Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: March 2014
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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Self Care Reform

"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
– Raymond Charles Barker


I just received “Self-Care Reform” written by Rusty Gregory a certified personal trainer from Austin, Texas. Rusty’s book is available on This book helps the reader in discovering a path to good health. It does that by assisting people make better behavioral changes. Rusty believes that coaching facilitated his becoming more empathetic in dealing with people and their wellness.
In his 13 chapter book, Rusty, after each chapter, raises questions for the reader. This allows the reader to take an active approach in more fully understanding each chapter. Chapter 3 is titled What Does It Mean to Be Well? He draws four conclusions as to why individuals choose or stay with the easier or more comfortable behavior pattern: 1. Our identity becomes so wrapped up in our illness that we wouldn’t know who we were if we made a change for the better. 2. Some get comfortable with their illness, and it’s easier to stay where they are because otherwise they would have to become responsible and accountable for normal day- to- day living. 3. We lack the confidence needed to change. 4. We established the “societal norm” routine. The reader can either agree or disagree with Rusty’s ideas. But, in doing so, you have to think. Thinking is one of the beauties of this book.
Rusty talks about his four conclusions by illustrating examples from his clients. At the end of  Chapter 13, he raises three more questions: 1. What does wellness mean to you? 2. What changes are you willing to make in order to meet that definition? 3. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of confidence that you can make the changes you need to make to be well? Remember, it all takes place between your ears.
Consider taking advantage of Rusty’s knowledge and experience (since 1991), If you’re at all concerned with your health and/or have reached a plateau and are stuck. We all realize that change is difficult, as well as being compulsive (stick- to- it- ness). Remember, no one ever said it’s easy to be consistent without employing rationalizations, denial or other defense mechanisms.
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, appreciating and bonding in your life space. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strategies for your Brain

"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
– Henri-Louis Bergson

On Friday, I took a continuing education class sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential and presented by Michael Lara, M.D.   Further Information from Dr.Lara can be obtained from his website, The following information are for educational purposes only.

According to Dr. Lara the prefrontal cortex is responsible for effective cognitive functioning and beginning as early as the mid-20s, a variety of impaired neurotransmitter signaling are  a result of age-related changes. Cumulative effects of chronic stress, such as depression, increased levels of cortisol, increased production of free radicals and other forms of bio markers like “ inflammation” are associated, and contribute to these changes. And of course we’re all familiar with memory loss.

Mild forgetfulness (where did I leave my keys, can you help me find my cell phone) are generally part of normal aging and occur  around age 70. Mild Cognitive Impairment is characterized by more severe lapses in memory and occur roughly around age 60, while Alzheimer’s Dementia(loss of memory, thinking, and reasoning skills) is more severe.

Memory loss is generally affected by age-related sleep changes, and can be  a significant stressor because of decreased total nocturnal  sleep time, delayed onset of sleep, reduced slow wave sleep, etc. These changes affect hippocampal atrophy in the aging brain.

Dr. Lara indicated that the following are not intended for “patient” diagnosis, education or treatment. A few of his ideas are as follows: 1. The B vitamins can support neurotransmitter function, and researchers found that homo cysteine-lowering B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment by as much as 53%. 2. Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used to promote learning and memory. 3. As body weight increases (the abdominal cavity), brain volume drops. And obesity is primarily a disease of inflammation. 4. Omega-3 fatty acids and the ratio of Omega: 6: 3 is associated with and can be an anti- inflammatory nutrient. The ratio of approximately 1 is recommended. 5. The Mediterranean Diet is associated with reducing the risk of negative metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline and lower mortality rates.

Dr. Lara also talked about the benefits of Resveratrol (alcohol or grape juice) as a potent antioxidant; Dark Cocoa, CoQ10, and Blueberries, reducing oxidative stress caused by damaged mitochondria. For wine drinkers, you’ll like this quote “a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Dr. Lara also talked about nutrients  that supported brain metabolism such as: 1. Berberine 2. Caffeine 3. Cinnamon.

