Friday, February 22, 2013
Maybe there is one thing I can say about where I've been that might be helpful to some people. Heart disease is not the end. I'm living with it and thriving. I rarely think about it.
I'm writing this at age 81. More than 20 years ago I told my doctor I sometimes had chest pains that went away when I got up from my desk and drank some water. I thought they couldn't be heart disease, but my doctor sent me for a stress test anyway. I flunked. I was then diagnosed with partly blocked coronary arteries and started on medication.
A few weeks before I turned 65 I phoned my cardiologist to say I had a chest pain like I never had before. I made an appointment to see him that afternoon. When I got there he took an EKG and then said, "Leave your car here. My nurse will drive you to the hospital." I had my first angioplasty that evening. I had a stent about six weeks later (after I turned 65), then another angioplasty a few weeks after that, and a double bypass a few weeks after that. Then nothing for about 10 years, and then three more stents.
"Once a heart patient, always a heart patient." I see my cardiologist regularly, I'm tested regularly, I take a little medication for my heart and other medications for my other problems. Medical science knows how to manage heart disease. Science is actually saving us from our bad habits -- statistics show that while more people are getting heart disease, fewer people are dying from it. Of course I try to avoid bad habits. I exercise regularly, I evidently don't eat too much, and I take my medications regularly most of the time.
That's my story. I hope it encourages some heart patients to live life to the full.
Friday, February 22, 2013
I just realized I'm not getting anything useful here any more. I started here looking for low fat and low salt recipes. But low fat isn't considered a good thing any more, and I personally don't need to avoid salt. Then I switched to looking for exercises, but I've settled on a routine that works for me and I stick to it regularly, except for small changes when I need them and skipping a day or two when I shouldn't exercise. Now all I do here is pick at details I don't think are perfectly accurate.
I don't think I can help other people here either. I've never been overweight, let alone obese. Sometimes I was heavier than I wanted to be but I never had any trouble losing unwanted weight. I've never been athletic but I always preferred walking to riding and climbing stairs to using elevators. I've never been where most of you are trying to get away from. I'm close to where I want to be and getting closer.
So I turned off most of my email preferences. I think my alerts are still turned on so if anyone wants to reach me they can. My account will remain open so I can come back if ever I want to. Meanwhile I will lurk silently, if at all, and speak only when spoken to.
I wish the best of the best to all of you.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
I just followed a link that took me to a 20 minute video of a stick-thin young woman named Heather supposedly showing me how this 20 minute portion of a workout can strengthen and tone my entire body in no time! All I need for this efficient workout is a pair of dumbbells and a mat.
So as I watched the video I picked up a pad and pencil and started to take notes on the sequence of moves. I'm supposed to start with some body weight exercises and then pick up a pair of dumbbells that can challenge me within 8 to 12 repetitions. Then I'm supposed to do everything she does in the video.
Each one of these exercises takes less than a minute, so (do the arithmetic) there are more than 20 different exercises. Most of them combine different moves to be done alternately. There's no way I can remember the whole sequence. Either I have to keep a list of the exercises and stop after every exercise to see what to do next, or I have to buy the DVD and watch the video while doing the exercises at exactly the same pace as that skinny woman who looks less than half my age. Either way I need more than dumbbells and a mat.
To begin with she says we're going to focus on muscular strength and endurance. Sorry, those are two different kinds of focus. There are strength exercises and there are endurance exercises. A weight that challenges your endurance does not challenge your strength. I do strength workouts and endurance workouts on alternate days.
I have my own 20 minute strength workout. Heather does body weight squats. I do squats with a 63 pound bar on my shoulders. (I'm 81 years old; your strength may vary.) I do 13 different exercises, and for each exercise I use a weight that challenges me at 15 repetitions. When I can do 15 repetitions easily I increase the weight. I do use a piece of paper to keep track of the exercises and the corresponding weights.
Heather does alternating squats and overhead raises with her dumbbells, 11 repetitions in about 40 seconds, and then rests about 20 seconds before the next exercise, talking all the time. I do the same exercise at twice the pace: raising and lowering the dumbbells as far as I can as fast as I can for 20 seconds, which comes to 10 to 12 repetitions, then resting for 10 seconds. I do that 8 times, for a 4 minute workout (which you might recognize as Tabata training). I'm not talking, I'm breathing hard. My heart rate ends up well over the widely used but inaccurate maximum heart rate estimate of 220 minus my age (your heart rate may vary). That's my endurance workout.
There's one way I can't do what she does. My balance isn't what it used to be. Heather does backward lunges in the middle of an open platform. As soon as I do a backward lunge I start to fall over and I can't hold the position without grabbing the back of a chair. By the time she says she's beginning to challenge her balance, she's way beyond what I can do.
If you want to look at the video it's at
Heather is not really that skinny; the video is squeezed horizontally. (Look at the ends of the dumbbells; they look like eggs standing on end.)
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I turned 81 last month. I figure each year is a point won in the game of life.
I updated my profile picture today. I wanted to deflate the belly bulge, and I made it by cheating a little: I changed my posture. I adopted a more posterior pelvic tilt. Tighten the abs so the front of the pelvis rises, and the pelvis tilts back, reducing the forward bulge just above it.
I keep changing my exercise routine. I just started a new one. Two or three times a week I do 13 free weight exercises, one set each, as many repetitions as I can do until the effort gets harder. If I can do 15 reps I increase the weight, if I can't do more than 5 I reduce the weight.
I don't do aerobic exercise. I suppose I should, but I don't have the patience to walk in place for 20 minutes. Every week or two I do a Tabata workout: 20 seconds maximum effort, 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times, for a 4 minute workout. For me, maximum effort is holding a 10 pound dumbbell in each hand and lowering and raising it as far as I can as fast as I can. At the end of 4 minutes my heart rate is above what my maximum heart rate is supposed to be according to the conventional formula. Hint: the conventional formula is known to be wrong for most people, especially for the youngest and oldest adults, and it isn't supposed work for children. If the weather is good when my meds run out I walk to the pharmacy, about a mile and a half each way, but that only happens once a month.
I weigh myself before breakfast most days, but my goal is still to keep my weight unchanged while shifting it from fat to muscle, if that's possible. If not, at least I hope to hold off the inevitable decline.
Get An Email Alert Each Time MARTY32M Posts