Monday, December 27, 2010

Books and "Regaining Power"

I just finished reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I really enjoyed this book, and am anxiously awaiting the second of the series. It has also made me curious about history during this period (Word War I), and I'm sure I will be reading more about this fascinating time in world history
I started reading another of Patrick Taylor's books, "An Irish Country Girl". Taylor's booksare so easy to read, enjoyable, and are just the kind of book to warm your heart.
Finally, I am reading "Regaining the Power of Youth at Any Age" by Kenneth Cooper. I've had this book on my radar for a while, and just haven't purchased it. I received it for a Christmas present (thanks Anne and Justin) and I will try to summarize each chapter as I read it.
And since I have finished the first chapter, here are the highlights as I see them--

Cooper begins by talking of all the things that can drain your vigor--stress, recurrent health problems, travel, financial problems, menopause (men and women) information overload, frustrations with family and raising children, misinformation about the aging process. He proposes a process called targeting. Targeting, he says, "is a scientifically proven strategy of self-assessment and self-treatment that features the application of specific fitness, diet, and psychological techniques to particular health concerns.
The first targeting technique he defines is "Stamina Strategies". It involves "eight to ten minute of exercises designed to produce specific kinds of endurance and staying power". They are low-intensity and high-repetition.
The next one is called the "Quick Fix". It is four or five minutes of calisthenics or stretches. They are targeted to ease stiff muscles or brainfog from prolonged concentration or work.
The third targeting technique is called a "Pick-Me-Up". It is "four or five minutes of light but continuous activity designed to provide a lift during those periods of the day when your energy begins to flag".
"Eye-Openers" are just that--done in the morning, they are static stretches followed by a stamina and strength routine.
"Stopgaps" are designed to fill a need for those times when you can't do your regular workout at the gym. It can be five to twenty minutes of strength and aerobic work.
"Energy Packs" are nutritional strategies, and Cooper encourages you to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index.
Lastly, but something I harp on all the time is "Fluid Factoring". It stresses the importance of staying hydrated. Yeah. I will definitely evaluate my fluid intake.

Next, Cooper suggests a simple plan of action. First, stretching as soon as you arise. Start with the Williams exercises, and add static achilles tendon stretches, static hamstring stretches, upper arm and shoulder stretches, groin stretches and lunge stretches. Add in some bent-leg sit ups and modified push-ups and you're finished. I will probably do a yoga workout as this encompasses the same exercises. Besides, I like watching Rodney Yee's A.M. Yoga. The scenery and Rodney are beau-ti-ful.

Actions for me:
1) Evaluate my fluid intake. Measure out a gallon of filtered water and drink it by the end of the day. Find and make available a water bottle, keep it filled throughout the day.
2) I will find a set of low handweights and set them near the TV with my 12x12 workout cheater card. (I'll scan that and load it up so you can see it too.) The goal is to do, not 12 reps of each 12 exercises, but maybe 25 or so. Not too many to start. Enough to complete the whole thing in eight to ten minutes, as prescribed.
3) I will make sure to take several "pick-me-up" or "quick-fix" breaks throughout the day, maybe just a quick walk or running in place or dancing or a yoga workout for a few minutes.
4) I will study the low glycemic index foods list this week, and see if I can't do some substitutes.

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