Strive 2 Survive | Brown Clinic » Strive2Survive: a Watertown Wellness Program

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The weather has been something to be desired of lately. The extreme cold makes it very difficult to get motivated to get outside, and the treadmill gets incredibly boring after a while. If it would not be for our run club, I would not be outside on Sundays either. Last Sunday was a perfect example of this. -7 degree temp, with -30 degree wind chill! No way I would have gone out their on my own otherwise. That is what makes is so special having a training partner, or a group of dedicated friends who help push each other to get out there and get it done. More important though, we enjoy just getting together and going for a run, and talk. We get each other caught up on the latest things that have been going on for each of us. We get to vent…chat…support…and listen to each. We just have to be prepared to handle the cold weather as well. If you are smart, it can still be done, but you have to be safe too.

This was our dedicated group last week. You can see the frost built up on us, and eyelashes covered with frost. We stood still long enough to take the picture, and then got in the car and left to go warm up. Yes it was cold…but still worth getting out with our group. Those of us who finished first still cheered on the rest of us coming in after.

When we got done running, several of us were able to head to Caribou for a coffee and a time to get warm. One of our members Jason, just had surgery the week before for his hip, and we wanted to see how he was doing. He could at least join us for coffee, as did Paula. It was also another great opportunity to talk and laugh, and yet be warm. One thing is for sure, we may all be a part of this because we like to run, but this is not about running. This is about friends being there for each other, and helping each other achieve goals, many of which may be similar, but yet, many are still different. We support each other as a group, but can still all be individuals. We are all living life to the fullest. No excuses! All working together, yet individually. That is what is nice about running. If fulfills all of this. We are all working on our own health as well. Some days are easier than others, no question. But the good days far outweigh the bad.

If you are around here, join us sometime. We meet during the Winter every Sunday at 7AM, and then starting in the Spring we will start meeting out at Jackson Park, same day and time. We also start adding Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM at Brown Clinic Northridge parking lot. You don’t know what you are missing until you come and give us a try. Our run club achieved some amazing goals last year, not only individually, but as a group as a whole. That was our biggest achievement…our group as a whole. We ran to Team FARA…Friedreich’s Ataxia…to support members of our own community. Don’t ever tell a small group, or a small community, that you can’t achieve big things! We did…and I have written about those accomplishments in the past. That is what running with friends can accomplish. Nothing can stop us! And that goes for all of you too…regardless of the weather or conditions…so keep moving everybody!

Dr. Dan

Consecutive Exercise Day #: 3784









In celebration of National Heart Month, I think it’s fitting to discuss the significance diet and activity play in promoting a healthy heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans and affects both men and women. Genetics do play a role, however a heart healthy diet and and regular activity can help minimize the effects and complications of heart disease. Whether you have heart disease in your family or not, it’s still good to follow a heart healthy eating plan. Highlights of the diet include:

  • Lots of fruits and veggies! I’m sure you already knew this one, but the benefits of getting your 5 a day servings of fruits and veggies are worth reminding you again. Most of us know this, the hard part is doing it. Try adding them to your meals, have fruit as a snack, get a double serving to help you reach this goal.
  • Fiber! Fiber is very beneficial in combating heart disease.  Incorporating more whole grains (and fruits, veggies, and beans/lentils) into your diet will increase your fiber and aid in heart health. Oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, whole grain noodles, whole grain breads, and even popcorn are considered whole grains. Aim to get at least 25-35 g/day.
  • Choose lean proteins. Decreasing the amount of saturated fat in your diet will help reduce plaque buildup. Choose white meat poultry without the skin, 90% or greater lean hamburger, fish, beans, etc….stay away from processed meats! Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, and trout offer additional benefits as they are loaded with healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Choose healthy fats. Incorporating more plant fats such as canola oil and olive oil into your diet and reducing your intake of saturated and trans fats has been shown to improve heart health. You want to choose foods that are lower than 5-8g of total fat per serving and <3g saturated and trans fat per serving and limit your total fat consumption to 50-75g/day. Choosing low fat dairy products will help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet as well.
  • Hold the salt! Excess sodium can increase blood pressure and cause heart failure. Aim to keep your sodium intake below 2400mg/day. You can do this by doing more home cooking, avoiding boxed or packaged goods, cooking with salt free seasonings, and not using table salt.
  • Exercise! At least 30 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to improve heart health. If you can do more, the better!

Making small changes or substitutions will help you have a healthier heart and reduce risk for disease. Reading labels is really essential to help you make good choices, so take some time in the grocery store and really examine the products to ensure you’re making healthy choices!









Spring into wellness with our spring program of STRIVE 2 Survive!! Our 12 week wellness program, STRIVE 2 Survive starts March 13th! Check out the details below and contact us today to reserve your spot!!


