Saturday, July 6, 2013

Seniors in Quest of Fitness Have Many Resources to Tap

We geezers who aspire to be physically fit for the duration of our Earthly run have a wealth of information available. We only need take care that we don't spend so much time reading it all that we neglect actual exercise.

My Google search of "senior fitness" this morning produced 148,000,000 results in 0.22 seconds. Ain't technology grand? I found such nuggets as the existence of an American Senior Fitness Association, a National Senior Health & Fitness Day (the next one being May 28, 2014), the Silver Sneakers program for those who like group workouts, and numerous newspaper articles, such as one May 13 in the New York Daily News on the growth of fitness centers that cater to "aging baby boomers." (Watch your language, Daily Noose!)

Each of those sounds like a separate blogpost some day, so I will squirrel info away and avoid rambling too much today (for a change). However, I do wish to make the point that even when you are obliged to take your spouse shopping, it pays to keep an eye out for fitness inspiration. While DW was combing the A.C. Moore shop for craft goods this afternoon, I came upon a display of books (mostly about health and fitness) priced at just $5 apiece. I selected two: "100 Foods to Stay Young" (Charlotte Watts, Parragon Books, 2010), and "The South Beach Heart Program" (Arthur Agatston, M.D., Rodale, Inc., 2007).

The food book devotes two colorful, data-packed pages to each of 100 foods billed as "everyday foods to combat the aging process, from inside and out." The hype brought out the inner wise-guy in me, as I thought to myself, "All I need to do is to eat each of these 100 goodies, and I'll be 25 years old again in no time." That would be quite an achievement, given that a number of these recommended foods are not exactly commonplace, at least not in our local grocery stores, as far as I know. Examples: Passion fruit, rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, quinoa, adzuki beans, wasabi, spelt, and tahini. Yes, I realize these all may be in some corner of Kroger or Food Lion that I neglect to inspect, but if I found them, I wouldn't know what to do with them. Maybe DW would, with the help of this book.

In any event, the "Stay Young" foods include many that I consume regularly, such as strawberries, bananas, peaches, potatoes, green beans, corn, olive oil, and a bunch of the nuts -- almonds, pecans, walnuts, and the like. (I am well known as a nutty guy in my circles of family, friends, and associates). In fact, I like to eat just about everything except beets -- so if I can find those exotic foods to add in, I should be just about 100 percent with the magic 100.

I am kidding around, of course. But this little book really is a good source of information about foods you know and foods you may not yet know. I recommend it.

As for South Beach, it has long been a best-selling program. I even dabbled in the South Beach diet, along with the Atkins diet, some years ago. However, I had not picked up this volume offering a comprehensive program for heart health. I will study it carefully and take it to heart (in my case, a partly bionic one).   There is tons of good information here about nutrition, workouts, diagnostic tests, and medications. And guess what? -- on page 186, I found the following statement in the section on workouts:

". . . Having a dog can force you to get out and walk, even in the rain or snow. According to a study by the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction in Columbia, Missouri, sedentary and overweight volunteers who began walking a dog for 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, lost an average of 14 pounds in 1 year. Another study, published in the April 2006 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease found that 80 percent of people who take their dog for a walk get in at least one 10-minute walk a day, and 42 percent walk 30 minutes or more. So get a dog!"

Arrf! We were into human-animal ambulatory interaction long before it was cool, weren't we Superdawg?

             © Robert G. Holland  2013

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