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      Dr. Active Blogs

      The Three-Legged Stool Supporting Your Health

      Diet and exercise have long been thought of as the pillars of a healthy life. They go hand in hand: eat right, exercise often, and wellness will come. But what about when you’re not working out, meal planning, or preparing healthy food? There’s a third pillar of any healthy lifestyle and it’s most often the component overlooked and not properly plan for. The truth of the matter is, any diet and exercise plan loses its effectiveness without a plan for rest and recovery to back it up.

      Imagine your body sitting on a three-legged stool. One leg of the stool is your healthy diet. The other leg is your exercise plan. The third leg is your sleep and recovery cycle. When all three legs are strong, your body feels secure and well-supported. The weight of your body is evenly distributed and stable. Now imagine that one of the stool’s legs is suddenly compromised. It’s weakened and wobbly. Your body no longer feels secure. You feel off-center, like at any moment your support system might fail, and your body might crash. No one leg of the stool is any more important than the other when it comes to supporting you. Each one must be equally strong and stable.

      Personally, I feel like my own three-legged stool is most weakened by a lack of rest. Being Dr. Active means I’m constantly on the go. Not only do I love running and marathon training, I have a busy family life. Active Life Solutions has given me the platform to share my knowledge and experience with a community of people who share my love of being active. But, it’s also given me a rigorous travel schedule. With all of this, I’m challenged daily with maintaining a proper sleep and recovery plan to support my busy life. If I’m not careful, the recovery leg of my stool is weakened and my body is at risk of crashing.

      Most people I have met throughout my journey as Dr. Active have related to me that they feel a similar struggle, but it’s different for everyone. Each person faces a challenge unique to their lifestyle. Some people are dedicated to their daily exercise, engage routinely in positive active recovery and sleep, but struggle to plan healthy, balanced meals around a busy family life. Or, people are passionate about their diet plans and dedicated to fueling their body with the right sustenance every day. But they just don’t feel quite as engaged with their exercise and fitness goals. What each of the people I have described have in common is a weakened support structure. As they say “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” In this case, you are only strong as the weakest leg of your stool!

      Fortunately, with the right amount of dedication and planning, it’s easy to keep all three pillars of wellness stable and supportive. Whether your diet is vegan, paleo, ketogenic, or something else entirely, it comes down to properly fueling your body with the right things in the right amounts. Your exercise plan should also be a suitable fit for your age, your fitness level and your personal goals. And, it should be a variety of activities you enjoy. The more it feels like work, the less likely you are to stick to your plan. Finally, your sleep and recovery schedule should provide you with time to rest, both physically and mentally, and incorporate activities that you find restorative. When you are well-rested you think and perform better, which helps you to accomplish more, be happier and navigate the path to full-body wellness.

      Wellness VS Fitness: Is There a Difference?

      Person - Wellness VS Fitness: Is There a Difference?

      How do you differentiate between health and fitness? This is a question I get asked quite a bit. They’re often talked about in the same way and may seem interchangeable. Take your average “gym rat,” as they are sometimes fondly called. Maybe this person is a treadmill champion, averaging 90 minutes of running every day. Maybe they live in the weight room, and high reps and set numbers are what they’re all about. These people may not just achieve their fitness goals-maybe they just smash right through them. But are they truly healthy? Have they achieved wellness or just fitness?

      As an avid marathon runner, I consider myself to be very fit. As a doctor, I know that there is a crucial difference between my fitness level and my health. I’ve found that the key to true wellness is finding the balance between the two. Recently, I led a workshop at the Waynesboro YMCA to discuss that balance and share some insight on common misconceptions about health, fitness, and the routines that can help you achieve the ultimate goal: wellness.

      Person - Wellness VS Fitness: Is There a Difference?

      Wellness workshops are especially helpful, because although they are attended by people of all ages and all fitness levels, the information shared within them is universally beneficial. Everyone can benefit from debunking some of the most common myths about health and fitness. Take for instance, the idea that exercise can erase bad eating habits. This myth is pervasive and establishes one of the biggest hurdles to achieving wellness. The fact is, you can run 10 miles a day and disregard the importance of your diet, because in the mirror you may look thin and toned. However, by not monitoring your diet and having the right balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates, you are still elevating your risk factors for heart disease, stroke and cancer. The first step past fitness and into wellness happens when you look past the mirror and examine what’s going on inside the body.

