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Posts Tagged health

Benefits From Just 10 Minutes Of Exercise

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.”

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Would You Pay To See A New Film About Sugar?

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…

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Pictures Of Beauty Are A Marketing Lie

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.

even Barbie dolls reflect our culture's obsession with thinness

even Barbie dolls reflect our culture’s obsession with thinness

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?

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You Have To Laugh At Life

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…

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Life Becomes More Fragile

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.

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A Moment On The Lips, Forever On The Hips

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?

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Plastic Is More Harmful To Your Health Than You Ever Imagined!

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.

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Keeping Sports In Perspective And Dealing With Envy

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…

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Feeling Apologetic For Success

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.

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Oh No! I Am Going To Die!

Went to the doctor for my annual physical today…he gave me an A+ and said of all his patients in their 70′s, I am in the best shape. Unimpressed, I asked him about his patients in their 60′s, and he said I am near the top of that group too. Everything looked good…as usual. All the exercise and healthy eating is still paying off.

I had just spent a week in Florida visiting my old high school classmates. One was lucky to be alive after serious health issues and weeks in the hospital. I hope I can hug all those guys again next visit in the fall and that none have passed on to loftier pastures. One said he doesn’t recognize his face in the mirror. I told him to start “youthing” the image by coloring his hair, so it isn’t all white. The guy who’d been hospitalized said he didn’t have any hair left to color!

On the way out of the doctor’s office, feeling pretty happy with the doctor’s comments, a staff member suddenly yelled back anxiously that I couldn’t go yet. The doctor needed to talk to me. Uh oh. This has never happened in 20 years.

So back to the examining room to wait impatiently. My blood pressure had tested 20 points higher than the year before: 130/70 up from 110/70. Maybe there was something wrong with my heart. Unlike previous visits, the doctor had been so prompt that the EKG was taken after he examined me, rather than before. So I guessed he had looked at it and seen a problem. Now he was going to give me the bad news. Ten minutes earlier I was talking about living to 90 or 100. Now I feared he was going to tell me to go to a specialist, a heart surgeon, who knows what.

Two weeks ago a friend went for her annual physical feeling fine. She had major surgery a week later. Tomorrow another friend will have surgery. I know of a number of people who feel fine, go to their physical and learn that they have terminal illnesses. WHY DOES MY DOCTOR NEED TO TALK TO ME AGAIN? WHAT THE HELL COULD BE WRONG? I am too agitated to sit, so I pace around heading towards a panic.

The medical assistant comes in and places the paper print out of my EKG on the table. I look at it, trying to decipher the peaks and valleys. Two lines look totally uniform. But two others have spikes in just two places. Another line has descendant drops in just two places. Has my heart failed? Are my tennis days over? Will I need surgery? Take a deep breath or three and calm down. But this has never happened before. Is this a panic attack? Where the hell is the doctor? Rehearsing his speech to tell me that I have a serious problem?

He comes in at last after maybe 10 lifetime minutes. He looks at the EKG. Three seconds later he casually announces that the paper copy confirms his earlier exam. ” You’re fine. See you in a year.” We shake hands, and he heads for the next room. He has no idea what I went through. A woman friend tells me this is what she goes through every time she has a mammogram.

Painful. Horrible. But I am relieved that my conscientiousness about health, diet and exercise—combined with good genes—keeps me going without grief and justified anxiety…

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Physical Activity Feeds Your Brain

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!

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Fearing Poor Health And Painful Accidents

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.

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My 15 Minutes Of Fitness Fame On Reddit

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)

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Back At The Gym For A Tension-Relieving Workout

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…

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Obesity, Cancer And Other Health Issues May Correlate With Childhood Traumas

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.

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325 Continuous Days Of Exercise

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.

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Obvious Secrets For Living Longer With Minimal Illness

Here’s another Gretchen Reynolds article about the benefits of fitness into old age. The comments are good and predictable too…over 200 of them with first-hand advice. Of course the real goal is to not just live longer, but to delay or minimize infirmity in old age. Middle age fitness helps you do that. Below are some excerpts.

