Thursday, July 31, 2014

Selective Hearing

We hear what we want to hear.

This week, a "news" event caught my ear. It was reported that doing 5 minutes of running a day would increase your life span. What????? The reporter stated that just doing five minutes of running a day was enough exercise.
Of course, I had  to disagree, but before I completely dismissed the "news" report, I looked it up. The original study was reported in the New York Times and after reading the entire article, the main points were:
1. If you were not exercising at all, any exercise is an improvement.
2. The 5 minutes of exercise needs to be very intensive. In other words, you are running all out, as if a wild bear was hot on your trail, for five minutes. Try it. This is really hard to do.
3. Anyone attempting this 5 minutes of exercise should be careful of weekend warrior injuries. Running without the proper form can and will cause damage to knees, ankles, and/or back.
4. Other forms of exercise could be substituted for running, but also must be done at a high intensity.
5. The bottom line, running 5 minutes a day could increase your life span by 3 years.

The bad part about this news report is that people will hear that 5 minutes of exercise is enough, and the truth of the matter is that it is not enough. Five minutes of intense exercise MIGHT increase your life by three years, but it won't improve your cardiovascular fitness, it won't improve your bone density, it won't tone your body.
There is no easy way to improve your health. There is no magic pill or magic surgery that will improve your health. You want to be healthier? Two key elements are 100% essential - diet and exercise. We have heard this all our lives, but people only hear what they want to hear. And people want to hear that 5 minutes of exercise is all they need.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Three Months, But Who's Counting?

It has now been a little over 3 months since my diagnosis of Type I Diabetes. While I still can't believe it, I feel like I am getting a handle on managing it. I usually can keep my blood glucose levels within the appropriate range and I feel pretty good most of the time. Really, the eating and insulin are the easy parts of the routine.
For anyone who has a condition or illness that requires constant vigilance, the hardest part is the emotional drain that it takes. I know that this is not true, but somewhere in the back of my mind, there is this thought that this is temporary and that sooner or later I can return to my old life. Always before, there was an end date. If I got sick with a cold or flu or bronchitis, in a couple of days or weeks, I would feel well again and be able to breathe without coughing or eat without vomiting. If I was training for a specific event and was on a strict diet, I knew that after the event I could eat potatoes or lima beans again. Six to eight weeks after an injury, the healing would be well on it's way. But now, there is no end date. This routine of taking insulin, counting carbohydrates is eternal. And if I think about it too much, it is depressing.
One thing I can say that this experience has taught me, it is to be more tolerant of people who are really suffering. I have a dear friend who has MS and another dear friend with cancer and my heart bleeds for them. So what if I have to take a few shots a day. At least I still have use of my arms and legs. At least I still have all my hair. At least I don't have to go to the clinic for treatments every week.
I had been blessed with perfect health for a long time and now, not so much, but it isn't all that bad.