Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: March 2013
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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Proposition 8,the Supreme Court and Chimps -Part 2

 "The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."– John Ruskin
 In a second experiment, Kandula was given a sturdy box that was placed in a different section of his containment. Did this young elephant use that sturdy box to get the food? We know that humans and apes can figure out this problem. Well, as it turned out, Kandula got the box and moved it in order to get the food reward. So what conclusions would you draw from these experiments? Would you generalize the findings? This article was found in the March 23-24, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal.
In an experiment, at Emory University, researchers tested chimpanzees on portraits of their own species. These chimpanzees were trained on computer screens. They apparently recognized which juveniles were born to which females.  I’ll bet you could tell or recognize your offspring too. Another experiment trained the chimps to detect similarities among images. The chimpanzees were shown a females portrait and then given a choice between two other faces one of which showed her offspring.  The apes chose purely on family resemblance. Can you do the same?
In a more recent study, the experimenter tracked the eye pupil movements of chimpanzees. They found that they followed the gaze of members of their own species far better than that of humans. This finding might explain their skill when they have to pay attention to human experimenters during the experiment .if only the chimpanzee could test the other chimpanzee?
 Another question the experimenters evaluated was whether we’re the only species to care about the well-being of others. It is well-known that apes, in the wild, offer spontaneous assistance to each other, such as defending against other animals or even consoling distressed companions with tender embraces. In captivity, the experimenters asked whether or not one chimpanzee was willing to push food toward another. Guess what they found out? When the experimenters used a simple choice between tokens, they could exchange for food-one kind of token rewarded only the chooser, the other kind rewarded both and -lo and behold these chimps preferred outcomes that rewarded both. How do you think you would do on that experiment if your partner had a different skin color or was from a different socio- economic group? I’ll bet that if the partner was both attractive and of the other sex you might make sure both of you are rewarded.
 Did you know that the octopuses, in captivity, were able to recognize their caretakers and learn to open pill bottles protected by childproof caps? Further, their brains are the largest among invertebrates. Do you think that brain size has anything to do with the skill? Also, octopuses have hundreds of suckers, each one is equipped with its own ganglion this with thousands of neurons. These mini brains are interconnected making for widely distributed nervous system; and that an octopus with a severed arm may crawl on its own and even pick up food. Moreover an octopus can change skin color in self-defense and can mimic a poisonous sea snake.
If you have children, I’ll bet their precocious too. On the other hand if you have animals, I’ll bet you taught them tricks as well. And one way to test your intelligence is determined by your choices. Are you expecting different results even though you’re making the same choice over and over? You might remember that Einstein said something like the following: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
I hope the Supreme Court gets it right.
Yesterday, Alpha, Jade and I ran on the trail towards Browns Bar for about an 8 mile loop. Keep moving and laughing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Proposition 8, the Supreme Court and Chimps

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope."– Alexandre Dumas

This post is related to animal intelligence and dedicated to Alpha. He generally takes the position that animals are smarter or more intelligent than we know. He also told me that dogs laugh and he sent me articles to substantiate his belief. Hopefully, he will add his research findings to this post.
According to a 2007 study, a young male chimpanzee outperformed Ben Pridmore a British memory Champion .Ayumu, on a touch screen, could recall a random series of numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares. Ayumu outperformed Ben on this task and was declared the winner. That chimpanzee did a super job on that task.
Prior research concluded that an elephant was incapable of using tools. Current research, with elephants was conducted by offering them a long stick while food was placed outside their reach. The purpose was to see if they would use the stick to retrieve it. The researchers knew that elephants used their trunks not only to reach food but also to smell and touch it: and as a result they have this unparalleled sense of smell. The animal, the elephant, knows exactly what they are doing as far as food is concerned. For them, vision doesn’t play a primary role in that experiment. So when an elephant picks up the stick its nasal passages are blocked .The elephant needs its ability to smell so it’s no wonder that, in these experiments, didn’t use a stick to get the food.
Research at the National Zoo in Washington presented a different problem to Kandula a young bull elephant. In this experiment, the researchers placed fruit high up above the elephant enclosure just out of the elephants reach. Inside the enclosure were several sticks and a sturdy square box. This young bull elephant ignored the sticks but after a while began kicking the box with its foot. He kicked the box many times in a straight-line until the box was right underneath the branch.  Kandula then stood on the box with his front legs. This enabled him to reach the food with his trunk. This elephant used the box to get the food. Does this mean that elephants can use tools?
Monday and Tuesday Alpha and I ran the trail. Each trail run was approximately 8 ½ miles. On Monday, we ran the Dead Truck and Maine Bar loop while on Tuesday we ran the American Canyon and Dead Truck loop discussing and laughing about animal memory, Proposition 8 and same sex marriage. I maintained that  choosing to have sex( straight or  homosexual  )  shouldn’t be  the basis for being discriminated against  and  that no one is discussing it in those terms.
To be continued

