Exercising for health...


I just saw this ad for a golf show and it was talking about how this pro golfer guy keeps "in shape" with yoga. Then it shows him doing a side stretch and he's got a huge gut sticking out. I like the very loose definition of "healthy" we have now.

What's going on in Oregon these days?


That's an email I received this morning from a friend in Taiwan who calls me Ned. It's what made me decide that it was time to write the healthy exercise section. Now I'll give this golfer human man a chance, considering there's a difference between being in good health, and appearing as though you are. A lot of times they go hand in hand, sometimes they don't. Plenty of people look the part of being in fantastic health, but that realistically says very little of their legitimate level of physical fitness. You may look exceedingly better than the stomached golfer while being in vastly worse health. The actual likelihood of that being true is minimal, however, as it sounds like golf playing man had a pretty hefty crisis for a midriff. But the possibility exists. And it's this non-visible health that we're going for here. It'll certainly translate to the mirror, but the actual goal has nothing to do with your little mirror magic. We're only concerned with health and its impact on the quality of your life. The mirror work is a byproduct.

Initial investments: a really good chair and bed. I realize sitting and laying have little to do with our little health genre. Disregard little genres and buy a good chair and bed. This is just as important as any exercise. Your body isn't going to be healthy, regardless of how much energy you put into it, if you're spending the rest of your time in discount furnishings. If you can't afford it, you can. Be stingy on gas, food, and entertainment for half a year. If you're already stingy, sell things on eBay. I swear you can afford it. And now that you've decided to get them, get something along the lines of an Aeron chair and Westin Heavenly Bed. Something like that. It doesn't have to be those exact ones, but that's the type and caliber you're looking for.

Moving along. Exercise. And regarding exercise, consider this: the majority of all impotence cases in America would be resolved from the effects of a consistent exercise routine. But since impotence doesn't seem to be on the decline, most impotent fellows aren't exercising. Furthermore, the only form of exercise these stealthy and strapping impotent men are willing to perform requires non-impotence. So their chances for an improved quality of life continue to diminish. And women, although you don't frequently have the items of impotence, the same principal applies to you- just slightly less prominently. For everyone, it comes down to quality of life. If you're 19, post menopausal, whatever- everyone will benefit and live better. So if you don't do what I tell you to, you deserve a shitty, grief-stricken life and I hope you get just that. In fact, I'm trying to place a curse on you. I really hope it works.

Just a sec. Okay, I'm back. I'm back with the news that I just received my second phone call during the writing of this article about winning a free cruise if I travel with partners. Every time this happens, I lose my train of thought. So if something in this article makes less sense than you think it should, blame phone solicitors.

Anyway- just don't disregard what you read and my vividly horrific curse won't devastate your life. And your loved ones and friend's cousin, Paul Vincent. Healthy exercise. Let's begin our little lesson in the 1960's. That was a stout decade. And part of the reason it was so stout and quirkily good is that it harnessed jumping jacks as the single most used exercise routine in America. How many obese people were there back then? Six? None? Something like that. Now there's millions. Millions and millions. All the 60's people did was be subject to bad medicine, and perform jumping jacks sometimes. Despite this, their average life-span was roughly equivalent to the predictions for today's kids capitalizing on today's medicine. This is sad. The meaning of this is as follows: we're really, really unhealthy. Badly. And jumping jacks aren't going to cut it anymore. Placing your feet in and out while waving your arms is not going to counter the fact that statistically more families have TVs than plumbing.

By now, we're all born into a life predestined for devastating health. But you've obviously decided not to subscribe to that. Solid work. And good job for reading here to not go about it like a fool. So the first thing we'll address, considering you've already decided to buy a good bed and chair, is body weight.

As a general rule, whatever weight you were (or are or will be) at the age of 21, maintain that weight within a range of 10-15 pounds. Your body likes homeostasis. You maintaining homeosatasis is healtheir than you not maintaining it. Your body doesn't like to make adjustments on your heart, circulatory system, hormones, etc via you increasing your bodyweight. Before the age of 21, it's okay because your body is developing and adjusting at that time anyway. So whatever you give it, it thinks is normal. It's the same reason why fat cells continue to be created up until ballpark 21ish. After that, you have your set amount of fat cells, and you're just increasing your cell size. On pretty much all levels, your body wants to be done developing and adjusting by then. So whatever your 21 weight was, keep it. If you're over it, lose weight. Realize though that you losing more than 2lb of fat per week causes your basal metabolism to be affected negatively. You don't want this, so don't go overboard with the speed at which you're racing to health.

