Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: July 2011
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Father

The writing of my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age” and my concern about physical and mental health has a lot to do with my childhood and adolescence in Detroit. I spend a lot of time thinking about health and ways to increase longevity or finding the secret to the fountain of youth. For me, this is becoming more important as I age. So far, I’m pleased with my aging process. My mental and physical fitness levels are still strong.
My father unfortunately was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Early on I remember conversations about foods that he could or couldn’t eat. I also recall my father injecting insulin, with a needle, into his body and his struggle with regulating sugars. He even asked me to inject him with insulin which I did. At times, we would take a trip to Windsor, Ontario a province in Canada, by way of the Detroit to Windsor Tunnel to purchase insulin.  At times we would stop to get something to eat and I would get a haircut as well. How many of you have gone with your father to another country to get   meds?
My father was knowledgeable about diabetes and  his prognosis for the future. The picture he described was not pretty. He knew that his organs were not going to last and eyesight and poor circulation was foreseeable problem areas. He had a series of medical issues that often resulted in going into the hospital (Henry Ford, University of Michigan, Mayo Clinic etc.)  for various surgeries. Once, at the University of Michigan Hospital, I met Terry Sawchuck the goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. My father was proud of my physical prowess and asked me to hold a chair by one leg parallel to the floor in front of Terry. Talk about a conflicting memory that’s one.
My father had an early retirement at the age of 55. The last 15 years of his retirement years were not terrific as result of his medical condition. True enough, circulation problems resulted in some amputation. He passed away just prior to his 71st birthday. At times he exhibited frustration, anger, depression, and being a victim. He was extremely bright and articulate and also terribly unhappy. It’s not too much of a surprise that I became a psychologist and my younger brother Ron a physician. I work on the mental and he is concerned with the physical well-being.
Luckily for me, I do not have a medical or mental condition. I want to stay away from hospitals, medications, and outpatient doctor visits. I would like to spend the rest of my life devoted to health and fitness. This book is to be published soon and I’m already thinking about a second book coupled with speaking engagements.   I aim to spread the word. Keep healthy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Loss of Friends

The older you get the more fragile life is. This past year a number of my friends have passed. Just yesterday, Mitch Newman joined that club. He suffered a heart attack and was in a self induced coma. Obviously, his prognosis was not good. He is better off now as compared to being a vegetable or having his mental capacities compromised. He was a person that I met on the high school football field. He was a terrific kid off the field as well.  I liked him a lot even though I had only periodic contact with him over the years. Although he was not a close friend, I felt a connection or bond with him that will stay with me until I die. This connection is very difficult to explain or understand. The bottom line is that I met him and connected with him at a meaningful time in my life. Goodbye Mitch, I miss you and will never forget you.
Katie Yeager an elementary through high school friend passed away this year too.  She was not a close friend but I had meaningful interactions with her over these past 20 years. I’m sorry to see her go as well. Dennis Cole I met while playing freshman football at the University of Detroit. We played against each other in high school although I didn’t know him during high school. He was tall, blonde and good looking.  I attended his stag party when he married early and lost contact after he left the University. He became a dance instructor at Arthur Murray, went to Hollywood, and was a costar on a TV series with Howard Duff. Later on he married one of Charlie’s Angels, Jacqueline Smith. He later divorced and left acting. Another good memory from the past.
One of my best friends was Denny Ollerman who died from cancer and other complications. I met Denny in the late 60s while teaching a psychology class Oakland community college. As it turned out, we both attended graduate school at Wayne State University. I moved to California to teach at Cal State San Bernardino and he divorced, moved to California, and married Maria. In many ways he was a mentor as we shared inner lives. He was a good buddy. His loss hurts. Mitch, Katie, Dennis and Denny are my age. The reality of my mortality can’t be denied and that stinks.
One of the seven individuals that I interviewed for It Has Nothing to Do with Age also left us. Jim Steere, although older, became a friend these last 10 years as a result of ride and tie. I really got to know him during the time I spent time interviewing him. Too bad for me that I did not meet him earlier. He was another bright and goodhearted man. All the losses seem to remove or take away a part of you; yet your memory and thoughts remain. One can no longer call and talk with them on the phone.
Some friends remain over a lifetime while others come and go. However, with death it’s permanent. We all are touched by loss which is part of the lifecycle.  Making friends is one of the prescriptions that I have in my book. So with the benefit of having a friend and all the positives that come from that, you get the other side of the equation which is loss. Remember what Freud said “the goal of life is death.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is God Dead ?

