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We’re dealing with COVID-19, but what’s a virus in the first place? — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Tony, over at One Regular Guy Writing About Food, Exercise and Living Past 100, added this incredibly interesting post… I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s a good read.

Everybody knows by now that the United States and the world are in the grip of one of the dangerous coronaviruses called COVID-19, but what’s a virus and how can it make us feel ill? Why do our bodies react the way they do? Are viruses alive? “Viruses aren’t considered alive – in class I […]

via We’re dealing with COVID-19, but what’s a virus in the first place? — One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Cycling Therapy for COVID-19? You Might Be Surprised…

The first tightening in my chest, where I could tell something wasn’t quite right, scared the hell out of me.  I texted my boss that I shouldn’t come to work and he agreed, offering that I could work from home.  My cycling buddy’s son, then wife had been sick and we’d been fist-bumping after rides like it was going out of style.  That was supposed to be acceptable…  The dry cough started Thursday morning, though it never approached “uncontrollable”.  Mildly annoying is a better description.  I went out for a bike ride with Chuck that afternoon anyway.  No way I was going to let this get in the way – it wasn’t all that bad and I was going to will myself into being asymptomatic.  It was a slow ride as chuck was starting to feel a bit under the weather himself.  Chuck and I tooled around our normal loop at just under 16-mph… about 3-mph slower than normal (Tuesday had been 18.85-mph on the same route).

Friday had me pretty nervous.  One can will oneself not to be sick, and sometimes it works, but I wasn’t kidding myself either.  I was waiting for the hammer to fall.  The weather wasn’t all that great, either.  A cold front had blown in so I chose to ride my trainer indoors around lunchtime.  The hammer never dropped.  The cough subsided Friday afternoon and the tightness in my chest was entirely gone by Saturday morning.  For Saturday, it was really cold, so another ride on the trainer.  Again, easy so as not to flare anything up, but not too easy.

Sunday, the weather improved and Chuck and I were back outside.  I was feeling fine, he was still battling his mild fever.  On that ride, Chuck said he’d spoken with his sister, a nurse, who recommended “deep breathing exercises”.  Well what better deep breathing exercise is there than riding a bike?  We were out for 2 hours, covering a little more than 35 miles.  Over the next five days I covered 184 slow(ish) miles and I’m feeling fantastic.

Then this:

Recommendations

Aerobic exercise. Before infection aerobic exercise is recommended to strengthen cardiovascular health. Once infected, during the period of mild symptoms, moderate daily aerobic exercise can improve lung ventilation. Such exercise may benefit immune function as well [10]. Ideally, do this exercise outdoors or with open windows or otherwise well ventilated areas. In sufficiently warm climates, longer walks or even running may improve lung capacity. Jumping jacks, jogging in place, or dancing can be done even in small spaces.

Is the advice legit?  I don’t know, but I’ve heard it from enough people I trust that I trust it.  And it definitely helped me.  Who knew?

On another note, and purely turning the frown upside down, it’s unmistakable what this virus has done for getting people outside in my neck of the USA.  Folks, I see more walkers than I do cars while I’m out on those bike rides nowadays… and the number of those who are smiling while we wave as I go by is simply fantastic.

What to Do About Recovery Amidst the Covid-19 Scare; It’s Time to Get Creative

Meetings are being canceled left and right. Churches and schools alike are closing their doors with the hope of staving off the inevitable.  Originally, I thought this was political (God knows the depths to which politicians will sink to unjustly make hay of a crisis – they’ve certainly shown their stripes with this one) but that argument just doesn’t work because the whole entire world is losing it all at the same time… it’s more than mere politics with this, and I’m beginning to understand, watching Italy tell those over 80 they can’t be cared for, the why of it.  We need to get behind this to mitigate the damage.

This won’t be a commentary on the panic, as much as it will be a few suggestions on how to cope with the lack of the one thing active recovery requires; human fellowship.

