Getting fit with six simple tips from scouting that don’t require a gym

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The world is your playground — Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” — Unknown

In light of the pandemic, I have thought a lot about the basics of fitness. It turns out there is no shortage of reminders about the basics when you look for them. Last month I wrote an article about the basics of fitness being simple, boring, but effective. With the start of the new year, many people have likely considered fitness when making their resolutions. Making the decision is a great first step. Before spending a lot of money on the next big fitness fad, or paying…


Take a Moment to Address Your Physical and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Picture By the Author Thomas J. O’Grady — Looking Northeast Across a Frozen Lake George

We’ve heard of the “Freshman Fifteen” but how about the “COVID-19 Fifteen”? It turns out that in addition to the concerns about stress and mental health that compound the general health concerns that COVID-19 has raised, the pandemic has taken a toll on individuals’ waistline. Concerns have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic that weight gain after long periods of inactivity and compensatory eating has made increased obesity a secondary health issue of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this news, it’s important to find opportunities to get out and exercise while also enjoying the outdoors. One good way to recharge…


A Great Book I Read For Black History Month and Reviewed to Connect Historically Relevant Topics to Today’s World

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Photo by Håkon Sataøen on Unsplash

Several books and movies have told the story of Jesse Owens, so tackling this larger-than-life personality is no easy task. Jeremy Schaap, who also wrote Cinderella Man, was up to the task when he wrote Triumph. Schaap manages to cover all of Owens’ important life moments while also really going into detail about the racial tensions in the United States and the broader political and military tensions brewing globally in the 1930s.

The story of Owens starts with his upbringing and both his parents’ wish for him to have a better life than they did. Upward mobility for African Americans…


It only takes a few simple steps.

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Photo by pepe nero on Unsplash

“Western society today is moving in two distinct and opposing directions. On the one hand, mainstream culture moves relentlessly towards continued growth. On the other hand, a counter-current, has kept alive the ancient understanding that all life is inextricably connected.” — Helena Norberg-Hodge

Humans are a social species, so at first glance, it should not surprise or concern us that we live our lives among thousands of strangers. However, our biology indicates we can maintain approximately 150 relationships. This number, known as Dubar’s number, would indicate that according to our biology, we thrive when we work and live in closer-knit…


A short story about my favorite scissors

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Photo by Angèle Kamp on Unsplash

** Short intro: I was in a professional meeting once where an individual exclaimed something had reminded them of their favorite pair of scissors that they had owned as a child. That’s all that was said. I was recently reminded of it the other day and thought there had to be an interesting back story behind those scissors if they were so important. This is a fictionalized, creative idea written as a short story about what the history behind those scissors may have been.**

Natalie was a young woman in her mid — 20s. She had moved from southern France…


Pack your bags and get ready to take a journey through life

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Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash

“A minute of pain is worth a life time of glory” — Louis Zamperini

In a counterfactual world, the 2020 Olympics would by now be a note in history. Instead, we wait in anticipation of the games after a postponement to the summer of 2021. The postponement of the Olympics in 2020 was only the fourth time such a cancellation or postponement of the games that have occurred since the modern Olympics began in 1896. The previous three cancellations coincided with World War I (1916) and World War II (1940 and 1944).

Much like the previous three times, the current…


Sometimes we need a push and Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal can help give you a nudge

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Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all its moments — which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story.” — Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters, in the end, doesn’t read like a traditional self-help book and that is a good thing. What Gawande does in the book is to make you think and reflect. The real power comes from the fact that Gawande allows you the opportunity to consider things that could both change your…


Fiction Friday — Do you follow the tracks?

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Liz enjoys living in solitude outside of a large state forest preserve. When she isn’t working shifts at a nearby hospital she enjoys driving out to the local trails to run or hike. This feeds her need to explore. One of her favorite things to do is to go for a short hike with her husky, Max, in fresh snow.

The time alone in the woods with fresh snow provides Liz with the opportunity to reflect and the crisp air and snow awaken her senses.

Luckily for Liz, it snowed the night before and blanketed the trails with a fresh…


A great book to read about life after a year of upheaval

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Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

At the start of the New Year, I read a well-written story in the newspaper that covered the life of an individual who had lived to the age of 91. The story did a tremendous job of capturing the enormous life that this individual, and any person, can live in that amount of time. The article was also posted by the writer on Facebook and it was reassuring to read the posts connected to this story. One comment that particularly caught my attention said, “They don’t make them like they used to, do they?”

The comment seemed especially fitting for…


Many may dream about escaping modern life but this year we all got a taste of what being the stranger in the woods was like

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Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel tells the story of Christopher Knight. In 1986 at age 20, Knight drove from his home in Massachusetts to the secluded woods of Maine. From there Knight disappeared for 30-years. Knight eventually “returned” to society after being arrested for stealing food. Stranger in the Woods is a book about one man’s seclusion and isolation. Many people dream of escaping modern life but few are serious. Still fewer act on those dreams. Yet, in 2020 we all were forced to taste what a long period…

Thomas O'Grady

Thomas J. O’Grady, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a data minded professional who is an avid runner, hiker, and lover of the outdoors.

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