And lucky for you, if you are over your weight, it shouldn't be too hard to get back to it. Everyone's body has a tendency to regress toward a genetic mean. That genetic weight for each person is different- that's why ectomorph, endomorph, and terms like that exist. A healthy weight for one person may be 50lb different than another person's healthy weight. Some people will carry more fat than others, others will be sickly frail looking. Don't think that this gives you the opportunity to become obese or anorexic and think you're still healthy. It just means people have different optimal weights as far as health goes. And if you're away from it, it's not too hard to get back to it, regardless of what direction you're trying to go. Changing weight toward the direction of your genetic mean isn't so hard. Changing weight in opposition of that direction is hard. But you don't really need to do that. Just get to your 21-year-old body weight. And if you were huge when you were 21, it wouldn't hurt to drop a reasonable amount of fat such that you're slightly less weighted than you were then- but don't feel obligated unless you were a real hefty meat slab back then. You're going to have to do this with both weights and cardio. Plus you'll be doing some stretching. We'll get into all of this stuff now.

Cardio. Honestly, I don't care what your cardio is. You can go fast and burn tons of calories, a huge chunk of which is carbs, you can go slow so that you burn almost strictly fat, you can monitor your heart rate and try to improve your cardiovascular health, you can do any combination of any of those. It really doesn't matter. The only rules are as follows: cardio is not gardening. You can't kill two birds with one stone here. Cardio is done for the purpose of cardio. You can look at magazines or listen to music while you're doing it if you want, but you're not going to be shoveling. Regarding mode, it doesn't matter. Bike, walk, elliptical trainer, jog, stair climber, whatever, do whatever. And as far as frequency and duration, 30 minutes minimum per session, 5 days per week until you hit your weight, 3 days per week after that point. That's all. Do whatever you want under those guidelines.

Resistance training. Your weights are for more than just weight management. Muscle functionality plays a big role in your physical and athletic abilities. Because of this, realize though that there's absolutely no reason to work your chest, and very little logic in working your biceps unless you have severe difficulty carrying some groceries. Generally the muscles that people want to work in order to treat their mirror fetish does nothing to assist their health status. So don't waste energy with stuff like that unless you've already taken care of all the vitals and still have energy. Legs, abs, low back, and a little upper back will help the quality of life. So naturally, these are what you focus on.

For legs, fairly light, free weight squats- good form- and leg curls. Nothing else. The leg curls will work your hamstrings and keep your knees healthy, while the squats work the rest of your legs better than any other exercise, while being just as safe, sometimes safer on your joints. Do a lot of these two exercises though. At least 5 sets of each per week. The more you train your legs, the more you'll enjoy your metabolism.

For low back, do balancing exercises with the ball. Roll out on a ball on your stomach- get to a stable point- then lift opposite hands and arms and balance. Then switch sides and balance again. Hold those positions each for 20 seconds, then rest. That's one set. Then you can lay on your back on the floor with your feet on the ball. Keeping everything else stable, lift your hips as high as you can and balance. Hold that for 30 seconds. That's another set. Do about 5 total sets per week on low back through any combination of these two exercises.

Abs- You're taking a class for this one. Show up to an abdominal class. You're not going to do enough on your own regardless of how motivated you think you are. At least once per week, you have to go to a class dedicated to abdominal work. If your gym doesn't have that, feel kind of shocked, and then tell someone that matters or find a new gym. This is necessary.

As far as upper back goes, it's kind of like legs. It comes down to the fact that the back movements are fairly compound exercises that work a good amount of muscle. The more you do these exercises, the less dissatisfaction you'll have with metabolism. So do about 4 total sets per week of upper back exercises, using rows and pullups (assisted if you need it) as your two movements.

Aside from this stuff, take two total classes per week of "core" stuff. The abdominal classes count. So if you're doing two of those per week, then you're done. But if you're only doing one, you have another class to go to- make it yoga, Pilates, or something of that nature.

So those are the guidelines for your weight routine. I don't care how you split it up, but get all your sets in every week. Get it all done in one long ass workout, split it up so you have a tiny bit over 5 different workouts, whatever, it doesn't matter. Just don't miss any sets of anything and be consistent. And your your reps don't matter so long as it's not over 20 per set. Good?

Stretching. You've got two stretches to do after every
And that's all. I realize it seems like a lot. But it's not. In each week, you have roughly 90 minutes of cardio, about an hour of abdominal classes, less than 20 sets in the weight room, and a little bit of stretching. Over the course of seven days, I sincerely hope for your benefit that this doesn't seem undoable. If it isn't doable, I'm willing that curse upon you fierce. Otherwise, enjoy good health for years.