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Shoo the Flu

Learn healthy tips and strategies to help guard against the seasonal flu – which generally peaks during the winter months

Flu season is beginning to peak in California, and early surveillance indicates the potential for a severe season due to constantly changing and emerging strains of the virus (i.e. H3N2 in 2014/15 and H1N1 in 2009). Outbreaks of the flu can occur as early as October and as late as May – this eight-month window is known as flu season.

What type of flu season is expected this year?  

It’s impossible to predict how the current flu season will play out, however, we do know that the flu spreads every year during the same general timeframe (Oct. – May). So it’s very important to use preventive measures to limit your exposure to the virus during this time.

When should I get vaccinated against the flu?

The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the vaccine as early as possible – usually in October or November depending on supply. It can take up to two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body and fully protect against the flu virus. If you haven’t received the flu shot, please do so as quickly as possible to maximize its effectiveness for the current season.

What additional measures can I take to protect myself and my family from the flu?

When it comes to a virus like the flu, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Preventive measures to guard against the flu virus include:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water. 
  • Eat a rainbow of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal.
  • Play outside with your children as much as you can.
  • Teach your children to sneeze and cough into the crooks of their elbows.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, face and nose.  
  • Keep your children home from school when they are sick.
  • Stay home from work when you are ill.
  • If you or your children are sick, limit their contact with others.

If you are at high risk for flu-related complications and experience flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Your provider can prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started within two days of the onset of flu symptoms.

Visit for more information about the 2015-16 flu season.

Long-time CHF member helping to create safe “Streets for All”

It’s rare that a simple purchase has a long-lasting impact on your life. But for Center for Health & Fitness member Julian Katz, purchasing a bicycle 27 years ago sent him pedaling down a path that eventually landed him the well-earned nickname of “Cycling King of Hermosa Beach.” During the past three decades, Julian worked tirelessly as a community advocate for safer streets and respectful use of the roads for everyone. His efforts led to the installation of 40-plus miles of bikeways throughout seven separate cities in the South Bay, including the first bikeway in the Beach Cities.

We sat down with Julian to see how he put his plan into gear to help make safe “Streets for All.”

Q: You've been referred to as the “Cycling King of Hermosa Beach.” How did you earn this title?
“When I first came out here, my wife was still in Philadelphia. The first weekend it seemed like there wasn’t much to do, so I figured I'd buy a bicycle. I hadn't been on a bike in 30 years probably, so I started to just ride in the afternoons after work, and on the weekends. I just liked it.

I kept riding recreationally and about nine years ago, I became a Public Works Commissioner in Hermosa Beach. In that commission, I encouraged the department to form a subcommittee to see if we could develop a Bike Master Plan in Hermosa Beach, because I would ride a lot and see there were very few facilities for bicycles. So we formed a subcommittee with the Parks and Recreation Commission and developed the Hermosa Beach Bike Master Plan, which allowed us to put the first bikeway on Hermosa Avenue.

In the course of doing all of that, I got to know fellow cyclists in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach and we decided we would try to get seven cities together and develop a multi-city bike master plan, later called the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan. We corralled the seven cities (El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Lawndale and Gardena) and got them to apply for a grant with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and they were awarded a quarter-million dollars.”

Q: What would you say was the biggest challenge in applying for the grant and getting seven cities to collaborate?
“After getting the grant, building the plan and getting it approved, we discovered the biggest obstacle is getting the cities to implement what they said they were going to do – set up 213 miles of bikeways by 2020 – and we've probably done only 30 or 40 miles. So there's still a long way to go, and we've eaten up five years. So that's the challenge.”

