Man On A Mission Crusader For Change – Beverly Hills Orthopedic Surgeon Dr.Raj

The most famous city in the world Beverly Hills—coupled with all the glitz and glam of Hollywood seems a very unlikely place to find a crusader. But lucky for us I did. His passion for life is intoxicating. His search for truth is intense. His desire to make a difference in this world is his destiny.

His name is Dr. Bal Rajagopalan. Dr. Raj to us. With numerous appearances on radio and television including the series The Doctors, Newsweek, GLOBE, FOX, CBS, SPIKE, and ABC—you’ve seen his face and heard his professional views on life and health. Now get to know the man. Hopefully, after reading my interview with “Dr. Raj” you’ll be invigorated to make 2011 your best year yet. That means a move to make vital changes to improve the quality of your life and that of someone you love.

My time with Raj was 50% laughing and 50% me with my mouth hanging open and eyes bugged out in shock over what he was saying. We became new BFF in record speed and before you know it, I was a fixture in his office racking his brain for information, then, off like a lightening bolt following him to the gym for lessons on the basics of exercise and technique for maximum results. I haven’t worked out since 1889—so it was a challenge. Raj’s workout routine is brutal. Mine came with a leg long list of fitness strategy and health tips he had for me to follow. Raj is focused on his medical practice taking—care of bones and bodies. He is also an exercise fanatic with big muscles, and a six-pack that looks more like it belongs on a movie star than a rocket scientist doctor.

Raj jogs and plays basketball, as well as every other sport you can name. In high school he was intent on being a professional baseball player. Part of his daily gym routine is pumping iron with celebrity fitness trainer and Beverly Hills gym owner Jack Rosenbaum, who has been in the fitness and weight loss business for more than 25 years. Watching these two compete against one another mano-y-mano with dumb bells in their hands compares to two bulls in a pen seeing who can muscle out the other. Truly they are supermen of steel in the gym, and have an incredibly fun time. Raj and Rosenbaum are not only friends and workout buddies, they are also business associates.

Currently, they are working on a health and fitness program for school aged children called, Child At A Time’. Soon to be introduced to the State Legislature and L.A. Unified School Board, ‘One Child At A Time’ brings the best of diet and fitness to give kids a fighting chance at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “One Child At A Time” will have a domino effect,” says Raj. “Once kids start feeling better about how they look, who they are, and the importance of positives in their lives those good feelings will be imparted on those around them. It starts with lifestyle—what works and what doesn’t. It’s up to adults to make necessary changes for their health and lives.

Our goal: “One Child At A Time” is to get kids to exercise for fun, replace bad food with muscle building/health enhancing good food. We want kids away from computers and moving around. We want to teach kids not only how they can improve their lives, but how to influence their friends and families to do the same.” Raj and Rosenbaum have been working on this project for months.

It will debut within weeks along with an accompanying CD entitled, ‘The Secrets’ which gives kids ‘insider’ exercise and healthy food tips to encourage a healthy weight by choosing good food no matter where they are—even in a fast food restaurant. The easy and fun exercise workouts will get any couch potato moving on to good body image, and good levels of self-esteem. “This will be the first time there is a pairing of a medical doctor/orthopedic specialist and a fitness expert/nutritionist working together to come up with diet, exercise and health improvements easy to follow solutions for children all ages,” Rosenbaum said.

“We envision the ‘One Child At A Time’ program a winning fight against childhood obesity as we target health, diet, socialization, self-perception, happiness and building confidence and self-esteem.

Right now there is so much in the news about bullying in schools and the negative impact it has on the lives of those affected. But in order to understand both those who are doing the bulling and those who are their targets, it’s important to understand the many issues that kids, all ages face during their school years. This all comes under one umbrella.”

Raj is all business when it comes to his day job as a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in the U.S. and Canada. In the 10 years since he opened his private practice (he has one office in Downtown L.A., and one in Beverly Hills), he has performed more than 4,000 orthopedic surgery cases and he sees about 500 patients each month.

