Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: February 2015
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, February 26, 2015

Mental Toughness- Part 3

If learning comes into play, then we are talking about or referring to certain developmental factors, psychological principles or characteristics that likely play a significant part in the makeup of mental toughness or perseverance. However before we identify these principles, let’s take a look at some illustrations or examples of historical facts associated with perseverance or mental toughness.

There are numerous illustrations of mental toughness or perseverance found, in fairy tales, film, literature and history. Was in an unwelcome environment and was both physically and mentally abused by her envious stepsisters. She bit her lip, didn’t complain and endured anyway despite these obstacles. In the Passover story, we find the Hebrew people enduring unbelievable physical and/or mental hardships both before and then wandering in the desert during Moses’ 40 years of self-struggle. The Old Testament attributed the motivation; appear to be primarily related to removing the shackles of slavery, the drive for freedom, and the struggle to believe in one God and only one God.

Other descriptions of physical, mental hardships, like battling for independence in the American Revolution seem related to the drive for individual, economic, and religious freedom. Mental toughness or ego strength therefore seemed to have a motivational component in this process. Other examples of mental toughness found in literature include but not limited to the following: Jon Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” illustrated politicians making difficult choices especially when confronted with disapproval by their colleagues and voters. In many cases, the politicians made decisions or choices that affected or ended their political careers. The critical choices made might be attributed to a moral conscience or more specifically Judeo-Christian principles. Kennedy’s own heroism, perseverance, loyalty, courage, and toughness are exhibited in his heartfelt PT 109 story. In the Pacific, during World War II, Kennedy was instrumental and went beyond the call of duty in saving his men during the fight with the Japanese. Kennedy, experienced mental toughness first-hand, and certainly was able to communicate about it effectively as well.

More to follow. In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mental Toughness-Part 2

What was it in the individual make up of Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Marvin Haggler, or Sugar Ray Leonard that allowed them to gather up the strength and courage to succeed or win even when getting severely pummeled? Was it related to physical strength, grit, or the supportive nature of their mother, father, or both? Was this toughness inculcated in early and challenging circumstances during their childhood, or developmental years? Was this strength associated with a positive or negative history of overcoming trauma, illness or physical injury? Was this strength the result of the ability to withstand or tolerate pain? Could this inner strength be related to anxiety, and the ability to manage or deal with it effectively? Could it be related to the existence of a mental illness condition or absence thereof? Could it be that one’s perception of the circumstance affects the drive, the ability to suck it up, and to succeed during periods of extreme stress, and unthinkable conditions? Was it compensating for a physical, psychological, or emotional issue? What about the role of competitiveness, and the desire to succeed and dominate? Certainly there is a faith or belief that the present will end the future will be better. How might revenge enter in the character of the individual? Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive.

As we can see, their many questions; along with many hypotheses about this thing we call mental toughness. Is there a major artery that explains most of the story? Or, are there many veins that contribute to the enhancement to better explain or describe this idea?

More to follow. In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mental Toughness-Part 1

  Have you wondered, like I do, why some individuals are able to persist, persevere, or have the ability to proceed despite various known barriers or obstacles in their path? Some might refer to this as mental toughness or just plain perseverance. Just think a moment about the world of sports and some the accomplishments by such well-known names as Peyton Manning-overcoming physical injury, Sidney Crosby-his history of concussions, Tom Brady-his age, Michael Phelps- all his Olympic gold medals and Dana Torres-swimming accomplishments at her age. Athletes illustrate being able to push through and endure pain while still continuing their sport. Time and time again we view a tired, exhausted, injured, or out of breath, athlete not giving up but still persevering, regardless of the circumstances or the impairment. Even though only a movie, the Stallone “Rocky” film story depicts and illustrates what happens in athletic competition when a beat up and bloody Rocky all of a sudden finds inner strength to conquer and eventually defeat his opponent or foe. However, in real life, we have the real McCoy with the classic Mohammed Ali-Joe Frazier, or Marvin Haggler-Sugar Ray Leonard boxing matches, where each of them gets pummeled and bloodied round after round during their many fierce battles.

