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
Thursday, September 17. 2020
Friday, September 11. 2020
Young women tend to have little problem with sexual delights as long as their partner is not a dud or a selfish jerk.
Middle-aged women (40-65) tend to be more readily orgasmic. It is hormonal, in part. Women in good health remain capable of sexual delight and orgasm until death, but the climaxes are not the same. Still satisfying, but not the screaming or moaning ones of a 35 year-old.
Healthy men over 60 tend to have a decline in sex drive and performance, but not in sexual/romantic interest. It's complicated. It is age, hormonal issues, and other things. Men are, biologically, more excited by fertile females of course, but bonding with the wife is important. She's right there, and willing. With age (say, over 70 or 75) things are not what they were at 40 but men are still capable of, and needful of, romantic and sexual pleasure.
It is a component of life happiness.
Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond. If sustaining intimacy is becoming more difficult, there are many approaches that can help.
Tuesday, September 8. 2020
Why Women Lose Interest in Sex. Loss of sexual desire is women's biggest sexual problem, and it's not all in their heads.
Sex drive, which doctors prefer to term "libido," refers to a biological urge to mate, or to find sexual stimulation or release in non-relational ways.
Sex drive, if not sexual interest, declines with age in men and women but I joke that a "dirty old man" is just an ordinary young man trapped in an older body and that there is no comparable term for women.
I do not consider it to be a "disorder" when some post-menopausal women lose their youthful needs and desires because it is all variance of normal based on hormonal changes, relational issues, physical issues, fitness issues, etc etc.
My ideal, though, is for women and men to maintain a fun sex life of some sort for a lifetime.
PS: When in med school one time they showed us a video of elder porn. It was a couple in their 80s having fun with eachother and laughing in bed. It was eye-opening to us kids. A good thing.
Friday, September 4. 2020
APA Cites Psychologist Asserting: ‘Every Institution In America Is Born From The Blood Of White Supremacist Ideology And Capitalism—And That’s The Disease’
What are they trying to say?
Not with psychotherapy, not with meds, but with a determination to overcome his weaknesses: How to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build a Strong, Resilient Mindset
Sunday, August 23. 2020
To lose body fat, low carbs is the way to go. But the age-old notion that eating fats and oils makes people fat is nonsense.
Believe it or not, there is a thing called "Rabbit Starvation." You can starve to death on a diet of rabbit meat.
Best nutritional summary I've been able to come up with, applying to most active, exercising people: To lose body fat, low carbs. To gain muscle mass (heavy weights often, ie 4 hrs/wk): lots of all foods 5 times daily. To gain general Fitness for Life (with 2 days of cardio, 2 days of calis, and 2 days of heavy): 5 small meals/day - 2 of them being snacks like yoghurt and nuts, or half a sandwich), with plenty of protein. If too scrawny, hit the weights for 6 months and eat all you can. Nothing wrong with a Big Mac and Fries with a beer if that's your goal. Nutrition has to be in sync with your goals.
Wednesday, August 19. 2020
It's high-school physics applied to the body: Levers are classified according to the relative placement of the fulcrum, the resistance and the force.
Any form of exercise can be made more interesting by thinking about the sort of lever action applied in single-joint exercises (like bicep curls or calf raises) or the multiple lever actions applied in complex, multi-joint movements like squats or running.
If you are fortunate enough to use the services of a professional trainer, that trainer will not be focusing on your muscles. He or she will focus on the mechanics of your movement(s) - proper lever use - to make your motion or activity as safe and effective as possible. That's why a trainer will make frequent corrections to your technique: Palms out (or in), wider stance (or narrower), head up (or down), chest up (or down) etc.
Even if you are not a fitness person, everybody knows that there is a right and wrong way to pick up something heavy, or to get out of a chair. It's all leverage.
Tuesday, August 18. 2020
An excellent long read by Norman Doidge MD: Hydroxychloroquine: A Morality Tale. A startling investigation into how a cheap, well-known drug became a political football in the midst of a pandemic
Trump's suggestion that it might be helpful, and the fact that he takes it, discredited it. There are many physicians who take it, even without complete proof that it is helpful. They take it with zinc.
Friday, August 14. 2020
Trials Seek to Answer if Vitamin D Could Help in COVID-19. In clinical studies worldwide, researchers are testing the possibility that supplements of the vitamin could prevent or decrease the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Excess Vit D is not good for you. I like to get mine from the sunshine.
In line with the Maggie's fitness program, I only swim twice weekly now, with HIIT laps as my pure cardio days. One sprint per 2 laps. Weights and calisthenics on other days.
Thursday, August 6. 2020
Not just for COVID times. My advice for a functional life, for as long as one is given by God or nature, is to workout 5-6 days/week, stay fit and trim (the latter being mainly nutritional). Don't abuse substances. Have a good sex life and social life. Do things, and take on new challenges whether mental or physical.
I will never advise anyone about what to eat. Westerners are over-nutritioned. If overweight, eat less (especially carbs) and, if underweight, eat a bit more of everything. Simple. If you lift heavy, get some extra protein because it won't hurt.
Get a physical exam, mammogram, PSA, and cardio stress test, however often your doctor suggests. The Maggie's Fitness for Life exercise regime requires more structure and discipline than very many are willing to do, but we recommend it anyway - 2 days of HIIT cardio, 2 days of calisthenics, and 2 days of heavy weights. It will not extend your life, but could make it more functional and lively.
If you hit 80-90 years old, do whatever you want. You made it to the finish line.
