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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

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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

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

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1F2t7Vg91U/?igshid=9icqe17xmslg

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

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@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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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: “His” vs “Her” portions

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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It’s not uncommon to scroll through Instagram and see beautiful plates of food labeled “his” and “hers.” Typically the “his” plate is larger in all portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

But, this depiction of portioning is inaccurate and can be damaging to the way women satisfy their hunger.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmBjeBnB5jb/

Gender does not determine the quantity of food people “should” eat. From a science perspective, there are so many variables that affect metabolic rates that are not specific to sex, such as amount of muscle mass, fat mass, location of these deposits, physical activity, and more. 

For example, a very active, self-identified woman with high lean body mass can have significantly higher maintenance caloric needs compared to a more sedentary male identifying person. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxnh7yaFftA/

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you that gender determines the amount you deserve to eat. Listen to your body and your hunger cues. Fuel your body for what you need!

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