Sunday, December 29, 2013

94 Year Old Track Star

For some reason I received not just one Parade magazine in my paper today, but 11.  I took this as a sign that I really did need to read the cover article "What makes Olga Run?"

Olga is 94 years old and competes in track and field for participants over the age of 35.  She has 20 world records under her belt and is still working to accomplish more.  She competes in the long-jump and high-jump. The article talks about a few myths of aging and how Olga busted those myths.

Many people feel that solving the weekly crossword puzzle or playing sudoku will keep the mind sharp as we age.  In the latest research, exercise is better than mind puzzles.  Articles in AARPThe Week , and the article in Parade magazine all state that exercise protects the brain from shrinking and the thinking cells more active.

The next myth that Olga blew away is that you just can't do what you did when you were younger.  Olga didn't start competing in track and field events until she was in her 70s.  Yes, she was very active all her life.  She only sat behind a desk when she had a brief stint as a secretary.  Most of her jobs involved a lot of standing.  Research has proven that sitting for extended amounts of time increases risk of hypertension, blood clots, and some types of cancer no matter how fit the person is.

Olga doesn't always eat a strict healthy diet, but mostly eats non-processed foods.  She does occasionally eat a hotdog and drink a beer at the baseball games.  She only takes an aspirin and glucosamine pill a day.  She feels that she eats a balanced diet to provide the rest of what her body needs.  She says good food in the body is much cheaper than medication.

Olga does do a lot of social activities like bowling on a team and volunteering at her church.  Social activity is another research proven activity to keep the brain active.

Many articles state that if you want to keep your brain and body healthy, be active.  The Blue Zones book is a great source to learn about habits of people who live long healthy active lives.

The people in the Blue Zones and Olga also stress the "enjoy life" attitude.  They don't have time to stress over the small stuff.  They are to busy having fun and being active.

Other websites that stress getting up and moving throughout the day are:

New York Times "Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?"

Mayo Clinic  "What are the risks of sitting to much?"

One of my New Years resolutions is to get up and move around more during the day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

You Really do need to Train

Just got home from Chicago yesterday.  I ran a half marathon to help raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.  It was a great day with sun and just the right temperature.  I thought that I was doing really well and maybe even PR (Personal Race).  Then I hit a brick wall around mile 9 and it was bad.  I knew that I had not trained well for the race and it showed.

Training for any kind of sport is essential if you really want to exceed.  One of the ladies in my swim class told me that she didn't feel she would ever get good at swimming.  I asked her how often she swam during the week.  She said the only time she swam was in class.  I said, practice makes perfect.  If you want to be better you have to practice more than once a week.  I know that I didn't get any better until I started swimming two to three times a week (and she still beats me across the pool).

If I want to eventually make it to the finish line in an Iron Man, I really need to get some practice in on a regular basis.  Which means I need to work out a better schedule.  Running, biking, and swimming one day a week, if that much, isn't going to help me train for anything. 

Training for races is the same with any skill.  I also learned last week that my skills in Microsoft Office had weakened when I had to do some research on the web to help a co-worker fix an issue.  This was because I don't practice using the advanced tools that Microsoft has available.  Again, practice makes perfect.  If you want to meet a goal in anything, you need to practice, practice, practice.  

My goal this week is to rest after the race and work out a schedule to meet my goal.  Next race is a 30 mile bike race.  I have a little over four weeks.  Definitely need to get make that schedule and do the schedule.

What do you want to get better at?  How can you practice to become the best you can be?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Annoying Self Talk

The last few weeks I have been having some really bad conversations in my head.  It is really bad when I annoy myself with my self talk.  My life coach has put me on a negative thinking diet.

The diet goes something like this:  The diet is for seven days.  When you start thinking negative thoughts you have 10 seconds to stop.  If you don't stop within that 10 seconds you have to start the days over again.  For instance, if I keep thinking about how someone has ticked me off for more than 10 seconds, I have to start my seven days over again and start on day one tomorrow.