Monday, March 25, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy ? - Part 7

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."– Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you’re angry or frustrated with somebody then one way of indirect expression is by the use of humor as it’s socially acceptable. If you’re feeling hostile with somebody over some situation here is your opportunity to be creative and use humor to see if it makes things better for you. Remember, one doesn’t have to be young to engage in laughter and humor as its good for you and those around you.
Recently, my friend and running partner Tony and I were out tapering for my Way Too Cool 50 K.  For those of you who do not know Tony, he has this wonderful loud laugh. He is known by his laughter. For example, number years ago, I was competing at the World Ride and Tie Championship (2008) and in the dinner line after the event. I simply blocked on remembering his name. However, all I had to say was” he is the guy with the wonderful laugh” and everyone knew exactly that it was Tony.
On March 9, I ran the Way Too Cool 50 K.  One of the plans for race day was to be met by my friends Diane and Randall at Goat Hill some 25 to 26 miles into the trail run. At that location, Tony rejoined me along with Diane and Randall. Aside from being marathoners, Diane and Randall sing and play popular music. The last 5+ miles into the run was called by Randall the “Soul Train “as I was serenaded, on the trail, by my friends. Randall took the liberty of changing the lyrics to familiar and well known songs. His creativity was flowing and he was on a roll which resulted in much laughter and amusement. Needless to say, I enjoyed being with my humorous friends. It was good for me and resulted in distorting my discomfort.
.Okay, now you have some ideas about how to have an authentic and pleasurable happy birthday’s. Remember 1: it’s about you and your decision-making 2. Employ re-framing or changing negative words with positive words to increase self worth .3. Maintain a positive attitude .4. Establish significant goals, purpose, future and meaning in your life 5.  Enhance and create humor and laughter in your life.  Have you heard this joke? : The older you get the more you enjoy things you hated as a kid –like taking naps.
For   inspiration read and consult  my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age ”  with  seven prescriptions for  how to succeed and my blog at: it has nothing to do with age .New York Yankee author Peter Golenbock stated ““Their  stories in  It Has Nothing To Do With Age are about the unbelievable or impossible. If you read about them, you’ll be inspired.” Other sources for today’s presentation included Mary O’Brien, M.D.’s book  titled  "Successful  Aging " ; Barbara Sternberg, PhD “Humor & Healing “; and Viktor Frankel’s” Man’s Search for Meaning.”
P.S Today’s quote was by FDR. For those of you that do not know, my given name is Franklin D.As our president says, keep doing, keep changing to get different outcomes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy-Part 6

