The Olympic Experience with Dara Torres; Clinical Trials & Research; Benefits of Coconut Water

Episode 17.33 Rerun

Segment One (01:40): Dr. Nik Verma sits in for Dr. Brian Cole, with Steve Kashul and talks with Dara Torres, 5 Time Olympian Swimmer/12 time Medalist. Dara talks about her competition experience and training routines over the years.  

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second – America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results.

In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition.

Career Highlights

  • 2009 U.S. Nationals Gold Medalist in 50m Freestyle
  • 2009 World Championships (8th 50m Freestyle, 4th 4×100 Freestyle)
  • Five-Time Olympian; 12-Time Medalist
  • First U.S. swimmer to compete in 5 Olympics
  • U.S. Record Holder in 50m Freestyle
  • Broadcast: NBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN & more.

Segment Two (13:18): Dr. Nik Verma talks with Steve about the importance of clinical trials and research, translational research, current studies in biologics and the use of stem cells. Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.nikhil verma

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

Segment Three (19:07): Scott Sandler, President & CEO of COCO5 talks about the benefits of coconut water for professional athletes and weekend warriors & how COCO5 Coconut Water differs from other hydration products.


COCO5 combines the powerful hydrating properties of young coconut water with all natural flavors to create a hydration beverage perfect for any time of day or night. Clean, refreshing and brilliantly delicious. Nothing artificial. Ever.

COCO5 replenishes the body with all 5 essential electrolytes your body needs. Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium.

  1. Eliminate chemical additives, dyes and high fructose corn syrup found in leading fluid replacement beverages. 
  2. Replace fluids lost through sweat.
  3. Restore electrolytes depleted during exercise.
  4. Reduce cramping and gastric distress often experienced with conventional sports drinks.
  • All Natural ingredients
  • Benefits come from coconut water, not artificially added ingredients or chemicals
  • Unlike other hydration drinks, the electrolytes in COCO5 are naturally occurring (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and small amounts of other nutrients)
  • Colors and flavors are from natural fruits and vegetables
  • No artificial dyes (i.e., Red40, Bluel, Yellow5)
  • No artificial sweeteners. Stevia (Rebiana) is used as a sweetener from a plant (no artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Aspartame or Acesulfame potassium as found in other hydration drinks)
  • Maximum absorption due to the balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes

Unlocking Your Potential through Movement: An Exploration of Dance/Movement Therapy

By Erica Hornthal, LCPC, BC-DMT

As a society we have long known the healing benefits of dance. Dance can improve cognition and memory, it can reduce stress, and it can help us get in shape. However, not many people know the emotional and psychological impact movement has on mental health.  Dance applied as an intervention within the therapeutic relationship unlocks individual potential; the potential to increase productivity, maximize performance, manage chronic pain or injury, and connect to passion and purpose.  

What is dance/movement therapy?

According to the American Dance Therapy Association, founded in 1966, “dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual.” It is a creative arts therapy that uses movement as the means to observe, assess, and intervene in an individual’s overall health.  Movement is the most primitive instinctual form of communication and expression. It allows for a deeper level of understanding, validation and support.  Not only is no dance experience or coordination needed to reap the benefits, but also, unlike psychotropic medications, there are no negative side effects.  

What is the different between dance and dance/movement therapy?

Dance is a performance art form usually consisting of stylized or choreographed sequences of movement. It is about expression, aesthetics, and often physicality and skill. Dance/movement therapy is first and foremost a niche form of psychotherapy, facilitated by a master’s level clinician that merely uses, movement, a component of dance, to heal and integrate the mind, body, and spirit of an individual. In dance/movement therapy, the “dance” comes from the individual as an organic expression of the self.

What are the benefits of dance/movement therapy?

Dance/movement therapy can benefit people of all ages, abilities, and life circumstances because it supports the individual on a body level where they are in that specific moment in time. Dance therapy has a broad range of health benefits. It has been demonstrated to be clinically effective at improving body image, self-esteem, attentiveness, and communication skills. It can also reduce stress, fears and anxieties, as well as lessen feelings of isolation, body tension, chronic pain, and depression. In addition it can enhance the functioning of the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems.

What does a session look like?