Tuesday, August 4. 2020
This Coronavirus Is Never Going Away. No matter what happens now, the virus will continue to circulate around the world.
Even vaccines will never get rid of a virus, or almost never. We have to live with these things. Viruses go viral, regardless of what humans do.
Monday, August 3. 2020
Friday, July 31. 2020
Sexual issues, financial issues, disagreements, emotional issues and frailties, etc etc all beset the basically unnatural notion of lifetime monogamous bonding. In Western cultures, committment is important cement, but how often is it, really?
Good friendships can easily last a lifetime, thank God. That's partly because you do not live with them and have to deal with their flaws every day. Friendships are essential in life, I believe. No one partner can meet all of our relational wants, supports, comraderie, and enjoyments.
A relationship study: A landmark study shows what makes a successful relationship
Wednesday, July 29. 2020
Theophrastus (370-285 BC), a student of Aristotle and a botanist among other things, made a list of the types which have been used in drama ever since. They are of course one-dimensional character types (we could term them stereotypes) but I think we all use phrases similar to those to describe people: The Flatterer and the Chatterer
The Maggie's Fitness for Life program includes both. Still, we tend to agree that calisthenics classes offer more bang for the buck (or for the time.)
The logic is that 50 minutes of intense calis (with maybe only 6-10-second breaks between routines) is a good heart stressor while also working on athleticism, balance, flexibility, light-weight endurance muscle work, and body-weight exercises. In addition, most calisthenics classes include specific HIIT routines like rowing sprints. Obviously, each person works at his or her own level.
Some thoughts about it here.
If you take three tough calisthenics classes weekly, do you need to do your own HIIT cardio? Maybe not, because calisthenics classes that keep your heart rate up are stressful cardio. It depends on how intensely you want to condition, and on how ambitious you are. What sorts of circuits do typical calisthenics classes include? Rowing sprints, kettlebell swings, pushups, jumping jacks, jump rope, heavy ropes, body weight squats, heavy ball throws, sandbag slams, floor and core work like planks and crunches, hand weights, stretches, etc etc. Fun stuff, never boring because the routines are only 30-60 seconds each.
We do like the idea of one "long, slow" cardio hour, like swimming, jogging, high-incline walking, stair machine, etc as a recovery day from a week's exertions with heavy weights and calisthenics. There is evidence that "active recovery" like that makes for more effective physical recovery than doing nothing. A 4-5-hour hill hike is a perfect recovery activity from demanding workouts.
With calisthenics, the less spare fat you carry, the better you will do and the more quickly you will move. To shed spare fat, cut the food volume and get rid of those carbs. (Our readers know what carbs are: fruit, juices, grains and grain products, beer, root vegetables, anything with sugar, etc.)
Wednesday, July 22. 2020
Furthermore, many patients do not like to take medicine. You can't force them to, under ordinary conditions.
The other category of severe mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, is thankfully readily medically and psychotherapeutically managed now in people who are willing to follow a treatment program.
Monday, July 20. 2020
Thursday, July 2. 2020
Friday, June 26. 2020
Thursday, June 25. 2020
Thursday, June 11. 2020
Wednesday, June 10. 2020
We've written about this topic in the past, but it's worth reviewing the misconceptions about cardio fitness and cardio exercise. (Remember, in our view, "cardio" should be only 1/3 of your exercise program beacuse it does little for muscle and bone strength, and little for athleticism.)
Any exercise, from walking to weight-lifting, makes more demand on heart function than sitting or lying down. So cardio exercise has a spectrum from very light to maximum intensity. Simply put, the core purpose of "cardio" exercise is to maintain or upgrade heart function (cardiac condition is measured by things like a Cardiac Stress Test with Echo, Stroke Volume, Cardiac Output, cardiac vasculature, and left ventricle size to some extent). Like weight-lifting for skeletal muscle, it requires stress, relative to your conditioning and medical condition.
With lighter stresses (eg non-sprint, endurance-oriented swimming laps, jogging, rowing, stair machine, elliptical, etc) we are putting our hearts to some use, but we are working more on general time endurance than cardio. (Lots of people do those things thinking that they involve fat-burning, but don't count on that to work if you do 1 hour/day.) For people who are not training for specific goals, building endurance is great for life. Nobody wants to slow down or feel tired during ordinary recreational activities like sports or hiking. These non-sprint exercises aim for around 70% of one's max heart rate to make it worth your precious time.
The higher the physical demand - the intensity of an exertion for your level of fitness - the more you are training your heart rather than just using it. The highest levels of exertion (say, with sets of deadlifts near 80% of your max, or with 30-second sprints) are anaerobic and can push your heart rate to 90% of your max. That heart-pounding rest time or slow time is to catch up on oxygen.
For endurance, an hour of lap swimming, cycling, jogging, elliptical, stair machine, ski machine, rower, etc at around 70% of your max heart rate is where you ought to be, if in decent health. Over time, you will need to raise the speed to get to those heart rates. These exercises do nothing much to build muscle or bone strength.
For maximum cardiac fitness (with bonus endurance benefits as well), mixing in sprints which get your HR to 80-90% of your max should be included. Bursts of intensity. In the Maggie's Fitness for Life program, the other good sources of intense cardiac stress are the powerlifts and calisthenics. Ideally, some of all of those because there is more to fitness than cardiac fitness. Fitness is a package deal.
An interesting detail is that to up your game in any area of exertion, it's always a good idea to do what you do not usually do. Explosive linebackers get better with distance running, distance runners get better with weights and sprints, heavy lifters get better with calisthenics. Balance.
Tuesday, June 9. 2020
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