Folks, my normal meetings were canceled this week. I’ve got about a week of sanity before shit starts going sideways so I’m going to have to get a little creative with how I work my program.  As I like to say, my disease is sitting in a cage doing push-ups, waiting for a time like this… I have to be ready.

  • Pick up the phone.  Remember back to the days when you struggled to pick up that thousand pound phone?  Well, if you’re not a natural at automatically reaching for it if you have an issue to talk through, now is the time to broaden your horizons.  Pick it up.  Call a friend.  The person on the other end of the line, in all likelihood, needs the conversation just as much as you do.
  • Home meetings with a handful of friends.  Obviously, we have to be careful with this one.  You know the drill, if someone’s sick they don’t come (though this might be a little outdated, they’re now saying everyone should act as if they have it).
  • Read, read, read.  Read your Big Book.  Read your Daily Reflections.  Read a Grapevine.
  • Visit your sponsor – assuming your sponsor isn’t over 60, of course.  We have to think of others first here.
  • This is likely the most important:  Write or do something constructive for your recovery.  This could be a time that brings you down and makes you struggle, edging closer to misery, but why?  Make this a time to really dig deep and grow yourself in your recovery.  Deepen your faith, reach out and help others in recovery, grow in your program.

I heard something interesting on the radio this morning that really struck a chord.  The last few generations were called to war.  You’re being called so sit on your couch.

Sure, this will be tough but your recovery is stronger than this.  Make it work.

Only Drug Addicts Have a Stigma Equal That of Vegans… And The BBC Entirely Misses the Simple Gist of Why That Is.

An article written for the BBC claims:

People love to moan that vegans are annoying: research has shown that only drug addicts inspire the same degree of loathing. Now psychologists are starting to understand why – and it’s becoming clear that the reasons aren’t entirely rational.

And that’s just the headline! The best part is, and you won’t find this in their article, that loathing is entirely rational, as I’m about to demonstrate.

So why do normal, rational people have a disdain for vegans equal to that of people who cheat, steal, and lie to remain the dregs of society? Well, don’t bother clicking on the link to the BBC article to learn something useful, you won’t. Truthfully, I’m surprised vegans don’t inspire more loathing than addicts and alcoholics do… that would be entirely rational, too.  At least in an addict, being a scourge is a part of a disease…

To understand this, because I happen to be one who holds a special disdain for pretentious vegans whilst not losing my $#!+ about it, I’ll be able to let you in on the secret the BBC wasn’t able to discover.  Now, as a disclaimer, I know there are quite a few upstanding vegans/vegetarians who read my blog regularly – you are not of the pretentious variety and should not take this post to be directed at you – it most certainly is not.  For the aforementioned secret, we need only look at a typical vegan’s actions from the perspective of looking at the actions of a newly recovering addict or alcoholic.

Imagine an addict who found, miraculously, recovery. They found the answer to their unique dilemma and completely changed their ways.  By unique, to use alcoholics as an example, only 10% of the drinking population end up an alcoholic. 90% of drinkers have no problem whatsoever…  They then, in their exuberance, decide to push others to work their recovery program, not just to help other addicts, but normal people as well.  Not to present an environment in which those others can understand what it’s like for we addicts and alcoholics to recover from our addiction(s), but to actually push normal folks to accept and work a recovery program in their lives because the addict/alcoholic thinks it would be good for others to live the way they do because, in the estimation of that addict/alcoholic, normal people just aren’t living up to the addict’s standards – they’re not living right.

Then, and this is the fun part, for those who resisted (as any normal person should), the nutters break into their homes, steal and/or break their stuff, disrupt their family lives and way of life with the hope the normal folk would cave and follow their way of life… This is what vegans do and why normal, polite society has a disdain for them.  As for the normal vegetarians, they get the short end of the stick due to a bit of guilt by association.  The nutter vegans are so loud and horrible, as soon as you hear “I’m a vegetarian”, it triggers instant daymares of the “allow me to tell you why you’re living wrong, you animal murdering bastard” conversation to follow.  We, as they say, simply turn and run for the hills.

