As a child growing up in Massachusetts, Sabrina Strickland knew she liked to fix things. But it was in the fifth grade that she made up her mind that what she wanted to fix was people.
"I decided I wanted to be a surgeon," she says, explaining that a teacher exposed her to the medical field through class trips and dissection projects. "I just never changed my mind."
Now an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine with the Hospital For Special Surgery, Strickland sees patients in the hospital's Greenwich office, many of whom are women and teenage girls dealing with sports injuries. A skier and tennis player herself, Strickland believes in the importance of an active lifestyle and is passionate about helping her patients get back to the activities they love -- and being comfortable doing them. "It's a very positive feeling, knowing that I can help them make it hurt less, or not hurt at all."
Her job keeps her active. "I'm moving around a lot and holding a saw (when she operates)." And weekends are busy with her husband of 17 years and their three girls (7-year-old twins and a 10-year-old). They bike, play tennis and work out together in their home gym. And in the winter, they ski nearly every weekend. "It's the best weekend family time."
Speaking of family, how important is it to set a good example for your daughters when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle? It matters. You worry about the whole body image thing -- it's a tricky message and I want my kids to feel good in their skin. Ideally, I want them doing sports that I can reasonably see them doing as an adult and for the most part, you don't see girls playing basketball at 30.
How careful are you about what you eat, or what you feed your family? I'm constantly amazed by what people feed their kids. We don't have anything white, like rice or potatoes. And we never have soda or juice. We drink water or milk and I'm pretty serious about the calcium. (The girls) drink milk at every meal and if they want a second drink they have water. If we go out, we order for them off the adult menu and they share, since kids' menus tend to have less healthy choices.
How do you round out your physical activity to stay so fit? On the weekends I get plenty of cardio. I like the core-fusion type of classes, where you work your core but get toning as well. Pilates is good. And weight lifting is really good for the bones, not to mention that the more muscle mass you have means you burn more calories even if you're just sitting. I go on bike rides with my kids and occasionally I go running. I try to mix it up on the weekends, but definitely my favorite activity is skiing.
Speaking as a doctor and orthopedic surgeon, what's the most important health/fitness tip you'd like to share with our readers? Do something every single day, even if you only have 10 minutes. Staying in the habit of working out is extremely important and with very rare exceptions, you can always spend 10 minutes.
Cover and inside model photos taken at the LockWorks apartment building, part of the Harbor Point luxury residential development in Stamford. Hair/makeup by Lanphier Day Spa, 25 Old Kings Highway N., Darien, (203) 656-4444, www.lanphierdayspa.com. Hair styling/cut by Julia Aslamazi; color by Farrah Brady; makeup by Morgan Anita Lee. Clothes by Saks Fifth Avenue, Stamford Town Center Mall, with help from Jennie Wright, sales consultant, and Paulette Pitt, special events coordinator. Joe's Vintage jeans, $179; Tahari vest, $398; Theory cotton/spandex turtleneck, $95; Bindya cashmere and silk scarf, $145. On Page 91: Theory jacket, $585; Theory turtleneck, $95; Adriano Goldschmied jean, $168; Ippolita oval chain link necklace, $795.