"To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult."– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Linda, my wife, and I recently began ballroom dancing lessons to incorporate an additional healthy and fun habit. Remember, one doesn’t have to engage in intense aerobic activity to be considered healthy. There are many things one can do that are healthy and lead to happiness.  In fact, I just read an article recently in the Wall Street Journal (2/22/12) about a running activity. I didn’t know that there are races all over the world that consists of running upstairs in buildings. And, according to this one running attorney, the skyscraper stairwells in Asia are great and arguably are the best for these competitive races. Running stairwells and flights of stairs sounds interesting and something different. What’s important here is that you find your passion and incorporate a healthy activity for a healthy life. Find that right activity for you. Who knows, it just may become your passion.
Did you know that humor is both therapeutic as well as important to the number of happy birthdays for us? The ability to laugh is uniquely human and represents the body’s normal response to stress; and not only that it is tied to our ability to play and also to communicate with others.  Further, it reduces tension, frustration and anxiety. Like play, humor provides enjoyment, imagination, freedom and is fun.
Sigmund Freud believed that humor was a sociably acceptable method of expressing impulses that resulted in a process that could minimize psychological energy what was important to his theory. He further postulated that humor was liberating, ennobling, and possessing both grandeur and elevation. The net result was that the world then seemed safer and less threatening.
Research studies have found that laughter involves extensive physical activity, is comparable to physical exercise, increases respiration and oxygen exchange, muscular activity, heart rate and stimulates the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, blood pressure has also been reduced in a state similar to that resulting from exercise. Not only that, but brain functioning is at its fullest capacity when both right and left hemispheres function simultaneously as they do in laughter. Think of something funny to get your brain working to its fullest.
Norman Cousins was hospitalized because of illness. He thought that humor could be used to speed up his recovery. He talked to his doctors; convinced them and was allowed to incorporate his own   program of humor with their treatment plan. He focused on things (films, books) that he enjoyed.  He hypothesized that the use of humor facilitated his recovery.  
To illustrate the power of humor, another example is taken from Dr. Frankl’s account of the conversation he overheard taking place between two concentration camp prisoners. A little background is in order. Capos were considered one of the prominent prisoners because of their privileges, authority and position held within the concentration camp structure. This one prisoner said to another “imagine! I knew that man (referring to the Capo) when he was only the president of a large bank. Isn’t it fortunate that he has risen so far in the world?”This prisoner demonstrated that he could still be “funny” in spite of his present physical and psychological condition and circumstance. Be sure to find humor in your situation because it’s good for you.
To be continued

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy ? - Part 5

"Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark."– Henri Frédéric Amiel

  Unfortunately diets don’t seem to work very well and exercise programs often fail because we stop. Boredom, stress, work, or fatigue and other issues raise their ugly head and before long we stop either the diet or exercise or both.  As you know, to eat healthy is expensive and to eat unhealthy is cheap and readily available. Once again it comes down to choices. So, the only way to maintain good health and well- being is to employ enjoyable habits that are also healthy.
I am lucky and fortunate since I was relatively healthy at age 57. And since that time I have engaged in running for conditioning and competitions. For me, running is an activity that fuels my soul. I run because I need to. In fact, I don’t like taking days off when I’m either tapering for an ultra events or especially when I’m ill. Just because the temperature may be in the 40’s and raining cats and dogs, this is not a good reason for not going out for a run. No one melts, as far as I’ve seen, when they’re in the rain .In fact I get grumpy and become sluggish when not running. Running has become a healthy way of life. And, I am happy to say that I still run ultras at the young age of 73.
I like to associate with other people who share my passion for running. In fact, it allows me to hang out with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s (younger people) which happens to be another component of successful aging. As you know, young people don’t necessarily talk about their aches, pains or illnesses. It can be a different story when around older individuals who seem to enjoy (secondary gain) talking about their illness. Being around negative individuals is certainly a drain and can affect attitude and well-being. My mother was smart as she told me when she was in her 80s”I do not like to be around old people.”
Young Norman Lear the creator of TV shows like “All in the Family” also likes to associate with young people and states that he’s keeps up with new ideas through his 18-year-old twin daughters. Carl Reiner, the creator of the Dick Van Dyke show, also likes to hang out and associate with the young such as his buddy Mel Brooks age 86. Their secret for keeping up with the pop-culture is to watch TV shows such as Homeland, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher.  Can you determine if these three men are similar in any other ways? So you see, these Hollywood types also know two off my secrets regarding aging.  Source:  Joel Stein, Time, March 11, 2013
To be continued
Remember to keep moving with humor. Count your steps.2, 000 steps is about a mile. 10,000 steps is a good number.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy- Part 4