His strategies for protecting the aging brain include: 1.Caloric restriction 2. Intermittent fasting 3. Aerobic training 4. Resistance training. Dr. Lara also mentioned that one hour of exercise was negated by six hours of sitting.

For those of you that want additional information, I suggest that you go to his website, or to for additional references such as DVDs, booklets, and/or recommended readings. I totally support incorporating diet, supplements, and exercise to increase brain volume, longevity and to slow down cognitive  impairment for our aging brains. The key, of course, is finding the right  answer/practitioner.

In any event, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, appreciating and bonding too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Way Too Cool 50 Km

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

On March 8, I ran the 25th annual, Way Too Cool, 50 km trail run. I am pleased to report that I ran it faster than last year. A couple of possible explanations are in order for the faster time, even with the wet and muddy trail conditions. For the past six months or so, I began running the hills and not worrying about my Achilles. Running the hills likely increased my cardio (overloading my cardiovascular system), which contributed to additional endurance. I’m considering running with a heart rate monitor to more accurately measure my cardio rate. I’ll  keep you posted. Not thinking about injuring my Achilles eliminated negative self-thoughts, which likely helped also.

I’m pleased to report that Tony, after a long Way Too Cool absence, met his running goal too. Further, my 100 mile ride and tie partner and friend Jonathan Jordan again ran in the event also. Jonathan, last year, experienced cramping at about 20 miles. This year, he ran well and didn’t cramp.

At about 14- 15 miles or so, Jonathan and I were accompanied by my friend Madhu. Once we reached the recycling center (21 miles), Chris and Bill joined us. My wife Linda and Chris’s wife Michelle were there also. At Goat Hill, Randall joined Linda and Michelle to welcome us. Meanwhile, Jonathan continued to stay in front.

It was great seeing everyone on the trail and at the aid stations. It certainly makes running more enjoyable. We all hung around at the finish, ate pizza, drank Coke’s and took pictures.

Afterwards, Linda and I hosted a potluck and were joined by spouses (Farah, Diane etc.}. We ate, drank, and it was all good. Further, I did not require any ibuprofen or icing afterwards. On Sunday, Jonathan, Linda and I hung out and took the day off. It was all good.’

An article from February 15, 2014, Bottom Line had a list of 9 Things Happy People Don’t Do. According to Dr. Dan Baker, he said that happy people don’t blame others for their problems. He said that taking responsibility for problems can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy, but if we blame other people it’s more likely to lead to unhappiness. Because then, according to him, our happiness is outside our control, and then we are victims. He said take responsibility for solving your problems to learn that you have the power to set things right.

Taking responsibility for your issues, allows the individual to evaluate the effectiveness of decision-making. Hopefully, if poor decisions are made, we can then make proper changes. And as Katherine Mansfield states, it may be as” simple” as changing one’s attitude.

In any event, use the space between your ears, and employ effective, and self-fulfilling behaviors. That means keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, appreciating and bonding.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go Part 5

Bo's Warriors       Chapter 1   Go Blue Go

Part 5 

Coach Schembechler took a group of highly athletic and competitive young men (recruited by Bump Elliott) and created a group goal of winning, by being in the best possible physical condition which dovetailed nicely with his players individual motives. The 1968 team with a previous 8 – 2 record had a high probability of success for that 1969 season. With the clarity of the team’s goal; the cohesiveness of the team; their commitment and participation to the goals were so dynamic that the outcome of success left little doubt. As a result, the foundation of Wolverine football success was set in stone for years to come.

Some may argue that Bo made the player’s successful or was it the players, recruited by Bump, which made Bo successful? You decide.  Bump Elliott was a football legend at the University of Michigan. This handsome Marine Lieutenant was likely one of the most well respected of the many Michigan living legends. He was well spoken, intelligent, and a caring individual with great interpersonal skills. He was impeccably dressed and knew his football from a player’s perspective, from being a student from the University Michigan and was at ease with himself, with his national recognition.  If there was ever a spokesman for the University of Michigan, it was this unpretentious man. What a terrific model.

