We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, April 6. 2020
What is the purpose of all of these virus recommendations? The masks, the distancing, the stay-at-home, the hospital and nursing home rules?
The purpose is to lower the curve. Not to reduce cases of those made very ill, but to flatten the burden to make medical care more manageable over time: longer, but less intense at the moment.
This particular covid is sneaky - almost always mild-to-nothing, but sometimes lethal for the frail or unlucky. The unlucky part is what makes it scarey. There is no effective protection, in my view, because viruses go viral. Their RNA is their reason for existing.
Sunday, April 5. 2020
Most fitness buffs do not have barbells and racks in their garage or barn, much less a fancy home gym. Still, most have bands, hand weights, some dumbells, maybe a kettlebell or two. TRX straps are versatile and take up no space.
Without barbells, it will be difficult to build strength while away from your gym with their heavy weights, so many of us are stuck doing our weights routines in suboptimal fashion. For example, doing floor bench presses with 10 or 15 lb. hand weights cannot compare with barbell bench presses.
The same applies to dumbell deadlifts.
(Generally-speaking, low reps refers to exertions you can only manage to repeat around 6 times, medium reps refers to exertions you can only manage to repeat 6-15 times, and high reps are over 15 times. High-rep exertions, even to failure, do not build strength but build muscle endurance. Low rep exertions build strength but not endurance.)
It's all explained clearly in this post.
The point I want to make is that, without access to a good supply of varied serious weights, April might have to be a month of endurance weight training instead of strength-building. Why not? It is better than nothing.
That would entail, for example with lower body, squats with dumbells/hand weights X 20 per set, or dumbell deadlifts X 20, or 20 floor bench presses per set instead of 5-10. These sorts of things will slow the strength loss that occurs after 10 days without heavy weight stress.
Your calisthenics days and cardio days are easy at home or outdoors, so no need to discuss that.
All of the experts, including Dr. Fauci - are bullshitting (pardon my annoyance). Not this guy, because he admits what is unknown. What is known is that this virus can be lethal and it can be completely harmless, and anything inbetween. We know who are most likely to become seriously ill, but what is completely unknown is how often it creates serious illness. Via Powerline, which says:
Here it is:
Saturday, April 4. 2020
We do not know the virus death rates. I'll say it again.
We do not know death rates because we do not know infection rates in the US. We would have to do a mass involuntary screening of people on the street to know that. That will not happen. The only numbers we have is positive tests (on people already symptomatic and seeking tests) and deaths.
We do know death numbers (not accurately, because if you had terminal cancer but a corona pneumonia was the final thing, you're a corona death).
One easy piece of information might be interesting, though: number of deaths in, say, Boston for the week beginning April 4 in 2019, and the numbers for the same week in 2020.
Friday, April 3. 2020
Monday, March 30. 2020
Sunday, March 29. 2020
This fellow makes it clear.
Saturday, March 28. 2020
Friday, March 27. 2020
Wednesday, March 25. 2020
For what it's worth, I found this useful. There are several typos and some sentences don't make sense, but I suspect English may have been the second language for the author. You'll get the ideas, which are accurate and helpful.
This is from an Asst. Prof in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. In our community chat, here, they sent this excellent summary to avoid contagion. I share it with you because it is very clear:
The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.
Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.
The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin
outer layer of fat. That is why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam CUTS the FAT (that is why you have to rub so much: for 20 seconds or more, to make a lot of foam). By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.
HEAT melts fat; this is why it is so good to use water above 25 degrees Celsius for washing hands, clothes and everything. In addition, hot water makes more foam and that makes it even more useful.
Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.
Any mix with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the
protein, breaks it down from the inside.
Oxygenated water helps long after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein, but you have to use it pure and it hurts your skin.
NO BACTERICIDE SERVES. The virus is not a living organism like bacteria; they cannot kill what is not alive with anthobiotics, but quickly disintegrate its structure with everything said.
NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or cloth. While it is glued to a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only between 3 hours (fabric and porous), 4 hours (copper, because it is naturally antiseptic; and wood, because it removes all the moisture and does not let it peel off and disintegrates). ), 24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic). But if you shake it or use a feather duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose.
The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars. They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster.
