Ask Dr. Monti: How Can We Lose Weight as a Couple?

Illustration by Justin Renninger

Question: My partner and I are both overweight. I would love for us to get healthy together, but I don’t know how to get started. Weight and food is such a touchy subject and I’m not sure how to broach it. We’ve tried dieting before and nothing seems to work. Please help! Read more »

Is Reebok’s New EasyTone Apparel Really an Easy Way Out?

Meg sporting the EasyTone t-shirt in Malibu blue and EasyTone pants in black.

Over the past few years, there’s been a complete saturation of the athletic footwear market with shoes promising to lift your butt, tighten your thighs, and get you firmer faster than if you were wearing any other run-of-the-mill sneaker. I own both the original FitFlops and the Reebok RunTones.  I like my butt just fine, but I don’t know if they deserve the credit for its profile. (In fact, I like my butt even better in high heels, but they’ve never made it into my gym bag.)

Now, right in the middle of the holiday shopping season and coming up on the “Oh my God, I need to lose that last 10 pounds I gained in 2010 for the New Year” countdown, Reebok has released its latest miracle-pill fitness gear: Reebok EasyTone Apparel. Read more »

Stretch Like the Pros: How to Do a Dynamic Warm-Up

Warming up and stretching are key components to injury prevention, but they are often cut out of training due to time constraints. Active dynamic warm-up exercises consist of multiple joint stretching, which elevates your heart rate and gets the blood pumping. Instead of warming up for 5-10 minutes before training and then stretching for 5-10 minutes, this allows you to get both components in at one time!

Dynamic stretching also encourages you to contract muscle groups throughout their range while challenging your balance. It primes your muscles for performance by replicating the motions that will be used during your training. It is much more sport specific and more effective in comparison to the classic “hold and stretch.”

Sarah Walmsley is a physical therapist and works at Excel Physical Therapy and Fitness. She is also a running coach for Team Philly Race Training.

Illegal, Backyard Chicken Farmers

One of Bex's Burlington County chicks.

Philadelphians, beware!  There’s a growing population of outlaws among us.  Members of our community who are on a mission to improve their own health—and maybe save a couple dollars while they’re at it—have taken urban farming to another level. How? By raising chickens in their backyards.  Regardless of the fact that keeping livestock on properties less than three acres in size is not permitted by law, backyard chicken farming has made its way inside Philadelphia’s city limits and the practice is only increasing in popularity. Read more »

Video: Avoid Tennis Elbow in 10 Seconds

As fall leaves come floating down, there’s a good chance you’ll have some raking to do. But bad form while raking—or during any repetitive motion, such as  lifting weights, using tools, painting,  working at a computer, and of course, swinging a tennis racket—can lead to a bad case of tennis elbow. This tenderness over the outside of the elbow can make your regular routine very painful.

Why does it happen? The combination of a powerful grip with excessive wrist extension (think revving a motorcycle) can put a strain on the tendon that attaches to the outside of the elbow.   Overuse of this tendon over time can cause small tears that then heal and lay scar tissue, limiting motion and causing pain each time you try to grasp and lift.

The best prevention for tennis elbow is taking breaks during your activity and stretching your forearm muscles after a warm-up.  This video demonstrates the proper way to stretch your forearm muscles. Read more »

Hot Guys Take Yoga … Just Not in Philly

Kevin Stanton

When it comes to my personal fitness practice, I can be a bit of a “dude.” If I’m not sweating my way through a routine, pounding every muscle into submission, then I’m not working out. So although I’d heard great things about yoga from my friends and colleagues, the first time I tried it I felt the same skepticism about what it could possibly offer me that many guys still feel today.

And, unfortunately, my first class confirmed my fears. It was in my local gym, there was new-age synthesizer music playing, and the class was filled entirely with women. I didn’t break a sweat and I vowed never to go again. Read more »

Label Alert: High Fructose Corn Syrup Could Have a New Name Soon

Something very interesting is happening in the billion dollar sweetener industry that should have us paying even closer attention to those black-and-white nutrition labels on the back of our food packaging. The Corn Refiners Association (CFA) has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow them to change the name of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the more user-friendly moniker, “corn sugar.”

To me, this move by the CFA to “sweeten” up the image of its wildly successful, but increasingly controversial, product is just another underhanded attempt to trick the American public into believing HFCS is a good alternative to traditional sugar and poses no unique health risks. Read more »

Career-Ending Injury for Eagles’ Weaver?

If you are a Philadelphia sports fan, there is no doubt you saw the gruesome video clip of Leonard Weaver’s injury during last Sunday’s game. In case you missed it, you can watch it below. (Word of warning to the squeamish: watching a knee bend the opposite way is not easy on the stomach!)

Although the official medical report on his injury has not been released, it doesn’t take a trained health professional to know it was severe and that the ACL was involved. Read more »

Save Your Soleus: Stretches to Rock the ING Half-Marathon

Runners are tuning up for Sunday’s ING Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon,  but no matter how well they’ve trained, runners will be in a whole lot of pain if they don’t stretch the often-neglected smaller leg muscles. The soleus muscle is a broad, powerful muscle in the calf beginning just below the knee and attaching to the heel via the Achilles tendon.  It works closely with the gastrocnemius muscle, which is typically thought of as the calf muscle.  The soleus muscle is active every time the toes point down while the knee is bent, such as in every stride.

Sunday’s runners will take approximately 26,000 strides during the 13.1-mile race, leaving the soleus prone to strains from either over-exertion when the calf muscles are tight or a forceful, sudden contraction when the calf muscles are not properly warmed up. Read more »

The Pen Kids Really Need for School

Backpacks, notebooks, calculators, pencils, and pens … these are some of our common back-to-school supplies.  But with food allergies becoming more and more common, the other pen many of us should be thinking about is the Epi-Pen. The Epi-Pen is a portable auto-injector of Epinephrine, a drug that each year saves the lives of many children and adults who develop the most severe form of an allergic reaction—anaphylaxis. Read more »

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