To Your Health Columns by Brian Cole

Our function. Our responsibility.

Ordinarily I don’t like superlatives. They rule out too much of value but…the most frustrating reality in this wonderful and relevant profession is the inability of people we care about to lose their unwanted body fat. Being human I understand surrendering to temptations and making choices that aren’t beneficial, along with… Read more »

Tennis elbow: What it isn’t / what it is

Pain, which can be severe, on the outer side of the elbow. Its name comes from the forces generated when a tennis player hits a backhand. Before the two-hand backhand became so popular, that is. Using two hands reduces the focus of impact and is why no cases are reported… Read more »

Is age just a number?

A framed quote by my desk is: “Everything should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” It’s obviously by someone with a subtle sense of humor. It’s by Albert Einstein. And I’m applying it to my opening question. Most of you reading this have experienced something age related that… Read more »

May I be blunt? PART 2

Please read or re-read last month’s column (“May I be blunt?” on our website and Oyster Pointer’s July “To Your Health” column). It’ll make what follows more meaningful. In the closing last month, I said I’d tell you how to get rid of that dangerous, deep, heart-encompassing visceral fat. And the… Read more »

May I be blunt?

A few years ago a very bright lady (but also the most divisive person I’ve known) told me that before she says something uncomfortable she asks: “May I be blunt?” Rarely will someone reply: “No thanks, I’d rather you be vague.” So that gives license to say whatever you want/need… Read more »


As I’m writing this, I’ve just finished a four-day Personal Fitness Trainer Conference in Washington, D.C., which I attend regularly. While the workshops and lectures are different every year, there are common denominators. The presenters are educated, knowledgeable and excellent! They’re the opposite of what you may picture. They’re not… Read more »

At any age

My primary purpose in writing these columns is to offer practical functional information to improve your health and your daily life. For that purpose, I’ve not written a more important column. Walking, with good posture and a clear mind, is the most beneficial activity we can do. Doing this will… Read more »

Well, it’s 2018 already!

Before we get into this month’s column, I’m going to mention what’s become my January mantra. Every year, because I get lots of positive feedback, I say some version of: Another year just flew by. And this year will fly by quickly too. Here’s the fact to focus on: You… Read more »

Be gentle. Be safe.

While my August Oyster Pointer column on not trying to stretch hamstrings seems to have triggered a good bit of attention, as promised, I’m now going to address the whole concept of “stretching.” (You can read or re-read it here.) I don’t have enough column space to be diplomatic, and I prefer blunt… Read more »

Please stop doing that

A few years ago a local physical therapist and I developed and patented a low-back strengthening machine—The Back Unit. We developed it because we each were familiar with the research that clearly proved that with low back problems, strengthening—not stretching—is the key. I’m going to expand that to other muscles,… Read more »

Be thankful; sweat

First, I think we should all acknowledge that we’re living in the easiest conditions ever known to our species. While I can fill this page enumerating the advantages we all share, asking you to take a moment and think about it for a bit will personalize the acknowledgment. I rarely… Read more »

Intentions, actions and outcomes

When I started Personal Training Associates more than 20 years ago, my written intention statement was to first “Help as many people as I can live healthier, more fit lives.” And second, “Help as many people as I can to do this as a career.” The first comes from growing up with a wonderful father who was… Read more »

Our health insurance

Individual opinions are all over the place regarding our health insurance. Should it be offered by private companies or provided by our government through taxes? Or some combination of both? Should insurance companies be able to charge more for someone with pre-existing expensive health problems? Should they be able to raise rates… Read more »

Discouraged or disappointed during 2016?

It’s always seemed to me that the dual goal is to accept reality while not losing sight of our ideals, our values. In a full life, disappointment is a reality. So much happens beyond our control. Avoiding acknowledgment of disappointments is denial. Denial gets us nowhere. Allowing disappointments to distract… Read more »

For virgins…

While I know some of you follow my columns regularly (because you tell me), I always have to remember some of you are reading me for the first time. This comfortably readable publication consistently expands its distribution and brings new readers on board. So, for my regulars: If some of… Read more »

My father was a physical therapist…

…and the finest man I’ve known. So I’ve always held that profession in my highest respect. Life’s circumstances, my self-indulgences and a family to support early in adulthood led me along until the opportunity came for a career change. While it wasn’t practical for me to even consider the time… Read more »

Hopefully you missed this…

I say “hopefully” because watching what is called “Reality TV” when it’s obviously staged, directed and filmed by a crew (i.e. not reality) seems an odd way to waste an evening. But I do odd things too I guess, so I’d better get to my point. In case you did… Read more »


I don’t understand all these loud angry political voices and attitudes or the folks with snakes on their license plates, complaining about being tread on (yes, I promise, I’m going to tie this soapbox into improving our fitness). Do we have problems to work on? Of course. Everyone has always… Read more »

Whoosh! What was that?

“That” was 2015! And it went by fast. The inescapable fact is that 2016 will, too, and it will bring changes. We will either lose a few steps and gain a few pounds—or vice versa. This time next year we will either be in better physical condition or worse. The… Read more »

Take a deep breath…

…and think about all you have to be thankful for. I start with my parents, then my health, my daughters and son, finding my profession and while there is obviously more, I’m going to stop right here because it’s my profession I want to write about. I can’t call it… Read more »