Start Getting Healthier Right Now!
Get a fresh start in 2010! Our PARADE month of makeovers will help you with ith everything from finances to family. This week, we kick things off with your health. alth. To inspire you, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki, stars of the hit CBS sitcom “ The Big Bang Theory,” joined PARADE Contributing Editor Dr. Mark Liponis for a three-day stay at Canyon Ranch Health Resort, where he is the medical director. They were game for some healthy changes. Are you? ALEY AND JOHNNY ARE both young and healthy, but they wanted to look and feel even better. So on a brief hiatus recently from shooting their TV show, they visited me in Lenox, Mass. Over a period of three days, we ran tests to check everything from cholesterol to bone density to blood sugar, then gave them advice on health, nutrition, and fitness. Through it all, Kaley and Johnny were great sports. They agreed to share their experiences so that others could benefit from what they learned, too.
As actors living in Hollywood, Kaley and Johnny have pretty similar lifestyles these days. But their childhoods were very different, and their backgrounds continue to shape their health—not just through genetics but also through the lessons they learned from their eir parents. Many factors affect your physical condition, and family background is one of them. Kaley, 24, grew up in a tight-knit family that valued healthy eating and exercise. When stressed, she’s es likely to get active—playing with her dogs or riding r one of the horses she’s had si since childhood.
Johnny, 34, grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood outside Chicago. At 15, he left home and headed to L.A. on his own. Now when he’s stressed, Johnny tends to reach for a cigarette or an unhealthy snack. To help him learn better ways to cope, we hooked him up to a biofeedback monitor, which works much like a lie-detector test. “Sensors measure a person’s physical reaction to stress, and the results appear on a computer screen in real time,” explains my colleague Dr. Jeff Rossman. “Johnny’s testing showed a strong physiologic response to stress, but he was able to control it using some simple breathing and visualization exercises.” Johnny says the experience helped him realize that “ it’s important to take time for myself and decompress. I like to immerse myself in my work, but I need balance in my life.” Kaley is in excellent physical shape, but her posture is her Achilles’ heel. “It’s true,” she says. “I told the doctors that my back hurts when I slouch, and they said, ‘No, your back hurts because you slouch!’ ” To help her with the problem, physical therapist and physiologist Reba Schecter analyzed Kaley’s carriage and movement.
“ Kaley often has pain in her neck and hips, which could be improved by being more mindful of her posture and doing some simple exercises,” Schecter says. Additionally, her ankles are rotated slightly inward—a skeletal problem she’s had since childhood—which can be corrected with custom inserts (orthotics) in her shoes. We were happy to catch this now, because if left uncorrected it could cause serious joint problems later in life.