Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Giveaway: Joel Harper's Slim & Fit Exercise DVD

During cold weather, it's tempting to stay indoors and curl up in front of the TV. Instead of relying on a blanket to warm you up, exercise with Joel Harper's Slim & Fit exercise DVD.

Joel's exercise program doesn't require any equipment or even much space.

You won't be jumping around your living room. Instead, you'll be doing stationary exercises, like sit-ups, that work out your muscles.

The DVD has three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. You can choose from three 10-minute workouts or two 20-minute combo segments.

How to Enter

To enter to win, leave a comment below, with a screen name or first name (not as Anonymous), answering this question: 
  • What exercise routines or programs have you tried in the past and what was your experience with them? Do you have any favorite exercise DVDs?
To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age and a United States resident.

Winner Announcement

We'll choose a winner at random on November 15. The winner will be announced on the blog. 

To make sure that you don't miss the winner announcement, subscribe to the blog in your feedreader or subscribe to our monthly email newsletter (see the sidebar).

Prizes that are not claimed within 5 weeks of the winner announcement will be carried forward to the next draw.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ask Us Anything about Pregnancy: Birthing Clothes, Recovery from an Epidural, Travel

Do you have a question for our staff? Click here to submit it

Q. May I wear my own clothing during the birth, such as a nursing bra and a stretchy skirt for birthing?

A. Mary Ann Murphy, Director of Maternal Child Services at Mercy Hospital:

We do not restrict the mother from wearing her own clothing.

However, birth is a bit messy and the skirt would be unlikely to use again!

In an emergency, clothing may be damaged in trying to remove them quickly for C-section.

Q. How soon after I give birth with the epidural can I get up and start walking around again?

A. Mary Ann Murphy, Director of Maternal Child Services at Mercy Hospital:

You can get up and walk around after the epidural has worn off and you have full mobility. This is usually about 2 hours after the delivery.

Q. I am pregnant and will be traveling to India. Can you give me nutritional advice for my trip?

A. Ann Marie Smokowski, Registered Dietitian:

Healthy eating during pregnancy has a positive impact on the development and growth of your baby.

Remember during pregnancy that only an additional 300 kcal is necessary for your total daily intake. During lactation, 500 kcal is required. That old adage of "eating for two" during pregnancy is a myth.

The total maternal weight gain for women in pregnancy is as follows:
  • BMI 19 -24 (ideal): 25 to 35 lbs for 40 weeks gestation
  • BMI 25 to 29 (overweight): 15 to 25 lbs for 40 weeks gestation
  • BMI 30 or > (obese): No more than 15 lbs for 40 weeks gestation
Prenatal Vitamins: Make sure that you take one prenatal vitamin daily with a formulation of 400 mcg folic acid and 27 mg iron.

Dairy: 3 to 4 daily servings of dairy are necessary to attain the 1000 to 1200 mg Ca daily requirements. Examples of 1 serving include 8 oz low fat milk, 6 to 8 oz yogurt or 1 1/2 slices cheese.

Protein: 70 to 75 gm protein is the daily requirement. 5 to 6 oz meat should be consumed daily. Ensure that meat is well cooked.

Fiber: Aim for 25 grams of daily fiber intake by eating whole grain breads/cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Water: Drinking water is important for hydration purposes. While traveling, I would recommend bottled water. Aim for 2 liters of water daily.

Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids are important for the developement of the brain, nervous system and eyes of your growing baby. Pregnant women should consume 1.4 gm of omega 3 fatty acids daily. Some sources are fish oil, canola oil, flay, soy beans and walnuts. There are Omega 3 supplements also available such as Expectil.

Fish: Safe fish consumption must be stressed because of the mecury concentrations. Be aware of the type of fish in foreign countries. In the U.S., the FDA recommends no more than 12 oz per week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury. Some options in the U.S. are shrimp, canned chunk lite tuna (no more than 6oz can weekly) salmon, etc.

Food-borne Risks: Food-borne risks, particularly from harmful bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes, must be avoided. Therefore, all meats, including hot dogs, must be well cooked. Absolutely no sushi (raw fish) or steak tartar.

