Here is what you might look like if you reduce your body fat percentage. It might also help to do a little exercise as well…
Posts Tagged health
Here is an article about Kayla Itsines, who may be “Instagram’s biggest fitness star.” She has 4.9 million followers, many of whom show their transformations of weight loss and muscle building. Kayla cheers them on with motivational sayings, fitness and diet advice and personal anecdotes. I love the article’s reference to “photos of her abs, the definition of her six-pack so sharp you could cut yourself on it.”
So check out her Instagram feed and also the women who are taking Kayla’s body-changing advice:
I also like this story from an Australian magazine that describes how Kayla’s fame began:
When Kayla Itsines’ younger cousin suggested she download an app called Instagram to keep track of her clients’ progress photos, she didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward to the present and she’s Australia’s most popular personal trainer and is taking the fitness world by storm.
Itsines’ success came initially from her Bikini Body Guide eBook — and with newly released app Sweat With Kayla, she doesn’t look like she’s stopping any time soon.
“It all started when I graduated from the Australian Institute of Fitness in 2009 — my first job as a personal trainer was in a women’s-only personal training centre,” she says.
“The women there were lacking confidence and weren’t concentrating on how they felt as much as how they looked — I really tried to change that.”
When Ms Itsines went solo and started her mobile personal training business, she began uploading her clients’ progress photos to Instagram — and followers began asking if she could help them in different States.
“I just said unfortunately I couldn’t because I was in Adelaide,” she says.
“I met Tobi (Pearce, Itsines’ partner) and he said ‘The way you train is unique, why don’t you create a guide for them?’
“I was just like ‘Oh, nah, I don’t think anyone would buy it’. As I retell the story I kick myself.”
But make the guide she did and as more people bought the Bikini Body Guide and started following Ms Itsines, the more her influence grew.
It’s obvious she isn’t as concerned with being famous as she is with helping people with their health and fitness, though — and women gaining confidence is her number one priority.
“I love helping people in general, it’s just what I do,” she says.
“I’m really trying to get rid of that whole fad and diet approach and concentrate instead on how people feel. I want to give them a maintainable and sustainable lifestyle they can have forever.”
Ms Itsines names her world tour as the highlight of the journey so far.
“My favourite experience was London because I couldn’t see the girls before I came out — I got to open these double doors and they were all standing in front of me,” she says.
“It was an amazing experience.”
Perhaps most importantly, Ms Itsines is staunch in her opinion about fad diets — she advocates a lifestyle change for her clients which will last a lifetime.
“I want clients to feel good about themselves — that’s something I try and bring across,” she says.
“I want to get the girls feeling better, rather than always focusing on what they look like.”
Here is a predictable article about posture: how important it is, how to adjust chairs and computers to improve it, consequences of slouching and carrying book bags on just one shoulder.
But it really hits home for a couple of reasons. First of all, my father was a chiropractor who told me all the time to stand up straight. He knew better than most about the ills that resulted from slouching. And not just physical problems, but mental ones too.
In fact I was quick to tell my closest friend that he was looking like an old man, because he was slouching so much. But he kept doing it.
And then as I aged, my wife would sometimes point out that I was not standing up straight. But I kept doing it too. I asked my doctor about it at my last annual physical, and he had a simple–but maybe not correct–explanation. He said that I could see that I was shorter by more than an inch. This was because seven decades of activity and defying gravity has worn down the discs between my spinal vertebrae. AND I WAS LEANING OVER (SLOUCHING), BECAUSE IT FELT MORE COMFORTABLE.
I definitely was uncomfortable a lot from a stiff back. He said that maybe I had some arthritis creeping in. I bought a new mattress, and that was a considerable improvement: it decreased my morning back discomfort. So did hot morning showers.
But then a strange event happened. My daughter emailed me that she was very disturbed that I was bending over all the time. She noticed my slumping during her last two visits. I immediately admitted that I felt old doing it, didn’t like what I looked like in the mirror, and gave her the story from my doctor about the thinner discs and arthritis.
But it still bothered her…and she asked if she could help? I told her to text me now and then to remind me to force myself to stand tall. I would picture those professional dancers who look like puppets with strings attached to their heads, pulling them practically off the ground.
And guess what. I started finally to remember. Something my daughter triggered allowed me to completely change my behavior. I was suddenly noticing all the time…whether when washing dishes, showering, walking, sitting at the computer,etc…that I needed to stand tall. And miraculously, some of the discomfort and stiffness in my bank began to lessen and go away. It has been amazing!
