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Ask Dr. Scott: Return to Exercise

It’s Spring and that means it’s time to return to exercise.

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Q:  Dr. Scott, how important is beginning to exercise again this Spring for my health and happiness? 

A:  After this long winter, many of us are beginning to get active again! Exercise as a stand-alone health-enhancement approach is one of the most profound ways to increase your brain’s health. Exercise should be carefully matched to meet the needs of the individual, and be sufficiently non-arduous (or actually pleasant) to ensure a reasonable chance of compliance. Exercise has been shown to offer widespread and wonderful benefits in cases as divergent as metabolic syndrome-related disorders, hypertension, obesity, heart and pulmonary diseases, chronic heart failure, intermittent claudication, muscle, bone and joint diseases (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome) cancer, depression, asthma and Type-I diabetes. (Pedersen and Saltin, 2006)

It should be emphasized that exercise has been consistently found to be as good as, and even better than, medications at relieving depression. Exercise raises brain levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which impact that persistent “winter mood”. Besides increasing endorphin levels, it increases blood flow to the brain. There are no anti-depressants that have been shown to impact the brain in as many positive ways as exercise can. (Harris et al, 2006) If only patients with depression could have a walk or run to the drug store to pick up their prescription, they might feel that they no longer need it. The only problem is that many people with chronic depression cannot imagine getting out of bed, much less exercising since their brain is functioning so poorly. Based on these findings, physicians are now strongly encouraged to consider the role of exercise interventions in the care of depressed patients.

Q:  What about weight-loss with exercise?

A:  You should realize that if your waist is greater than 35 for a woman or 40 for a man, your risk for diabetes and coronary artery disease actually quadruples! (West, 2014) Excess body weight has an inverse relationship to high physical activity and high performance. There is both good and bad news for people with weight issues. The bad news is that excess weight is a health issue which requires addressing just as any other issue for optimal health and optimal expression of self.

The good news is that with some applied physiology, it certainly is possible to effectively lose weight, but it does require a high level of commitment and persistence — which commonly means support from friends and family and may require an additional psychological/emotional support, such as applied kinesiology and endocrine support.

Exercise uses up some of the sugar in our body before it binds with proteins. (In heart disease patients and in diabetics, this prevents a deadly process called glycation in the vascular system). Exercise also lowers insulin levels and insulin is what converts blood sugar into fat, helping to remove your love handles! Exercise also reduces estrogen levels and estrogen can actually create fat. Exercise increases testosterone levels and testosterone decreases body fat and improves your libido. Exercise increases thyroid hormone, and thyroid hormone increases your metabolism and decreases your body’s storage of fat.

Q:  What about high blood pressure and exercise?

A:  It is now known that a single session of exercise can lower blood pressure for up to 24 hours, requiring only 40% of maximal capacity, which is moderate paced walking. After 3 consecutive episodes of exercise, blood pressure is reduced for even longer, but returns to pre-exercise levels if you return to a lifestyle of 1 to 2 weeks of no exercise. (Thompson et al, 2001).

It is also known that blood pressure falls more in hypertensive than in normotensive people. In fact, regular exercise lowers blood pressure in 75% of hypertensive people, with average systolic and diastolic reductions of 11 and 8 mmHg, respectively. Exercise can reduce your 10-year cardiovascular risk by at least 25% for the average hypertensive patient. (Hagberg et al, 2000) Blood pressure reduction is effective with only 3 times a week exercise sessions. The exercise can be anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes a day and, perhaps surprisingly, there seems to be little difference in blood pressure reductions achieved between doing strong versus more relaxed and moderate exercise. (Fagard, 2001)

From 6-pack abs to erection enhancers, Americans are deluged with health promises. If you delve into these promises, however, they turn out to be half-truths at best. This is part of the reason that there are so many diet books, exercise fads and miracle cures which only serve to eventually disappoint. And yet the basic truths of healthy living from time immemorial still hold firm:

  • Exercise sanely and daily. 
  • Get 8 hours of sleep.
  • Eat less to lose weight. 
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day. 

In her inspiring book The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Erlich meditates on the healing that walking about through open spaces gives to the soul.  Every one of us should begin daily walking outdoors in Pueblo’s city parks and neighborhoods and state park to cure our collective and individual spirit of the winter flab and blues.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet

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Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.


Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.


Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.


Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.


All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days

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There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter

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WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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