Dr. Stephanie Michael from Village Podiatry Centers answers a reader’s question about painful heels.

Michael, DPM, Stephanie_cred Village Podiatry CentersQ: I recently started an exercise program, and now my heels are painful when I first wake up in the morning. What could this be?

A: Low arches, high arches, unsupportive shoes and activities such as running or aerobic exercise can all cause heel pain. The most likely diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of a ligament that starts from the heel and attaches in the ball of the foot. Treatment includes calf stretching, more supportive shoes, cool water soaks and anti-inflammatory medications. Cortisone injections, night splints and custom arch supports can also be used to relieve heel pain. Very rarely does heel pain require any surgical intervention.

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Jennifer Hankey from Health Green Schools is here to share her positive resolution advice!

Hankey, Jennifer_cred The Studio SarmientoWhat was your resolution?

I was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder when six weeks pregnant with my first child. This led me to question: What could I do to give her the best chance? This was five years ago and has led me on an eye-opening journey to eliminating toxic chemicals from my life.

What positive changes have resulted from you achieving your resolution?

I have created a healthy home free of toxins (or what I can control) for my children and family. We have seen the health benefits of avoiding toxic chemicals and opting for healthy and organic foods. And ultimately it led to the creation of Healthy Green Schools, my organization that removes toxic chemicals from schools and sets up healthy food guidelines.

After conquering this goal, what’s your resolution for 2015?

I hope that 2015 leads to exponential growth in the program, leading to positive, sustainable changes in all Atlanta schools. 

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Dr. Timothy Horton from MedZed answers a reader’s questions about influenza.

Horton, MD, Tim_cred MedZed

Q: Can I get influenza from the flu shot?

A: The injection version of the flu shot is not a live viral vaccine, so patients cannot get the flu from this method. Common side effects include local reactions at the site of injection, mild fever and minor achiness. What is most confusing for my patients is that the flu shot does not protect from everything they consider the flu – it will not prevent patients from getting other common winter colds.

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Day 26 of Fitness – exhale Atlanta

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jeret Adair 

Brianna Norton, Jeret Adair

Brianna Norton, Jeret Adair

For Day 26 of Fitness, I enrolled in Exhale Atlanta’s high-intensity Core Fusion Extreme class led by Brianna Norton. This workout facility is located on the seventh floor of the Loews Hotel in Midtown, with convenient valet parking in front. Once arriving to the seventh floor, I could not believe my eyes. The spa was huge! And not only was it enormous, but it was just as luxurious and beautiful.

I proceeded to the locker room to change and was greeted with all of the amenities of a five-star luxury spa—a steam room, sauna, warm towels and all of the toiletries I could imagine. Once I was changed, I went to the exercise studio where I was handed a number by my instructor Brianna. This number was not only a representation of the group I was in, but it ultimately dictated my fate for some hard care intense circuit training. Brianna divided us into groups and stations, and from there the class quickly catapulted into an interval training workout with movements varying from push-ups, TRX straps, kettlebell swings and aerobics. We were given one minute to complete each movement before rotating to the next station. After the second round, I noticed that the music brought me into a trance where I felt extremely focused on my workout. Brianna’s enthusiasm and instruction made the class fun and challenging because she pushed everyone to beyond their perceived limitations.

Before I knew it, the hour was over, and I was completely exhausted in the best way possible. I returned to the locker room and took a well-deserved steam and shower, got my parking pass validated by the front desk, and enjoyed a mineral water on the way out. Truly an excellent way to start the day!

Details: Loews Hotel (7th floor), 1065 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA,(404) 720-5000www.exhalespa.com

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By: David Martin, RN, CRNFA

Moss, Wes_cred VeinInnovations

Wes Moss, a triathlete, suffered with varicose veins prior to his treatment at VeinInnovations

Happy 2015! So many of us start each new year with a new commitment to fitness and health. This year, I invite you treat a foundational part of your fitness program – your legs and their venous health – with newfound respect and understanding.

Runners, weight lifters, soccer players, CrossFit fanatics, tennis players and lovers of all things barre share a common denominator in their fitness success: their legs. But more and more, we see otherwise fit and healthy young people at our vein health clinics. This may be because delicate one-way valves in the veins – which have the difficult job of carrying de-oxygenated blood against gravity to the heart and lungs for re-oxygenation – have been damaged during sports activities. Statistics also show that even in young people, 25 percent of men and 33 percent of women have some degree of venous insufficiency. As we age, the percentage increases to about 50 percent for men and women older than 50.

Hits from contact sports such as football and soccer, strain from weight lifting, and the pounding and jarring of running all take a toll on your entire body, valves included. As you tackle your New Year’s resolution to maintain a sustainable fitness program, consider a free ultrasound screening to check your venous health. If your parents and grandparents had varicose or spider veins or if you experience any pain, heaviness or swelling in your legs, you should get scanned. Venous insufficiency is a hereditary disease, and these symptoms can occur even if you don’t have visible signs of varicose or spider veins.

These symptoms are also common reasons why many people discontinue exercise at some point. So commit to your New Year’s resolution and explore your options for minimally invasive, office-based treatments for venous reflux. Today’s diagnostic and treatment procedures are easier, safer and faster than in the past, are usually covered by insurance and can keep you and your new fitness program on the right track.

