I am awed…by the talent above and the unusual tennis serve techniques below:
This video shows Aaron Yoder setting a Guiness World Record for running the mile backwards! He did it in just under six minutes. Aaron explains the sport and how he got into it here . Below are some excerpts from his article.
…running backward is just fun. One of the biggest rushes I’ve ever gotten in life is when I’m running backward in complete darkness and going downhill. Your awareness is so high because you can’t see a thing.
I’ve been running — first forward, now backward — my whole life…I didn’t slow down until I’d been working at Bethany College as a track coach for seven years. It got to the point where my knees felt like they were grinding whenever I ran. Three years ago, my doctor told me, “You should never run again.” While I ignored him, I was in a lot of pain and started to wonder, What am I gaining from this?
That’s when I had an epiphany. It was as if a voice said to me, “Just turn it around and make good of the bad.” I decided then and there that I was only gonna run backward for six weeks, and see how it went.
I didn’t change anything else about my training — just the direction I faced. I’d do a speed day. I’d do a hill day. I’d do a tempo day. I’d do a distance day. I’d do an acceleration day. All backward. After six weeks, my body and mind felt so much better.
A few months later, I traveled to Essen, Germany, for the International Retro Running World Championship, the Olympics of backward running. I’d never raced backward around a track before, but I quickly discovered that it’s the opposite of racing forward in some ways. When you’re running forward it’s an advantage to be right behind the leader so you know when to start making your move — because if you’re out in front you don’t know where everyone’s at. But in backward running, the best position to be in is the front. That way you can see where everyone is. The sprints, though, can be difficult because you’ve gotta worry about staying in your lane, which is hard when you’re going around turns.
We spent a week in Nantucket in early October. Not too many folks around then, and I finally realized my dream of having a go at surfcasting. The first afternoon attempt was a complete bust. The inn provided an experienced guide at no cost who let the air out of his tires to 15 pounds and drove us on the sand. Nada for two hours. But I never give up.
Two days later I tried again, and this time I hooked five and landed three. Of course I wanted to eat them, but Captain Rob preferred to throw them back. It was very exciting to reel them in with the cold water crashing around and the nearby seals waiting to steal my hooked fish. I’m not much of a fishing enthusiast, but this was definitely a thrill.
And I didn’t mind at all that my guide knew where and when to go, what kind of pole and lure. I felt very satisfied and proud.
When I was actively turkey hunting with a shotgun, I use to make fun of those who hired a guide to take the hunters to exactly the right place, do the calling, bring the bird into easy shotgun range and then pat the client on the back when it was time to take a shot. I was doing everything myself: the scouting, locating the roosts, knowing when to arrive in position, calling after watching videos and hearing the hens in the woods. A long and challenging process.
But a few-days-a-year visitor to the ocean or the woods is handicapped. Can’t learn all it takes. Guides are good. I accept my limitations and have more respect for my colleagues from out of state. It was great fun, and much better when I caught fish, even if I had Captain Rob’s help.
His trick biking moves are always a delight to watch and admire. But the video above is truly extra-ordinary–for the danger and the scenery. Over 45 million youtube views.
I am especially appreciative having recently borrowed a 3-speed bike in Nantucket and struggled unhappily against the slight inclines and the brisk 17-mph winds. My puny 13-mile, 3-hour trip was a major effort that took all my fortitude NOT to hitch a ride back from friends in a car who offered. And I was really shamed by a buddy who received my whining texts and wrote back unsympathetically, “Gosh Ira, you just rode a bike, not trek to the North Pole.”
Here is another, more recent Macaskill video. I have more of them on this site.
Even if this is all doctored, which I don’t think is the case, these stunts are very entertaining…amazing what people can do…even if it took them hundreds of tries to succeed!
This article summarizes research claiming old people are happier than young people. No concrete explanations why…just some guesses:
Despite our culture’s obsession with youth, it turns out that the 20s and 30s are generally a very stressful time for many young adults who are plagued by anxiety and depression…They noted that there are many pressures unique to this life phase including establishing a career, finding a life partner and navigating financial issues.
But what makes it so amusing to me are the following facts about the people sampled:
Participants were contacted via landline, meaning the experiences of people who have only cellphones were not included in the results.
In addition, people were excluded from taking part in the survey if they had dementia, lived in a nursing home or had a terminal illness. That means the elderly participants were, on the whole, fairly healthy, which might influence their sense of well-being.
Finally, everyone involved in the survey lived in sunny San Diego. It is possible that aging in Michigan could be very different than aging in Southern California.