That’s the level of pretentiousness exuded by vegans. That’s why vegans are despised. It’s not just that they are just pretentious, obnoxious, hateful people. It’s that they demand others share their idiosyncrasies and wildly misplaced and supercharged guilt. They’re typically ignorant as hell, while maintaining that pretentiousness, and won’t rest until others follow their chosen way of life no matter how wrong it is – and that’s maddening to normal folk who want to have peace and eat their bacon, too.

Take, for instance, a recent example in which two vegans broke into a farm in Italy to “save” some rabbits. They liberated 16 bunnies but failed to understand that those bunnies were mothers. Liberating the mother bunnies caused the death of more than 90 little, innocent, baby bunny rabbits and reports say they killed another five trying to liberate the 16.  Point is, that woman and her team should be charged with breaking and entering, theft, then as a terrorist (same with eco-terrorists).

As for the ignorance, we only need know that vegan diets are typically woefully deficient in many nutrients that cause various illnesses unless synthetic, man-made, hyper-super-duper-processed supplements are taken to maintain some semblance of health.  Here’s a news flash – eating a balanced diet is actually quite simple, until you try to eat vegan.  At that point, you have to micromanage your diet to get the nutrition right.  It’s not supposed to be that way, folks.  Even then, science is beginning to show that people who rely on those supplements are at greater risk of developing certain cancers and illnesses.  Sure, vegans claim to feel healthy for a time, but eventually malnutrition catches up and they run into health problems.  Hair thins over time and starts to fall out, and eventually they become sickly.  Generally speaking, that’s a lack of iron, iodine and Vitamin D, and a few others, dears, and guess where you get iron, iodine and Vitamin D.

The BBC claims loathing vegans isn’t entirely rational? Bullshit. It’s perfectly rational. I’d go as far as logical, and trying to ignore the reasons behind this reasonable loathing, blaming it on something else, only helps to keep the perpetrators ignorant as hell.

If I described you, if you’re a vegan who would break into someone’s home, farm or place of business to stop someone else from eating a healthy diet you happen to disagree with, stop it.  You’re a terrorist and an idiot.  If I didn’t describe you, this wasn’t about you in the first place, and I’m glad you’re a normal functioning part of society along with the vast majority of everyone else.  If you got a chuckle, well, for that I am grateful.  I’ve done my job.

Why Include Fitness with Recovery

On the way into the office Tuesday morning I was thinking about the time I’ve been putting in on the trainer.  I’m into the hard gears now, getting ready for March and pushing a gear I couldn’t at the end of last season when I was at my fittest.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.  I want to do a lot this season.

I was also thinking about meeting a friend for a dinner we have planned for later in the evening.  He and I meet up every now and again to catch up on recovery and how we’re doing since our fathers passed.  If I was a miracle (and there’s no question I am), he was touched by Jesus to be able to recover.  I don’t know how this guy finally got it, but he recovered and flew right by five years.  If ever there was a helpless person, he was it, so it’s fun to sit down and talk about the state of things for a couple of hours.

So it was those two things that had me thinking a lot about gratitude.  Then my melon moved onto where I came from.  Almost 29 years ago now, I had a doctor standing before me as I sat on his exam table, telling me if I didn’t stop drinking, and soon, I was going to die before I hit my 30th birthday.  I figured he was exaggerating, of course, until he added, “you have the liver of a 60-year-old chronic alcoholic”.  Ruh-roh.

I do love playing that tape back in my head.  My 30th birthday was 20 years ago this year.  That’s TWENTY free years.  I should have been gone twenty years ago, but for the Grace of God.

