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Built on a Promise: A Brief History of the Land Where Cooper Aerobics Center Now Stands

The Nichols family fishing at the pond on their property.

The world-renowned, 30-acre Cooper Aerobics Center is a beloved and familiar sight to those who live in Dallas, Texas. Located at 12100 Preston Road, at the very heart of bustling North Dallas, this beautiful, urban oasis features lush greenery, winding jogging tracks, sparkling ponds, towering pecan trees and colorful crepe myrtle trees that surround the property on two sides. 

But decades before Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper purchased the property in 1970, it was owned by the prominent young oil man C.A. Lester. In 1937, Lester built a white colonial mansion on top of a white rock hill for his wife, Florence, and their daughter, Patsy. The house overlooked cotton and cornfields just outside the city limits of Dallas. A deep artesian well and natural springs furnished the water supply while large butane tanks supplied fuel for the estate.

After Florence became terminally ill and passed, Lawrence Lee Nichols and Clarise Nichols acquired the property in 1941. They kept in mind Lester’s wish, to relinquish the home to someone who would appreciate it and build their life around it. We interviewed their eldest son, Larry Nichols, to learn more about the history of the property and what it was like growing up there in the 1940s and ‘50s.

How did the Nichols family come to acquire the property?

Larry: The story begins in about 1939 when my mom and dad married. They were living at the Stoneleigh Hotel when my mother became pregnant in 1940, which turned out to be me. So that’s when they started looking for a place. And the place they bought was 12100 Preston Road, the address we all know today as Cooper Aerobics Center.

They bought the property from an oil man who had built a stately, pillared house on the original 13-acre parcel of land. At the time, it was a farm on some desirable farmland.

My dad saw its potential and had a plan which began with the purchase of 154 crepe myrtle trees which he planted all the way around the periphery of Preston Road and Willow Lane. Eighty years later they’re still there. He spent $600 for all of them. I was about five years old at the time and had the duty of keeping the trees hoed and lawn mowed and looking nice. I worked with my dad a lot maintaining the property. By the time I was six, I was driving a tractor. It was a great place to grow up.

My dad also created two lakes and had dams, spillways and a bridge constructed out of concrete. The bridge featured textured concrete to give the appearance of petrified wood. Oh, and he stocked the ponds with channel catfish, bass and crappie which we often had for dinner. Our family frequently enjoyed fishing together.

The next part of my dad’s plan was to plant pecan trees even though the nurserymen discouraged him from doing so. The property has a shallow bedrock of limestone that impedes growth and prevents pecan trees from getting enough moisture. But my father loved pecan trees so he hired an expert and dynamited just enough to fracture the limestone so the water could penetrate and the roots had room to grow.

He planted 36 pecan trees of which 34 flourished. At the time they were planted they were already somewhere around 20 years old so the ones you see on the property now are about 100 years old. They bore a lot of pecans too. I used to gather them, scoop them into one-pound bags and sell them on the corner of the highway. I’d sell upwards of 100 bags.

The pecan trees were a great addition to the property. Dad also planted a peach, apple and pecan tree orchard in the back with peach, pear and apple trees and grew vegetables every year. He loved that land and loved working on it.

The Nichols estate, 1941.
The Nichols estate, 1941.

What structures were on the property when your parents bought it?

Larry: Well, the columned building facing Preston Road everybody’s familiar with was the original home on the estate. But was much smaller then. Initially it was just two bedrooms, a small kitchen and living area. The front entry was very much like it is today including the curved staircase. My dad kept updating the house to make it nicer, adding onto it three times as our family grew. He totally redid the outside, replacing rotting wooden columns in the front with substantial new concrete columns.

He also added a caretaker’s house in the back where a couple lived who helped us maintain the property and give my mom a hand with the house and cooking.

What was the surrounding area like back then?

Larry: We were in the country. When I was a kid, Preston Road was a two-lane highway that served as the main route going north to Oklahoma. There was no Central Expressway then. Preston Road was paved but Willow Lane, Forest Lane and all the other roads that crossed Preston were dirt roads. There was nothing around but fields of cotton and corn, a drug store and two filling stations with little rooms that sold some essential groceries and goods. The closest places to do serious shopping were Highland Park Village and Snider Plaza.

Bus service didn’t even come up that far. It stopped at Northwest Highway. My dad had a business downtown that I worked for part time. So, from the time I was seven or eight years old, to get home I would take the bus to Northwest Highway then hitchhike the rest of the way.

