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Sit Less, Move More – Exercise Guidelines for Diabetes and Prediabetes

November 14, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

Many people with diabetes do not exercise despite all of its proven benefits. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, physical activity is more than just a way to lose weight – it can also make it easier to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels closer to normal.

When you have diabetes, your body’s insulin action is less effective in storing glucose and regulating your blood sugars, but exercise sensitizes insulin. During exercise, stored glucose becomes a source of energy for your muscles and as the stores gets depleted, your blood sugar goes down and can stay down for 24-48 hours.

What types and amounts of physical activity are recommended for diabetes?

  • Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, elliptical, dancing, rowing, tennis and stair climbing. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly, spread over at least three days per week, with no more than two consecutive days without activity.
  • Resistance training includes exercises with weight machines, free weights, elastic resistance bands, body weight and group strength training classes. Perform these at least two times a week on non-consecutive days.
  • Balance and flexibility training includes yoga and tai chi. Aim for two or three times a week.
  • Light-intensity activities daily (read below under “updates”).

To better fit your schedule, you can break up 30 minutes into 10- or 15-minute segments several times a day. Research has shown the health benefits are similar. Recent studies have also shown that a 15-minute walk after meals can help lower your blood sugar.

What are the updates in the latest exercise guidelines?

People with diabetes are advised to incorporate “light” activities throughout the day, particularly when sedentary for prolonged periods of time (working on the computer, sitting in a meeting or watching TV). Take a light activity break for three minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. Examples include:

  • Overhead arm stretches
  • Leg extensions
  • Torso twists
  • Walking in place

Exercise Tips:

  • Have a very specific plan. Define what, when, where and for how long you’re going to commit to working out. This will improve your chances of adherence and success.
  • What kind of exercises will you do? Make a list of activities and be creative. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it!
  • When are you going to fit in a workout? Make a schedule of the specific days and times you will exercise. Prioritize them on your calendar as “appointments.”
  • Are you going to exercise at a gym, in a group class, at a park or track or at home using a workout DVD or technology app? Decide what might work best for you.
  • Do you prefer to exercise solo, with a buddy, in a class or with a personal trainer? Participating in supervised training may provide more health benefits for people with diabetes than non-supervised programs. Plus, the accountability to others can be very motivating.
  • How long will you exercise? Be realistic and set achievable goals. If you are brand new to working out, start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes or more.
  • Keep a log of your exercise to stay on track. You can use fitness technology resources like a pedometer, fitness band or exercise watch to track steps, calories and heart rate. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you do-every step counts!

When you have diabetes, prioritize exercise as part of your lifestyle to better control your blood sugars. Beyond managing your diabetes, exercise can help you feel better about yourself and improve your overall health.

For more information about preventing and managing diabetes and prediabetes, visit the Cooper Aerobics website.

Stand Up to Cancer Through Prevention

September 9, 2016 3 comments

By: Cynthanne Duryea, RDN, LD

According to a study from JAMA Oncology, half of all cancer deaths are preventable. This is great news, but currently in the United States one person per minute loses their life to cancer. We must empower ourselves through cancer prevention, education and making lifestyle changes to lead healthier lives.

American Cancer Society (ACS) serves as one of many resources for Stand Up To Cancer and provides “Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity” to prevent overall cancer risk. The four cornerstones are:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life. However, for those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has benefits and is a good place to start.
  2. Be physically active. Specifically, ACS recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week, ideally spread throughout the week. Sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, television watching and other forms of screen-based sedentary entertainment should be limited.
  3. Eat a healthy diet, with emphasis on plant food. Further advice in this area includes:
    • Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Limit the amount of processed meat (such as lunch meats and cold cuts) and red meat in your diet.
    • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits daily, amounting to 5-9 servings.
    • Choose whole grains over refined grain products.
  1. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake. ACS recommends no more than one drink per day for women or two per day for men.

Some of these recommendations may seem familiar, as they overlap some of the guidelines for healthy blood pressure, optimal heart health and diabetes prevention. So, following them not only reduces your overall cancer risk, but can prevent other chronic diseases. The key is how to implement these guidelines.