My mother likes to tell me now and then, how much healthier I am than my father was at my age.  I’m very fit.  I still move exceptionally well for an old fart (possibly only a “getting there fart”).  With all the running I used to do and the cycling I currently do, having left booze and nicotine in my past, I am fairly well preserved.  My current doctor says I’m completely recovered from smoking and my liver healed up decades ago.

[As I sit here writing this post, I can’t help but think how fortunate I am that these are the things I get to think about on on the way into the office.  Jesus, what a change from the bad old days!]

There are a hundred small-ish reasons to include some kind of fitness regimen in a recovery plan, everything from a way to blow off steam to the famed endorphin release, but there’s a big one that really matters as I age sober. My reason for including fitness with my recovery is quite simple; barring a catastrophic event, it’s very likely I’ll live to a ripe old age, all because I sobered up young.  Living a fit, healthy life, I took all of my bad genes (what few there were), put them in a bucket and lit that $#!+ on fire.  While no one is guaranteed a long life, I want to give my 100th birthday my best shot.  If I want to be mobile when I’m 90, I’ve gotta be fit now.

 

It’s Time to Burn Off the Donuts, My Friends. That @$$ Won’t Lose Itself! It’s Time to Get Ready for Spring.

I’m all kinds of fired up.  Play time is over.

My favorite new saying is “my ass won’t lose itself”.  It strikes my funny bone.  For me, November and December are playtime.  Time to go out and explore new roads and take it easy for a bit.  Come January, though, playtime is over.

My half-diet has begun and I’m not far off from mid-summer weight (I managed to only gain three pounds over a two-week vacation). All that was left was to start powering up the trainer workouts and that started last night.  My first two days back were spent getting my legs spun up after a two-week diet of tennis with my wife and daughters.  Saturday’s indoor spin was easy, but Sunday’s dirt road ride was decent.  I had to be asked to take it down a notch once and I had to watch my speed the rest of the ride.  The change of pace did a lot of good.

Last night’s trainer ride started with a five minute warm-up followed by fifteen minutes in a gear almost too hard to hold for fifteen minutes… another five easy minute’s to recover, followed by fifteen minutes in the harder gear and a five minute cool-down.

A light supper with a pre-dinner salad of spinach, romaine, cucumbers, and celery… better to fill up on the greens before dinner – an idea I got from my buddy, Mike…

Two months from now, I’ll be ready to head outside again lighter and faster, rarin’ to go.

Good to Be Back; And Right Back After It…

Yesterday was my first ride after a week and five days of vacation.  While down south with family I didn’t spend one minute on a bicycle.  Speaking with a member of our bike club at the bike shop yesterday, she couldn’t believe we didn’t ride.  For me, this was by design.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on one of my bicycles in a year.  It’s not for a goal as lofty as being ridiculously fit, or exceptionally fast, as I’m neither.  I’m healthy, pretty fast, and I have a lot of fun riding.  I have this little nagging fear that, if I’m not wise about my riding, that it’ll lose its luster over time.  I’m funny with hobbies that way… let’s just say I have a history.

So, after some rain the night before, and a temp right at freezing, riding outdoors just didn’t seem to be in the cards.  I probably could have, but it wouldn’t have been much fun, so I opted for the trainer… and it was glorious.  The 45 minutes went by as if it was 25.  I was a spinning fool, just happy to be seated atop my Trek again.  My wife and I rode side by side, watching The Bourne Identity (for the umpteenth time – we both love that series).  Today, just an hour and a half after this posts, I’ll be out on the road, heading for dirt.  The temp should be just cold enough to solidify the dirt roads (30° or -1 C) but… well, I just got back from Florida and Tennessee.  30° is gonna suck.  Still, I’ll get around an hour and a half (maybe I’ll stretch it to two if I’m feeling it) outside, and I have a feeling, once I get over the temp change, it’s going to be fantastic to be on a bike, outside.

That’s why I took the vacation off, to be excited to be on the bike again.  It worked.

Now all that remains is to check the damage I did on the scale… It should be worth a laugh, at least.