Friedrich Nietzsche, the existential philosopher, stated that there has been a collapse of religion and that “God is dead.” Even though people still attend church and profess belief, the existentialists believe that people are less involved and their beliefs are different from early Christianity.  With the loss of faith becomes a shortening of human life; because the belief in an afterlife disappears with that loss of faith.  They also think that the values, goals, and beliefs of societies are, to that individual, meaningless beyond his individual life.
Existentialists also reason there is a strong and irrational compulsion in human nature and that people must recognize and come to terms with this. Existentialists also emphasize the individual and the direct experiencing of life rather than the dependency on mediate experience such as provided by books, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. Another emphasis is on the subjective experience of truth since scientific and technical achievements have not solved the problem of man’s existence. They also state that because of the highly technological, mass production society with the emphasis on mass communication, propaganda, and conformity the individual being is lost. Kierkegaard, to sum up, believes that man is not a ready made being; man will become what he makes of himself and nothing more.
Who am I, according to the existentialists, might be answered by saying that man must first realize what he is which means that he will die, has strong irrational forces within him, and cannot realistically be comforted by religious, political, scientific, or other illusions. Rollo May in Existence: A new dimension in psychiatry and psychology stated that he believes that the realization of a person’s potentials can occur once being as existence is accepted and understood.
Okay, you may or not be thinking about the “who am I” question. But hopefully, you might be thinking about your life and the kind of life you want for yourself and others. You might be thinking about your health and what you can do to make it better. The answer seems to be related to food and exercise.
 With the issues of excessive overweight, poor health, unhealthy nutrition, lack of physical activity, too much game playing, and out of control prescription and illegal drug use, it appears that something is missing. Perhaps, the existentialists are correct. If so, I would add finding passion and meaning to make a difference in the “who am I “question.
Just the other day, I was contacted by Danny of Venturepax. He has a web page that is designed to motivate you or encourage you to do something outside. By joining his website you receive points. By doing an outdoor activity you receive points. By going outside and letting him know about it on the website you eventually receive a reward. He is getting sponsors to endorse and sponsor his project. If you believe that doing an activity outdoors and receiving a reward is good for you then consider going to that site and learn more about it?
 The It Has Nothing to Do with Age book trailer is on YouTube and my blog. Exciting! Watch it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aging andMortality

It Has Nothing to Do with Age is a book about the aging process. You may be thinking about your mortality and if you are, you are likely, at least, in your late 30s. There comes a certain point or time in our lives when we begin thinking about life’s window. Is that window as open as it once was? Prior to thinking about aging or ones mortality that window is completely open. Often, beginning to think about mortality is when our life is perceived to be roughly half over or is related to some crisis or trauma. It’s at that point that the window begins to close.
For me, the writing of this book occurred after I had a serious horse accident. I decided to write about my competitions in order to more fully understand my reasons for participating in extreme sports. I then thought about and selected men and women, in retirement age,  who perform in extraordinary physical sports. I did not overlook the importance of the mental component or thinking process. What is the ratio of physical to psychological or mental components in completing Western states 100?  Trust me, both are important.
Do we fight the aging process? Do we deny our mortality? Are we afraid to stop our sports? These were a few of the questions that I asked myself and wanted to better understand. I know that I want to be physically strong, have good energy, and be healthy.  It is also important, for me, to practice, train, and improve at what I’m doing. In other words, there’s a lot of repetition compulsion or repetition addiction that takes place an order for mastery to happen.
 Recently, Michael Jordan said something like he was not looking forward to being elected in the basketball Hall of Fame. According to him, he claimed that the sport writers would likely think that he could no longer put on a shirt, shorts and basketball shoes and play a high-level game. Would they think of him differently and possibly no longer be in awe of him. Another explanation and likely more accurate is that Michael would think of himself differently. If you go to one of his basketball camps he continues to dunk the ball. He also said that he pictured himself going into the Hall of Fame at age 70 not at age 45. He might be fearful that he could not be able to jump high enough to dunk the ball at age 70. For Michael, he likely has thought about the closing of his window. Michael, it happens to all of us. We are mortal. Freud said “the goal of life is death.” That my friend is the reality. And remember what Tony said “ And  then you die.”
If you are thinking or thought about immortality you might consider evaluating how you want to spend the rest of your life. I know many that are active. For me, I want to be more than active because I want to be physical as well. How I think and when I think about what I want determines how I set goals. Use it while you can because what you’ve heard about atrophy is true. The expression is “Use it or lose it.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

You Are What You Eat and Joanne Neft

Friday, July 22, 2011. Today, I’m going to comment on food. On Wednesday, I mentioned a study that found that caloric amounts varied. What was stated on the menu, as far as the number of calories, was less than the actual amount contained in the food. Was that terribly surprising to you? By the same token, I wonder about the accuracy in the products we buy at the market. In other words, we may not be getting what we think we’re getting. You might’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat.” You just have to figure it out.
Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with Joanne Neft.  Joanne and Laura Kinney recently published a book titled “Placer County Real Food”. I encourage you to consider finding out more about Joanne and her book. Joanne believes that 98% of us do not think ahead about our food and the type of experience we wish to obtain when eating. She is probably right. If you are concerned about what you put in your mouth i.e. portions and variety then thinking beforehand about the experience would be helpful too. In dieting, it is important to think about and plan your meals in advance rather than making impulsive decisions. Since there is so much stress in daily living, meals and meal planning are likely to take a back seat. Take Joanne’s advice and consider making it a priority.
There was an error in yesterday’s blog. When I was referring to walking, I stated going at the speed of 20 mph. What I intended to say is to walk at a 20 minute mile pace.  Thank you Janet for catching and pointing out my error. Couple of statistics per Wall Street Journal, dated April 12, 2011 pertains. Eating just two pieces of candy each workday adds about 480 calories over a work week.   To burn  that off a 160 pound person would have to: walk( 2 mph) 157 minutes; ballroom dance  132 minutes; golf( carrying clubs) 88 minutes; backpack 56 minutes; and run( 8 mph) 29 minutes.
The July 11, 2011 issue of Time stated that 25% is the number of daily calories that the average American consumes in snacks. And beverages account for 580 calories every day outside of meals. Wow! As my friend Ed Budde from the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL says “keep moving.” It’s obvious that food intake and physical movement are keys to better health and longevity. There is nothing wrong about walking. It’s a good place to start and one can learn to improve the pace. Before I run, I walk to warm up and after my run walk to cool down. I certainly enjoy the walking part and recommend it to you.
A recent commercial that I saw on TV had to do with medication for arthritis so that the individual could move. Hopefully you won’t have to take medication to move without discomfort. Last but not least, there was an article about the placebo effect for the common cold in the Wall Street Journal issue July 12, 2011. In this particular study of 700 patients, the researchers found that cold sufferers who got a pill regardless of what it contained had less severe symptoms and recovered sooner than individuals who took a pill. The placebo effect was most pronounced among people who believed in Echinacea’s healing properties.  There is more information that I will share with you at a later date. Find the magic pill and live a great life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There Are No Shortcuts and Goal Setting