Raj has risen to the top of his specialty, and is recognized as one of Americas Top Orthopedists for his success in the field of orthopedic surgery. Out of all the numerous awards and accolades he has received, however, what he prides himself on most is his community volunteer work. In addition to numerous charities, non-profits and animal rescue organizations of which he and his wife are part of such as Best Friend, ASPCA and Adoptaletter, Raj is a team member of Iraq Star, a non-profit organization based in Beverly Hills, that provides necessary treatment and surgery for the approximately 40,000 men and women vets returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and who face the challenge of recovering from their injuries; many life-changing if their arms or legs are missing. Iraq Star’s volunteers physicians and surgeons provide free-of-charge surgeries to fix their wounds so they have a chance at returning to their pre-war lives.

The Foundation’s annual charity fundraiser last year was hosted by Dr. Phil. and honored actor Gary Sinese. More than 500 celebrities, supporters, VIPS, doctors and supporters attended. Raj is 100% committed to Iraq Star and says the organization has brought to the forefront the imminent need of returning soldiers when they come home with physical wounds that forever affect the quality of their lives, and that of their families. As Raj speaks about Iraq Star, it’s apparent he takes great pride in helping our returning vets in any way he can. Giving back to others, he says, is part of the job when it comes to being part of a community, part of a nation and part of the human race. “Not finding ways to give back is like not providing yourself with a legacy,” he states.

“As doctors it doesn’t matter how busy our day is—and for most of us it’s very hectic. The bottom line is if we don’t find ways to give back, we are going against the true meaning of what our profession stands for. There is more to this life than just working ourselves into the ground day and night trying to make money. Certainly, creating a good life for our families is important. But at the end of the day it comes down to how you feel inside about what you did that day. If you haven’t changed lives for the better…if you haven’t helped people who need help… then you haven’t done anything.”

Raj’s plans for the upcoming new year are set in stone. Helping school-aged children realize the importance of diet and exercise tops his list. With all the bullying issues and emotional problems that kids today confront at school—a good majority stems from being over-weight, feeling depressed, isolated and suffering with low self-esteem. Education Raj says is the key to prevention, and his ‘One Child At A Time’ program is easy to understand and fun and exciting exercise and healthy eating school program—from kindergarten through 12th graders—will get kids in the mood for a lifestyle change.

Progressive classroom instruction, exercise classes with himself and Rosenbaum will he says produce immediate and positive mental and physical improvement. No doubt that he and Rosenbaum are going to be busy bees as their program grows. But their commitment is strong, and the road they feel is clear to get this program up and running ASAP. “We are hoping to finalize details with the school district very soon.

They want ‘One Child At A Time’ to detail the progress, taking one child at a time and then change his/her routine of eating bad food/no exercise lifestyles and all the physical and emotional problems associated with them—to positive changes for a better life. That’s fine with us; it’s a great start,” Rosenbaum said. “But our plan is to bring this knowledge to the masses, and we will accomplish that through the healthy food/exercise video. We address each concern of both the children and parents as they work towards a positive lifestyle change.

The first part of the video focuses on health and nutrition, and the second part is age specific exercise. Twelve year-olds do not want to do exercises meant for five and six year-olds and teenagers aren’t interested in doing workouts that 12 year-olds are doing,” he points out. As a certified trainer and certified sports nutritionist, Rosenbaum has trained clients—all ages—throughout the world. “Included on the video are nutritional plans also based on age-related tastes, and age specific needs because food choices for seven year-olds are different than that of a teenager,” Rosenbaum said. In our society people especially women starve themselves to be thin—a condition geared more toward social acceptance than health. Yet these very people have over-weight children obviously struggling with both physical and emotional issues. How can it be that America is the most fit conscious nation in the world, but at the same time the most obese nation in the world?

So I asked Raj: Don’t parents notice or don’t they care that their kids face a firestorm of negative social stigma, bullying and grow up feeling bad about themselves when they are over-weight?

