Dr M Says

AFAIK, Dr M is one of the medical greats. I haven’t had any medical problems he couldn’t help with. Maybe I haven’t presented any great challenges.

But  I am straying from his advice. Dr M advises older folk against running, including some people under sixty. He says it is hard on the joints. (Cue Cheech and Chong.)

I would imagine that longer distances of real running are a lot harder on the joints than my current regime. At the exercise course, I jog between stations, around a mile total, plus a sprint at the end. Otherwise, I do a path that measures 1 1/4 miles, walking and  jogging. Or I do similar distances elsewhere. Yesterday’s work was walking the path three times, with a little jogging.

A muscle in my right thigh was sore before that, and again after. I hate to lose progress, but I think today’s day off for the legs was a good idea.

A (former) life of desk jobs and frequent bouts of inaction decimated my core muscles and cardio fitness. The very same was very easy on the joints. Maybe I have cartilage to burn. I’ll rethink it if and when pain, nature’s messenger of truth, tells me otherwise.

Energy Crisis

Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. Today I had an errand, so I had a late lunch, so I was hungry, so I ate a lot, so afterward I fell asleep in the recliner chair. When I awoke after an hour, the light of day was waning. (The shortest day of the year is a week away.)

I was tempted to eschew the exercise course. But I went. I did eschew the pull-ups and monkey bars, due to my left shoulder’s issues. Everything else was a chore.

I tried to use my aesthetic attitude and appreciate the sky. It was a dull dishwater grey.

It was colder today than it has been for weeks. Ancient hibernation hormones demanded a sensible course of inaction. I guess everybody has to find their own motivation and their own inspiration. I find Tom Petty’s “Climb That Hill” works for me lately.

When I was young, while I ran, I used to imagine myself in a Stone-Age clan, chasing down some meat on the hoof with the other hunters. In comparison, Tom Petty’s music is tired, slow, and low-energy. Oh well.

Squeezing My Balls

For many years I squeezed tennis balls and rubber balls in my left hand quite often.  This strengthened my left wrist, which was permanently injured when I was twenty years old. If I stopped doing the exercise, eventually I would re-aggravate the old injury.

But two years ago I forgot my squeezing routine. This led to re-injury when I was doing the exercise course at the local park.

So now I am back to squeezing my balls. I also squeeze my brain. I have an old palm-sized rubber  brain which is an advertiser for the “Lotus Masters Broadcast Connection”.  (That’s the “Lotus Notes” Lotus, not the “Jewel In The Heart of the” Lotus, and not the “really fast and uncomfortable car” Lotus.)

Another joint that needs work is my left shoulder. It has always dislocated freely in certain positions. (My jaw does too.) I was thirty before I learned that this is abnormal. Strengthening it definitely helps, and luckily the exercise course does touch on the right muscles. Probably I should add some free weights work on the shoulders and arms.

I wonder what a good artificial shoulder would cost. But it’s moot; I have a horror of cutting through skin, especially my own. I would have to be pretty desperate to get cut up voluntarily.

The Quest for Alertness

I like to do many mental activities, such as, web-surfing, reading, writing, games of strategy, watching screens, and looking at art. That is, as opposed to purely physical activities (are there any?) and combined physical-mental activities like sports, crafts, and making art.

Specifically I like to apply logic to things. Our brains have many other abilities but that’s me.

In my fifties I started to notice some mental tiredness during daytime, along with less of my lifelong high-strung nervous energy. I began to search for improvements.

Now first and foremost, good circulation (cardiovascular fitness) is necessary to good brain …. uhh …. stuff. Aerobic exercise is the only way to increase or maintain cardio fitness. Bad dietary choices can harm cardio fitness over time by thickening the artery walls (at least, for some people).

And of course, proper sleep is necessary to have mental energy.

Besides for exercise and sleep, there are other ways to improve mental functioning. I have always observed that plenty of B vitamins are needed for alertness and energy.

I tried a diet that was organic fruits, nuts, legumes, and other vegetables. The diet had no refined sugar or white flour, and much less “bad” carbohydrates. It was along the lines of Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet. It really boosted my energy. Since then, I have kept some improved  habits, but also backslid a lot. (It doesn’t help that I get occasional gifts of Kobe Wagyu beef.)

Caffeine has its place for sure. I have also used ginseng (powdered and standardized) for the past twenty years, a little bit daily. About five years ago I doubled the dose, which puts me at 33% of the label recommendation.

Ginseng has been a tonic in Chinese tradition for a long time. I strongly believe in traditional medical knowledge, including herbs. Trial and error, over centuries, works wonders.

My brand of ginseng also includes “Siberian Ginseng”, which is a different genus (Eleuthera) than American Ginseng (Panax). Siberian Ginseng contains different active chemicals.

I find that my ginseng regime gives me a bit more energy and endurance for late nights, and increases my libido.

But in recent years, many modern professionals are using a variety of newer food supplements and medicines  to improve their mental ability and alertness. This blog will discuss these other “nootropics” too.

 

Return to the Exercise Course

The next day after I discovered the exercise course, I went back to retry it.

I learned a lot.

First off, the thing I couldn’t do was a pull-up. Does aging prevent reading the directions? I can do a chin-up! Literally, one.

Second, hanging all my weight from my left arm is a non-starter on the horizontal ladder and also, anywhere anytime.

Third, like my left arm, the ability to balance got worse while it was unused. Of course, that happens at any age. (OTOH, mental tiredness really just began in my fifties.)

The next two days it rained. Today I plan to return to the course.