The study had major implications, especially considering that within just a few years, more people on the planet will be over 60 than under 15.
Here are some more excerpts:
Yes, your physical health is likely to decline as you age. And unfortunately, your cognitive abilities like learning new skills and remembering things is likely to suffer too.
But despite such downsides, research suggests that your overall mental health, including your mood, your sense of well-being and your ability to handle stress, just keeps improving right up until the very end of life. Consider it something to look forward to.
In a recent survey of more than 1,500 San Diego residents aged 21 to 99, researchers report that people in their 20s were the most stressed out and depressed, while those in their 90s were the most content.
The older people were, the happier they felt…“People who were in older life were happier, more satisfied, less depressed, had less anxiety and less perceived stress than younger respondents.”
People’s goals and reasoning change as they come to appreciate their mortality and recognize that their time on Earth is finite.
“When people face endings they tend to shift from goals about exploration and expanding horizons to ones about savoring relationships and focusing on meaningful activities. When you focus on emotionally meaningful goals, life gets better, you feel better, and the negative emotions become less frequent and more fleeting when they occur.”
Hahaha. This 80-year-old has a terrific, upbeat attitude about how to live a life. Check out his “Hot Grandpa” modeling moves in the first 30 seconds of the video below.
Perhaps you have heard of Rafaela…she just won the women’s gold medal in Judo. Her rise is a great achievement worth appreciating, and this 2014 video spells it out beautifully.
Her story is outstanding: raised in the City of God favela (shanty town or slum), she played and fought in the streets. She was always in trouble. But at age eight, her father took her to a local judo academy, and her coach saw her talent and cultivated it. He said she was used to seeing crime, drug dealers, dead bodies. She knew that the struggle in the dojo (training gym) was nothing compared to that.
She became so good that she competed in the 2012 Olympics in London. But she was disqualified there for using a leg move that had recently been declared illegal. She almost considered quitting judo after that…and the racist words hurled at her. But her judo friends and coaches supported her and encouraged her to stay with it…then she became the world champion in 2013 and the Olympic champion in 2016.
Lots of young people want to follow her and be like her. Silva tells them to be themselves and follow their own dream. Good advice.
Another great part of this story involves the gym she went to that was founded in 2003 by Flavio Canto, who won a bronze medal in men’s judo at the 2004 Olympics. He was a Brazilian who had grown up partly in England and the US and saw the extremes of rich and poor in Rio and wanted to do something about it. So he offered free judo classes to kids from the favelas. He saw that the discipline and achievements in the dojo led to improved performance, values and attitudes in all the rest of the kids’ lives. In school and at home, judo’s teachings of bravery, determination and humility were transforming the kids. They were improving and bettering themselves. Canto’s dojos are in five different favelas catering to around 1000 students.
“In life we always seek for an activity that makes you complete. Until then my life was all about judo and the Olympic dream. When the Instituto Reação came into my life I found a new way, which made me feel accomplished. This social project prepared me to leave the competition behind. In my last years as an athlete I no longer felt so motivating to have results and winning medals. I knew within me was born a desire to do more important and relevant things,” said Flávio.
“When this project started I began to live the reality of the slums and that shocked me a lot. I realized that there were generations getting lost to violence, in the drug dealing war. It was common to see young boys of all ages carrying weapons very close to our academy here in Rocinha. I still wasn’t sure if my intention of bringing sport and education (literacy) closer to these kids could work,” he explains.
There is no doubt about it now. He certainly has made a difference way beyond discovering and training an Olympics gold medalist.
This is very helpful.
Kawika Singson is a Hawaiian-born “lava-enthusiast” photographer who risks his life to take close-up photos of flowing lava. He walks on mostly-cooled, but still very hot, surfaces to take his pictures.
The video above shows him running through the lava field. Singson’s run through the lava is just one part of his seven-mile hike that leads to the active flow. He usually starts his journey at night, so he can clearly see the orange glow of the lava beneath him.
His decades of lava running and living on Hawaii has made him an expert in this extremely dangerous and niche hobby that most people should never try, as Singson is at pains to point out.
I definitely feel that this athletic, life-threatening achievement is definitely worthy of applause and admiration. It may not be as highly skilled as traditional sports competitions, but it is a lot more unique and memorable than many of them.
On July 30, 2016, Luke Aikins, age 42, became the first person ever to attempt a skydive with neither a parachute nor a wingsuit, and this feat was broadcast live on Fox.
