Healthy Living

with Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom




Question of the Month

Q. I have limited time to exercise. Is there any way I can make my workout more efficient?

A. Efficiency is based both on duration and intensity of exercise, and one great way to increase your intensity without extending your duration is to include some interval training. If you're a walker, add some jogging every few minutes to pick up the pace; if you're already a jogger, add some short sprints to your routine. This works for equipment as well. On a stationary bike or elliptical machine, alternate the resistance periodically, or try increasing the incline on the treadmill. Always get your doctor's clearance before making any significant changes in your daily physical activity.

Help for Troubled Sleepers

While it's normal to have an occasional problem night, chronic sleep problems can have both physical and behavioral consequences.
An important first step is to review your "sleep hygiene" and adjust the lifestyle factors that can help promote a good night's sleep. Keep some structure in your day, and set a regular bedtime and wake-up time.

Avoid going to bed if you are not tired; instead, read or watch TV in another location. Only use your bedroom for sleeping. Keep your sleeping area cooler, as research shows that a cooler environment can help trigger natural body signals for sleep initiation.

Limit daily caffeine intake to 300 mg/day or less, and avoid caffeinated products after 3 p.m. Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, so limit use before bedtime (if you consume it at all). If lifestyle changes don't work, take this information to your doctor and discuss medical strategies for both short- and long-term sleep problems.

Fitness in the 'Burgh

It's official, and another first for us in the national fitness arena. The annual Men's Fitness "Fittest Cities in America" has named us in its top 25. While we're ranked No. 25 on the list, it's still a major achievement to be listed with cities such as Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, which have long had a reputation for being "active" cities.

Kudos to all the public and private support we've had in our region for walking and bike trails, parks and other forms of outdoor recreation. The cooler weather of fall and colorful foliage make it a perfect time to explore our region on foot.

Check out walkscore.com to get some ideas on the "walkability" of your own neighborhood.

In the News

Drink ginger ale for an upset stomach? It turns out this "old wives' tale" is true based on a study from the University of Rochester Medical Center. During chemotherapy, more than 600 cancer patients had about a teaspoon of ginger added to their standard anti-nausea medication with convincing results. Nausea was reduced by up to 40 percent by adding the ginger.

While the mechanism is not well-defined, it seems to have an anti-inflammatory response in the intestinal tract. Read the labels carefully on ginger ale or packaged ginger tea, because these and other "ginger" products may only contain ginger flavoring and not ginger root (containing the active ingredients).

You'll need about a teaspoon of ginger (powdered) to match the study dose. Make your own "ginger tea" by adding a teaspoon of powdered ginger to a cup of hot water and flavoring with a little sugar, honey or low-calorie sweetener.

If you have a health question for Dr. Fernstrom, e-mail her at fernstrom@wqed.org.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

The state's new interactive bike map displays the speed limit and traffic flow of state route bike paths.
In the Future: No Driver May Be No Problem for Uber

In the Future: No Driver May Be No Problem for Uber

Pittsburgh is the test track for the ride sharing company's self-driving vehicles.
A Greener Future for the Strip District

A Greener Future for the Strip District

Riverlife moves forward with their ongoing work to build Three Rivers Park, Pittsburgh’s interconnected system of riverfront parks, trails and public open spaces, in the Strip District.
Three Mayors and a PIO Walk into an Elevator…

Three Mayors and a PIO Walk into an Elevator…

Mayor Bill Peduto shares tweets after being stuck in a Westin Hotel elevator.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Nearby Canonsburg is a rare find for antiques collectors.
U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

The U.S. Open is returning to Oakmont — and unlike previous tournaments, this one could make the community a vital part of the action.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

Cyclists Say PennDOT's Bike Map a Start, but Could Be Better

The state's new interactive bike map displays the speed limit and traffic flow of state route bike paths.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

Crosby’s Long-Awaited Signature has Pens Pondering The Possibilities

For Sidney Crosby and for the Penguins, happy days are here again. But the emotion of the moment won’t mean much if Crosby and the Penguins aren’t able to build upon it as the series progresses.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Recycled Paper Never Looked So Good

Recycled Paper Never Looked So Good

Whether you’re looking for an original illustration, a cute note card to send a friend or a unique notebook to keep track of your thoughts, Little Alexander’s paper goods offer beautiful locally made options.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

The Angry Birds Movie Is Just a Total Mess

Plus reviews of "The Nice Guys" and "Neighbors 2," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pitt Adds New Major

Pitt Adds New Major

The environmental engineering major will be available in the 2016-17 academic year and aims to help students prepare for a changing job market.

Comments