My Story and Experiences

As a registered dietitian nutritionist who is a breast cancer survivor, I now view nutrition and fitness quite differently than I did prior to my diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong….I ate purposefully for the most part, aiming to eat a variety of nutritious foods and only eating more indulgent foods on the weekends. I have also always enjoyed being physically active, but my diagnosis changed the way I think about food and activity.

Although I have maintained a healthy weight most of my adult life, I am at an age where this is more of a challenge than ever before. As much as I enjoy sweets, my intake has been markedly decreased. Savoring a special sweet treat on a weekend is much more rewarding than grabbing some ordinary boxed cookie from my pantry regularly…and results in not consuming extra calories routinely.

Exercise, as mentioned earlier, was something I always did for stress relief, bone density improvement and to preserve muscle mass. But now I view exercise as a soldier that will help me fight off cancer risks, and vast research proves the power of exercise in the war against cancers. So, rain or shine, tired or energetic, I diligently plow through workouts, visualizing the strength I gain from exercise to beat cancer and win.

I also pay a bit more for minimally-processed meats with no added nitrites to use in sandwiches. Ideally, when time allows, I slice up freshly-prepared meats for sandwiches instead of packaged lunch meats.

Colorful fruits and vegetables are my plant “superheroes.” They contain nutrients and antioxidants that can decrease cancer cell formation and actually inhibit the growth of microscopic cancers. Now I hyper-focus on fruits and vegetables, recognizing they are part of my “armor” in the battle of avoiding reoccurrence.

My grain choices have primarily been whole grain for years, but now I aim to have all my grain products be 100 percent whole-grain products. I also enjoy experimenting with various grains in the kitchen.

Cynthanne’s Personal Strategies and Favorite Food Products to Fight Cancer

For minimally-processed sandwich meats:

  • Applegate Natural and Organic Meats
  • Use freshly sliced prepared meats/poultry as a Deli meat replacement.

To ensure a minimum of 2 ½ cups of vegetables and fruits (but the more the better!):

  • Create “meal patterns” such as one fruit serving at breakfast; one vegetable serving at lunch; one fruit serving as part of afternoon snack; and one fruit and two cups of cooked or raw vegetables with dinner. Added bonus–when ordering an entrée salad out, ask for spinach as your lettuce greens to boost the nutrient content.
  • Favorite food products:
    • Any unsweetened frozen berries/fruits to add to smoothies
    • Reduced sodium canned beans
    • Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 (a colorful blend of eight fresh vegetables finely chopped; sold in the refrigerated produce section; makes a fantastic Asian slaw with added edamame and slivered almonds).

To increase whole grains:

  • Uncle Sam’s Cereal and Post Shredded Wheat are both low sugar cereals and are 100 percent whole-wheat products. Topped with berries, they are satiating powerhouses.
  • Ezekiel Breads. My personal favorite is toasted Ezekiel Cinnamon and Raisin bread topped with almond butter and sliced banana.
  • Ronzoni Healthy Harvest 100% whole-grain pasta. Top it with a bottled marinara sauce of your choice for ease, but add fresh mushrooms, diced bell pepper, canned tomatoes and sliced olives to add more nutrients.
  • McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal with Bob’s Red Mill Oat Bran cooked together with diced apples, pears and assorted dried fruits added to the cooking water. Topped with nuts, this makes a most satisfying breakfast!

These are just a few practical ideas I hope help you implement the American Cancer Society Guidelines and lessen your cancer risk as well as other disease risk. Bon appetite!

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

Prevention and Safety While Traveling Abroad

Traveling to a foreign country for a large, global event such as the Olympics, holiday events and more requires much preparation in order to stay safe and healthy through the duration of the trip. Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic, offers tips for travelers embarking on journeys abroad.

Pre-Trip Preparation

Once you finalize plans to travel abroad, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and select the country to which you will be traveling. The website provides information about required vaccinations needed before traveling to the country along with other travel warnings and tips. Dr. Kettles recommends visiting a Passport Health® travel clinic to receive vaccinations and medications specific for the country you are visiting and the activities planned during your trip.