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."– Beverly Sills
 I believe it is clear that we have to change our thinking about health, fitness, and living life to its fullest. It is disturbing to learn how inactive our society has become since the age of electronics. It seems that possibly our demise is associated with TV. Is it possible that in the last 60 years we have become couch potatoes? I’d be interested in looking at statistics commencing with TV watching to assess whether that is one of the main causes or reasons for the inactivity. Another possibility might be related to computers, when restaurants began serving larger portions, when women started working outside the family home, and the food industry catered to fast, frozen easily prepared foods. In the old days, I remember going to Howard Johnson’s with their small portions. That seemed to be the norm back then but not anymore.
Today’s blog is get out of your chair.  I figure it would be beneficial if we incorporated more exercise into our daily lives. How do we leave our comfort? Seems to me it is important that we use our thinking process to make changes. We can’t   employ how we feel or our mood to guide us.  There are many days that I don’t want to leave my home, based on my feelings, and go for a run. However, I do so. Is it easy? No! But what I do find is that once I’m out there my feelings change. I often use thinking to guide my behavior.
Just yesterday, Tony went to Cronin ranch for a run. He told me he felt like crap and was probably going to walk a lot because he didn’t feel like running. Okay so he gets to the start of the trail and up ahead he sees a group of kids. What did Tony do? How did he react to kids being a head of him? Do you think it made any difference and influence his behavior? For Tony, he went into his competitor mode and started running to catch up to the kids. His thinking dominated and influenced his behavior. Notice that Tony went to the park to run even though , before he  left home  , he didn’t feel like it. Tony found out that these kids were associated with a running camp and they ran in the morning ,in the evening with an option to run during the noon hour. He told me in so many words he just can’t help but to compete regardless of how he feels. Tony did not let his feelings dominate him either.
In order to start and make a change and as Beverly Sills says there are no shortcuts or magic pills. First, set a goal. The goal you set has to be concrete and measurable. An example might be a walk for 15 minutes at a 20 minute a mile pace. That goal is concrete and measurable. While walking, experiment by skipping for 20 steps, walking backwards for 20 steps, jumping rope for a minute, and even include a one minute rest. Be specific with your goal. Make your goal fun. Have your children, friends, or dog join you. Get connected to a group like the Sierra Club. Often it’s easier to do an activity with a friend but not always. In the summer time, begin your activity during the cool part of the day. I hope you believe that there no shortcuts when it comes to exercise.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Then You Die According To Tony

Rate the task above the prize; will not the mind be raised? Fight thine own faults, not the faults of others; will not evil be mended?"– Confucius
Even though Confucius has departed long time ago, he makes sense. A number of the quotes that I’ve used in my blog pertain to taking responsibility for your behavior. By evaluating what you think as well as what you do =   the formula for “who you are.”   I (identity) = T (thought) +B (behavior).  Today’s blog is based on articles found in the Wall Street Journal on July 12, 2011 and pertain to my formula.
The first article has a picture of a little boy approaching a round ball. The article is titled “See Nigel run? UK Push To Trim Baby Fat.” Okay, babies should spend less time watching TV according to a new health guidelines issued by the British government. According to them, 10% of children ages 2 to 10 are obese. They recommend that children who can walk should be active for about three hours a day and spend less time in baby bouncers, strollers, car seats, watching TV, playing video games, and using the computer. They also recommend that it’s vital that parents introduce children to fun and a physically active pastime to help prevent them from becoming obese. The dangers they point out include heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Nearly 25% of adults in the UK are obese.
Once again, as it appears to me, the problem lies with the adults. If you have obese adults, then the probability of having children with a similar problem increases.  How do you fix this problem? Just today, I heard on CNN that a study was done by researchers at a major university who investigated   the number of calories published by restaurants. What a surprise, as the actual calories in some dishes were more than what was published? Of course I’m being facetious. A problem was detected with salads. Of course the restaurants claim that their dishes on average total their stated calorie count and that’s only because the “chef “in the kitchen may sprinkle a few more bacon chips randomly on the dish in question that increases the number. Sure!
Another article “Study Backs Cold Treatment for Sudden Cardiac Arrest”. If you have cardiac arrest and you’re fortunate enough to have your body cooled, after your heartbeat is restored, your chances of being discharged from the hospital improves by  over 50% and have a better than 90% chance of leaving with most or all of your cognitive functioning intact. In other words, fewer than 10% of victims in the US survive sudden cardiac arrest and only a minority recovers sufficient brain function to return to normal life.
My goodness, the severity of cardiac arrest is immense. My friend Mitch Newman is obviously in serious trouble. Young children may or may not have an opportunity for better health depending upon their parents. The bottom line is that everyone has to take responsibility for their lives. Hopefully it’s not too late. It’s apparent we need change in a big way. For me, thank goodness I ran this morning. It is clear that I’m spending more time on the computer which is good for cognitive exercise but not good physically. I am thinking about creating a center or Institute that promotes cognitive and physical health in order to improve quality of life  and likely lengthening it as well. More to follow about creating a center on another blog.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