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Day 25 of Fitness – World Gym Smyrna 

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jennifer Prins 

Emily Timotheo, Jennifer Prins

Emily Timotheo, Jennifer Prins

If your fitness regimen is anything like mine, than you probably have that one workout routine or favorite machine at the gym that has already been mastered. And while it is great to get your body used to a routine of feeling and looking its best,  your body may need to try something new in order to see a different result.

For Day 25 of fitness, I enrolled in World Gym Smyrna’s one-hour cross-training class with Emily Timotheo. Cross-training combines exercises from other sports, ultimately increasing your performance to receive a total body workout. There is no equipment required that you bring, but you will be working your entire body so be sure to bring a towel and water.

Prior to the start of class I didn’t know what to expect since this class is similar to that of a boot-camp workout. I was also unfamiliar with dive bomber push-ups and inch worm exercises, but from the dive bombers to inch worms and crisscross squats, this class kept me guessing the entire time.

During the workout, Emily gave fantastic instructions and kept the class energy up with her enthusiasm. Once she displayed how to properly perform each move, we did three-minutes of concentrated exercise moves, and then received a one-minute rest before the next set of exercise series began. There were some exercises where we did use weights, but for others we transitioned between standing exercises and mat routines.

This workout was tough, but Emily has made sure to design a series for all fitness-levels to participate. Your heart rate stays up throughout the class and you will sweat the entire time. Not only will I be back to take this class, but I highly recommend it to others as well. I love the fact that you will not perform the same exercise each week.

Details: 4425 South Cobb Dr SE, Smyrna, GA, 30080, (770) 801-0006, www.worldgymsmyrnaa.com

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Day 24 of Fitness – Bien-Aime Strength and Stretch Studio 

Best Self editor Flannery Keck 


Biene-Aime Strength & Stretch Studio

I’ll admit it: I’m a cheater. It’s one of the reasons I love group fitness classes. I can blend into the group, and when a workout gets “too hard” I can—you guessed it—cheat a little bit. I won’t stretch as far, won’t put as much resistance on my stationary bike, won’t lift as much or won’t run as fast. It’s not because I’m lazy (after all, at least I show up to the class!). It’s more about being afraid to push my own boundaries. If I’m feeling tired or out of breath or tense, I get scared to push further, so I back off a little.

If this sounds like you too, then Bien-Aime Strength & Stretch Studio is the place to go.  For day 24 of fitness, Ulrick Bien-Aime, the trainer and owner of this studio, and I worked out for an hour on Saturday, and I quickly discovered the benefits of a one-on-one training session. I couldn’t cheat! With every exercise, Ulrick watched and adjusted my form for maximum benefit, and I worked as hard as I could since I couldn’t hide in the back. This was a fantastic experience for me to push through my own perceived limits and get a better workout than I’ve gotten in months. We did squats, lunges, planks, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and more. I see now why these familiar workouts are familiar—they really work. Each exercise targeted and challenged my major muscle groups, and I was wiped out by the end of the hour.

Ulrick Bien-Aime, Flannery Keck

Ulrick Bien-Aime, Flannery Keck

My experience at Bien-Aime was great not just for the active challenges of the workout, but also for the restorative benefits of the season. At the beginning and end of the session, Ulrick and I worked on stretching. It wasn’t like the stretching you do on your own before a run—with this stretching, Ulrick actively helped me push my own boundaries so I could fully relax. For example, I lay on my back while he slowly pushed each leg, one at a time, to stretch my hamstrings, or I lay on my side while he pulled my knee to stretch my quads. This was a great addition to the workout because the depth of each stretch and the resulting relaxation matched the difficulty of the strength challenges. I left feeling equal parts challenged and relaxed, and I could feel the change (particularly in my legs) immediately.

The atmosphere of the studio was enjoyable as well, thanks to Ulrick’s friendly attitude and the face that he lets his clients pick which Pandora station plays through the studio during the session. At least while I was sweating through my sit-ups, I had some familiar tunes to motivate me! Ulrick also brings a sports nutrition degree and strength conditioning specialist certification to the table, so the workout and the dietary counseling he offers are all based on tried-and-true information.

These elements, coupled with the effectiveness of the workout, left me in a cheerful mood and feeling proud of how hard I had worked. I think it’s safe to say this has broken me of my cheating ways! Next time I work out, I’ll be more confident and able to push to my true physical limit rather than any fear-based mental limitations, thanks to what Ulrick showed me I can do.

Details: 663 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA, (678) 365-5770, www.bienaimefitness.com

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SherriThis month, we kick off our annual Over 40 & Fabulous! contest. For the fifth year in a row, we want to support our city’s dynamic men and women who take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. They also believe that age is just a number!

If you or someone you know is over 40 and exemplifies feeling good, looking good and doing good for others, send in a nomination for our Over 40 & Fabulous! contest. Nominations will be accepted February 1 through midnight on March 1. Forty candidates will be chosen from all entries to participate in our Facebook contest.

