If you want to live longer, you’ll need to do so standing up

imageYou may want to stand up before reading this. That’s because, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, (trust me, I double checked the spelling on that) sitting actually increases your chances of premature death.

And no, I’m not talking about accidentally sitting on a rattlesnake or Christian Bale’s car hood. I’m talking about the normal, everyday kind of sitting we all do — at work, in the car, at the end of a long day, while playing basketball — that a group of Toronto researchers says increases our chance of health “issues” that can lead to death.

I’m no doctor, but even I know death is a pretty serious health issue.  Continue reading

Chewing the fat with the Surgeon General about obesity

(This morning I’m over at Long Awkward Pause, where I just finished interviewing the U.S. Surgeon General about America’s obesity problem — which, like many Americans, continues to get bigger…)

image Like many of you, I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the shocking news that obesity had officially become the No. 1 preventable health crisis in the nation. In fact, I can even tell you which super-sized meal I was eating.

With millions of Americans resolved to lose weight for the New Year, now is the perfect time for us to make changes in our eating habits before the unthinkable happens, and we’re forced to apologize to the French for throwing the Earth off its axis.

With that in mind, we at Long Awkward Pause scheduled a special Q&A session with the U.S. Surgeon General to explain America’s obesity problem, and how we can get back to living healthy lives cut short by smoking and drinking… (More at LAP)

 

Open contempt for those in better shape is first step to a healthier you

imageLike millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective. At my wife’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds. Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?

I immediately brought this to the attention of my editor, who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of her candy drawer.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a KFC right across the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles.  Continue reading

Things have a way of working out. Unless it involves me and the gym

The only way I'll do push-ups.

Sort of like doing a workout with Dolly Parton.

Forgive me for I have sinned: It’s been nearly two months since my last workout.

That was my thought as I entered the gym last week, ready to pay my penance in the company of those who’d kept the faith in my absence. I had my moves planned: enter quickly, cut left and directly into the weight room, bypassing the front desk and the gym’s owner — a possible “confessional” situation.

But of course I couldn’t be that lucky.

“Hey there, Ned!”

I stopped in mid-stride; so close to the pivot that would’ve carried me to freedom. “Hey, Jim,” I said, smiling meekly. Apologetically.

Jim leaned forward on the desk, dressed in his usual sweatpants and T-shirt lightly stained with perspiration after a 50-minute aerobics workout that trimmed his ballooning body fat from .08 down to .05. He looked at me and folded his hands together on the desktop, as if ready to pray for me. “Haven’t seen you for a while.” Continue reading

Can life be the same with less bacon in it?

image The thing I hate most about doctors — not counting proctologists — is that they’re always trying to tell you HOW TO LIVE!

For example: “Ned, unless you lower your blood pressure, you’re going to die.”

The nerve!

Though I’m well within my optimum weight range (190 lbs.) for my age (48) and height (6’1″), am active and have a relatively low-stress lifestyle (when our three teens aren’t home), my blood pressure is still high.

Apparently, it’s something that runs in my family. Which is ironic considering my family isn’t known for running.

Anywhere.

Because I don’t really need to lose weight and my heart sounds fine, my doctor has started me on a very mild dose of blood pressure medicine. “Just take 10 milligrams each morning at breakfast,” he said.

“Can I wrap it in bacon first? Ha! Ha!” I joked.

Well, mostly. Continue reading

It might be time to take a stand on sitting

image You may want to stand up before reading this. That’s because, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, sitting increases your chances of premature death. And no, I’m not talking about accidentally sitting on a rattlesnake or Christian Bale’s car hood. I’m talking about the normal, everyday kind of sitting we all do — at work, in the car, at the end of a long day, while playing basketball — that a group of Toronto researchers says increases our chance of health “issues” that can lead to death.

I’m no doctor, but even I know death is a pretty serious health issue.

The report was based on analysis of 47 studies of sedentary behavior, particularly the act of sitting. “Our modern world is constructed to keep people sitting down — and it’s literally killing us,” said one researcher who now travels long distance only by Segway. “I used to take the metro but people kept offering me a seat. I think they were trying to kill me.” Continue reading

Sounding off about the dangers of sitting

image Last Friday, I offered a “sneak preview” audio snippet of Monday’s upcoming column/blog post. Everyone seemed to like this idea so, naturally, I got very excited and wasted no time in accidentally deleting my SoundCloud account. I went ahead and started a new account, which I plan to fill with full versions of my columns read by James Earl Jones. In the meantime, I’ll keep offering Friday “sneak preview” snippets because it’s fun.

And also, James Earl Jones still isn’t answering my calls.

Monday’s column, It Might be Time To Take a Stand on Sitting, is about a new study released from the Annals of Internal Medicine (Yes, I realize how that sounnds) that suggests sitting dramatically increases our chances of premature death, even if we exercise regularly.

And yes, I have now been standing for 78 hours. Continue reading

Swearing off coffee has only led to one thing: more swearing

image Today, like every day since the start of the New Year, I’ve abstained from my morning cups of coffee — a decision I reached during a moment of weakness, sometime around midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s when I vowed (after several glasses of champagne) to take better care of myself in 2015. While this decision has certainly made me a healthier person, it has also made me a crankier one.

This is due in large part to the decaffeination process itself, which can cause headaches, drowsiness, constipation, Tourette’s Syndrome and, in the case of Lizzy Borden, involuntary manslaughter.

After doing some research, I realized that there was more to beating this thing than just dealing with the physical craving which, for someone who drinks coffee all day, is similar to the craving one might have for, say…

Breathable air. Continue reading

Manscaping and other things I learned from surgery

Heading to surgery with complete confidence, although my hair looks a little scared.

Heading to surgery with complete confidence (My hair looks scared, though.)

As many of you know, I had surgery last week to repair a hernia that was in close proximity to my [censored]. Being a man, I realize anything within 10 feet of that area is considered “close proximity.” But in this case, I’m not exaggerating.

About the proximity, I mean.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you also know there was a minor complication that required me to stay overnight for observation, which is something I’ve come to expect when getting my annual psych exam for the fire department — but not when it comes to surgery.

What most people DON’T know is that I was manscaped by a nurse named Vern.

And no, that wasn’t short for “Laverne.” Continue reading

Friendly health tip for the guy at Fred Meyer

As a journalist, I’m trained to notice even the most subtle sign that something is out of the ordinary.

An awkward glance.
A hesitant word.
A 65-year-old man reading Cosmopolitan…

image

To the man I saw reading this magazine while getting his blood pressure checked at Fred Meyer: I’m no doctor, but it’s possible your elevated blood pressure reading probably has nothing to do with that extra piece of bacon you ate this morning…