A new study suggests that being or becoming fit in middle age, even if you haven’t previously bothered with exercise, appears to reshape the landscape of aging.

Those adults who had been the least fit at the time of their middle-age checkup also were the most likely to have developed any of eight serious or chronic conditions early in the aging process. These include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and colon or lung cancer.

The adults who’d been the most fit in their 40s and 50s often developed many of the same conditions, but notably their maladies appeared significantly later in life than for the less fit. Typically, the most aerobically fit people lived with chronic illnesses in the final five years of their lives, instead of the final 10, 15 or even 20 years.

Being physically fit “compresses the time” that someone is likely to spend being debilitated during old age, leaving the earlier post-retirement years free of serious illness and, at least potentially, imbued with a finer quality of life.

Interestingly, the effects of fitness in this study statistically were greater in terms of delaying illness than in prolonging life. While those in the fittest group did tend to live longer than the least fit, perhaps more important was the fact that they were even more likely to live well during more of their older years.

Two Comments:

* ellen
* L.A., CA

This time of life offers so much. If you’re lucky enough to be retired it’s certainly easier. However, having said that, when I turned 50 I made a deal with myself that I would exercise every day. I got to say how much, though. Some days it was 5 minutes, some days an hour. Little by little I got to feel so much better that now I do pilates (at home) for about a half hour and then I walk for about 45 minutes. I eat the paleo diet and, at 63, I can tell you I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life. I have more energy. I have no aches and pains. I kayak and dance, and do art. I’m very lucky to be living this life. I’m also very devoted to making the most of it. Oh yes, I take NO MEDS. I’m hoping to live and long and healthy life. But more than hope, I’m working for it. My body is there for me every day. The least I can do is give it a hand. Start small and trust that it will build. You get to like it after a while, Honest. It’s become so much a part of my life now that on a day I might no get to do my walk, say, I miss it terribly.

* RS Close
* Ventura County, CA

Just the realization that living longer is not the goal, but living better is what happens to someone who exercises should be enough evidence to encourage people to move their bodies. I have been taking workout classes for years. Now, I am 71. I do spinning classes 4X week, at least walk or hike on each of the other days…..I am NEVER sick….I do not take medications…I do take vitamins and supplements…..I have all of my original body parts and best of all….my friends are much younger and lots of fun….people my own age are all falling apart. I also eat a very healthy, almost all organic diet and cook most nights…nothing elaborate, but careful planning…it takes focus but it is well worth the results. Hope more people pay attention to the important findings in the article!

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Hospital Athletes

During multiple visits to the hospital recently to see a friend, I am impressed at all the activity on the floor by post-operative patients who want to hasten their recovery. The main exercise is walking around the floor. I am guessing that the doctors and nurses are really urging their charges to get out of bed and chair, but it seems to me the patients like the change of pace as well.

Most of the time the walker is hooked up to liquids in see-through bags and monitoring machines that are hanging from a sort of hat rack on wheels. It’s a 6-foot-high intravenous (IV) pole with five wheels on the bottom and sometimes a circle of steel near the middle for hand support and pushing. There are often friends and family members walking along too for conversation and moral support. At some stage, the walker lets a companion do the pushing, so he can walk faster, when he doesn’t need to hold on to anything.

There is no rule about the direction you have to walk, so you are constantly smiling at others perambulating opposite to you. And the demographic mix is quite varied…young and old, men and women, all in partially covering hospital gowns. But the guests are more distinctive, for I saw Orthodox Jews with skull caps and wigs, Indians in saris, Upper East Siders in designer clothes and fancy jewelry, as well as the overheated guys in shorts and polo shirts. I loved the Middle Eastern patient whose arm and back were completely covered with elaborate tattoos.

