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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Walk in Time

Yo Girlfriends! Excuse me if I sound rather urban, but here I sit in the city of Philadelphia learning about American history and Diabetes! A quick brush up on my Latin, has in fact revealed that Philadelphia really does mean “brotherly love”.  Allow me break it down for you my sisters:
Delphi= brother
ia= city

There you have it.

Don’t get me started on how the founding fathers had no concept of equal opportunities. As for sisterly love? Let’s just say…. We don’t really need a city do we?

As for the purpose of my visit? I was here to attend the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association and have a little American History lesson on the side….

The weekend proved to be a very educational one, my girlfriends. Firstly let me say that, as a city- Philadelphia is quite lovely. The architecture is something to be seen. Colonial fabulous mingles with the everyday and the art world is alive and well and taking hold at every turn.

The streets really are paved with statues and art installations. This of course made up for the fact that I did have to maneuver my way along 300-year-old cobblestones… in 4-inch heels… at night…. With a cocktail on board. Having to stop periodically to admire a large artistic statue of chess pieces or the iconic “L-O-V-E” sign more than made up for the fact that at times I was, in the name of fashion, running an urban gauntlet.

In fact, my girlfriends, there was much more to Philly than just the art and the cobblestones…. The city is of course the birthplace of America. According to my taxi driver- Ken Schwartz, Pennsylvania was in the middle of what was know in the 1700’s as the “keystone states”. There were 3 states to the north and three to the south with Pennsylvania in the centre. The north and the south would of course meet in Philadelphia to plan out the future of what would be known as America.

The founding fathers (again with the boys) met in Philly in 1776 to plan out and write the declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Incidentally both documents are still housed in Independence hall in the historical section of the city.

Yes my sisters- on Friday evening, on the way home from dinner, I did take a stroll on a warm summer night through the historical quarter. I stood outside the liberty bell (did you know it has a crack in it?) and took in the history.

I walked and I walked- through he streets where Jefferson and Lincoln and Washington had all walked. They with a hope and a dream- me with four inch stilettos and a fabulous Charlotte Olympia handbag to mark the occasion. And yes, in the name of brotherly love- I understood what they were all about- freedom and possibility.

The next day of course was ALL about the conference (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). In the early morning my beloved and I walked to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where I ran up the iconic steps featured in the movie Rocky. After a few jumps in the air and a pause for a picture I relished in the superhero moment. We toured to museum- saw some kick ass art and headed back to the hotel, where I changed and headed out to embrace my doctor side.

On Saturday afternoon- fresh in the glow of my historical and artistic awakening I sat through a talk on diabetes and exercise.

The speaker, Dr. Wolf from the University of Virginia waxed fantastic about our current state of affairs.

Twenty six million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes. According to the CDC 70% of these cases would easily be prevented with proper diet and exercise.

An iconic study published in 2003- known as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention trial shows that regular moderate exercise 5 days a week or more at 45 minute intervals reduced a persons risk of developing diabetes by as much as 58%.

Research abounds about the benefits of regular exercise in preventing Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Wolf showed study upon study about how just 60-90 minutes per day of walking can reduce the risk of developing Diabetes by as much as 50%.

Further data from Dr. Caly’s lab at Berkeley University has shown that getting up periodically during a workday and walking around for 5 minutes at a time significantly improves a person’s insulin sensitivity- both with and without diabetes.

I could go on my girlfriends… the talk was after all 90 minutes…. The evidence for this week’s blog is essentially hot off the presses. I give you second hand news of a first hand account. I sat in the lecture hall mesmerized and enthused by these captain of industry- giants in the world of Diabetes who presented study upon study showing that in both mice and men- movement is the key to a better life.

As one speaker put it so eloquently- “Death is sedentary disease”.

And so, I took the advice of the giants of my field and after sitting in the conference for almost 2 hours- I did what I was told… I went for walk.

I walked for my health and my happiness. I cruised down JFK Boulevard and through the market district. I passed the cars and the people with their promises of cheese steaks and I kept on walking…. Thought the streets of Philadelphia. Where Washington began and Springsteen put it all to music. Where history had a way of making every person feel connected and where a Canadian dreamer with a great pair of heels has a chance, for but a moment to be a part of something perfect…. Even if my heels get caught in the cobblestones.


  1. Hi Ali:

    For the male followers of your blog, the words: "my girlfriends" and "my sisters" make us feel left out...:)

  2. Dear anonymous.... no intention to leave any one out.... The blog is however called Girlfriends Guide to Health... all girlfriends, regardless of gender are included. Let's make a deal- when I say "sisters" or "girlfriends" you and I will have a special understanding that I am specifically talking to you.... insert tongue in cheek here.