"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different."– Katherine Mansfield

The importance of establishing and looking to the future   is best illustrated by a story that Dr. Viktor Frankl tells. Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” related the story of a fellow prisoner in a concentration camp (Auschwitz) during World War II. In the story, Dr. Frankl tells about a fellow prisoners dream. According to this man, he dreamt that the allies were going to liberate the camp on   March 30, 1945.  On March 29, the prisoner became ill and ran a high temperature. And the next day the prisoner became delirious and lost consciousness. March 31, he was dead. His prophecies had told him that the war and his suffering would be over for him and when that didn’t happen, this man lost hope and courage which likely lowered his body’s resistance.  Without   something important to look forward, this man lost faith in the future and was thus doomed. Make sure you have a future in your life or something in which to look forward.
For me, that’s easy, I consider and view every training and every running event, personal conditioning for the next one to follow. In other words, I’m always looking and planning for the future. There is always another run and another competition for me. Thus having goals allows me to have purpose, meaning and to look forward to the future.

I suggest that you consider these important concepts and evaluate how you measure up.  What is your reason for living or mission in life?  Answers to the question will give you some insight as to birthdays to come.
 Hopefully, with a consistently healthy lifestyle and a bit of good luck one can help deal more efficiently with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. We also know that environment and lifestyle have a significant impact on reducing the risk for all except the most strongly genetic illnesses such as Huntington’s disease. However, exercise, diet and some medications can delay or reduce the likelihood of developing a disorder.
To be continued
Yesterday, Alpha, Chris, Carrie and I ran the Dead Truck-Maine Bar loop covering about 8 1/2 miles. We all laughed when I told her that her brain released the Phenylethylamine (PEA) the love chemical. Our laughter resulted in more laughing regarding the length of relationships and marriage. Don’t forget to find humor and keep moving because it’s good for you

Friday, March 15, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy?-Part 3

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."– Eleanor Roosevelt

I took a quick liking to this sport of Ride and Tie which resulted in now, for the time in a long while, competing in a new, challenging and fun activity. So now words like “happy, enthusiastic, dynamic, loving, fun and friendships “became part of my new positive attitude that I also incorporated and expressed in my behavior. This resulted in creating goals and new challenges. I woke up every morning and hit the trail with either my horse or with my running shoes.  I then met new and younger people; and I was participating, and competing in a thrilling team sport and feeling positive about myself. I was also spending time enjoying nature in the wonderful outdoors while becoming more and more physically and mentally healthy.
 This new ride and tie activity resulted in a positive attitude, assisting with my self-esteem, enjoying the outdoors, experiencing pleasure and in having a purpose, meaning and goals.  Having goals resulted in thinking about my future.  And I learned that attitude, positive self-esteem, aerobic exercise, increased energy, pleasure, purpose and new significant goals are all related to successful aging.  Furthermore, this ride and tie activity was also instrumental in establishing a foundation for a more evolved identity.
It is important not to be a captive of or living in the past. If one is stuck in the past, which suggests the possibility that there is something wrong with the present. In other words, don’t get stuck with retrospective thoughts because it may interfere with not taking advantage of present or current opportunities. It is extremely important to be in harmony with the past, present and future. When there is balance between past, present and future, one can focus on choices; and choices are related to one’s attitude. Make positive choices; create significant goals so your life can be meaningful and purposeful. So as Nietzsche stated a long time ago: “He who has a “why” to live for can bear with almost any “how.”   Simply stated it’s important to have a purpose and meaning for your life; both important for identity. Having significant goals by definition helps you to live for and delight in your future. With purpose and more meaning, it allows you to fulfill the real you (identity). So take some time and determine what you want to do with the rest of your life. And, as the Nike commercial says “just do it.”  For additional information consult “It Has Nothing To Do With Age” for more insight regarding identity.
Tony and Jade
To be continued.
Yesterday, Alpha, Jade and I ran and laughed on the trail. Alpha claimed that Jade was laughing too. Don’t ask me to explain his a priori  logic. Anyway, Jade is a Border Collie. Keep moving. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2013, the American Heart Association believes that one should take 10,000 steps a day. Walking a mile roughly equals 2,000 steps. Are you walking or running 10,000 steps a day?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Are Your Birthday's Happy ?- Part 2

"Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best."– Marva Collins

By the same token, tell your friends that you don’t want to receive one of those supposedly humorous birthday cards depicting an attitude or message suggesting that you look old, act old, no longer seem like you are the life of the party or some other put down. If you do receive one of these negative birthday cards, laugh it off.
One  definition of attitude “it’s a disposition of opinion, interest or purpose, involving expectancy of a certain kind of experience, and readiness with an appropriate response-related to temperament and personality.” As you see by this definition it can partly define you. Make sure attitude defines you in a positive light.

Successful aging is related to one’s identity or simply who we are.  The world of work years often characterizes, and identifies or describes a person by the activities they do. As a result, a person’s identity is usually easily defined. One’s identity can be a wife, mother, banker, a baker or Indian Chief because that is what they do during the majority of their day .However, one’s sense of identity can be disturbed /distorted once the role stops or is discontinued because of retirement, illness or disability or some other circumstance. As a result it’s important, for an individual to establish a life’s purpose or maybe a different identity after the work career ends.  What is your perception of yourself or your identity?
 In 1997, my persona was Dr. Frank, a psychologist, with a private practice in the Bay Area.  That description described how I spent the majority of my day for about the previous 30 years or so. Luckily for me, at the time, I had horses, lived on a ranch and rode on the trail for my own mental health. I started out with trail and endurance riding but quickly discovered a sport called “ride and tie.” One thing led to another and pretty soon I added running to my riding at the young age of 57. For those of you that do not know, ride and tie consist of two individuals and a horse which makes up a team. Teams race each other in the mountains generally 25 to 35 miles with a major rule “that one person rides while the other runs. “The members of the team decide when to switch places from running to riding. The team must start out the race together and cross the finish line together.
To be continued
Yesterday, Alpha and I did an easy 5 mile trail run. Remember, keep moving.
P.S. We did lot’s of laughing about the weekend.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Are Your Birthdays Happy ?