Of course, others like Steve Jobs with his cancer or Oprah Winfrey with her poverty also have demonstrated mental toughness or perseverance with their highly successful careers to say the least. It’s obvious that persistence and overcoming barriers is not limited to the athlete alone. Make no mistake about it that many individuals famous or not, in many walks of life, have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and have overcome the odds. We can certainly call them mentally tough too.

It has taken me a while to have discovered, age plays a role, in what it takes to have achieved and have accomplished at extreme levels. It is also become obvious to us that some people seem to have what it takes-mental toughness, while in others it appears to be lacking. It is also clear that mental toughness cannot be simply explained by genetics or heredity alone. Once again it’s that old nature versus nurture paradigm that comes into play. I believe the development of mental toughness or perseverance is obviously related to nature, nurture, culture and environment. It is also true, that means that learning plays a significant part and is associated with its development.

Stay tuned as more to follow. In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Better Anti-aging Decisions

It’s safe to say that people in the United States would not only like to feel younger, but would also like to have a terrific quality of life. What good would it be to be able to live to 100, but not to be able to fully participate either mentally and/or physically? I would like to be able to age productively while being mentally and physically engaged in life.

In order to continue to live and function productively, I must make certain decisions since there are intended or unintended consequences that correlate. This means that I have to be aware and knowledgeable of anti-aging medicine. There’s information available regarding nutrition. Aside from making a difference in aging, a diet is one cornerstone to our health. A good diet, among other things can decrease risk of cancer, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, senility and depression.

If you have trouble believing that information, it’s likely related to your character and way of thinking. If you have narcissistic character trait issues, that information can be distorted in many ways. Cognitive Dissonance theory states that we would distort the information by not believing and/or distorting the data in some way. One could also distort, downplay or deny their eating behavior could result in developing   some illness or medical condition. One might also rationalize that by “cheating” this one time won’t make a difference.

Other ways that sabotages personal behavior patterns include frequently going out to restaurants, etc. for meals. We should all know by now that the main motive of the restaurant owners is for profit, and not necessarily about whether not the food is healthy for you. Restaurant portions are large; we don’t have information about chemicals and preservatives used; the health and cleanliness of the preparers and food servicers; and when the last government kitchen inspection occurred.

We also know that diet and food is emotionally charged. It is more than a source of nutrition. It also is a source of comfort, symbol of love, recreational pastime, and a connection to family and community. It is not surprising, that individuals in this country are becoming more huge in size; that there are a variety of many diets; many people fall  off the wagon; and a great number of people  do not seem to have the will or grit. So, personality, irrational thinking, and poor decision-making, contribute to the epidemic “unhealthy” in our country.

In essence, take a good hard look in the mirror and ask, “Am I doing the best I can to ensure the likelihood of my living a full and healthy life?” If the answer is “I can do better” that would be a good start.

In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Better Health Can Be a Goal

I read in a January 17, 2014 edition of The Wall Street Journal that American diets have improved by 6.4 trillion fewer calories in 2012 than in 2007. This number breaks down to a reduction of 78 calories per person per day. However, if you wanted to lose some weight, one would need to eliminate at least 350 calories a day, from diet.

In order to improve one’s health, the following are three suggestions taken from March/April 2015 edition of Double Runner Magazine. Do you realize that Xanthohumol [found in beer] might be able to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, act as an anti-inflammatory agent, and treat menopausal symptoms and obesity? In a 2014 study, this flavonoid actually improved a group of young mice’s ability to navigate a water maize after ingesting this compound. I’ll bet there are volunteers willing to participate in a human study to test to determine if beer can improve their cognitive functioning.  Any volunteers?

Israeli scientists studied whether or not diet sodas cause obesity. In their published study, they found that artificial sweeteners alter the composition of bacteria in the G.I. tracks of mice. This in turn altered the way mice digest food.  The mice became intolerant to glucose which lead to elevated blood glucose levels and other pre-diabetes factors linked to weight gain. Probably, we would find volunteers to participate in a diet soda human study. Personally, I would rather volunteer for the beer study than for the diet soda one.

