Aging - Athletes
Better Practices, Better Results

                    

                                            Balance and Energy
                                                             
                                    


Quarterly "BEER" Update

Don’t you love it when a good plan comes together. Over the last three months I’ve notched yet one more successful come-back (back injury) on my belt. Sure my plan evolved, and changed a bit, and that is to be expected. I like to think; to monitor and adjust one’s actions until one achieves one's goals is as a good a mantra as any.

The question of attaining happiness in retirement has been on my mind for quite some time. As reported by AARP recently, as you get older “you know bad things are going to pass” according to Laura Cartenesen PHD. Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Older and wiser perhaps we can better handle the stress in our lives. Perhaps in retirement we are better able to reduce stress by changing our work or living situation.

However attaining happiness in retirement for an aging athlete can be a bit more complicated than for a non athletes. This is due to the fact that all Aging Athletes need ongoing competition to be happy. Whether competing with one’s self by increasing the number of reps one completes or competing against others in games and sports, the Aging - Athlete must continue to compete to find true happiness. Card and board games, computer games, pool, ping pong can help but an Aging Athlete typically needs more than that.

Starting with the end in mind, my need to compete, I began with this “BEER” framework a few months ago and I’m happy to report excellent progress. I start training specifically for snow skiing next month.

Why beer? It’s easy to remember and often times in one’s mind towards the end of a good work-out.

B – Balance

E – Energy

E – Exercise

R – Rest

Balance is key for 40+ athletes because it impacts so many athletic endeavors. It also enhances one’s rhythm which helps one to better get into the flow of life. Finally it helps prevent falling, and debilitating injuries the number one enemy of the 40+ athlete.

Energy is central to a 40+ athletes because they need to stay active daily. As one gets older energy seems to be in shorter supply and we benefit from healthy ways of increasing it.

Exercise resulting in physical conditioning (staying in shape) is “core” for the 40+ athlete. Good decisions regarding types and durations of exercise are often times the difference between failure and success.

Rest and rehabilitation (making comebacks) are often times the least understood and underestimated factors in the longevity of the 40+ athlete.

Quarterly Updates and Analysis

B – Balance

I’ve progressed to the point now where I’m just doing maintenance. I walk daily the length of a long log 5 times in a row quickly to test my abilities. I can easily see if I’m not as smooth as the day previous. I’m also able to test myself on my bike rides going hands-free etc. So far so good. In the event I see my performance worsen I’ll return to the balance exercises and train tracks. Dancing to music has proven to me I have regained my footwork.

The single biggest aha moment was when I realized what I was doing with my head while walking. At that moment I realized I was actually making my balance worse by restricting the amount of information available to my balance system. This missing information was needed for my balance system to function properly. This was a huge was a turning point for me.

Somehow I had got it into my head I was being safer, wiser by looking down my body at my feet while walking. Maybe it was a habit I’d developed or maybe it came from executing lengthy comebacks in recent years, I’m not sure.

Like an aircraft controller needs accurate flight information to make good decisions your balance system needs accurate information to make good decisions. Asking an aircraft controller to sit in the basement and do their job instead of in the tower would certainly cause a strike. No matter how talented and hard working; they simply can’t get the information they need to do their job down there in the basement, they have to be in the tower to see what’s really going on.

It is the same for the aging athlete. Each degree one lowers one’s head and consequently one’s vision we rob our balance system of the vital information it needs to make good decisions. Our balance system has been receiving information in one place for the better part of our lives and all of a sudden is expected to receive it somewhere else. Understandably one’s balance system fails from time to time under this information starved regime. These failures result in a lack of confidence and increased looking down the body towards the feet resulting in poorer and poorer results. A Catch 22.

In addition to the initial balance training, I’ve learned to keep my head up, hydrate, bend over more slowly while bending my knees more, breathe more deeply, and use orthotics in all my shoes. I recently got winter boots with removable soles for ice. So when things get slippery this winter I’m ready instantly with metal studded soles for extra traction.

Way down the road someday I’ll likely sleep downstairs instead of up and invest in bathroom safety. Until that day arrives I’m good to go.

E – Energy

I’ve made progress but it is an area of constant challenge. The biggest difference is I changed my diet, I eat healthy now. I am not on a diet trying to loose weight. It took me quite some time to make this distinction having dieted regularly over my lifetime always losing weight sometimes as much as 30 pounds and eventually gaining it back plus a bit more back each time.

I experimented during critical times and used 5 Hour energy shots with decent results. I had poor results with the Red Bull types of drinks. The reality is in our 50’s our metabolism slows from 3-5%. This occurs again in our 60’s and again in our 70’s.

So what’s an aging athlete to do? Eat healthy foods as much as possible, denser foods that release energy more evenly throughout the day. Eating healthy has been a significant change for me. You would be hard pressed to find anyone with a worst track record when it comes to eating right.

However eating healthy, cooking healthy is time consuming and more expensive than not. I have virtually eliminated waste, un - eaten food saving me 40% of my food budget. Suddenly the local grocery store is an every other day visit. Trader Joe’s and Costco is a once a month. Fortunately healthy food is becoming easier and easier to get. I use ceramic pots and pans eliminating the need to use oils much, if at all. A positive attitude is required. Fresh, chemical free, non processed food is great but it requires an concerted effort. It really can be fun to shop & cook so really it is a matter of how one approaches it.

The single biggest advantage of eating healthy besides feeling better and living longer and preventing costly diseases is one’s digestion. I saw much greater improvement, faster in this area compared to energy enhancement.

I’ve learned to eat around the same times each day, the earlier the better. I take a probiotic, and a super enzyme (health food store) and a multi-vitamin daily. That’s it.

Here is a sample of what I’m eating now.

Fresh, No Processed Foods

Organic Eggs, Almond Milk, 2% milk, organic ½ & ½

Organic Free – Range Turkey, chicken

Cod, Halibut, Salmon, Snapper, Trout, Steelhead

Fresh bananas, apples, tangerines, tangelos, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, cantaloupe, pears, dried fruit- cranberries & apricots, frozen berries & smoothies galore

Orange and cranberry Juice, hot herbal tea & cold Lipton tea, coffee

Salad, avocado, cucumbers, carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, olives black & green, pickles, shallots, red peppers, romaine lettuce, limes & lemons, capers

Whole wheat bread,wild brown rice,oatmeal, Kashi cereal, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, organic energy bars, organic p-nut butter, organic honey, raw sugar, organic maple syrup, organic whole wheat pancake mix, sea salt

Granola, trail mix, dark chocolate

Butter, virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, ketchup, avocado, local organic mustard, Dijon mustard, homemade salad dressing (Balsamic vinegrette)

Alternative Foods – Occasional Foods

Kashi Cookies, Whole Wheat Pretzles

Home Made Croutons, Blue corn chips (Kale hips are Horrid), whole wheat tortillas

Mozzarella/provolone, string cheese, Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Canadian bacon

Barbecue Sauce

Home Made Chili (lean beef)

For a guy like me this is really healthy compared to what I used to eat. Many readers may find my diet less than healthy. A buddy of mine only eats raw food. I'm sharing what I'm doing as point of reference. I have a salad everyday and stir fried veggies pretty regularly but I’m weak on veggies and I know it. I have a couple of local restaurants that only use locally grown fresh ingredients and free range meats which I sometimes frequent. Once a month I treat myself to dinner out, anything I want, but to my dismay I still go pretty healthy, seems my appetite has changed for the better. Foods in the past I craved are simply not that attractive now.

I miss cheese, French fries, ice cream, and bakery goods like a dead brother. At the height of my retired eating madness I could boil down 85% of what I was eating to dairy products, sugar, fat, and bread.

Today I eat better and feel better with a slight increase in energy but nothing to write home about. Perhaps eating healthier is nothing more than the placebo effect increasing one’s energy. I’m cool with this as potential placebo effect. Perhaps it’s more than that, perhaps it will take more time to see more significant improvement in energy. This will likely be offset by our slowing metabolisms naturally. Perhaps it’s in part psychological. Perhaps it is part environmental, even a learned response. Is there a scientific correlation between one’s age, football, couches, retirement, and one’s energy levels?

You would be hard pressed to find a retiree happier in retirement than myself. However I would remiss if I did not acknowledge that one does loose some energy as one ages. All the positive spin in the universe won’t change that. In my view how one chooses to respond to losing energy is what counts most. Taking a brisk walk after big meals won’t hurt. As a not so famous guy once said “You know what sucks about getting older?” Getting older!

E – Exercise

I’m still following my every other day schedule. The big change was incorporating exercises aimed at stretching the small muscles in my back on my sports activities days. These exercises take 30-45 minutes to complete.
 
A dear 60 something friend does 200 stomach crunches each and every morning. I could no more do 200 stomach crunches each morning for 10 years than climb Mount Everest. But I can do these back exercise and will for the next 10 years and beyond.

Back pain drains one’s energy, encourages crankiness, and limits one’s movement, often times leading to serious injury and or slowed comebacks. I can't stress enough the importance of recovery time. Enough said.

R – Rest

I’m still following my seven hours of sleep a night schedule. Light eating only (if at all) after 6:00 PM. I’m careful not to drink too many liquids late evening so as to avoid the getting up in the night to use the bathroom routine. I love my Temperpedic bed.

I’m in a pretty regular sleep routine now. Lights are off when I enter my bedroom. I start the going to sleep process with a quick 2 – 3 mediation to quiet my mind. Then I start my nightly massage; a great feature of my bed, turn on Letterman low volume on smaller TV mounted on the wall offering a sleep timer (20-30 minutes). Typically I ease into sleep before my massage is over and fall into actual sleep when the sleep timer turns off the TV. I awaken before dawn each morning more refreshed and enjoy the opportunity to watch the sun rise. I’m getting more deep sleep now, and feel subtle differences because of it.

I still believe in the power of the nap but getting some additional deep sleep on a regular basis is priceless.  Reduced stress increases the likely-hood of increased deep sleep.

Deep sleep provides one’s with better vitality, improved moods, and better endurance when exercising regularly. Regular exercise helps you sleep better. Sweet dreams!



                                    GLORY DAYS

We’ve all had them. The question in my mind is how to be as athletic as possible the older one gets. Recently at dinner In between courses, a fifty something college basketball official shared valuable insights into athletes growing older. I commented on the fact he must work out intensely to be in such great shape. His reply “I always have.”

Always is a key concept. I’ll never forget my neighbor who always ran the number of miles of his birthday on his birthday. You can imagine the training that went into his 45th birthday run. Thankfully he has the right body shape, discipline and determination for it.

I used to work - out to be attractive to women. Now I work out to stay alive! Several of my closest friends inspire me, and keep me going. My 40 something friend charges the surf hard, right into Sports Illustrated Magazine, a true waterman. My fifty something buddy is still one of the fastest players on the basketball court, armed to the teeth with wisdom. My sixty something friend does 200 sit – ups every morning and surfs big waves all over the world most recently from a private yacht in the Indian Ocean no less.

A fifty something guy myself, I ski, swim, bike, golf, hike, play tennis and non - competitive basketball. I was once a big wave surfer, boxer, runner, football and baseball player. I’m fascinated with how people successfully unwind their athletic experiences into older age. I’m sure many would smirk at the term “athlete” being used loosely in this context. My only reply to this is what I see in the gym. It is clear to me whom are the folks that are athletic regardless of their age, and those who are not.

Staying physically active for as long as possible is worthwhile goal. We can share, learn and be inspired by each other, and our friends. Hopefully this will result in a series of best practices which will enhance all our lives.

Why beer? It’s easy to remember and often times in one’s mind towards the end of a good work-out.

B – Balance

E – Energy

E – Exercise

R – Rest

Balance is key for 40+ athletes because it impacts so many athletic endeavors. It also enhances one’s rhythm which helps one to better get into the flow of life. Finally it helps prevent falling the number one enemy of the 40+ athlete.

Energy is central to a 40+ athletes because they need to stay active daily. As one gets older energy seems to be in shorter supply and we benefit from healthy ways of increasing it.

Exercise resulting in physical conditioning (staying in shape) is “core” for the 40+ athlete. Good decisions regarding types and durations of exercise are often times the difference between failure and success.

Rest and rehabilitation (making comebacks) are often times the least understood and underestimated factors in the longevity of the 40+ athlete.

Have any ideas to contribute on balance, energy, exercise, and rest. Do you know a 40+ athlete? Can you share tips, strategies, secrets to their success? Please email me @ roger@aging-athletes.com.

CHEERS







GREAT READS CONTINUED..



THE PARTICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

HOW THE HUNT FOR THE HIGGS BOSON LEADS US TO THE EDGE OF A NEW WORLD

Written By Sean Carroll
Published Recently By Dutton
Available in Bookstores

Sean Carroll the author does a much better job of explaining things so please get his book for the full story which is a fascinating read.

Continued From Home Page........

THE PARTICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE. First the disclaimer, there really isn’t an end to the universe. That’s marketing so people like you and I would have a snow ball’s chance in hell of understanding what the research has proven. We need a handle so to speak because we are not brilliant physicists and they want to sell books.

All too often well intended people today make a common mistake. One doesn't want to start with a theory and then find facts to support the theory excluding or ignoring those facts that don’t fit. Scientifically based, test result proven facts should produce the theory we discuss around the dinner table.

The theory we’ve been using in our prior discussions regarding the universe were a result of our splitting of the atom. Now we have found the final piece of the puzzle of ordinary matter. The stuff we come into contact with. And it changes everything.

The new science is enough in itself to warrant my attention and interest. Purely on an academic level I appreciate the updating of my facts and understandings, the stuff I carry around in my head to make sense of the universe.

I’ve read many of the books on Philosophy over the years and my father had a PhD. in Philosophy so I had quite a bit of daily training growing up and of course in college too. Yet with new scientific discoveries come unexpected consequences. An avid reader I’ve covered much of the metaphysical and spiritual writings over the years.

I would be less than forth right if I didn’t mention that I’m personally gradually, making some connections to that body of work or at least a small piece of it. Given the discovery of the Higgs boson particle a few basic ideas are now increasingly more realistic than ever before. For religious minds the new information will likely be the hand of God. Which I’m much more inclined to agree with after reading this book. With the caveat naturally of the exact definition of God we agree to use.

So what is the Higgs boson? It is a particle we discovered recently. It is what it does that boggles the mind. It acts as a filter (the Higgs field) invisibly lurking in the background slowing down the speed of light just barely; giving mass to electrons and quarks the fundamental particles we’ve now distilled down from the Periodic Table. The Higgs field slows light down just enough for us to perceive mass otherwise it would move at the speed of light and be massless like photons, the particles of light. Everything in the known universe as it moves through space moves through the Higgs field. Without the Higgs field the world would be an utterly different place. But it would still be a place if you get my meaning.

There are the three kinds of particles that constitute the atoms of everything we see. There are also force particles that carry gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear forces which hold the matter particles together. Electricity and magentism are basically the same thing.

Now there is plenty more to all this but I can continue no further at this time. I encourage you to get the book and contribute to this discussion. I’ll further this discussion once I ‘m reasonably confident of what I understand beyond the tip of the ice berg I’ve presented today. Or perhaps instead of an ice berg tip analogy I should say the smallest grain of sand on a small stretch of beach on just one of our planets coastlines. Thanks to the Higgs boson particle I can see and touch both the tip of the ice berg and a small grain of sand such very different things indeed. Or are they really that different after all?

THE PARTICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE PART II

Okay we’ve briefly introduced the idea that are few particles make up the “Standard Model” which has now replaced the Periodic Table. Also that these particles arise as vibrations in fields. The Higgs field in particular is interesting because of what it does. It slows everything down just below the speed of light giving mass to the stuff we come into contact with in our world. Symmetry gives rise to forces and the Higgs field can break symmetry and give us the variety of particles we can see.

The fermions of the Standard Model are what give the matter all around us its size and shape. Buts it’s forces and their associated boson particles that allow these fermions to interact with each other. Without bosons, fermions would simply move along in straight lines for eternity unaffected by anything else in the universe.

Please forgive me for trying to simplify what I’m reading. The book is detailed and well written. I’m trying to be careful to not change the scientists explanation of the results of their tests. The level of detail available to you in the book is overwhelming to say the least. Now if this old hat, boring information you’ve understood for decades I apologize. Somehow I missed it. Or more precisely my crap detector likely marginalized to a point given the source and it became irrelevant, at least to me, at that time.

It was Earnest Hemingway who extolled the virtue of having a good crap detector. I was raised that way. Naturally when reading this book my crap detector was placed on high alert.

Basically I started looking at CERN, the scientists and the equipment involved in this research. Frankly it is all quite impressive. It seems to me we have some awfully bright minds reverse-engineering the Big Bang explosion here on earth in a 17 mile tunnel on the border of Switzerland and France. Big machines produce bigger collisions allowing scientists to see more. And this is key. These scientists are analyzing the data produced from the collisions. Their task is not simple due to rapid decay of the particle which turns the particle into something else. Often times it’s the remains or fossil which actually identifies what it was. The bigger the collision, the more energy smashing together, the more we can see.

The discovery of the Higgs boson is a win anyway you look at it. Either it will stand on it’s own or if it turns out differently and the Standard Model has finally failed us then the door to new phenomena has been opened once and for all.

Naturally not all scientists study this type of thing. Cracking the riddle of the universe, how it works is not a high priority on every scientists mind. There is no commercial incentive, no real bang for your buck so to speak. That said quite a few scientists and there researchers somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 have been working on this idea for quite some time. Build the biggest and badest particle accelerator on the planet and find what others were unable to see before. No doubt there are some unusual characters, some flakes, and some serious disagreement but my over-all sense is this is real science.

The U.S. had 3 labs; one at Stanford University, Brookhaven on Long Island and Fermilab outside Chicago. One machine The Bevatron in Berkley contributed to two Nobel Peace Prizes. The Tevatron was even bigger and was followed by the proposed Superconducting Super Collider to be housed in Texas. But alas it was not to be in the U.S. due to budget cuts.

Europe was in it’s second phase of Collider machine development and already had a home for the big daddy of all colliders the Large Hadron Collider, LHC. They also ran into budget problems but the U.S. came in with a couple of billion just when the Europeans need it most. Like any machine coming online it had it’s problems but then it was up and running with little or no down time it was providing more test data quicker than they could handle. People from 70 countries are working together with 170 Institutions from 38 countries. This is big cooperative science.

When I said the Europeans already had a home for their Collider what I meant is they had already dug the 17 mile circular tunnel 330 feet underground for an older collider built previously earning a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for the discovery of W and Z Bosons. Creating a beam using huge magnets produces energy like one that would emanate from the the Big Bang which is no easy task. They actually create temperatures 250,000 times hotter than the center of the sun and temperatures previously colder than those found in space.

Quantifying the size, the sourciung unique materials and different testing points used around the ring or tunnel below the earth is all in the book. To gain insight into the levels of energy they are producing and working with consider this. When their magnets are turned on in the tunnel they produce the equivalency of about 500 pounds of TNT. When LCH is at full steam there are about 500 trillion protons circulating in two beams one moving clockwise and another counterclockwise around the ring. The first collider achieved 2 TeV of total energy. In 2012 the LHC hit 8 TeV. The goal is to reach 14 TeV one day. Then what will we find? Please consider a chew on this. The rest energy of an apple is equivalent to about a million tons of TNT but it is really not dangerous unless you bring it contact with an anti-apple. E=mc2 tells us mass is actually a form of energy. Our understanding of the universe is taking a giant leap forward.

Every collision is like fireworks. The data collected from a single collision must be paired down, memory, data storage is a real issue, test results are analyzed across the planet by 1000’s of scientists on their computers. There is no way to record all the data that comes from a collision. They have teams of scientists performing the same collisions at different places in the ring or tunnel and they compete to help push each other to see things not seen before. When both teams agree then we can trust the results. My crap detector is pretty much satisfied. This is solid science.

Now scientists never have all the answers. The Higgs boson might be a stand alone or it might be link on an even bigger field of vibrations. It might even be a virtual particle. What we know is the Higgs field plays a central role in how the universe works. Now we know what’s going on.


THE PARTICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE PART III

Sean Carroll the author does a much better job of explaining things so please get his book for the full story which is a fascinating read.

The biggest machine ever built the LHC shown below allows scientists to observe collisions and see un – before – seen particles. A piece of nature unseen previously.

CERN LHC Tunnel1.jpg

Large Hadron Collider tunnel at CERN

The Standard Model below replaces the Periodic Table of Elements. Just a few simple ingredients make up our world. All the chemical combinations made possible by the Periodic Table are by – products or minor consequences. Just as friction is a minor consequence of a strong or weak nuclear force.

We take for granted that matter is made of atoms. Distilling it down to three elementary particles helps quantify and mange the potential combinations more effectively. Actually there are 12 different types of matter particles. Six quarks, that interact strongly and get confined inside larger collections like protons and neutrons, and six leptons that can travel individually through space. Mix in a group of force – carrying particles which holds them together and walah, we have an understanding of how the universe works at least here on earth born out of the data collected from the collisions in the LHC.

Do we know everything, not even close. However with the Higgs boson the Standard Model is a perfect match here on earth. With the Higgs all the features of particle physics make sense.

Particles come in two types; fermions and the particles that carry forces, bosons. Electricity and magnetism are essentially the same force. Gravity is a force we feel but we have trouble seeing gravitons which are massless like protons. Then we have strong and weak nuclear forces. Please read the book to get the detail behind all this.

One of my favorite movies is the Field of Dreams but I digress. Now we enter into the fields. A few elementary particles make –up atoms, atoms usually combine into molecules which we can often times see with our own eyes. Cool we are up to speed and finished with this discussion. Hardly. Every particle we in the Standard Model is a vibrating wave in a particular field.

The world is made up of fields. A field has a value at every point in space. A field is the opposite of a particle. A particle has a specific location in space. A field exists at every point in space. For example gravitons are vibrations in an underlying field. Vibrations propagate through quantum fields, and we observe them as particles. We watch TV and the image is smooth but if we move up close we can only see pixels which make up the image at a distance.

Quantum Field theory says, matter is really waves, quantum fields, but when we look at it carefully enough we see particles. Quantum Field theory also explains how one particle can convert into another. The Higgs boson is a vibration in the Higgs field just as a photon of light is a vibration in the electromagnetic field. The Higgs field provides a medium through which other particles move, affecting their properties along the way. Depending on the particle it gets treated differently as it moves through the field. The analogy Sean Carroll uses in his book is a good one of how different it is for Angelina Joline to cross the room at a party than it is for me. She’s interrupted constantly, many interactions ensue where as I move across the room unimpeded.

Everything around us, everything we’ve ever experienced through our five senses is a combination of electrons, neutrons, and three forces, gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear force strong or weak that holds them together. Gravity affects all forms of energy whether they have mass or not.

So then we have matter and anti-matter. In Space we have dark matter. We also have symmetry and how the Higgs field affects it. Higgs is the breaker of symmetries. We also have an in depth understandings of Quarks and hadrons.

The Higgs boson is a vibration in the Higgs field, and the Higgs field is what gives mass to all of the massive elementary particles. The feature of the Higgs is it interacts more strongly with more massive particles. Perhaps it really boils down to strong interactions.

If you don’t interact directly with the Higgs you have zero mass, if you do directly interact with the Higgs you have a nonzero mass, and your mass is directly proportional to how strong that interaction is.

It’s more complicated than that, many questions remain but then that is science. Thank fully things are not so tidy or my crap detector would be sounding the alarm for all hands on deck.

Ever since my days in College I’ve been drawn to the interaction itself between people and essentially all things in nature. I’ll finish this incredible book of which I’m less than half way through and then look to make connections with other bodies of work, writings that I’ve read over the years. I have many questions. Better questions thanks to this book.

The one at the moment is like a ray of light bending around the inside my skull. The Big Bang, the explosion that created all the energy we have known or will ever know. Now I understand matter is really waves. Waves that travel at the speed of light and then are slowed down slightly and differently depending on their vibration and their related interuptions within the Higgs field. Since there really is this initially massless vibration traveling at the speed of light, can the well trained unconscious mind also travel at the speed of light and gain access, perhaps perceive some or eventually all of the information  contained within these waves constantly racing throughout universe?

The unconscious mind processes hundreds of thousands of bits of information before we cross the street in busy downtown traffic. A simple daily task indeed. The conscious mind would never complete the task in time to take advantage of the green light. One would be forever trapped, stuck in a red light if not for the ability, the speed of the unconscious mind.

The implications are many and my notions unreliable given my limited intelligence and understandings. I’m a Boy Scout by nature and love all types of technology. But this new information reminds of the old parable.

A Westerner set out to climb Mount Everest. Years and years of training, literally months were spent packing the latest technology into his backpack. Just to cover all the bases he went to church and prayed even though he wasn't religous.  Then he met with a Guru and spoke of his impending assent. The Guru sadly offered nothing more than congratulations on being so well prepared, good luck, and have fun with your adventure! After several attempts, and multiple near death experiences, many years later he finally arrived at the top of Mount Everest only to discover the Guru he had met with years earlier sitting in a meditative position draped in a white cloth, no shoes. The Guru turned and asked “What took you so long?”

                    BALANCE

DSC_0077

I’m happy to report balance training actually works. I started balance training two weeks ago and more recently began walking on railroad tracks forwards and backwards. Then I jumped rope. Last week I found the perfect log next to my house to walk back and forth on just to check my progress daily.

Apparently repeating these activities over and over again has my brain activating the right muscles at the right time more quickly. I’m more efficient, and my balance has improved. It seems there is a psychological component as well, my increased confidence is evident in my log and railroad track mount and dismount.

Since there are no special muscles that are used to improve balance I find myself stretching my legs a bit more when in my normal exercise- work-out routine. Then I’m using simple fun daily activities for 5-10 minutes each. It feels like I’m tapping back into my old muscle memory. First I discovered riding my bike for short or long periods is excellent for balance improvement. Just a quick ride around the block everyday helps.

Then there is the occasional dance to a good tune, closing my eyes and feeling my feet moving on the floor and moon dancing poorly. Occasionally I walk up and down stairs focusing on the angle my feet strike the floor, my speed and my forward momentum while hands free. Also I’ve found “Musical Rhythm” transports me back into time. Listening to music, visualizing myself surfing or skiing I feel quicker, lighter, more agile, and more fluid. Yes, I now briefly enjoy skiing and surfing in my living room, weird but true.

I bought a wooden foot massagers so I can roll my feet back and forth on it while watching TV. I also have massage spa for my feet which heats the water and vibrates massaging my feet. Bottom line is I’ve been taking better care of my feet which I’ve taken for granted over the years. Now my feet are taking better care of me and helping me balance better. I don’t want to overstate this but I think I have a better connection (nerve endings, circulation and mentally) to my feet now. Having turned both of my ankles a dozen times each (basketball) this is an interesting development given my historically poor ankle-feet circulation, connection. I’m also a big believer in orthotics in all my shoes too!

CHEERS


                               DSC_0081 

I’m back to one of my old childhood tricks of walking on railroad tracks. Being an old surfer and skier I recognized early on the importance of balance in athletics. Seeing how long, how many minutes one can keep going (forward and backwards) without falling off the tracks is fun too!

For some this idea may seem a bit much. As posted previously jumping rope is good exercise and will also help improve your balance. In previous posts I also highlighted the importance of stretching. A book I’ve used over the years and recommend is “STRETCHING” by Bob Anderson.

The following is a summary of key points related to improving balance. Mike has a book and a free course online (which I took) for those interested. This information is geared to folks that need a good, safe starting place for improving their balance through simple safe exercises and activities.

Mike Ross is an exercise physiologist who specializes in senior health and fitness. He has a degree in Fitness Management and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Mike is the author of The Balance Manual. Check out his course!

http://www.thebalancemanual.com

 


                   

                  Got Energy?

The reality is in our 40’s and 50’s our metabolism slows from 3-5%. This occurs again in our 60’s and again in our 70’s and in our 80’s and beyond. A lighter, skinner person typically has a higher (faster) metabolism than a heavier person. They will typically outlive a heavier person by as much as 20 years. If like me you were not genetically blessed to have high metabolism then one must take the bull by the horns so to speak.

So what’s an aging athlete to do if they seek increased amounts of energy? Bulking up on steak, pasta and baked potatoes before the big race has been de-bunked by the vegan U.S. pro cyclists recently. Cocaine, speed, meth, no dose pills, vitamin B-12 shots, Red Bulls, soft drinks, diet pills all fail to produce the desired results over the long haul. In fact they are often times contributing to one’s lack of energy over time.

I regret to report short of taking a 5 hour energy drink while driving across country, there are no simple answers when it comes to energy. It really is far more complex involving one’s slowing metabolism, hormones, enzymes, lack of deep sleep, stress, chronic pain, poor exercise habits, perception, peer pressure, digestion, and diet. Unfortunately it’s more like the orchestra has to be playing together all at the same moment to feel significantly increased levels energy. Even then one’s simply trying to stay just ahead of the beating drum of time.

Recommendations:

The Quick Version - Exercise regularly, exchange processed foods for nutrient- dense foods, foods that digest slowly, low- glycemic foods.
 
The Longer Version

Eat healthy foods as much as possible, denser foods that release energy more evenly throughout the day. For example sprouted wheat bread, wild brown rice, oatmeal, Kashi cereal or granola, raw almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, organic energy bars, organic p-nut butter, organic range free Omega –3 eggs, organic honey, organic whole wheat pancake mix, apples, grapefruit, spinach, beans, broccoli, and other green leafy vegetables which are best eaten in raw form to get the complete health benefits, flax seed oil, olive oil, fish oil, hot sauce, hot chile's, capsaicin, black pepper, red chili pepper, and ginger.

Have one’s thyroid gland checked – out by a doctor.

The single biggest advantage of eating healthy besides feeling better and living longer and preventing costly diseases is one’s digestion. Try to eat around the same times each day, the earlier the better. Take a probiotic, and a super enzyme (health food store). Enjoy your Jo and welcome to the age game!

              ENERGY - METABOLISM UPDATE

According to Ridha Arem MD, an endocrinologist and clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine the following factors can contribute to a slow metabolism:

* Meals rich in carbs and animal fat, skipping meals, nightime eating
* Physical Inactivity
* Stress and anxiety
* Depression
* Insulin resistance
* Sleep problems including sleep apnea
* Polycystic - ovary syndrome
* Menopause
* Low Testosterone
* Thyroid hormone imbalance
* Growth hormone deficiency
* Toxic buildup in the body
* Food sensitivities
* Some medications
* Bacterial imbalance in the GI tract
* Antioxidant deficiency


    TO BREAKFAST OR NOT TO BREAKFAST?

Aging - athletes understand the importance of listening to one’s body. In this case it may mean listening to one’s gut. As a young boy I recall that after eating breakfast I did better in school. My focus was better, energy wasn’t even a consideration at that point in my life. Fast forward to 58 years old and energy is in fact, a factor.

The relationship between one’s sleep and eating cycles could impact hormones and our digestive system. What I’ve come to realize is that my digestive system effects my sleep cycle for sure. Consequently I eat my biggest meal between 2-4 PM daily so it is digested before going to bed ensuring I get an uninterrupted sleep each night increasing the amount of deep sleep I experience. This is key to my energy levels throughout the day.

I’ve tried eating breakfast before I get started on my day, I’ve tried skipping breakfast all together, I’ve tried a mini breakfast orange juice, piece of fruit, yogurt or a small bowl of oatmeal or cold cereal. Each has it’s place. Saturday or Sunday morning is perfect for a big breakfast especially after heavy work –outs during the week. Otherwise unless I wake – up super hungry I typically skip breakfast. If I’m working out or attending a meeting I likely go for the juice and fruit routine.

The conventional thinking has always been if you skip breakfast you will eat more, consume more calories later in the day when you have less opportunity to burn them off. A recent study by the British Journal of Nutrition suggested that people who exercise before breakfast do not consume additional calories or experience increased appetite during the day.

Aging – athletes don’t have to think too hard to realize they work –out better on a an empty stomach. Let’s face it an Aging – athlete’s digestive system is perhaps not the well oiled machine of yester - year. Bloating, heartburn, gas, gurgling don’t do a thing to help me get me moving into my day. Digesting a large amount of food first thing uses up substantial energy at least initially. I prefer to travel light.

The trick it seems is to find the right balance, the eating/exercising schedule that results in enhancing one’s sleep cycles. This approach is different for everybody but it appears the breakfast of champions for the Aging –athlete may often times be nothing at all or juice and fruit. I encourage you to listen to your body and forget about what you learned growing up about the holy importance of breakfast. What contributes to the Aging – athlete’s energy levels could very well be different than that of a younger athlete.


GOT TO KEEP GOING!

Please keep moving, our bodies grow older faster because we stop moving!

Typical Injury Risks

Bones become less stable too brittle for high impact activities

Muscles begin to decrease in size, strains, pulls and tears, back pain

Tendons and ligaments are less elastic, ankles, knee sprains

The 50 + Aging - Athlete is often times involved competitively in sports. The 50 + aging –athlete has a successful routine. Their main concern is a career ending injury requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation. These aging – athletes know their limitations and how to adjust their game. They recognize importance of rest. They’ve take surviabilty seriously.

The Glory Days Aging – Athlete, this former athlete spent their life dedicated to a sport or two and and were always in good shape. Now an aging - athlete they exercise very little and have become deconditioned. They often times deal with tendonitis or different types of problems related to inflammation. They can trick themselves into thinking they can do things like they used to simply because they’ve decide they want to. They are prone to serious injury, may lack mastery of the come-back and complain of constant pain.



      WHAT MOVES YOU?


                          


                                           
                  KEEP MOVING!
          26.2% Of All Adults Are Physically Inactive.
                                Source United Health Foundation, 2012





                       BE FOREVER ACTIVE!






A BODY IN MOTION TENDS TO STAY IN MOTION!





  GET OUT AND GET GOING!





             
 Enjoy                          




    
                                              LIFE!





        LIVE TO BE ACTIVE

    BE ACTIVE TO LIVE!








                                                        















                                                                                                                
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Balance - Balance is key for 40+ athletes because it impacts so many athletic endeavors. It also enhances one’s rhythm which helps one to better get into the flow of life. Finally it helps prevent falling the number one enemy of the 40+ athlete.

Exercise - Exercise resulting in physical conditioning (staying in shape) is “core” for the 40+ athlete. Good decisions regarding types and durations of exercise are often times the difference between failure and success.

Energy - Energy is central to a 40+ athletes because one needs to stay active daily. As one gets older energy seems to be in shorter supply and one benefits from healthy ways of increasing it.

Rest - Rest and rehabilitation (making comebacks) are often times the least understood and underestimated factors in the longevity of the 40+ athlete.
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