Why my father’s words and my wife’s observations–all conveyed gently and with loving concern–failed to lead to any change is troubling to me. But maybe now that I am older, the terrible prospect of becoming OLD!!! was enough to finally frighten me into action.
Fighting inertia and lifelong habits is always a major, sometimes insurmountable, challenge. For two or three weeks now, I have been able to modify my patterns. I will keep searching for a transferable explanation that I can utilize in other situations, where I wish to alter my behavior.
Let me know if you have any insights.
At the end of the summer, I was proud to boast that I had played tennis 18 times in 24 days…including two days with two matches each. But it was too much, and I acquired the infamous “tennis elbow.” Damn. I was playing so well, and now I was hurting. I felt pretty sorry for myself as my right arm had pains every time I hit the ball. I was envious of guys who had no injuries. I was disappointed that the top-level game I was playing (for me) had dropped drastically. I certainly didn’t want to take weeks or months off. Sucks. Even though it is only a game, I love the challenge, the exercise, the sweating and satisfaction. But it was a major setback.
Then I went to a college reunion and learned that one of my fraternity brothers there has cancer, and it is serious, and he may not make it to the next reunion in two years. Yes, at my age too many people are dying. So both college and high school reunions are every two or three years now.
Three weeks later I went back to Florida for my high school 75th Birthday Party. And again I met a classmate who just finished six months of chemo and was told that he is not likely to live more than two years and maybe as little as six months.
So it’s all relative, right? How can I bemoan a measly tennis elbow discomfort, when others my age are dying. No comparison. I am still playing sports and looking ahead to the possibility of 10-15 years of more life. I better not complain even the tiniest whimper. Yet we all forget these realities, when we want more money, time, success, happiness. We are all so greedy and unsatisfied. Is it just the nature of human beings to strive always for more?
I like to think that I am grateful much of the time. That I know this lesson well. That I am not as grasping or insensitive as many others who don’t even notice, much less care about, those who are less fortunate. But even I was disgusted with my injury. It took two trips to reunions to put life back in perspective.
How about you? Are you looking up enviously at those with more and better all the time? Or do you have the ability to look at those who have less and harder lives and feel blessed at your good fortune or wise decisions?
I can see how hard it is sometimes for me…even to make this confession. I came back from the second trip on the 16th of November, but couldn’t bring myself to write this post until now.
Here is an interesting (though lengthy) article about causes of aging, which lead to decay and death. However some mammals, like whales, can delay aging and live to 200 years. How does this happen?
I was surprised to read that “…a huge body also puts you at enormous risk of cancer, thanks to simple mathematics: the more cells you have, the more likely you are to develop a harmful mutation. (Indeed, one study found that taller people are slightly more likely to develop cancer than shorter people, for this very reason.) And the problems become even greater the longer your life span. “When you live longer, you go through more (cell) divisions, so the likelihood of cancer increases hugely,” says Leonard Nunney at the University of California, Riverside, who researches the evolution of cancer.”
Who’d have guessed? Maybe this is one reason some Asian cultures have lower rates of cancer than Western people. Of course diet could also play a major role.
Interesting to think about, even if you can’t make yourself shorter!
From August 12th to September 4th is 24 days. I am proud to say that I played tennis 18 times. Hardly tired. Thrilled I could do it. At the end, on the day of my “big” tournament match (that I lost), my arm was hurting. Poor backhand technique, maybe a strain, tennis elbow or just too much of a push.
Since then I have held off playing some times, hate the idea that I might be out for weeks or months, doing exercises, resting…until I am invited to sub. Can’t just stop for two weeks and really give it a rest. Love the game too much. Afraid of not being able to play.
Great to have passions. Stupid to risk serious injury. But I write these words after playing last night and not being smart enough to cancel tomorrow’s scheduled game.
Why are we all so silly???
Well that was a big gap in writing anything. Longest since I started this site in April 2009. I was definitely in a funk about all the sad personal events as well as the global crises. But there is mostly good news.
I went to a second cardiologist who gave me a special new test for coronary disease and learned in 15 minutes that my blockages are right in the mid-point for people my age. In fact some arteries are only 15-20% blocked, while others are 30-40% blocked. Invasive surgery to look with a camera and possibly put in a stent is only done if the blockage is 80-90%. So no surgery necessary. That was a relief.