“Parents do notice, but in general most of them choose to stay ignorant,” Raj notes. “Parents don’t know how or where to look for options and solutions. That’s why it’s so important that parents as well as kids, get involved and take an active part in the workable solutions in our program and on our video. You don’t have to spend large amounts of money at Whole Foods to eat healthy. And you don’t have to totally avoid fast food places so as not to eat food filled with fat and calories. Our healthy food program is a combination of intense dietary research and age-related nutritional needs.

This routine works no matter where you are. It’s about learning how to make a healthy food choice, even if you are at a fast food drive-through. Even there we have choices—we have choices no matter where we go. Generally, we eat about four times a day. After five years of eating four times a day all we have to do is take a look at our bodies; take an inventory of our health, and consider our mental state to see—we truly are what we eat.

‘One Child At A Time’ not only helps the children involved, but it also helps their siblings, parents, extended family and their friends. When even one person decides to change his or her eating habits, we see that others within their group or close to them also change theirs as well.” “I have clients—mothers and fathers who come to my gym to work out and they look perfect. They take great pride in keeping their weight in check and staying fit. They eat the right types of protein, carbs, and keep everything low-fat.

Yet, on the way to the gym, or on their way home they stop at McDonalds to buy fast food for their children,” Rosenbaum says. “Parents watch what they eat, but then somehow have this notion that kids can eat whatever they want and will somehow be able to burn off the carbs, fat and sugar —just because they are kids. Parents also believe that a child or teenager’s body won’t suffer from it. That’s where I have a problem. Over 66% of children in America are over-weight. That doesn’t mean they are obese, but it does mean they are overweight, and because of it their bodies are unhealthy.

This will be the first time in history that parents will bury their children due to disease and poor health. Type 2 diabetes in children is at an all time high. That translates to over-weight issues and poor health. Children have never been more unhealthy than they are right now.” Raj’s passion for inspiring good health is simply…inspiring! And in response to his commitment his patient roster is astounding.

People from around the world come to L.A. to see him. And it’s serious business 24/7 because the men, women and children Raj sees are in pain, physically and emotionally. Some have lost limbs, can’t walk or bend because of debilitating back, muscle and joint problems; others can’t use their arms or hands because progressive diseases such as arthritis.

Raj sees young children who are overweight, and because of it, the virtual wear and tear on their joints and internal organs has put them at severe health risks. He treats adults with damaged ligaments and worn out knees, hips and bone diseases, and sadly their poor health conditions are robbing them of a decent life, and the chance at a fulfilling career or even the opportunity to enjoy their family and friends.

Then, there are his elderly patients who have lost the will to live because severe pain dominates their lives. When it comes to health, no one gets a free ride to wellness. It takes commitment and work. From VIP Hollywood celebrities to returning war vets, sports athletes, social movers and shakers, adults, children, physicians, political higher-ups— you name it. Ortho- pedic problems touch and dominate each of our lives and the difficulty people go through adjusting to them is traumatizing. In Raj’s world he is not simply their orthopedic surgeon; he is their therapist and their friend. Sometimes, he is the only person in the world who truly understands their suffering and what they are going through as they fight to regain their health, mobility and the chance at a pain-free life.

To help him accomplish his monumental log of patient treatment and responsibility, Raj has surrounded himself with a top notch office staff of highly-educated physicians, health care professionals, pain management specialists, licensed therapists and detailed-oriented, behind the scenes experts who love what they do. They see their work as more than simply a job. They save peoples lives and restore a patient’s mobility. They help relieve physical and emotional pain, they take truly broken men, women and children and help restore their will to live.

One member of Raj’s office team to educate the world regarding fitness/ nutrition is Dr. Akash Bajaj (who shortened his name to ‘Kash’ so patients stand a better chance at pronunciation). Kash is a medical doctor who graduated summa cum laude from UCSD. He carries a Master’s Degree in Public Health and did a residency in Anesthesiology at UCLA. He pioneered the development of innovate audio and visual distractions now used in operating rooms to help alleviate pain and his lectures are heard internationally. As a Diplomat, American Board of Anesthesiology, he carries a sub-specialty Certification in Pain Management. Dr. Kash’s medical practice centers around finding ways to care for people with non-surgical pain management.

