Health and Fitness

Strokin’ it

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Swim with me…amidst the galaxies

Despite the rumors, I haven’t been AWOL. And I missed you too.

Some of you may have been checking this blog periodically to see if I have added a new post, especially you guys in Brazil. Well, I have posted recently, but not on this blog. You might check out my alternate blog now and then:

Many of you out there have busy work lives and barely have time to read any blog or much of anything else for that matter. Others are retired, like me, but still have busy lives. Others still…are not so busy. Whatever your situation I sincerely appreciate whenever you grace my blog with your eyes and interest.

I do a lot of computer chair squats, as I suspect do many of you: looking at mail, Facebook, working on photos, or my blog. But I do get up and active.

I also drive, as do you, on highways, over bridges, through tunnels. Some are kept in great shape but many are in desperate need of repair. Some are really dangerous.

Sometimes solutions are obvious…but we have to prime the pump with action:

Our country’s infrastructure needs rebuilding, badly. Our construction workforce needs jobs badly. Put union men to work at union wages. Great for safe bridges and tunnels, great for our economy. Yes, I’m Captain Obvious. You all know that. But there is no movement. We must be willing to invest. But we are a nation that responds only to tragedy after the fact, after disaster:

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The Brooklyn bridge, rated Structurally Obsolete

Also, we argue about health plans, Obamacare or whomever care. But it’s our physical bodies, our human infrastructure, that could use a tune up, a rebuilding, thereby taking a lot of the basic costs away from any healthcare plan. How ’bout this:

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Long Beach, the valley of the volley.

Why doesn’t our government subsidize sports equipment to encourage more active lifestyles? It seems to me that every dollar spent subsidizing sports gear would be returned doubly in reduced medical costs.

There are federal grants for school or community recreation centers to buy equipment but nothing to entice individuals to engage in sports.

What if gym memberships were subsidized? Or sports gear: bikes, surfboards, tennis, volley ball, ping pong, anything to catapult couch potatoes to healthier living. A surcharge on computer games, TVs and the like could help pay for it. But the returns on decreased health care costs would more than suffice, one would think.

It would greatly reduce, obesity, diabetes, even depression and the need for hospitalizations and medications that go along with these conditions. The financial and life-quality costs of inactivity to Americans and America are astronomical.

The average cost of one hospital overnight is $1,878. Check your state:

The last bike I bought cost about $500. What if there were an 80% subsidy to make the cost $100. Who would not buy a bike to least to try it out? That human investment should reduce hospitalizations and gain healthy returns, financial and physical. Why not at least try a pilot program, starting with bicycles? Its great exercise, fuel free transportation, free to park, environmentally friendly and…fun.

Biking is a low impact exercise that’s easy on joints, especially joints that have been around the block a few times, the kind of joints on Medicare and Medicaid.

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Long Beach boardwalk bikers peddling their masses off.

When I retired I began swimming laps; I wanted to develop a good retirement routine. I knew how to “swim” but not the artful way of letting the breath out under water and breath in from the side. So I learned. I’ve been swimming for decades now. But it’s all at my pace; and my pace doesn’t threaten to turn any water into steam, I’ll tell ya. I do a freestyle fun-stroke, slow and smooth. And it works.

Swimming is an easy-on-joints activity that burns fun calories for me, (that’s important), and at my 180 lbs, that’s 572 cal. per hour:

Here’s a calorie burning guide for all sports:

I swim about a half mile three times a week. I did suffer an unusual side effect.*

But swimming, biking the boardwalk, walking the beach and occasional gym training has kept me on the sunny side of the lawn.

Now, when I see practiced, school-trained swimmers make underwater turns and switch to a variety of strokes: breast, back, side, butterfly, I just admire them. They speed past me in their lane like offshore racers…while I just tug-boat along…my way…stroke after stroke.

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Easy strokin’ at the Long Beach rec.

It’s swimming that gives me the most mental and physical satisfaction. I can be present, without thought. I’m watching beneath me after each stroke…the swirl of bubble galaxies.

It is a repetitive, segmented exercise, as are most exercises. One rep, one stroke, one lap, one day. Much as our presence on this planet: stroke after stroke, a swim across a day, a swim across a year, a swim across…life.

Make the most of it, every day.

Be well,

as well as you can be,


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