Some thoughts about having many happy birthdays even though our present society don’t value the aging process. Just consider the number of businesses that have discovered the cure for discovering the fountain of youth. in fact, one can go on a “fun “cruise to some tropical Island location; one can take certain medications (Viagra) to keep you going; one can eat certain organic foods; one can listen to some guru regarding meditation; one can join the latest workout fad; one can take certain human growth or other supplements; one can select a celebrity diet or one can see a surgeon to deal with eye lifts, wrinkle reduction or even changing the color of one’s hair.
Of course no one is marketing gaining more knowledge, wisdom or how to even pursue favorite passions?  Just think about some of the advantages of achieving many happy birthdays: 1. Having time for self. 2. Having time for travel. 3. Having time to engage in new activities/ learning. 4. Having time for personal relationships including sex. By no means does this list exhaust all the possibilities. I’m sure you can think of a few that I haven’t mentioned.
Can you explain why we don’t hear more about Marian Hartley? You might be wondering who she is. Marian, at the young age of 84, flew a single-engine plane across the Atlantic. Did you know that Frank Loyd Wright completed the Guggenheim Museum at age 91? Let’s not forget Bertrand Russell who formed a nuclear disarmament group at age 88. I’ll bet there are other youngsters who’ve accomplished the unthinkable?
Let’s not forget that some people seem to age more happily and healthily than others. Why might that be? Not only that, we can’t control  how long we will live nor can we guarantee that  by following a healthy lifestyle will result in becoming a centenarian since illness; loss, tragedy, and stress exist, and are plentiful in our world.
Remember, roughly 2/3 of what happens to us is a matter of choice and most importantly decision-making while the remaining third is related to heredity. This means that we have many choices and decisions to make throughout the life cycle.  Ralph Waldo Emerson stated: “As a man thinketh, so is he, and as a man chooseth, so is he.” in other words, how one thinks and the decisions made is the essence. Often, the use of defense mechanisms such as rationalization, denial, intellectualization etc. distorts our reality with the result that our thinking leads to or contributes to unproductive / self-defeating behavior. If you incorporate some of these words, into your being , that describe old people, such as  “slow, sad, bitter, mean, stodgy, sour, boring, dull, or depressing,”  you have one  very serious significant problem. These words are not only unpleasant or unflattering they are also like reins that influence attitude and feelings about self. It is clear that negative ideas lead to low self-esteem and poor decision-making. on the contrary, positive self-worth does not result from incorporating those negative words. So, replace those self-defeating words with words like the following: “happy, enthusiastic, dynamic, loving, and fun,” in order to have a more positive attitude and better self worth. Believe me, if you have a positive attitude you’re more likely to engage in more positive behavior.  Source: “Successful Aging” by Mary O’Brien, M.D.
To be continued:
What a blast this past weekend. I was joined by my friends for the Way Too Cool 50 K. The weather and the trails were superb. However, the highlights included being serenaded by Randall and Diane which we called the” Soul Train” as a result of the runners who stayed with us for the final 5 to 6 miles. That evening we had the party and once again were serenaded by Randall and Diane. That was a great way to spend a weekend-running and parting with your friends. Madhu’s younger brother Kishor joined us as well as Jonathan and Rufus from Southern California. Jonathan makes the trip annually and aside from being a friend he is my 100 mile Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie partner.  You can read about that adventure, and it was an adventure, in “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.” Alpha ran with me for about 18 miles.  At aid station at the recycling center, I asked him to head back on the trail and look for Jonathan because he was struggling and he did. He joined the Soul Train at Goat Hill and ran to the finish. Linda and Debbie did a great job taking pictures and were there at the aid stations and finish. Thank you all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Brain, Obesity and Food - Part 6

Some ideas regarding exercise. The 2005 dietary guidelines recommended a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. For weight management and to prevent gradual weight gain, exercising about 60 minutes in a moderate to vigorous intensity is recommended. 60 to 90 minutes may be needed to maintain weight loss.
Before starting any program, check with your primary care provider to rule out heart rhythm abnormalities etc.
Even though intensity and duration matter, the more exercise the better. Here are some USFDA recommendations for easy ways to add exercise into your day: 1. Go for a 10 minute walk after breakfast, lunch and dinner 2.  Park your car in a spot in the parking lot far from where you’re going .3 Go for an after dinner walk is a family .4 Take your dog for walks.  5 .Wash your car by hand .6.  At kids athletic games, pace the sidelines .7. Exercise with a friend. 8. Play with your children outside for 30 minutes 9. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
It should be very clear to you why we have this food weight obesity epidemic since the problem begins while in the womb.  It is choices, choices, choices that are made by the adults. The food industry is smart and knows it takes advantage of brain chemistry. They know the importance of salt sugar and fat in our makeup. And with budgetary crunches in our schools, physical and health education get affected and cut. Don’t forget that modern technology has made things easier and easier which unfortunately is a major disadvantage. For instance, we don’t even have to get up and adjust the TV channel anymore. All it takes is a pressing of the remote. In fact we don’t even have to go outside to play an athletic game; we can use an app   and play it in our living room. we even look for that close parking space when we visit the mall.
Don’t forget that exercise is difficult and is contra to our easy lifestyle. It might be cold, windy, rainy or snowing outside. As a result we might get wet by exercising. Last summer, Linda and I went to Chautauqua Institute were I presented a paper on” exercise and the brain.” The setting in New York was beautiful and situated by Lake Chautauqua. Essentially, the streets were one-way without much car traffic coupled with magnificent large trees providing lots of shade. This was a perfect outdoor setting for walking, hiking, biking, strolling, boating and yes running. Too bad, there were not more people enjoying the outdoors. For many, there was a trolley that seemed to be filled.
It seems that the older more mature individuals could do more as far as exercise is concerned. At times, Alpha and I are lonely in our age groups during our trail run competitions. Does that mean that we are getting too old for what we are doing? Or, does that mean that we do what the healthy, young are doing? anyway, you decide who you want to be and just do it. Remember, it’s the choices we make that determine our consequences.
 Last night, my friend and Swanton Pacific 100 mile Ride and Tie partner, Jonathan Jordan arrived. He’s here at the foothills and will run, again, the 50 K.  Way Too Cool   Saturday. Alpha is planning on running the last 23 miles with us .Madhu and his brother are also planning on hooking up with us during this event. Also, Randall’s    wife Diane is meeting us at Goat Hill. The more the merrier.  And, you all are welcome to join us at our potluck afterwards.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Brain, Obesity and Food- Part 5