“Here at the office, we are equipped to treat young children as well as patients well into their 80s and 90s. In the middleage to older group population we see “The average person in the U.S. eats about four times a day. After five years of eating four times a day—all we have to do is look at our bodies and our health to see that we are what we eat.

In Dr. Raj’s office we stress preventative maintenance—everything from proper stretching before exercise to the use of pain medication and the miraculous results we achieve with physical therapy.”

Considering the over-whelming huge numbers of people—all ages—addicted to and relying more and more on pain medication I asked Dr. Kash if the use of pain medication doesn’t just mask symptoms, without treating the underlying problem. “The ultimate determination when it comes to the use of pain medication depends on the initial pathology of the patient. If we are treating inflammation, the pain medication we chose, generally an anti-inflammatory—not only treats pain, but goes to the source of the problem. There is no getting around pain or the need for medications for some chronic diseases. When it comes to injury associated with sports and repetitive movement, we stress the importance of preparation. We work with patients to find ways acceptable to their individual needs so they can enjoy the activity without injuring their muscles, ligaments, joints and bones.”

Dr. Raj Shares Health Tips More Exercise—Less Injury
• Preparation: Before any exercise it’s very important to stretch, breathe, and get your muscles warmed up for the sport.
• Moderation: A big step to avoid injury is to start out slow and work your way up to the goals you hope to achieve.
• Rest: After any activity allow your body time to relax, repair and rejuvenate itself.
• Age-Appropriate Exercise: A qualified exercise trainer is always good when you start a fitness program. You’ll learn proper technique to help you avoid injury and get maximum results. An exercise program geared to a person of 20 is not necessarily the best for someone in their 50s. Trying to compete with anyone but yourself leads to injury. Each person operates within their own body time table. It takes some longer or shorter amounts of regular exercise to achieve desired results.Be patient and consistent.
• Get a physical check-up before you begin an exercise program or activity; make certain there are no impending health challenges or risks that could pose a potential problem.
• Having a workout partner is great for encouragement. It’s difficult to stay home when a workout partner is there to keep you motivated and on track.
• Get advice from a qualified nutritionist. Find out what your weight loss/fitness goals are, then tackle them one at a time. A change of eating/exercise lifestyle is required for success; fad diets DO NOT WORK. Diets are fast fixes on an eating style that actually needs a major overhaul. Food education is necessary for absolute healthy food eating success.

The Most Common Patient Complaints
• Lower Back Pain is #1 in men, women and even children and teenagers. Too much time in a chair at a computer; too little time up moving, walking and exercising.
• Neck Pain: tense muscles and not enough stretching and exercise.
• Leg and Arm Pain: repetitive motion and sciatica nerve from too much sitting to not enough exercise or stretching.
• Arthritis—at any age Raj’s office is a one-stop center for help.

From pain management to non-surgical and surgical options—the overriding goal is to get people back to good health. Raj is quick to note that it’s the decisive, informed, combined knowledge of his staff that offers patients solutions that work longterm. A big part of Raj’s ability to provide innovative treatment is that his own education process continues. He is always attending seminars, certificate programs and training in cutting-edge surgical options to better serve his patients needs.

“Having access to the latest in surgical and non-surgical treatments is crucial,” Raj points out. “The era in which I trained— the 90s—allowed me to see both the good and bad of patient complaints and treatment options. This gives me a significant advantage. My Canadian training allows me to apply ever-popular European trends that are now becoming more accepted in the United States. We can offer more optimal surgery treatments and quicker recovery with less morbidity. Incisions are much smaller, the amount of bone we remove is less and the replacement components we use last longer.

