Healthy Habits: Dr. Holly Harris enjoys Zumba, high-intensity interval training

It can sometimes be difficult to find ways to stay healthy, so we’ve asked members of our Baylor College of Medicine community to share what they do in their daily lives to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Holly Harris, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor, shares some of her healthy habits with us.

Q: What health decisions start your day?
A: I always start my day with a cup of coffee and by reading the Bible, praying and journaling. For me, this is the most important start to the day and I consider it critical to my health as well.


In terms of other health choices, it depends on the day, but I usually start out with a solid breakfast – high in protein but ensuring I get a fat and carbohydrate in order to be sustained for the work day/morning.

Q: What is your go-to healthy breakfast?  
A: Oatmeal with blueberries, cinnamon, chia seeds and walnuts.

Q: What is your favorite type of exercise? 
A: Anything dance based (Zumba, dance cardio, Pound). The ability to go to classes in person is limited, so I also mix it up with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on some days and barre/Pilates on other days.

Q: What keeps you motivated during your workout? 
A: Knowing that it will be over soon! And the endorphins I have when I finish a workout.

Q: What activities do you do when you can’t fit in a full workout? 
A: A few quick HIIT exercises, go up and down the stairs, make my walk with my dog a brisk one, or do a few stretches/yoga poses in between other activities.

Q: What have you been doing to stay healthy during COVID-19? Do you have any advice for coping with the pandemic? 
A: I am lucky that my husband built a “home gym” in our garage early on where we have a rower, some free weights, an exercise ball, and resistance bands. So we will try to work out in our garage on a fairly regular basis. Also, going outdoors to a park, socially distanced, with our puppy.

My faith has been central to my ability to cope during the pandemic. I remain in contact with my faith community virtually and maintain daily practices.

Q: What is your favorite healthful snack?
A: Apple with peanut butter is always a good go-to for me. I also enjoy carrots and hummus or a handful of nuts.

Q: Do you take vitamins and if so, which ones? 
A: Yes. I take Vitamin D, and calcium/magnesium/zinc.

Q: How do you make an unhealthy recipe healthy (healthy substitutions)? 
A: I’m not the best cook, but I will try to replace sugar with a natural alternative such as maple syrup, honey, dates, etc.

Q: What is your nighttime skin regimen? 
A: Wish I had a better one, but I tend to wash my face and then apply a hydrating Vitamin E lotion.

Q: What hobbies do you have to help you relax? 
A: Reading, working out, virtual hangouts with friends, playing games, puzzles, trying to learn to cook

Q: What is your go-to Houston restaurant for a healthy meal? 
A: A lot of my first thoughts were my unhealthy go-tos. Most places have healthy and unhealthy options I think, so this is hard to say. I do really like Local Foods, Fadi’s Mediterranean, Mendocino Farms and Zoe’s Kitchen.

Q: Do you use an activity tracker or Fitbit and what is your daily step goal? 
A: Yes! I use a Fitbit, but don’t have a set goal – it just helps me gauge when I’m doing well and reveals habits that are either promoting or detracting from my baseline activity.

Additional Resources

Healthy Habits: A DOC-umentary Series – Dr. Christie Ballantyne

Dr. Vanessa Gallien enjoys spinning, meditates to stay relaxed

Read more healthy habits from members of our community.

Learn how Baylor promotes a culture of healthy living and wellness.

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