Being given the go-ahead to play as much tennis as I wanted–or could–I accepted invitations to substitute in other games in addition to my twice-a-week regular dates. But I overdid it a bit, playing six times in six days (twice–morning and afternoon–one day for 4+ hours total). That week stretched out to 10 times in 12 days, and I admit that I am sore and tired. The biggest problem is the 80-degree plus heat…because playing in the cooler, late afternoons (6 pm) is much easier.
Next challenge of course is to improve my game…a constant in my life.
Ten minutes ago I learned that a man I knew and respected–but haven’t spoken to in 11 years–retired at age 65 last June, only to discover in January this year that he had cancer. Didn’t even know it…and then he died two weeks later! So sad, so terrifying.
This is how life is…it’s not extraordinary. Today and last week the global stock markets are falling in huge ways, people are losing their life savings, there is panic and regret and fear of the future. Completely understandable.
All the more reason to enjoy and accomplish, while we have the chance. You can’t put off all the good times for the future, because you may not have a future. It’s just the way it is…
When I was divorced from my first wife in 1975, I felt like I joined half the human (American) brotherhood. I mean half of all marriages failed, and mine was merely another one of millions. Too bad that I thought my marriage would last my lifetime. Surprise!
On July 1st I had a similar realization: I learned that in spite of my healthy ways, and maybe due to bad genes, I not only had a PVC, but I also have coronary artery DISEASE! I have been in shock. I was reminded that I AM an American male, and after consulting two other doctors began taking a daily aspirin and statin pill. I was devastated. I am still stunned.
I have now had in the last two weeks more aspirins than in my entire life. I am no longer this incredibly healthy guy. Everyone I talk to has been taking statins for 10+ years. And as one friend said to help me rationalize and feel better, “You used to be 100% healthy. Now you are still 90% healthy!”
My uncle died of a heart attack at 51. My father had cholesterol counts in the 300s. My younger brother has high cholesterol and had a double bypass. So maybe my good health is only because I have watched my diet, stayed thin, exercised constantly. Still a shock to have anything wrong…which is exactly how most people my age live all the time. At least those who have survived this long.
My cardiologist said that some patients are so shattered by the psychological effects of learning what I learned that they opt for surgery just to find out how serious the artery is blocked. I don’t think I want to do that.
But then on Saturday the 11th, my dog friend Bella died. Two days later, my son-in-law died. He was only 50. Yesterday another friend in his late 40s had unexpected surgery. It has been a very sad and confronting time. I always say that life is fragile. No doubt about it these days.
Let’s see if I can play tennis this evening…have to stay active and healthy. The doc said exercise is essential, and there is no such thing as “too much” of it.
Here’s an article for really busy people that promises a benefit for just one minute of all out exercise…in three bursts of 20 seconds each. Including warm up, cool down and slower in-between-the-extreme segments, it’s a total of just 10 minutes. And it needs to be done three times a week: 30 minutes total.
The comments are pretty funny…with one saying people who don’t like to exercise should learn to enjoy it…and many saying that you should take your health more seriously than just giving it 10 minutes…especially when so many folks are spending hours sitting on their couch watching “junk TV.”
Anyway, here are a few words to give you a better sense of the recommendations from this research:
“Then they asked the volunteers to complete a truly time-efficient, interval-training program using computerized stationary bicycles. Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals, during which riders pushed the pedals absolutely as hard as they could manage, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. The riders also warmed up for two minutes and cooled down for three, for a grand total of 10 minutes of total exercise time, with one minute of that being the intense interval training.
“The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 30 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.”
So here comes a new documentary for movie theaters claiming that the cause of obesity, diabetes, overweight is the sugar and fat in our food. One in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. 95% of our population will be overweight or obese within 20 years (it’s 66% now) Sugar is in 80% of all processed food products. The sugar and junk food lobbies deny there is any problem at all. This is like when the tobacco companies swore that cigarettes weren’t harmful.
This crime is so obvious, I can hardly believe people don’t know it. A man asked me today at tennis how he could lose a few pounds around his mid-section. I said eat less, especially sugar, and that includes wine, which metabolizes into sugar. Another man mentioned that it’s also important to enjoy life, and wine helps people do that.