How did Dr. Cooper come to purchase the property?

Years after Lawrence passed of heart disease (1957), Clarice was invited to attend the Howard Butt’s Lay Leadership Conference at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, who was a young flight surgeon in the Air Force at the time, was the keynote speaker. The message Dr. Cooper brought to the crowd was one to be remembered but Clarice never thought she would cross his path again.

Larry: In 1969 or so my mom, who was then a widow, decided to sell. It was just her then (as my siblings and I had grown up and married) and she found the property too much to maintain, so she put it on the market. At the time, getting the best price would’ve meant selling to a multi-family developer of some type because by this time, the area was growing very fast. But the neighbors didn’t want high-density housing in the neighborhood and my mom wasn’t keen on seeing our beautiful property get leveled by bulldozers.

It’s about then that I believe the good Lord intervened. At the time my mother was needing to sell, approximately six weeks after my mother had attended the conference, Dr. Cooper was looking for property to buy. Now, Dr. Cooper was pretty new in practice at the time. I knew of him and the book he’d written about aerobics, of course, but it gave me a little concern that he was biting off more than he could chew. But it was Dr. Cooper my mother wanted to sell to, and she had absolute confidence in him. My mother loved him like a son.

Since selling the property to Dr. Cooper, mom prayed daily for her next 36 years that all who walked these “hallowed grounds” would be blessed in special ways.

Dr. Cooper made your mother a promise. What was it?

Larry: Dr. Cooper promised he’d preserve the land and wildlife and keep it intact—a promise he kept through all these years, 100%. He promised to keep the already built estate on the property and the emblem with my family’s initials on the chimney of the house. Since the very start, Dr. Cooper was like a member of our family.

The Nichols family initials on the chimney of the house.
The Nichols family initials on the chimney of the house.

“The emblem remains on the chimney of the house today and is a constant reminder of one man’s love for his home and for his family, and of another great man’s love, respect and sensitivity for tradition long past.” – Mrs. Clarice Nichols, 1990s

I’m over 80 years old now and I’m still enjoying the land. I love to walk around the track. I love to go down to the pond. I love seeing the pecan trees and crepe myrtles I used to help care for. It’s all so similar to the way things were when I was a child that it’s like going back in time.

I believe the good Lord held the property until Dr. Cooper could buy it and I’m just so thankful he did.

Dr. Cooper and Mrs. Nichols at the 30th anniversary gala, 2000.
Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper and Mrs. Clarice Nichols at the 30th anniversary Cooper Aerobics gala, 2000.

Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics: Celebrate a World of Flavors During National Nutrition Month®

In March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on healthful eating through National Nutrition Month®. This year’s theme, Celebrate a World of Flavors, embraces global cultures, cuisines and inclusivity, plus highlights the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists. “The theme Celebrate a World of Flavors gives every culture a place at the table,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Libby Mills, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Philadelphia, Pa. “Celebrating the cultural heritage, traditions and recipes from all people is a tasty way to nourish ourselves, learn about one another and find appreciation in our diversity.”

Many of us enjoy cuisines from other nationalities and cultures. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, our Cooper Clinic Nutrition department encourages you to try new foods from around the world to explore new flavors, textures, and aromas. Instead of ordering your go-to favorites, try a new dish full of new foods. Some ethnic foods gaining popularity are ancient grains used in Middle Eastern such as bulgur and quinoa and African cultures such as teff and freekeh. Fermented food’s popularity is also on the rise such as Kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage dish; Miso, a fermented Japanese staple; and Kefir, a popular Middle-eastern beverage, which have all been shown to have health benefits. Instead of eating favorite standbys like Mexican food, consider branching out to other Central and South American cuisines such as Salvadoran, Chilean and Cuban foods. Consider a more plant-based approach by using tofu, tempeh, seitan or more beans and peas to replace meat, fish and poultry in your diet.

Herbs and spices from around the world are a great way to explore flavors. For example, a curry in Indian dishes differs greatly from curry in a Thai dish, and both cuisines offer several types of curries. For some herbs and spices, a little goes a long way, so if you are not sure how much to use or which dish to season.

