Tuesday, October 23, 2012
That was a rather cynical reaction of a critic to a longevity study a few years ago. Other research has documented the longevity bonus of running and of other exercise as well. One concluded a 7 year differential.
So why the cynicism? Is it even true? Imagine a really dedicated runner. Running 2 hours a day, 5 days per week, 300 days per year for 40 years. Even at 10 min/mile that’s 60 miles per week – 3 times my routine and way beyond the average for recreational runners. That does translate into 1000 days of running, about 2 years 8 months, but that wasn’t really the point was it? The implication was that those who spent time working out, in this case running, were somehow missing out on life.
You could substitute any activity for “running” in the above example.
Then you would have watched TV for nearly 3 years, or played video games for nearly 3 years, consumed food for 3 years or even spent that time on SP. How long has SP been around anyway?
Let’s forget the 2 hour/day timeframe. That was only chosen to approximate 3 years over a lifetime. Consider 30-60 min per day, 3 to 5 times per week - quite enough to gain health benefits. If you hate running, then walk, or bike or swim or dance or try Zumba or any of the other activities that have sprung up to accommodate us. If you hate the activity, it’s unlikely you could sustain it long enough to reap the benefits anyway.
Now returning to the original study, the benefits were more than longevity. Researchers (Stanford University) found that runners delayed major disabilities 16 years longer than non-runners and had lower instances of cancer, infections and other diseases. Also there was no increase in joint problems, knee replacements or osteoarthritis in the subjects studied. Yes, I understand that runners probably had other healthy habits that the control group did not have. However, Stanford does have a reputation for controlling as many variables as possible.
Hmm, - comparing runners who regularly consume junk food with those who don’t? I wonder who would fund that research? “Little Debbie” perhaps?
I well understand the stress that life can put on us. No one advocates quitting your job or ignoring your family’s needs, and there are certain extraordinary situations where one really doesn’t have time for oneself. However, if those times are the norm and last for years, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate. You count too, and you want to be around and healthy so you can continue to be helpful to others.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
That was the screech from the nursery that sent me running to my toddler’s room 37 years ago. I found her holding back the curtain and excitingly shouting “The sun came back!”
Such is the wonder of an almost 3 year old who suddenly realizes each day is a new beginning. Today is the first day of the rest of your life is a cliché, but true nonetheless.
What about last week?
Did we make good choices? Did life interfere with our plans?
It really doesn’t matter now. Today we begin a new day and new week.
Here’s the choice. Look forward with hope and stay on the right track or fall back into old destructive habits. I don’t want to retrace my steps and go backwards. I know where that leads and I didn’t like it there.
So, as I watch the sun rise over the lake, I wish you all a good day and the resolve to make it a good week.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Last month I wrote about the daily challenge of living with the junk food king, including a picture of my kitchen table.
This is how it looks now.
The peanut butter is mine – part of my breakfast every morning for the past decade. Further back you can see DH’s Nutella peeking out from behind the napkins. Not a bad choice, except that’s part of his 1st breakfast. There are always one or two more before lunch. Yesterday it was cheese Danish. I know because I saw the wrapper in the garbage.
The water bottles are there just to be handy to grab as I run out the door. I always want one with me. Note the new SP inspired additions – 3 bottles (vegan omega-3 since I’m allergic to fish, vitamin D3 since my test showed I’m low normal and a multivitamin). Why are they upside-down, you may ask? That’s how I know whether or not I remembered to take them. One with each meal and, as SP advised, dependent on what I am eating. (The body can’t absorb more than 500 mg of Vitamin C at a time etc.)
The junk food is still in the house, only it’s been banished from my sight. I know my table won’t get Martha Stewart’s approval. That’s a bunch of old mail at the far end and no pretty centerpiece. But it’s much more conducive to a healthy lifestyle than it used to be.
Just for comparison, here’s the old photo.
EDIT: Onmymed's comment reminded me that I should have added that I do use a reusable water bottle, but I visit a lot of places during the day where I find the water source questionable. So when I need a refill, I have an alternative and I do recycle always.
Friday, October 19, 2012
We are often warned by well intentioned people about a specific activity because of potential injury. Don’t do X, Y or Z. It will hurt your (insert body part here).
Looking back at my history of injuries serious enough to require rest and/or rehabilitation, the activities most dangerous to me are eating out and food shopping.
In reverse chronological order:
July 2012: I tripped over a step while checking out the items on the restaurant’s buffet. I landed awkwardly and twisted my left knee.
Result: 2 months of rehab exercises and no workouts.
April 2010: While grocery shopping, I caught sight of a half price sale on chocolate! I did a quick pivot and strained a ligament in my right knee.
Result: Ice, Advil and 2 weeks of not running.
May 2007: In a local supermarket I was buying a salad and bottle of water for lunch. I didn’t have a cart for the 2 purchases and as I came around the corner of the aisle, I fell over shelving that the employees had left on the FLOOR. Nothing broken, but I got a 6” by 6” ugly purple bruise on my thigh and a lot of pain.
Result: 2 months of inactivity and a lot of Advil.
Note: The first thing the manager did was order his people to remove the shelving. I actually had to ask them for ice. No apology from the store, just a letter from their legal staff that any claim would require my submitting all my medical records for the last 10 years without any guarantee of confidentiality. Fortunately, I didn’t have any expenses or miss work, but it did give me a new perspective about those who hire personal injury attorneys.
June 3, 2006: Our 39th wedding anniversary. We were coming out of the restaurant where we had dinner and were looking for the Cheesecake Factory for dessert when I tripped over a concrete planter on the sidewalk and fell face first, breaking my fall with my outstretched hands.
Result: 6 months of rehab for a frozen shoulder. At least I could still run.
OK, 3 of the 4 were my own fault. However, bizarre things happen to other people too. At our gym last week a woman tripped over the weights she left on the floor and fell into another woman. The 2nd woman broke her leg - another case of wrong place, wrong time.
Be careful out there!
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