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Health & Fitness

Rediscovering Columbus: Water

A core workout in the heart of downtown. For Lisa Daris, growing up on the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio wasn’t just a lovely way to spend afternoons as a kid. It meant living next door to an ecosystem and force of nature that would shape not only the surrounding river valley, but the destiny [...]
Jeni Ruisch



A core workout in the heart of downtown.

For Lisa Daris, growing up on the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio wasn’t just a lovely way to spend afternoons as a kid. It meant living next door to an ecosystem and force of nature that would shape not only the surrounding river valley, but the destiny of a little girl who would grow up to become an ACA Kayak Instructor, and environmental steward for watersheds around the state. She has made being active on the water her business, in more ways than one.

For Daris, who would later become the first person to own and operate a livery on the downtown riverfront, the river was what gave her the sense that being her own boss was where it was at.

“It was my first taste of freedom as a kid,” she said, “being in control of where my boat would take me.”

Living in a city based on a river brings with it many opportunities, and great responsibility.

“Having a river flow through the heart of a city connects its residents to the natural rhythm of the seasons.” Daris points out.

By restoring navigable rivers and creating pedestrian and bike-friendly riverfronts, the cement jungle is balanced with nature. Kayaking in the city provides the same workout and relief from the daily grind as it would in a wilderness area, with the added convenience of proximity. At Olentangy Paddle, guests can meet up with Daris and her team at one of several meetup points to set out on a city water excursion. With the removal of the Fifth Avenue and Main Street dams, the path on the river is clear from Dodridge in Clintonville, to Greenlawn in German Village. That means that Columbusites can get in seven miles of paddling that will take them from the north to the south side, without having to get out and portage their craft over a dam. At the end of the line, at the Scioto Audubon ramp, guests will climb out of the water. If they are up for more, they can rent bikes from Daris, and take the river adjacent trail back up to their starting point. Kayaking focuses on the core muscles more than running or cycling could ever hope to do. Add in a seven mile bike ride, and you’ve just had leg day, bro. Daris offers this option on the Olentangy, Scioto, and Kokosing rivers.

Like many sports, the prep provides part of the workout. Lifting and transporting kayaks is a huge part of the job Lisa and her crew do each day.

“The boats are our personal trainers. Our ‘gym membership’ includes free sunshine.”

The kayak scene is growing in Columbus, too. There are many meetup groups that get together for local excursions. They reap the benefits of improved physical and mental health as they float down the river. Kids and adults that learn to kayak gain confidence and feel safer when they are around water.
Daris, who calls herself a champ at lifting heavy objects over her head, says you haven’t really kayaked if you’ve never tipped over.
Taking on water sports in the city doesn’t have to be a huge plunge.

“There are many places in the Columbus area where you can float in water that is only a couple feet deep with very little current,” Daris reassures. “Don’t let the fear of water scare you from learning how to kayak.”

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Health & Fitness

5 unique ways to improve wellness without a treadmill

Jeni Ruisch



big percentage of the resolutions we make every year involve getting in shape and/or improving our overall wellness. But running on a treadmill is only slightly more attractive an activity than, say, waiting in line at the DMV. And unless you can sit still for more than two minutes, meditation is out of the question. If you want to really challenge yourself to step outside your normal bubble, face your fears while finding balance. You’ll conquer your phobias AND the scale.


True REST Float Spa

You can achieve a state of buoyancy akin to floating on a cloud. The key is a pod filled with hyper-salinated water, heated to the temperature of your skin. Reduced Environmental Stimulus Therapy can help your mind find peace.


Life Energy Yoga

Did you ever dream of becoming an acrobat? This exercise consists of poses done with a partner. You can make human pyramids, or even learn to stand on each other’s shoulders, or contort yourselves into knots of fun.


Infinity Aerial

Raise your skills to the roof with aerial silks, the skill made popular by Cirque Du Soleil and performing artist P!nk. A long swath of fabric pours down from ceiling supports, and the performer uses friction and strength to support themselves in poses among the waterfall of silk.


Columbus Scuba

The depths of the ocean hold more mysteries than the surface of the moon. Brave men and women strap Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus to their backs every day the world over, and dive into the unknown.


The Buckeye Bounce Club

If you thank your lucky stars for gravity, and the hard ground under your feet, maybe it’s time to shake yourself free of the terra for a few ticks. The Buckeye Bounce Club is a gym where the workouts are done on wall-to-wall trampolines, or rather, ceiling-to-ceiling, as the walls themselves are bounceable, just like the floors.

Originally appeared in (614) Magazine December 2017

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Does “detox water” really work?

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC



Water, H20, aqua: the most basic of necessities for human life. Water is a vital part of many bodily functions, including removal of waste products, but can we make water even “better” for us as a “detox water?"

Simple answer: no.

H20, i.e. two hydrogen atoms connected to an oxygen atom, is the chemical identity of water. This specific formation is what separates it from other molecules, and makes it the most vital substance to human existence.

Soaking things in your water like ginger, cinnamon, or cucumbers can alter the taste but will not chemically alter the structure. Water infusions like the ones listed in the post above can taste great, but water is still H20 and will function as such.

That being said, water infusions are not bad; in fact if you’re struggling to meet your daily intake, water infusions are often an idea I suggest to patients and clients. Mixing up the flavors can bring water can elevate the flavor, making it easier to drink throughout the day!

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you water can be changed to a magical detox; water is already an amazing life giving drink. Instead, use social media for inspiration for trying a new tasty drink that might help you get the adequate hydration you’ve been struggling to get!

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: 30 Day Challenges

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC



@DietBetch, a popular Instagram account with over 213k followers, tends to post memes that subtly poking fun at our diet culture. But recently, I was disappointed to see a post about a "30 Day Challenge" that reinforces the unhealthy, fad diet-obsessed world we live in.

This "30 Day Challenge" prohibits participants from consuming foods that many people often associate with being “unhealthy” like soda, candy, and doughnuts.

As a dietitian, I’m not going to disagree that the foods listed do tend to be higher in nutrients of concerns—like added sugars and salt, and overall calories—but, I absolutely believe they can be part of a balanced diet.

By completely removing foods from the diet with a 30 Day Challenge like this, one will simply think, “No…for this month." This purge-style challenge won't teach healthy sustainable eating habits like intuitive eating or portion control.

Take-away: Instead of tagging a friend for a restrictive diet challenge that doesn’t set either of you up for long-term success, try implementing a small sustainable change. Maybe instead of going out for fast food every day of the workweek with a friend, you both could try packing once a week and share recipes and meal ideas!

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