Try a variety of spices from different cuisines for great new flavors:

  • Asian – garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cilantro, Chinese five-spices powder, chili, Thai basil, mint and lemon grass paste
  • Mexican – chili, cumin, garlic, green chilies, chipotle chilies, jalapenos cilantro, oregano and epizote
  • Italian – garlic, oregano, basil, sage, thyme and marjoram
  • Indian spices – cloves, red chili powder, cumin, coriander, cilantro, garam masala, mustard seeds, curry powder or paste, turmeric, saffron
  • Mediterranean – thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, fennel, mint, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom

What makes registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) so valuable to people’s quest for good health? RDNs help clients fine-tune traditional recipes and provide alternative cooking methods and other healthful advice for incorporating family-favorite foods into everyday meals. During National Nutrition Month®, the Academy encourages everyone to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. The Academy encourages seeking the advice of registered dietitian nutritionists—the food and nutrition experts who can help develop individualized eating and activity plans to meet people’s health goals. “Celebrate a World of Flavors highlights the unique, cultural variety of foods available to people from around the world and the role that dietitians play in helping clients create healthy habits while celebrating their cultural foods and heritage,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Rahaf Al Bochi, a national spokesperson for the Academy in Atlanta, Ga.

National Nutrition Month® was initiated in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, and it became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition. The second Wednesday of March is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, an annual celebration of the dedication of RDNs as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.

We at Cooper Clinic Nutrition wish you a fun and healthy National Nutrition Month and encourage you to treat your tastebuds to new and delicious flavors. To schedule a one-on-one nutrition consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655. 

Want To Slow Down the Aging Process?

February 8, 2022 Leave a comment

Get the inside story on nutrition for anti-aging benefits from Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, CWC.

We all want to age gracefully and look young, and there are plenty of beauty creams and serums on the market that claim to help us do just that. And while tackling anti-aging from the outside in is helpful…it’s from the inside out where we get the most impact! The real secret to anti-aging is to nourish your body with adequate sleep, hydration, moderate movement and of course, a healthy diet.

Push the plant power

The research is clear that eating more fruits and vegetables is the safest and healthiest way to reduce fine lines and increase overall health. That aligns with one of the newer anti-aging/anti-inflammatory food trends—the plant-based diet.

A plant-based diet simply encourages replacing some of the traditional animal products with more fruits and vegetables—but also adding nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes and beans. It doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or never eat meat. The emphasis with a plant-based diet is on increasing the powerhouse foods rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. A Mediterranean diet is a version of a plant-based diet with the addition of healthful, fatty fish such as trout, tuna and salmon.

Salmon to slow dementia

Salmon is my go-to fish to increase your omega-3s. Every cell in your body needs omega-3s, especially the eyes and brain. Omega-3s are critical for brain function and can help prevent dementia. Omega-3s also support stronger immune function, digestion and fertility. And healthy fats are good for our hair and skin, too! In general, our bodies do well with a variety of food choices, so I invite my clients to try many types of seafood including anchovies, sardines, crab and shrimp—whether fresh or frozen. Frozen seafood keeps for a long time and is a convenient, equally nutritious way to go. Feel free to utilize pouch tuna and salmon if you like. 

Collagen to combat aging

You might be wondering, “What about collagen supplements?” The use of collagen as an anti-aging tool has become a hot topic. Collagen is a protein found in the skin, joints and other parts of the body. As we get older, we start losing collagen in our bodies. In our skin, the loss of collagen shows up as wrinkles and sagging. In our joints, collagen loss can mean breakdown that opens the door to injury. Collagen has been studied to modestly improve the joint pain and flexibility in osteoarthritis. Collagen supplementation can be a win for both but speak to your doctor or dietitian to make sure that the form or dosage is right for you.

Sips for a more youthful you

Every year, there are products that make the “new and trendy” list for anti-aging. Recently you may have heard about more people consuming matcha green tea, golden milk or reishi tea.

  • Matcha – a type of green tea made by taking young tea leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder
  • Golden milk – a bright yellow drink traditionally made with milk (or a milk alternative) along with turmeric and other spices, such as cinnamon and ginger
  • Reishi tea – made from rare reishi mushrooms and could actually be harmful for some people.

Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it is right for you. It is always wise to check with your health care provider first.

The bottom line? If you want to turn back the clock, there is no substitute for a healthy diet. By lavishing your body with the care, nutrients and sleep it needs, you’ll slow down aging from the inside out.