I agree. I have always had a sweet tooth for baked goods. It’s almost impossible for me to give up those great sweet tastes. But I do eat less ice cream and sorbet (no cream/cholesterol) and pies and cakes and cookies. The effect of sugar on the brain appears to be identical to what cocaine does. Pretty seriously addictive.
However I seem to have more discipline than the average person. I am determined to stay fit and healthy in addition to living longer. This is a huge challenge for most people. How do you handle it?
The film was produced by Larry David’s wife, Laurie David, who also produced An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore, and former CBS-TV news anchor, Katie Couric. I am sure Laurie’s association with the political left will inhibit many Republicans from watching the film or considering its message. Too bad. Sugar is bad. Avoid it to whatever degree you can.
Your life and health depend upon it…
I bumped into three videos by the Dove soap company about how women see themselves and don’t like what they see. Studies show that there are certain desirable standards of beauty in each culture, and if you don’t measure up, then you use make up, clothes, plastic surgery, exercise, diet to change how you look.
The first two Dove videos below show how the ad/marketing world manipulates pictures to meet those desired standards. Of course there is no truth in advertising rule that requires these digital changes to be declared. So the average viewer concludes she is imperfect, misses the mark, and spends dollars buying products to make herself more closely aligned with the cookie-cutter ideal of her particular culture.
Then I found two more about how the standards of beauty for American women have changed over the years. Even the Barbie doll became thinner. The video above says it plainly: no one looks like the pictures in the magazines. Not even the models. It’s a complete lie.
The last video shows how ridiculously thin some models and people are. Looks dangerous to their health to me. Like concentration camp prisoners. Not my ideal of attractiveness at all.
I am guilty myself of expending considerable energy to have abs, defined muscles, a more youthful look. So as much as I scorn the low self esteem of the women who have been tricked for money, I have no right to be overly critical. But it’s easy to understand why women spend half their annual wages in some South American countries to have plastic surgery enhance their breasts and butts, and women around the world spend billions on clothes, lotions, make up and other beauty products.
What do YOU think?
hahahahahahaha. Ya got me!
So just ONE day after my last post about how fragile Life can be, I start having shooting pains in my abdomen—about 12 of them over the last three days. Like an ice pick stabbing in my right side. Of course it’s the weekend, so I don’t rush to the doctor. But should I go to the emergency ward?
And I had just had two really intense workouts, so I was admiring my abs and feeling strong and healthy. By yesterday I was reading about appendicitis, hernia, diverticulitis, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, looking at pictures of human anatomy, changing my diet, wondering how I could have an ulcer, fearing I am bleeding internally, thinking maybe I tore muscles, also feeling slight tingling up my right side and extending to my triceps. I mean this is crazy. I am SO healthy.
Yet here I am worrying about illness and death. Terrible. Are all these fears just a few millimeters below the surface of my daily mental life? Are these the anxieties I and others live with all the time? Pathetic. But nerve wracking.
So I changed my diet immediately, because the pains often came on when I started eating. I gave up gas-producing carbohydrates. I threw out some prepared foods. I drank more water. I semi-fasted. I skipped a daily yogurt. Maybe I was having modest food-poisoning? Maybe I had caught an intestinal bug. I didn’t have fever, shakes, dizziness, etc.
For the moment I feel OK. But these kinds of extreme frights are ridiculous. How do I stop them?
…20 minutes after writing this, I read a column about trauma that started like this and just embarrasses my feeling any anxiety about a few stomach pains. Life is fragile and also totally relative.
Tragedy has twice visited the Woodiwiss family. In 2008, Anna Woodiwiss, then 27, was working for a service organization in Afghanistan. On April 1, she went horseback riding and was thrown, dying from her injuries. In 2013, her younger sister Catherine, then 26, was biking to work from her home in Washington. She was hit by a car and her face was severely smashed up. She has endured and will continue to endure a series of operations. For a time, she breathed and ate through a tube, unable to speak. The recovery is slow.
…two days after writing this, the nurse practitioner at the doctor’s office told me I had probably strained a muscle, and I should take it easy for a few days: fewer reps, less weight, if I insist on my daily exercising. Today is the 27th, and I seem to be healing…
I was a bit scared this week, when someone had to stop playing after just three games and said it was his heart. Should he go to the hospital? Are his tennis decades at an end? It was the same court, where a man just dropped and died at age 85 some years ago.