Now how fast you go is really a challenge. My friend could only go a few steps, a helping hand under his arm, and balancing with the pole the second day. He often needed to pause for a breath and that day turned around and headed “home” to his room after a total distance equal to just one fourth of the circuit. By Day 3, he was doing two laps, four the next day, and two of those without him pushing the pole. I was advised not to pressure him to go for a mile real soon, because that was 13 laps at the hospital I visited.

On my third visit in a week, he was doing five non-stop laps at a time, 15 total laps for the day, and was walking so fast that it seemed there was a wind generated by the speed that whisked papers off the nurse station desks. The pole-pushing person walking with our group of four had to practically run to keep up. She said she felt like the last body on the outside end of some ice skaters turning a corner and whipping her around. I thought my friend was like a race horse who’d been cooped up in a stall (his bed and room) who was just let out for a walk, but geared up immediately for a gallop.

Whether “jogging” without assistance or using a walker or cane, each patient is trying to improve muscle tone and mobility as quickly as possible. Their courage and determination to overcome their weakness and pain are laudable and an athletic challenge I never appreciated before focusing on this site.

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I Should Have Eaten More Steak!

These were the first words said by a woman who just found out she had incurable cancer and was going to die soon: “I should have eaten more steak!” Seven months later, she was gone…

I heard this anecdote from a friend who knows the widower. My friend (let’s call him Goliath, or G for short) and I were discussing mortality, health, and discipline. G often comments how disciplined I am to avoid foods with cholesterol. I often remind him how I used to eat half a pint of ice cream with chocolate syrup almost every night. Then my cholesterol rose to heart-attack-warning levels, so I gave it up. Eat a lot of sorbet now, almost no cheese, fat-free yogurt, soy milk and olive oil instead of more delicious butter. Now my cholesterol is down. Hopefully I will live longer and more healthfully.

Do I miss those foods. Sometimes, for sure. But knowing they are bad for me, I usually am just fine without them. If I suddenly learn that I will be dead in a few months or days, I don’t think it will bother me that I modified my diet and exercised more to stay healthy, fit, and enjoying these later years. But that’s me.

I remember a smoker saying that he is likely to live just 6 or 7 years less than a non-smoker. “Worth it,” he pronounced. Of course his addictions were no comparison to my giving up butter. But it’s all a balance, G and I decided. What if you live 10 years in good health, rather than 20 years in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices?

Of course you could die tomorrow in an accident. In that case you wouldn’t have time to regret having avoided harmful foods and life style. But working out the balance is quite confronting. Why earn more money for older age and health costs, if you think you will die in a year? Why stay fit and flexible? Why not cheat on your wife or husband? Why spend time helping out friends and supporting unemployed children? Do whatever you want!

It’s almost impossible to live solely for the moment, in spite of movies and novels starring glamorous, smiling hedonists. But is it really tempting to you?

When I was working at my own publishing company in the early years, I was newly divorced and wanted to be as stabilizing as possible for my two little girls. When they had summer and holiday vacations, I took huge amounts of time off, regardless of the business consequences. One year I was with the girls 104 days, including 26 weekends (52 of the days). Of course I felt guilty at first, but then I would tell myself that if any of my staff members complained, I would say I only had six months to live. That would justify the time away, I reasoned. In their minds as well as mine.

So I am familiar with that confrontation of how much we…I…should watch the diet, be responsible, do good deeds, exercise, say NO to another beer, another shirt, another vacation.
We each have to work it out, and it a challenge every time we look at a menu, open the freezer, hear about a friend’s trip to Bora Bora, see a friend divorce his wife of decades and become the playboy of the suburban world.

Good luck with your choices. And may the Force of long, healthy life be with you…

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Future Benefits For Healthy Eaters?

Was talking to the owner of the B&B I stayed at in Newport. A slightly overweight guy who cooks and serves guests Eggs Benedict and pancakes with fruit in them made with strange flours. He admits that he loves to eat (“look at all the great food here”) and that he can’t stop himself. His stomach seems to have no “I’m Full” feeling. And there I was eating leftovers for breakfast I couldn’t finish from my dinner the night before.