Luncheon meats can only be consumed if they are reheated until steaming hot.

Soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert, blue veined cheese, queso blanco or queso fresco or panela must be made with pasteurized milk. 

Avoid refrigerated pates', meat spreads or smoked seafood. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours of eating or preparation.

Plate Method: Using the plate method can help you attain a well balanced meal plan. Eat on 8-10" diameter plates. 1/2 of plate should be vegetables while 1/4 of the plate should be a 3 to 4 oz portion of protein and the other 1/4 should be a serving of starch (potato, brown rice or whole grain pasta).

Meal Plan: Your meal plan can include 3 main meals with 2 small healthy snacks. These snacks can include fruit, yogurt, a small bowl unsweetened cereal with low fat milk, etc.

I hope these tips help. Bon voyage and have a safe trip to India!

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

6 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain Without Exercise

When it comes to holiday weight gain, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news:

While you might expect to gain five to ten pounds over the holidays, the truth is, you’re probably putting on much less. On average, adults gain one pound from November to January; people who are already overweight gain five or more pounds.

The bad news:

Those extra pounds are probably here to stay. Rarely are they burned off during the course of a year, making prevention your best strategy to maintain your current weight.

Most experts recommend avoidance during the holidays – positioning yourself away from the buffet table, staying out of the kitchen, just saying “no.”

All of these measures require the same thing: willpower.

Luckily, willpower is something that you can cultivate. The more you resist temptation, the easier it becomes.

“Self-control is strengthened over time, like a muscle,” wrote Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. in Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals.

“Engaging in daily activities such as exercising, keeping track of your finances or what you are eating—or even just remembering to sit up straight every time you think of it—can help you develop your overall self-control capacity.”

To better practice self-control and avoid holiday weight gain, do the following:

1. Have the Right Motivation

If you want to lose weight to improve your public image or obtain approval from someone else, you won’t achieve lasting well-being, and you probably won’t work as hard, according to Halvorson.

Pursue a healthy weight for yourself – because you want to improve your self-confidence or feel better physically, for example.

2. Focus on Improvement, Not Perfection

Do you catch yourself saying that you were born with a sweet tooth? Or that you’re naturally big-boned?

When you take an “I was born this way,” stance, you’re essentially throwing up your hands in defeat.

“If you don’t believe you have what it takes, you stop trying and you become a victim to a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Halvorson.

All abilities can be learned, including the ability to eat healthy in the face of holidays.

By pursuing a goal of mastery, you’ll work harder and persist much longer than people who think that they’re doomed to failure because they were “born this way.”

3. Judge Yourself by Your Progress

Ask yourself, “Am I improving?” instead of looking for perfection.

By focusing on your progress, you can approach mistakes in a kinder, gentler way and recognize them for what they are: opportunities to learn, not signs that you’re doomed to failure.

In the face of a mistake, remind yourself that you haven’t mastered your goal yet, and think about what you can do to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

4. Consider What You Have to Gain

To motivate you in achieving your goals, consider how you will benefit by avoiding weight gain. What will your life be like?

Maybe you’ll be able to:
  • Wear your favorite clothes
  • Feel more attractive and self-confident
  • Play with your kids
  • Prevent or overcome health issues
According to Halvorson, most people fail to reach their goals because they give up on them too soon. By considering the benefits of your goal, you can better avoid temptations and be persistent.

5. Use If-Then Statements in Challenging Situations

Temptation can come from many places around the holidays:
  • Your own Thanksgiving or Christmas table
  • An office break room that is loaded with cakes and cookies
  • Friends and loved ones who give treats as gifts
  • Dinners or celebrations with friends
  • People who pressure you to overeat 
Make a list of the challenges that you’ll face and come up with a plan for dealing with each. Maybe you’ll:
  • Find healthier dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table
  • Avoid the break room when you’re hungry
  • Throw out gifts of cookies and desserts or give them to someone else
  • Eat a snack before you go to parties so that you’re less likely to overeat
  • Practice saying “no.”
Halvorson recommends creating if-then statements to program your mind for success. For example, “If I see a cake in the break room, then I’ll look the other way.”

