Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A healthy approach to wellness is just what the doctor ordered

Lots of doctors tell their patients to exercise, and well they should, given all the physical and mental benefits of regular activity. But it is not every day that I hear from a physician who leads her patients in Zumba classes three times a week.

So the other night I drove over to Dr. Kasia Ostrzenska's office in St. Petersburg to see her in action.

Next to her standard-looking medical office she has a large fitness room with wood floor, mirrors, dumbbells and a booming sound system. As the music started, she had more than 20 people dancing, shimmying and jumping around at a pace that had them all dripping with sweat in minutes. Heck, I was getting a little damp, and I was standing safely in the back of the room moving nothing more than my pen across the pages of a reporter's notebook.

Through it all, the doctor herself looked radiantly fit and ready to keep up the pace for hours.

Before the class, we talked about how different her approach to medicine is since she lost 45 pounds five years ago. Back when she weighed 170 pounds, her practice "was based more on writing prescriptions than prevention.''

Now her priorities have shifted, but she told me not everyone is ready for her brand of medicine. One day, she saw a patient who was at least 100 pounds overweight and clearly had trouble just getting out of her chair in the waiting room. She had a litany of aches and ailments, and also an instruction for the doctor: Do not tell me that my weight is to blame for any of my problems.

Which got me wondering: How many of us expect our doctors to heal us, without our participation?

I think I understand where that patient was coming from. When you feel lousy and go to the doctor wanting antibiotics and maybe an industrial-strength cough suppressant, it's truly annoying to hear, "You know, you really ought to drop a few pounds.''

Years ago, I was constantly getting bronchitis and sinus infections, and I had a nice doctor who kept me well-supplied with antibiotics. Best part, I'd joke with my friends, was that he was a heavy smoker, so I never had to worry about him correcting any of my bad habits.

This was not so funny after he died of lung disease.

Eventually I discovered that my own problems were based in allergies and asthma. Once I had those under control with monthly shots, occasional medication and a healthier lifestyle (including dropping a few pounds), the infections were a thing of the past.

I now see an allergist who is also a runner and never fails to check my weight and ask how much I'm exercising. My family doctor has lost 100 pounds and has me doing half-marathons with her. So I can't get away with anything.

Which, for me, turned out to be the right medicine.

A healthy approach to wellness is just what the doctor ordered 01/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.