As long as we were talking about eating, I brought up all the people we’d been seeing in the streets and tennis stands who were grossly overweight. I’d been talking with friends about how people should take some responsibility for their obesity, especially when they don’t buy health insurance, use the emergency rooms for free, and raise the premiums of those who do buy insurance.

The innkeeper was reasonable. “People like me should pay higher taxes or premiums. We need new laws. Even constitutional amendments.” But that will take decades, I told him. He said it’s in the new health care law. Not sure he is right. But one good thing about going bankrupt…it forces you to change your spending habits for sure. If you are a good driver, you get a premium discount. Same if you don’t smoke. So shouldn’t fit and healthy people pay less than those who abuse their bodies and ignore good health?

Food for thought!

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TJ Faces Two Big Challenges

TJ (left) with friends—3/24/2012

Back on March 17th, I wrote about how I hurt my knee and was scared that I might no longer be able to play tennis…and then was ashamed that with all the sickness and sadness in the world, I had no right to feel sorry for myself. Here is a poignant and powerful comment from a reader named TJ. She has really set a high athletic challenge for herself: to run a marathon (26 miles) although the most she has ever run non-stop in her life is “just” eight miles! She also has another challenge involving her health and appearance, and has an unbelievably positive and adaptive attitude. She reminds me how in the past, as my hair thinned out, my bald spot became larger, and I watched a relative lose all her hair during cancer treatments, I would rationalize that “it’s better to be bald than dead.”

This post resonated with me, so I felt the need to comment. These are just some thoughts, so forgive me if the sentiment’s a little scattered.

This past December I entered the lottery for the New York City marathon for the fourth time in my life, and was admitted. FINALLY I’m getting the chance to live out one of my lifelong dreams of running 26.2 miles in the city in which I’ve learned some of my most important life lessons. To have the opportunity to meet this challenge head on, means the whole world to me, and every day that I go running, I just picture all of my Rocky Balboa-esque workouts culminating in that final moment when my mind has conquered matter, and I’m dashing across the finish line.

Another challenge presented itself this past December too—I discovered I have an auto-immune disorder called alopecia areta that causes my hair to fall out in patches sporadically. While otherwise perfectly healthy, I have absolutely no control over what my hair will look like the next day, and eventually, if my body doesn’t respond to treatment (cortisone injections in my scalp once a month), I could end up totally bald.

You can imagine that for a woman, not having any control over how I’m going to look is incredibly frustrating, and it’s made me consider how drastically others’ perceptions of me could shift in the next year or so. But surprisingly (even to me), I’m not that upset. I’ve had a lot of time since December to reflect on what my condition really is in the grand scheme of things. I’m not dying. Being bald wouldn’t change who I am fundamentally. There are so many worse things that can happen to a person. I have friends who are battling cancer, mourning the losses of their parents, and learning how to live their life again with only one leg. So whenever I start to feel sorry for myself for a little hair falling out, I remember that for now, I can still go for a run. Who knows? Maybe if I end up totally bald, the lack of extra wind resistance will shave a couple minutes off my marathon time? : )

she is losing patches of hair

It’s tough not being able to do something you’ve been able to your whole life. It’s tough not having control while your body changes. I know playing tennis and putting your hair up are in two totally different ballparks, but I think I can empathize with the sentiment. We’re all constantly on a journey to achieve and to perfect ourselves despite the wear and tear that comes with living. But maybe if you stay off of your knee for a while, you’ll have the opportunity to pull something else out of yourself you didn’t know was there. Maybe you’re a world class chess player? Maybe you’ll spend more time rowing and find that it’s something you love?

We are each a project that’s always evolving and re-growing. I could lose all of my hair. I could sprain my ankle and not even make it to the marathon (knock on wood). But until that happens, I’m relishing in shampooing my hair every morning and beaming with every step I take in the evening because you’re right—as long as we’re alive, it’s not enough to just watch the ocean from the beach. You don’t get a dress rehearsal, so you have to enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it and push for everything you want in this life. If you love tennis, play tennis until you can’t play tennis anymore, and then when you can’t, you’ll find a new passion within yourself and be a stronger person for it.

