by Doug Kelsey
Thank you to all who participated in the Reasons for Exercise survey conducted about three weeks ago. The results are in and there were a couple of surprises.
The survey, Exercise Motivations Inventory, was designed with main categories and questions for each category by David Markland, PhD of Bangor University (it is free to download and use for research purposes). One hundred seventy three (173) people took the survey. The average age was 43 (spanning from 20 to 81) and 52% were female, 48% male. Below are the top five categories with the number one sub-question listed next to each category.
The top five reasons people in this survey exercise were for:
There were a couple of surprises. One was "nimbleness" or agility and the other was "revitalization". The International Health, Racquet, and Sports Club Association's survey of its members revealed that the number one reason women exercised was weight control and for men it was to increase muscle tone. But, they fail to share the average age of the survey respondents. The majority of health club members are under the age of 34 and positive health is not a major concern for the younger age brackets. It's an improved or maintained body image that this group is seeking.
A major concern of people over the age of forty though is improving or keeping their health. And, based on research from the Centers for Disease Control, I understand why. The average lifespan of a US citizen is 76 years and the last 12 of those years are spent in ill health. That's nearly 71,000 of your wakeful hours filled with disease and / or disability and most of these problems are derived from your lifestyle.
So, how do the survey results fit with your expectations of why people exercise? Any surprises for you?
To positive health,
by Doug Kelsey
I lost it.
It took me a long time to get it and now it's gone. Not forever. I know how to get it back. I just, well, you know the drill. You want something you once had, know how long it took it to get it, know what it's going to take and off goes the monkey mind swinging from branch to branch in the frustration and worry jungle.
Here's how it happened.
It was Monday, February 11, 2008 . I started at just shy of 12,000 feet and it was foggy, snowy, and really cold up there. I could see about 20 or 30 yards. As I started down the mountain, I felt like I had never been on skis before even though I had already skied earlier that day and all day before. I fell a few times; no big deal. I knew I was going to fall and was ready for it. I got up and kept going.
The run, Longshot at Snowmass, is aptly named. At 5.3 miles from top to bottom, it's the longest run on the mountain. Not the toughest run by a long shot (just had to use that - it was there :), but that day it was both long and tough for me. About half way down, I ran into a stretch of moguls. I swear there were Volkswagen beetles buried in the snow. And, to make matters worse since I had little recent experience with moguls (my last time skiing was, ohhh, let's just say I don't own any wine that old), the run narrowed making it tough to control my speed.
You probably know where this is going.
Launched off a mogul into the air, a 180 degree turn to land face down with my skis spearing the slopes like two sharp swords, I heard a crunch, thud, and a "ugh." I laid still making sure everything was intact. Somehow, I was ok. Right? I was ok. Yep. Ok. Sore, yeah, but ok.
I got up (that would have made a most excellent video) by thrusting my hips back and forth, up and down, side to side, while pushing with each arm alternating right and left. I finally wiggled one ski free of the snow. Then, the other.
I just sat there for a while. I was the only person anywhere around. No sound. Just me and the winter.
I was ok.
I made it down to the bottom and waited for my buddies.
I was ok.
Two days later, I was not ok.
In my gymnastic fall, I injured my spine. Since last Wednesday, I haven't been able to sit for more than a few minutes and when I get up from sitting, I have a sharp, searing, cramping pain in my right hip that goes away after a few steps. I can stand and walk around without any problems. All the signs and symptoms of a classic disc injury and one I would rather not have and it's not because of the pain. That's a concern but it's not number one.
What I lost was my ability to stand on one leg which took me nearly a year to master. If I stand on one leg holding the other off the floor and close my eyes, I can stand for maybe 1-2 seconds. Maybe. I should be able to stand for 10 seconds completely still. If I open my eyes, I can stand for about 10 seconds when I should be able to stand for at least 30 seconds.
I know it won't take me a year to get back to standing on one leg again but, I have to say, it sucks right now. Just being honest (my new years resolution was to be as honest as I can in all situations and I figure this is one situation where honesty is a good thing).
So, I'll bet you're wondering. Was it worth it?
I had three fantastic days doing something I haven't done in 15 years; something I thought I would never be able to do again. And, I was in really good condition tolerating the loads, forces, work, quite well.
I fell. Stuff happens. Time to re-group, push reset (especially in my head), and go again.
And, will I go again? Absolutely. I will.
Maybe I should try dunking a basketball again?
I'm working hard for a full recovery in time for Sports Center's annual Hall of Fame Party scheduled for Thursday, February 28, 2008 from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. All of you Hall of Famers, hope to see you there. I'll show-off my single leg stance ability :-) and we have a surprise or two for you as well!
I stumbled upon "The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII" today while doing some research and after I read it, thought you might like to read it too. One of the things I like about it is the focus on just one day. When you think about trying to change something about yourself and making that change stick forever, it can be overwhelming. Read through the list and if something resonates with you, choose to act on it for just one day and notice what happens.
1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.
by Doug Kelsey
I watched a good portion of Roger Clemens' testimony before Congress today (2/13/08) on whether he used performance enhancing drugs and I came away befuddled. His former trainer, Brian McNamee, says Clemens did use the illegal drugs and Clemens claims McNamee is lying. It's he said, he said.
But, why are we doing all of this, spending who knows how much taxpayer money to end up in a standoff and likely about to spend a bunch more money (there were six FBI agents in the room) trying to process somebody for perjury when no one in baseball has yet to figure out what's ok and what's not ok when it comes to performance enhancement? Clemens has already admitted to using performance enhancing drugs in 2005 but, baseball and society had no problem with it. Reason? It was Vioxx. Clemens was upset when the drug was taken of the market because he used it to manage inflammation and pain allowing him to compete, enhancing his performance, when he would otherwise not be able to play.
It's ok to inject a player's knee or shoulder or back with cortisone so the player can continue. It's ok for a player to have Lasik surgery, like Tiger Woods, drastically improving his eyesight. It's ok for a player to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin or Advil or other pain killers. Chugging a few cups of coffee or a can or two of Red Bull loaded with caffeine is ok. But it's not ok to use human growth hormone or anabolic steroids. I know there are health ramifications with these drugs but there are also ramifications with other drugs. And, Lasik may improve performance more than human growth hormone so, why is it ok?
Is the issue performance enhancement or is it that we (society) have a taboo on certain drugs? It wasn't all that long ago that alcohol was a banned substance and before that Coca-Cola actually had cocaine in it. Drug use in society is a very sensitive subject and perhaps what has happened is baseball got caught with its' pants down exposing a bum of flawed logic. If we use the logic that all drugs that alter human performance should be banned in baseball, including caffeine, then shouldn't the same be true for society as a whole? Well, that's never going to happen. Starbucks would become the worlds largest drug dealer.
Maybe we should debate this whole issue of performance enhancement and what we're willing to live with and what we're not and include everything that alters performance. All drugs, procedures, everything. Put it all on the table for examination, discussion, and argument. There are a lot of things in life that don't make sense but at least we could try to make some sense out of this issue.
If you were worth twice as much as you are right now, would that be enough for you to feel comfortable?
Most people will say no. Even the very rich. I finished reading, "Richistan: A Journey Through The American Wealth Boom and The New Rich" by Robert Frank and found something unexpected. It seems that rich people, termed the Richistanis by Frank, don't feel much more secure about their position in life than the rest of us. A study conducted by a wealth management firm, PNC Advisors, discovered that the rich need to at least double their net worth to feel secure. So, $500,000 needs $1 million, $2 million needs $4 million and over $10 million needs an increase of $18 million.
As I read this, I thought, "Something's broken when $10 million is not enough." Then it occurred to me that it's not about the money as much as it is about freedom. I think most of us equate money with freedom; the ability to do what we want, when we want, and how we want. We think that more money will give us more of what we really want but the problem is that we actually don't know what we really want. We just think we do.
What our souls long for, the things that people really want, are things like love, respect, encouragement, friendship, to be needed, valued, to be heard. When we're cloaked in these things, when we're bound up by them, we're free; our days our light. When we're free of these things, we shuffle through life shackled by the load of a longing soul.
Ernest Hemingway once said, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places." But, money is a fragile fix for the "broken places" of our lives.
Make today count.
Listen to this interview from NPR with a nationally recognized expert on back pain, James Weinstein, D.O. and maybe you'll hear what I heard.
Dr. Weinstein has chronic lower back pain, sometimes so bad that he's not sure if he can make it through his clinical day, yet has not been worked up for it, has not had any imaging studies, and has no diagnosis. His treatment? Ignore it, keep running, change nothing. Dr. Weinstein believes that "hurt does not mean harm." So, just because his back hurts, he can't stand up or perhaps walk, doesn't mean he has harmed himself.
He clings to the outdated notion that 90% of all back pain sufferers will be fine within a few months of the first onset of back pain. What he fails to mention that although this is true, nearly all will still be complaining of back pain and related disability one year later*.
His thinking makes no sense to me. If you spend an afternoon working in your garden and the next morning, your back hurts so bad you cannot stand up straight, you're injured. Period. All movement or activity or exercise that exceeds your body's capacity results in an injury. The only question is how badly are you injured? Injury is the transfer of energy causing an interference of cellular function resulting in physical function decline. If you go to the gym, workout, and hurt the next day, you injured yourself. Two days later, maybe you're fine. In that case, the injury was mild. Get hit by a truck? Big injury.
I say, he's in denial. In fact, when the interviewer asked him why he had not had an x-ray or MRI, or been diagnosed, he said it was probably because he was afraid of what he might find out. Hmmm....I've had a swim or two in that river. Murky, mucky, filled with all sorts of crap that seeps its way into your brain convincing you that you're really swimming in a pristine pool of cool, clear aqua.
Dr. Weinstein does make sense though in his general approach to back pain. He believes that movement is the key to overcoming (although not solving) back pain but what he's missing is an understanding of the consequences of arbitrary movement. His advice is just to grin and bear it. Muscle through it. The result for him? Dr Weinstein has resigned himself to a lifetime of episodic back pain and that's just the way it is. He's just going to have these days when, out of the blue, as if the Back Pain Fairy sprinkled pain dust on him, he's all knotted up and crippled. He has no plan other than to just keep doing what he's been doing. He has no plan on solving his back pain because he doesn't believe it can be solved. Unfortunately, his view is what his patients get as well.
Does it make you wonder if other types of physical problems get this
sort of treatment? This almost medieval, Braveheart approach? Can you
imagine? Sprained ankle? Yeah, sure , run on it! Oh, and that
subluxing shoulder? No problem! Just keep lifting weights! And, oh,
your Achilles Tendon hurts? Sure - sprint! It'll go away!
The answer is no. Other body areas are treated entirely differently than the spine. Back pain sits at the back of the diagnostic bus. Back pain suffers from diagnostic discrimination.
And to prove my point, I'll tackle one of the most common back pain diagnoses that is actually not a diagnosis at all and tell you why clinicians still cling to it as their diagnostic woobie.
But, that's another day. For now, let's bring back pain to the front of the bus.
Make today count.
*Croft, P. R., G. J. Macfarlane, et al. (1998). "Outcome of low back pain in general practice: a prospective study." Bmj 316(7141): 1356-9.
I was just looking over my list of things to do (I keep all my "stuff" in a very cool program iGTD until Things is finished at least) and something occurred to me. Maybe I should also have a standing list of things NOT to do?
Things NOT to do:
So, that's a start. What's on your NOT to do list?
Make today count.
Thank you to all of you who have taken time to fill out my survey on reasons for exercise. I wanted to let you know that I will be closing the survey this Tuesday, 2/5/08, at 9 AM in case you or someone you know would like to participate. I've included a link below that you can email your friends, family, colleagues.
Link to survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1Nxc4qnG3iUQrvoas3_2fk5Q_3d_3d
I'll share some of the results with you soon.
Make today count.