When you need it most, exercise can help. In fact, it may save your life!

Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. A lower risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers are among a long list of positive health effects of exercise. Lesser known benefits include improved mental health, cognitive function, and greater feelings of wellbeing. Exercise is essential for development of children, maintaining health in adults, and can even reverse some of the effects of aging.

Despite these clear benefits, many people do not participate in regular exercise until they have a medical condition, like a heart attack or cancer, that motivates them to start.  This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

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It’s time to go back to school. Let’s make sure kids are ready to learn!

Physical activity and good nutrition have long been recognized as essential for promoting good health in adults and children. More and more research suggests that these health behaviors can have beneficial effects beyond health, including how we perform both physically and mentally. The emphasis here is on children in school, but it applies to adults, too. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week, just in time for the first day of school here.

children playing

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How to stay healthy at work.

Many people are trying to create a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier, making time for exercise or other activity, and reducing stress. Frequently, the focus is on what they can do at home, from prepping meals to joining a gym or going to yoga class. But many people spend a major part of their day at work, where healthy options are often limited. From the box of donuts at a morning meeting to a quick fast food lunch, eating well at work can be difficult. And for people who have office jobs, it also likely means lots of time sitting at a desk.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your time at work a little less damaging to your health. Even better, these steps can also make you more productive and feel better throughout the day.

Parr at desk 2-11-16

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From farm to table at your local farmer’s market

Today marks the beginning of National Farmer’s Market Week, a celebration of the benefits local markets have on our communities. From supporting local farmers to improving access to nutritious food, farmer’s markets can have positive effects on the environment, economy, and health. In fact, the availability of farmer’s markets is one of the criteria used in the American Fitness Index, an annual ranking of the fittest cities in the United States. Let’s explore some reasons why shopping at a farmer’s market makes good sense. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

farmers market

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Should you go organic?

Organic food, including produce, milk, and meat, are becoming more popular among consumers each year. In fact, sales of organic foods now account for over $50 billion per yearand further growth is expected. There are many reasons to account for this increase, including potential health benefits and environmental impact. Despite the popularity of organic foods, there is little evidence that eating organic has significant health benefits. But organic foods may still be a good choice for you and your family. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

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When fat attacks, use your muscle to fight back!

Everyone knows that fat is where the extra calories you eat end up and the reason your clothes fit too tightly. But beyond that, it doesn’t do much, right? While fat, or adipose tissue, is a place to store excess energy, research shows that it also plays an active role in health and disease. In fact, your fat may be keeping you fat!

The good news is that weight loss and regular exercise can reverse the negative health effects of excess body fat. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

Adipose tissue

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It’s hot! So get fit and stay cool in the pool.

It’s hot! Whether you are swimming laps or splashing in a lake, swimming is a great way to stay cool. Swimming is also an excellent exercise for improving your fitness and helping with weight loss.

This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

Swimmer

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