Two summers ago, I played doubles with a man in his early 70’s who stopped after just a game or two. His playing days ended right then. Too much pain in a leg after giving it a few weeks rest, I think. This August he was riding his bike and his heart gave out. How awful.
At my local indoor courts, I always see the “old-men’s game,” because they are there five days a week at 8:30 AM, and range from mid-80’s to 90 years old. Some can hardly run or move quickly. But I long to join them, if I make it to their phase of life. For now I admit that there is a tiny bit of anxiety that any serious ache or pain might signal the end of my athletic days…maybe my life. A constant fear that I can usually dismiss and forget about it.
Anxiety is a deadener in its own right. Millions have it, own up to it, try to overcome it with drugs, meditation or therapy. I know a retired cardiologist who dealt with life and death issues by burning up his tension running a few miles every day. And many friends talk about their fear of those doctor visits, when they might hear the dreaded diagnosis that will lead to no more: sports, athletics, frivolity, and life.
When I watch the deer and birds outside, they are constantly alert to danger from predators…every time they put their heads down to eat. In a developed country’s middle-class society, we generally don’t have to worry about being cut down physically by bullets and bombs–though car crashes are a risk–but there is still the reality of the doctor saying we too have a terminal illness. So it goes. Whatever. It’s why I play while I can and strive to live healthfully.
Un momento en los labios, para el resto en las caderas. That’s the phrase I bumped into in a Spanish language phrase book. The editor sure has a sense of humor.
I remember my capoeira mestre telling me he never ever drank a drop of alcohol. It was like taking poison. It would affect his athletic performance for sure. Yet just two days ago a friend who is considering expensive stem cell injections in another country stated that if he gave up drinking, he would grow more stem cells naturally. But he loves his wine or liquor too much.
I know former alcoholics (they would say they are never “former”) who refuse to take one drink for fear that their old compulsions will take hold. I understand completely how one little slip can lead to much bigger deviations. On a recent trip to Spain and France, it was impossible not to be served meat, cheese and cream in the food. It was everywhere, and these are three foods I gave up to keep my cholesterol low. I definitely miss chorizo sausage, so I had one little taste. Suddenly I was eating cured ham, salamis, lamb. Heavenly tastes. I tried cheeses I used to eat, had vegetables in cream sauce, and many flans with egg yolks. It was all delicious.
Of course I thought neurotically that I was on the way to killing myself. Ridiculous. But I started rowing again in a hotel gym on that trip. That kind of cardio really burns up the cholesterol. Thank goodness I left after 12 days of this food orgy. I was thrilled to get home and eat more normally for me. Much healthier.
But the idea of a short term deprivation for a longer term benefit is too difficult for most people. Whether the goal is to lose weight, be healthier, or save money. Humans want the immediate gratification. Just heard about a recent study testing whether people could give up some money in the short run to make more over time. If they had to wait a few hours or a day, they could. Wait a few days or a week…forget it. No wonder people can’t save money or invest in long term projects with payoffs years away. It’s how our species functions…maybe how we have survived for centuries. We will see if this pattern works when dealing with commodities shortages and climate change. In the short run, see if you can give up one food pleasure for a week. Catholics do it for Lent, right? Isn’t that 40 days?
I saw the two-hour TV documentary Plastic Planet about how pervasive plastic is in our lives and how horrible it is for our health. Unbelievable. Unimaginable. It’s in our food, water and even our blood. We cannot escape it. It causes allergies, obesity, cancer, heart disease and even sterility. We are in big trouble here. Shrink wrap, food containers, baby bottles, pacifiers, ketchup bottles…plastic is everywhere.
You can see some of the story in the trailer above and the two video excerpts in English below. Not sure where you find the whole movie in English, but here is the link to it with German subtitles, but much of the language is English. The film was made by Werner Boote over 10 years and by visiting 14 countries. I am going to stop drinking out of plastic bottles, definitely not refilling them, and switching to glass storage containers. Lucky for me, I made it this far in my life without serious damage. But I remember my father could only wear white socks, because the dyes in colored socks gave him itching rashes. Who knows how much the plastic in your life is affecting your health. Check it out.
I write this after a week of sadness from the Boston bombings. Right now the manhunt is on for the second suspect.
I have been playing a lot of tennis: tomorrow will be 12 out of 18 days. When I missed shots yesterday, I couldn’t get upset—I was alive and safe. I was healthy enough to be active, while others my age are dead, too sick to run around, or not fit enough to play. Yesterday I hit the best lobs of my life. My ground strokes are improving after I learned a new technique. My serve is a bit harder.
