Category Archives: Exercise

Yet another reason to like ballroom dancing . . .

Ballroom dancing has been a great empty-nest hobby for us.  Lots of fun, challenges, meeting new people, good exercise, new experiences, etc.  One of the side reasons that I like ballroom dancing is that it is now wildly counter-cultural.  Why?  Because it still has unique roles for men and women.  The LGBTQX movement will probably start to attack Planet Ballroom, Fred Astaire, etc. for being such haters, but for now it is fun going to a place where people are still sane.

Examples: In group and in private classes they always teach unique roles for the men and for the women.  Go figure!  Men always lead, and, other than the women needing to keep there feet from being stepped on, mistakes are always the responsibility of the guy.  Or so they say.

I did see a gay couple come into a studio once.  The poor instructor — who was probably Leftist himself — was tied up in knots trying to explain the roles without saying “man’s part,” “women’s part,” etc.  Sorry, dudes, someone has to lead.

Our main instructor in our prior city was gay, but even he had no issues with the specific male/female roles.

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Another good reason to exercise: It is as good as drugs in fighting major diseases

Unless you are a complete invalid, you should be doing some type of physical activity. Another great reason: Exercise just as good as drugs in war on major disease.

Exercise could be as effective as some of the best drugs which protect against major diseases, research has found.

A study of more than 300 trials has found that physical activity was better than medication in helping patients recovering from strokes – and just as good as drugs in protecting against diabetes and in stopping heart disease worsening.

. . .

Researchers said the findings suggested that regular exercise could be “quite potent” in improving survival chances, but said that until more studies are done, patients should not stop taking their tablets without taking medical advice.

The landmark research compared the mortality rates of those prescribed medication for common serious health conditions, with those who were instead enrolled on exercise programmes.

. . .

The research found that while medication worked best for those who had suffered heart failure, in all the other groups of patients, exercise was at least as effective as the drugs which are normally prescribed.

People with heart disease who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including statins, and drugs given to reduce blood clots had the same risk of dying as patients taking the medication.

Similarly, people with borderline diabetes who exercised had the same survival chances as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs.

. . .

They said there was a need for more research into the benefits of exercise for those suffering from serious health problems.

Researchers stressed that they were not suggesting that anyone should stop taking medications they had been prescribed, but suggested patients should think “long and hard” about their lifestyles, and talk to their doctors about incorporating more exercise into their daily routines.

Should this be surprising to us?  Why would we think that we could take some pills that would accomplish more than just using our bodies as God designed them?

Exercise is a broad term.  I always encourage people to do something — anything! — on a regular basis.  If you are one who doesn’t exercise at all, ask yourself if you’d be glad now if you had walked 20 minutes on a treadmill three times a week for the last year while watching TV or listening to the audio Bible or something.  If you do more, that’s great, but at least find some minimum level of activity.  You’ll be glad you did.  Forget about appearance and weight.  Just do it so you can feel better, have lower stress, have more energy, get sick less and ultimately be less of a burden on your family.

Why, yes, I have updated my smoothie recipe. Thanks for asking!

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...The latest incarnation for my Vitamix:

  • 16 oz. milk
  • Whey or egg white protein powder
  • Banana
  • Frozen berries of some kind
  • Spinach
  • Baby carrots
  • Beets
  • Yellow squash (and sometimes Zucchini)

Yes, that is a total of four vegetables for a guy who will never, ever, eat cooked vegetables.  Apparently heating vegetables is what unlocks their terrible taste, because when I blend them raw they don’t bother me at all.  The yellow squash was a recent addition.  They are super-healthy and have almost no impact on the taste.

I think the key is the blueberries or mixed berries: They add a nice color and flavor.  Try and enjoy!  These are unbelievably healthy.  You could probably eat Snickers the rest of the day and still be healthy.

The two best ways to love your family and save a ton of money

1. Keep yourself fit.

2. Work on your marriage.

Seriously.  There are a lot of great money management ideas out there, but those two will make the most difference.

If you keep yourself fit — and I don’t mean tri-athlete fit, just moderate exercise/eat fairly well/don’t abuse alcohol and drugs type fit — you will save massive amounts of money on health care.  If you haven’t already figured it out, Obamacare will be a disaster for this country, with higher costs and worse care.  You can’t avoid some illnesses, but you’d be surprised how many things you can prevent.  Just do some kind of exercise/activities you enjoy and eat decently (eat a little less, eat a little healthier).

And you won’t just save money, you’ll be loving your family.  And you’ll feel better and work better.  Who would want to unnecessarily burden their spouse and kids with their health problems?

And if you work on your marriage you’ll prevent a divorce, which would cost you dearly. I was teaching a Sunday School class on the Fireproof movie once and asked how many couple have so much extra money that they could afford a second household.  No hands were raised.

And this isn’t just for young couples.  I have seen far too many couples divorce who had been married 20+ years.  If you get complacent things could unravel.  Plan ahead for empty nests and ensure that you still have common interests.  Ballroom dancing has been great for us, but it doesn’t matter if it is motor cycling, bowling, or whatever.  Just do something together regularly that you both enjoy.

So spend some time on your marriage and save big.  More importantly, that is the best thing you can do to show love to your spouse and your kids.

More on ballroom dancing

An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers d...
An RKO publicity still of Astaire and Rogers dancing to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in Roberta (1935) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, not moron ballroom dancing, although that’s what I sometimes feel like when learning new steps.