Those he recruited, had nothing but good things to say about him. Thomas Darden told of Bump coming to his Sandusky, Ohio, home. He said this soft-spoken man has such a great presence that his mother fell in love with him right away. Bump referred to Thomas’s parents, as Mr. and Mrs. Darden. They said to Thomas “he’s not like the other coaches.” Thom thought that Bump was a kind man, someone you can trust. If he said something to you, you knew that he was telling the truth.” I liked Bump and he made me feel that I was part of the Michigan experience. I also wanted to play for him, but he was fired.”

In fact, Bump was responsible for my 6   teammates and I leasing our house, in my junior year. That house became the “Den of the Mellow Men.” Mike Oldham and Glenn Doughty brought Bump the house listing. He took care of it from there. When I moved to Iowa, I looked Bump up and continue to have contact with him.

Mike Keller said that Bump took a personal interest and always came up to him and asked him how he was doing in school. Mike said that Bump knew that in order to play, I had to be eligible .Bump was comfortable to be around, like an uncle. Mike was friends with Bruce, Pete Elliott’s son, and later as a senior became friends with Bruce’s brother Dave. Bump and Pete Elliott were family. Mike said that Bump first approached him before athletic director Don Canham did and asked him to run for the Board of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan. He did run and won.
Frank Gusich told me that Bump made a strong impression with both him and his mother. He said Bump was a real gentleman, a real classy guy. And it didn’t hurt that Michigan had a good academic reputation.

Fritz described Bump as a gentleman, respectful of every individual, dapper, well spoken, perfect, and    like an Ivy Leaguer. He didn’t think that Bump would run that” slap and stomp “drill because it disrespected the individual.

 These Michigan Wolverines contributed greatly and personified the Michigan tradition. They were selected to illustrate a cross-section of young men from different backgrounds who bonded and became relentless, in goal achievement. These young men came together and in 1969, achieved on the football field   and later off the field as well.  Their exceptional ability has been demonstrated throughout their entire lives.

It is  my pleasure  to introduce you to the outstanding men of that 1969, Michigan football team:  Jim Betts, Jim Brandstatter, Tom Curtis, Thom Darden, Frank Gusich, Mike Keller, Reggie McKenzie, Fritz Seyferth and Coach Gary Moeller who learned about mental toughness first-hand from their legendary coach Bo Schembechler. These are their stories.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter i Go Blue Go Part 4

Part 4            Bo's Warriors        Chapter 1       Go Blue Go

In fact, on one occasion, the offensive team was doing a punting drill. Bo said that he would give $10 to any defensive player that blocked the punt. As it happened, the punt got blocked and there goes offensive tackle Jim Brandstatter running down field to make the tackle. Bo becomes irate and runs down field after Brandstatter thinking he missed his block, which resulted in the blocked punt. He finally catches up to Jim and starts berating him. Quickly, one of the coaches, Jerry Hanlon, runs up to Bo telling him that Jim made his block. Do you think that Bo apologized for his mistake?   Instead, Bo said something to the effect “he needed it.”   Doesn’t that remark sound so much like Bo?      

Bo knew that expectancy of success has a positive incentive value. Further, that expectancy of failure can affect the achievement motive as well; such as the motive to avoid failure. He knew that leadership, bonding, social pressure, and wanting to please could be nurtured in a group setting. He also knew that the players would bond around Jim Brandstatter and that Jim could take the verbal abuse.

Coach Schembechler understood that purposive behavior /positive valence goals gave meaning to these young curious competitive minds. He knew that aversive stimulation or negative reinforcement worked too especially and more so back then. He also knew about intrinsic motivation (desire to practice in order to become a better football player) and extrinsic motivation (a team win over OSU and MSU red letter games), as powerful motivators. Schembechler made it clear to his troops “do it my way, or the Highway; do it right the first time.” His communications were clear, not ambiguous. He knew how to communicate with his guys.

