Years ago (in 2005 to be exact), Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, was extremely frustrated with his inability to affect behavior change in the clinical setting.

You see, Dr. Sabgir often counseled his heart patients to get exercise -- go for a walk, lift weights, ride a bike, do aerobics -- something to help their hearts and bodies to better handle the modern day stresses.

But after years of being ignored, Dr. Sabgir decided advice was not enough.

He invited his patients to go for a walk with him in a local park on a spring Saturday morning. To his surprise, over 100 people showed up, energized and ready to move.

That was the start of the Walk With A Doc program, which has chapters all over the country now. And the marriage of "Walk With A Doc" and the celebration of this Wednesday's National Walking Day has turned into a perfect time to get people living a mostly sedentary lifestyle to get out and move.

The first Wednesday of April every year is National Walking Day. The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk. Wear your sneakers (or take them with you) to work, and at some point in the day, take a 30-minute walk.

The AHA offers these reasons why taking a walk can be beneficial to you:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improved flexibility in joints
  • Stronger muscles
  • Improved mental health

And AHA also offers this advice on this day:

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Take a friend to pass the time.
  • Make sure to stretch those muscles.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Move your arms, too.
  • Make sure you have good posture.

Marianne Hamilton, a St. George resident who just passed on her Ms. Senior Universe crown to a new winner, offers this advice:

"There are huge benefits, both physically and mentally," she said. "The physical side is pretty obvious, but the mental side is just as important."

From the New York Times:

For people in their 60s, regular walking appears to lower the risk of dementia. The finding, published in the medical journal Neurology, is the latest study to show that exercise helps delay some of the worst ravages of aging for both the body and the mind.

What’s important about the study is that it again shows exercise doesn’t have to be excruciating to reap the benefits. “It’s important to note that an easy-to-perform moderate activity like walking provided the same cognitive benefits as other, more demanding activities,” said study author Dr. Giovanni Ravaglia of University Hospital S. Orsola Malpighi, in Bologna, Italy.

Find a partner, grab the dog, throw on some sneakers and celebrate National Walking Day on one of the hundreds of paved trails in Southern Utah.

Oh, and for some inspiration:

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Hey Washington County! Your Dogs Are Eating These Things (And It's Killing Them)

Photo by Matthew on Unsplash
Photo by Matthew on Unsplash

We love our pets, especially our beloved pooches. But did you know there are things in your own backyard that are very possibly making your dog sick, evening killing them?

Reader's Digest has transitioned to an online presence and one of their recent stories is about backyard hazards for our pets. As I perused this article, I realized a lot of these things are right here in Southern Utah.

Here are a few:

  1. Toxic flowers -- Azaleas, century plants, aloe, oleander and sago palm are just a few toxic plants/flowers that can actually kill your pets. For a full list, click here.
  2. Sticks -- Most are not toxic, but choking and splinters are real hazards to dogs, many of which love to play with sticks.
  3. Cocoa mulch -- Most pet owners know chocolate can be toxic for your dog, but a popular are made from theobromine and caffeine, ingredients in chocolate and cocoa and can be just as toxic for Fido.
  4. Lawn chemicals -- A study published in Science of the Total Environment found that lawn chemicals are commonly found in the urine of pet dogs, even if the dogs’ yards weren’t treated with herbicides. Exposure to these chemicals can significantly increase your pet’s risk of bladder cancer. What’s worse, they linger on the grass for at least 48 hours, even longer if the grass is dry. Limit the time your dog spends outside after treating your lawn or take him for a walk instead.
  5. Pesticides -- Rodents, insects, snails, slugs—all animals you want out of your yard. But the poison that does the job can also make dogs sick with diarrhea, depression, muscle tremors, and respiratory failure.
  6. Ponds or fountains -- The bacteria/algae that can grow in the bodies of water can be fatal to a pet. Make sure to keep your ponds clean and your dog's water bowl full of drinkable water.
  7. Your garden -- Are onions, tomatoes, chives, or garlic growing in your garden? These tasty human foods are toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. Fence off your garden, or grow these veggies separately where you can keep an eye on them, like in pots on your deck.

Keep your pooch safe by making sure your backyard isn't toxic.

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In Southern Utah, These Pests Are Living Rent Free And You're The Landlord

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If you've lived in Southern Utah for very long, there's a high probability you've seen scorpions, rattlesnakes and black widow spiders.

These pests, and a few others, are living rent free in your homes and yards -- and you're the landlord.

