Tag Archives: Urban Survival Skills for Men

Why walk 5 miles a day, every day?

When it comes to walking, it’s all good.

In case you hadn’t heard, there is a health and fitness trend that says walking 10,000 paces a day is good for your body, mind, and soul.  For me, ten-thousand paces equates to about 5 miles on level ground, and will usually take me the best part of two hours to accomplish.  Which begs the question; is it really worth my while to devote two hours a day, every day, just walking to somewhere, or even to nowhere and back again?

Well, actually, yes it is, and these are the reasons why.

Let’s start with something scientific and anatomical ~ blood flow in the legs.  The circulation in our feet and legs only works because we use our calf muscles, and because of non-return valves in the veins.  If we sit still, we have bugger-all blood flow in our feet and legs ~ which is why there’s a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis during long flights.  If you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, you are in danger of developing poor circulation, which is nasty.

So if you want to have healthy circulation, one of the things you can do is just get out of your chair, and walk.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.  ~  Ellen DeGeneres

Walking more, whether it’s to go somewhere, or for leisure, or part of your health and fitness programme is an easy way to be more active without all that unpleasant sweating, huffing, and puffing that comes with some other forms of exercise.   A brisk walk is classed as moderate-intensity activity, and does count towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.  Walking is a form of exercise that’s easy to fit into your daily routine, for example instead of taking the elevator up a couple of floors, take the stairs.

If you’re not used to taking much exercise, then don’t start off by trying to walk 5 miles.  The Mayo Clinic recommends that you add 1,000 steps a week to your baseline average.  This means you are going to need a pedometer, and the first thing you should do is measure how many steps you take in an average day.  Very Well says that if you are an average American you will most likely be walking 5,000 steps in an entire day, (HA! I don’t believe a word of that, I’m certain the average Californian walks about 2,500 steps a day.)

The respected Mayo Clinic is very keen on walking as a form of exercise and even has a 12-week walking schedule based on work done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The benefits of walking include improving your blood pressure, energy, happiness, mental health, skin tone, sleep, stamina, strength, stress levels ~ as well as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, joint problems, obesity, a stroke, and nasty diseases in general.  On top of that you are going to look and feel a hell of a lot better.  The key to walking for health and fitness is to build walking into your daily schedule.

These days I am keen on meditation and mindfulness, but I find it difficult to meditate in the traditional fashion.  So, I meditate during yoga, and I also practice a form of walking meditation.  I have never been taught, nor led through yoga meditation or walking meditation, these are mindfulness practices which just came naturally to me.

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.  ~  Friedrich Nietzsche

All of us should also do some strength exercises, at least twice a week, particularly as we get older.  Personally I like to do some yoga, but I also add an isometric workout into my daily walk.   This two-for the price of one routine means that I make the most use of the couple of hours I spend in the fresh air and sunshine, (we sometimes get sunshine in England).

You don’t have to believe me that walking 10,000 steps a day is a good idea.  Just google 10,000 steps and you will come across loads of articles by people such as the well-respected Dr Mercola who say that walking 10,000 steps a day is a basic requirement for good health and fitness.

In life a couple of things now scare me; having a stroke and developing dementia.  If I can improve my chances of avoiding these life-destroying conditions, then a couple of hours walking every day seems a small price to pay.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get yourself free

~

you reach the end of day

just wishing you could fly away

from people, places and possessions

but as happens with all commitments

you can find yourself caught in such a trap

you get so used to it you can’t find your way back

just assert yourself and hope they won’t all desert you

you know when you are not yourself every day just hurts

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Don’t Eat Meat

Take Good Care Of Yourself.

It turns out that the urban myth of red meat being bad for you is true after all.  Which is sad, because I do enjoy a good steak.

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.  ~  Julia Child

Eating a lot of steak, or roast beef, or burgers, or lamb, or pork increases your chances of dying from 9 major diseases by 26%, according to the National Cancer Institute in Maryland.  Red meat raises the risk of death from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, a stroke, various infections, and kidney, liver, and lung diseases.  (You can die from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.)

Processed red meat such as corned beef is even worse for you, as is eating offal, liver, kidneys, pate…

There is a lot of ‘bad’ stuff in red meat, including cholesterol, (although there is a lot of ‘bad’ cholesterol in other popular foods such as macaroni and cheese). As well as the fat in red meat having too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, (Low Density Lipoprotein), red meat also contains a lot of heme iron, and too much of that is very bad for you as well.  Too much heme iron increases your chances of dying from cancer, a stroke, liver failure, or heart disease.

