The Therapeutic Benefits of Snorkeling Brought to you by Cecilia Gaffaney, MD

Like all cardiovascular exercise, snorkeling has been shown to release endorphins that elevate mood, but because of the type of breathing that snorkeling requires, studies suggest that this unique form of recreation has additional physiological and psychological benefits.

First of all, snorkelers must practice controlled breathing in a rhythm similar to that used in many forms of meditation. This breathing style tends to calm the body and promote general relaxation.

Secondly, snorkelers are experiencing an environment completely different than the one they see in their everyday lives. This allows them to gain a new perspective on problems and questions that might otherwise weigh them down.

Snorkeling provides a decent workout, too. Under the water, every move a snorkeler makes is met with the water’s natural resistance, which strengthens the body’s muscular and cardiovascular systems.

Finally, snorkeling allows swimmers to enjoy undersea landscapes without going through the lengthy process of becoming certified scuba divers. Because snorkeling is relatively simple to master, learning to do so involves very little stress.

About Cecilia Gaffaney, MD

Dr. Cecilia Gaffaney works as a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at Obstetrics Medical Group in Dallas, Texas. She specializes in providing the best medical care possible for women with high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Gaffaney is Board Certified in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Maternal Fetal Medicine.

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Hiking Machu Picchu, by Dr. Ceclia Gaffaney

For avid hikers seeking challenging terrain, beautiful landscapes, and historic locations, few sites hold more wonder than Machu Picchu. Located in the Peruvian highlands, the pre-Columbian, Incan complex rests between the mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Over 8,000 feet above sea level, hiking to the ancient city requires high-altitude endurance.

Upon reaching the summit, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains as they look down upon the tops of clouds. Additionally, visitors may view rituals performed by Kallawaya, healers and herbalists whose tradition dates back to the early Incan empire.

Since 2001, all visitors must hire a licensed guide when hiking in the Andes. While many locals offer guide services, not all are properly trained and familiar with the site. Booking guides before traveling ensures safety.

With over 20 miles of trails leading visitors to several large ruins, travelers should schedule multiple days to visit Machu Picchu.

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Benefits of Exercise by Cecilia Gaffaney

Cecilia Gaffaney

There’s a staggering amount of evidence to show that exercise is good for you. Among other benefits, people who exercise are oftentimes healthier, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They experience these many perks because exercise engages the body on so many levels, including stimulation of the nervous and endocrine systems,

Many people also assume that exercising will leave them tired and groggy. Perhaps one of the most surprising facts about exercise is that setting a regular routine will boost energy, especially in people living a sedentary lifestyle. By starting and performing a regular exercise routine, you can begin to stay energized to feel good throughout the day.

Perhaps most important, exercising has been shown to lead people to happier lifestyles overall. Exercising helps release endorphins to create feelings of well-being, promotes happiness through the release of the hormone epinephrine, and reduces boredom, stress, and tension overall. Staying in shape from regular exercise won’t hurt happiness either. It may be hard to commit to exercise in your daily life, but when you consider all of these benefits it’s hard to see why you’re not doing it already.

Cecilia Gaffaney is a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist based out of Dallas, Texas. She enjoys staying active through running, hiking, and swimming.

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Race Day Tips for Runners, by Cecilia Gaffaney

Training for a road race can be a fun way to stay motivated, meet new people, and reach your fitness goals. Whether a newcomer to the world of running training for your first 5K or a dedicated runner gearing up for a marathon, here are a few tips for your next race.

Plan Your Distances – During training, you may be tempted to ramp up quickly if your runs have been going well. It is important to keep track of mileage and adhere to gradual additions to your running distances. As a general guideline, add 10% to your total mileage week-to-week when increasing overall distance.

Strength Train – Road races can put a lot of stress on the body, and the effects of a distance you haven’t run before can take their toll, especially on your legs. Work on strengthening your core, hips, and lower legs at the gym to protect your knees and keep your body properly positioned while running.

Cecilia Gaffaney is a doctor and runner based out of Dallas, Texas. In addition to running, she enjoys a number of recreational water sports, including swimming, snorkeling, and jet skiing.

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Karolinska Institute

By Cecilia Gaffaney

Founded in 1810, the Karolinska Institute (Karolinska Institutet) enjoys a reputation as the top-ranked university in Sweden. Considered one of the best medical schools in the world, the Karolinska Institute has won recognition from such organizations as Shanghai Jiao Tong University as the only one of the world’s top 10 medical schools not based in the United States. Acting in tandem with its partner hospital, the Karolinska University Hospital, the institute serves as one of the largest research and training centers for medicine in Sweden.

On December 13, 1810, Kung Karl XIII established the Karolinska Institute, in the hope that the school would serve as an academy to train skilled surgeons. The Finnish War, in which the country fought against Russia, resulted in the loss of 33 percent of soldiers wounded on the battlefield. The Karolinska Institute, the King hoped, put the nation of Sweden in a better position to weather the storms of future wars.

The following year, the Karolinska Institute earned a license to train general medical practitioners as well as surgeons. Although the school’s original name was the Carolinska Institutet, officials later changed it to Kongliga Carolinska Medico Chirurgiska Institutet, translating as Royal Caroline Medical School. The new name attracted more students to the school, although in 1968, the school took on its current moniker.

Construction of a number of new facilities commenced throughout the 19th century, and the school won the right to confer medical degrees. Prior to winning that authority, the Karolinska Institute offered medical courses but students could not receive a degree from the school. By 1888, the reputation of the school spurred a recommendation by Alfred Nobel that the Karolinska Institute choose the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Today, the Karolinska Institute continues to strive for excellence. The many health care issues taken up by students at the school include nutrition, cancer screening, and chromosome replication.

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