Stayin’ alive

I had a milestone birthday recently and had a batch of routine medical checkups. The MDs and nurses all marveled at the results and said there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me, which is always nice to hear.

Most were a bit startled to learn I work out or run at least four times a week. Apparently most people don’t. That exercise keeps you healthy is incontrovertible, which is a major reason to do it. The other is you feel better afterward.

As part of the checkups, I got to have my first colonoscopy (imagine my excitement.) It turned out to be no big deal, and involves running a thin tube up your colon and having a peek. The amazing thing is, if they find any polyps or cancer, they can often remove it during the colonoscopy. This is preventative medicine at its best. (The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes and you go home an hour later.)

A good friend had a colonoscopy a while back. Red alert. They found major cancer and operated days later, saying three more weeks and he would have been a goner. With regular colonoscopies, colon cancer is quite preventable and treatable. Don’t avoid having one.


  1. You (very) old hippie, you…I too am of the exercise persuasion when I’m able. I was really exercise active way back in the mid eighties before I fell ill and it has been experimentation or down time ever since.

    Over that time, pursuing various regimes, it is fascinating how fad and fashion have changed — sometimes, but not always, in sync with new discoveries in physiology.

    Now exercise is ideologically ascribed in a way that it runs a sort of political spectrum over issues of gender and political alignment.

    Take CrossFit for example — there’s a fascinating elite fitness core to that which is embraced by US military personnel and coppers. Nonetheless, women are as aggressively engaged with its strict regimes as men. (and perform wondrous deeds).

    And like CrossFit – anti gym “Underground Strength Training” — relies on generating communities of adherents but ones who use found tools rather than expensive devices or gym subs — but which seems to require you to work out to the sound of Heavy Metal music

    However, whats’ really interesting for me as a Marxist is the move away from reductionist training — a la Schwarzenegger ‘pumping iron’ style — to holistic regimes that aren’t simply reliant on viewing the body as a pulley or machine mechanism divided into so many separate muscle groups.

    Its ironic that the buzz joggers used to get when running — sponsoring a sort of Zen of Jogging outlook — was simply released endorphin highs that made the activity addictive.

    Nonetheless, I think the soft exercise approach — walking and Tai Chi, stretching and yoga — is being displaced by a much more aggressive regimes which tell us a lot more about what sort of creatures we have evolved into.

    In that regard kettlebells — a Soviet invention — tells us a lot about where exercise is at today. This is most strange as all these are are redesigned hand weights which displace a lot of the logic of the standard gym training circuit.

    So in a way there has been a revolution in exercise theory as exercise has become so mainstream and popular. And the choices are massive — as exercise is such a huge industry.

    Late night TV with all its infotainments about machines for the abs or butt are reflective of a massive desire to do more than we do in way of activity each day –but usually it comes with a price tag.

    But hey! Bob is approaching the most exciting exercise platform of them all — “aged exercise” — and we are of a generation that is sure to blow a lot of the assumption about exercise and the aged out of the water — esp in regard to strength training..

    • Dunno about that alleged endorphin rush, every time I completed a marathon I was way too tired to enjoy it or even know it happened. 🙂

      I like to run and to mix up the weights, never doing the same machines two workouts in a row.

      It’s only city folks who need this, farmers and ranchers generally stay in great shape without pumping iron. I know some family farmers in Vermont who in their 60’s have biceps many gym rats would envy.

      The militarization of working out, yes, it definitely has happened. Good point.

  2. I have tried to keep fit all my life, as a young man I was boxing, then on to hill walking and cycling, evolved into gym training and then back to cycling. Cycling became the main activity and well into my sixties I would cycle around 80 miles a trip. 5 years ago I was told I had bowel cancer and went through six weeks of chemo and radio therapy, However two hours before the operation I took pains in my chest and the operation was cancelled. I was told I was a lucky guy as my heart wouldn’t have taken the strain of the operation. One week later I was in having a quadruple bypass, 8 weeks later in again for the bowel operation. Now 75 and I can still manage to cycle 80 miles a trip, so I would say that exercise is an essential part of living and always pays remendous dividends, of course diet is also linked to a healthy body.

    • Yow. That’s a lot of operations and chemo. Glad you’re still here.

      Not only is exercising important, I get antsy if I miss a few days in a row. My body needs it. Must be that endorphin rush.

  3. I recently had my cardiologist increase the max setting of my pacemaker to 160– close to my target heart rate. He acknowledged that for most of his patients, hitting that high a heart rate is not an issue, hence the max used to be somewhat lower. But it’s hard to keep active on the ranch if the heart’s not accelerating!

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