At the moment I am taking a daily iron supplement, because I was diagnosed with a low red blood cell count, (anemia), but when my blood count returns to normal I will stop taking iron supplements. Too much heme iron can result in haemochromatosis, which is a particularly nasty illness causing things like fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

Luckily, regularly eating white meat, (chicken breast), and oily fish may reverse the damage caused by eating steaks.  Just don’t eat the chicken skin, or processed white meat, or processed fish.  In fact don’t ever eat processed meat or canned meat ~ canned food is generally very bad for your health.

We are what we eat.  Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.  ~  Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

It is a scientifically proven fact that our food choices affect our health.  I know that if my diet is bad ~ if I drink too much booze, have too much sugar, eat processed foods, eat out, eat ready-meals, eat too much fatty meat, then I feel bloated, lacking in energy, and I gain weight.  It is also a scientifically proven fact that an unhealthy diet will significantly shorten my life.

Health is the natural condition.  When sickness occurs, it is a sign that nature has gone off course because of a physical or mental imbalance.  The road to health for everyone is through moderation, harmony, and a ‘sound mind in a sound body’.  ~  Jostein Gaarder

Like everything else in life, our diet should be moderation in all things.  When it comes to my diet, I have tried various fads, including eating only one meal a day, being vegan, and never eating carbohydrates.  Now I believe that a mixture of the Paleo Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet is right for me.

Some things I try not to eat include wheat, (bread, pasta, cookies), and some other grains, (white rice), processed food, canned food, and dairy products.

I need to eat more oily fish, such as salmon.  Looks like I also need to cut down on steak too.  Shame, especially as I like my steak well-done, and that is really bad for my health…

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Senior Adventures

There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire inside.

As we grow older, we are justified in taking far more risks, embarking on far more adventures, pursuing far more dangerous dreams, than is someone in their more youthful years.

It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.  ~  Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I read an article in my news feed about a 101 years old great-grandfather who has just taken up skydiving.  You may think that sounds crazy, but what has Verdun Hayes got to lose?  The veteran of D Day has already lived a long life, and if he kills himself doing something dangerous, by how may days, months, or years has he cut his life short?  Not that many I’d bet.

Contrast this with a man in his twenties, who has just started a family ~ just the kind of man we would expect to go skydiving.  If he kills himself, not only has he cut his life short by maybe 50 years, he’s also orphaned his children and widowed his wife.  Maybe that young father should be careful, risk averse, not very adventurous.

I would argue that as we grow older we have much less to lose than we had when we were young, so why not gamble more, take more risks, become more adventurous in our senior years?

A twenty-three years long study in Ohio determined that people who saw growing older as something positive lived a whopping seven and a half years longer than those who didn’t.  ~  Victoria Moran

Later this year I’m flying out to California, picking up a Mustang convertible, meeting up with ‘the girl who rides shotgun’, then driving across California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Monday August 21st.  I think that’s a pretty crazy adventure, but what have I got to lose?  Not a lot.

Taking risks with your wealth, health, and happiness, (not to mention taking risks with your life), is not really for the young.  As we grow older we can afford to gamble more because we have much less to lose.

Don’t waste your life by working another 10 years slaving away in that 40 hours a week job.  Have fun instead, add adventure to your senior years, you have nothing to lose except your unhappiness.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Everybody Hurts Sometimes

Every now and then even a strong man cries.

~

May I walk happily, and may it be beautiful before me.

May it be beautiful behind me, happy and and beautiful below.

May it be beautiful above me and may beauty be all around my heart.

In beauty I cry and wonder,  and in beauty there is both my sadness and joy.

Navajo Prayer.

~

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

carpe diem

~

This day only is ours,

we are dead to yesterday,

and we are not yet born to the morrow.

But, if we look abroad and bring into one day’s

thoughts the evil of many, certain and uncertain,

what will be and what will never be, our load will be

as intolerable as it is unreasonable.

Jeremy Taylor

theologian, 1613 -1667

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

content and happiness

No matter where you go, you take yourself with you.

The foundation of content must spring up in a man’s own mind; and he who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing everything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless effort, and multiply the griefs which he proposes to remove.

Samuel Johnson 1709 – 1784

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

neither dead nor really alive

Death is not the greatest loss in Life.

