Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why Are We Less Fit Than our Ancestors? Amish Offer Clues

Old-Time Fitness in Old-Order Amish
Why Are We Less Fit Than our Ancestors? Amish Offer Clues
By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Jan. 7, 2004 -- Where did our fitness go? A look at an old-order Amish community offers a clue.

If you randomly select three American adults, you're likely looking at one obese person and one overweight person. But are we really less fit than our meat and potatoes, gravy-eating ancestors?

Yes, say University of Tennessee researcher David R. Bassett, PhD, and colleagues. Bassett's team didn't have a time machine, so they did the next best thing. They went to an old-order Amish community in southern Ontario, Canada, and asked for help.

Like other Amish communities, these people shun modern conveniences and power machinery. Unlike some other Amish, most of this Ontario community still farms for a living. Bassett asked 98 of these men and women to wear a modern step-counting device for seven days. The study participants also told him details about their daily physical activities.

Even though they ate the high-fat, high-sugar diet typical of pre-World War II Americans -- meat, potatoes, gravy, eggs, garden vegetables, bread, pies, and cakes -- the Ontario Amish were remarkably fit. Only 4% were obese and only 26% were overweight.

How did they do it? Hard work -- and lots of foot power. Their weekly exercise was equivalent to that of long-distance runners. Men averaged 18,425 steps a day. Women averaged 14,196 daily steps.

"The Amish were able to show us just how far we've fallen in the last 150 years or so in terms of the amount of physical activity we typically perform," Bassett says in a news release. "Their lifestyle indicates that physical activity played a critical role in keeping our ancestors fit and healthy."

The findings appear in the January issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

it's all about the moulding, baby

One of the things that drew me to this house was the wainscotting. Even though the owners had painted the wainscotting PURPLE and in some placed JAIL CELL GREY, I knew that it's all about the mouldings. Even the crown moulding was painted brown. ICK!

It's all about the mouldings. I painted my wainscotting a soft, off white and freshened up all the trim in the house. It makes such a huge difference. I'm have been studying the effects of mouldings on interiors and what a big difference it makes. When homes were built pre-war, elaborate interior mouldings were standard. THen with the housing boom, builders saved money by cutting back on interior trim. Today, we still live with MINIMAL TRIM and it robs us of beautiful interiors.


It's especially effective on stairs, giving a great sense of motion:

new blogger

okay, new blogger sucks. THE wsywig editor sucks. I can't even add a link anymore and I am not willing to type "href / href" all over the place so I am really peeved. Stupid, useless blogger.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Must Read This Book

OMG. I heard an interview with this author on CBC and the book sounds incredible. I read the first chapter online and it's incredible. A definite must-read:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

health kick de jour

Okay, I'm on a new kick.

No, I'm not running. I have a few too many postural problems for running just now.

Okay, my new kick is to get the best pedometer money can buy (Yamax), strap it on every day and break 10,000 steps. I was shocked to find out how little I move. How does 2300 steps strike you? Not too good. 2300 steps is not doing a lot for the old body and may be behind the postural problems and pain issues I've been having.

It's really, really hard to work up to 10,000 steps (5 miles minimum) but I'm going to do it. I think that if I aim for this every day, it would be better than sitting around all day and then driving to the gym and doing a half hour of cardio three times a week (on a good week).

Okay. Posture. I'm wondering if anybody has experienced problems with the following:

- anterior pelvic tilt
- tight hamstrings
- locked knee stance
- tight hip flexors (too much sitting)
- tight rectus abdominus (too many crunches)
- weak core
- forward head
- rounded shoulders
- pronating feet
- scoliosis
- one hip higher

Help! Anybody deal with postural problems and if so, how have you overcome them?