When it comes time to pack for your trip, consider the following:

  • Bring any over-the-counter medications you may need, such as Afrin® or Sudafed®. These can be difficult to obtain in a foreign country.
  • If you’re worried about diarrheal or respiratory issues while traveling, ask your doctor about prescribing an antibiotic. Dr. Kettles recommends a Z-Pak; another antibiotic that is common for travelers, Cipro, is being phased out by many doctors because it can cause harmful side effects.
  • If you’ll be using your cell phone while traveling abroad, talk to your wireless service provider about access in the country you’re traveling to, or if you need to set up an international service plan for your time abroad.
  • Download Google Translate on your phone or portable device if you don’t speak the language of the country you’re traveling to. You’ll want to know how to communicate upon arrival and should an emergency occur during your trip.
  • Make a copy of your passport, and pack it separately from the original. If you become stranded without identification in a foreign country, odds are your stress level will increase dramatically and your vacation may be cut short.
  • Provide a family member or friend with your travel itinerary and contact information for the duration of your trip.

A Safe Trip is a Fun Trip

A safe trip abroad begins while you’re en route to your destination—oftentimes, this can be a long flight. Blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are a primary concern for travelers who must sit on planes for hours at a time. Make sure to stand up and walk around when it is safe to do so, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and don’t take medication that will leave you asleep for hours on end. Immobilization from sleeping for the duration of a long flight leaves you at a higher risk for blood clots.

Upon arrival, be smart about what you eat and drink. In many countries, tap water and ice may not be safe to drink for visitors. Eating certain foods can be risky as well. If possible, try to eat foods you can wash, peel and cook. Steer clear of foods at buffets and salad bars, as you won’t know how well uncooked food was washed and if it has contaminated other foods around it.

Additionally, go the extra mile to prevent illness and injury. For example, if you’re visiting an area where malaria or the Zika virus is present, taking medication before the trip may not be enough. Wear mosquito-repellent clothing and use sprays and nets to protect yourself, and prevent the risk altogether by avoiding going outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

According to Dr. Kettles, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of injury and death to Americans while traveling abroad. Be cautious of how you plan to get around while traveling, because options can vary greatly depending on where you are traveling. Don’t hop on the first form of public transportation you come across—be choosy about motor vehicles you ride in, and make sure to wear a seat belt.

In situations such as the Olympics, Super Bowl or World Cup, it’s important to be diligent about your personal safety. People travel from around the world to attend these events, and criminals do the same. Be aware of your surroundings at all times:

  • Don’t go out at night in strange or unsafe areas
  • Avoid flaunting glamorous clothes or accessories in public
  • Be prepared and knowledgeable about where you are going—try not to look like an obvious target if you are lost or unsure about something

Be Prepared for the Worst

It never hurts to be overly prepared and cautious when it comes to your health and safety, especially when traveling away from home. Bringing your medical records with you to a foreign country is a good idea, especially if you have a significant medical condition. At the very least, make sure to carry a complete list of medications and brief medical history summary.

If you suffer an injury or illness and end up in a hospital in a foreign country, it’s important to be aware of your treatments. Depending on where you are, the blood supply at the hospital may not be as well policed as it is in the United States. Screening blood for HIV, hepatitis and other infections varies country to country. If you can avoid blood transfusions and any use of needles, it is best to do so.

Being up-to-date on all common vaccinations in the United States can help reduce your risk of infection in another country, but being prepared for specific risks is key to having an enjoyable and safe trip abroad. For more information about Cooper Clinic, visit cooper-clinic.com or call 972.560.2667.

Travel insurance can be a smart purchase, especially for expensive trips or places where medical evacuation could be needed.  These policies are now widely available.

For more health tips articles, visit cooperaerobics.com.