The goal of today’s orthopedic surgeon is to aim for immediate stability so patients are up right away. We see this more and more because our surgeries offer a quicker recovery. We have better medication, and use more injection modalities to reduce the need for surgery. And we have the tools available to educate people on how to take care of their bodies.”

ST: You seem very focused and intense.
Dr. Raj: I am very intense and very passionate. It’s just part of my upbringing and personality. I’ve always been the guy who takes on a task and puts 110% into it. I grew up a very hyper kid and always took on more than I should have. But I worked hard and made it happen. There is a higher power that leads us to what we do. Call it God or fate if you want, but there is a reason we are—where we are in life. That combined with our motivation and passion makes us who we are. I have passion for everything I do. I have passion for my job. I have passion when I workout. I have passion for my child. I have passion on all levels. It tires me out at the end of the day, but I’m happy and in a good mood. I’m doing exactly what I love to do.”

Raj was born and raised in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, an historical fishing and ship building town (population around 2,317) and long considered one of Canada’s most beautiful settings. The quaint waterfront picturesque, low-key town was made famous as being home to the original Bluenose fishing schooner/racing ship. Lunenburg is also the second largest fishery in the world. Raj readily admits that he is about as Canadian as they come. Considering he looks more Hollywood than waterfront fisherman, I asked the obvious.

ST: You don’t really come off as a fisherman kind of guy.
Dr. Raj: Well, no I’m not a fishing type of guy (he states straight forward, with a broad smile and half-hearted chuckle), but I do eat fish. (it proves to be a good enough answer for me). Raj’s relocation from Nova Scotia to Beverly Hills was no accident. I asked how he made the transition from a polar bear environment to the sun drenched, plastic surgery crowd and designer gone mad atmosphere of Beverly Hills. Before I get the last word out of my mouth he is reliving in detail how even as a teenager he had planned out his future.

“I always had a dream and a burning passion to get more out of life. I could never set just one goal and be happy. That’s just not who I am. I wanted to make a difference in the world and I knew that staying in Canada, settling down and being a small town family doctor—although a great life would not give me the reach, the room I needed to do all I wanted. I was always looking for a way to get out of Lunenburg, then find my passion and conquer my challenges. I just didn’t know where to go.”

But fate stepped in and made the decision for him. During college he, some friends and his then girlfriend, Melita (now wife—they’ve been married 11 years and together for 16) decided to take a trip to southern California; specifically to L.A. and more to the point Beverly Hills. Minutes after arriving, Raj says he already loved it and turned to Melita and said, ‘We are going to work and live in Beverly Hills some day.’

Not convinced, she looked at him and said, ‘How?’ His friends also questioned his decision by pointing out that it would be impossible for him to make a living in such a competitive city. His reply? ‘Well, we’re going to do it.’ And that was it.

Clearly the decision was a good one and couldn’t have turned out better. Raj has a successful private orthopedic practice and Melita is a top psychiatrist at UCLA. The couple have a two and a half year old daughter, Sonia, who is already teaching Raj a thing or two about life. Raj has two brothers; the younger is a trial attorney, the older a bio-medical engineer. Melita is from the Canadian providence of Newfoundland, where her family still lives. She and Raj visit both their families two or three times a year.

ST: What was it like coming from a small fishing town to Beverly Hills?
Dr. Raj: It wasn’t so much coming from a small town; survival came down to coming to Beverly Hills with the attitude that I could make it. It’s about being motivated and staying determined.

ST: The importance of education was always a part of Raj’s life. Both his parents are teachers, in Lunenburg. So how did he find his passion in medicine?
Dr. Raj: I had no direct medical influence. Growing up I had a passion for sports and competition. I was athletic and pushed myself to excel. I loved playing basketball and baseball and spent five and six hours a day after school practicing and finding ways to motivate myself to do better. I ended up with many sports injuries; to my hip, knees, ankles, and shoulders. Because I spent time getting help from orthopedic surgeons, my most important mentors turned out to be the orthopedic doctors who took care of me. Through them I learned not only about sports medicine, but about finding ways to give back to the community. One orthopedic surgeon came to our school— no charge to help kids who played sports. Watching him taught me the importance of preventative medicine as it pertains to sports. The idea is to prevent an injury before it happens, by preparing yourself before you do the sport. “There is a higher power that leads us to what we do. Call it God or fate, but there is a reason we are where we are in life. That combined with motivation and passion makes us who we are. I have passion for everything I do….for my job, when I workout, for my child. I have passion on all levels. It tires me out at the end of the day, but I’m happy and in a good mood. I’m doing exactly what I love to do.” —Dr. Raj

