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Stay healthy by eating better and exercising

Doctors and other health professionals shouldn’t smoke. Driving instructors shouldn’t text while they’re behind the wheel. And as far as Chadd Soto of Lake View is concerned, wellness professionals should be in good shape.

“I walk the talk,” said Soto, manager of wellness services with Independent Health.

Q. How do you keep healthy and fit?

Every morning, I’m up at 5. Six days a week, I do approximately 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular conditioning. Depending on the weather, that can be outside jogging, a treadmill or a StairMaster. Then, I spend approximately 45 minutes strength-training various body parts with resistance or weights. I’m fortunate enough to have a gym in the house, but I’ve worked out in fitness centers all my life. I’m very active. I still play hockey with my 21-year-old son (Cooper, who played for the Buffalo Regals). Nutritionally, I follow very appropriate rules: very lean and clean proteins, very lean and clean carbohydrates. Probably 60 percent of my diet is fruits and vegetables.

Q. What are the top three things Western New Yorkers can do to improve their health and wellness?

People need to understand that healthy foods have calories, too. When people say, “I’m eating whole grain breads, it’s the right thing to do,” it doesn’t mean that you can eat five slices or a loaf of bread. That food is very dense in calories. Second, we have an energy crisis in the United States, and I don’t mean fossil fuels or oil. Stop into any grocery store or gas station, and you see coolers of energy drinks ... including Starbucks and Tim Hortons coffee. What people don’t understand is the best source of true energy is the food they’re consuming. Caffeinated drinks are placebo energy. You get a high, but then you crash and don’t maintain proper balance. Third, we need to move more. Try to get in your 10,000 steps per day. That’s approximately 5 miles from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. Statistics show that the average person walks well under 5,000 steps per day.

– Scott Scanlon