Here's a list of the Top 7 houseguests, er, house-pests in Southern Utah:

  1. Cockroaches -- The roaches we have here are most closely related to the common Arizona cockroach. They are not particularly big, but are hearty, fast and die hard. They love your kitchen, basement and bathroom.
  2. Rodents -- Mice or rats are not as common here as the heat tends to cull the population, but make no mistake, they are here. They will chew through wires, walls and baseboards. And they carry diseases. They love your storage rooms and pantries.
  3. Lizards -- Most people feel they're innocuous and even helpful as they eat bugs. Others call them "reptile rats." Either way, they sleep all winter and emerge everywhere when it warms up. They love your yards and rock art.
  4. Scorpions -- According to Utah State's wildlife website, "There are several scorpion species that live within the state of Utah, specifically the Arizona Bark Scorpion, Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion, Black Hairy Scorpion, and Northern Scorpion. USU adds "Some scorpions are more venomous than others, but all are more afraid of you than you should be of them." They can be painful, but rarely deadly. They love your desert foliage.
  5. Black widow spiders (Lactrodectus hesperus) are the most dangerous spiders to humans in Utah. Bites may be fatal to young children or older adults. Fortunately, widow spiders are fairly sedentary and spend majority of the time in their webs. They love dark and cool places like crawl spaces and basements.
  6. Ants -- The biting "fire ants" are rare in Utah, but we have plenty of other ant types. The most common in So. Utah is the Carpenter Ant. While their bites are harmless, they do carry diseases and infest food supplies. They love kitchens and "crumby" TV rooms.
  7. Wasps/hornets -- They work in colonies (social insects), they'll build a hive and fight you if you try to destroy it. Their stings are painful, but only dangerous when allergic. They like your porches, eaves and corners of your houses.

There are more, but these are the most prevalent.

So when your college kids comes to visit, tell them you already have houseguests.

Multiple websites recommend calling a professional exterminator if you have a problem with any of these "houseguests."

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So. Utah's Entrepreneurial Spirit Shines: Top Small Business Cities Are Here


Washington City, St. George and Cedar City were named the top three small cities in America for starting a small business by, in a study released last year..

Big deal, right? Top three cities in Southern Utah? Well, no. The top three small cities in Utah then? Uh, no. The top three small cities in the West. Um, nope.

See, the list took a look at the 1,334 small cities (25,000-100,000 population) in the entire United States, entered a complex 13-point algebraic equation that took into account business environment, access to resources and the cost of running a business, and came up with unbiased winners.

And Washington City won for the second year in a row. The 2024 list is due out next month, but there's no reason to believe Washington City won't do well once again.

“We could not be more excited to be ranked the No. 1 small city to start a business for the second year in a row," said Washington City mayor Kress Staheli. "The secret is out; Washington City is open for business. That entrepreneurial spirit is in our blood. Our pioneer ancestors were hard-working, resilient, and innovative.”

The study found out what we already knew -- Southern Utah is a progressive, hard-working region that executes the American Dream to a tee.

Along with Washington City, St. George (which barely qualified population-wise at 99,000) was second and Cedar City was third.

In fact, not surprisingly Utah did well and certain regions to our West (um, rhymes with Malifornia) were among the worst.

All totaled, Utah had six of the top 11 small business friendly towns on the list with Logan fifth, Lehi ninth and Eagle Mountain 11th, and the Beehive state had 18 of the top 100 towns listed. Florida also did well with 39 of the top 100 towns from the Sunshine State (although only two Florida cities made the top 10, South Bradenton at six and Fort Myers at eight).

The bottom of the list saw three California cities (Oakley ranked as No. 1,331, Saratoga at 1,333 and Cupertino at 1,334) and two Maryland burgs (Olney at 1,330 and Potomac at 1,332) bring up the rear.

Here are the qualifications used and point values:

Business Environment – Total Points: 50

  • Average Length of Work Week (in Hours): Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Average Growth in Number of Small Businesses: Double Weight (~11.11 Points)
  • Startups per Capita: Double Weight (~11.11 Points)
  • Average Revenue per Business: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Average Growth of Business Revenues: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Industry Variety: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)

Access to Resources – Total Points: 25

  • Financing Accessibility: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Total Annual Value of Small-Business Loans / Total Number of Small Businesses.
  • Investor Access: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Human-Resource Availability: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated by subtracting the “unemployment rate” from the “number of job openings per number of people in labor force.”
  • Higher-Education Assets: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “College & University Rankings.”
  • Workforce Educational Attainment: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population aged 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Working-Age Population Growth: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
    Note: “Working-Age Population” includes those aged 16 to 64.
  • Job Growth (2021 vs. 2017): Full Weight (~2.78 Points)

Business Costs – Total Points: 25

  • Office-Space Affordability: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the per-square-foot cost of commercial office space.
  • Labor Costs: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the median annual income.
  • Corporate Taxes: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
    Note: Data for this metric were available only at the state level.
  • Cost of Living: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)

The full list is here: Best Small Cities For Starting a Business.

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