ST: Is being an orthopedic surgeon everything you imagined it would be?
Dr. Raj: I’m ecstatic. I took what I saw growing up as a sports player and brought it into my own medical practice. Now, instead of being an injured player who needs help— I am the person who can make a difference by helping someone else. In my practice I don’t have that glory jump like plastic surgeons do. I always say that plastic surgeons provide beauty on the outside, and orthopedic surgeons provide beauty on the inside because we make people feel good and pain-free. Orthopedics focus on issues of fitness, diet, and working with people who have injuries and more important—we educate people on how to avoid them. When I correct a problem which gives someone a pain-free life, either with surgery, an injection or with physical therapy, I’ve created beauty on the inside.” It’s clear orthopedics touches all our lives.

At any time any of us gets back or neck pain, might have trouble walking, could break a bone, need physical therapy, or joint replacement. The problems Raj faces with his patients has no regard for age; younger or older we all face them. “I see older patients with degenerative bone disease and worn out joints. I also see new orthopedic techniques that offer them the chance to walk again,” Raj says.

“I see young people who lead aggressive lifestyles and end up with broken bones or excessive pain from excessive exercise. I work with them on proper technique and ways to stay in shape without wearing out their bodies. We orthopedic surgeons have the opportunity to touch every person out there and improve their lives.”

ST: We’re in an exercise gone mad world. Are we doing more harm than good ?
Dr. Raj: Recognizing what type of pain you have is vital to correcting what causes it. There are two types of pain: A work-out pain is deep and dull—that’s OK. But sudden, sharp pain should be addressed by a physician. Pain indicates something has happened. We need to listen to our bodies. If we don’t it breaks down, reaches a point of no return, and can end up in my office needing surgery. If it hurts, slow down; stop doing what you’re doing.

Proper exercise technique is crucial to avoid injury and produce results. With activity there is always a risk of injury. I see myself as a crusader for lifestyle change. Within the context of my orthopedic practice I see young people with serious muscle, tendon, bone injuries health and diet issues. I’m a crusader for prevention. I don’t want to see a 22- year-old with blown out knees or over-weight kids wearing out their joints because of the added pressure of extra weight, or people whose bodies can’t support them because they have no muscle tone. We must educate our population because we are being brainwashed with what we see on TV, in the press, on the Internet.

A good example is the fast food industry advertising low-calorie, low-fat and low-carb food. Brilliant marketing by the fast food industry, but it’s hurting us. Yes, it might be low-carb, but it could contain 1,000 calories. People don’t see this. All they see is low-carb. I have smart people asking me if brown sugar is better because brown rice is better. It comes down to education. When I was growing up, food had 30% less calories than it has today. Additives now used to make food taste better increases calories and fat content. People do not want to believe that something they like is bad for them.

ST: Is our generation exercising themselves right into the operating room?
Dr. Raj: Nobody goes to an orthopedic surgeon just to say—hi, I’m great. People come in a vulnerable state. We’ve all heard the nopain/ no-gain formula. Well, different types of pain means the difference between muscle growth, strain, sprain, ligament and tendon tears, dislocated joints, and fractured bones including vertebrae. It’s great to be active, but with exercise comes the need for education. A perfect example is the Weekend Warrior who jumps into extreme exercise without consulting a physician first; doesn’t bother with a warm-up routine; muddles through the exercise with improper technique; and refuses to stop even after his/her body has called it quits. Poor training practices, improper equipment and technique, lack of conditioning and insufficient warm-up can land a good intentioned person in traction.