Dance/movement therapy sessions can look much like a talk therapy session. It is often up to the participant how large the movement is or how indulgent it may be. It can incorporate breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, stretching, and yes, dance, in addition to verbal processing. It can be done individually, as a couple, or even in a group. Sessions take place in hospitals, nursing homes, day centers, schools, studios, homes, and offices around the world. It is a holistic body-based therapy that can be done standing up, sitting down, or even from a person’s bedside.

Anyone can participate in dance/movement therapy, regardless of age, physical or even cognitive ability.  If you are interested in deepening your mind-body connection, enhancing physical performance through awareness, or physically and emotionally becoming more efficient, consider dance/movement therapy as your approach to mental and physical integration, growth, and healing.  

For more information, go to the American Dance Therapy Association or contact Chicago Dance Therapy.

10 Yoga Asanas for Strength

Shape, strengthen and tone your entire body with these 10 yoga asanas for strength.

Yoga-Asanas-For-StrengthWhy is Building Strength Important?

  • Stronger muscles not only help stabilize your joints but also boost weight loss.
  • Strength training builds bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • It has also been shown to increase mental health, reduce anxiety, depression, pain, improve sleep, confidence, and self-esteem!

Hold these yoga asanas for strength for 10 – 12 breathes unless otherwise indicated.

And if you’re a beginner, work within your limits and aim for five, long deep breathes.

1. Boat Pose.


  1. From a seated, knees bent position, lift your legs till your shins are parallel to the floor.
  2. Next, extend your arms so they’re in line with your legs and at shoulder height.
  3. Finally, straighten out your legs and float that boat!

This is one of the best yoga asanas for strength with regards to your core.

2. Scale Pose.


  1. From the lotus position, place your palms on the floor beside your hips.
  2. Then, exhale, push the hands against the floor, pull in your navel, and lift your legs and buttocks away from the floor.
  3. Lastly, hold suspended for 10 to 15 seconds.

3. Upward Plank.


  1. Sitting on your mat, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, heels a foot away from your buttocks.
  2. Next, exhale, press your inner feet and hands down against the floor, and lift your hips until you come into a reverse table-top position, torso and thighs approximately parallel to the floor, shins and arms approximately perpendicular.
  3. Without losing the height of your hips, straighten your legs one at a time. Lift your hips still higher without hardening your buttocks. Press your shoulder blades against your back torso to support the lift of your chest.
  4. Hold for 5, long, deep breathes.

4. Downward Facing Dog.


  1. Begin on your hands and knees with your knees directly below your hips and hands slightly forward of your shoulders and curl your toes under.
  2. Next, exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor.
  3. Then, breathe out, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but don’t lock them.
  4. Finally, press through your index fingers, don’t hunch your shoulder blades and keep your head between your arms, not hanging.

5. Plank Pose.


  1. From downward facing dog, inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders directly over the wrists, torso parallel to the floor.
  2. Next, press your outer arms inward and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor.
  3. Hold for 5 breaths.

6. Side Plank Pose.


  1. From the plank pose, press your weight down through your right hand.
  2. Then, roll your body to the right whilst balancing on the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot and keep your legs aligned.
  3. Place your left hand on your hips or stretch your fingertips to the sky and gaze up at your thumb.

7. Bird Dog Pose.


  1. Come to your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor directly below your shoulders and your hips above your knees. Keep your neck aligned with your back.
  2. Then, shift your weight to your left knee and slowly lift your right leg and straighten it behind you while pointing your toes to the ground.
  3. Next, shift your weight onto your right hand and lift your left arm straight in front of you.
  4. Hold for 5 breathes, and then repeat on your opposite side.

When it comes to yoga asanas for strength in the back, arms and glutes, this pose is ideal!

8. Tree Pose.


  1. Begin standing with your arms by your sides (mountain pose).
  2. Shift your weight to your left foot.
  3. Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the Earth.
  4. Fix your gaze to a spot on the wall and draw down through you left foot and toes.
  5. Repeat on your opposite side.