I also had a physical and received the blood work: my cholesterol is still below 200 (197) and my PSA is healthy. Avoiding all those delicious cream sauces and desserts and buttery breads has some benefit. I do miss them though.
I am certainly proud that all the hard work and discipline is paying off. Some boys in their 20’s tell me that I still inspire them with my healthy living. Unfortunately, there are people who are older who find my good health and physical activity “irritating.” They seem to be envious and don’t want to hear about it. They resent my good genetic inheritance. They are jealous that I am able to make myself avoid certain foods, minimize alcohol and fat intake. It is frustrating for me that I have to hide this physical success. Yet here I am the second time in 10 days dealing with other people’s annoyance at my achievements. But it is how humans are. Some things don’t change…you can see infants fighting over who is better and who should keep the toys. Adults are often just infants in grown up bodies…
April 5th was my 72nd birthday, and it sounds old old old. I feel like I am in my 50’s, and people tell me to act as young as I feel. So I do. I played two hours of tennis each of five of the last six days. I did my daily exercises, and have done that now for 514 consecutive days. I still watch my diet and avoid excessive food portions and alcohol. And it has been paying off: the deprivation and discipline are keeping me fit.
Though I haven’t had the serious illnesses that many of my contemporaries faced, I am concluding that a lot of my good health is pure luck. I just happened to be born with “good” genes. And I dodged some accidents that others might not have been lucky enough to avoid. (However I did return from an army tour in Korea on a stretcher with hepatitis.) I don’t quite feel guilty, but the more people of all ages I meet who are sick or injured, the more I feel a bit apologetic. I am even hesitating to write these public words, because I don’t want to upset others who read them. Or create jealousy.
In a doubles tennis match this week, I kept returning balls at the net that one opponent was hammering at me. He became so frustrated that I almost felt sorry for him. He kept his cool and often hit away from me, but he seemed to grimace a lot each time I volleyed his ball back for a point. Why in the world do I feel the least bit of empathy for his frustration? I wish I had the killer instinct on the court or was at least indifferent to his annoyance. Yet that is not who I am…I feel badly.
Similarly when I can move and play sports ably, while others are handicapped by age, injury and infirmity, I feel defensive. Yet so much of it is just luck. I just happen to be controlled enough to exercise, to stop eating when I am full, and to eat more healthfully by avoiding fat and salt. It’s who I am and how I turned out.
Sometimes it’s hard to accept who we are, whether bad and failing or good and succeeding. I know, I know…it’s a high-class problem…and after writing these words earlier, I read the paper and saw that an acquaintance I liked died a couple of weeks ago after a long battle with cancer. She was 71.
Two weeks without tennis wasn’t SO bad, because at least I was walking and climbing steps each day during sightseeing in Japan. My first week home, I played tennis four different days, and though I am still jet lagging, and almost collapsed in the third and fourth sets two days after returning, my game and energy improved greatly by the end of the week.
Now here is an article suggesting an emerging scientific view of human evolution: we are clever today in part because a million years ago, we could outrun and outwalk most other mammals over long distances. Our brains were shaped and sharpened by movement, the idea goes, and we continue to require regular physical activity in order for our brains to function optimally.
Later on, the author writes, if physical activity helped to mold the structure of our brains, then it most likely remains essential to brain health today…Recent studies have shown that “regular exercise, even walking,” leads to more robust mental abilities, “beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.”
Well looking at Buddhist temples and gardens for six hours a day in 40-degree weather sure took its toll on me…I was often exhausted. And I suddenly became aware of all the people behind store counters standing all day to earn a living. I basically sit a lot, writing or reading on the computer. Tennis stamina aside, I am definitely not used to being on my feet for hours and hours. However real physical body movement is now a regular part of my life. It’s good for health and stimulates my brain. Are you keeping active? And fiddling with a TV remote or game controller does not count as useful physical activity!
For two weeks, I was pretty distracted. So I didn’t write. Much of what happened reminded me of how important good health is and how quickly our physical circumstances can change. Life is so fragile. It’s amazing we don’t live in constant daily fear. There was also the tension of the election and arguments about who would win.