A good example is a person who has worked out for 10-years and doesn’t look any different. It’s obvious they haven’t included all the factors into the equation: The psychological factor, nutrition factor, and a musculoskeletal fitness factor—all crucial if you want maximum results from your exercise workout. If each of these are not taken into consideration you will not lose weight, you will never get in shape, you will not meet your goals and you will wear out your joints. Each of us has a genetic predisposition when it comes to the longevity of our joints, and how much muscle stability we have around those joints. If your hamstrings are weak you put extreme pressure on your knee joints just by walking! Another big factor is weight. How much weight pressure are you putting on your knee joints? For every extra pound of weight you carry, you add seven pounds of extra joint reactive force on your knees when you walk or go up and down the stairs.” I see young kids over-weight, with worn down knee joints.”

ST: Let’s talk about a subject that has become your passion: fighting obesity in childhood.
Dr. Raj: While attending the university in Canada, I worked as a camp counselor at a recreational department and took care of 60 to 100 kids a day. As a camp counselors I provided mentorship, leadership and someone for the kids to look up to. And let’s face it, we all need mentors we can look up to. Sadly, the age of patients I see is getting younger and younger. Kids today don’t exercise, they lead sedentary lives in front of computers and fight weight and health issues they should not have. We are considered a healthy nation, but also a very obese nation. Growing up I didn’t sit in my house in front of a computer screen. I was out playing sports.

What really bugs me is I see parents on treadmills and their kids are sitting on the floor eating junk food and playing with their handheld games and texting or talking on their phones. We have to get children focused on the benefits of good health. Over-weight issues and body pain complaints are a set up for disaster and can turn into secondary addiction issues taking prescription medications, over the counter pain pills and getting hooked on starvation diets and the use of diet pills. Side effects from these become a cycle that’s hard to break. We need to get into schools and teach kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We have to look at the food we serve in schools.

The goal of ‘One Child At A Time’ is to mentor a healthy way of life that reaches everyone. People are, in fact, NOT created equal. We have different body types, habits, health issues, predisposition to diseases, and are prone to different injuries. Regardless, we can all benefit from good food and regular exercise. These are vital at every stage of our lives and necessary for overall health and well-being. The first step to a healthy lifestyle is education. Then, take that knowledge and do something with it. Find ways to apply it to your daily life. You will be surprised how well and fast the body responds when we take care of it.

Dr. Raj’s Key Steps To Better Health & Body Well Being
• Posture. When walking—carrying weight towards the front can lead to abnormal, increased stress on your back. Walk tall with chin up and eyes forward, arms bent 90 degrees and swinging up no further than your breastbone.
• With muscle fatigue comes potential for injury. Lack of muscle conditioning can cause muscle spasms and tendon tears. Risks for cardiac arrest rises when a de-conditioned heart is subjected to abnormal and extreme exercise if the body is dehydrated and the electrolytes change.
• Older people are prone to injury due to hormonal changes, and age-related issues like arthritic joints, tight muscles, tendon ruptures and stress fractures from osteoporosis.
• For each extra pound you have on your body, you add seven pounds of joint reactive force on your knees.
• During exercise proper hydration is key. Stretch before and after walking; when starting out take it slow.
• Good walking or running shoes with arches that support the feet can protects ankles from sprains. A good cushion in the shoe decreases weight on foot bones. Many injuries occur from wearing old, dead shoes.
• Stretch before exercise increases flexibility, and strong muscle tone can help reduce injury. Tight, cold muscles are a set-up for injury. Warm up and then gently stretch the muscles you plan to use. A consistent, weekly exercise plan, overall lifestyle change, eating healthy food, take multi-vitamins and slowly working your way to your goals is the key to exercise success. Always ice an injury or strain to keep inflammation from destroying tissue.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in Dr. Raj’s crusade against childhood obesity and help initiate healthy food diets and exercise programs in schools contact him directly:

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