Q: For those who are not familiar with the South Bay Bike Coalition, can you explain your role with the organization and what the SBBC does?
“We created the South Bay Bike Coalition to apply for the grant. Our role has been constructive advocacy. We worked through the plan and are constructively advocating for its implementation. Jim Hannon was part of our coalition. He founded the Beach Cities Cycling Club and asked me to be the Vice President of that organization, so I fill that role too. Our objectives are very similar, but the cycling club isn’t meant for advocating. They are ride monitors and leaders who provide education. We're in the midst of trying to merge the two organizations because it seems like a natural way to get people more into advocacy and to bring them together, so hopefully it will work out.”

Q: What is your favorite Blue Zones Project “Power 9 Principle?”
“I like Purpose. That's been pretty important in my life. To have an objective, a goal and a plan. I'm an engineer, and we work pretty much according to a plan. We have a schedule, we write things down and we have a goal – it may not be today's goal, but I try to stick with it. I don't operate randomly very often.”

Q: What further improvements can be made to increase the livability of our streets?
“Making it safer for pedestrians – getting cars to slow down is a big one. We don't need to drive as fast as we do. We're going to get out of our cars whether we like it or not. By making the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, we can encourage younger people to ride or walk to school, get exercise and be healthier. It's pretty clear from what I've read that if you get exercise in the morning, before you go to school, you're far more alert when the day begins, and you're more open to learning, instead of waking up during first period.”

Q: What can bicyclists as well as motorists do to help improve bike safety in the Beach Cities?
“The most important thing is to be respectful of any person with whom you share the road. We have a pamphlet called "Share the Road" – it’s rules of the road for cyclists and motorists. And that's one of the things SBBC works for is to get people on bicycles to be respectful and not try to take the whole road. We have a lot of cyclists in the South Bay who like to ride fast in groups and not share the road, and they can be very aggressive. That's not an effective way to get cooperation, so it’s really about mutual respect.”

Q: What sparked your transition from bicyclist to bicycling advocate?
“It wasn't safe enough! I looked around at the rest of the world and a lot was happening to increase bike safety in Europe and other parts of the United States, but not much was happening in the South Bay. And it’s the perfect place! The weather is good all year around, but there was very little interest. So we worked to spark interest, and the number of people riding bikes has increased noticeably over the past 5 years, especially among women. So I’m doing what I can to help those new riders and make all rides safer.”

Q: If you could live in any of the original Blue Zones which would you choose?
“Oh, well I like Sardinia. We've been there! I loved the island. I like the beach. I have a boat, so why would I want to be in Loma Linda? You can have a boat in Sardinia, easily, but not inland like that.”

Q: Any words of advice to someone interested in biking in the Beach Cities?
“We always welcome new advocates and people who want to work with the public, cities, commissions and city councils to make the cities safer for everyone! We all can benefit from safer streets.”

-- By Michael Lindsey, Communications Intern

Q&A: Meet CHF’s Newest Personal Trainer, Danielle Clark

Finding and selecting the personal trainer who best suits your individual health needs – and personality! – can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve done most of the work for you by assembling a deeply qualified and credentialed team of personal trainers who will help you achieve your fitness goals and commit to a lifestyle of health – regardless of your age, experience or ability level.

Today, we’re excited to introduce the newest member of our fitness team, Danielle Clark – who sat down with us recently to discuss her background, training style and to offer up some fun facts about herself along the way.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in a small town in eastern Idaho called Idaho Falls, where most of my family still lives today. I moved to Boise for college and earned my bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Boise State University. After graduating, I made the move to Southern California to pursue my dream of living in year-round sunshine, because those Idaho winters are cold.”

Q: So is it safe to assume you’re a Boise State football fan living in Trojan/Bruin country?

A: “I’m still a Bronco fan, but a lot of my interest in college football left with coach Petersen’s departure to coach the University of Washington. The rumors floated around for years, but we never thought he’d actually leave.”

Q: Can you describe your background in health and fitness?

A: “I earned my master’s in exercise physiology and nutrition from California State University, Long Beach, then spent time working as an exercise physiologist/research assistant for UC Irvine on an NIH-funded study examining the health of middle school students.

