Vail Daily health feature: Podcast Rx
August 11, 2014
as a freelance writer, I spend my nights writing and part of my day dog walking. The hours I spend with my four-legged friends give me time to peruse podcasts on my iPhone and learn new things just by listening. As a contributor to High Life Health for three years now, I always have my ear out for interesting health topics and fitness trends. I've yet to write a story on how to improve your health simply by putting your headphones on, but with podcasts you could do just that.
There are many people in the podcast world offering free advice, interesting insights and important information on everything from ways to boost your metabolism to the potential benefits of letting your kids run around barefoot. As podcasts have become more popular, there are plenty to pick from and even more to skip. Here are some of the best health and fitness podcasts to listen to and learn from:
Get-Fit Guy, Nutrition Diva and House Call Doctor's Quick and Dirty Tips
The Quick and Dirty Tips series is best known for its popular podcast Grammar Girl, but it has health and fitness experts as well. These tend to be less than 10 minutes and provide a wealth of health and fitness information. Check out the House Call Doctor to learn the basics about diseases and other illnesses. The Nutrition Diva will tell you how to whip up an easy recipe for your health and diet. Personally, I like Get-Fit Guy, because host Ben Greenfield condenses fitness information in a way anyone can understand. The Get-Fit Guy podcast may be short and breezy, but Greenfield takes time to know his stuff in between getting buff.
Dishing Up Nutrition
Dishing Up Nutrition is a radio show and podcast covering a new health topic every week. The podcast is hosted by Darlene Kvist, a clinical nutritionist and director of Weight and Wellness, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to listening to her delightful Minnesota accent, Kvist is great at linking what we eat to a particular health issue people might have, like how a shingles outbreak could be triggered by what's in your diet.
"People don't really understand how nutrition affects their health," Kvist said. "There's a disconnect in our country about that. I wanted to be able to have a show to help people make that connection between the way that they eat and how they feel."
An introvert at heart, Kvist said podcasting is an "art," and you have to convey the information in a tangible way to create an impact.
"The trick is how you communicate," Kvist said. "You pick up some health book and the author has communicated (the information) so you can really relate to it, and you take that information and make changes. (But) if you pick up another book that has no meaning to you, you can't relate to it."
On a recent podcast, I learned that Crisco was originally invented to lubricate machinery. Yet another good reason not to eat the cookies at a potluck, and now I know a cheap alternative to WD-40.
The Fat-Burning Man Show with Abel James
Abel James is a fitness guru interested in all things "Paleo, primal, evolutionary and ancestral," according to his tagline. The Fat-Burning Man Show is definitely the place to get your Paleo fix, but James often explores beyond the cave and interviews experts about things like brain science, sustainable living and how to enhance your attractiveness (Called "Sexy By Nature," in case you want to download that one immediately). James is a great interviewer and just looking at the screenshot of him while listening might be enough to motivate you to cut back on those carbs.
The Wellness Mama is Katie S. (who doesn't use her full name online), a blogger and mother of five living in Tennessee. Katie just launched her podcast in June, but it's already been in the top spot in Health and Alternative Health on iTunes. Katie wanted Wellness Mama to focus on moms who are looking for ways to help their kids live healthier.
"I feel like moms are just now getting into podcasts," Katie said. "I wanted to provide something specifically for women, short enough that they could listen to it while cooking dinner or driving their kids to soccer practice."
Katie said her "lightbulb moment" came when she was in the doctor's office after the birth of her first child. She read an article that said children born now might have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
"It ignited my passion," Katie said. "I have a background in nutrition and journalism, and I was really looking into the journalism side. (But) it's really hard to change things when you can only report on topics. I wanted to pursue the passion side."
In a recent episode, Katie tallied how often her kids were offered refined sugar in a week. The result: 21 times. If you don't have kids, just think of Katie as your own Wellness Mama, reminding you to say no to sugar, which isn't good for us adults, either.
Outside Health and Fitness
Steve Stearns is an active adventurer from Maine who would fit right in with us mountain-folk. The Outside Health and Fitness podcast is perfect for those interested in fitness and health from an outdoor or "out of the box" perspective, Stearns said.
"I try to make it conversational," Stearns said. "I want it be as though my guests are sitting down at my table with my listeners."
Stearns said "podcasts are to radio what Netflix is to cable," in that we can now choose what we listen to and when.
In upcoming episodes, Stearns will be talking about proper hydration for triathlons, funky fitness fads from the past and how to make natural water you find out on the trail safe for drinking.
A recent review raves, "I hate the gym and I love this podcast!" Even if you don't hate the gym, Stearns has some great guests and is worth listening to while biking, hiking, running or just sittin' around outside like a true nature lover.