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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.

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.

Motivation to Move

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions shouldn’t be a thing of the past. If you need another burst of motivation from the trainers at Cooper Fitness Center, read on.

Aaron Feldman, Professional Fitness Trainer

The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.

With all of the exercise related technology, gadgets and new equipment that is available in today’s age, it is easy to forget the underlying principle of exercise: Incorporating a consistent level of cardio-vascular activity with regular resistance training and stretching, we can maintain a level of health and wellness as we age. Instead of overcomplicating it with numbers, formulas and fitness related phone apps that may distract us, sometimes it is better to just get out there and do SOMETHING.

David P. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer

  • Consistency. I would rather have someone be consistent with a new exercise routine, over intensity any day of the week. When starting a new routine everyone wants to go all out in the beginning then they burn out really quickly. Relax! Rome was not built in a day, so take your time.
  • Careful with the running. You don’t run to get in shape—you get in shape to run. Starting too quickly on a running routine can cause nagging injuries. Remember the body needs time to adapt to the pounding so never underestimate the power of walking first before you hit the pavement jogging.
  • Balanced diet. We can take in more calories in 5 minutes than we can exercise off in an hour. Visit a nutritionist and get some simple guidelines that will help you achieve your goals. Fruits and veggies: eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. We hear too often “careful with eating too much fruit, that can be too much sugar.”  Meat: I am all about protein, but do we need to have a meat product with every meal? Try to fall into the “meatless Monday” trend to get in more fruits and veggies.
  • Athletic development. No matter how old you are—it is very important to stay athletic! Not everyone should be practicing sprints and plyometric exercises, but some basic athletic drills that require foot work and agility goes along way. All locomotion starts from the feet—work on your balance and foot strength by standing barefoot on each foot for 1 minute.  

David H. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer

Tired of trying to crunch your way to washboard abs? Strengthen your core, with a few crunch variations.

  • Correct Crunch (Front) – Lay on your back, lift your legs off the ground to form a 90 degree angle with your knees and legs. Then lift your upper body about two inches off the ground for the crunch. Breathe out when you lift up and breathe in when you go back down. If you have neck problems, place your hands on the back of your neck for support, but remember to not pull on your head.
  • Side Plank (Side) – Lay on your side and lift your body off the ground, balancing on one forearm and one foot. Contract your abdominals for the workout, and remember to breathe. For an added workout, lift your hips up and back down remaining lifted. Make sure you maintain good posture and your elbow is supported directly beneath your shoulder.
  • Cobra (Back) – Lay on your stomach and place your hands at your side with your palms down. Squeeze your glutes and raise your chest about two inches off the ground. To engage the exercise, rotate your thumbs up and out and lift your head neutrally. For an advanced version, start on your stomach with your arms bent in 90 degree angles by your head. When you lift up, stretch your arms out in front of your head. This is known as the superman and you may watch the demonstration here.
  • Reverse Crunch (Lower Abs) – Grab a small stability ball and grip it between your thighs while laying on your back. Make sure your palms are facing up. Squeeze the stability ball between your thighs to activate the lower abs. Roll your knees toward your chest with the ball for the exercise.

To achieve your goals for a strong, lean core, you also have to incorporate healthy habits in the kitchen! Mark your calendars to join us at Cooper Fitness Center on Monday, March 2 for our 8th annual Nutrition Expo! Come see 20-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health! FREE and open to the public.

Lisa Hanley
, Professional Fitness Trainer

Lighten the weight if it helps you do it correctly. While it is true that exercising with a challenging load increases strength, sharing the work among unrelated body parts will cheat you out of a good workout. Or worse, expose yourself to excessive wear and tear.

Help your body last a long time. There is no substitute for original parts. Reinforce and maintain the ones (knees, hips, discs) you were born with.

Exercise has evolved. Your workout should too. We now have the opportunity to reflect upon the long-term effects of exercises promoted as beneficial 30 or 40 years ago. The risk to benefit ratio of certain activities can range from extremely unfavorable to downright crazy! We should all treat our bodies better than that.

Exercise, massage and stretch. A certain amount of tissue elasticity will be lost as a normal result of aging. The best way to slow this process is through stimulating, increased circulation and range of motion from strength and cardio activities and remodeling soft tissue to be more extensible through massage and stretching. This helps muscles and fascia work more like a rubber band, the way they do in our youth.

To meet with a Professional Fitness Trainer from Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/Pros or contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.

 

Dr. Cooper’s Tackle on Fitness

January 16, 2015 1 comment

As you may have heard in the news, many congratulations are due to Dr. Kenneth Cooper! Last week Dr. Cooper was honored by the football community for his impact on athletes worldwide as a 2015 inductee into National Football Foundation (NFF) Leadership Hall of Fame.

A video tribute was created in his honor with interviews ranging from Troy Aikman to Ray Hunt to family members. As the kickoff event for the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend, the evening honoring Dr. Cooper was held at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The dinner co-chairmen include NFF Board Members and College Football Hall of Fame inductees Troy Aikman (UCLA) and Roger Staubach (Navy), current Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. In addition to the tribute video, various media outlets covered the evening ranging from broadcast, print and radio.

“Our entire nation owes Dr. Cooper our deepest gratitude,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “His teachings and insights have earned him the title as the father of aerobics, and he has espoused a lifestyle that has benefited everybody from top athletes to senior citizens who are simply looking for ways to improve their quality of life. He clearly has defined himself as a leader who challenges the status quo, and has created a brighter future for the next generation.”