      My second favorite health and fitness myth to debunk in a wellness workshop is all about active recovery and injury prevention. In the past, the best recovery was thought to be passive. Workout 4 days, completely rest your body for 1 is still a common routine for some people. But it’s not the most effective way to achieve full-body wellness. Rest is critical to wellness because it’s restorative. Not only is your physical health dependent on getting rest, so is your mind and your spirit. But, you have to rest your body in the right way. Active recovery is the engagement of low-intensity exercise after completing a workout. As paradoxical as it may seem, the best way to recover from exercise is to exercise at a lower intensity rather than remaining sedentary. Combined with a healthy sleep schedule, active recovery routines build the foundation for restorative rest.

      Some fitness myths can actually take a direct toll on your health, because they can lead to an injury that leaves you totally sedentary. For instance, how many people stretch before they exercise? It’s a common practice, built on the misconception that stretching elongates the muscle and will prevent injury. The truth is, stretching before a workout will weaken the muscle by 30%, and the reduced tension may increase the risk of injury. My workshop advice is always this: do a warm up by walking before cardio or doing light weights before intense training, and do a deep stretch only after a workout. This important change can actually help to prevent some very serious injuries.

      Human - Wellness VS Fitness: Is There a Difference?

      As I lead these community workshops, my journey to becoming Dr. Active becomes even more significant. Closing the gap between health and fitness and debunking some of the most common myths about the two ideas leads to the ultimate goal: wellness. Wellness is the balance of both fitness and health. It considers all of your choices, habits and goals, and how they create your entire lifestyle and

      affect your overall wellbeing. Wellness occurs when we actively engage in the process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.

      Discovering the Culture of Health through A Tour of Asia

      Recently, there has been much discussion in the medical field about stepping away from health care-and into the culture of health. A culture of health begins with prevention and promoting well-being in every aspect of life. As a podiatrist, I’m immersed every day in the health care field, looking for solutions to injury and pain, and helping to better people’s lives. But as a family man, a marathon runner, an inventor and an entrepreneur, I seem to find myself helping to build the culture of health from the ground up. My journey from Dr. Bui to Dr. Active has led me down an interesting path to discovering where health care evolves into that culture of health.   

      As I wrapped up 2019, the journey of Dr. Active became an actual physical journey with a tour through Asia. Travelling abroad has become crucial to my understanding of the connection between health care and the culture of health. Worldwide, there is a network of doctors and patients who are navigating the path to health and well-being through prevention and patient empowerment. As I traveled through Asia, I was able to share my own experiences and the tools that I have developed to offer simple, at home solutions to recovery and pain management. 

      My journey through Asia began in Japan to meet with the Japanese Professional Basketball Team as they practiced in their gym in Tokyo. This workshop was an opportunity to share with the team what being Dr. Active is all about: providing tools and knowledge to prevent injuries and to stay active. As part of the shift from health care to health culture, prevention is quickly gaining world-wide recognition as the most important step towards optimum health. This chance to offer tools and training to the players and discuss our experiences as athletes was both fun and rewardingI even learned some tips for improving my jump shot. 

      Next on my travel itinerary were visits to Hong Kong and Seoulwhere I had been invited to lead workshops with healthcare professionals interested in learning more about the latest advancements in recovery, rehabilitation, and injury preventionI spent one-on-one time with athletic trainersphysical therapists and orthopedic doctors discussing the significance of active recovery in rebuilding muscle and maintaining mobility. In the past, misinformation in the fitness industry promoted the myth that passive recovery and abstaining from all exercise for at least two days was the best way for an active body to recover. Together with the therapists and trainers who attended the workshops, we built upon the foundation for balancing exercise, rest and recovery in ways that are accessible to people at all levels of fitness.  

      After spending just a few days in Seoul to rest and recover myself, I continued my journey to Bangkok, Thailand. This opportunity to visit Thailand is what I can only refer to as ‘the trip of a lifetime.’ I was invited to speak in front of the AFFAS-the Asian Federation of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. The AFFAS is comprised of leading doctors and innovators who gather tri-annually for a convention of sharing insight, information and research in the field of foot and ankle surgery. 

      The invitation to share my journey of designing and producing the HighHealer has been a highlight of my career, both as a podiatrist and an entrepreneur. Part of the culture of health is empowering our patients to take control of their self-care at home, saving them time, money, and the risk of invasive and lengthy medical procedures.  Combining multiple treatment modalities at home is exciting for medical practitioners, as it increases patient compliance and allows for a faster recovery time from painful injuries. The HighHealer was well-received by the AFFAS, lending credence to the fact that empowerment of health culture-not just health care-is something that has gained world-wide footing.  

      I’m glad to have a community of health enthusiasts, fitness aficionados and medical gurus from around the world with which to share my knowledge and experience. As we learn from one another, we gain strength, stability, health and wellness. Building this foundation has become my biggest passion. I can’t wait to share more of my experiences with you, as Dr. Active travels around the globe.