Creating if-then statements conserves our self-control. “Anytime our unconscious mind can take over, detecting situations and directing our behavior without conscious effort, it is far less taxing and requires less willpower.”

6. Remember to HALT

You have less self-control when you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired – easily remembered with the acronym HALT.

Think about when you’re likely to experience each and make if-statements to put your reaction on auto-pilot and avoid overeating.

Although the holidays are full of temptations, you can exercise your self-control muscle to prevent weight gain now and throughout the year.

If you’d like to learn more about achieving your goals, Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. is available at the following libraries:
  • Central
  • Clearfield
  • Hamburg
  • Frank E. Merriweather

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ask Us Anything: I’m 37 Years Old. Do I Need a Mammogram Yet?

"I’m 37 years old. Do I need a mammogram yet?"

Beth Nicastro, Corporate Nurse Educator, Responds:

The American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram every year beginning at age 40.

However, if there is a history of breast cancer in your family, your first baseline mammogram should be done ten years before the age that your relative was at the time of diagnosis. So if your aunt was diagnosed at age 48, your first mammogram should begin at age 38.

Digital mammography is becoming the new standard of breast care and allows your doctor to immediately review your results. Click here for a list of mammography locations at Catholic Health.

Of course, a clinical breast exam should be part of your yearly check-up. And if you notice any change in your breasts in between appointments, tell your doctor right away.

– Beth Nicastro

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC, is a women's health community coordinator/educator. She also sees patients as a nurse practitioner at East Aurora Pediatrics.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Items That Should Be in Every Woman’s Shopping Cart

Women are constantly on the move, balancing work, chores, family, you name it. Their busy schedules can cause other things, including their health, to get pushed aside.

“Women take care of everybody else but themselves. But, if you go down the tubes, there goes the whole ship,” said Kenmore gynecologist Diane Sutter.

According to Dr. Sutter, the five items below are essential to any woman’s health. They’ll improve how you look and feel and make a positive impact on your long-term health.

1. Vitamin D Gel Caps

If you feel tired, depressed, or achy, don’t chalk it up to the winter blues. You might not be getting enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced when sunlight hits the skin – but not in Buffalo.

“You have to live south of the Ohio valley to make vitamin D in your skin,” said Dr. Sutter. “My medical school professor said that you could sit naked on the roof of ECMC for 365 days of the year and not make one nano-gram of Vitamin D.”

You can get Vitamin D from oily fishes, such as salmon and herring, but Dr. Sutter said that most people aren’t eating the four servings each week that they need.

To combat Vitamin D deficiency, take supplements. Dr. Sutter takes 2000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. She recommends gel caps over pills because Vitamin D doesn’t absorb as well in pill form.

Take your Vitamin D pill with your biggest meal of the day for faster absorption.

2. Foods with Calcium

Calcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body also uses calcium to move muscles and carry messages to the brain.

Pre-menopausal women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day.

As you’re shopping, look for these foods that are high in calcium:
  • Milk – 300 milligrams (one glass)
  • Cheese – 300 milligrams (half-slice)
  • Frozen yogurt – 125 milligrams
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice – 200 milligrams
Avoid Greek yogurts. “In making Greek yogurt, the yogurt is strained to remove the whey, lactose and sugar, making it thicker and upping the protein and fat. The whey that is strained off is where all the good probiotics are that we need for good gut flora,” said Dr. Sutter.

While calcium is best obtained through food sources, women who don’t eat dairy will need a supplement. “Some studies have shown that calcium supplements increase your risk of dying from heart attack or cardiovascular disease; other studies saw no such increase,” said Dr. Sutter.

If you’re opting for supplements, Dr. Sutter recommends Tums.

“Two extra strength Tums is 500 milligrams in calcium. Take two in the morning and two at night.”

Why twice a day? Your body can absorb only 500 milligrams of calcium at one time, so you have to split doses to absorb the full 1,000.

3. V8 Juice

Vitamin C is needed to grow and repair tissues in the body. When you’re deficient, you could have trouble fighting infection, bruise easily, and have dry hair, rough skin, and weakened tooth enamel.