United States Representative Roger Williams, a member of NFF Board of Directors, arranged to have an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., on Dec. 14, commemorating the induction of Dr. Kenneth Cooper.

Watch the tribute video, view the event photos on Facebook and see all media coverage at cooperaerobics.com/media.

Congratulations to Dr. Cooper!

Saluting Spaghetti Squash: A Power Food

December 30, 2014 2 comments

Ten fruits/vegetables a day will help lower blood pressure (from potassium) and can cut a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer by almost half.

Winter is the perfect time to try out different varieties of fall and winter-type squash. There are many to choose from and some of the popular standouts are acorn, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti. My personal favorite is spaghetti squash. Like its namesake it can be a perfect swap for noodles in various recipes which call for pasta. It’s a great way to bump up your veggie intake while trimming down on carbs. I love it because it’s delicious and easy to prepare. Spaghetti squash is also referred to as squaghetti, vegetable spaghetti and noodle squash.

What is spaghetti squash?
Spaghetti squash is an oval shaped yellow fruit that contains a stringy flesh and a mild taste. It can also be found in ivory or orange colors; the orange kinds have higher beta-carotene content. The center contains many large, edible seeds.

Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti squash is packed with nutrients including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene. It’s low in calories and fairly low in carbs, especially compared to starchy noodles. In fact, spaghetti has about five times the calories as spaghetti squash

Nutritional Analysis | One cup, cooked
Calories: 42
Fat: <0.5g
Sodium: 28 mg
Carbs: 10 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar: 4 g
Protein: 1 g

Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven or Microwave

With a very sharp knife, chop off the top or bottom of the squash so it will stand flat and secure on your cutting board. Be very careful as you slice it in half lengthwise. Then use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds.

To bake in the oven: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the inside of each half with olive oil and optionally sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place the cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork. Cool for about 15 minutes, or until squash is cool enough to handle. With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands and prepare as desired.

Or to microwave: Place squash cut sides down in a microwavable baking dish. Fill the dish with about one inch of water. Microwave on high for about 12 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the squash. Cool for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is cool enough to handle. With a fork, scrape out the strands and prepare as desired.

Preparation Tips

  • Toss cooked squash in chunky marinara sauce
  • Top with lean protein such as 97% lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
  • Lightly toss strands in olive oil and spices and top with grated parmesan
  • Make a tomato basil spaghetti squash bake
  • Prepare spiced squash pancakes
  • Save the seeds and roast them with olive oil and salt or for a sweet, spicy kick mix in honey, paprika and cayenne pepper

Spaghetti squash is versatile vegetable that is easy to make, delicious to eat and has a high nutrient profile you can’t beat. Try it this season to balance out all the calorie-laden carbs and sweets. You might surprise yourself how good it is and make it a new fall favorite.

Find more recipes from Cooper Clinic Dietitians here.

A Week With Cooper Wellness

“Cooper helped me regain my confidence, showed me that there were many things I could do that I didn’t think possible any longer and helped me regain my life.” Jason, National Instruments

Walking around the Cooper Aerobics campus in Dallas, you never know who you will cross paths with. After seeing a few groups come in to attend the five-day wellness week hosted by Cooper Wellness, I decided to call my teammate (fellow employee) Susan Thompson, who is the Wellness Director at National Instruments through Cooper Consulting Partners to find out more. Susan explained that participants proactively want to make a change and need manager approval to attend a wellness program. Ideal participants are self-motivated and actively seeking help and support to keep them committed to their health goals.

Susan shared these four activities that participants commit to for the six-month period.

  1. Log food four days (or more) per week for four to six weeks through the MyFitnessPal app before the program starts.
  2. Engage 150 minutes of physical activity (walking or even housework counts) per week.
  3. Personal train once each week with a workout buddy
  4. Attend a support group once a week.

Employees set goals for the six month period and end up with great success stories to share. Jason attended Cooper Wellness beginning on March 31 and has already seen a dramatic difference in his life and is truly Cooperized.

“Before Cooper (or BC as my group coined it), we spent a large amount of time playing video games or watching TV at home,” Jason confessed. “After Cooper (AC) we are hardly ever at home for long stretches of time. We go out, socialize, work out together and live life,” Jason said. “Cooper helped me regain my confidence, showed me that there were many things I could do that I didn’t think possible any longer and helped me regain my life. I’d always heard the phrase ‘a new lease on life.’ Now I understand what that means fully. I’ve been given a second chance. What a difference a year can make.”

Since April, Jason and his wife have completed multiple 5Ks, regularly walk their dogs, are generally active and have even been hiking. Jason’s group collectively was down 200 pounds at their three month weigh-in and will continue to use the behavior change skills they learned at Cooper as they move towards their six month goal.

Last week another group with Cooper Wellness spent a week on campus participating in the five-day wellness week. “Being here this week has shown the impact of education and support in making healthier choices. I am going back to Austin inspired by the enthusiasm the group developed as they tried new foods and exercise classes. Many would not have tried these new behaviors last week,” said Susan. “Watching the Cooper Wellness team unlock the door for a healthy lifestyle for this group and knowing they can take that with them moving forward has been so rewarding. We are genuinely teaching and empowering people to live longer, and live better!”

Register to attend a Cooper Wellness program individually or contact Cooper Consulting Partners for customized services in strategy consulting, leader training and lifestyle education for your company.