10 Reasons Why Female Focus Benefits Women’s Health

Cooper Fitness Center

Since 2006, hundreds of women each year have participated in more than 3,000 Female Focus classes, a science-based small group training program designed to help women exercise to gain strength as they manage diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The women who have participated in Female Focus throughout the past 10 years listed the top 10 reasons why the program has benefitted both their physical and mental health:

  1. A sense of accountability to health and fitness and provides motivation to work harder both in and outside of class
  2. Camaraderie and support of women going through similar challenges and life experiences
  3. Personal attention from Colette Cole, the director of the program, and other trainers – staff expertise and experience is unmatched
  4. Improved overall strength, posture, balance, mobility, endurance, functional movement and daily activity movement
  5. Weight loss and maintenance
  6. Enjoyment from a variety of fun workouts
  7. Reduction of injury risk and attention to detail regarding training for specific injuries
  8. Sessions are personalized for both exercise and nutrition
  9. Focus on specific women’s health issues, including improvement of bone density
  10. Stress reduction

The program is based on materials and research from Women’s Health and Fitness Guide written by Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic, and Colette Cole, MS, Cooper Fitness Center Female Focus Director and Professional Fitness Trainer. Under Colette’s guidance, participants learn how to overcome physical and mental challenges that are often a side effect of health issues.

In addition to learning and growing stronger physically, many of the women are drawn to the program because of the bonds they form with each other. Many are going through similar life changes, such as kids going off to college or becoming caretakers of aging parents. They also face similar challenges and are working toward similar goals – to be healthier and happier.

Dr. Jill Ombrello has participated in Female Focus for the past three years. She joined the program because she wanted the accountability of a scheduled and customized workout. However, she had no idea how many additional benefits she would receive as a result.

“Not only did I gain accountability, but I also joined a community of women looking to improve their health in the same ways as me. We are not equally strong or flexible, but Collette creates a different, unique and interesting workout for us every time we attend. In a society where many women are often competing with one another, Colette has created a unique environment where we all feel supported and pushed to achieve greatness.”

For more information about the Female Focus program, visit cooperfitfemale.com.

Sunscreen Tips from Cooper Clinic Dermatology

Cooper Clinic Dermatology offers the top sunscreen tips to keep you covered from head to toe this summer (and year-round).

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Happy 84th Birthday, Dr. Cooper!

Today at Cooper Aerobics we are celebrating Dr. Cooper’s birthday! He is known throughout the world for being a visionary and as the “father of aerobics.” To celebrate his 84th birthday, let’s take a look at his accomplishments this past year and how he continues to inspire millions each day to live longer, healthier lives.

February 2015
Dr. Cooper proudly joined United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to celebrate 90 years of service. In partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The Cooper Institute is able to promote health in schools with Healthy Zone School Recognition Program, now reaching 90 area schools!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

January 2015
For his impact on the football community, Dr. Cooper was honored as a 2015 inductee into National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame at the Omni Dallas Hotel as the kickoff event for the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend. In addition to hundreds gathering together to honor Dr. Cooper on Jan. 8, his family and some of his closest colleagues contributed to a video in his honor, watch here!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

December 2014
With his son, Dr. Tyler Cooper and staff members of Cooper Fitness Center, Dr. Cooper honored the 2014 Members of the Year.  Ranging from the two “Youth of Year” at 11 and 12 years old to the “Classic of the Year,” Dr. Cooper’s patient and longtime friend at 97 years old. Read about each of the members honored and see their photos taken with Drs. Kenneth and Tyler Cooper on the blog.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

November 2014
Dr. Cooper warmed up with Frito-Lay by doing a few stretches with CEO Tom Greco before he presented to an employee group. Did you know 12 years ago Dr. Cooper made the recommendation to remove trans-fats from Frito Lay products? The project resulted in 50 million pounds of trans fats removed from the American diet every year!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

October 2014
The Cooper Institute® rolled out the Hungarian version of the Cooper International Fitness Test™ in Hungary at the three-day conference after signing a partnership agreement with the Hungarian School Sport Federation in 2013. Dr. Cooper addressed the topic of childhood obesity before stakeholders of the European Union. The partnership was formed to establish a national framework for student fitness assessments in Hungary, reaching more than 1.2 million children in 4,000 schools. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

