Posts Tagged ‘women’s health’

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

Health Starts Here

Have you ever started your health journey for all the right reasons then got so focused on the number on the scale that it all fell apart? That’s what has happened to me recently. When I started blogging about my health journey it was for health, but along the way it became about weight. And about how I wanted to look in my swimsuit for my Hawaii vacation. And that I still couldn’t fit into my thinner clothes. And the number on the scale wasn’t decreasing as fast as I wanted. At some point I lost sight of what really mattered to me in the first place… to feel better. Knowing that if I was patient during the process, in time I’d also look better.

A note and snack left by Meridan to remind me to stay focused on my health goal.

As a result of getting so focused on the exterior and less interested on the interior, I wasn’t succeeding at either. So it was time for an attitude adjustment. I talked to my ever faithful Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Meridan Zerner. It was a relief to share this information with someone who wouldn’t judge or preach, rather support and inspire. Now I’m back in full force with my sights on improving my cardio fitness, increasing my energy, getting better sleep and feeling less pain in my geriatric knees. Sporting my new knee brace, I’ve been taking Zumba and Jam Zone classes at Cooper Fitness Center, riding the stationary bike set to interval training and walked three miles with a colleague yesterday. I do think the nicer weather in Dallas has helped my new-found motivation!

This is a photo of a note Meridan left me the other week. It says, “Health starts here,” with a smiley face, sitting underneath an apple. While the apple was devoured immediately, I still have the message posted in my office. It helps remind me to not just incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet, but also the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. As I eat my banana and plan my weight routine for after work, I realize I’m eating and exercising for health, not weight. And it feels great!

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

I Can’t vs. I Don’t!

Hello again! It’s been a while, but I’m back to update you on my health journey. And what a journey it has been… thanks to life, technically uneven pavement, getting in the way. I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago, and as a result I have not been able to exercise. It’s amazing how an injury can impact your mood and motivation. While I’m maintaining the early weight loss I had experienced, not much else has changed. I talked to Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, about feeling deflated and she had a great tip to get my mental attitude in shape while I wait on my body to heal.

She says that every day is a new day and a new opportunity to build a long-term healthy foundation. That means, ideally, the choices we make today should be decisions, patterns, foods and activities that we can see ourselves doing next month, next year and five years from now. Meridan shared that on a plane ride home from visiting her family she was struck by an article in Health magazine. Researchers looked at the change in psychology and attitude when people said “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” regarding food challenges. They were more successful by switching their mentality to one that was more positive and committed to change and less about deprivation. Think about replacing the unhealthy words “I can’t” with the healthier “I don’t” or  “I choose not to” when confronted with difficult situations.

It’s amazing the power you give yourself and allow yourself to experience from the simple words of “I can, but I don’t.” A perfect example is a man named Reuben who works at HEB and is participating in its “Slim Down Showdown” challenge. Meridan is his nutrition coach via phone. She said that people bring donuts and other desserts to his office and one colleague is especially giving him a hard time about his health journey. Instead of falling into the jealous man’s trap, Reuben simply replies with “I can have it, but I choose not to.” The power is now on his side and it shows he is taking control of his health.

This new mindset is very inspiring. I’m excited to refocus how I view my choices. It’s very freeing being in control, rather than feeling like I’m a prisoner to what I can’t have. I hope this is helpful for you, too! Let me know what you think!

Full disclosure: HEB is a client of Cooper Consulting Partners and the “Slim Down Showdown” participants work with Cooper Wellness throughout their journey.

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.

An Inspiring Cooperized Story

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

We want to wish good luck to Cooper Clinic’s own Monica Warford this weekend at the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon Race. Her weight loss and healthy lifestyle is an inspiration to us all. Read and hear Monica’s story:

At Cooper Aerobics, our mission is to Cooperize the world. But, we know it must start with us first.

Monica Warford has always struggled with her weight. Growing up, she said she was fine with being known as the “bigger” girl. It wasn’t until the year 2008 at her brother’s wedding when she wanted to shed weight and change her lifestyle for the better. Monica, a goal-oriented CPA, prepared herself for the challenge of a lifetime.