High School Friends

"Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over."– F. Scott Fitzgerald
I recently received a disturbing e-mail from Larry Hudas. Larry informed me that Mitch Newman suffered a major heart attack and is currently in a self induced coma at Crittenden hospital in Michigan. Mitch was a co-captain on Denby’s high school football team in 1957 and then went on to play for Michigan State University.
The last time I saw Mitch was during our 50th high school reunion. Bill Stroud, one of the organizers of the reunion, informed me that Mitch was unlikely to attend the reunion. That disturbed me since I wanted to see Mitch again. I called him and told him I was looking forward to seeing him again. Mitch did attend that reunion in Sterling Heights and I was happy to see him.
A number of memories stand out for me regarding Mitch. Back in 1957, before school and the football season began, both current and past players met in the evening unofficially to play pickup games. During one of those games, we received a kickoff and I was blocking during the return. Running towards me was Mitch to make the play. Essentially, I blocked him so well that he landed on his behind. He gets up and says to me “Good block Frank”. Not only was I pleased because I performed a good block but I was complimented by my teammate who I respected.
 Another memory was the first game of that season which was against Southeastern High School. Our team is huddled on the field before kickoff and Mitch addresses the team “Let’s win this game for Frank”. This game was played on either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur one of the Jewish holy days and Mitch was being respectful. His comment touched me. Incidentally, we beat Southeastern 41 to O.
Those memories stand out as if they happened yesterday. Reading that e-mail from Larry jarred me to say the least. I feel helpless because I would like to be able to do something for Mitch. Yet, I know my limitations .My blog yesterday strikes me as insignificant within life’s big picture. Yesterday, I was thinking about running faster than Tony and today I feel said about Mitch. I guess I’m pretty lucky because no one ever knows the future.
I called my friend Dr. Wayne Fiske a psychologist. Wayne and I have been friends since high school and graduate school. We talked about Mitch and about our meeting, at his home, after the reunion before I left to return to California. We also talked about my book and sending him a release since he is in the book also. He thought that after the book is published that I should consider creating an Institute or Center for aspiring   fifty-year old athletes. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote might fit .Wayne’s idea might lead to another journey.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Running Techniques and Child Obesity

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."– T.S. Eliot
Chris Turney joined Tony and me on our Trail run today. For those   unfamiliar with Chris, a brief history is in order. First, he is an outstanding collegiate and adult runner as well as a track coach. His best distances are in the neighborhood of 50 K.s and 50 milers. He ran the American River 50 miles around 6 hours and in 2001 won the World Championship Ride & Tie at Eur Valley with partners William Emerson and Chris’s horse Buddy.
Chris assisted with my training in 2003 and I had personal bests at Way Too Cool 50 K. , Jed Smith 50 miles and American River 50 miles. So I know, Chris has pertinent information   about training techniques. I told him that I wanted to be able to beat Tony on our training runs.  So what did I get from Chris? He told me “Trip him”.  Must confess that I also asked Chuck Mather what he would do? He told me “Have him carry something heavy”.
So, faced with the reality that I am probably not going to run faster than Tony, I have to rethink my goal. When I get clear about my goal, I’ll tell you.  I realize that I have to change my thinking. Last week I commented about weight.
A few words about children and the obesity problem. Recently, I read that parents might be held responsible for their children’s eating habits. The area of abuse and neglect, come into play. Bad eating habits seem to be related to1. Too much TV watching, 2. No parental control over food choices, 3. Skipping breakfast, 4. Less involvement in outside of school activities .5. Fast foods.6. Less physical activity .7. Too much fried foods.  8.  Poor adult modeling.
Things parents can do such as becoming good models: 1. Using fiber rich whole grain foods for breakfast can help regulate body weight; eating eggs skipping breakfast and/or eating on the run does not contribute to healthy weight management.2. Paying attention to glycemic index3. Incorporate seafood and soy-based protein sources regularly 4. Eat a mixed diet with some fat, protein, carbohydrates, and soluble fibers in each meal. 5. Don’t lose more than 1 to 2 pounds per week from calorie restriction alone 6. Where appropriate, choose foods with three or more grams of fiber per serving . 7. Minimize alcohol intake. If you choose to drink, select the light beer or wine rather than mixed drinks containing cream or added sugars. 8. Maintain an accurate food, activity, mood diary. 9. If possible, join a cognitive behavioral weight loss program. 10. Consider meal replacements for one or two meals a day.11. Fine-tune your dietary habits with the help of a dietitian.
 Weight control is difficult as we grow older. Our metabolism slows and our sleep becomes more problematic. Sometimes medication also plays a factor. Good luck   parents for you and your children.   Does the quote by T.S. Eliot fit?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Windmill Century Ride in Santa Maria

