Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Little Health Early on Goes a Long Way, Even After Graduation

When I wrote my first blog I knew my words would be out in cyberspace for all to read. I listed my keywords so search engines would lead readers to The Literary Leotard when looking for information with those actual words in their quest, such as “core strength” or “hamstrings.” Then I took off into the Literary part of the title and my keywords included “Dickens” and “Achilles” and “A.A. Milne.”  Of course I hoped readers from all over the world would actually read my blog, but I depended on family and friends, and friends of friends through Facebook. It still amazes me when I read the stats on -- I’ve got readers from Russia, Germany, Denmark, Croatia, all parts of the globe. So far no one from Mars or Jupiter has read The Literary Leotard, but I’ll bet they’re out there somewhere and one day…who knows?

I do enjoy reading comments on my blog (there are just a few) and getting emails from readers.  One such email came from a graphic designer named Susan Martin. Susan reached out to me after reading my post titled Strength Training While Making Coffee from 9/22/12. She thought I might be interested in a graphic that she helped create which takes a look at the best ways for college students to stay fit and avoid the dreaded freshman 15 – even in the middle of a dorm room. To be honest, I was hesitant since many times I read suggestions for exercise that just don’t apply to the average person and it drives me crazy. I don’t like people to think that if they aren’t able to perform the suggested exercises they are failures. But I wasn’t about to just pass Susan off. She took the time to read my blog, find my email, and contact me. I would certainly give her the time she asked for, and I am glad I did.

My years as a college student are definitely in the past. Not quite the Eocene (to steal a term from T.C.Boyle. His short story “Back in the Eocene” is a favorite of mine) but certainly a long time ago and I really don’t remember if I gained the Freshman 15. But, as a parent, when my own boys left for college I was well aware of the curse and wish I had Ms. Martin’s graphic back then. I’d have stuffed it in their luggage.  Actually, her graphic should be given to every freshman, or “first year” as they say at Columbia. It should be printed in the handbooks, if schools still give them out. Thankfully, it is on the web for all to see, and these suggestions so cleverly displayed, so easy to read, are not only for college students. Just replace the word “dorm” for “house” and you’ve got solid, safe, and effective suggestions for getting or staying in shape at any age. As it states on the site, in  colorful orange rectangles: “A little health early on goes a long way, even after graduation day is over.”

Go to: In fun and colorful graphics you’re given simple reasons to do cardio, strength, and flexibility training and suggestions on what to actually do.

 The only caveat I have is for the cardio: Older folks, ignore the jump rope idea. It sounds good. It was fun when you were in elementary school singing songs while two friends turned the rope and you tried to keep your feet from getting tangled up in it, but after a certain age it’s a lot of body weight coming down on your spine. Hey! If you’re in great shape, go for it. It’s up to you. Personally, I’d opt for something with less pounding, like swimming, walking, or bicycling – or aerobic dancing which I’ve been leading for over thirty years. Or how about just dancing? Turn on the music and go! You don’t need a partner. Take Callie’s advice (Gray’s Anatomy) Dance in your underwear!

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