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Is It Better To Exercise Inside Or Outside?


This time of year, debating between hitting the gym and kicking it outside can be as tricky as choosing between hot or iced coffee. Here to make your life easier? Research. Check out the perks and pitfalls of both, so you can get exactly what you want from your workout.


Perk: More Intensity. Without natural distractions that are annoying (gah, wind) or cool (what a view!), you can laser-focus on your routine, allowing you to maintain your level of ferocity.
Perk: Better Results. Increased intensity brings greater physiological changes, as in more fat loss and a stronger cardiovascular system.
Pitfall: Are We Done Yet? There’s not much stimulation to keep you motivated on the treadmill—though endorphins, in any setting, do help.


Perk: Reduced Stress. Studies show people have less anxiety after exercising alfresco. Green spaces are inherently calming, giving your antsy mind a rest.
Perk: Stick-to-it-iveness. That soothing feeling? It’s pretty addictive. If you’re starting a new program, begin outside to lock down the habit—then take it indoors when temps plummet.
Pitfall: Ugh, Rain. You have to prepare yourself for unexpected variables that may cramp your game. Not ideal if you’re training for speed.

Empower Yourself … And Keep Your Most Valuable Possession

This information has been provided by Al Sears, MD and Doctor’s House Call. For more information or to sign up for a free subscription, visit

“Every man is born with one possession which out values all others…His last breath”

–Mark Twain

Deep down, we all know there is nothing more important than our health. But sometimes we need reminding. We get distracted by our busy daily routines. It’s easy to neglect your health when it’s good.

It’s my job to remind you. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to taking care of yourself. Don’t take your health for granted. Take preventative action now, before things go bad.

In ancient China, they paid their doctors when they were well and stopped if they got sick. Sounds like a good system.

In today’s installment, you’ll find out why you have to take more responsibility for managing your own health than ever before.

* What Was Current Yesterday Is Outdated Today *

? The incredible speed of medical progress is a double-edged sword. A wise professor in medical school once told me that 50% of everything I learned in medical school would become obsolete within 10 years. Since graduating, the pace of change has only accelerated further.

• Publishing industry experts estimate that more than 6000 pages of new medical information are published every day. Even if your doctor reads 300 pages of new medical information per day, he is only skimming 5%. This overwhelming volume has lead to further and further specialization in medicine.

• Meanwhile, medicine has become big business. The insurance industry is taking control of decision making from your doctor. Their demands are forcing a hectic day-to-day lifestyle on doctors. The average workload is 150 patients per week.

• A recent issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that Americans headed to their doctors’ offices 697,082,000 times last year. After waiting to see the doctor, the average time spent face-to-face was to less than 10 minutes.

• The average time to ask the doctor questions is less than 60 seconds.

• According to April 2002, issue of US News & World Report, “This assembly line approach to medicine leaves patients frustrated and doctors disillusioned.”

* Power to the Patient *

These conditions call for a new approach … a system that empowers patients to become better equipped to manage their own health. Twenty-first century technology can help offer solutions. Ask your doctor if he has an E-mail address. E-mail correspondence can be an efficient way to improve communication with your doctor. Your doctor may even have his own web site. You should ask.

Plan for your next visit in advance by scanning the internet for information on your health concerns. Jot down notes and questions to take with you when you see your doctor. Take a friend or a spouse to help you remember. And as always, if he gives you a drug ask about alternatives – and ask about side effects.

I have maintained for years that the highest ethical role for a doctor is to inform and advise. Now with the power of Internet communication, I can accomplish this with far greater efficiency than ever before. Now you can have the option of considering health matters from a different point of view – The perspective that drugs should be minimized and natural alternatives preferred.

In the next installment, I will look at the most important supplement you should be taking. Hint: It’s not a vitamin.

Al Sears, MD

Drug Danger Hits Home

This information has been provided by Al Sears, MD and Doctor’s House Call. For more information or to sign up for a free subscription, visit


I had a narrow escape with danger last month. LM, a 68 year-old retired teacher living in Boca Raton came to see if I would help her lower cholesterol without drugs. She had heard through a friend that I specialized in natural alternatives.

LM had been given Zocor, one of the “statin” drugs. Soon after taking it, she began to feel tired and sore. “I told my doctor that I was aching all over and I had no energy. He said it couldn’t be the medication and I needed to keep taking it. He prescribed Celebrex for the pain but it didn’t help. I’m not supposed to see him again for three months.”

“It got so bad I couldn’t get out of bed. So … I don’t know if I should tell you this, but … I stopped the Zocor on my own, against his advice. I felt so much better. The next day, my energy came back. I haven’t taken any for a week. My muscles are still a little sore but that’s getting better too. I know it was the drug and I’ll never take it again.”

I reassured LM that she had done the right thing. She could use natural alternatives that would be safe. I checked her blood to make sure her kidneys were recovering. They were. But her cholesterol was a whopping 290. And it was mostly the unhealthy kind, LDL cholesterol. This combination makes having a heart attack or a stroke more likely.

* A Clear Case for a Natural Alternative *

So did I tell her to take a drug? Absolutely not! Natural alternates work as well without the dangers. I informed her about a little known natural supplement called policosanol.

Policosanol is an organic alcohol derived from plants. I know of at least 15 studies proving its effectiveness and safety. I’ve never seen any side effects and no serious side effects have been reported. I gave it to LM and in just one month, her total cholesterol plummeted to 208. Even better, that important ratio of good to bad cholesterol has already normalized.

You can get policosanol at any of the nutrition chain stores. I’ve seen it at GNC, Wild Oats, Nutrition World and others. I’ve used multiple brands with equally good results. I usually recommend starting with 20 milligrams per day and measure a cholesterol blood test in 3 months. You can take it any time of day, with or without food.

We made one other important change with LM. We stopped several other drugs and replaced them with natural alternatives – including what she had been told was HRT. That’s the subject I want to bring up in your next letter.

Al Sears, MD