Well my second Century now completed and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself and my training and nutritional planning.  Although you can't compare one event to another, this event was determined to be harder ( by the accounts of us riders) than the last one in Ojai. 
I came away from Ojai with 2 goals, tweaking my nutrition to better yet ward off the lactic acid build up in muscles on ultra events as well as gaining more speed on the both the uphills and downhills.
I am proud to say that I achieved both during this event.  After much research on nutrition along with my own knowledge as a nutritional consultant, I determined the perfect ratio for fuel the week prior to and during the event is a 1-4 ratio of protein to carbs.  We know we need carbs for fuel, but we forget that protein is highly important to stave off lactic acid build up and keep our muscles strong and recovery short. This proved to work outstanding, I ended this Century coming off my bike and this time feeling like I could definitely do another 50m the next day.  Yes I was certainly tired and didn't want to go further after the 100m, but my muscles and overall well being was far superior to my last ride, and today the day after ready to go back to riding.  I had no feeling for hunger as my fuel was near perfect and I could walk and move perfectly with really no overly sore joints.  Will not need a massage, however I always soak in Epsom salts in very hot bath the night of the event.  (for those of you that don't do this, it is highly recommended for recovery, I enlist all my clients to do this to ward off sore muscles it really does work)

In addition my tweak in my training routine was to continue concentrating on my intervals, (which I do 30m on the elliptical in the gym 3 days a week) and up my strength straining on long steep hills to 3 days a week working at increasing not only my uphill strength but more importantly, increasing my downhill speed.

I am also pleased to say that both paid off.  Although one cannot compare exactly each ride as they all are different, this ride was harder than the last and I completed it 30min faster, which was because my downhill speed had increased by 10mph and my uphill cadence by 2rpm.

I learned that my next focus is to add back 2 days a week training on the flat as this was where I was passed ( and yes like Tony I really can't stand to be passed, (guess it runs in the family).  So I will train on the flat beach path in increase my cadence and speed on the flat for the next one.  My overall goal is get down to the 6hour time, I plan to get there by the next event or at least I will give it my all for sure.
This Post was provided by Penny Fink

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Run How You Feel,Health Advantages &US Girls Soccer

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."– John Ruskin    
This quote fits for me. My publisher informed me that the final editing will be sent to me by Monday for review. After that, no more changes can be made. In some ways, I think that’s going to be a relief. I’m more than ready to have this phase over with. I certainly think about myself differently. For the past four months or so, I have been more involved with writing this blog. So my thoughts and writing (thinking and doing) have been focused on communicating ideas about health and aging. I might be getting healthier.
My running and training have been affected by expending so much psychic energy related to the book. Yesterday, I was tired and walked a lot during my 6 mile training run with Linda. Today, Tony and I ran a 10 mile trail run. I am still tired.  I walked and at times ran well during training. However, I was happy to have that run completed.
Tony and I were talking about being tired and about running. Caveman ran either way from danger or to catch food. He likely did not run for the enjoyment of it. Running is difficult and hard work. For me, I got serious with my running because I wanted to do well in the sport of ride and tie. That was my goal and running helped facilitate it for me. Tony, ran because he wanted to do well with motocross and then with endurance riding i.e. the Tevis. Neither one of us run simply because it is easy or fun. That does not mean that there are not major benefits from running. In essence, it is beneficial but not easy.
Guess what? A recent annual report of state-by-state comparisons of health measures in every US county was completed and the findings about city versus country include the following: 1.a higher percentage of rural children are overweight; 2. 66% of all traffic fatalities in the US occur on rural roads; 3. 25% of the total US population live in rural areas while they have only 10% of the physicians; 4. More suicides per hundred thousand per rural dwellers; 5. Life expectancy is lower in rural areas.
It is believed that health advantages and cities may be a function of age, income, and educational levels of its residents. Rural dwellers tend to be older and less educated than their counterparts. Rural children aged 2 to 5 are nearly twice as likely as urban kids to consume more than 24 ounces of sweetened beverages a day. From 6 to 11 rural kids consume more grams of fat per day. Nationwide, 19% of rural children aged 2 to 19 are obese and 36% of them are overweight which more than urban kids are. These statistics were found in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, July 12, 2011.
One advantage for country living is that rural children didn’t have as much asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders as city kids. Those of you that live in rural areas, have kids or grandchildren it’s time for attitude adjustment and behavioral health changes.
Go US girls soccer. Beat the Japanese team.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obesity , Sleeping ,and Toto

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."– George Eliot

Today, Linda, Decka, Digger and I did a short 6 mile loop. I was tired and as a consequence did a lot of walking. That amount of walking on that particular loop is unusual. However, I listened to my body. So far this week, I’ve put in around 40 miles.

