Friday, September 13, 2013

Calm, calm, calmer...

I am a pretty calm guy, especially under fire. I first realized it back when I competed in Judo and relaxing was an essential part of the game. Then, as a cardiologist, I learned to think and remain calm when all about me was going to hell. Many of my quietest conversations occurred as I conducted code 4 procedures during cases of cardiac arrest.

so, I felt calm today as I launched just downwind of the small craft advisory flag flying at the yacht club. As I entered the outer harbor confused waves, 1-2 feet in height came at me from the north and east. Up ahead, I could see spray and even green water coming in over the outer wall...and I felt even calmer. Approaching the south gap it became obvious that the lake was in high spirits. It begins to shallow up a bit there, so things can really pile up as one makes the turn to the south. The calmness increased, and out the gap I went.

As the 4-6 foot rollers came at my beam, I rose and flowed with the energy of the lake happy to be on the water, elated to be alive. I never braced. I did, occasionally. tap a wave just to say hello and connect to the water, but it wasn't necessary. I tried to surf but things were too close together. The nearly 18-footer just wouldn't stay on them. As I made the crossing to another opening in the breakwater, the calmness peaked as I drank in the sun glinting on the sea, the rise and fall of the water and the game of peak a boo I was playing with everything on shore. What could have been better?

And to think some folks find this scary.

Paddle safe...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Yes, but is it exercise?

I have had a long interest in exercise and its effect on health. I grew up in the school of aerobics where long, slow distance (LSD) was the way to go (I even had a sub 2.5 hour marathon in my 50's). We knew that this improved maximum oxygen consumption (MaxVo2), usually resulted in a leaner person and (maybe most importantly) reduced belly fat.

Our nation is now plagued with an epidemic of diabetes and young folks with the metabolic syndrome (fat, borderline fat levels and blood pressure and most of all....INSULIN RESISTANCE). This insulin resistance is what causes type II diabetes. Folks with this (often older and over weight) actually have high levels of insulin...but they are resistant to it. This, in turn, leads to atherosclerosis and heart attacks. So, we ask, how do we cure this? Run marathons? Paddle?

New research now shows that doing intense (really intense...maximum all out) exercise for 3 30 second repetitions 3 times a week will improve your insulin resistance in a matter of weeks. Amazing. What about your aerobic capacity?

It turns out that that is entirely determined by Mom and Dad; i.e., its genetics and you can get a test to see if you will respond greatly or not at all. Sorry, it's the cards you are dealt.

Meanwhile, keep paddling. It pays to be happy. One last thing: the most fatal thing you can do is sit and do nothing. Sitting around correlates with shortened lives along with high blood pressure and more than anything else.

Paddle safe...