I wanted to follow up on my original post with some additional thoughts on the hobby we started two years ago to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

We take lessons several times a week (they have group classes nightly from Tuesday through Saturday and we take at least one private lesson per week) and venture out at least a month.  Our favorite place is in the Heights where they have big band music and a variety of dances.  It is a great deal — only $11 per person and you can bring your own snacks and drinks.

We are taking at a Fred Astaire studio close to our house.  We’ve been really pleased with the instructors.  Very thorough and friendly.  If you tell them we referred you it is only $25 for a startup package with two private lessons and one group lesson (and they give us a free lesson). It is $50 without a referral.

One tip that could really help you: Once you’ve learned a step, make a video from your camera phone of your instructor showing your partner.  Then you can watch the steps and know you are practicing it correctly.  There have been many times when I thought I remembered it correctly but ended up practicing the wrong thing, which takes twice as long to un-learn then re-learn.

Also – and I realize this goes in the Captain Obvious category — it makes a huge difference if you practice new figures.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, just a few minutes on a couple occasions as close to when you learned the steps as possible.

And note that dancing makes you smarter!  Seriously, a New England Journal of Medicine discovered that something about the rapid-fire decision making involved in some forms of dancing has a profoundly more significant impact on reducing dementia than other forms of exercise, and even twice as much as reading.

Mary left this fantastic comment on the last post:

I just got back from a ballroom dance party. Love it! It’s good exercise, fun, mentally stimulating, expressive, and it makes me happy. :)

It also teaches me a lot about the Christian marriage dynamic. In ballroom dancing, as in Christian marriage, the man leads, and the woman follows his lead. They work together as a team, both being equally important and necessary to the dance, but with distinct roles. The man needs to lead gently, but firmly, making his intentions clear and doing his best to bring the best out of his dance partner. The woman follows the man’s leading, being sensitive to what direction he is taking her in and going with the flow of the movement he initiates. Much courtesy and grace is needed from both parties. Both will make mistakes. The key to getting the best out of one’s dance partner is encouragement for what they do right, coupled with diplomatic suggestions for improvement. Without the encouragement, the suggestions for improvement don’t go down as well. If one party gets the dance completely wrong, the other party has to stop them and gently indicate what it should be. Sometimes, there are times when the man gets the timing wrong. The woman can help him with the timing. But at other times it’s best to just keep going with the beat in his head. It feels frustrating sometimes but it works out better than struggling with your dance partner.

I’m single, but the above looks a lot like the Christian marriage dynamic to me.

I’ve used that illustration when teaching passages about Christian marriage, such as Ephesians 5.  Anyone who has danced realizes how chaotic it would be if there was no official leader.  Yet the notion that you are competing with your partner is foreign to dancing.  You are most clearly a team.

Yoga risks: Spiritual and physical

There are some “yoga” moves that are natural and beneficial.  Just because they fall under the yoga umbrella doesn’t mean they are spiritually related and must be avoided.  Hey, my dog insists that he invented the Upward Dog and Downward Dog moves even though he never went to a yoga class.  They are just good ways to stretch that one could discover with or without yoga classes.

But the spiritual side of yoga should be avoided.  My former church actually held yoga classes.  Ugh.  It would be great to have exercise classes for members, because if you really love your family and friends you’ll try to take reasonable care of yourself as to not be an unnecessary burden to them.  But any educated Hindu will tell you that yoga training is explicitly spiritual — and not in the biblical Christianity sort of way.

But even the physical benefits should be reconsidered.  Many of the moves aren’t necessarily good for you physically.  This article goes into a lot of detail about the risks.

[Glenn] Black [a yoga teacher of nearly four decades, whose devoted clientele includes a number of celebrities and prominent gurus] has come to believe that “the vast majority of people” should give up yoga altogether. It’s simply too likely to cause harm.  Not just students but celebrated teachers too, Black said, injure themselves in droves because most have underlying physical weaknesses or problems that make serious injury all but inevitable. Instead of doing yoga, “they need to be doing a specific range of motions for articulation, for organ condition,” he said, to strengthen weak parts of the body. “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

Hat tip: Yoga Can Be Hazardous To Your Health by the Sola Sisters

Exercise instead of medicine

As Steve Jobs would tell you (uh, if he could), sometimes you need surgery and medicine, because eating and exercise won’t cure what you’ve got.

But in many, many cases some exercise and better eating will fix your health problems, give you way more energy, save lots of money and put less of a burden on those you love.

You don’t need to do extreme exercise, but here are a couple impressive success stories from people who used P90X.

http://www.beachbody.com/product/p90x-success-stories-tommym.do

http://www.beachbody.com/product/p90x-success-stories-jeremyy.do

I see a lot of testimonials posted at 24 Hour Fitness as well.  One was a grandma who was becoming a burden to her family.  After exercising she was able to do so much more on her own and to play with her grandchildren.  Another was a common one where a guy lost a lot of weight and was able to get off all sorts of medicine.

I think the key is to remember who you are competing against: Yourself.  It is the “you” who won’t do any physical activity today versus the “you” who does something — anything!  As the Bible notes, there will always be those better or worse than you, so try not to compare.  Just find something you like, no matter how minimal, and do it.

I like doing a hybrid of P90X weightlifting, some cardio (stair stepper or exercise bike) and core work.  And we go ballroom dancing several times per week.  We’ve met lots of people who lost weight and feel much better since they started dancing.  We think of dance as just a fun hobby and not exercise, but you get the benefits either way.