 In essence, Coach Schembechler knew how to increase motivation, so that his players would put out maximum effort. He realized that expectation of success (winning regular and red letter games) and expectation of failure (had to be avoided). He also was cognizant that success has a positive incentive value (important for the team, important for the coaches, important for the University, important for the tradition) increased motivation and behaviors associated with achieving the goal. He also knew that achievement, competitiveness, were in the psychological DNA of the exceptional group of men that he was leading. He knew they would avoid failure at any cost. They knew the importance of winning this OSU game.

Another significant and an important part of Bo’s psychological genius was related to conditioning. Bo Schembechler had an understanding that being in top physical condition resulted in not only intellectual growth but development in mental toughness as well (it ain’t just toughness). These young warriors realized that if they could survive Bo’s practices during the spring and fall, the game on Saturday would likely be a break/reward and/or relief.

Coach Bo’s most significant contribution to success was his ability to get the most out of his young players by changing their thought process. He did that by challenging them, getting them to believe that the impossible was possible. In other words, these young men began to believe in Bo, in the team and in themselves. The team mindset changed, barriers and obstacles overcome and on the field performance reached new heights. They no longer sold themselves short because their concept of self was raised beyond what they originally thought.  As these young man began to fulfill their football potential, their confidence soared and now the sky became their limit. This team could and did achieve anything they set their collective minds to accomplishing.

Bo utilized the achievement model of motivation.  He knew that goals were related to involvement of the task (which the main goal is to improve and increase one’s skills through practice, drill and more drill). Achievement goals are also related to ego involvement with the goal to demonstrate superior ability or out achieving-outperforming others. And that these high achievers will gain such things as approval and acclaim within the group. In other words, he knew that mastery within the sport and high-performance was paramount for team success. Bo was a master social psychologist, teacher/sage/ mentor to this collection of physically and mentally exceptionally gifted young men.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go

                                           Bo's Warriors           Chapter 1 Go Blue Go  
Part 3 Continued

Certainly, having the Ohio State playing date written in red letters on the blackboard was an incentive and was a clear group goal. No one had to say or even verbalize the importance of that Ohio State game. It was simply understood. The expectation was great and the consequences were clear and the outcome could only be provided by this group of young men/ the team.

Bo understood this concept of group/team cohesiveness. Bo himself had great teachers and he learned from the best like Woody. Bo also surrounded himself with smart coaching minds and valued their input. Serving in the U.S. military no doubt contributed to his understanding of the dynamics of groups. Some people compare psychologically a football team’s cohesiveness to being in a foxhole with a buddy, within your company during battle with the enemy. Woody was a great field general and understood historical battles and taught his protégé Bo well.

Bo also knew about human learning, human development, group dynamics and motivation. He realized that external and situational factors play a part and create motivations which otherwise might not exist. He knew about focusing. He knew about expectations and probability of reward/ reinforcement. Bo also was cognizant of the fact that reinforcement (feedback) didn’t always have to be positive. In fact he knew when to talk disparagingly to his young troops. He was smart enough to realize that negative or critical feedback also works and influences behavior. He knew who could take it and who couldn’t. Some like Brandstatter heard comments, from the coaches, such as “you’re the worst tackle in the history of intercollegiate sports; “and “We wasted a scholarship on you;”   Bo called Gusich “a candy ass.”   By the way, candy ass co-captain Gusich was called by his teammates “the toughest dude on the team. “ When Bo told Keller “cut your hair.” Keller responded “baldness runs in my family and I am keeping my hair as long as possible.”   Bo also said, according to Seyferth something to the effect that, “I have the 10 worst players in college football.”


 Coach Schembechler’s assistant coaches realized (on their own) that these young man required positive interactive reinforcement. The assistant coaches knew that Bo was going to break the men down (mental toughness), so that he could rebuild them to excel at the highest level.  Within this situation, of being in a highly competitive big time Division 1 program, football players were obedient and eagerly followed directions( of an authoritarian, no- nonsense disciplinarian, tough- love father figure), the head coach during that era . In spite of Bo being, on the field, critical, these assistant coaches also knew that Bo was gentler with his young players, one-on-one, behind closed doors. The assistant coaches also knew that Bo (warm and fuzzy as an assistant under Woody) somewhat imitated Woody, when Bo became the man and ran his program.