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

From Poor Health to American Ninja Warrior

Weslee Meador, Facilities Manager at Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation (LWCC), a Cooper Wellness Strategies client, credits the wellness staff at his workplace in helping him change his life for the better. He reflects how the onsite LWCC staff, Jeff Barbera, Fitness Manager, and Landon Chastant, Fitness Specialist, gave him the support and tools needed to accomplish a longtime goal and lifetime dream.

Wes Meador competing for American Ninja Warrior

I started working at LWCC in October 2018, weighing in at 235 lbs. and sporting size 38 waist pants. I was headed in a direction all too familiar to my family of poor health—including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. I decided my family and I deserved better than that. Prior to coming to LWCC I started improving my health, thanks to more nutritious eating and somewhat of an exercise regimen. When interviewing for my current role, one of the main draws was the onsite exercise facility and wellness programs offered. I was impressed with the company’s dedication to their employees with the wellness program. I expected the typical corporate gym, but maybe a bit nicer with a shower. Essentially, I expected Vienna sausage but what I got was Filet Mignon (or a rare Ribeye in my personal taste). I was pleasantly surprised by the expansive facility and expert knowledge of the fitness staff to help employees reach their health and fitness goals.

Jeff and Landon took my health and fitness goals and elevated them to a whole new level I didn’t know was possible. I told them my ultimate goal was to go from “Dad bod” to “Ninja Dad” and be taken seriously when I applied to compete on “American Ninja Warrior.” Unlike many others, they listened and didn’t guffaw or discourage. They nodded and agreed enthusiastically, “Let’s do this!” At the time, I was following what I thought was a solid diet and exercise program. I shared this with Jeff and Landon, and they worked that into a customized program fitting perfectly within my goals. I had the drive and determination and they gave me the direction to make my dream happen.

Since 2018, I have worked out at least two days per week including a mixture of body weight training and calisthenics, ninja training on my own and cardio, functional training and weight training with Cooper.

Pre-COVID, I weighed 205 pounds and had approximately 12% body fat.

Fast forward to January 2021—I submitted my application to “American Ninja Warrior” again, expecting to be rejected for the third time. Like many, I had slipped in my training and accountability, thanks to COVID and its debilitating effects on gyms, families, jobs and people. My weight had crept back up to 216 when I got the call on January 8 that I was selected to compete this year among 400 competitors. I’d finally made it! I met with Landon and Jeff immediately to evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be in 11 weeks by the end of March—lean, strong and ready to compete in the ultimate obstacle course challenge. Once again, they gave me the blueprints and I went to work. Jeff and Landon supported me with a custom workout plan and made tweaks as I progressed helping me reach my top fitness level. I weighed in at the competition in March at 200 lbs. I’m proud to say I advanced beyond half the competition field in my “American Ninja Warrior” debut—what is hopefully the first of many opportunities to compete in this grueling challenge!

I strive to be a humble man, and as such, I know I owe my success to those around me, especially the Cooper Wellness Strategies employees here at LWCC, Jeff and Landon. I invited them both to sit on my virtual sideline during the “American Ninja Warrior” taping—so if my footage airs, you’ll see Jeff’s smiling grin in the background of my run! I wish I could tell you more about my shot on the show—let’s say that I did better than I expected but didn’t get all the results I wanted. You can see the results in this season of “American Ninja Warrior,” and I’m so thankful for two of the finest Cooper teammates right here at LWCC.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR ““Qualifiers 1” Episode 1302 — Pictured: Wes Meador — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies’ services, including designing and managing corporate fitness programs, visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.

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.

How to Prepare for a Tennis Tournament

February 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Tennis is one of the few sports you can start at any age and play competitively. Training with a goal in mind, such as competing in match play or a tournament, can be a great motivating factor to improve your skills on the court and overall fitness.

