Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kids Will Exercise for 10 Continuous Hours During "Exercise US" Day on Thursday, October 6, 2011!

On Thursday, October 6, 2011, schools and organizations across the nation will be participating in the Third Annual Exercise US (a.k.a. Exercise United States) day. This event is aimed at fighting childhood obesity and it is just one of the many campaigns launched for this purpose by Len Saunders, a New Jersey physical education teacher and author of Keeping Kids Fit (LaChance Publishing, NY). Exercise US day unites children from all 50 states in a 10-hour exercise relay that begins on the east coast at 8:00 AM (EST) and ends on the west coast at 3:00 PM (PST). The idea is to have different schools and organizations around the country sign up for one (or more) of 40 designated 15-minute time slots during which their children will exercise. As one location finishes its 15-minute exercise session another one begins, creating a continuous pattern of exercise that runs throughout the United States.

According to The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010 approximately one in three children are either overweight or obese. In order to combat this problem, the Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin M.D., stated that a united effort by all private and public sectors of the nation is required. Len Saunders is doing his part in response to this call to action. "I believe in team effort," he stated during our phone interview. He noted that a continuity in the message that we send to our nation's children is essential to help them form health-promoting habits that will last a lifetime. Both schools and parents need to stress the importance of regular physical activity, but it needs to be done in a fun and engaging way to get children on board.

Exercise US day motivates children to get active because they see other kids doing it too and they want to become part of the action. This is important according to Saunders. He also noted that it is essential to not only tell kids to exercise, but to explain why it is important. "A healthy lifestyle is not just physical, but it is cognitive as well," Saunders explained. Children become empowered when they understand why they are doing what they are doing rather than just doing it because they were told to do so. To help create this understanding, Saunders provides various downloads on the Exercise US website, such as word searches, puzzles and mazes that can help to spark conversations about why our bodies need to exercise to be healthy.

Saunders stated that the intent of the Exercise US initiative is to "jump start" good habits. The program is open to all children and schools and organizations are free to engage in any form of physical activity they choose during their 15-minute exercise segment. Schools and organizations who are interested in joining the campaign on Thursday, October 6, 2011 can visit the Exercise US website and sign up for a 15-minute time slot. They will also be able to access a list of suggested activities to perform during the event (e.g., dance, aerobics, yoga, etc.,).

Phone Interview; Len Saunders; September 28, 2011

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lashinda Demus, "The Star of Her Family," Shines Bright to the World as the Reigning World Champion in the Women's 400M Hurdles

Lashinda Demus is the world title holder in the Women's 400M Hurdles. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations) 

It's in the rhythm of her breath, the pumping of her blood and the fluidity of her movement. It's in the fire found in her spirit that powers it all. It's the feel -- the ultimate mind, body and soul connection that propels Lashinda Demus past her opponents and brings the crowd to its feet with a roar as she crosses the finish line first.

On September 1, 2011, Demus clinched the gold in the Women's 400M Hurdles with a time of 52.47s during the World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Not only did she become the world title holder in the event, but she set a new American record, breaking Kim Batten's time of 52.61s set in 1995. Lashinda's performance was the third fastest ever, missing the world record by .02s (2/100s).

Her win does not come as a surprise to her family, however, they saw that she had talent at a young age. "They always say I'm the star of the family," Lashinda told me during a phone interview. And for good reason, Lashinda has been claiming titles for the past decade, setting the national high school record in the girls 300 hurdles in 2001. After high school she continued to dominate on the track, helping South Carolina win its only NCAA track and field championship.

In 2005 and 2006, Demus was ranked #1 with aspirations to take the 2008 Olympics by storm; however, in the second half of 2006, life put Lashinda in the outside lane of the track when she became pregnant. As reality set in, so did depression. "I felt like I couldn't be pretty anymore," stated Demus. "I thought that becoming a mother meant that you couldn't wear make-up or dress up anymore," she elaborated. "I did not want to talk to anyone....I just wanted to stay in bed," Demus explained. She noted that, at the time, she did not recognize that she was depressed. "Looking back I realized that I was. It wasn't until I saw the [ultrasound] pictures that it turned into happiness, " she reflected.

Demus finds strength through her family. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations)

In June 2007, Demus gave birth to twin boys. Her athletic will and desire had her back to training just four weeks later, but her body was not ready. After failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics by .14s, Demus realized that she needed to change her approach to training. "I moved back home [to California] for help from my family...I made my mom [a former NCAA champion herself] my coach and made my husband my agent," remarked Demus.

When Demus struggled to get her post-pregnancy body accustomed to training again, her mother's words of wisdom kept her going. "My mom knew everything to feel and told me what to expect. She told me that there will always be a breaking point--a time when everything comes together. [She said] it will be hard until you get to that one point," noted Demus. "As an athlete, you train hard. I just kept telling myself one day it will not hurt as much," she stated. "You have to keep pushing forward because if you are not moving forward then you are either going backwards or not moving at all."