Currently, I’m working as an exercise physiologist for the Santa Ana College Fire Technology Department, where I assist with the administration of fitness assessments to fire fighters throughout Los Angeles County to ensure they are physically fit for duty. Most of my time is devoted to evaluating internal and external signs of physical health, so I bring that unique perspective to my clients as a personal trainer.”

Q: What do you like most about the Center for Health & Fitness?

A: “Honestly, the people and the environment. CHF has such a community feel, and the members are so welcoming and supportive of each other’s goals. It’s a completely different experience than 24 Hour Fitness or Equinox where it can be intimidating for a person in their 50s, 60s or 70s to exercise. CHF removes that barrier completely, which is really special.”

Q: What can a client expect when they sign up to train with you?

A: “So many burpees! No, I’m kidding. In all honesty, I try to make exercise fun for my clients, because the perception that exercise can’t be enjoyable deters people from coming to the gym. Yes, I’m going to hold my clients accountable, but I’m also going to be a good listener and tailor the training program to fit their unique needs and incorporate exercises they enjoy.”

Q: What is your personal philosophy on fitness?

A: “Fitness is all-encompassing. So just going to the gym everyday doesn’t mean you’re healthy. It requires a holistic approach – working on cardio, using resistance training, improving flexibility as well as committing to a healthy diet and lifestyle outside the gym. I encourage my clients to focus on small changes now that will make a big impact down the road.”

 Q: Have you met the other CHF personal trainers and, if so, will you wear brighter neon clothing combinations than fellow trainer Derick Malit?

A: “The other trainers are really great. And, yes, I think I comment on Derick’s flashy outfits every time I see him. Oh by the way, his color-coordinated ensemble was neon red today. But I just might be able to give him a run for his money with my colorful collection of yoga pants.”

Q: Are you going to be teaching yoga class at CHF as well?

A: “Yes, I’m going to be teaching a yin and yang combo class for all ages and abilities on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. I’ve been practicing yoga for more than eight years and earned my teaching certifications earlier this year. I love yoga, so I’m really excited to get started.”

Q: What is something fun or interesting about your life that might surprise people?

A: “I danced competitively my whole life and actually danced on an NBA D-League team in Boise called the Idaho Stampede for four years.”

Join Small Group Training Now at a Prorated Price

It’s not too late to join the current cycle of Small Group Training – CHF’s most popular and effective new form of group personal training. Sign-up today at a prorated price – only $16.50 per hour!

With a variety of times, dates and levels to choose from, you can easily select a track that will challenge you physically and ultimately improve your overall health. Past Small Group Training participants have reported impressive health gains, including weight-loss, recovery from nagging injuries, increased balance and mobility and much more.

For only $16.50 per session, you get expert guidance from a personal trainer, pre- and post-fitness assessments as well as access to specialty equipment, including:

  • TRX Bands
  • Battle Ropes
  • Kettle Bells
  • Slam and Medicine Balls
  • Stability Balls
  • Foam Rollers

New to fitness? Not a problem – CHF is now offering Small Group Training tracks exclusively for first-time participants.

Ask about available Small Group Training tracks today by calling (310) 374-3426, ext. 147, or visit the CHF front desk.

Free Zumba Moves to RUHS

Free “Zumba in the Park” is shimmying its way over to the campus of Redondo Union High School (RUHS) as part of Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) annual Summer Free Fitness Series – held Mondays at 6:30 p.m., August 1st–15th.

The free Zumba events will be held on the football field at RUHS and are specially designed to allow all members of the public, regardless of age or ability, to participate. There are even special songs and dances included just for the kids – so be sure to invite your friends and family!

Zumba – a fusion of low-impact Latin dance moves, upbeat music and calorie-burning aerobic movement – is led and choreographed each week by certified exercise instructors from BCHD’s Center for Health & Fitness. Since the fitness series’ inception in 2012, more than 13,000 participated in BCHD’s free offerings of Yoga on the Beach, Boot Camp and the ever-popular Zumba in the Park.

