Nature’s Medicine How The Outdoors Improves Mind, Body, And Spirit

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Summer is almost here, and there’s no better time to get outdoors. Why not enjoy the weather and simultaneously give your body the movement it needs? We have so many beautiful spots in the area to enjoy.

Tala and I love biking and try to find as much time as possible to do it during the summer. I gave my knees a beating by running track when I was younger and I’ve had multiple knee surgeries. Riding my bike has a low impact on my joints while helping me build strength and endurance. Fortunately, we’re spoiled by the many amazing bike trails around Northern Virginia.

My favorite is probably the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD), which is paved, peaceful, and beautiful. One friend I like to ride with — will only agree to go if we stop at a brewery. Grabbing a beer and a bite to eat before pedaling back is fun. Not that I condone drinking and riding! We always stick to one glass of beer each.

I also enjoy Burke Lake Trail, which goes in for a loop around the shoreline. It’s the perfect easy ride, and, at 4.7 miles, even most beginners can conquer it. We also branch out and take in the Mount Vernon Trail, which is closer to D.C.

But wherever we are, I get a kick out of zipping through the great outdoors. It’s so different from riding a stationary bike inside and I can immediately feel the difference on my first ride outside each year. I also like the challenge of going uphill and watching myself improve as the months pass. At the same time, I’m keeping myself healthy and preventing the normal loss of muscle mass that comes with age.

Exercise is probably the best thing we can do for our bodies. It improves our sleep, brain function, memory, mood, and more. Exercise even has benefits we don’t fully understand yet. One of them relates to mTOR, a biological pathway to cellular growth. You may not have heard of mTOR yet, but you probably will soon.

The discovery of mTOR originated from rapamycin, a fungus found at the bottom of a volcano on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). After a long and convoluted research history, scientists discovered that rapamycin has uses as an immunosuppressant for people with organ transplants. Studies have also found rapamycin extends the life of dogs and rats by suppressing mTOR. Experts believe it may do the same in humans.

Exercise similarly reduces mTOR in our bodies, allowing our body to clean up the waste inside our cells and produce more mitochondria, our cells’ powerhouses. It’s one of the reasons exercise gives us more endurance and energy over time. It could also be one of the reasons why physical activity is linked to a longer lifespan.

Fortunately, exercise isn’t just good for us — it can also be a lot of fun. I hope you make the most of the season by enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery while getting your heart pumping. Maybe I’ll see you on the trails.


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Renowned for his commitment to enhancing your eyelid and facial appearance while prioritizing your safety. Dr. Scott is board-certified in Ophthalmology and has specialized fellowship training in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  With extensive training at prestigious institutions, including the Medical College of Virginia, Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital, and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Scott brings a wealth of expertise to his craft. His accolades, including recognition as a Top Plastic Surgeon by Northern Virginia Magazine, underscore his dedication to excellence. Dr. Scott's passion lies in helping you achieve the best aesthetic results while safeguarding your eyesight.

Location: Fairfax - Northern Virginia

Areas of Expertise: Cosmetic laser eyelid surgery ( blepharoplasty ), ptosis surgery, treatment of benign and malignant eyelid cancers, correction of eyelid malposition – ectropion, entropion repair, and Botox and filler treatment.