Mr. Aikins began his dive at an altitude of 25,000 feet, just 4,000 feet short of the summit of Mount Everest. Viewers watched him plummet, legs and arms spread, stomach down. Around 18,000 feet, he removed his oxygen mask and passed it to one of the three parachuted assistants diving with him. He aimed for the center of a 10,000 sq ft net, guided by GPS and lights. Seconds before impact, he flipped onto his back and landed safely in the California desert.
Aikins had been the backup jumper in 2012 when Felix Baumgartner became the first skydiver to break the speed of sound during a jump from 24 miles above Earth. He has made 18,000 skydiving jumps since he was 16.
Below is an interview of Aikins explaining his jump before he did it.
Aikins was able hit the net with pinpoint precision thanks to GPS alerts in his helmet and a sophisticated lighting setup on the ground that was visible from more than 25,000 feet up. If Aikins veered off course the lights appeared red, but when he was on target they shone bright white.
“They’re very similar to the lights that a pilot sees when landing a plane at an airport.”
Aikins was able to alter his course with just the slightest adjustments of his hands, because experienced skydivers have “incredible control” over where they land.
Here is an article with more pictures. Aikins said that the net IS his parachute. It’s just that it is below him, rather than above him.
Helluva trick! Want to go for a little ride???
I have written about freerunning/parkour before. But this example is much more powerful. It talks about some young men in Kashmir, where I have visited decades ago, before tourists were beheaded and military conflicts were so common. These youths are angry and scared. But after learning and practicing their art, they are calm. Watch it for the context, not the beauty of the moves. And feel blessed that you do not live there.
“The long political conflict in Kashmir has taken tens of thousands of lives, and in July 2016, at least 30 people were killed by armed forces. Trust between Kashmiris and the Indian state that controls them continues to decline, especially among youth who’ve seen violence their entire lives. “The generation that was born and brought up post-nineties, they didn’t have a childhood at all,” says the human rights activist Khurram Parvez. This short documentary, Freerunner, follows a young man and his troupe of friends who practice parkour in the Kashmir Valley. The film is part of a larger project on youth who grew up in a militarized Kashmir; you can learn more about the project here .”
Here is an amusing article describing the various fads that have engulfed fitness nuts over the years. The video shows them all, and the article delves deeper.
The 10 described are: hoola hoops, vibrating belt, gym culture, jazzercise, aerobics, home equipment, tae bo, spinning, crossfit, wearable activity trackers.
Who’d have guessed these are merely fads that grab the popular mindsets…like invasion of the body snatchers!
HERE IS A COMMENT SOMEONE NAMED GAVIN SENT ME:
Haha, good article/video. Funny to see all of the fads especially the older ones.
I haven’t done any of those (Except Gym culture, I guess?) but Crossfit is very popular these days. Its good that it gets people into full body lifting exercises like deadlift, bench, squats, etc. However often there’s little attention given to having good form and it’s all about slamming in as many reps as fast as you can no matter what, under the pretense of being “intense” and “getting cardio”… when you could do an actual cardio exercise instead (like tennis, or running) and avoid unnecessary injuries. A lot of beginners get hurt badly. And yes the mentality is cult-like for sure.
When I first started this site, it was about wanting my own six pack. I learned about it, wrote about it and exercised. I publicly stated this goal to help motivate myself. I posted pictures as inspiration, including some of Cristiano Ronaldo, world-famous soccer star.
Now he is posting his own on Instagram. Here are some thoughts one columnist wrote:
“Ronaldo is another celebrity, then, determined to take charge of his own celebrity, knowing that his body is the commodity that requires the most diligent selling. He has his own underwear line, CR7, and is opening a five-star hotel Friday—what timing to be all over the tabloids flashing his six-pack!—in his native Funchal in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira.
“Ronaldo, like David Beckham, another proud “spornosexual,” knows that his career with Real Madrid and Portugal’s national team—which just won its first European championship—can only last so long.
“He knows he is a brand and that his body is central to that brand. And so it comes out regularly, like a shopping display, whether to sell underwear or rooms in as smart new hotel.”
Ah the trials and tribulations of those who know that beauty and health and youth is so fleeting…
Oh well, kids will be kids, boys will be boys, but adults should not pretend they are kids. I give this guy credit for taking the risk and am sorry he suffered for being a little too big for the slide. Or just not holding on…if that was even possible.