The National Institutes of Health says that the best way to get enough Vitamin C is to eat a balanced diet. All fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C, but those with the highest levels include citrus fruits (i.e. oranges and grapefruit), kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes.

If your diet is lacking, Dr. Sutter recommends drinking a V8 daily in lieu of taking a Vitamin C pill.

4. Centrum Silver

Dr. Sutter calls Centrum Silver her "multi-vitamin of choice."

“When you take a multi-vitamin, if it says that it’s for women, that’s a code word for ‘too much iron’. I like Centrum Silver because 'Silver' means it has no iron in it. It’s higher in the Bs, and it has more Vitamin D in it.”

5. Fish Oil

A daily fish oil supplement can moisturize your hair, skin, and eyes. This moisture is especially beneficial for post-menopausal women.

Fish oil can also reduce your risk of disease. “Fish oil is a profound anti-inflammatory,” said Dr. Sutter. “Cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatory arthritis, Crones – all are inflammatory processes.”

Dr. Sutter recommends taking four 1000 milligram capsules of fish oil each day.

She warns against buying cheap fish oil – “You will burp carp,” she said – and prefers the fish oil products at GNC or Feel Rite.

Take your fish oil supplement with your biggest meal for faster absorption.

How will you know if you’re deficient in vitamins and minerals? Blood work, often prescribed by your primary care physician, can check your levels. Follow the tips above and you’ll be on the right track for a positive outcome.

New Winner for Two Tickets to the WomenCare Day of Health on Friday

Anita, our previous winner of our giveaway for WomenCare Day of Health tickets, is unable to attend the event and has asked that we choose a new winner.

A new winner has been chosen at random using a random number generator:
And our new winner is:

Dorothy P.

Congratulations, Dorothy! To claim your prize, please email Amy Kirst ( by Thursday at 12 p.m. with your name and the name of the person who will be attending with you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Winner of Two Tickets to WomenCare Day of Health

Thank you to our readers who entered our giveaway for two tickets to the WomenCare Day of Health.

A winner has been chosen at random from the comment entries using a random number generator.

The winner is:


Congratulations, Anita! To claim your prize, please email Amy Kirst ( by October 16th with your name and the name of the person who will be attending with you.

If the prize is not claimed by October 16th at 4 p.m., a new winner will be drawn.

Don't Miss Our Next Giveaway 

To make sure that you don't miss out on our giveaway next month, subscribe to our blog using the email and RSS options in the sidebar to the right.

Ask Us Anything: What Can I Do to Prevent Breast Cancer?

"What can I do to prevent breast cancer?"

Registered Nurse Michelle Wysocki Responds:

Breast cancer can't be prevented; however, research has shown that there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Postmenopausal women who are overweight have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk than those who are lean.

Add Exercise Into Your Routine

Women who get regular physical activity may have a lower risk of breast cancer by about 10 to 20 percent, particularly in postmenopausal women.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Research has found that women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Breastfeed, If You Can

Research has shown that mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of one year (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfed.

– Michelle Wysocki, RN

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nuts

In the video below, Mercy Hospital Chef Chris Damiani demonstrates how to make spaghetti squash with tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts. He is joined by Karen Calandra, RN, a certified Lifestyle Coach.


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, or Taxi tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup of pine nuts (toasted in pan)
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • ½ cup of red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. of garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. of parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional meat addition: Italian sausage, browned and diced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. 
  3. Place both halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  4. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan. 
  5. Bake at 375 degrees until squash is soft when pressed (40 min. – 1 hour). 
  6. While squash is baking, sauté red onion, zucchini, garlic and pine nuts with a teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat for 5 – 7 minutes.
  7. In a large bowl, combine sautéed onion, zucchini, garlic,and  pin nuts with tomatoes and basil. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add in browned local sausage, if using.
  8. Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and scrape with a fork to form strands while it is still warm. Add spaghetti squash to the large bowl of ingredients and stir to combine.
  9. Place all contents in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese and slightly brown the veggies.
  10. Garnish with fresh local basil and enjoy!