“We created the Summer Free Fitness Series to unite the community around physical activity in a fun, low-pressure environment that promotes health,” said Susan Burden, Beach Cities Health District CEO. “And from the beginning, the response has been tremendous, with crowds of 350 to 400 people showing up on a regular basis to break a sweat, have a lot of fun and create meaningful connections with fellow community members. This is a special event that I encourage everyone in the Beach Cities to experience for themselves.”

Though free of charge, registration is required to participate. Participants can avoid the lines by pre-registering online at

Zumba in the Park

Mondays at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 1, 8, 15

Redondo Union High School (football stadium)

Register at

Free Fitness Runs All Summer Long

Hundreds continue to turn out every Monday night for Beach Cities Health District’s annual Summer Free Fitness Series.

Monday, July 27 is your last chance to enjoy free Yoga on the Beach in Manhattan Beach (south of Pier) before the heart-pounding fitness series transitions to Zumba starting July 11 at Lincoln Elementary School in North Redondo Beach.

The Summer Free Fitness Series, held each Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., includes four weeks of Yoga on the Beach and six weeks of outdoor Zumba through August 15. The series is specially designed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels so be sure to invite your friends and family!

For the complete schedule and detailed event information, visit

Member Highlight: Alexander Burishkin & Lynne Santini

Husband and wife Alexander Burishkin and Lynne Santini didn’t always see eye to eye when it came time to improve their health and lose weight, however, they easily agree about what veered them off track.

“Oh, it’s his fault,” laughs Lynne, jokingly referring to her husband of five years. “He cooks really well, and I love eating the meals he makes.”

“Yep, and I enjoy cooking,” Alexander sheepishly chuckles. “Safe to say we had to make a few lifestyle changes.”

The wheels of healthy change were first set into motion in February 2014 when Lynne made the decision to join Weight Watchers. At the time, she was nearly 100 pounds overweight and living a “very lazy life.”

“Weight Watchers was really great because it’s a straight-forward program that can easily be modified,” says Lynne. “I was able to select bits and pieces of the program that fit my personality and that made it much more effective, in my opinion.”

Most importantly, the program provided Lynne with a clear set of nutritional dos and don’ts to help spur Alexander to modify his deliciously decadent – but admittedly unhealthy – cooking style. And true to character, he embraced Lynne’s new diet.

“Although I wasn’t completely onboard personally with health and fitness yet, I saw how important it was to her,” says Alexander. “So I started using more whole foods and ingredients and changed the way I cook to fit her program. I always support her health goals – she’s inspiring.”

After four successful months on Weight Watchers, Lynne decided it was time to put her membership at the Center for Health & Fitness to use and enrolled in the maiden cycle of Small Group Training, an eight-week group exercise program CHF was debuting in June 2014.

Though admittedly difficult at first, Lynne persisted and quickly grew to relish the reps, sweat and motivational instruction from class trainer Aidan Acuff. Each time an eight-week cycle – which includes a combination of free weights, resistance training and cardio – would conclude, Lynne eagerly re-upped for another. Before long, her excess weight began to melt off and Alexander’s interest in exercise started heating up.

“I noticed how much weight she was losing and how much happier she was with herself, and it motivated me,” he says. “Plus I’d just hit my heaviest weight in years (255) and those two things were the wakeup call I needed.”

Following his wife’s lead, Alexander joined Small Group Training with Aidan in July 2015, though he opted for a different class on a different day. And much like his wife, save one week of illness, he hasn’t missed a cycle or class since.

“What I like about Small Group Training is you can workout at your own pace,” says Alexander. “You do as much as you can every day and compete against yourself – nobody else. And Aidan is great at keeping you focused only on the reps and exercise at hand.”