“Any fool can make a rule and every fool will mind it" David Thoreau.
  As you may know or not know, there have been dozens of popular diets to choose from, however very few have been tested in intervention trials. Therefore, their claims have been usually based on testimonials by celebrities. Pick your favorite celebrity.  Some of these diets work initially because of the low calorie intake; however weight gain often occurs when the diet is discontinued.  Recent studies have found that the glycemic load (a relative measure of the amount of carbohydrate in a food and how quickly it raises blood sugar) may be important for weight loss, especially for those who secrete high levels of insulin. Also, don’t forget that herbal supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids were removed from the US market in February 2004, 2002 because of risk of illness or injury. Since ephedra’s removal from the market, several dietary supplements have emerged to take its place-bitter orange extract.
Currently, soy isoflavones and genistein have been shown to have several potential benefits for weight regulation. Another increasingly popular weight loss measure is bariatric surgery which has increased from 13,365 procedures in 1998 to 102,794 in 2002. By the way, recent research has found bariatric surgery to be safe for obese patients with coronary artery disease. Lastly, research shows a significant relationship between obesity and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can raise markers of systemic inflammation such as C- reactive protein. Don’t forget to consult your dentist.
Some additional suggestions concerning weight: 1. Incorporate seafood and soy-based protein sources regularly. 2. Eat a mixed diet with some fat, protein, carbohydrates, and soluble fiber in each meal-including breakfast.3. Don’t lose more than 1 to 2 pounds per week from calorie restriction alone. 4. Where appropriate, choose foods with three or more grams of fiber per serving 5. Minimize alcohol intake. If you choose to drink select a light beer or wine rather than mixed drinks containing cream or added sugars. 6. Maintain an accurate food/activities/mood diary. 7 Use cognitive behavioral strategies and social support.  If possible join a cognitive behavioral weight loss program. 8. Consider meal replacements for one or two meals/day. Use is associated with significantly greater weight loss than low-calorie diets alone. 9. Follow the USDA’s recommendations and website as a starting point (HTTP:// 10 Fine-tune your dietary habits with the help of a dietitian.
Alpha and I ran yesterday. This week I’m tapering for my Way Too Cool 50 K. Alpha is planning on running about 23 miles of it. Race day is Saturday. Don’t forget to keep moving with humor.
To be continued:

