Jan 25

Fit to be tied

A government sponsored study of more than 15,000 black and white men over a 23-year period hasExercise
proved that fitness levels are better indicators of longevity than age, blood pressure or body mass index.

The researchers, who work in the cardiology department of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC, say their studies also show that even moderate exercise can ‘dramatically’ prolong a man’s life. By ‘moderate,’ they mean walking as little as 30 minutes a day four days a week. And, that’s a piece of cake for most of us.

In fact, the more one exercises, the greater effect on longevity, says the study. ‘Very high-fit’ men cut their risk of early death by 70 percent, ‘high-fit men cut it by. 50 percent and even low-fit guys had a 20 percent lower risk, said the researchers.

And, yet, the couch potato generation continues to proliferate at an alarming rate. What don’t American men get? Here’s proof positive that just a little exercise can have a profoundly positive effect. But, two-thirds or more of American men literally fail to take the steps necessary to prolong their lives.

The most common excuse I hear is a lack of time. Then, there’s the complaint about not being able to afford a health club membership. Last, but not least, is the lament that, ‘Well, I don’ know how to use those complicated exercise machines, and I don’t want to get hurt.’

The researchers emphasized that none of these excuses hold water, stating: ‘What’s really important to understand is that you don’t need special clothes, special memberships or special equipment…It’s something everyone can engage in.’

My take on all this? The average joe could care less that he looks just like the Pillsbury dough boy. And, he’ll continue to channel-surf his life away until, and unless, it hurts him in the wallet. So, here’s hoping that more and more organizations start mandating regular fitness as a condition of hiring and ongoing employment. After all, it will simultaneously increase productivity while lowering health care costs (and force all those sedentary souls off the friggin’ couch).

I’d say more, but it’s time for a run.

Thanks to Greg Schmalz for the idea.

Dec 17

Finally, a guy who’s got it right

Here’s a big tip of the hat to Las Vegas Lawyer Todd Phillips, who has filed a gender bias complaint withLadies_2
the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. Todd’s problem? The gym he was touring with his wife offered her a cheaper sign-up rate as well as a special workout section for women.

More and more guys are stepping up to complain about ladies’ night laws at gyms, bars and nightclubs. And, that’s a good thing. No offense, ladies, but why should you get special breaks?

It’s been open season on guys for as long as I can remember. And it runs the gamut from tongue-in-cheek male bashing in the workplace to TV commercials and sitcoms in which the guy is almost always portrayed as a total dope. In fact, one wonders what sort of subliminal damage the latter does to young boys watching at home.

Mr. Phillips, who just happens to be a gender bias lawyer, says special ladies’ nights are just as discriminatory as ‘…a whites-only country club or whites get in free deal…’. That may be a stretch, but I do think the overall public image of men needs some burnishing. And, I’m right behind you Todd. Oh, and by the way, are you done with the elliptical trainer yet?

Oct 01

Show me the money

Having competed in various 5K, five-and-a-half mile marathon races this Summer, I’ve begun wonderingSteve
where my entry fees actually go.

Each race has eight or nine corporate sponsors, so I’m assuming the banks, car dealerships and pizza parlors are picking up the race-specific costs and t-shirts/medals for racers. But, what about the ’causes’ themselves? What percentage of my dollars actually end up in the charity’s coffers?

I’m not suggesting any shenanigans, but I am surprised at the lack of transparency. I think race organizers should do more than merely posting finishing times on their web sites (and, possibly, sharing profits from the various local photographers who hawk photos of runners crossing the finishing line).

Entry fees are now typically $25, $30 or more. I love to run and feel good that I’m helping worthwhile charities in the process. But, the blood, sweat and tears would be all the more gratifying if I was sure my bucks were ending up in the right pockets. So, here’s a call out to race organizers near and far: ‘show us the money.’ It will help your image and reputation, and speed my mental and physical recovery.

Aug 29

In Boulder, somebody’s always fitter than you

So I’m in the midst of a very cool, all-outdoor activities Summer vacation in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder

To say that Boulder is a mecca for fitness freaks would be akin to saying that Baghdad attracts a few malcontents with ill intentions. The place literally swarms with runners, bikers, kayakers, rafters and every other type of outdoor type known to man

In point of fact, Boulder is fitness on steroids. To illustrate the point, I ‘bumped’ into a woman while climbing 7,500-foot Mt. Sanitas yesterday. As I huffed and puffed my way up, she was trotting down. She smiled and told me I was halfway to the summit. I grunted to acknowledge I’d understood what she’d just said. She smiled and replied, “It could be worse. You could be climbing this mountain four times in one day like me. This is my third trip.” I was incredulous. “I have to keep pushing myself,” she replied, sensing my disbelief. “In Boulder, someone is always fitter than you.”

Which I guess is a good thing. I’d rather compete with runners, hikers and tennis players, who are better than me than, say, go mano-a-mano with some highly political, backstabbing fast tracker in a Fortune 500 corporation. 

I like this woman’s unofficial city motto for Boulder and wondered what variations might work for other top U. S. cities:

– ‘In Houston, someone’s always fatter than you.’
– ‘In Newark, someone’s car is always being stolen before yours.’
– ‘In Hollywood, someone’s always got more silicone than you.’
– ‘In Detroit, someone’s always been downsized more times than you.’
– ‘In Seattle, someone’s always more depressed than you.’

I have to believe the city fathers of Boulder are delighted with their image and reputation. They may not attract the ever-expanding Double Mac-gorging, channel surfing, trailer park crowd, but something tells me they’re cool with that.