Tournaments and leagues are separated by age division and/or skill level, which allows people to meet others on their same level of experience. If you’re planning on adding a dose of competition to your tennis routine, signing up to play in a tournament can be an exciting opportunity. Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel offers his top 10 tips for preparing to compete in a tennis tournament:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep. Follow your regular bedtime routine, and make sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep to be well-rested and at the top of your game.
  2. Eat and hydrate properly 24-48 hours before the tournament. Stick to your healthy diet and use food as fuel for your body. Follow the recommended hydration guidelines and make sure to bring your water bottle to the tournament.
  3. Focus on conditioning and match practice in the week leading up to a tournament. There’s less of a need to focus on technique.
  4. Identify your goals and strategies before the tournament begins.
  5. Have all your necessary equipment in top shape (rackets freshly strung, court shoes broken in, etc.). Make sure to bring the proper clothing and accessories – layers if it’s chilly and a hat and sunglasses if it’s sunny. An extra pair of socks can come in handy, too. Pack sunscreen, water and healthy snacks for fuel.
  6. Stretch before and after each match to keep yourself loose and to help your muscles recover.
  7. Know your limitations. A tournament can test your physical and mental acuity; recognize where your breaking point is and don’t go past it.
  8. Pick the right division for your skill level. If you’re playing with a partner, make sure you work well together and have practiced together before the tournament.
  9. It’s just tennis! Don’t get overwhelmed by the fact that you’re playing in a tournament. Concentrate on using the skills you’ve developed and try to play your best.
  10. Have fun!

Tennis programs at Cooper Fitness Center are open to the public. Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com to learn more.

Self-Defense as Prevention for All Ages

Prevention isn’t just about taking care of your health and fitness. It’s also about being aware of your surroundings and keeping yourself safe from harm. When it comes to facing bullies and defending against the elements, self-defense is the number one form of prevention. Cooper Fitness Center Martial Arts Pro Mike Proctor explains the importance of learning self-defense at any age.

Mental and Physical Aspects of Self-Defense

Mike notes that most self-defense is mental and emotional, and includes having a plan and being aware of your surroundings at all times. You should have a plan for everything–a house fire, car breakdown on the highway or just walking to your car from the shopping mall. “I tell my students that martial arts are 90 percent mental and emotional, and 10 percent physical,” says Mike.

According to Mike, the physical techniques of self-defense are relatively simple compared to preparing mentally. “We are taught to never make a scene and to not hurt people,” explains Mike. “That makes it hard to go against your instincts when you’re put in a tough situation where self-defense is needed.” Mentally, it’s key to know when you are the most vulnerable; physically, you must know how to defend yourself against various situations.

Who Needs Self-Defense?

Self-defense can and should be practiced by all ages, both male and female. The self-defense course you take should aim at your particular demographic and your physical abilities. Though self-defense is important for everyone, Mike points out the following populations who could benefit most from learning self-defense:

  • Adults and children with special needs: those with special needs, including hearing loss, vision impairment, Down syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and others, are more likely to be victims of bullying or physical harm because they are more vulnerable targets.
  • College students: college-age young adults, especially females, are at the most vulnerable time of their lives. Being on campus can create a feeling of security, but this is often an illusion.
  • Females of all ages: Mike notes that situations calling for self-defense most often occur to women, no matter the age.

Bullying

Bullying isn’t just something that happens on the schoolyard anymore, and kids aren’t the only victims. Bullying can occur within romantic relationships, between coworkers, online and in various other situations. “When it comes to bullying, it’s important to focus on your attitude and action–what your response will be,” says Mike. As a society, we have a responsibility to recognize bullying (whether it is happening to us or another person) and act to stop it. Learning self-defense can give children and adults the confidence to stand up to a bully should they encounter one and know when to ask for help from others.

How Martial Arts Can Prepare You

Training in martial arts can give you a sense of empowerment that you can do something to protect yourself or others if you are ever put in a situation when it’s needed. Mike recommends treating self-defense courses the same way you would treat CPR certification–take a course about every two years to stay up-to-date and to practice your skills. The skills should become reflexes in order to be most effective. “Taking courses every two years can remind you that danger can occur at any time,” explains Mike. “You can fall into a false sense of security when you’re not practicing often enough, and self-defense courses are a way to always stay on your toes and be aware of the problems you may face in the world.”

Remember that self-defense isn’t a one-size-fits-all mentality. You must be aware of your own vulnerabilities and understand how to combat them. Keeping yourself safe is of utmost importance, and self-defense is the best preventive tool available.

For more information about martial arts programs at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.

Create Perfect Parfaits

November 25, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE and Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

Building your own tasty snack from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. Parfaits can be packed with protein, fiber and other nutrients while having few calories and small amounts of saturated fat. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares four tried-and-true parfait recipes perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.