Magic is found in the ultimate mind, body and soul connection. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations)

Demus' perseverance carried her back to #1 in 2009 when she defeated the defending 2008 Olympic Champion by over 1.5s. In 2010, she earned the title of Diamond League Champion. This year, Demus crossed off two goals from her bucket list of five--setting an American record and clinching the gold at the World Championships. Next in line is to claim an Olympic gold (London 2012), set a world record and to go down in history as the best ever in her event.

Demus has already started to make a name for herself in history books. Her ability to reclaim her number one status after motherhood is an inspiration to women everywhere. She has proven that you can strike a balance between motherhood and a demanding career through hard work and a lot of support. Her advice to other mothers is: "Don't cut from life. Always pursue your dreams while having kids, because having kids is a part of your dreams. Don't ever take away your worth after pregnancy."

To see Demus claim the 2011 World Champion title in the Women's 400M Hurdles, watch the video (Courtesy of Universal Sports) below. To learn more about Lashinda Demus visit her website at If you would like to keep up to date on her progress toward achieving the gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, "like" her on Facebook at Lashinda Demus' Road to Gold: London 2012.

Phone Interview September 14, 2011; Lashinda Demus

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

San Diego Charger Girls Benefit from Hands-On Health Care

Dr. Mindy Mar is the first female Doctor of Chiropractic to be hired by the National Football League.

On September 11, 2011, the San Diego Chargers will play their first game of the regular season against the Minnesota Vikings. Excitement will be in the air as Chargers fans don jerseys of their favorite players, arm themselves with pennants and other team memorabilia, pick the prime parking spot for tailgating and find their seats to enjoy the action-packed game and entertaining half-time show.  All the while, Dr. Mindy Mar--the first female Doctor of Chiropractic to be contracted by the National Football League (NFL)--will be hard at work to ensure everything is in place to provide superior on-site health care services for the San Diego Charger Girls, the official dance team of the San Diego Chargers.

In 2007, the 28 member professional cheerleading squad contracted Dr. Mar of the San Diego Center for Health to be their team and game day doctor. Mar is a member of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians® (ACBSP®) and is a diplomate of the ACBSP® (DACBSP®), which is the highest level of training and certification of sports medicine in the field of chiropractic. Athletes who perform at the professional/elite level, such as the Charger Girls, need a health care practitioner who has extensive knowledge and experience at preventing, treating and managing sports-related injuries. "Many sports-related injuries often involve more than one structure and can mimic other conditions," noted Dr. Mar in an email correspondence. "Proper examination and diagnosis of sports injuries requires specialized knowledge and skill both on and off the field," she explained.

In order to become certified as a DACBSP®, Mar had to complete an additional 200+ hours of training beyond the initial 120 hours required to achieve the title of Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®). "The diplomate program via the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians® provides specific training in the field of sports medicine and emergency procedure management for the chiropractic sports physician/practitioner," she described. "Advanced first aid, spinal boarding procedures and emergency trauma care are heavily emphasized in the diplomate program," stated Dr. Mar.

Any athlete is at risk for developing a sports-related injury; but, at the professional level, the risk becomes greater due to the degree of difficulty of the physical tasks performed. Furthermore, the intensity of the training associated with professional sports increases the risk for overuse and repetitive stress injuries. In the sport of cheerleading, injuries can range from minor, such as a strain or sprain, to catastrophic, such as heat exhaustion and head or neck injuries. Any form of injury can affect performance and can have serious consequences for both the team and the individual athlete who depend on having a competitive edge for livelihood.

"Injury prevention is key to keeping an athlete or team healthy enough to meet the physical demands of their sport. Proper hydration, dietary needs for one's particular sport or body type, warm-up or cool-down and exercise rehab for biomechanical reinforcement and specific adaptation to imposed demands when it comes to one's strength and conditioning training are all key components for injury prevention," commented Mar. "Various adjustments, therapies and soft tissue treatments help accelerate recovery time and repair after training or performance, which allows athletes at all levels to not be as susceptible to overuse injuries," noted Dr. Mar.

Mar utilizes various techniques to restore and maintain the health of the Charger Girls. These include methods such as Kinesio® Taping, physiotherapy modalities, exercise rehabilitation, the Graston Technique, as well as chiropractic adjustments. On game day, however, her therapy choices are limited. "Some treatments are not appropriate to perform on game day due to the fact that a period of rest or icing is necessary. This is not possible on game day, so certain therapeutic stretches and soft tissue therapies (i.e., Graston Technique) are avoided," explained Mar.

The San Diego Charger girls are one of the best dance teams in the NFL. Likewise, Dr. Mar can be deemed a "superstar" in her own right. She is a role model for women of all generations who aspire to be successful in careers/fields dominated by men. In addition, she can be accredited with helping to advance the chiropractic profession by increasing the awareness that chiropractic methodology has a valuable role in sports medicine. "Chiropractic care is ideal for both injury prevention and injury treatment with repetitive stress and biomechanical deficiencies in mind. Chiropractors look at the body from a three dimensional standpoint and incorporate adjustments for joint realignment and mobilization, soft tissue therapy for scar tissue breakdown/healing and exercise rehabilitation for stability and strength," she noted.