Yesterday, the main topic was obesity and the BMI index. As we know, three main ingredients related to weight gain include: food, activity, and sleeping. Recent studies have uncovered similar brain circuits, to both sleeping and eating. Partial sleep deprivation alters circulating levels of the hormones that regulate hunger. This leads to increased appetite and a preference for high calorie, high-fat/sugar foods.  In one research study participants who slept only four hours a night for two nights showed a preference for candies, cookies, chips, nuts, bread , and pasta. Yum Yum, too  bad that it is not good for you.
Over the past 40 years the amount of sleep American adult’s average each night has dropped by almost two hours. In 1960, Americans averaged 8.5 hours of sleep per night. By 2002 the number has fallen to less than seven hours per night.
Okay, there are some things we can do to improve getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips: 1. Decrease consumption of foods, beverages, and drugs that may impair sleep before bedtime (caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals) 2. Avoid smoking cigarettes. 3. Get regular exercise, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime. 4. Take a warm bath prior to bedtime. 5. Improve sleep environment- select a comfortable mattress, pillow, sheets, and clothing. A. keep room temperature moderate or cool b. Keep bedroom darkened and quiet c. remove clock from view. 6. Improve sleep hygiene- a. limit bed use to sleeping and sex- no work, no eating and no TV ;b. Whenever possible attempt to get to bed roughly the same time each night; c. If you can’t fall asleep within a half-hour of going to bed, get out of bed, make a cup of herbal tea or warm milk, and read until you feel drowsy. You want your bed to be associated with sleepiness and sleep, not tossing and turning.
If these steps don’t work, consult your physician or a mental health specialist.
For a change of pace; how many of you are familiar with Moorlands Totilas or “Toto” as his fans call him. This magnificent beast is an 11-year-old Ebony stallion and has over 11,800 Face book fans. This dressage (an equestrian sport rooted in cavalry traditions) horse has world-record scores since his debut in 2007. Also, he was recently sold for about $11.6 million. This Dutch horse was sold to a horse breeder in Germany which sparked much controversy since the Netherlands and the Germans are big dressage rivals. Follow him and maybe you’ll become a fan also. This story was found in the Wall Street Journal July 9-10, 2011.
On another note, Chuck my friend, pacer, and a good guy is recuperating from an injury sustained with his horse. Think humorous thoughts to aid his recovery. We want him back on his horse as quickly as possible. Get well soon Chuck.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Overcoming food addiction and Cerebral dominance

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action."– Benjamin Disraeli
Yesterday, I talked a little about brain and food addiction and indicated that I would present some ideas on how to deal with overeating.1. Hungry: eat only when you’re actually hungry and not when you’re feeling angry, lonely, or tired. 2. When angry, verbalize what you’re angry about; if appropriate, to the person you are angry at. If that isn’t possible, speak with someone else or write your feelings down. 3. Loneliness: if possible, make plans with a friend or family member. Sign up for exercise class such as yoga.  If you are unable to get out of the house, pick up the phone and call a friend or relative. These ideas are better than e-mail as far as being connected go. 4. Tired: the best thing to do, if you can, is to take a nap for 20 to 30 minutes. Short of that, close your eyes for five minutes, or, take a brief but brisk walk. Breathe deeply to inhale fresh oxygen and to get your brain and body circulation going. Meditation can also be very helpful. Other suggestions include the following:
1. We know that stress often lowers brain dopamine and precipitates comfort food seeking behavior. So, consider exercise, yoga, deep breathing, hypnosis etc.
2. If you think you’re addicted to sugar or fat, gradually reduce your intake by eating smaller portions or switching to similar foods with lower sugar/fat intake. For example, replace high-fat ice cream with low-fat frozen yogurt.
3. Eat a healthy balanced diet; be sure to eat plenty of fiber.
4. If you’re still having difficulty get a consultation with a health care professional.
I’m not done with this topic and more information to follow.
Previous blogs have been on the subject of cerebral dominance. We know that as far as higher mathematics go, boys seem to rule because of right hemisphere (Parietal lobe) differences. On the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), boys showed a ratio of a perfect score (800) of 19 to 1 to girls. Emphasizing math and designing mentor programs for girls has reduced the ratio significantly in the last 20 years. Even though, for the last 35 years boys have outscored the girls on the math SAT by 40 points. In college, for every woman major in math there are 7 to 9 men majoring in areas such as engineering, mathematics, and computer science. Unfortunately, despite the male advantage in mathematical aptitude, smaller numbers of American men are entering these fields in recent years.
Is it possible, that in this culture, there is greater emphasis on food than just about anything else? Are we out of balance? Are the priorities misplaced? As a people, are we becoming less healthy? What can we do about it? It seems that more are more people should do something different than what they’re doing now. For boys, it seems that less go to college and as a consequence smaller numbers are going into mathematical fields even though that is strength for males. As Benjamin Disraeli indicated, action or doing doesn’t guarantee happiness however, what are you going to accomplish by non action or non doing?
That aside, after a roughly 14 mile training run, one of Tony’s comments were “and then you die”. This needs some explanation and that will follow at a later date.
From Tony: Frank kind of left you hanging hear.
My comment came from the discussion we were having on people wanting more and more things and power. That’s when I said then you die. So don’t be obsessed with having more stuff then the other guy and enjoy your life.
Frank and I fine joy in running and writing this Blog both very simple things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Obesity , Addiction , and BMI