The top 10 winners, determined by number of votes they receive, will be featured in our June issue, and one will be chosen by an independent panel of judges as the overall contest winner. The top 10 winners will receive prize packages valued at $500 each, and the overall winner will appear on the cover and win a $1,000 Best Self prize package.

Go to bestselfatlanta.com for further contest details and to nominate your candidate today.

Sherri Adair, Publisher

Meet Your 2015 Over 40 & Fabulous! Advisory Board

We, along with our panel of experts, will be bringing you great advice and information about how to look and feel your best at every age. Follow along with us on Facebook, our blog and the next several issues for contest updates, announcements and to hear more from our Advisory Board.


Dr. Dina Giesler, Atlanta Smiles and WellnessDental Health/Cosmetic Dentistry Dr. Giesler shares the secrets of how a beautiful smile can make you look years younger.

Amanda Hair, Bob Steele SalonHair Keep your hair healthy and up-to-date with tips from the CEO of Bob Steele Salon.

46.bsacover_june13Diana Hofsommer, Camp Horizon – Volunteerism Last year’s Over 40 & Fabulous! winner shares tips for giving back.

Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker, Livi Rae LingerieBreast Health/Self-Esteem  The Double Divas discuss how the right bra can improve your breast health and overall self-image at any age.

35.bsacover_june12Dr. Brian Maloney, Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery – Cosmetic Surgery As a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of Atlanta’s Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Maloney will share the benefits of facial rejuvenation both surgical and non-surgical.

Dr. Tara Frix, Total HealthCare – Non-23.bsacover_june11Surgical Joint and Spine Care Work through the aches and pains of physical activity and aging with advice from Dr. Frix, who focuses on non-surgical solutions.

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Day 23 of Fitness – Sacred  Thread Yoga

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: David Leonard

Sacred Thread Yoga

Sacred Thread Yoga

January is the month that I usually bring my workouts indoors to try different things. And with my body in its mid-40s, for day 23 of Best Self Atlanta’s 30 Days of Fitness blog series, my fitness goal for the day was to work on developing my flexibility. I switched my fitness gear to Yoga and had the opportunity to experience a Vinyasa flow class with Shonali Banerjee at Sacred Thread Yoga in Old Fourth Ward.

Shonali Banerjee

Shonali Banerjee

Parking is easy, but be sure to give yourself some extra time to get in the door since you will have to be buzzed into the building. After a quick registration, you will then take your shoes off, and place your belongings inside the provided studio cubbies. Remember to turn off your cell phone.

All levels are welcome to this 75-minute class, but remember to bring a yoga mat, a water bottle and wear loose fitting clothes.  This workout also includes light chanting.

Because I took this class on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, to commemorate his life, Shonali gave us the opportunity to reconnect with our past dreams while playing truly inspiring music from Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone and Mavis Staples. My soul and body were truly moved.

The workout itself began with chanting, which then awakened us, and I then soon found myself sweating from holding each pose. My favorite part of the workout was holding a handstand (this was optional, and she had a lot of options if this is not where you are) and seeing the world from another perspective.

As she closed our practice, I found the most enjoyable part of this workout was listening to Shonali’s amazingly warm voice sing as we rested in Shavasana.  I ended the practice feeling grateful, especially since I was reconnected to a past dream of my own mine on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. -Namaste

Details: 828 Ralph McGill Blvd Suite W2, Atlanta, GA, (404) 500-6762, www.sacredthreadyoga.com

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Day 22 of Fitness – Cowart Family/Ashford-Dunwoody Family YMCA 

Best Self associate publisher Patti Stephens 

Ashford Dunwoody YMCA

Ashford Dunwoody YMCA Pool

One of the many advantages to getting and staying fit is the sense of community that physical activity encourages. So for day 22 of fitness, I chose to enroll in the morning aqua Zumba class at the Cowart Family Ashford-Dunwoody Family YMCA.

While I’ve been a member of this specific YMCA for several years, I must admit that I hadn’t been in several months. The building has been under construction for quite some time, but renovations are almost complete, and I must say that they were really worth the wait! Once I checked in, I headed to the women’s locker room to change and store my belongings before heading to the pool, which has also gone through a major transformation and now includes a steam room around the deck!

Aqua Zumba instructor Anyanna

Aqua Zumba instructor Anyanna Torres

For a 9 a.m. workout, I was quite surprised by how many participants were in the class, and I was thankful to have invited my friend Ellen to this fun party atmosphere! Our class instructor, Anyanna Torres, instructed the class from the upper deck of the pool and also began the class by checking the music’s sound level. Aqua Zumba is exactly how it is described: fun fitness in the water through dance. For an early midweek January morning, it felt wonderful to jump in the pool. The music included was a mix of 80′s dance, reggae, a little latin and more. Regulars to this class clearly had their favorite tunes they danced to, like B52′s bang bang on the door baby!

Anyanna was fantastic! She was upbeat and never stopped encouraging us to have fun in the water, and she even made sure to grab a hat decorated with fruit when it was time to dance to the island tunes. This 60-minute class is wonderful for any fitness level and definitely a fun way to mix up the routine!

Details: 3692 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA, 30319, (770) 451-9622, www.ymcaatlanta.org

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