When I’m running, I spend a lot of time thinking about the people and ideas that have made me strong enough to conquer a marathon, and I want to put them all on the t-shirt I wear that day in some way to remind myself of who I really am. You can be sure that I’ll have a shout out to irasabs.com somewhere on that shirt. Thank you for always being an inspiration.

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Joe Marshall’s Thoughts On Diet, Health And Fasting

In response to my post on January 29th about the diet and health of the super athletes of the Tarahumara Indian tribe in Mexico, Joe Marshall wrote some interesting comments. I should mention that my father was a chiropractor who believed that you are what you eat, and moderation is one path to good health. He was also sick enough to spend a day or two in bed just four times in his life that I knew about, until his late 80′s, when years of smoking and too many pastrami sandwiches caught up to him.

As far as cancer goes, nutrition is key. Everyone must stay within his limitations to stay healthy. We eat un-natural foods. We compromise our digestive systems, so even good foods leak out and give us immune disorders. We are stressed out.

The AMA has contributed to the chronic disease syndrome by pumping us full of unnecessary drugs that mask symptoms, poison us, and ruin our digestive tracts. . Worse, they have been convicted in court of trying to put chiropractic out of business, a science that tries to improve health through natural means, helping the body heal itself, and following the Hippocratic Oath Mantra of “Do No Harm”. This is not to say that the AMA has not done wonders with surgery.

All chiropractors and naturopaths study the art of fasting.

A group of licensed medical experts (some of them MD’s) got together in the mid-20th century to form a group know as the American Natural Hygiene Society. These marvelous healers increased the lives and health of millions of people, promoting breast feeding, vegetarian diets, fasting, sunshine, and avoidance of polluted water (especially water with chlorine and fluoride). I could tell you case after case of people I have met who have gone on to have radiant health after being diagnosed with “incurable” degenerative diseases….arthritis, cystic ovaries, sterility, infertility, colitis, enlarged prostate, heart disease, liver diseases, emphysema, asthma, etc…..and all accomplished WITHOUT ANY medications.

Dr David J Scott fasted over 30,000 patients (including me). He had liver problems as a young man, due in part to a drug he was made to take every day for a year during WW2. He helped break the Japanese code back then. He came down with cancer at the age of 32. He kept the cancer in remission for 66 YEARS, running two full time businesses the whole time, dealing with all kinds of pressures, and never taking any medication. He fasted every winter. He just died at the age of 88, busy and productive until the last 2 weeks of his life.

Dr William Esser, in Florida, was never sick in his life. Never took a drug or had an operation. He lived to be 93, playing excellent SINGLES tennis until then, and died quietly in Florida, after also fasting more than 30,000 people. His mother lived to be 99 living the Natural Hygiene lifestyle. Anyone interested in vibrant health should search Natural Hygiene or David J Scott to be introduced to it. There is a famous book written in the 1950′s called “Health For the Millions” by Herbert J Shelton. It’s a good start, though some of his ideas have been modified by others.

Each of the two doctors I mentioned SUPERVISED over 30,000 fasts. Most were people who came to their establishments and fasted there, staying with them at the facility, under the doctor’s direct care (daily checks of blood pressure and other vital signs, and in Dr Scott’s case, blood tests in his own fully accredted lab, documenting the benefits of fasting). In the early days, some fasts were directed over the phone. Each was in operation about 60 years…..so that’s and average of 500 a year. Seems high, but that is what hey both said, and they were not known to lie. Fasts can range from 3 days to 50+ days. Dr Esser supervised a pro Canadian football player who fasted 70 days on distilled water (he lifted 100 lbs over his head on the 40th day….with one hand). He had been feeling short of breath and fatigued. the next year, he returned to the team and the coach couldn’t believe his evergy, running circles arund the other players….living on a little fruit and two (very big) salads a day. My brother, who is your age, fasted 50 days last summer. My roommate fasted 50 days when I did 30.