Cooking Well at Mercy

This video was filmed at our Cooking Well at Mercy Show on September 27 in the hospital's Mercy Café. This series of brief cooking demos are free and open to all associates, physicians, volunteers and hospital guests.

Chef Christopher Damiani

Christopher Damiani serves as the assistant director of Food Services at Mercy Hospital. A professional chef with a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he oversees the menu planning for hospital patients and the Mercy Café.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Have a Successful Photo Shoot With Your Child

The following is a guest post from Justine Stinson, owner of Juss Dillee Dallee Photographee.

As a photographer, my job is to have a wonderfully successful photo shoot and, of course, that is my clients' goal as well. So what should you keep in mind when it comes to getting your child's pictures done? Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or an older child, these tips go for all!

1. Choose Comfortable Clothing for Your Child

When picking out the wardrobe for your child's photos, remember that aside from picking something you love, comfort is also the key. If your child is uncomfortable, they could very well show their discomfort during their session with whines, moans, and groans. Try on the picture-day clothes for a test run.

In the studio, my newborn and toddler outfits are adorable but also comfortable and soft. A comfy baby is a happy baby.

2. Include Family Members 

As a mom to a 3-month-old baby girl, I know how easy it is to get stuck in mommy mode. You may want tons of pictures of you and your baby; however, you may want another to have family member photographed with your child (father, partner, grandparent, etc).

I loved the session I did with my daughter and her father. It was unbelievably precious. Don't miss out on those memories!

3. Communicate with Your Photographer

If you have a good idea of what you want in your session, discuss this with your photographer so that he or she can prepare.

If you don't know what you would like, talk to your photographer to see if she or he can give you some ideas. They may have fun props and outfits, or they can talk to you about some things that are important to you that they can incorporate in a shoot.

For example, let's say that when you were pregnant, you craved Nutella more than anything.Your photographer could put a bottle of Nutella, along with other cravings, near the baby for you to remember that one detail during that magical time of pregnancy.

I had a mother recently who had no idea what to do in her session to represent her and her husband. I told her to bring anything from her wedding day she had kept that was close to her, or just bring along both of their wedding rings. We will be putting them on the baby's toes for a fun photo.

Creativity can take your normal "say cheese" picture to a new level.

Keep these tips in mind when starting to look into a session for your children and family pictures. We both want the same thing: success. After all, we JUSS can't DILLEE DALLEE when it comes to capturing perfect moments.

Photographically yours,

Follow Justine on Facebook or contact her at

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ask Us Anything: What Are My Chances of Getting Breast Cancer?

"What are my chances of getting breast cancer?"

Candice Gerrity, Registered Nurse and Certified Breast Patient Navigator, Responds: 

Breast cancer incidence has been steadily decreasing since 1999 due to the increasing number of women undergoing screenings. This has resulted in earlier detection of malignancies which therefore leads to treatment at earlier stages of the disease.

The probability of a woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime, if she reaches the age of 85, is one in eight, or about 13%.

Of course, certain risk factors play a role. Some you can control, like exercise, nutrition and breastfeeding. Some you can’t, like your age, sex, ethnicity, family history and hormonal influences.

The most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female, increasing age, and having a history of breast cancer in your family.

– Candice Gerrity, RN, CBPN

Candice Gerrity, RN, CBPN guide you through the many phases of breast cancer, from diagnosis and treatment through post recovery. This service is available no matter where you receive treatment. Click here for more information.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ask Us Anything: What Vaccinations and Treatments Will My Newborn Receive?

"I am really looking forward to delivering at Sisters Hospital. I was curious, though, what are standard newborn procedures as far as vaccinations and treatments?"

Mary D'Angelo, Director of Maternal Child Services at Sisters of Charity Hospital, Responds:

I am so happy that you have chosen Sisters Hospital for your birth experience. We look forward to caring for you and your baby.

When your baby is born, he or she will receive antibiotic eye ointment and a vitamin K injection, as required by New York State law, to prevent any possible infection transmission.

We encourage skin-to-skin bonding immediately in the birthing room along with initiation of breastfeeding, if that is your choice for feeding your baby. The baby can usually remain with you in the birthing room for at least the first hour of life, if not longer.