What are some words of wisdom that Dr. Mar has for other women, particularly younger females? "My advice to young female readers would be that any goal or vision is possible as long as it's your passion, your calling...what lights you up inside. Because if indeed the path you take is your calling in life, then the hours of study, hard work, internships, research, etc., required to succeed in your chosen path will be well spent. You can never have enough education in your chosen field. You can never be too passionate about your path in life. People are drawn to passion and confidence, but it is important to remember that success does not typically happen over night. Also, it's about the journey.... and not the destination. I've never let any thoughts or comments discourage me from obtaining goals and breaking barriers in my chosen field of chiropractic and sports medicine."

To learn more about Dr. Mar and the San Diego Center for Health visit, To find out more about the Charger Girls visit,

Email Interview; Dr. Mindy Mar, San Diego Center for Health

San Diego Center for Health website
The San Diego Center for Health is a full service sports medicine and chiropractic center established in 2003.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Save a Life, Take a Leap

Rick Collins (JD, CSCS) takes a "leap" against cancer during his skydive fundraising event, Leap for Life.

Sometimes, in order to make a difference in life, you need to just jump right in. Or, as in the case of successful lawyer and fitness author, Rick Collins, JD, CSCS, you need to take a leap...right out of an airplane. Collins will be taking his fight against cancer to the sky for the third consecutive year when he jumps from an airplane at an altitude of 13,500 feet during the weekend of September 24-25, 2011 as part of his skydive fundraising event, Leap for Life.

A man full of passion and with more than one mission, Collins created Leap for Life to honor a close friend and a loved one who both lost their lives to cancer, as well as to make a statement that personal growth arises from facing and overcoming life’s challenges, including self-imposed fears and insecurities. Collins chose to face his own fear of heights in 2009 by “skydiving for a cause.” Since Collins took that first leap, Leap for Life has raised nearly $60,000 for various cancer charities. This year's event will raise money for two charities: Alex's Lemonade Stand --a not-for-profit foundation for childhood cancer and Strength for Life --a not-for-profit organization that provides free fitness programs for those living with cancer to enhance their recovery through exercise.

Collins wanted to share his amazing experience of “skydiving for a cause” with others. In 2010, he invited the world to join forces with him in his fight against cancer by encouraging individuals to help raise money by taking their own "leaps for life” at a skydive center (a.k.a. “drop zone”) near them. "With the help of social media networking and contacts, we recruited 100 people across the country and Canada...many had not jumped before," he commented in regard to last year’s turnout. Together, they raised $40,000 for The Lance Armstrong Foundation, LIVESTRONG (in 2009, Collins’ solo jump raised $15,000 for the American Cancer Society).

Rick Collins with his daughter during Leap for Life 2010.

Collins is once again inviting the world to join forces with him in his fight against cancer. If you want to skydive yourself to help raise money, you can go to and click the “I Want to Dive” button. Next, you will be able to create your own webpage for friends, family members and co-workers to visit. From here, they can give a donation in support of your jump through a secure server to either Alex’s Lemonade Stand or Strength for Life, or both.

Leap for Life takes place in September this year in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Although the main event takes place September 24th-25th, participants can skydive anytime in September to benefit the Leap for Life causes. If you want to help in the fight against cancer but are not ready to take a leap yourself, you can still offer financial support by visiting the Leap for Life site and clicking on the “I Want to Donate” button. Regardless of how you choose to support Leap for Life, you can rest assured knowing that you are helping to make life a little bit better for everyone.

Leap for Life proves to be a life changing experience for all involved. "It is such an empowering let go and do that [jump] because you have to overcome every instinct and fear that is holding you back," remarked Collins upon reflection of his previous jumps. “Doing your own skydive is the ultimate stepping out of your comfort zone…it’s diving out of your comfort zone. It allows us to continue to grow, expand our boundaries and be more of what we are,” stated Collins.

Collins noted that when you skydive you get an amazing view. “You get to see the curve of the earth at that distance.” What a wonderful sentiment that comes from his comment: In order to make a change for the better, it often requires you to take a new look at an old horizon to realize that the sky really is the limit…..

YouTube video of Rick Collins' Jump during Leap for Life 2010.

To learn more about Leap for Life, visit or You can also email Rick Collins at To find a "drop zone" near you and to get tips and information on skydiving, visit the United States Parachute Association at

About Rick Collins
Rick Collins is a respected lawyer based in New York who is a legal authority on dietary supplements and performance enhancing drugs. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a former competitive bodybuilder. Collins co-authored Alpha Male Challenge (Rodale, 2009), a book which outlines a 10 week diet and workout plan designed to challenge men to become the best that they can be mentally, physically, socially and emotionally. To learn more about Rick Collins, visit his site at

About Alex's Lemonade Stand
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of volunteers across the country carrying on her legacy of hope, To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $40 million towards fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 200 research projects nationally. To learn more, visit

About Strength for Life
Strength for Life is a New York-based not-for-profit organization providing free exercise classes and wellness retreats to cancer patients and survivors. Their mission is to empower survivors by creating a multi-dimensional approach to treatment and recovery. To learn more, visit

Phone Interview, August 26, 2011; Rick Collins, JD, CSCS.

Press Release, August 11, 2011; Smart Marketing Communications

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