“I got tired of always being the ‘big’ girl,” said Monica. “I could find the cutest clothes, but never in a size 24. Something had to change.”

Monica quickly made herself a familiar face at Cooper Fitness Center, just steps from her office in the Cooper Clinic accounting department. She religiously attended spin class twice a week, walked, and strength trained in between.

With all of this work, Monica’s weight-loss was hardly changing. Why? Monica was still eating anything she wanted and maintaining her weight at 235 pounds. The exercise alone was not helping her lose weight.

It was time for the next phase of her lifestyle change. Monica, at the urging of her Aunt Patty, started attending Weight Watchers meetings and began her healthy eating program during the summer of 2008. Not only were they attending the meetings, but they were walking to the meetings and back home. By 2009, Monica had logged more than 800 walking-miles. Healthy eating in combination with exercise, was just what she needed to see significant results.

Between that life-changing summer and now, Monica has lost more than 100 pounds and continues to attend monthly races. She attributes much of her weight-loss success to the endless support from friends, family, and coworkers.

“I would have never been able to achieve those goals and my current ones without the tremendous support from everyone in my life, especially my Cooper Aerobics colleagues,” said Monica.

Hear Monica’s story.

Manage Stress with Aromatherapy

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Managing stress is a critical component to Get Cooperized. Whether it’s through exercise, breathing techniques, or spa treatments, there are multiple ways to relax and rejuvenate. Wendy Ruggiero, massage therapist at Cooper Spa shares tips to unwind with aromatherapy.

I love aromatherapy. I use some form of essential oil everyday, especially when I feel stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. I attribute my healthy immune system to regular massage and aromatherapy. It amazes me every time how these special blends can cheer me up and calm me down all at once.

Aromatherapy triggers a positive emotional and physical response by stimulating your body’s limbic (emotional) and endocrine (hormonal) systems. For example, when you smell Lavender essential oil, its microscopic chemicals immediately trigger your body to calm your nervous system and relax your muscles.

Try my top-three essential oils: 

  1. Eucalyptus: This is great for treating respiratory problems, such as coughs and colds. It helps relieve muscle tension.
  2. Tea Tree: A natural anti-fungal oil, Tea Tree is good for treating all sorts of fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.
  3. Rosemary: Rosemary is stimulating and uplifting. It’s good to help mental stimulation and fuel the immune system, and it’s great for muscle aches and tension. Rosemary is also stimulating to the digestive system.

Venturing into aromatherapy can be overwhelming with all the choices. Start slow by finding a reputable company who sells essential oils such as Cooper Spa. We carry a line from Aromatherapy Associates, highly recommended by Wendy to any general consumer. Buy one or two at a time exploring the options of each oil. Feel free to contact Cooper Spa for more details at 972.392.7729 or visit

Prenatal Products

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

By Jill Turner, Vice President of Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that marketsCooper Complete Nutritional Supplements.

We received the following question via email:

“Hello – My active wife, for our first time, became my active pregnant wife. I did not see prenatal products on your site and wondered (a) if you had such a product, and (b) if not, could you recommend a few companies’ products that are very good (and why, if you have time). Thanks so much for all you do and for looking into this specific request. All the best, Paul N.”

Our Answer
Congratulations on the upcoming arrival!

There are tons of prenatal products on the market. We’ve had many expectant moms report that their gynecologists have approved use of Basic One With Iron or the original Cooper Complete With Iron formulations for prenatal use. However, the rule here is to talk with your particular doctor and get their feedback as everyone is different, and all doctors tend to have their preferred products (over the shelf or prescription).

As far as omega-3 fatty acids go, please make sure your wife is getting plenty of omega-3’s overall, but in particular DHA. While EPA is great for heart health, DHA is an awesome powerhouse for helping in cell development.