First was giant hurricane Sandy, requiring preparations like removing outdoor furniture, gathering supplies. I grew up used to lots of hurricanes in Florida, where we would buy batteries, food, and fill up the bathtub with water. After Sandy hit the northeast on October 29th, I had power, but for days no land line phones and internet. Fortunately I have satellite TV, but seeing the devastation and fires probably depressed me. We only lost some trees. Nothing. Spared. I was numb for days.
But a friend has had no power for 10 days. Yes he has a house, but that is still a big change to deal with. Another friend in Brooklyn can’t buy gas, her Manhattan office is still without power, her subway doesn’t work. One day your life is different. So fragile.
Then I found out about an acquaintance, age 63, who walked up stairs, his leg gave way suddenly, and he fell on his neck. He is now confined to a wheel chair, maybe forever. So fragile.
Two weeks ago I found a tick on my chest. Hadn’t even been out in the woods. Probably picked it up from the dog who had eight of them I located later. A friend who had a severe reaction for months from Lyme disease had a relapse: headaches, joint pains. Would I get that too? The bite location is still red, but I don’t feel any of the systems. So fragile. One day your life changes.
Another acquaintance has a husband in his 50’s who stopped communicating. No words, no thoughts come through. She has to take care of him constantly. One day…
How do we live through all these possible calamities and not be either terrified constantly or grateful for every healthy, happy moment? Is the fear just so great that our brains won’t let us think about it? I met a boy on a bus in Japan decades ago who braced himself during the ride for the crash that could happen at any second. Tensed and white knuckled as he gripped the pole or seat hand rail, he was ready. But what did that do to his equanimity? Destroy it? Or give him peace, because he was prepared. I was 21, he was my guide, and I never forgot his continuous fear of the bus crash, his legs extended out in front of him, just in case there was a collision. I wonder if he lived a long life, or if his fear poisoned his system and made him sick?
These daily doses of terrible events and accidents from the media can’t possibly be beneficial…other than teaching us things to watch out for and avoid. Then people we know have so many stories of their losses, setbacks, tragedies. Yet somehow we go on, trying to be disciplined, doing what is right or good for us, what we hear is healthy and beneficial. All such a muddle, a jumble, a mix up and a hodgepodge. Or as one effete snob writer explained, “gallimaufry.” I had to look that word up. Can you believe that someone writes like that in a newspaper, where she is supposed to be communicating to the masses! Idiot. And so I rant in the face of Fate’s wheel turning turning turning and scaring us if we let it.
Now I will stop writing and do some exercise. This will be my 366th continuous day of exercise. A full Leap Year of discipline. I have reached this simple goal. It is a way to give me pride and confidence. A bit of tone, not really bulking muscles. But I am striving to enjoy the after effects of each session and also defer my inevitable bodily decay.
Yesterday my son posted a paragraph on the reddit fitness site (200,000 followers) talking about how I did some exercise 330 days in a row as a challenge to be disciplined and to also keep a little bit more toned than doing nothing at all. Well it really caught on and was voted right to the top for most of the day. He also had some links to this irasabs site, so the traffic numbers were blown way off the charts: almost 25 times the average number of daily visitors. Even today the traffic was six times normal.
But in addition to 729 points, compared to 270 for today’s highest-valued thread, there were 140 comments. My son was proud and amused by them. I certainly was laughing at some of the responses. So here are a few to add some giggles to your day as well. And contrary to what some of the people suggested, I am not on any steroids or other drugs to bulk up…
I hope to be like you when I’m 50+.
Dang, I hope I look like you when I get to 30.
I never was into older men…. but damn you’re the exception
Ira you are an inspiration and a mad cat.
If I am 70 and look like that I will dress like an African Bushman and tell everyone to deal with it.
Your father is in better shape than a lot of men my age (22). Good for him, that’s amazing.
This is pretty awesome. So much of the aging process happens because people stop engaging in physical activity.
mein godt your dad is a beast, mine is in perma bulk mode with fat-beetus and a large amount of heart problems associated with bulking for more than 25 years.
It’s kinda sad that’s probably the best our bodies would look when they’re that age. I don’t wanna get old.
I’m sorry but someone doesn’t look like that at 71 without some help.
My first thought as well. People always assume it’s an insult even though his dedication is awesome either way. People (are) denying the likely reality that he is on gear (slang for steroids), but even if he is there’s nothing wrong with that.
At his age he could easily get prescribed testosterone from a physician too. Anti-ageing clinics everywhere.