"If we wait for the moment when everything is ready, we shall never begin."– Ivan Turgenev
Okay, Mississippi what are you waiting for? In the Wall Street Journal on July 8, 2011, a health report indicated that the state of Mississippi, for the seventh straight year, is the country’s fattest state. Which state do you think has the leanest people? If you said Colorado, you are right.
The risk of becoming obese if you are 30 years of age today is 39% for women and 48% for men. It is believed that obesity reduces life by an average of 4-9 months. Obesity related illnesses have been responsible for a tenfold increase in private health insurance spending since 1987.
The classification of obesity is made by the body mass index (BMI). If you’re BMI is in the 18.5-24.9 range you are considered normal weight; if you’re BMI is in 25.0-29.9 range = overweight; if the BMI is in 30.0-39.9 range = obesity; and if the BMI is > or =l to 40 that translates to extreme obesity. To compute BMI = weight (pounds)/height (inches) squared x703. Well, my BMI is 21.03, what is yours? Does the above quote fit? If you have to start, why not now.
We know that it is possible to be addicted to food. To Illustrate:  1.sight and smell of food raises dopamine; obese individuals have fewer dopamine receptors which mean that obese people need to eat more to attain the same level of dopamine stimulation. 2. The mere presence of food triggers the pleasure and motivation centers of the brain; site, smells, sounds of food trigger dopamine release; food addictions are fueled by exposure to food stimuli by advertising, candy machines, food channels, food displays, bakeries, etc. 3. Some areas of the brain in food and drug addiction are related; high dopamine involved with satiation of hunger and cravings; dopamine production stimulated by sight and smell of food; withdrawal symptoms occur when sugar removed from a diet; food like drugs can be addictive .4. Sugar and fat produce psychological comfort; fat, sugar salty foods most addictive, (for women= sugar, for men= salt/fat); sugar may generate production of endogenous opioid; food addictions can be very strong; some people can quit2-3 drinks/day but not ice cream.
Stay tuned for what we can do about this major issue that’s confronting ourselves as well as our nation. The above information was the result of a continuing education class I attended.
Incidentally, I left early to complete my 10 mile training run before it got too hot. I like my ice cream and don’t have to give it up just yet.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Running Madness,Western States 100, and Tour de France

Just yesterday, I began thinking about the audio for the book trailer video (It Has Nothing to Do with Age). For the YouTube video, I plan to use footage of “Running Madness” the documentary of the 2002 Western states 100 mile endurance run. In watching the video, my thoughts went back to my participation in that event. First, I had to qualify for the drawing. No one is guaranteed a spot because of the lottery. To qualify, I had, because my age, to run a 50 mile trail run under 10 hours. At that time, I had not run any 50 mile run. My running resume included: a half marathon, a full marathon, and a 50 K. I also had four years of ride and tie experience. I was counting on ride and tie as being my secret weapon (lots of ground time) which would allow me to complete the run. You might think I was naive?
Aside from having to run 100 miles up and down canyons with conditions ranging from snow to 100 degree Fahrenheit, what other issues could there be? Well, there’s a brief medical examination at prerace registration because weight, blood pressure, and pulse are recorded and used as a baseline throughout the event. The loss of 3% of body weight affects performance. 3 to 5% loss indicates depletion of body fluids and possible loss of gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal function. A 7% loss of weight may be grounds for being pulled from the race. So periodically you have to get on a scale during the run.
·         Medical risk factors include renal shutdown or kidney failure; heatstroke/hypothermia (runners may drink approximately 1/3 or more of their body weight during the event) in 1989 radiated heat off the rocks measured hundred 114°F. Injuries from falling; snow hazards; effects of cold/hypothermia; wildlife hazards( rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions etc.); risk associated with low sodium and chloride; altitude sickness; muscle necrosis; overuse injury; fatigue; and getting lost. Is that all?
 All right, why would anyone want to do this event? What would the motivation be? What about competitiveness? Could this be proving something to oneself?  Is this simply a masochistic character structure? Could this be comparing oneself to others? In any event, for me, the completion of this run was a benchmark or marker. I considered myself an ultra runner after this event. I now had a place in history for this run and also for having a buckle from the Tevis. Steve, a friend, told me that only about 40 some people had buckles in both events. So, within five years, I went from a non-runner to 100 mile runner. Much of my success I attributed to my ride and tie experience.
A little more about David Zabriskie the vegan Tour de France bike rider.  I want to share with you his dinner meal: white rice or pasta, salad with leafy greens, vegetables-including broccoli, spinach, carrots, and beets. Now that dinner doesn’t sound too bad. I would like to know the amounts or portions. Is anyone ready to become a Vegan?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Competitiveness,Tour de France, and David Zabriskie

"The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone."– Orison Sweet Marden

“Age Has Nothing to Do with It” is a book about people who push their limits by participating in thrilling and incredible activities that include paddling in Outrigger canoes in dangerous and extreme ocean conditions, running insanely lengthy distances, riding horseback in rugged mountainous terrains.  Their stories are about the unbelievable or impossible. These people put themselves into amazingly difficult and outlandish situations. Maybe you too can become inspirational and change and transform your life. Marden’s quote fits.
As you know, I’ve been thinking about competitiveness. Okay, what are the differences or the degree of difference in competitiveness? Likely, we are all competitive to some degree. In thinking about sports, there seems to be differences. Is it the sports themselves that account for the differences or is it the people that are drawn to the sports? We all know that Tiger Woods is competitive as well as Lance Armstrong. Is each of these men equally competitive? Of course, Tiger is still competing while Lance is in the downside direction as far as the Tour de France. One might assume, that Tiger is more competitive because he still competing as a professional athlete. However, it may or may not be true.
What about comparing Tiger with Michelle Wei a female golfer? They’re both professionals, both outstanding, but one is male and one is female. Are there sex differences as far as competitiveness is concerned? Another comparison could be between Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. What about age differences as far as competitiveness is concerned?
As you can tell, I’m raising questions or hypotheses about competitiveness. Today, Tony and I ran on the trail for about 10 miles. Tony told me a little bit about his competitiveness. He attempted to tell me that he didn’t have to come in first. I’ll tell you little story. We were about a mile and a half from the creek crossing and Tony told me he needed to stop and take care of personal business. He told me not to wait but to go ahead. So, I continued my pace. I wondered if he would catch me. At about 400 yards to go, I looked behind to see if he was near. I didn’t see him and I increased my pace. I got to the stream crossing and began to stretch. Within moments, arrives Tony huffing and puffing. You be the judge between what Tony said and his behavior. It’s usually his behavior that speaks loudly.
Tony also told me about his competitiveness at work. He took more calls and fixed things at a faster rate than his comrades. For Tony, it’s apparent that he is competitive with his running and at his work.
More about David Zabriskie and what he eats with his vegan menu.  His post race includes: white rice with maple syrup and cinnamon, a vegan protein shake, two bottles of special team recovery protein drink, and goji berries. I would like to interview David after the tour and get his comments about competitiveness with his menu change. Then of course,to interview him  five years from now would also be interesting. Then we have a better idea as to who is David Zabriskie.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tour de France,AMD, Competiveness, and Vegan Diet