I have been trying to accomplish this for over a week with very little success.  The first four days was a piece of cake because I was to busy to think about anything other than where was I suppose to be and what was I suppose to be doing.  Then I came home from a conference and had time to think about things.

Now that you are totally confused, let me tell you what I am talking about.  This morning while jogging in the rain, all I could think about was how far I had to run and how much I didn't want to be out in the rain.  All I did was argue with myself whether to keep running or just turn around and walk back.  The sad thing is, I know that I can run the miles because I have done it before.

I know that I am not the only person who does this.  In all the running, biking, and any other magazines there are articles on mind games to play to accomplish the health and fitness goals.  Really any goal.  Self talk can be damaging to your own self esteem and the reason why people don't reach their dreams.

One magazine article suggested that when exercising and the negative talk starts, try the meditation techniques.  In meditation when a thought comes into your head, let it go and focus on your breathing.  I am going to try this next time I have negative thought for any reason.  But for now  I have put myself in a timeout to clear my head.  I need to focus on the positive instead of spiraling down the rabbit hole of anger and self doubt.

Starting over on my seven day diet in the morning.  See how you do with the no negative diet.  Tell me how you do in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


My Life Coach has stressed a couple of times that I am involved in to many projects.  The reason I have not had time to post much here.  So it is time to purge my to-do-list.  First and foremost I am selling the t-shirt business.  Not because it hasn't made money, but because I no longer have a passion to continue the business.  I have come full circle and now back to my real passion, health, fitness, and finances.  (If you know of anyone who wants a t-shirt printer and press email me at 

Between the rain and no time, it looks like the garden it not going to happen again this year.  I may plant a few vegetables in a couple of containers that I have from last year, but that will be about it. Now to plan B.  The next best thing to having a garden is getting vegetables from friends and family who have an excess of food.  Of course going to the Farmers Market. 

Currently I am on the purge the cupboard plan.  Eating more from my stock pile than buying at the grocery store.  I am tired of buying food and throwing it away.  This is not because I want to, but it expires before I realize it and have a chance to go through it and give it away.  So I have decided that I need to eat what I have before I buy any more.  I still purchase small amounts of fresh vegetables, fruit, and milk.  I started this plan about mid April.  So far I have decreased my stockpile by half.  I have plenty left to keep me going through most of this month.

The next couple of weekends I plan to purge my house of other things.  It is time to get rid of things that no longer serve me.  I have plenty of clothes that are too big or I no longer like.  Since it is time to switch out the winter clothes to summer, this is a great time to go through it all and get rid of a few items.

For some reason I have collected a bunch of magazines.  Most of them I have never read.  Thankfully all but two subscriptions were free.  I am not sure if I will renew the two that I do pay for.  I have a few doctors appointments coming up, I may drop off a few while I am there.  Hopefully someone else will read them.

I have old music tapes that I no longer have a player for and some other electronic equipment that is broken.  Time to take the broken things to the recycle and the audio tapes will go in the yard sale.

I love spring cleaning.  I have so much more room and a few extra dollars in my pocket.  So, what about you.  Do you need to purge a few things from your life?  Get rid of some things off the to-do-list?  Leave your comments below.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vegetarian for Half a Day

While riding the train to Chicago the other day I read an article in Outside magazine about this guy who eats vegan before 6:00 pm and eats meat for dinner.  In the past I have been a vegetarian for short periods of time.  A few months ago I was again considering going back to that type of eating.  I just couldn't get myself away from the meat.  The funny thing is, I don't really like meat all that much.

The reason I was considering a vegetarian diet was that it would force me to eat more vegetables and less junk.  But that didn't really happen.  I still ate potato chips and french fries.  Then I decided ok, I will slowly work into eating more fruits and vegetables and less junk and candy.  Again, that didn't work out well.  I have to admit that I use food for comfort.  Increased stress in my life the last few weeks have weakened my resolve to eat foods that are nutritious.