No surprise: coupling proper nutrition with consistent exercise has paid off for the husband-wife tandem. To date, Lynne has shed nearly 100 pounds, and Alexander has dropped 25 while simultaneously packing on muscle and increasing his stamina. Most importantly, their benefits don’t stop at physical gains – the pair report their relationship has been enriched as well.

Prior to losing weight, the couple – who share a passion for adventure and travel – would carefully plan and evaluate their outings to include activities that they could “comfortably complete,” according to Lynne. But now with fewer physical limitations holding them back, she says they’ve adopted a “go-for-it attitude.”

“It’s so freeing to be able to say, ‘sure let’s give that a try!’ or ‘yes, let’s go there and explore all day,’” says Lynne. “We even put in at least four miles of walking last weekend to and from the Hermosa Fiesta because we parked so far away ... didn't even give a second thought to do so. It's hard for me to not pack every weekend with fun activities now that I feel so good!

“And we certainly want to continue with our good health in mind -- maintaining our weight, working out to be in the very best physical condition and remembering to take it one day at a time -- it's a journey, not a race, and we want our journey to continue for a long, long while!”

We Did It, Beach Cities!

Beach Cities Earn Blue Zones Community Certification

Thank you for being part of our Blue Zones Project® community well-being transformation in the Beach Cities!

Beach Cities Health DistrictHealthways, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, today announced the Beach Cities – Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach – have been named a nationally certified Blue Zones Community®. Since 2010, health-focused people like you helped us make the healthy choice the easy choice for residents through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks.

The certification announcement comes on the heels of recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® data showing measurable declines in smoking, overweight and significant daily stress rates throughout the three cities from 2010 to 2015. Collectively, the Beach Cities earned a 2015 Well-Being Index score of 65.9, ranking us among the elite well-being communities in the U.S.


Blue Zones Community® – Certification Celebration


Date: Tuesday, May 10
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Mediterraneo, a Blue Zones Restaurant®
73 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

View our Facebook gallery of Blue Zones Project in the Beach Cities, or read the full press release here.

Health Heroes Celebrated at 2016 Spirit of Wellness

Dash Michaels, John Niehaus, Laura Ruiz and Paul Senior were honored for overcoming health challenges through health and fitness

The 2016 Spirit of Wellness began with friendly conversations and laughter among friends and was punctuated by four gripping stories of trials, tribulations and triumph, rousing roaring applause and tears of joy from the more than 150 in attendance.

John Niehaus, Paul Senior, Dash Michaels and Laura Ruiz, who capped the evening by delivering a stirring impromptu speech about her successful battle with breast cancer, were each spotlighted for tackling seemingly insuperable challenges that included morbid obesity, stair-climbing the World Trade Center, addiction and cancer. See their stories here.

The men and women of CHF’s 250 and 300 clubs, Blue Zones Project supporter Walt Dougher and CHF volunteer Stuart Joseph were also honored for their commitment to fitness, community and giving back.

See a complete photo recap of the 2016 Spirit of Wellness online here. Beach Cities Health District and CHF want to specially thank everyone who attended and helped make this inspiring community event a success.

Free Mindfulness Workshop, April 2

Do you ever feel distracted from the present moment, either reliving the past or thinking about the future? Beach Cities Health District wants to connect you to resources and time-tested techniques to help relieve daily stress, anxiety and distractions at its upcoming free mindfulness workshop in Manhattan Beach.

The community workshop will be held at American Martyrs (O’Donnell Hall) on Saturday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. Gloria Kamler, an expert from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, will lead the workshop/seminar (9:30-11:30 a.m.), which will be immediately followed by “mindful fitness” demonstrations from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

The workshop is completely free to attend, but advanced registration is required. Register at Onsite childcare (ages 3+) will be offered during the workshop by AdventurePlex — BCHD’s healthy play facility for a nominal fee ($25 first child, $15 for siblings).

For more information, contact Tiana Rideout, or 310-374-3426, ext. 139.