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Daily Archives: April 24, 2012

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A Question For The Doctors

Here’s an interesting one for the doctors in the house…

Does being fit help battle normal spring time allergies?

I’ve had a hypothesis for about eight years that the more fit I am going into hay fever season – the more miles I’m running heading into the season, the better off I am.

Additionally, the more I run during the two or three week period, the better I feel overall.

Is there anything to that or is it all in my head?

I did a fairly quick google search and came up empty… As we’re heading into the season, I am exceptionally curious.

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Heart Disease and Exercise – The Maladies Series Continues With A No Brainer

I’ve been holding back on this post to get some to of the more surprising diseases first, take Type 2 Diabetes or Alzheimer’s as examples.  While it may be surprising to some to learn that exercise can put off or stop the onset of both diseases, everyone knows the benefits of exercise when it comes to heart disease.  This doesn’t mean there isn’t some interesting information out there that isn’t so well known…and that’s why I am writing this post.

The Mayo Clinic published a list of five “medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease”.  The obvious number one on that list is don’t smoke.  Number two is exercise daily, before eating a healthy diet.  Number four is maintain a healthy weight, which includes this gem that I’m certain will send shock waves throughout the internet:  “The BMI [Body Mass Index] is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks”.  That’s just according to the Mayo Clinic.  If you go by what the American Heart Association says, “Surprisingly, an individual’s fitness level was a more important predictor of death than established risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This study, along with others, underscores the fact that fitness and daily activity levels have a strong influence on the incidence of heart disease and overall mortality”.  According to the following bar graph, the greatest gains in mortality rates are going from a sedentary life style to a moderately active lifestyle (Bar 1 to Bar 2) and this is stated in the linked article as such, but call me crazy but I’m liking the gap from 1 to 4 a lot better, but that’s just me.  If, however you are over 45 years of age and have two of the following risk factors:  “immediate family member with heart disease before age 55, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, or obesity” you should absolutely talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.  I would highly recommend this meeting just on the basis that it would be fun to watch a doctor do a cart-wheel in his office, but that’s just me.

Another surprising stat from the American Heart Association is as follows (I’m going to quote it because I can’t say it any more simply and the quote is a whole is important):

What Are the Risks of Exercise?

During exercise, there is a transient increase in the risk of having a cardiac-related complication (for example, a heart attack or serious heart rhythm disorder). However, this risk is extremely small. For adults without existing heart disease, the risk of a cardiac event or complication ranges between 1 in 400,000–800,000 hours of exercise. For patients with existing heart disease, an event can occur an average of once in 62,000 hours.2,3 Importantly, the risk of a cardiac event is significantly lower among regular exercisers. Evidence suggests that a sedentary person’s risk is nearly 50 times higher than the risk for a person who exercises about 5 times per week. Stated simply, individuals who exercise regularly are much less likely to experience a problem during exercise. Moreover, contrary to popular view, the majority of heart attacks (approximately 90%) occur in the resting state, not during physical activity”. [ED Emphasis on 90% is mine].

What’s Bugging Me – This Is Not What You Might Think

Driving in to the office this morning I realized something that doesn’t sit well with me…  I’m angry lately.  I had written a rant that would surely throw at least a portion of the people that read my little blog into convulsions – so I deleted it because the rant isn’t important.  The answer to my current anger issue is what’s important.

The problem isn’t with kook groups or even their attempted theft of my freedom, it’s me.  First of all, it’s an election year here in the US so all kinds of issues will be brought up to sway the opinion of the population – mostly based on lies, falsehoods and half-truths.  The powers that be will create a fervor pitting neighbor against neighbor, for a vote.

It gets deeper than that though.  When I get angry, it has only to do with me.  To give an example of when I’m in this “space”, on the way in to the office I’ll hear a news story that sets off a cascade of “what’s wrong with all of these kooks”, I’ll go right down the line and before you know it I’m fuming.  The question is, why?  The answer is simple and difficult to grapple with at the same time:  I’m angry because I’m not handling my affairs properly – I’m not keeping my side of the street clean.  For that matter, neither am I keeping my office or bedroom, or the spare bedroom…and on top of that, I haven’t been working wisely enough.  Sure I put in my hours, but I can use my time a lot more wisely.  I get angry because it’s easier to bitch about the world than it is to fix what I’m doing wrong.  If my house is in order, I still think such things are stupid, as they are, but I don’t get angry.  The answer is that I’m being lazy – and not on the obvious stuff, like fitness, I’m in great shape, my miles are way up and I feel awesome – but if the rest of my world is a mess it’s because I’m not spending the other 22 or 23 hours a day wisely, and therein lies the rub…  If I were on my game I wouldn’t be angry about a news story (or my wife, or my customers, or [insert group of people here]).