STRIVE 2 Survive:

Over 20 years ago Dr. Dan Reiffenberger wrote a grant for the American College of Sports Medicine about the development of a fitness program entitled STRIVE to Survive.  The STRIVE represents “Securing Time for Regular Involvement in a Variety of Exercise”.  Since that time, it has become our Brown Clinic Wellness Program, with modifications and improvements along the way.  It is a 12 week program incorporating exercise and nutrition, with the goal of continuing these types of habits for a lifetime.  Our dietitian Kelsey Raml has helped incorporate the nutrition component and  Dr. Clark Likness, Dr. Jon McAreavey, and Deidra Van Gilder, PharmD are also involved creating a multi-disciplinary approach to health and wellness. We also have a great assistant, Barb, that keep us organized.

We the 12 week program periodically throughout the year. During the 12 weeks, we meet every other Tuesday at the County Fair Banquet Hall from 5:30-6:30pm. During the weeks we don’t meet, each participant gets a take home lesson focused on our two main components: diet and exercise. The meetings are held in a group atmosphere, but we can also work with you individually in the clinic if desired.

12 Weeks to a Better You!
Brown’s Diet and Exercise Wellness Program.

– The Strive2Survive Wellness Program is open to everyone, young and old.
– Conducted by Dr. Dan Reiffenberger, Board Certified in both Family Medicine and Sports Medicine and Registered Dietitian Kelsey Raml.

– Lose Weight- Gain Strength – Maintain Fitness- Improve Diet.
– Evaluations: lab work- lipid and glucose, body composition testing-weight, height, BMI, body fat mass and percent, muscle mass…all pre and post the 12 week program.
– Free T-shirt
– 6 class lectures and 6 take home lessons.

– County Fair Banquet Hall


March 13 “Healthy Eating Made Easy” Kelsey Raml, MS, RD, LN

March 27: “Exercise for the Health of It” Dr. Dan Reiffenberger & Dr. Torness

April 10: “Your Equation to Success” Dr. Jon McAreavey

April 24: “A Walk thru the Wellness Wheel” Dr. Clark Likness

May 8: “Medications…to do or not to do” Deidra VanGilder, PharmD

May 22: “Making Health a Way of Life” STRIVE Team


– $130

Call, e-mail or use the contact form for more information.
Kelsey Raml, MS, RD, LN

If you want your kids to be active, you have to help show them the way. Earlier I had posted about when my kids were little how we tried to keep them active, and was mainly talking about my twins. Now many years later, as my twin girls are 23, it is just as important to make sure they continue to stay active as well. We still push them, but we try to have as much fun along the way as possible.

In the days when they were back in high school, Molly was the runner, and Megan was a swimmer. Both very different sports, but each of them loved what they did.

Molly has been running yet, and Megan swims every chance she can get. But Megan too has been running as well. She is out in Virginia, and even when she gets home, she is always eager to do more walking as well, because that means she can spend more time with Zeus as well. He, of course, loves it!

But as they get older, I now get to spend time going to races with them, and running with them…which I love. A few years ago, Molly joined me for the Fargo 5K.

And this Summer, they were all home, and my girls had their boyfriends with them, and they all ran together in the Hump Day 5K! It was great having them all home, and they were all out running too! I love it! I have to think deep down we did something right by instilling in them the importance of exercise, and taking care of themselves. I will be talking about Nick coming up in the future posts. But, this last month, when my twins came with us to Orlando to run in the Disney World half marathon, I was very excited, and proud, to have them tackle a half. Neither one of them had gone this far before. I ran with Megan, and Sarah ran with Molly. Lots of pictures along the way, and quality time outside in Florida…running together. I don’t know who was happier about this…me, or them. It was a great trip. I hope there are more in the future for us to get to run together…and then also with Nick too! Here Megan and I are hamming it up for one of the photographers on the course, and Sarah and Molly after they finished!

Memories I get to keep forever! It takes work to exercise, and try to stay healthy…but it is much more fun when we do this together. Get going! Enlist your friends, your family, and get out and get moving. These times make for memories forever! Keep moving everybody!

Dr. Dan

Consecutive Exercise Day #: 3777









With it being the middle of winter, it’s more challenging to be outside and stay active….especially for our kids.  Children need at least 60 minutes of activity a day. Meeting this activity recommendation will not only promote a healthy weight, but also ward off diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. This 60 minutes does not have to be all at once though…it can be spread throughout their day. You may consider the following tips to help you and your child be more active:

  •  Join a sports team or try a new physical activity.
  • Take a walk or turn up the tunes and do some dancing indoors after your supper meal.
  • Instead of catching a movie or watching TV, pick an activity that requires movement such as laser tag, bowling, or family swim.
  • Give children toys that encourage physical activity like balls, kites, hula hoops, Frisbee and jump ropes. You could do some of these in your basement or garage if it’s too cold to get outside.
  • Limit TV time and keep the TV out of your child’s bedroom.
  • Plant a garden this spring. Kids love to water plants, and they’ll get excited weeks later when they see their flowers bloom or vegetables grow.
  • Practice what you preach! Kids will be more apt to engage in activity and stay interested when their parent or family is doing it!

Create a positive environment with encouragement and reinforcement–this will help your child live a long and healthy lifestyle!

-Kelsey Raml, MS, RD, LN