Happy National Nutrition Month

Written by: Superior Physical Therapy

Happy National Nutrition Month! This is a nice continuation from last month’s theme of Heart Health Month. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in disease prevention and vibrant health. Over the next few weeks, we are focusing on the importance of making smart food choices, mindful eating, increasing physical activity and promoting Habits of Health (HOH).

This really hits home for me. I’ve been practicing PT since the 80’s and love the profession. We are the health care providers who can virtually change people’s lives, enabling them to return to their previous level of function. Working part time and raising a family of three boys, I had put on a substantial amount of weight over the years. My energy levels decreased, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, high BP, high cholesterol, have musculoskeletal joint pain, and toe arthritis.

Last year my husband and I started working out at the Green Valley YMCA and I looked forward in participating in the fitness classes each week. Although I was inevitably feeling stronger, I still was unable to dump the weight. At that point in time, I met Megan Reilly at the YMCA. She is a ‘Take Shape for Life/Optavia Health Coach’. She had asked me pointed questions that involved a considerable amount of thought and soul searching. Yes, many of us want to lose weight but the big question is ‘why’? My answer was lifelong optimal health and personal wellbeing. That will require making numerous choices on a daily basis. What are my life long goals and how do I get there? For example, will eating that cookie bring me closer to my goals? Will taking the elevator or taking stairs help become closer to my goals? What do I need to do to avoid certain situations and how can I be better prepared for them next time?

I wanted to feel energetic, get off my medications, and truly reduce the risk factors of inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, high BP, high cholesterol, diabetes, and muscular skeletal issues.

Why do I want to minimize the risk factors? Maintaining optimum health will enable me to enjoy my family, friends and hopefully grandchildren someday! I would like to do a lot of traveling and be able to continue to treat my patients.

TSFL was co-founded by Dr. Wayne Anderson, a critical care specialist. I have been on the TSFL/Opaivia program since this past October. So far, I have gotten rid of 34 pounds!

How about you? Physical Therapy can help you improve your health. After performing a detailed evaluation, we can customize specific exercises tailored just for you, while taking into account your medical history and mobility level. The key in helping prevent disease/disability and getting you to feel healthier!

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to run or do vigorous exercise in order to reduce risk factors. According to a recent study in the Journal of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology by Paul Williams and Dr. Paul Thompson, walking briskly at least 5x/week for 30 minutes a day or 150 min/week at 3-4mph, is as beneficial as running or doing high intensity exercise 3x/week for 25 minutes. Both running and walking led to similar reductions in risk of HBP, high cholesterol, diabetes and CAD. Their findings suggested that there are similar benefits with exercise, whether it is vigorous or moderate intensity. However, those capable of performing more vigorous exercise may be more time efficient, as they can go through the same distance in shorter period of time.

Another study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests some movement is better than no movement. For example, if you sit more than 1 hour, you take 22 minutes off your life. Six hours of television or videos a day reduces life expectancy by five years. The research claims that, a sedentary lifestyle is as bad for your health as smoking and obesity.

The longer you sit, the more your blood circulation slows and blood begins to pool, causing an increasing risk of blood clots.

Decreasing obesity by just 10% of your weight could significantly decreases your risk to certain types of cancer.

A few tips about healthy nutrition:

  • Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day or half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
  • Eating 5-6 small meals or “fueling” per day is more advantageous then 3 large meals per day.
  • Complete moderate exercise 5 days/week. A diet of low carbs, low sugar and high protein will send your body into fat burn.
  • If you are sitting quite a bit on your computer whether at home or at work, a great tool to purchase is a Versa Desk, which is a variable height desk that will allow people to move and stand up for spinal/nerve health and cardio-vascular health.

By Janet Keller, PT


  1. Health Day: News for Living – “Brisk Walking Equals Running for Heart Health, by Steven Reinberg
  2. Dr. A’s Habits of Health: the Path to Permanent Weight Control and Optimal Health, by Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson