fitness test

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy
(brainyquote.com)

One of my earliest memories of my father was him working out on the pull-up bar he had secured in the doorframe between the hallway and the kitchen of our home.   In the bathroom he had dumbbells that he would use before he got ready for work.   Years later I saw pictures of him on skiis and also when he was a great swimmer, looking very fit in a picture taken at the beach.  He was a handsome and strapping young man.

My mother was also an avid skier. When my father had surgery for a brain tumor requiring years of physical therapy, my mother continued a routine of taking my younger sister and me hiking, running, bicycling and swimming. This was in the mid-1960s, when the President’s Council on Physical Fitness was a sought-after award at school, kids were always in perpetual motion outdoors and  obesity was rare in my community.   In the years prior to her accident on the slopes (she shattered her ankle ending her skiing days) we took trips to Lake Tahoe in winter to ski.   She also had a daily regimen of exercising in front of the television broadcast of Jack Lalanne.  She swam laps in a pool for hours twice a week for perhaps thirty years – right into her 70s.

As a teen in Tucson Arizona, I worked on a ranch in the early morning and late afternoon before school, riding my bicycle several miles to and from school.  I rode horses several days a week, which is great exercise for your legs, back and core.   And in the Navy, I continued to work out, even though I did not have a runner’s body, running several miles every day with the leadership of my department.  I was never a body builder, but regularly worked out in the base gym.  And cycling around the cities I was stationed.

In my late Thirties,   I started to lose interest in fitness.  Whether laziness, age or  a depression mindset thing,  I started to gain weight and stopped going to the gym.   It was actually my selection for Chief Petty Officer that turned me around.  Up at 0430, meeting a group of men and women ten to twenty years my junior at 0500, we ran along the beach and golf course at the base.   Calisthenics, tug-of-war contests, and even a half-marathon were activities I determined to give my best – “lead from the front” attitude. It was in response to a challenge that a Chief, five years my senior issued me.

fb_img_1528732288111After my military retirement,  I rode my bicycle for miles to and from work for a few years. One month after I started to up my efforts – getting the clipless pedals on that bicycle, I had an accident and broke my wrist in several places.  I was afraid to ride a bicycle in San Diego after I recovered.   Then work became my excuse to not exercise and binge eating instead to cope with stress.  Obvious to all, I started to get terribly out of shape to the point, on a vacation cruise in November of last year,  I was teased by a Jamaican tour employee who nicknamed me “Santa Claus”.   Upon my return,  I hated my cruise pictures  – alongside our very fit friends.  I made a decision.  No more Santa Claus.  With an illness at the end of the year to motivate me,  I decided to follow my spouse’s commitment, by eating nutritiously and moderately.  And get into physical fitness again.  There have been few things in my life that have not been accomplished when setting my mind to push through.  I believe that anyone with sufficient motive and “never quit”  attitude can achieve anything,   I intend to wear my uniform, fit and with pride,  for  Veteran’s Day this year.

I just turned 59 last week,  and I am well on my way to my next milestone: I was under two hundred pounds when I received my Chief’s anchors in 2004, and I will be there again.  It takes forty minutes a day four days a week.   I walk the dogs daily, and hike with my friends (and the dogs)  Saturday mornings.    And I no longer eat the processed crap I ate unthinkingly,  as I look at it now as sidetracking my goal.

No longer being a fat old man has been noticed by my co-workers, and supervisors but particularly by friends I had not seen in a year.   “Half the man I used to be” is my new moniker.  My wife is excited that we are getting healthier together.  And my zeal for the outdoors,  my relationships with my wife  – we work out together ,  with my physically active friends,  and even zeal in blogging has been renewed.   And I intend to be healthy and active for my grandchild, Zander, just born, and any more in the future.

I want to encourage you to stay active.  Nothing will pull you out of anxiety, depression, a “funk”, or a stressful day at work like exercise and good nutrition.  You can find out if this is something you want to do as well here.

And nutritional help here

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united. Wilhelm von Humboldt (brainyquote.com)

Veggies, exercise and sex

Yes, exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation. And how do you increase circulation? Exercise –Jack Lalanne  (http://www.brainyquote.com)

All the world’s most difficult problems are often generated and also might be solved,  through sex, exercise, and eating well.

Yes, Sex.  There are many facets to this subject, but as far as health is concerned I am focusing on how this is part of a healthy lifestyle.  Many issues in monogamous relationships can be relieved through a healthy sex life.  Often, one, the other, or both partner(s), because of an emotional or physical-origin imbalance (a triggering behavioral response or physical limitation) can hinder healthy sexual life.  Our physical and mental health directly contributes to having satisfying relationships.   Contributing directly to a healthy life, is what we consume and the exercise we get.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – proverb, unk. origin

Of course,  many adults associate exercise with childhood or youth,  and delay or deny regular exercise.  Commuting early to work provides an excuse to not exercise.  The work schedule is another excuse not to regularly exercise (to relieve stress),  and the return home and additional commitments provide other excuses.  But those who do regularly exercise whether aerobics, weight-training and cardio-enhancing workouts see the doctor less for cardiovascular disease, joint ailments, and pain -medications than others.   Exercise helps keep circulation and all our bodily systems operating efficiently.

Personally, a recent education in the value of eating vegetables that provide healthy fiber, proper nutrients, as well as other food, and a radical shift in the amount of water I consume daily has made positive changes.   The difference between eating the processed, preserved, microwave-ready and overly-sweetened food,  and the natural, organic, non-preserved foods – with daily water intake, is visibly remarkable.   Appearance, energy-level, attitude and a healthy sex -life makes “Jack” NOT a dull boy.

Jack Lalanne lived healthily 97 years.  He once was celebrated at age 54 for besting 21-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fitness challenge

Self-made

Do you think “outside the box”?  In other words, when you were a child were you chided for coloring outside the lines in a coloring book or for using “wrong” color crayons for subjects?  Did you ask a lot of questions? Were you someone who could ace your tests in school but were bored with rules, homework, and projects that “wasted” your time?   At work, do you get easily frustrated with the forms, chain of approvals, and eventual denial of your ideas for improving productivity?

Why is it that some of the best marketers and entrepreneurs came from humble beginnings, school dropouts and the like?  Perhaps these individuals are an anomaly.  Scholarly articles on the subject of entrepreneurship indicate that past success, “coloring outside the lines”, and stellar educational credentials predispose a person to be a successful entrepreneur,  it is not necessarily required to make a successful venture.    Some of the people I  am familiar with personally have built businesses though focused effort and personal ambition.  Yet many of today’s workers never achieve a level of comfort that is not mortgaged (homes,  cars, recreational vehicles).  We all become chained to our standard of living because of company health plans, steady paycheck and known, if not satisfying expectations.   Whatever happened to the people who threw everything they owned into a covered wagon and headed West into the undeveloped land in the 1800s?

What happened to the “American Dream”?

As one of the last Baby Boomers,  I have spent more than forty years. half in the military and half in the private sector, employed by someone else’s vision.  A year before I turn sixty,  I am wondering whether playing by “rules”, following the “Baby Boomer” model of (1) get a good education, (2a) join the military,  (2b) get a good job ,  and (3) through hard work and long working hours/effort  buy into the “American Dream”.  Is getting married, raising kids to have the same dreams, sending them to college; and retiring comfortably at some age around sixty or sixty-five still possible?  Somehow in the  past forty years, everything got more expensive,  taxes, fees,  and legal restrictions got ever-more difficult to compensate in order to obtain that retirement.  And so, for many, a second-income became necessary just to stay “even”.

Entrepreneurs are self-made

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was not born into wealth.  He was the son of a teenage mom, and adopted by his mother’s second husband (who had arrived from Cuba a few years earlier knowing only a few words in English).  He held a variety of jobs growing up.  Brilliant and obsessed to make a better life, he was a garage-inventor.  Perhaps the early struggles in his family, helped him focus on academic achievement, which in turn lead him to Princeton. When he decided later to follow his passion, it was then he founded what would become Amazon.   And we know how successful Amazon has become.

Richard Branson, son of an attorney in England, has childhood dyslexia.  He dropped out of school and at sixteen founded a music magazine.  The billionaire founder of the Virgin group began with money from that venture to found a music studio.   Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Corp, was a brilliant college dropout who created the company in his parent’s garage.  While Mark Zuckerberg attended Harvard after very impressive scholastic achievement, he certainly built Facebook from a combination of intellect and ambition.  Logan Green and John Zimmer , former college students, created the ride-sharing service from improvements they learned from a service Zimmer built to help college students get around via Craigslist and Facebook linking.

At the end of the Nineteenth Century,  my maternal great-great-uncle, Philip Ward, an impoverished immigrant from Belfast (then Ulster) Ireland, established a mail-order business ( Bullock and Ward), in Chicago and the Mid-West, a rival to Sears, Roebuck and J.C. Penneys.  It did well until the beginning of the First World War.   Other maternal Irish family forebears had built businesses in the linen trade and chocolates (confections) in Ireland that prospered up until the Second World War.   My paternal ancestors came to New York from Poland and became tradesmen and entrepreneurs, engineers and shopkeepers.

Members of my family and extended family have been motivated by necessity  as well as intellect to have successful careers.   A Registered Nurse and single mother who went to school, worked, and raised her children, excelling at each to create a balanced life.  Mothers who achieved position and higher income with the largest corporations to support their families.  Entrepreneurs and marketing trainers who helped a national network improve their businesses.   And  some have followed a path a little more  “outside the lines” to create opportunity for themselves and for others through a nationally recognized  network marketing firm.

Find your why

What sort of vacation have you taken this year?   What trade-off have you made to have that new(er) car so you can get to work?    How often have you used that 5th wheel in your driveway since you signed the payment plan?    What size apartment have you been limited to because of income?  Are you working harder and longer to pay for the child-care for your kids?  Do you spend more time ill or seeing a specialist than enjoying mid-life?

For me,  I have driven eighty (80) miles or more every work-day for eleven years to my employer.    And that employer pays me enough now, to pay for my home – small that it is – and my new used car, but also means that my wife also has to work very long hours to  pay our bills and hope for retirement someday.    We do not have a pile of money.  And the years spent in search of “retirement” is perhaps the motive for wanting something better.

 Finding “time and money”

The old saying about being able to have time OR money, but not both has certainly had some application in the second decade of the Twenty-first Century.   But the additional reality is that your Government will take its cut of whatever you do extra.    However, the way to continue to earn is through residual income. That is income that continues  and increases beyond your own effort and time to earn it.

And with health problems for the last twenty years, a focus on healthy living and exercise – so I can afford to “retire” and ENJOY it – are reasons I chose to get involved with Beach Body.   I’ve seen what a niece has built through diligent effort -hard work- over eight years, in that she overcame health issues, and can work from home – a home her business afforded herself and her husband, while being mom to her two kids.  And she has been actively involved helping about 1600 people through her business build income and better lives in the process.

Like everything else in life,  the amount of effort put into an education, a career, a business venture, or a personal life is directly responsible for the achievement.   In the military, just about everyone who maintains an “average” performance can retire after twenty years with an average stipend. But additional effort and preparation can result in someone being selected as a Chief Petty Officer.  And of those,  even more effort, preparation, and focus, someone may retire as a Senior Chief ( or Master Chief).   With effort, and single-minded focus, someone may achieve an Amazon,  an Apple, a Facebook.  or a Beach Body enterprise.    Or even the 6 AM commute, ten-hour day, and 5 PM commute home.

Entrepreneurs.   Work Ethic plus an American ( or Latino, Canadian or British) Dream.

I have to go.  I need to go workout.

If you want to know more about an opportunity to get healthier, or help your child who loves the gym but is working double-shifts all the time,  check out  BeachBody

 

Thursday PT

  1. Start by making your bed, the Admiral advises.
  2. Personal hygiene
  3. Coffee.  Everything is better with coffee.
  4. Time for Physical Training!  PT (Weight training, cardio, core strengthening)
  5. Commence Holiday Routine.

Other than Monday,  I took the whole week off making up for the push we had at the end of the Quarter  last month.   Time to catch up on honey-dos, and sort through the stacks of stuff piled on my desk in recent weeks.   Probably have four books and two magazines that I want to read- mostly personal development topics that I need to read through.  Plus about a hundred blog posts to read and respond to.  Who has time to commute, slave away, and commute back – and have a life outside those parameters?  Thus, the needed Stay-cation.

I wanted to say thank you to my blogging community friends who have hit the “Like” on my accidental wisdom 500 times.   Ninety folks following have journeyed with me so far.

 likeable-blog-500-2x

Check out my page on Facebook, if you are interested in joining my health and fitness challenge for the summer.   Salty Dawg Fitness  Group page

veterans: a hand UP

Good news!

home loans

The VA has released guidelines for 100 percent financing, up to $35K, for work to rehabilitate- repairs a home including energy-efficiency upgrades.  Work has to be completed within 90 days of start.  Courtesy of the SourceWeekly.

in-home care

The Medical Care Foster Home program.  With all the news about homelessness, Government bureaucratic failures and indigent veterans,  some good news for aging veterans.  But why do you have to DIG to find out about it?  In an Iowa-based online journal, a report that looks at a Maryland veteran’s residence that fosters other veterans.  An alternative to nursing homes and  living on the street  Foster care in a private home.  It’s a $20M annually-funded program that is currently in 42 states and Puerto Rico.   And it has oversight- the licensed caregivers can shelter no more than 3 individuals in a home, and meet strict guidelines, are reviewed, must have various certifications and annual recertification/ training, and each veteran fostered is part of a VA-funded healthcare program, with onsite visits and audits. (Not at all like that story in Southern California years ago where a “caregiver” with a criminal past cheated an older veteran out of his savings – in his own home- until he died from neglect.  She’s serving time in prison.)

quality of life

If you look through Google News for specific topics, one can find good things in all the noise that is generated these days.   And services that individuals and universities -or their employees do to help encourage veterans.   As a thankyou to local veterans,  the Laramie Boomerang  reports that the University of Wyoming in Laramie, is holding a second -annual Vets to Nets clinic on its tennis courts this weekend (June 23 – 24, 2018).