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Sacrifices For Shoveling

just 2 1/2 days back from Florida heat—10/30/11

lift, toss, don't overdo it

The other day I came back from Florida and watched 18-20 inches of snow crash down in a few hours. A freak storm. The historical record here for October is just 1.7 inches! We lost power for five days. Some people lost it for over a week. Even though I have a generator for part of each day, it’s still a more primitive existence.

Afraid that one of our flat roofs might buckle from the weight, I started shoveling off the heavy, wet snow.

Perhaps every time there is a big snow storm, some one over exerts and has a heart attack. Sometimes they die. Too out of shape, too fat, too macho to take it easy or pay a younger, fitter man to do the job. I thought of how with all this snow, I might be that idiot who drops dead. But I also thought that it was unlikely. I am fit, thin, do cardio on the tennis court. The odds were with me. Though I tired, I kept tossing the increasingly heavy shovels full of snow.

As I made progress clearing the roof, working my way through the tedium, relishing my abilities to heave the weight, I thought of all that I had given up over the years to be able to accomplish this task:

I have not enjoyed thousands of memorable and tasty meals with butter and cream sauce.
I have missed out on a million fabulous desserts with whipped cream, syrups, and icings.
I have passed on years of delicious alcohol drinks, like the sambuca and coffee beans that I was given at the hotel in Florida, and I was sipping every night.
I have pushed myself to exercise, when I didn’t want to.

You pay a price for everything, life is always a compromise, and I guess I made the right decision for me, no matter how much liquor and liqueurs I have not savored over the years…Is it really worth it? To have lived such a deprived life? Not totally, of course. I weaken now and then. There is no Big Brother ready to jail me or chain me when have an occasional pie a la mode. But I am constantly denying myself gustatory pleasures. Almost every day, I say no to some taste treat or spend time on a couch, rather than do push ups. And what’s the benefit? To be able to shovel snow? To not die from that effort?

We all make our choices, pick our paths. Some go to the gym and make muscles. I look in the mirror and wish I had the discipline to do that. Could I if I had to? Of course. But I don’t want to badly enough. I guess I was born to shovel snow sometimes. And think about anything but the boring chore of throwing frozen water drops off the roof…yet somehow, I am proud of this silly achievement.

Two great comments from Michael:

2011/11/14 at 10:41 AM

If you had been the village idiot, the rescue people would have had to go up on your slippery roof to get you down…further reducing your chances of getting to a careplex or decent cardiac unit on snowy, icy roads out in the middle of hooterville where you choose to reside. Perhaps after getting their shoes covered in snow, they would have slipped going down the three flights of stairs with you on a backboard or gurney, and dropped you over the railing…OMG, now look at the paperwork we will have to fill out. Or, in the words of my nephew, tripped over that little white ball of fur (sic…useless white dog) that was barking and biting at their heels encouraging them to hurry up and get the alpha dog out of the house so it could be in charge again.

I think we know (and I have proven) that being fit is no guarantee you will conquer the white stuff building up on your roof. While I have made a few less culinary sacrifices than you, I have for years made more fitness sacrifices. Hours lifting and toning in the gym, triathlons, kayaking, hundreds of abs each week, hiking, walking, spinning, aerobics, etc.

So I don’t worry about a little butter in my food…I never have eaten cream sauce [mom gave us margarine and corn oil, worse than butter by far...who knew].

I don’t eat many desserts, just the occasional piece of pie (once a quarter maybe), and perhaps some ice cream every couple of weeks. {Don’t you dare bring up the first cheesecake I made in almost 30 years, yes I know I ate most of it, how was I to know that no one else in the family liked cheesecake, I couldn’t let it go to waste. It took me two weeks to get through it after all.}

My cardiologist says one or two alcoholic drinks helps clean out my arteries but I choose vodka not a sweet syrupy concoction like sambuca (yes I know my liver is paying a price, but we are discussing heart attacks here. What do you mean how often do I have those one or two drinks?…next question!)