Watching my Dad dying in a nursing home bed made me realise something today.  That modern death is seldom like a light switch.  My Dad wasn’t the vital, elderly gentleman he was just a week ago, and then suddenly dead.  For my Dad death is coming slowly.  He is dying one little piece at a time.

The part of his mind that remains must know this, and I believe that is why he is sometimes very distressed.  He keeps calling to my late mother and his dead sister, (my late aunt), and I have never heard him do that before.

I don’t believe that he is in much physical pain, because the doctors haven’t yet given him morphine.  However, physically, mentally, and spiritually my Dad is suffering greatly.  He has no dignity at all.

A part of me hopes it will be over soon, and that feeling of wanting my father to pass on quickly gives me much pause for thought.  I’m not certain if wanting my father to die swiftly and with dignity makes me evil, or caring.

I have no answers or wider lessons to impart on the modern process of dying.

However, I have learned something important about how to live.

Live life to the full, make your decisions and stick by them, never compromise, and never settle for second best or the easy option.

Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.  ~  Norman Cousins

Some said that I was a very all-or-nothing guy before, and that I would not live in shades of grey.  All I know is that those people ain’t seen nothing yet.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

death changes everything

From Brutality Beauty May Arise.

It’s strange for me to realise that deception, deceit, and dishonesty have been swept from what remains of my life.  It happened in an heartbeat.

Yesterday I visited my dying father in his nursing home.  I have never seen the face of a living person look so horrific.  All I can compare him to are the bare survivors of a Nazi Death Camp.  There was nothing nice, caring, or spiritual about the instant experience.  There was the bare husk of a man in an hospital bed, and nothing passed between us.  I don’t even know if he was aware of my existence.

I tried to read from the poetry of Rudyard Kipling, just to let him hear my voice.  I am uncertain if I am proud or ashamed that I was too choked to read more than a verse or two.

What happened to me?  A lifetime was swept away.  All the compromises, illusions, disillusionments, self-deceptions, and self-loathing were picked up and turned to a fine dust that was blown away in a dying man’s hoarse breath.  What was left to me was the very essence of a man, and I am that man.

This was not what I expected or wanted.

I will be there when my father dies, maybe in a day or so, or maybe between 0100 and 0200 on Wednesday.  As he passes I will celebrate his life and his dying.  Unless something passes between us in his last moments, I will not understand the change in me.

How can a man ever understand the fire, the hammer, and the anvil from which the core of steel in his soul has emerged?

Please understand that I am happy  it took the horrific face of my dying father to reveal the true man within my soul.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no good deed goes unpunished

The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

These days I seldom dream.  Last night I had a vivid dream reminding me of a moment in my past.

There was a roadside casualty, a girl in the gutter. Obviously I stopped my car, got out to give assistance, and while I was putting the girl in the recovery position someone drove off in my car.  Then the girl got up and ran off, and a guy does not chase a woman late at night.  All of which was a bummer because I was then stranded on the wrong side of London, late at night, no wallet and no cell.  (We call them mobile phones, and my wallet was in my jacket in the damn car.)  Just getting back to my place took until mid-morning, and then all the phone calls cancelling cards, contacting my insurance company, telling the office I wouldn’t be in….  And that was a great car, which I never saw again.

That wasn’t the first, or the last time, my being a ‘Good Samaritan’ caused me much grief, pain, and suffering.

From trying to help a drunken woman in the street, to giving my bank details to a charity worker, (bogus), to rescuing a woman who was being hassled by a drunk in a bar, to driving an acquaintance home late at night, to helping out a coworker solve a tricky problem, to not having first date sex with an inebriated woman…  Well, the list of ‘nice’ things I’ve done which then caused me much grief goes on, and on, and on.

Too often in my life I have tried to do the right thing, to be the good guy, the man in the white suit ~ and what has it ever got me?  Trouble.

Even in close relationships I’ve found, to my cost, that being a genuinely kind, caring, and considerate guy, leads to trouble in the end.  Women can and will walk all over a nice guy.

It seems that many people see a good guy as a soft touch, someone that can be trampled underfoot, someone of no real account.  A geek, a jerk, a loser.

Well, maybe that’s their loss.

I can retain my ethics and morality, but my dream tells me that I also need to exercise harsh judgement in the people I am prepared to be kind to.  There is no more universally nice Jack Collier.

What ever became of the Good Samaritan anyway?

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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