It was okay with Bo that the assistant coaches would be the good guys, gentle, personable, friendly warm, who made football fun with their creative drills. Gary Moeller, for one, had his defensive men doing  end zone drills, laughing-having a good time while Bo’s offense were doing their not so fun  drills.  According to Frank Gusich, Dick Hunter was a good guy, and even fed Hunter’s kids lunch during his junior and senior seasons. During a practice/scrimmage session, Fritz Seyferth was discouraged by Bo’s criticism. However, assistant coach Jerry Hanlon would come by and pat him on the back and say “you are doing this right.” Did that ever sooth the wound.

To Be Continued

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bo's Warriors Chapter 1 Go Blue Go

Part 2       Continued               Go Blue Go

And with team bonding, team unity also influences positively the kind/type of personality each player was is developing. These players became less self-centered, and more caring and giving. These young men became less full of themselves. They cared a lot about each other.  Membership in the group was paramount for security, achievement, competitiveness   and status. As” the team” became more and more of a positive attraction, it became more cohesive and turned toward a collective “we.” Forget about “I” or “me.” Even when Fritz Seyferth, a starting fullback (had a Rose Bowl scoring touchdown) began sharing duties with a sophomore, he didn’t complain or say “poor me.” Fritz worked hard for the team.  Reggie McKenzie told the story about Preston Henry during one spring practice. During that particular practice, Henry, a running back, had to practice offensive maneuvers for both the first and second string offense for some 130 plays or so. After practice, everyone ran sprints, even Preston Henry.” We all felt sorry for him. “Absolutely no one on the team would have been upset if Preston Henry was excused from running wind sprints.” It’s highly unusual (unheard of) for one player to run that many plays in one practice or scrimmage session.

With cohesiveness, this team was able to mobilize its energies in their support of the group goals, which were to prepare self physically (even if doing exhausting, unintelligible exercises i.e. .slap and stomp), so that on the field performance (a win) would be second to none. Solidarity was important and expressed by the final core players that didn’t quit or leave the team. There was a sign, on the wall, that attempted to reduce the number of players from quitting and keeping only the toughest. It read   “those that stay will become champions.” A player (Pru man) who left the team added “those that leave will become captains of industry, lawyers and doctors.” Roughly, 75 or so players stayed with the team. They may have complained about some of the tactics employed by Bo, but stayed. In fact, a player or two would be talked out of quitting the team-Reggie McKenzie for one. Reggie went through a spell thinking that Bo was unfairly on his back. He was told” McKenzie men do not quit.” From that point on, Reggie showed Bo his character. His self-talk was something like” I’m not going to let Bo beat me. “

These young men became strongly motivated to contribute to the team’s welfare and advance its objectives versus me / my individual goals. As a team they became more cohesive; the more the individual players wanted to become part of the team, the more they liked/bonded with each other. They roomed/lived  together, took the same classes , socialized , partied,  got fixed up on dates by teammates, worked  at the same off season jobs   ,pledged the same fraternities , boycotted the same classes  and became inspired together.  They had common interests and belonging was important as they identified with something much bigger/larger than themselves (University of Michigan’s gridiron history).  Bo told them during the racial unrest on the campus that, according to Brandstatter, “we are one race-Michigan football; you guys are not about race; no one from the outside is going to get between us; race is not an issue. “ Keller remembered “son of a bitch you’re not red, you’re not white, you’re not blue-you’re Michigan.” Even Bo supported the Mellow Men’s (seven black football players) stand on boycotting (shutting it down) the Economics building during a campus demonstration.

As desirability of membership and being part of the team Increased, the greater the value of expectations or outcomes became apparent. It was significant that their need state for achievement, affiliation, competitiveness, recognition and security were being realized through team membership.
To be continued