I have not been a big beef or pork eater since the mid 80s when our military served my chow, at least I hope it was beef and pork…(now maybe once a month for each), limiting myself to reasonable portions of chicken, fish or other seafood (shrimp, oysters and scallops on occasion…can’t remember the last lobster…sigh!!)

Lastly, most importantly I believe little or no fried foods, no trans fats at home, fresh vegetables and salads at every meal (no, not breakfast, I don’t eat breakfast except on the weekends, so put your egg yoke back in your repertoire and save it for someone else please). I have never had a rise in cholesterol after eating eggs for breakfast the weekend before. Did I mention I can’t remember my last lobster, I think it was responsible for about a 30 point gain one year…sigh!

So in spite of this reasonably healthy lifestyle (exceedingly healthy compared to most of the world, and certainly most Americans) I wind up with an aortic valve replacement and a double bypass at 55. Would I give up shrimp scampi if someone guaranteed me that I would not have needed to have my chest cut open…certainly. But there are no guarantees like that.

Do what you can, find your balance, check your levels annually and make some choices. If you wind up in ICU with a breathing tube and a whole lot of pain killers in you, you will still not know if it was bad choices or bad genes, all you can do is mitigate the chances of getting there.

Great pictures of you shoveling, a much higher chance that you would end up with a pulled back from twisting than a heart attack anyway. Still would have required a paramedic to get you off the roof on a backboard…I’ll stick with my two egg yokes and hire a 20 something to shovel my roof..like the man said it’s all about the choices.

Michael

2011/11/14 at 10:43 AM

Oh and by the way, the cheesecake was post surgery while I was recovering at home. If I survived open heart surgery, I ought to be able to make it through a piece of cheesecake!

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Some Readers Becoming Fitter, Finding The LIFE LESSONS Inspirational and Sending In Their Own Stories

There are people I know who are acting more healthfully since I began writing two years ago about fitness and talking about this site. Some have said how much they like the philosophical anecdotes about life that I call LIFE LESSONS. Many like looking at the pictures of celebrities who’ve lost weight or muscled their bodies. I have OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES AND PHOTOS on the site now for additional inspiration. This is great. Why not email me—or upload—your story?

After two years of going to a gym, I began in April 2009 to work on my abs. Then an August 2009 shoulder injury from too many pull ups gave me the perfect excuse to give up the gym. My muscles shrank, but I started playing more tennis. I did crunches at home for 18 months, and in November 2010 achieved a personal best: 500+500+600=1600 crunches with a minute rest between each of the three sets.

Since fall I barely exercised at home, because I was too tired from 29 to 42 hours of tennis a month. Beginning in November 2010, I completely stopped doing crunches and started doing push ups in addition to tennis 3-4 days a week. I admit I was lazy. And I gained weight from all those holiday meals. You can see my smaller abs in the photo on the left. At least I look better than two years ago. As a sometimes inspiration, I check out the guy with the talking abs in this video. You won’t believe what he can do…

70th birthday after gaining 12 pounds, not exercising for 11 days and almost no crunches for 5 months—4/6/11

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The Obamas Promote Healthy Eating and Fitness, But the President’s Abs Need Work!

Here is a view of the President’s abs. You can see he needs a lot of work:

Obama abs need work

Obama abs need work

These are excerpts from a June 16th column by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times:

…He (President Barack Obama) clearly feels strongly about nutrition and fat. The child who looks a little chubby in that famous picture of himself with his long-lost father in Hawaii grew up to be extremely careful about eating and drinking in a healthy way.

The willowy commander in chief urges out-of-shape and overweight aides to go to his Chicago trainer who now works part-time at the White House — and even offers to treat especially recalcitrant cases.

On a date night this spring with Michelle at the Georgetown restaurant Citronelle, the president showed how calorie-conscious he was when, over a three-hour meal, he managed the impossible feat of nibbling only one French fry. “He wants to stay skinny, you know?” chef Michel Richard mischievously told “Extra” afterward. Read the rest of this entry »

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