At one time, people believed that a steady heart rate was a sign of a healthy body. However, in a more recent study, the authors believed that there should be beat variability in beat to beat time. They believe that heartbeat variability is a sign of good health and fitness and the loss of that heart variability indicates the bodies, fatigue, or stress. In their study, they had five healthy athletes exercise on stationary bikes. The researchers found that the body must make constant adjustments to maintain oxygen flow to the brain and to skeletal muscle during exercise. This means that  increased  blood pressure is good since without  increasing blood pressure, that would likely cause brain damage. So employ a heart rate monitor to determine if you have heart rate variability during exercise. The loss of heart rate durability during exercise indicates there is a problem so check it out.

If you are eating less, then that’s a good sign. You now have information about beer, diet sodas and your heart. If only having the correct information was enough for better health. Consider, having a goal of reaching better health. What comes to mind is as following quote: "The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach."
– Benjamin Mays

In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating along the way.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cuddling Is Good

Should You Cuddle?

By now we should all know that there are problems with getting a good night’s sleep in the United States. There are many reasons given, and many suggestions as well. Briefly, one question that could be raised “Is it healthier to sleep with a loved one or to sleep by yourself?” You may have heard the following complaints: 1.You have all the sheets/covers 2. Quit snoring 3. Having hot flashes 4. Turn off the TV 5. Turn down the TV 6. Open the window, etc. etc. etc.

Historically, going back to the days of the caveman, individuals had little clothes and slept naked. So one way to stay warm was to sleep alongside someone else. So that made sense, along with providing a little more protection from predators and outsiders since two is stronger than one. Well, in our present day society, we have blankets, more sturdy sleeping dwellings, alarm detectors etc. We’re not likely to be attacked and we have additional sources for heat.

But guess what, there are some reasons to spoon. Oxytocin the so-called love hormone is released during many types of touching, including cuddling. And increased oxytocin helps the body relax, reduces blood pressure and promotes healing. Not only has that, cuddling resulted in increased emotional feelings related to affection, security and love. If you’ve ever had a fight before going to bed, I’ll bet that interfered with spooning that evening. And, I’ll bet you didn’t sleep as well that night. Every time, it’s better to make up as quickly as possible and to spoon.

In fact, a recent study demonstrated a link between the quality of sleep and the couple’s daytime interactions. For men,   better sleep resulted in smoother daytime interactions with their spouse. When a woman had less negative interactions with their husbands during the day that led to more restful sleep at night for her.

And don’t forget, that is not uncommon for people and/or families from different cultures and different countries to sleep together. And in the early part of our last century, families with many children slept together. It’s only been since the 50s and 60s, that three and four bedroom homes have been marketed to the baby boomer generation. In any event, spooning is recommended for a number of benefits including better sleep.

In addition to forget to keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Math Made Easy

"Let me listen to me and not to them."
– Gertrude Stein

As early as I can remember, there has been a concern about inner-city kids. They perform poorly in school, [Low graduation rates] become associated with drugs, alcohol, crime and poverty. Schools within our society, for many reasons, have not solved the problem. There have been many programs such as Head Start and different teaching curriculums that have not made enough significant differences. In fact, some economists have stated that schools should be more pragmatic in their educational approach. The objectives should help kids keep out of trouble and teach them practical skills [whatever that means] to help them enter the labor market. They added that launching programs towards 4 year college degrees on a large scale is costly and would be ineffective.

Recently, neuroscience research believes that adolescence is a period of tremendous neuroplasticity. This means that the brain has the potential to change through experience. That suggests that we perhaps should look at creative programs at the high school level.

There is a program in Chicago called Match. This program is designed to deal with the following problems: 1.The average reading and math scores of eighth grade black boys are barely higher than those in fourth grade white girls. Further, Latino boys scored only marginally better. 2. Only 57% of young black men and 62% of young Latino men graduate from high school in four years, compared to 79% of young white men. 3 . In Chicago, these 16-year-old teenagers were as many as 7 years behind in reading -10 years behind in math, compared to third graders. 4. Nearly a fifth of these students had arrest records.

Simply put, the Match program is a tutoring program. Each tutor, recent college graduate, works with two students by individualizing instruction and maybe more importantly, by becoming advocates, friends, role models, and, in a positive sense, big brother like. The results have been spectacular. Not only have the students improved significantly in math, but in their other subjects as well. Their grades have improved, their study habits improved and a love for learning has been nurtured.

These Match tutors are paid roughly $16,000 year plus benefits. The program costs about $3800 a year for each student. By comparison, New York City spends more than $20,000 per student, and even more in schools serving poor neighborhoods. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to expand the program and reportedly stated “what this shows is, never throw the towel in on the kids,” and added what’s happening in Chicago shows that without breaking the bank, the lives of adolescents can be turned around.”

There is no question in my mind that learning and education are keys to success. They are not guarantees. But they do open more doors. I know we have solutions to these problems. However, the motivation or will seems to get lost. Shame on us. Article found in the February 1, 2015 edition of  The New York Times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Are You Feeling Lonely?

How many of you are aware that loneliness is on the rise in our country? In 1980, there were perhaps 20% of Americans reported being lonely. Currently that statistic has doubled to about 40%. Further, a study done at Brigham Young University, involving 300,000 participants found that loneliness was a strong predictor of early death along with alcoholism, smoking 15 cigarettes a day, obesity, and/or a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, loneliness is detrimental to your health and well-being. Furthermore, loneliness is different from depression [which is a mood disorder]. Depression can be treated with drugs, while loneliness can’t.

 Contributing factors of the loneliness issue are likely the result of the increasing percentage of one-person households. In the 1970 US Census Bureau, there were 17% of one-person households and now in 2012 that figure has risen to 27% [it’s the baby Boomer generation]. Perhaps another contributor to loneliness is the rapid increase and easy access to electronics and computer like instruments [emails, texting, social media platforms etc.] in the old days, there was an opportunity for more face-to-face interaction. Face-to-face interaction is also a better way to communicate.

So if you’re concerned with feeling social isolation or dissatisfaction with your relationships then you likely fit this category  of feeling alone or lonely. Do you do better with face-to-face interactions or connecting with some group? Taking inventory might be a good first start to determine the next step. In addition, it’s important to possibly reframe your thoughts. Obviously thinking to yourself that “I’m alone, nobody likes me; everyone hates me” is not beneficial to your health. It’s much better to acknowledge feeling alone and then to change behavior or behaviors. And remember that certain things like reading, hiking, running, swimming, are obviously positive ways to spend alone time. Whatever you do, and I mean whatever, employing moderation strategies are appropriate. Just define moderation selectively.

Do not forget my health prescriptions include: keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. And if you follow that you will likely be okay. Today’s source was the November 5, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal.


Tony joined me in last Saturday’s Jed Smith 50 K trail run. The highlight was going to Baskin-Robbins and Starbucks for treats. This Saturday, I am joining Tony on the Western States trail run.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tom Brady, Malcolm Butler, and Russell Wilson Might Have Contributed to a Higher Death Rate in Seattle

Did the Death Rate Rise with the Seattle Seahawks Fans?

There is research that examines what happens in the bodies of fans watching big, important sporting events [The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2013]. The research evaluates what happens to the individual in a close loss or blowout victory. The findings so far suggests that fans tend to drive more pleasure from a close loss than from a blowout win. In other words, with less certainty, there’s greater suspense and greater enjoyment even if fans are disappointed by the outcome. The nail-biting endings make games worth watching. In other words, fans expressed disappointment when their home team lost, but there was no statistical difference in enjoyment, regardless of who won. Enjoyment comes from the close nature of the event itself.