Your dad is a very inspirational character, thanks for sharing his legend!!! (“story” seemed unworthy :p)
After 14 months of avoiding the place, I finally made it to the gym. It was a minimal workout, just 30 minutes, but it really felt great to be pumping up. But knowing I was going to be near the gym after a friend’s afternoon lecture, I thought the gym visit would be easy.
In fact it was absolutely necessary. At the lecture, I saw an acquaintance who told me his wife had died just three months after learning she had cancer. They had been together almost 30 years, had both recently retired and were planning “a decade or two of travel and relaxation.” I was so stunned I could barely stand up. I became a bit dizzy and thought I was going to fall down, that my legs wouldn’t support me.
So I raced to the gym to burn off my fear, anger, tension, adrenalin, whatever. It was a welcome relief from a horribly upsetting encounter. I feel so bad for this man who is struggling with his new and unexpected circumstances. And for his deceased wife, who had almost no time to prepare. I didn’t ask any questions about lifestyles and health habits. It just reminded me yet again how fragile and unpredictable our health and living is. It’s a constant gift that needs to be appreciated, treasured and cared for…
David Brooks wrote a very upsetting column last week suggesting that if you had as a child many of 10 pretty common traumas, then you may be doomed for life to suffer bad stuff, including health and weight issues. Traumas like being abused, having divorced parents, or family members who’d been incarcerated or declared mentally ill. Coincidentally I saw a movie about Freud and Jung, in which the former just wanted to identify the source of the problems, while Jung also wanted to help heal or cure the problem. Hard for me to understand why Dr. Freud wouldn’t want to heal the patients as well. Here are some excerpts from the Brooks article.
They gave the 17000 adults interviewed what came to be known as ACE scores, depending on how many of the 10 experiences they had endured. The link between childhood trauma and adult outcomes was striking. People with an ACE score of 4 were seven times more likely to be alcoholics as adults than people with an ACE score of 0. They were six times more likely to have had sex before age 15, twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer, four times as likely to suffer emphysema. People with an ACE score above 6 were 30 times more likely to have attempted suicide.
Later research suggested that only 3 percent of students with an ACE score of 0 had learning or behavioral problems in school. Among students with an ACE score of 4 or higher, 51 percent had those problems.
Schools are now casting about, trying to find psychological programs that will help students work on resilience, equanimity and self-control. Some schools give two sets of grades—one for academic work and one for deportment.
And it’s not just schools that are veering deeper into the psychological realms. Health care systems are going the same way, tracing obesity and self-destructive habits back to social breakdown and stress.
When I do my 10 minutes of exercise tonight, it will be the 325th day in a row. I am already wondering if I will stop at 365, go for 400, or do it forever? After an evening of tennis, when I was working too actively to exercise before the games, I come home and relax for an hour or two, before I can make myself exercise. Then I eat after 11 pm or so. Not healthy. But I played/practiced tennis six out of seven days from September 18-24. I was tired. Cramming in exercise was NOT easy. Yet I did it.
I have proven to myself and anyone who knows about this challenge that I can be disciplined enough to exercise daily no matter where I am in the world, no matter what the day’s events and demands. At this point, it’s still a source of pride that I made it this far, but it’s also a simple fact. It was the new me before. It’s who I have become at present.
Now my daughter came home for the weekend and brought creamy cheeses like brie and St. Andre. I ate those high-cholesterol bites with great pleasure. Then she made some chocolate sauce with much butter and maple syrup. I ate it on one spoonful of ice cream with extraordinary delight. She is a bad bad influence. I think it would be hopeless to avoid those unhealthy, fattening foods (for me) if she lived here. My secret is to not have the food in the house.
I did see a friend in Manhattan last week who has lost 15 pounds and is walking each day with Heavy Hands. He looks great, is walking more briskly and his posture has improved. He gives my fitness efforts some credit for reminding him to lose weight. His girl friend sees some tone in his arms, and he is feeling better…we all do it whenever we do…if we ever do.
At a dinner party recently with people in their 50’s and 60’s, there was lots of talk about limbs that didn’t work, backs that had been operated on, illnesses that were affecting life styles. I know lots of good health is dumb luck, some genetic proteins that work better, and being blessed by circumstances (like clean water and anti-biotics). While I can play and move, I will. I just won’t brag about it to anyone over 50. Too antagonistic…though it shouldn’t be. I’d rather be an inspiration than a source of depression and resentment. Oh well.