Ocean Nutrition, the company who supplies us with the raw materials for our omega-3 product, says the following:

Pregnant and Nursing Women
Research indicates that omega-3 EPA and DHA play an essential role before, during, and after pregnancy. As the sole source of nutrients for her developing baby, a mother needs to consume ample amounts of omega-3 EPA/DHA, which are integral to the healthy development of the fetus’s vital organs, such as the brain and eyes. Additionally, omega-3 EPA and DHA support a healthy pregnancy and labor. Even after childbirth, a mom still needs to watch her omega-3 EPA and DHA intake, as her child will continue to absorb nutrients from her breast milk.

Research indicates that consuming foods rich in omega-3 EPA/DHA may help to:

  • Prevent early labor
  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduce the risk of preeclampsia (a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy)
  • Reduce the risk of post-partum depression
  • Provide the mother with enough EPA and DHA to meet her infant’s needs through breastfeeding
  • Ensure adequate levels of omega-3 EPA and DHA to support another healthy pregnancy

Fetuses and Infants
DHA is essential to the development of the nervous system — which includes the brain, spinal cord, and network of nerves — and the eyes, particularly the retina. Because the formation of these organs is complete by the age of three or four, it’s critical that the growing child get plenty of DHA during fetal development and throughout the early years of life.

Research indicates that omega-3 EPA and DHA plays many roles in supporting the health of the fetus and infant, including helping:

  • Develop a fully functional nervous system, including a healthy brain
  • Develop healthy eyes and visual acuity
  • Reduce the risk of allergies in at-risk infants
  • Increase birth size and weight
  • Reduce the risk of cerebral palsy
  • Increase IQ and ability to solve problems
  • Support visual acuity
  • Promote good coordination and motor skills
  • Contribute to good behavior

Visit our website for more information, or email or call 972.560.3262 with your questions regarding supplements.

Preventive Care for Women

By Nina Radford, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cooper Clinic.

If improving on bad health habits, getting acquainted with your primary care physician or maintaining your good health is on your list of goals for this year, good for you.

To help you organize your approach to maximizing your health, we thought we would outline a preventive care and screening strategy for women in the table below. This outline may differ slightly from one you’ve read in a magazine or seen in literature from your insurance company. It is important to remember that strategies or guidelines for screening can vary depending on the organization that publishes them.

For example, the American College of Physicians may publish a slightly different recommendation on mammography than the American Cancer Society. Why would they vary? These guidelines are based on numerous studies that have been published in medical journals. Each organization may have a little different interpretation about how the results of the studies should be applied to the general population.

The application of these guidelines and strategies by health care providers can also vary from person to person. You and your neighbor who are the same age may see the same doctor but she recommends a test in your neighbor that she doesn’t recommend for you. Is your doctor playing favorites? No, she is using her knowledge and skill to individualize the use of the screening test based on your clinical risk profiles. Your neighbor may have a strong family history of cancers for example and thus needs a screening test at an earlier age and someone at average or low risk.

While these guidelines may vary a bit for each individual, they all share a feature that applies equally to everyone: they serve as a great springboard for important dialogue between you and your health care provider!

Preventive Screening or Service Frequency

Counseling about alcohol, tobacco, drug use, domestic violence, seat belt use, general nutrition, physical activity STDs and HIV, contraception or hormone replacement and fall prevention – Yearly

Counseling about calcium and folic acid supplementation – Yearly

Blood Pressure, Height and Weight – Yearly

Dental and Vision Examination – Yearly

Hearing Examination – Periodically

Breast Examination – Yearly

Pelvic Examination – Yearly

PAP Smear – Yearly in women with a cervix

Fecal Occult Blood – Yearly after age 40

Mammography – Yearly after age 40

Lipid (Cholesterol) Profile – Every 1-3 years

Diabetes (Glucose) Screen – Every 1-3 years

Sigmoidoscopy – Every 5-10 years from age 40-50

Colonoscopy – Every 5-10 years after age 50

Influenza vaccine – Yearly

Tetanus toxoid – Every 10 years

Pneumoccocal – Once after the age of 65 or earlier for higher risk patients

For more information on Cooper Clinic or to schedule a comprehensive preventive exam, visit our website or call 972.560.2667.