UV LIGHT on any object that may contain it breaks down the virus protein. For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin, eventually causing wrinkles and skin cancer. [DB added this link regarding UVC light: https://www.insider.com/does-uv-light-kill-germs]
The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.
Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.
NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol, and you need 65%.
LISTERINE IF IT SERVES! It is 65% alcohol.
The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.
This is super said, but you have to wash your hands before and after touching mucosa, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. And when using the bathroom.
You have to HUMIDIFY HANDS DRY from so much washing them, because the molecules can hide in the micro cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better. * Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.
Sunday, March 22. 2020
Some preliminary numbers are being put together, but time will tell.
1. Powerline reports on a numbers-cruncher: A DATA-DRIVEN LOOK AT THE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS
2. More details on the above here: COVID-19 - Evidence Over Hysteria
3. The median incubation period is 5 days. So without symptoms after a close exposure for a week or so, you likely aren't infected.
4. In the US you can see numbers of cases (+ tests) rising rapidly. That doesn't mean the numbers of cases are increasing that rapidly. It means more people are getting tested.
5. This germ does not appear to be spread as easily as feared, but I were elderly (80+), frail, overweight, or with significant pre-existing ailments, I would self-quarantine for a while. Not sure what "a while" means, yet.
6. What Does Having Coronavirus Feel Like? Here’s What Survivors, Patients Say
7. My expert medical friends tell me we'll have a good idea of when the infection rate will plateau or begin its downturn in the next 5-10 days. Can't go by "cases," though.
Addendum: For those who chose to be quarantined at home, we recommend several activities: Sex, home workouts, taking hikes or runs outdoors, reading Maggie's, doing one or two of The Great Courses, getting some outdoor clean-up done, doing an hour of paperwork, cleaning some closets and getting rid of junk, and having civilized cocktail hours. All sorts of ways to make the most of it. Churches are live-streamed now, so that too.
Friday, March 20. 2020
Thursday, March 19. 2020
Many of the toughest calisthenics need no equipment. Why Mountain Climbers? It is a total-body exertion.
They recommend 5 sets of 90 for beginners. (I assume that is counting 1,1, 2,2,...) Never underestimate challenging calisthenics. The US Army transforms bodies with daily calisthenics.
Wednesday, March 18. 2020
From the sober and judicious Dr. John Ioannidis: As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data
Monday, March 16. 2020
The Coronavirus Fatality Rate Reported by the Media Is COMPLETELY INACCURATE. The Actual Rate Is LESS THAN THE FLU
Europe seems to have a special problem with this. I do not know why. Blame their government public health and government medical care, or just bad luck? I go for the latter. Disease humbles humanity and always has.
Some large gyms and yoga studios are closing for the duration, but that's no excuse not to continue a daily workout program. There are tons of yoga workouts online too. Home workouts won't be as good, probably, but at best it might help to minimize backsliding.
Most people do not have home gyms full of barbells, dumbells, kettlebells, treadmills and stair machines. I feel home gyms are silly anyway because they lack the spirit that comes from being surrounded by hard-working people who are often in much better shape than onself.
Remember, 5-7 days without your exercise routine can set you back quite a bit. Sad, isn't it?
Some simple ideas for home fitness maintenance, just an hour/day, plus small meals for your immunity (heavy eating is a health stressor):
- Do your cardio outdoors on a track (not a road, please). 30-60-second sprints, and jog recoveries.
- Sets of pushups and pullups
- Jumping jacks
Here's a good beginner calisthenic routine:
Sunday, March 15. 2020
Exposure can be tested, whether ill or not. However, very few people will be tested for exposure if they feel fine or have the sniffles, and it would be absurd (except for a limited study of the general population) to randomly test people. I'd be interested in those results but it's academic.
One epidemiologist said yesterday that the majority of people in the NYC metro area (NY, NJ, CT) and in MA have been exposed. A guess, though. Exposed but not ill is good. You get herd immunity. It is happening now, for sure. Probably in CA too. Most viral spread is probably by people without symptoms who assume they are clear.
My point is that, without a number for people exposed and unexposed within a given general population, you have no denominators. If the only data you have is dead people (not many thus far) divided by sick people getting tested, you have minimally-useful information from a public health standpoint. From a doctor's standpoint, it's useful to know risk of sick to dead even though there is no treatment, other than supportive, for viral pneumonia.