After reading this article and a few others, I have decided that I really do need to eat better.  It will help me feel better and my training much easier.  But I have discovered that some things I can't ease out of.  I will need to quit cold turkey on things like a sweet after lunch and no fast food period.  Just cutting out those things will help me lose 10 pounds and I will feel much better.

I know that just cutting down on some of the junk and increasing the intensity on exercise has already increase my energy and gave me muscle that I have not had in years.  I am surprised at how much easier it is to lift heavy objects and how much I get done around the house. 

I don't know that I will actually adopt the eating schedule that VB6 recommends, but it has made me think more about what I am eating and when.  I am thinking about the type of food I eat before I go into automatic pilot and head to McDonald's.  For some it may just be the right thing to kick start you into eating a healthier diet.

VB6: Eating Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight


Monday, March 25, 2013

Community Supported Agriculture

Don't have time or room for a garden of any kind?  Well, now you can get fresh grown vegetables delivered to your home.  New companies have grown up in many communities that buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers and deliver them to customers.

The Green Bean is based out of Indiana, but now has satellite offices.  One now close to me in St. Louis Missouri.  The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a subscription based plan that you pay every month and a box of fresh produce is delivered to your home week or two.

Even though the Green Bean is a growing company, they still sell quality local produce.  Most CSA farmers aim to grow food without chemicals in a small area.   It is a great way to have organic food.

Not only are CSA's becoming more popular, but Farmer's Markets are also becoming very popular.  I know my parents love to go to the Farmer's Market even though they have a very large garden with more than enough food.

I am still planning to put in a small garden, but I am also going to check out the Farmer's Markets this year.  I usually don't take the time to do that, but this year I plan to do a lot that I don't normally do.  I live in the country and the Green Bean doesn't deliver or any other CSA in my neighborhood. 

Now there is less of an excuse to not have fresh fruits and vegetables on your table.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to get Health Insurance

For some reason this subject has come up a lot in my life these days.  It started with a couple of people making the statement that you had to have a good job in order to have health insurance.

Well, my niece had a good job and she still had to pay $600.00 a month and they didn't even cover an ultrasound.  Before my Dad retired he was saying that the labor union he belonged to cut some of the health benefits, but they had to pay more per month (that was over 10 years ago).  Now I hear this a lot.  Companies are no longer paying for top notch health care.  More and more the employees are paying more out of their pay check for mediocre health care benefits.

According the the article in the March 3rd edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this fall a new program will start.  State and Federal insurance exchange will open.  These exchanges are a key part of President Obama's healthcare plan. The Exchanges are counting healthy young adults to purchase the insurance to offset the cost of those who are not very healthy.  This plan may or may not work depending on if there are enough young healthy people out there to buy insurance.  The bottom line is, the cost is going to go up no matter what kind of health insurance you have.

My suggestion is to do your own research.  Is the insurance your employer is offering better and less expensive than buying your own.  Here are some tips to use:
  • Join a group plan.  For those who work for themselves, Freelancers Union, AIGA, and Building Trades Associations offer insurance.
  • Check with your Chamber of Commerce.  If you own a small business, some Chamber of Commerce offer group discounts on health insurance.
  • Put enough money into an emergency fund and opt for a higher deductible plan.
  • will give you choices of free or low-cost health coverage based on your situation and the state you live.  
  • has a downloadable health insurance guide.
Of course you have another option, get and/or stay healthy.  Some companies are offering incentive programs to help employees become and/or stay healthy.  They reimburse some or all of the gym membership fees.  They conduct classes to help you eat healthy and exercise without injury.   Being healthy may bring your cost down for health insurance, it will lessen your cost at the doctors office and at the pharmacy.

Let's face it, situations change, individual health changes, and cost of everything is going up.  Do what you need to do for you.  The old school thought that you get a job and have insurance is no longer a sure fire way to make sure you don't have high medical bills.