If your child is deemed at risk for any issues of low blood sugar, blood is obtained from a prick to the heel and the baby is monitored as needed, for up to 24 hours, in most cases.

Once in the nursery, the baby is placed on a radiant warmer and a hearing screen is done, along with the rest of an admission assessment and monitoring of temperature.

After you are in your room and all else is stable, the baby is brought to you in your room, where you may keep him or her with you as much as you like.

We will ask you for consent to administer a birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine, as required by law. It is best administered within twelve hours of birth.

This is just a summary of what you can expect but I am happy to answer any more specific questions you may have at any time.

– Mary D'Angelo, RN

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Explore Western New York with the Buffalo Hiking Club

Hiking is one of the most versatile forms of exercise – it’s inexpensive, appropriate for all ages and fitness levels, and the change in scenery means it’s never boring. Hiking can even relieve stress.

“I find a great deal of relaxation and mental cleansing from spending a day in the woods,” said Gary Borek, founder of the Buffalo Hiking Club.

“For most of my hikes, we are out to enjoy the experience of being in the woods and the relaxation and mental cleansing that derives from those experiences. We stop as we go, catch our breaths, and enjoy the surroundings.”

Gary’s club has already grown to more than 260 members since it was established in May of this year. Members range in age from 21 to 70, and the group includes both beginners and experienced hikers.

Families Are Welcome

“I’ve seen young children climbing peaks in the Adirondacks with parents, so as long as a parent knows that a hike is appropriate for their child, they are welcome,” said Borek.

Toddlers can also be carried in a child carrier backpack.

Some off-trail or faster hikes are not appropriate for children without hiking experience.

Short Hikes are Available for Beginners

The Buffalo Hiking Club offers both nature appreciative hikes (slower hikes at 1 to 2 miles per hour average plus breaks) and exercise hikes (faster hikes of 2 to 4 miles per hour).

For beginners, Borek recommends shorter hikes and those with split points in the middle that allow you to do just one portion of the hike, such as the Poverty Hill Hike.

If a hike has two entry points, such as the Lonto Hollow Ridge Bushwack Hike, Borek can park your vehicle at one of the end hike and shuttle you back to the beginning so that you can end your hike at the second entry point.

Hikes are Taken at Your Pace

“We hike as slow as necessary for all participants,” said Borek. “Even on an exercise hike, if a participant has overestimated their capability, the leader will maintain a slow enough pace to accommodate them.”

Over time, you’ll increase your ability to walk longer distances while carrying the necessary equipment. However, the group’s primarily focus is about enjoying the outdoors, not logging miles.

“I’ve been hiking and backpacking for 40 years from Alaska to the Adirondacks. I have taken thousands of pictures on my trips but none of those pictures are of the amount of time I hiked or the miles I covered. What I enjoy when in the woods is not related to either how fast or how far I’ve gone.”

No Special Equipment is Needed

Special clothing or equipment is not required; however, you must dress in clothes that won’t endanger your safety – no sandals or flip-flops – and bring at least one liter of water.

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be appropriately dressed for summer or winter hiking and everything in between,” said Borek.

Although Borek has collected high-tech outdoor clothing during his 40 years of hiking, he has also worn clothing from thrift stores, Wal-mart and JCPenney.

Polyester and Wool are the Best Clothing Choices

Polyester and wool are the best choices for outdoor clothing in all four seasons, Borek said.

In the winter, beginners often make the mistake of wearing cotton, which soaks up water, increasing the risk of hypothermia and is heavy when wet.

“The outdoor community has a saying that ‘cotton kills,’” said Borek.

“In winter, I dress in layers to control body temperature and perspiration, and I always carry a dry set of clothing to avoid hypothermia risk, should my clothing be wet from perspiration, precipitation, or an unexpected slip or fall in a creek or wet snow.”

Ready to Hit the Trails? Learn More about the Buffalo Hiking Group

The Buffalo Hiking Group is hosted on, a site for local groups and organizations. To learn more about the Buffalo Hiking Group, click here to visit their MeetUp site.

Borek has posted guides for first time hikers in the discussion board section of the meetup group (Click here to visit the discussion board).
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