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."– Marcel Proust
This is a powerful sentence. One way to view this statement is by thinking differently about something that you have thought or typically do. The expression “thinking outside of the box” fits here. I have been thinking about competitiveness and the possibility of that topic being a central theme for my next book. We are all competitive and we express it in different ways often varying by degree.  Competitiveness takes different forms such as comparing oneself to another. We compare such things as:  possessions or toys, wealth, socioeconomic status, degrees of schooling, power or control, or simply running faster than someone else. One question I have is how to quantify or measure the degree of one’s competitiveness.

A few days ago, I did a training run with Chris Turney. For those of you that do not know, Chris was an outstanding runner and a super ride and tie competitor. He was very fast, knowledgeable, and likes to win. He was telling me about one training partner Rod and their running competitions. It appears they were always competing during training runs. If one guy got ahead of the other, it wasn’t long before there was a race. So, for Chris he was very competitive during running. Is he competitive with his running today? No, where did all that competitiveness go?  This might be a question worth pursuing. Do we sublimate?  Do we channel it? Does it just go away?
By the way, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal dated June 28, 2011. In the article, a study of over 21,000 Australians was followed from their mid-40s to the mid-80s. The findings showed that each 0.1 increase in the waist/hit ratio was associated with a 13% increased chance of developing an early stage macular degeneration (AMD) in men. Apparently, abdominal fat releases estrogen and other chemicals that may contribute to inflammation associated with AMD. Men, better reduce your belly fat or run the risk of an eye disease.
Good news:  one study reported that drinking seven or more cups of coffee a week reduced the risk of type II diabetes 63% in middle-age Chinese coffee drinkers. Sorry, to get more information about this study you will have to go to the European Journal of clinical investigation.
How is David Zabriskie doing in the Tour de France? Remember, he is eating vegan. The other day I told you about his breakfast meal. The article then identified his on-the-bike snacks. They include six Cliff Z bars (Vegan), two Cliff bar shot blocks (Vegan), two Cliff bar gels (Vegan), dates, and 6 to 8 bottles of special team race drink. David may or may not win the tour but you can bet that he looks good and he does not have any belly fat.
How competitive is David? If you remember, in the past year he changed his diet dramatically. He no longer eats like the typical American: steak, pasta, alcohol, cigarettes, amphetamines, or other drugs. Nor is he eating red meat, dairy, or eggs.  His thinking and his behavior drastically changed. He is not following other Tour de France riders in their eating patterns. Good for him.

Friday, July 1, 2011

David Zabriskie, Brendan Brazier, and Tour de France

"In all affairs, it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."– Bertrand Russell
Well said by the brilliant Bertrand Russell. What this means is that it is a good thing to question one’s motives and one’s behavior. It is easy to fall into the trap of continuing to do things in the same manner over and over. This holds true and at the moment, I cannot think of any exceptions. How many of you have heard of David Zabriskie? How many of you know about the Tour de France? If you know about the Tour de France, then you know about him. What you may or may not know is that he has changed his diet in the direction of becoming a vegan. Why would he do that? Well earlier this year, he claimed he was feeling low energy and wasn’t sure of the reason. He thought it might have to do with having a bug or his diet.
Mr. Zabriskie contacted Brendan Brazier, a triathlete and author of “The Thrive Diet” which is a guide to vegan diets in sports. Zabriskie has been on a vegan diet for at least 9 to 10 months and claims that he is feeling better than ever. He adds that he feels more focused, and that he sees food in terms of how it’s going to make him think and how it will give him clarity. So far he has won more time trials this year than he has in his career. For his diet he is incorporating things such as a vegan protein shake made from hemp seeds, flax seeds and brown rice protein invented by Brazier.
An example of a breakfast that  Zabriskie plans to employ on the tour include: oatmeal with black strap molasses, whole food optimizer, cacao nibs, nuts, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of coconut butter, an apple, and hemp seeds .That  vegan diet  might be something to consider. This article was in the June 29, 2011 Wall Street Journal.  I will comment more about becoming a vegan later.
What about the male and female brain? Because of the better left hemisphere language abilities, women tend to dominate a highly language dominated environment i.e. school. The great majority of the academic curriculum from elementary school through college is language oriented and overall women do better. Females get better grades throughout the academic years which include college. Overall women excel more in the higher language demands of reading and writing that form the basis of much of university level course work. College is now a woman’s world. Prior to the 1980s, more men attended college than women. Since 1982 women have outnumbered men in colleges and universities. The increasing proportion of women to men in higher education shows no signs of abating. So many colleges and universities are actively recruiting men. Think about this statistic for a moment, I’ll comment on it later.