 

tip-top VA nursing care

With all the promised “hope and change” from the last President’s Administration,  care for veterans by the VA was plagued by abyssmal failures across the nation.   In the last two years, there have been some very significant changes, when leadership down throughout a facility are focused on quality care.   One story that highlights superior care and service to veterans is a VA nursing home in Poughkeepsie, New York.

super food

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. Hippocrates

Today is a second in a series of posts about the health benefits of certain ingredients in natural “superfood” potions and health shakes.  Specialty stores dedicated to various natural remedies and organic meats and produce were around more than  years ago but they have become large concerns in the last fifteen years.

Research

One of the “superfood” products that contain the ingredients reviewed in this series of posts, is a protein powder marketed by BeachBody, the health and fitness business that distributes through independent “coaches” or agents.    Bilberry, Camu-camu, and Goji berry (also known as Lycium) are all ingredients in the Shakeology supplement.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus‘s,  high antioxidant content helps the liver process fats, lowers inflammation, and has cancer -fighting agents.  In studies, mostly in mammals, they indicate positive cellular results.  This is in addition to the other reported improvement in vision.  Camu-camuMyrciaria dubia, is a well-research anti-oxidant that counters systemic inflammatory diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, microbial infections, collagen-induced arthritis, and the inflammatory  component of Alzheimer’s Disease.   It (inflammation) is a factor in cardiovascular disease that Camu-camu antioxidants can reduce.   Goji or Chinese Wolfberry, has been used in traditional medicines and general consumption documented for more than two thousand years.  This berry has had positive effects on liver and kidney function as well as eye health.  While scientific research is on-going, Chinese authorities have conducted research for decades to augment the ancient studies.

 

What are other reasons “superfood” is the new go-to for health-conscious adults?   Poor diet of most in industrialized nations is one reason. The ingredients – including vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as livestock feed are less nutritious than decades ago.    Our food is less nutritious because soil was depleted of natural minerals and ingredients through more than a century of heavy use. Fertilizers and chemical additives were created to grow faster and increase yields per cultivated acre, but this has not substantially increased the nutrition value.    In an article in Scientific American magazine,  this is substantiated.

Anyone who has eaten a non-hybridized home-grown tomato in recent times can identify it over general retail produce by taste and texture.

Available in protein shakes and other retail products,  “superfood” additives are not well understood by the public.  With the pharmaceutical industry constantly advertising a drug for any particular health condition but with side-effects that often include “death” as one potential outcome, there is public interest in other remedies.  Which conditions  may be controlled by diet, exercise, and some natural remedies?

Case study: Self

After age fifty-five,  I became a regular shopper at a local organic market, first for better quality fruit and vegetables, and later for organic (additive and pesticide-free) produce, fresh fish and chemical -free chicken. Using some herbal ingredients and remedies for Men’s health-related complaints,  I would advocate readers and bloggers do research, as experience has taught me that Big Pharma and the agri-industry does not hold all the answers.   My own research began after suffering years of a periodic allergic reaction that caused angioedema in my intestine and soft tissues.  It frequently required hospitalization.  Yet the triggering cause was not found by medical professionals but was self-diagnosed.

In the year leading up to my diagnosis,  I had taken medication prescribed to mitigate the then-unknown cause by suppressing the inflammatory effects.  Daily use of this medication caused chronic acid reflux that persisted almost a year after ceasing use.    This turned me to studying food and making different choices.

Some pharmaceutical medications are based on ingredients used for very long time by rural populations around the globe.  One such remedy, glucosamine,  was generally known to farming and ranching folk in the 20th Century, to relieve early symptoms of arthritis, yet medical professionals were quick to dismiss it without seeing extensive research.   When glucosamine could be obtained in capsule form for pennies, many did not know about it.  And yet within twenty years it became a wonder ingredient on every over-the-counter  drugstore and grocer’s shelves.  At ten times the original price.

Many of these ingredients in superfood have documented research to show their health benefits.   And with the expense of medical care today, an extract of an herb, root, or berry might be an effective alternative or supplement to a Big Pharma product.