This is truly a breathtaking video showing some of the most extraordinary moves in women’s gymnastics. It includes floor exercises, horizontal bar and balance beam with captions identifying the different moves. Never knew there were so many variations. Very helpful in understanding what I see next time.
So the results are in: Changing your diet is the better way to lose weight than more exercise. In spite of what Coca Cola and other sugar companies promise. Check out this video…
This is a funny video about a glass slide in LA that allows you to look down through it 1000 feet to the street. Scary. It reminds me of the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand (tallest man-made structure in southern hemisphere) I visited, that had a 1.5 inch glass floor at the top you could look through and see the ground almost 1100 feet below. Nerve-wracking to walk on, even though it was guaranteed not to break.
Although these experiences take no skill or athleticism, it’s a real confront to anyone, even if you are not generally afraid of height.
Here is a surprising article by Phil Edwards on Vox. Who would have guessed?
Today we’re so used to runners that we practically ignore them. But as the above video shows, it wasn’t always that way.
Back in the 1960s, jogging was typically reserved for athletes. Normal people mostly didn’t do it — and when they did, it was cause for concern. The New York Times ran an amused trend piece in 1968 about the handful of unusual freaks who chose to run in their free time.
Running wasn’t just socially awkward, either — for a while, it was a form of punishment for prisoners, via the treadmill. Throughout the 19th century, treadmills were occasionally used as a form of hard labor, including for prisoners like Oscar Wilde.
But in the mid-20th century, running crept into respectability, thanks to a confluence of trends in the late ’60s. Jogging, once unusual, surged to “fad” status before becoming the fixture of life it is today. The interesting part is that, as the above video shows, all those runners pushing past us on today’s sidewalks would have been strange just 50 years ago.
Ahhhh. So painful to realize I have been “doing it” all wrong for decades. I am referring to my eating patterns.
My chiropractor father taught me to drink a glass of water just before you eat. Starts the digestive fluids, which will help digestion. WRONG!
I heard this week from a naturopath that water should be ingested 10-20 minutes before the meal, so it can pass quickly through your stomach. Once you start eating, nothing leaves your stomach until it’s been digested. So if you just took in a glass of water, it is going to stay in there with the food. And it’s also going to dilute the stomach acids, which will slow down the speed of digestion.
So you are bloated with the water and stay that way longer, until everything is digested. Duhhhh. In fact the stomach will call for more acid to make up for the diluted acid that is supposed to do all the work. This puts additional strain on the whole system.
No wonder I feel bloated and it takes me so long to digest my food.
Beer and juices with your meal create the same problem. Wine however is acidic, so it helps digestion.
I hope there aren’t too many mistakes like this in other parts of my life…
I went to my first naturopath this month. I want to encourage you to consider going too, even though Wikipedia is very skeptical of the benefits.
My father was a chiropractor who was only sick four times in most of his adult life. In those long-ago days, when I was growing up at home, he and his colleagues were called quacks, ridiculed by most medical doctors, and even regarded as fakes. But I often heard at dinner how he was healing people who had come to him as a last resort after nothing else worked. So I have always been open to alternative health practices, including acupuncture and Asian healing methods.
Dad told me that “you are what you eat.” And he taught me to take vitamins every day, avoid excessive alcohol, drugs and cigarettes (although he drank and smoked himself). He also encouraged me to exercise and set a good example here, as he would walk on the golf course, rather than rent an electric cart. By following that advice and being gifted with great genes (parents died at 88 and 94), I have arrived at 75 with good health and the ability to play tennis three or four times a week, while many of my classmates are either dead, using walkers and canes, seeing doctors frequently, recuperating from surgeries and procedures.
So imagine my shock to discover that I have minor problems I never knew about until today. Just heard them after the most thorough analysis of my blood ever. Way beyond what I learn from my annual physical. EVERYONE SHOULD DO THIS!
For example, my lead and mercury levels are so HIGH (95th percentile) that I MUST give up tuna and swordfish for at least a year. Those top of the food chain predator fish are full of the stuff. Drat. I just had delicious tuna sushi last week. Who knew that it was my final morsel. And next I will have my well water tested for lead. Flint, Michigan seemed so far far away…
In spite of taking vitamin B-complex, my B-12 levels are so low that he gave me the first of three injections and then supplements to follow. I should be in the upper areas of a 200-1100 range: but I am only at 283. This huge deficiency might affect memory, balance, energy and make my nervous system so “restless” (rather than calm), that it shakes.
My kidneys need more water, and just like one tennis coach warned me, kidneys are hurt by too much Motrin, which I have been taking for months every time I play tennis to mask the discomfort from my tennis elbow. Now I should only take Motrin AFTER I play if it hurts…not before.
My magnesium level was only 4.5, instead of closer to 6.4. My thyroid is low, which can cause reduced cognition, sluggishness and digestive tract problems.
My Vitamin D level was only 33, instead of 45-plus, which is better for cardiovascular functions and reduced cancer risk. My selenium was also low, only 175, instead of closer to 350.
Now there was lots of good, even great news: no scarring of my liver after the hepatitis and jaundice I contracted in Korea, when I was 22. No Lyme disease, even though I had that in the last 20 years as well. No anti-immune problems, no lupus.
My cholesterol at 172 is ideal (thanks partly to the statin I started seven months ago, and I will begin taking a supplement to eliminate the tightness in my calves and back that is a common side-effect from the statin). I should be eating more plant oils, avocado, coconut, fish oil, shrimp, sardines with oil. These will all stabilize my nervous system.
So a new phase begins. It’s almost a decade since my annual blood test disclosed that my cholesterol at 239 was just touching heart attack range. I had to learn all about cholesterol and what foods cause the high levels. I gave up frequent–sometimes daily–pleasures, like butter and cheeses and ice cream and tasty, crispy, flavored chicken skin. I have survived well. Now it’s time to make some more changes. All a process.
But the results can be worth it…at least they are to me. Now if I can only improve my serve…
These hikers I can relate to…only because I once walked– and sometimes crawled–on a similar ridge that was like a knife edge maybe 100-200 feet high. The Pacific Ocean was on either side of the rise in northern California. And there was a trail that others with more confidence would walk along. My companions called me crazy, waited in the flat areas and yelled at me for making THEM nervous. But I wouldn’t have died if I’d fallen. Just broken some bones and maybe drowned in the powerful surf. Oh to be young like that again…or actually, I am glad I did it and survived and know that my sense of balance isn’t what it used to be.
This next clip of city thrill-seekers does convince me that some people really are nuts. But I am sure it was pretty thrilling. Not everyone can make it to a mountain in the wilderness. So you use what the city has to offer:
What kind of humans take these risks? Check out this unicyclist (around 45 seconds in) riding inches from certain death. For what? Is it even a thrill to this kind of person? He can’t be too scared from the danger…or he wouldn’t do it. Does he simply think he is invincible? A superman who would never be in an accident?
This website has lots of other dare devils in action. Here is one of a parkour guy walking around the high parts of a building he managed to sneak into. No fear of heights or a slip to his death.
It certainly motivates me to test my limits…a little bit. But never to this extent. Is it purely genetic? These kids are alone…not trying to show off to buddies who are goading them. It really is insane!!! They definitely must love doing it…
I heard from Doug Pruden again. He holds many records for push ups, and I wrote about him over five years ago. Here is his latest email about a new record he set and how he does it. Amazing and inspirational. I’ve bold-faced some of his words that apply to anything, not just push ups.
Recently did 81 knuckles (fist) pushups in 1 minute of record time. Golden book of world records and record holders republic. many ask me how can a person do so many push ups in record time. Doing one very well, just one. Fist, back of the hand, one arm, or regular push ups. You have to first start. Then add a bit more each day and pretty soon you can do many.
I started at a younger age in high school and then moved on to do it in the gym and then challenged world records. Its work and deeper breathing for sure. You get your own body accustomed and used to it each day. 50 at a time , non stop or 75m, 100 etc. Training and practice. At ever increasing inclines from a wall or chair until you reach the horizontal position. Eventually accustoming your body angle to the floor, over weeks, months and years. Doing it every day like some play Video games or watch tv shows. Routine and habit but a good one at least for 30 minutes each day. At graduated angles till you reach complete horizontal from “vertical wall” position. Stand near a wall or grab type of gym bar that is stable and start practicing eventually bringing the body further out till your able to do it on the floor and then over months add speed. A Customizing the body to a new routine.
No one is born being able to do anything. But we all can learn to do everything if there is a will. Pushing against and out before you can push “up”. Its first for exercise and then for strength and stamina and health and very last for records! 999 out of 1000 of us will never reach world record speed but some can come close and try their best to improve their own levels. Only about 20 people have world records in push ups and only 3 or 4 last for over a decade. Its hard to do. But possible to do if you commit to it. Enjoy it FIRST for fitness and have fun. I never thought of any records when it was just an exercise. Find something you are good at and make the world a better place. That thing can be anything that benefits society.