with some of these items for an at-home workout:

  • Resistance bands—Resistance bands are convenient and provide a strength workout virtually anywhere! You select the amount of resistance to add variety to your strength training routine.
  • Yoga mat—Roll up your favorite mat and take your workouts outdoors or in any room in your home to provide cushion for your hands, knees and back while performing floor work in order to protect your joints from the hard surface.

What’s in my gym bag

I always stow away a good pair of running shoes, workout clothes, my Myzone® heart rate tracker, shower items and a change of clothes for whatever lies beyond my gym session that day!

Whatever your activity level, simply being prepared by packing a gym bag with key essentials can help boost your confidence no matter your location. Pack your gym bag for success as you set out to achieve your fitness goals.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.

Article provided by Cooper Fitness Center Director of Fitness Mary Edwards, MS.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Hydrate Winter Skin at Cooper Spa

December 5, 2020 Leave a comment

With the wonders of winter also come the complexities of battling dry winter skin. Cooper Spa Manager Lisa Boyle shares the top most hydrating treatments and services at Cooper Spa to soothe winter skin! 

If you are experiencing itchy, red, flaky skin or seeing more wrinkles than usual, your skin may be telling you it needs hydration. Our Antioxidant Hydrating Facial targets these unwanted reactions caused by cool, dry winter air. At Cooper Spa, we use a variety of products with powerful antioxidants, moisture-binding elements and essential lipids your skin can soak up, leaving it energized and looking radiant.

Not only do our faces fall prey to dry winter skin, our knees, ankles, knuckles and elbows also are susceptible. A replenishing body treatment can help with head-to-toe dryness. Enjoy a luxurious and nourishing Ultimate Hydration Ritual at Cooper Spa with our use of high quality Moroccanoil® products. This service brushes dead skin cells away with an orange peel scrub and hot stone massage application of the Moroccanoil® Botanical Intense Hydrating Treatment, revealing healthy glowing skin.

Maintain your soft, hydrated glow with the ideal at-home care specifically for you. Your Cooper Spa service professional can help you select the products from your service to make you stay radiant longer. We offer a variety of emollient, moisturizing products for all skin types. Some of our customer favorites this time of year include:

  • SkinCeuticals® Triple Lipid Restore
  • Dermalogica® Super Rich Repair
  • Eminence® Organic Skin Care Rosehip & Lemongrass Soothing Hydrator for Face and Body

Don’t let  winter weigh you down —discover your inner glow with our variety of products and services available at Cooper Spa Dallas designed especially for your skin’s needs.

To schedule an appointment or purchase a gift card, visit cooperspa.com or call 972.392.7729.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Alzheimer’s and Vaccines

November 9, 2020 Leave a comment

You may have heard the interesting reports about infections and Alzheimer’s disease mentioned at the July 2020 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). It appears that illnesses, such as the flu and pneumonia, may trigger inflammation in the brain that predispose the body to developing Alzheimer’s. The logical next question is: does preventing the flu and pneumonia lower a person’s risk for also developing Alzheimer’s disease? Some initial data presented at the AAIC conference addressed this question.

According to datasets from large populations (including The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston), people who received even one flu shot in prior years were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. People who received flu shots every year had an even further reduction in risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In another study from Duke University, individuals who received pneumonia vaccines in combination with the flu vaccines were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The more vaccines that were received over time resulted in even lower risk in developing the disease in this specific study as well.

It is important to note that these studies are correlational, meaning it is unclear if the vaccines themselves provide protection or if the individuals who are vaccinated also engage in other healthy behaviors that make them less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. To be clear, it has not yet been proven that vaccines can lower risk of Alzheimer’s. This early data simply suggests it is a possibility that should be investigated. Maria Carrillo of the Alzheimer’s Association recently stated, “This research, while early, calls for further studies in large, diverse clinical trials to inform whether vaccinations as a public health strategy decrease our risk for developing dementia as we age.”

Infection remains a leading cause of death in people with Alzheimer’s with patients being twice as likely to die from serious infections as those without Alzheimer’s. So even if vaccines don’t reduce one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s, they may be proven to help extend Alzheimer’s patients lives. It is yet to be determined why people with Alzheimer’s are more likely to die from flu or pneumonia than their cognitively healthy peers.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, influenza and pneumonia vaccinations are of even more importance than usual. The health of the public would benefit tremendously if we discover vaccines also protect against Alzheimer’s. At the very least, these vaccines could potentially reduce disease severity and help save more lives of both healthy and vulnerable patients.

Article provided by Michele A. Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer and preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic.

For more information on Alzheimer’s prevention, check out Dr. Cooper’s Recommendations for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention.

Categories: Cooper Updates