Monday, March 4, 2013

We Human's Require Humor and Laughter -Part 3

"The great man is he who does not lose his childlike heart."– Mencius

The implications of physiological research suggest that laughter appears to have a potential value and indeed a disease prevention including heart disease, stroke, cancer, depression and other stress-related illnesses. Laughter also appears to have many benefits in such areas as cardiac rehabilitation and chronic diseases such as arthritis and emphysema. Laughter can stimulate the circulatory system and it can stimulate muscles  and relax  muscle tension since all that body’s muscles are involved in a hearty laugh. Relaxation of  muscle tension  can  lead to the reduction of pain. The production of catecholamine  stimulates production of endorphins and adrenaline in the brain. This in turn stimulates alertness and memory and can increase learning and creativity. Just think if there was more humor in school, hospitals, news broadcasts and business establishments etc., the world would be so much better. You might think about supplying your own humor.
Norman Cousins, in his book,” Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient” believed he was suffering from a case of “adrenal exhaustion.” He reasoned that if negative emotions produced negative chemical changes in the body, wouldn’t positive emotions produce positive chemical changes. He wondered if  it was  possible that love, hope, faith, laughter, confidence and the will to live  had therapeutic value? . During his illness , he prescribed for himself 10 minutes of hearty belly laughing. His humor therapy came in the form of numerous movies and books that he knew he enjoyed. Cousins reported that 10 minutes of hearty laughter  had an “anesthetic effect” permitted him at  least two hours of pain-free sleep. He had his sedimentation rate, a marker of inflammation ,measured before and after his 10 minutes of humor therapy. Cousins believe that the most important factor in his healing was reduction of pain, helplessness and anxiety brought about by laughter. He believed that his humor therapy was not a substitute for traditional medical care but an adjunct to enable the body to mobilize its own resources for recovery.
We know that Alpha is talented, competitive and a good athlete. We also know that he continues to compete at a high level with his running. It seems to me, that I have discovered his secret. We know that Sampson’s strength was his hair. Unmistakably, we all know and recognize  Alpha by his laugh. He has a great sense of humor with a very deep laugh. In other words, he gets the same benefit of exercise while laughing. This means that he’s always employing great benefits to his body physiologically. This may seem like a simple explanation to some of you; but trust me it is one of his greatest assets. Keep laughing my friend because it’s contagious and good for you and for me as well.
Today, Chris, Alpha and I intend to run the trail with laughter. Keep laughing and moving my friends.

Friday, March 1, 2013

We Human's Require Humor and Laughter-Part 2

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."– Winston Churchill
Is there enough healthy humor in your life? We know that  laughter and play are so common that a lack of humor may be considered abnormal. Also ,it has been  postulated that humor serves as a relief from stress, anxiety, frustration, and/or release from the cares of day-to-day life. This release can be cognitive, as an escape from painful reality, or it can be emotional relief from anxiety fear, anger or embarrassment or interpersonal conflict. Also, it can provide a physical release of nervous energy. And the use of humor for therapeutic purposes dates back to the Greeks who used humor therapy as it was used in the Middle Ages  for the  monarchies  who used  court jesters to improve mood. I’ll bet you could use a court jester especially when talking, on the phone, with a customer service representative from a large corporation regarding an issue.
Contemporary research began investigating the physiology and therapeutic effects of humor and in fact some believe that humor accomplishes the same goal as physical exercise. Some  humor –laughter  research findings are as follows:1. Humor experience leads to arousal of the sympathetic  nervous system 2.Epinephrine  is a precondition for physiological arousal 3. Arousal as measured by heart rate and skin conduction increases with the intensity of the response to something humorous 4. Laughter increases respiration, oxygen exchange, muscular activity, heart rate , stimulates the cardiovascular system , the sympathetic nervous system and the production of   catecholamine 5. Blood-pressure  is also  reduced in a state similar to that resulting from exercise. 6. Increases in systolic and a diastolic blood-pressure  is  related to the intensity and length of the laughter .Blood pressure levels decreased after laughter to below pre-laughter levels.7 There is greater coordination of function between the right and left hemispheres of the brain following laughter. Also, the brain is functioning at its fullest capacity when both right and left hemispheres function simultaneously.7. Laughter  maybe an  antagonist to the classic stress response 8. Humor and laughter significantly increases levels of salivary immunoglobulin A, an important immune system protein that serves as the body’s first defense against respiratory illness.
Alpha and I hit the trail  yesterday. I’m still tapering for my 50 k Way Too Cool next week. Today, I have a continuing education class (cross training), just kidding.

To be Continued