Interestingly, in 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl over the Arizona Cardinals, there were 25% fewer circulatory heart related deaths [in the Pittsburgh area]   than average for the next eight days. Other research found when the New York  Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl of 2008,  the number of circulatory heart related deaths in Massachusetts rose by 20% over the next eight days.

In another study, there were more auto related deaths in cities were the home college and pro football and basketball teams had just won by a close margin   [  there  could be as many as 8% of the fans legally drunk after the game]. Possibly, the fans might release more testosterone the hormone responsible for aggression during those nail biters. Afterward, the happy fans testosterone goes up, while the losers drops.

In another study individuals who identified most strongly as fans released the most cortisol and were the most stressed, partly because they had no actual control. Powerless fans may also find themselves losing self-control. After a loss, the ability to say no to a giant plate of food diminishes. After a victory fat consumption goes down by 9% and overall calorie consumption by 5%.

According to the research, when something good happens to you in your life, you’re more future oriented. So when you have good news, you are good to yourself and want to keep feeling good, and likely it will increase your motivation to follow your diet, exercise, visiting the gym etc. Feeling bad elevates short-term goals like looking for food for comfort.

The research suggests that those individuals with more positives going on in their lives are probably more likely to eat better and to exercise more efficiently. Like I say, when you keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating you’re more likely to be future oriented and have goal like behavior ahead of you.


I enjoyed the New England Patriot-Tom Brady victory so much. I think I would have enjoyed it if it was a blowout as well. Further, I’m running, the Jed Smith 50 K this coming Saturday. Tony plans to be there to pace me.  I’m looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Do You Have Enough Sex in Your Life ?

One economist [New York Times, January 25, 2015] looked at various sources in attempt to answer the question “How much sex are we having?” He looked at information from The General Social Survey, and Google searches. He believes that we are lacking reliable data as people tend to lie about sex. For example, this young man calculated the number of sex acts per year of both heterosexual men and heterosexual women that indicated they used a condom. According to his calculations, over 2.6 billion condoms were used. Then he went to the manufacturers and found that about 600 million condoms were sold each year. These numbers puzzled him.

Then, he looked at data from Google searches. The top complaint about marriage was related to not having sex. Googling “sexless marriage” had three and half times as many more searches    than searching for “unhappy marriage.” He also found there were 16 times more complaints about a spouse, not wanting sex than about a married partner, not willing to talk. In addition there were 5 ½ times more complaints about an unmarried partner, not wanting sex, compared to an unmarried partner refusing to text back.

This economist, then looked at fears related to sex. The data showed that men make more searches and have more questions about their sexual organs than any other body part. And, one of the most common questions that men Google pertained to penis size.  Women rarely Googled penis size. In fact, for every search a woman makes about the man’s organ, men make roughly 170 searches more. When a woman does go to the Internet, the data showed that more than 40% of the female’s complaint was about their partner’s penis size being too big and pain was most commonly googled word.

Another major concern for men was how to make their sexual encounters longer. Interestingly women most common concerns were related to their boyfriend’s orgasm and wonder why it wasn’t happening at all. Employing an anonymous, aggregate web activity, interest in beauty and fitness were 42% male; weight loss 33% male and cosmetic surgeries 39% male. There were more than 7 million searches looking into breast implants and about 300,000 women go through it annually. Beginning in 2010 bigger butts were on the minds of women. Women like men have questions about their genitals, but their concerns were more health-related. For example, women want to know how to shave it, tighten it and make it taste better.

One major problem in looking at Google searches is the attempt to generalize the findings. Clearly, this information is not gathered from a valid sample of men and women. In the universe, in order to take a random sample, one has to do just that. Google information is not just a random sample nor is it a representative universe. So if you’re reading this information, you probably have a certain motive. You are not chosen at random to take part in the study. However, the data is interesting to say the least. And maybe the economist is correct in that he can’t get reliable and valid information regarding sexual encounters.

Are you getting enough sex? If not, maybe, you need to keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating.