Friday, February 03, 2006

Some Notes on Physical Imperfections

As we age, most of us collect a few chronic physical annoyances. For some, they are more than just annoyances. Some are serious, even debilitating. Few of us get through life Scot-free. If you are one of the lucky ones who seems to be escaping unscathed, the rest of us are envious.

I have been fortunate. I live a fitness lifestyle and I’m enjoying the health benefits of my commitment. Yet I have had pneumonia several times since I was a kid. I also have a mild degree of Essential Tremor, or ET, which causes hand trembling. (No, it is not Parkinson’s.) ET tends to run in families and my dad had it. Apparently, John Adams, the second President of the United States, had it, too, incidentally. Since the other half of my productive life is making art, an unsteady hand isn’t exactly an asset. But many people have far more serious things to deal with than that.

What should be remembered is that a great number of chronic health issues improve or even disappear altogether with regular exercise and good eating habits. Bad backs, high blood pressure, and dangerous cholesterol levels are three examples that commonly get better with regular exercise and weight loss through proper diet. And practically any medical condition improves with a combination of a fitness lifestyle and the wonders of modern medicine.

Nevertheless, some diseases strike suddenly without warning; and, of course, genetic factors, the luck of the draw, are beyond our control. However, we cultivate many (perhaps most?) problems ourselves from years of overeating, too much alcohol, smoking, or other drugs that assault our minds and bodies. I use an expression, “living off your youth,” to describe someone ignoring nature’s laws. It means that when we are young we can get away with excess and abuse. Yet gradually bad habits take their toll.

Today, there are growing numbers of school kids at risk of becoming diabetic. People who study disease trends say the rising percentages are the result of more overweight and out-of-shape kids than in previous generations. It seems that junk food, overeating, and lack of physical activity have lowered the “living off your youth” period clear down to elementary and middle schools. Anyone with doubts about this should click here.

The Gray Iron Fitness Blog is about adults, and mostly seasoned ones at that. So what is all this information about children? Well most of us have kids and/or grandkids. It’s up to us to set a good example. . . .

The Google ads at the top of the page can be fascinating. The way they work is that Google uses some kind of word search of the blog’s text. Instantaneously, ads appear with some matching characteristic to the text. Sometimes the results are not what you would expect.

For example, I often mention my disdain for diet pills. So what ads pop up? Ads for hoodia diet pills. It isn’t a perfect system. Here is a little item from Quackwatch:

“ has concluded that hoodia supplements have not been proven safe or effective for reducing appetite or body weight and the quality of the products is uncertain. Hoodia gordonii is a rare cactus-like plant protected by conservation laws in South Africa and Namibia. Its stems and roots are used in supplements. It has been speculated that more product is sold today than could possibly be made from all the Hoodia plants in existence, which would mean consumers might not be getting what they expect. Access to the report requires a subscription or a $10 fee. See and search for “hoodia.”

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