So what is a "death rate" based on in the absence of relevant data, ie deaths/exposed? So the danger of this virus, right now, can not be determined or even estimated. That might be knowable in a few months.
I am not an ID doc, so I'll just tell you what I am doing. I am hoarding nothing. I am taking walks or hikes daily in the sunshine. I wash my hands, but I always did. I am going to the gym and working out (improves immune response). I am not going to church (because it's closed at the moment.) Small meals are my normal anyway (improves immune response and generally healthier).
If you've been exposed (probably) and feel entirely well, you are still infectious but if you aren't coughing or sneezing, it's sort-of ok.
We'll all be fine, unless frail, with preexisting serious ailments, or elderly. Those things apply also to the ordinary seasonal flu. However, there is really no way to insulate them because staff help, family help, etc. can be exposed but without any symptoms. There have been a few cases of otherwise healthy people becoming ill enough to need hospital care, but not many.
Please correct my thinking if I am in error.
This makes sense to me: Coronavirus going to hit its peak and start falling sooner than you think.
As we have said before, the goal is to try to flatten the exposure curve (speed of exposure), not to prevent exposure because that really cannot be done unless you isolate on an island somewhere for 6 months.
Addendum: Flattening the curve of an infection slows the rate of exposure. But how is a "case" defined?
Friday, March 13. 2020
The real purpose of precautions is to change the shape of the epidemic curve from a steep up and down to a slower, gradual up and down. That helps with demands on medical care, but does not reduce exposure, or the numbers of people exposed. Viral epidemics can not be stopped, just slowed. Flattening the curve is the purpose of public health.
Thus far, the Covid-19 has not been very dangerous compared with the ordinary flu for those under 70. We'll know in the next two or three weeks as the curve peaks, and begins to decline in the US.
Wednesday, March 11. 2020
For example, people who do strength training daily commonly eat everything in sight whether they want it or not, and try to gain weight, both fat and muscle. For those interested in general fitness, though, not so much.
NYT (sorry): How exercise can affect our food choices and our weight.
Tuesday, March 3. 2020
Doctors like to put numbers on things, including things like your body composition. Your body composition matters for dozens of things, from diabetes and heart disease to arthritis, to general fitness of course.
Calculated BMI is a poor measure for many reasons. As mentioned yesterday, caliper measures are quite accurate. It only takes a minute, and is often done by the nurse with general physical exams. Here's how to measure your body fat correctly.
You might be pleased or you might be appalled.
Sunday, March 1. 2020
Viruses are strange, parasitic things, hardly living things in the ordinary sense.
How Coronaviruses Cause Infection—from Colds to Deadly Pneumonia. The novel coronavirus outbreak raises questions about how such pathogens evolve and what makes infections mild or severe.
Saturday, February 29. 2020
(We've discussed high-rep vs low-rep weight exercises in the past here, but the bottom line seems to be high-rep (10-20), lower weight for small muscle groups (eg calves, arms, etc) and high weight, lower reps (less than 10) for powerlifts.) That might be an overgeneralization, but no high reps with powerlifts, please.
For strength, it's good to stick with the burn until the muscles involved can no longer do the work regardless of the pain. All the burn means is that a muscle or group of muscles are forced to function in anaerobic phase, with a buildup of lactic acid. It's harmless.
Our readers know that the goal in strength training is to achieve a level of controlled muscle damage - microtears in the the involved muscles. The repair and recovery from those microtears is what builds muscle function. The burn doesn't mean that you are doing that. DOMS (explained in the link) means that you might have. Longer-lasting pain means you are probably doing something wrong.
Building fitness is not for sissies.
Thursday, February 27. 2020
A cup of coffee with some sugar for instant energy is all that is needed for weights and calisthenics assuming your daily nutrition is correct for your weight and fitness goals.
Whether that's good advice for a session of HIIT is debatable: Should You Be Working Out on an Empty Stomach? What you need to know about cardio in the age of intermittent fasting.
For morning exercisers, a banana before HIIT will not be much help because it takes a while for fruit sugars and carbs to be digested and available. Hours. The banana will just sit in your stomach. Sugar, on the other hand, is quickly available.
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