Peachy Protein Parfait:

  • ½ cup Daisy 2% Cottage Cheese (90 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 13 grams protein, 100 mg calcium)
  • 4 oz. Dole Diced Peaches, no sugar added (1 single serving container) – (30 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 0 gram protein, 0 mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. pistachios (24 nuts) – (80 calories, 0.5 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 20 mg calcium)

Layer cottage cheese and peaches and top with pistachios.

Nutrition Information:

  • 200 calories
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 3 g fiber
  • 17 g protein
  • 120 mg calcium

Quark* with Crunch:

  • 6 oz. Elli Vanilla Bean Quark (1 single serving container) – (80 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 150 mg calcium)
  • ½ cup Kashi Go Lean Crisp (Cinnamon Crumble) – (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 7 grams protein, 40 mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. pecans (9 halves, chopped and toasted, if desired) – (98 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein, 10 mg calcium)

Mix together Kashi Go Lean Crisp with pecans and layer with Quark.

Nutrition Information:

  • 298 calories
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 7 g fiber
  • 22 g protein
  • 200 mg calcium

*Quark (or qvark) is a mild and creamy fresh cheese of European origin. It is high in protein and low in fat. Elli Quark is available in a variety of flavors.

Berry Bliss Parfait:

  • 3 oz. (1 single serving container) Oikos Triple Zero Greek Vanilla Yogurt (120 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams protein, 150mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. almonds (14 almonds, chopped and toasted if desired) – (80 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 35mg calcium)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries (96 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 7 grams fiber, 1 grams protein, 0mg calcium)

Mix Greek Yogurt and berries and top with almonds.

Nutrition:

  • 296 calories
  • 1 grams saturated fat
  • 15 grams fiber
  • 20 grams protein
  •   185 mg calcium

Grandma’s Granola-Walnut Parfait:

  • 6 oz. (1 single serving container) Yoplait Original French Vanilla Yogurt (150 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 6 grams of protein, 200mg calcium)
  • 2 Tbsp. Nature’s Path Love Crunch Apple Crumble granola (70 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein, 10mg calcium)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (7 halves, toasted if desired) – (93 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 0mg calcium)

Layer yogurt and granola, top with walnuts.

Nutrition Information:

  • 313 calories
  • 2 grams saturated fat
  •  1 gram fiber
  •  10 grams protein
  •  210 mg calcium

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

How to Trim Your Thanksgiving Meal

November 22, 2016 Leave a comment

One of Dr. Cooper’s 8 Steps to Get Cooperized™  is “make healthy food choices most of the time.” The holiday season is often a time of indulgence–delicious homemade meals and desserts are around every corner.

Modification is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping healthy habits intact during the holidays. Take a look at the nutritional information for a traditional Thanksgiving meal versus one with lighter options.

 

healthy-thanksgiving

A few simple swaps and smaller portions can keep you on track while still allowing you to enjoy your food favorites during Thanksgiving. Learn more about preparing for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving here.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Kathy Duran-Thal RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

An Ode to Oats

November 17, 2016 Leave a comment

By Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

A familiar breakfast darling, oats come in many varieties sure to please a range of taste and texture preferences (find your favorites here). As a standout member of the grain family, oats seldom have their bran or germ removed in processing. Therefore the majority of oats used in our food supply are likely to be whole grains. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has long promoted the many health benefits of oats supported by credible research:

  • Fiber-rich oats are slow to digest, making you feel fuller longer. This in turn may help control weight.
  • Research has shown the soluble fiber found in oats is associated with helping lower LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar levels. Inclusion of oats in a balanced diet may therefore help reduce risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Oats are a source of phytochemicals (numerous polyphenols jointly classified as avenanthramides), which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching agents to the body when ingested.
  • The cosmetic industry has been known to harness the anti-itching properties of oats. The botanical name for oats, “avena,” is where the company Aveeno derived its name.
  • Cool temperatures and plentiful rainfall make ideal growing conditions for oats. The world’s top producers of oats are Russia, Canada, the United States, Finland and Poland.
  • Rolled oats, a.k.a. “old fashioned oats,” and instant oats differ from their whole and steel cut siblings in that they have been steamed and rolled flat. This process decreases the cooking time but not significantly the nutritional value.
  • Oats are a gluten-free whole grain but are often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. Those with diagnosed celiac disease should opt for certified gluten-free oats after confirmation of disease control by their doctor.

Oats are a tried-and-true breakfast staple. Keep your breakfast game strong and check out this scrumptious oat recipe from Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.

To learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.