September 2014

The American Heart Association celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Heart Walk and honored Dr. Cooper as the Honorary Chairman. Dr. Cooper led the first Dallas Heart Walk in 1992 with just 500 walkers and raised $50,000 and now Dallas has the largest Heart Walk in the nation. In 2014, Dr. Cooper led the walk with his son Dr. Tyler Cooper as the Board President of the American Heart Association—Dallas Division with more than 60,000 walkers, raising nearly $5.5 million. Thank you to everyone who supported the Cooper Aerobics team!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

August 2014
Cooper Aerobics is the feature article in the Preston Hollow Advocate this month. What started out as a renovation story, evolved into an entire feature. The writer spent hours on campus with our experts including Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Cooper, Dr. Tyler Cooper, Dr. DeFina and Houston Nichols (who grew up in the Nichols’ Mansion). Read the story here.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

July 2014
BIG things happen everyday on the Cooper Aerobics campus! Dr. Cooper and many teammates, members and clients posed on campus to be the “I” in BIG like Dr. Cooper. View all of the photos on Cooper Aerobics Facebook page.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

June 2014
Dr. Cooper named his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Aerobics. In addition to practicing preventive medicine, Dr. Tyler Cooper oversees the company’s seven health and wellness businesses. Dr. Cooper remains as Chairman and Founder of Cooper Aerobics. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

May 2014
As an internal update for all 650 Cooper Aerobics employees, “State of Cooper” is held each spring. Dr. Cooper introduced the meeting by saying “Play Ball” with a playful baseball theme. The media panel included members of the Senior Leadership team to provide corporate updates.

April 2014
Cooper Hotel hosts a group of professional referees who train at Cooper Aerobics every quarter. Dr. Cooper shared his soccer history from the late ’60s and ’70s in Brazil. They loved meeting him and taking photos, but teased him a little for creating the dreaded Cooper Test or ‘cooperteszt’ which is a fitness test commonly used for professional referees.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

March 2014
As part of Cooper Aerobics Center’s multi-million dollar renovation, Drs. Cooper began the renovation of Cooper Hotel by pulling up the carpet to lay out the new. The renovation has refreshed the 61 guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. Blending elegant sophistication with modern touches, guests will stay well at Cooper Hotel. The renovation is expected to be completed this spring. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 84th year, Dr. Cooper!

This year, we celebrate 45 years of inspiring millions to live longer, healthier lives.

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Dietitians’ Top 10 “Convenience” Health Foods

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Healthy eating starts with what you put in your cart. You can’t go wrong with keeping these staples on your grocery list to make healthy eating convenient for your busy lifestyle. Cooper Clinic dietitians weigh in with their favorite Top 10 Convenience Health Foods.

  1. Fresh fruit. Fruit is the world’s “original” fast food. Pick a variety for meals and snacks.
  2. Bagged salad greens. Throw a salad together in a pinch. These pre-washed greens can be served up as a side dish or main entrée with chopped chicken or canned tuna.
  3. Fish fillets. Individually frozen fish filets (salmon, cod, halibut, sole, and tilapia) are lean proteins and take just a few minutes to broil.
  4. Whole grains. Frozen corn and 90-second brown rice are good sources of fiber, low sodium, and healthy sides to compliment your meal.
  5. Yogurt. Select nonfat Greek yogurt for a high protein snack or after-dinner treat with fresh fruit topping.
  6. Frozen vegetables. Pop these in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  7. Canned beans. Simply rinse to reduce sodium by 40% and add to salads, soups and stews.
  8. Canned tomatoes. Buy low-sodium tomatoes to add to pasta, soups, sauces and casseroles.
  9. Nuts. One small handful of nuts is a perfect snack to carry you to the next meal.
  10. Oatmeal. One of dietitian’s top-pick cereals as a filling source of fiber and heart healthy breakfast that takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave.

To learn more tips and advice from Cooper Clinic Dietitians, join us March 2 for the Cooper Nutrition Expo! With 40-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health, this event is FREE and open to the public. View more details and the list of vendors here.