9. Warrior Pose.


  1. Begin with your feet 4 to 5 feet apart.
  2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat and pivot your left foot slightly inwards around 45-degree angle.
  3. Next, raise your arms to shoulder height, palms facing down and reach through your fingertips.
  4. Finally, exhale and bend your front knee directly over your ankle. Keeping your shin straight, sink in at the hips till your thigh is parallel to the ground and gaze across the tip of your right middle finger. Repeat on the other side.

10. Chair Pose.


  1. From a standing position, inhale and raise your arms above your head, perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as you can.
  3. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs as you reach your elbows back towards your ears.

I hope you find these yoga asanas for strength a useful addition to your health and fitness routines.  They’re beginner friendly and you can do them every day.


Dehydration Can Affect Your Brain—Here’s How

Here’s the thing: I don’t drink enough water. I never have—even throughout high school and college. I know that’s unhealthy, to say the least, which is why one of my big New Year’s intentions for 2018 was to drink more water. It’s easier said than done, though, especially when my brain is occupied with a variety of priorities during a workday. There’s also the whole coffee thing. By that I mean the deep and passionate love I have for the two to three cups of coffee I enjoy per day. Again, I realize how unhealthy a minimal-water, high-caffeine habit is, but like I said, I’m trying to change it.

So the latest research on dehydration is just the motivation I need to ditch my non-water-drinking ways forever. According to a new study conducted by Cogstate, a leading cognitive science company, even slight dehydration is associated with inhibited brain function, which can lead to poorer or slower work performance.

Here’s how researchers conducted the study. Twelve women came into the facility three days in a row. The first day was the baseline, and researchers measured participants’ hydration levels, cognition, sensory perception, and emotional states. The next day, half the women drank the recommended amount of water (91 ounces) while the other half restricted their water intake. In other words, half were hydrated and half were dehydrated. The same tests were taken. The next day, the groups flipped—those that originally drank the recommended amount of water were restricted, and those that were originally restricted drank 91 ounces.

The results spoke for themselves. Significant changes in cognition were seen in the dehydrated groups of women. After rehydration, the measurements returned to normal. “Our primary findings were that while healthy, active women maintained body water during activities of daily living, when we induced mild dehydration these subjects increased errors on complex cognitive tasks that measure memory and learning during these same activities,” the study’s authors wrote. “Importantly, when we controlled hydration to meet IOM standards, women restored performance on these same cognitive tests compared to dehydration, and even improved performance on the test that measured cognitive flexibility.”

This shows us just how important hydrating is. Aside from helping digestion and complexion, water can ensure a productive and efficient workday, which is something we all crave. The moral of the story is hydrate more—I know I will. Please excuse me while I refill my water bottle.


The Importance of Movement; Joint Replacements in Young Active Patients

Episode 17.28 Rerun

Segment One (01:35): Personal Trainer Gerard Iacullo & Director of Jim Karas Intelligent Fitness and Wellness talks about The Importance of Movement-The foundation upon which everything is built.

Due to our western lifestyles, most people, as they age and do desk duty, start to lose basic mobility and range of motion in their joints. This only gets worse as time goes on and I have come to the firm conclusion based on the research and my own observations that prioritizing a movement practice which seeks to recapture normal joint range of motion and flexibility is the cornerstone to any fitness program or physical life endeavor.

When people decide to embark upon a fitness regimen, they rarely give any thought to the following question.

“Do I possess the prerequisite range of motion in order to perform exercise in a safe and effective manner?”

This discussion addresses simple yet effective protocols that EVERY person should perform daily that will open up a medley of options in terms of human performance and exercise. While traits like strength and endurance are very important attributes to acquire, optimal and usable range of motion in a persons joints trumps all.

Segment Two (16:19): Dr.Craig J. Della Valle from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush talks about Joint Replacements in Young Active Patients; What they can expect and time it takes to return to sport.

Dr. Craig Della Valle     Dr. Dell Valle specializes in Hip and Knee Reconstruction and Replacement and is Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Chief of Adult Reconstructive Surgery, Rush University Medical Center.
     Dr. Della Valle is a native of New York and received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  He completed his residency at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City.
     During his residency he spent a full year devoted to clinical and basic science research in the field of adult reconstructive surgery.  Dr. Della Valle completed a fellowship in adult reconstructive surgery at Rush University Medical Center and Central DuPage Hospital.